Brief Interview with Suzanne D’Bel (Malaysia)

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Suzanne D’Bel (right) playing Ilya Shikshin

In Malaysia there is a Japan club. Malaysian players gather there once a week to play go. Japanese people come too. Currently there aren’t so many players, but they’re trying to expand the go population. Some of my friends have started classes to teach kids how to play. As for me, I’m living in Japan now. My 3-dan ranking is from the net, from KGS, but ranks in Malaysia are about the same as KGS ranks.
I’ve recently learned the style of play where you build a big framework, and then let your opponent come into it so you can you attack him. That’s why I like to play tengen openings. They’re good for fighting.

I’m studying media design at Keio University in Japan. It’s quite a new course. It started six years ago. We study the basics of technology, design, and management, and learn how to combine them all together. The research lab I am in now is more into robotics, more into human-computer interactions. Recently we’ve set up a new Living Lab Tokyo, which just recently became part of the European Network of Living Labs. We’re located in the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation (Miraikan). We do workshops and user studies. We’re now focusing on how to create an invisible computing and living environment, on how to get data from users. For example, our lab has created methods of using soft materials as an interface, where the sensors can’t be seen. There are lots of other projects too.

- James Davies

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Interview with Martin Unger (Austria)

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Martin Unger

Ranka: Please tell us about your go-playing career.
Martin: I started playing go in 2008. My chess teacher told me about the game. After he taught me, I stopped playing chess and now I play go. I became 1 dan in about one year, but since then it has been difficult for me to improve. Now I’m about 3 dan, but I would say I’m on the low edge. In 2010 I started competing in the Austrian championship. That year the Austrian champion Viktor Lin was ill and couldn’t compete, so I finished second and Schayan Hamrah finished first. Last year I finished third, behind Schayan and Viktor, but in Austria we have a point system in which you gather points that are reset to zero when you go to an international tournament like this, and I had gathered enough points from the two championships to come here to Sendai. I won my first game against the player from Brunei Darussalam, but I lost my second game against the player from Thailand. He crushed me; I resigned.

Ranka: Following the earthquake in 2011, Japan has shut down its nuclear power plants and there is a lot of discussion about starting them up again. What can you tell us about Austria’s non-nuclear policy?
Martin: I’m glad that there are no atomic power plants in Austria, but we import most of our electricity from other countries, like France, so I think we’re still dependent on atomic energy. We’ve tried to establish power plants in Austria, but we don’t generate very much. There’s always talk about hydroelectric power, but there are people who are against it because it damages the ecosystems of rivers. Anyway, because of the Chernobyl accident, I’m really glad that we don’t have atomic power plants in our own country. My own home is heated by oil and compressed air. There’s a machine that compresses air, which heats the air, and the hot air is used to heat water. We use that to heat our water in the summer. When it gets cold, we use oil for heating, but over the whole year, we use less oil than before. So the situation is difficult, but we do our best.

- Ranka

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Round 2: Zivony vs Salerno

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Ofer Zivony (left) and Luciano Salerno

White: Luciano Salerno (Argentina) 1d
Black: Ofer Ziwony (Israel) 3d

 

 

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Commentary by Michael Redmond 9p, transcribed by Chris Garlock.

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Round 2: Savolainen vs Novoa

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Santiago Quijano Novoa (left) and Javier Aleksi Savolainen

White: Santiago Quijano Novoa (Colombia) 3d
Black: Javier Aleksi Savolainen (Finland) 5d

 

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Commentary by Michael Redmond 9p, transcribed by Chris Garlock.

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Round 2

The second round began at 1:30 at the direction of 9-dan referee Sonoda Yuichi of the Kansai Kiin. Three of the top-rated eastern countries now faced significant opposition: Korea’s Hyunjae Choi was paired against the USA’s Curtis Tang, Japan’s Kikou Emura against Hong Kong’s King-man Kwan, and Chinese Taipei’s Shin-wei Lin against the Ukraine’s Artem Kachanovskyi. The significant opposition did its best, but Choi won by resignation and Lin and Emura won by 6.5 and 7.5 points, respectively. China’s Yuqing Hu also won, defeating Slovenia’s Janez Janza, and Russia’s Ilya Shikshin defeated Malaysia’s Suzanne D’Bel.

In another triumph for the Far East, Singapore’s Jia Cheng Tan (6 dan) defeated Czechia’s Ondrej Silt (6 dan), but Europe bounced back when Csaba Mero (6 dan, Hungary) defeated Hao-song Sun (6 dan, Australia) and Merlijn Kuin (6 dan, the Netherlands) defeated Xuqi Wu (4 dan, New Zealand). In an all-European match, Cornel Burzo (6 dan, Romania) overcame Franz-Josef Dickhut (6-dan, Germany), and in a battle of shodans, Ngoc Cuong Nguyen (Luxembourg) defeated Christopher Welsh (South Africa). The upset of the day was scored by Vladas Zaleskas (1 dan, Lithuania), who downed Frederik Dahl (3-dan Norway).

Aside from this upset, the second round ended normally, but the pairings had become closer. In round three France’s Thomas Debarre will challenge the home-down favorite Kikou Emura while Russia’s Ilya Shikshin tackles Chinese Taipei’s Shin-wei Lin, Hungary’s Csaba Mero takes on China’s Yuqing Hu, and Singapore’s Jia Cheng Tan tangles with Korea’s Hyunjae Choi.

- James Davies

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Brief Interview with Franz-Josef Dickhut (Germany)

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Franz-Josef Dickhut

The last German Championship was not so good for me. I seemed to be in bad shape, and I finished sixth. After winning the championship for the previous three years that was a rather shocking drop in performance. So my hope here in Sendai is to get back to what my usual game used to be, and maybe find some inspiration to fight back in Germany in the future. But there are quite a few strong German players coming up now. One of course is Lukas Krämer who won the championship this year, and who will go to China with Benjamin Teuber to study go for half a year. Another is Jonas Welticke, who studied in Japan for three months. Another is Johannes Obenaus, who is 23 years old and will be going to Taiwan for almost a year. After they come back, my chances of becoming German champion again will be rather slim. There are now a lot of German players who are getting stronger. This is good for us because we need to improve our position in relation to the rest of Europe; we’ve lost out place in group A in the Pandanet League and we’d like to regain it.

 

- Ranka

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Brief Interview with Pavol Lisy (Slovakia)

Pavol Lisy

Pavol Lisy

When I was four years old I started collecting beer caps. When I was five years old I had thousands of them. I was playing with the white and brown ones, because they were the ones I had most of. My father saw me playing with them and remembered the game of go, so we made a board out of paper and that’s how I got started. I began going to tournaments in Slovakia, and I had a teacher: Miroslav Poliak. He’s now 1 dan but he used to be 3 dan. We used to play, like, once a week.

In the spring of 2009 I went to King’s Baduk Center in Korea for three months. That was the first time I studied go from books. We had to solve life and death problems. I was doing that for maybe three hours a day. I also replayed professional games, and played against an 8-dan professional player. I went to Korea as a 1 kyu and came back 3 dan. That motivated me; that’s when I began playing go seriously. I started to play on KGS, and began to focus on doing better in tournaments. I don’t think I could play go professionally in Asia, but now we are starting to organize a professional league in Europe, with support from China. If it becomes possible to play go professionally in Europe, that is something I will really try to do.

- James Davies

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Interview with Artem Kachanovskyi (Ukraine)

Artem Kachanovskyi (Ukraine, 6d) reviewed his second game of the tournament, where he lost by 7.5 points to Shin-Wei Lin (Chinese Taipei, 7d).

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Artem Kachanovskyi

Artem: The game took a sour turn in the opening, leaving me with a position I didn’t know how to save. I invaded his large central territory and gained a good result, taking good compensation in exchange for sacrificing a group with ko. A big fight followed, where I was left with a choice: to attack his weak group or to take points calmly. Thinking I was ahead, I chose the latter, but he unexpectedly made many points too, leaving an unclear endgame that I finally lost. I was a little disappointed.

Ranka: What have you been doing recently, and what are your hopes for the tournament?
Artem: I am studying at university, with a part time programming job in the afternoon developing factory systems. This is my third time in Japan, and of course I would like to reach a high position in the tournament, but I have no specific goals.

Ranka: What about your go study? You seem to spend less time on KGS these days.
Artem: Actually I have been taking a bit of a break from go and didn’t really do any serious study for two years. It is only since this year’s European Go Congress that I properly got back into it. Since then I have begun to play on Tygem, where I want to reach 9d as soon as possible to be able to play the strongest possible opponents. In terms of study methods, my preferred approach is reviewing professional game records, in particular games commented by the players themselves. I like to see how they are thinking.

- John Richardson; photo John Pinkerton

 

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Round 1: Tang vs Javier – Bukh vs Tianyu

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Curtis Tang

In these first-round games, very strong players make short work of their weaker opponents. Curtis Tang 6D (US) needed just 100 moves to force a resignation from 4-kyu John Erickson Javier (Phillipines), while Alexandr Bukh 5k (Kazakhstan) didn’t last much longer against Bill Tianyu Lin 7D (Canada), resigning after 103 moves.

In his game commentaries, Michael Redmond 9P shows how the games were actually over much earlier.

Click the links to start the game viewer.
Tang vs Javier
Bukh vs Tianyu

Commentaries transcribed by Chris Garlock

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Round 1

Suzanne Low

Suzanne D’Bel

The first round was paired by the traditional WAGC method, which matches the middle half of the field (28 players this year) at random against the first and fourth quarters (14 players each). The field was so strong that the contestants from Canada and the USA, two countries that have frequently finished in the top eight in the past, found themselves placed in the middle group. Both of them won their first games, along with all 14 players in the top quarter of the field.

On paper the closest first-round match was between a pair of 3-dan’s: Malaysia’s Suzanne D’Bel and Colombia’s Santiago Quijano. Suzanne opened on the tengen point, framed a huge area in the center, and won by resignation. The closest games on the board were the half-point wins by Xuqi Wu (4 dan) of New Zealand against Alberto Zingoni (2 kyu) of Italy and Artem Kachanovskyi (6 dan) of the Ukraine against Krysztof Giedrojc (4 dan) of Poland. The New Zealand-Italy game was very nearly an upset. ‘I got an easy game when my opponent made a mistake in the opening,’ said Alberto, ‘but I made a one-point mistake near the end.’ The Ukraine-Poland game was the last to finish. While Artem and Krysztof were painstakingly playing out the endgame, Kikou Emura (7 dan) of Japan and Javier Savolainen (5 dan) of Finland were engaged in a lengthy, serious, and mostly silent post-mortem analysis of their game, which was won by the Japanese player.

- James Davies

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