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November 30th, 2005

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Cape Town Blitz Tournament Concluded!

A highly entertaining evening was held, with the incredibly tight sudden death absolute blitz causing much mayhem and amusement.

Five rounds of frantic go were enjoyed by the eight entrants, and as expected, the highest ranked players and lowest ranked players (with their enormous handicap starts) slugged it out for the final prize.

Congratulations to the winner, Konrad Scheffler, who extends his western cape tournament winning streak even further. Congratulations also to Steven Dawson and Timothy Spring who made the most of their komi to almost nick the tournament from Konrad.

Please see here for more details.

Posted by Chris Welsh as Cape Town, Tournaments at 10:30 AM, 2 Comments »

November 29th, 2005

Pak Yeong-hun wins 1st Yeongnam; Gu Li wins Ahan Tongshan


Last Wednesday saw the beginning of the second-phase of the Nongshim Cup. Japan went into the second phase with a slight lead, but ended the phase behind China and Korea. Chinese 7-dan Liu Xing was eliminated in the 5th round by Japanese lightning-go specialist, Mimura Tomoyasu (9d), but Mimura went down in turn to Korean 6-dan, Won Seong-chin. Xie He, the Chinese 6-dan, managed two victories (over Won and Japanese 8-dan Yamada Kimio), before being displaced by Korean 8-dan Cho Han-seung. Cho completed the phase with a victory against Takao Shinji Honinbo yesterday, which means that he will face China’s second-last hope, Chang Hao at the beginning of the 3rd phase in Shanghai in February next year. Korea, who have never lost this tournament, again seems to be in the driving seat, with Yi Ch’ang-ho still up their sleeve, who is unbeaten in all the previous instances of the Nongshim Cup), but China still has a good chance, and even Japan cannot be discounted, although Yoda Norimoto will have to defeat Yi Ch’ang-ho, Kong Jie, and either Cho Han-seung or Chang Hao to give Japan the victory.

A noteworthy game in this tournament was the one between Xie He and Yamada Kimio on Saturday. As macelee reports on his website,, “The fight in this game is so intense that one empty corner is not occupied until move 179!”


In Yamashita Keigo’s defence of his Tengen title, Kono Rin went 2-1 against him, winning the 3rd game by resignation. As John Power, reporting for the Nihon Ki-in, puts it: “In a game marked by fighting from the outset, Yamashita suffered from a hallucination that let Kono capture a large group.” Since this is a best-of-5 final, Kono can claim the title, as well as a promotion to 8-dan, if Yamashita does not win both of the remaining games in the final.

Things are not going well for Yamashita Keigo. He also lost the second game of his challenge for the Oza title against Cho U. Now up 2-0, Cho can potentially wrap up his title defence at the third game on Thursday.

The televised Ryusei tournament produced quite an upset last Friday. Sakai Hideyuki (7d) lost to 1-dan Ando Kazushige by 7.5 points. Sakai, for a long time one of Japan’s top amateurs (he received an 8-dan amateur diploma), won the World Amateur Go Champs in 2000, before turning pro, and starting out as a 5-dan at the Kansai Ki-in. He won the Kansai Ki-in 1st place tournament as a 6-dan in 2003. A high-dan player being defeated by a 1-dan would often go uncommented in Korea or China, but it is still unusual in Japan. Furthermore, Sakai is still doing well on other fronts: in the Japanese prelims of the Fujitsu Cup, Sakai eliminated 9-dan Ishida Yoshio by 6.5 points. Ishida is perhaps best-known to many in the West as the author of the “Dictionary of Basic Joseki”.

Another slight upset occured in the other major televised pro tournament in Japan, the NHK Cup: Ryu Shikun (9d) eliminated Cho Chikun Judan.

In the NEC Cup, Kobayashi Satoru got a little bit of revenge against Cho U on Saturday, taking a 3.5 point win as White, to eliminate Cho from the tournament. Cho, who successfully defended his Meijin title against Kobayashi earlier this year, was the defending champion in the NEC Cup as well.

9-dan Yamashiro Hiroshi won the Okan title for the 14th time yesterday. He forced title-holder Hane Naoki to resign to reclaim the title. The Okan title is only open to players in the Nagoya branch of the Nihon Ki-in.

Kobayashi Izumi’s run of good form in the female pro tournaments came to an end last Thursday, when she was eliminated from the Female Meijin tournament. The 6-dan lost to Inori Yoko(5d) in the semi-final of the losers’ bracket.

2 weeks ago, this year’s winner of the Kansai Ki-in 1st place tournament was decided. Almost without a pause, the next instance begins: the first matches of the 32-player knockout tournament begin tomorrow.


In the loser’s bracket of the 49th Kuksu (National Championship), Yi Se-tol took on Cho Hunhyun last Tuesday. Yi won the game by resignation.

Much more high profile was the 4th game of the GS Caltex Cup final. Ch’oe Ch’eol-han, fighting from a 2-1 disadvantage in the final, played a brilliant move “which exploited the aji in Lee’s territory and strategically aimed at Lee’s big dragon in the center. He eventually successfully captured a huge 40-stone dragon” (source: This brings the score to 2-2, making the last game on Thursday the all-important clash.

Despite losing the first game of the best-of-3 final in the inaugural Yeongnam Cup, Pak Yeong-hun forced his opponent Cho Han-seung to resign twice in a row last Tuesday, thus gaining him a 2-1 win in the final, earning him a cool 25 million Won. Cho’s second place scored him 8 million Won. The Yeongnam Cup is a lightning tournament, with 20 minutes of regular time and 3 40-second byo-yomi periods per player.

Something which slipped under my radar on the Korean pro scene at the beginning of this month was Ko Keun-t’ae (3d)’s victory over Korean #12, 9-dan An Cho-yeong to qualify for the finals of the 10th Cheonweon. The best-of-5 final began last Thursday, with Ko claiming a half-point victory in the first game. His opponent in the final is a relative outsider, not even in the Korean top 50: 1-dan Pak Jeong-geun. Pak has cut his way through a celebrated to reach the final. The second game of the final is on Friday.

In the Korean Baduk League, Team Net Marble could only achieve a draw against Team Pmang, allowing Team Holy Construction to end at the top of the log with 11 points. Net Marble’s 10 points was placed above Team Bohe by tie-break, and Team Hangame ended 4th on the log. However, the winner of the league is not yet determined, as there is another phase of the tournament which follows. The next phase uses a “winner-keeps-going” style format, where the teams placed 3rd and 4th play each other, the winner faces the second-placed team, and the winner of that encounter faces the team from the top of the log. How ties will be resolved in this situation remain to be seen. Although I have no results yet, the match between Team Hangame and Team Bohe should already be completed.

The BC Card Cup also used to employ this “winner-keeps-going format”, with players achieving multiple wins qualifying for a knockout stage. However, the format has changed for the next instance of the tournament. The new instance, which began this week, uses a simple 24-player knockout tournament.


The Chinese NEC Cup saw a large upset with the elimination of defending champion Chang Hao last Saturday. Chang, playing Black, was forced to resign against 6-dan Liu Shizhen in his first game of this year’s tournament.

In the finals of the 7th Ahan Tongshan Cup (Chinese Agon Cup) held last Tuesday, Mingren title-holder Gu Li defeated 7-dan Qiu Jun by resignation. As the winner of this tournament, he will face the winner of the Japanese Agon Cup, Iyama Yuta in the Japan-China Agon Kiriyama play-off in China early next year.

The focus of the next 2 days in China will be the 5th RICOH Cup which kicked off today with round 1. Round 2 is tomorrow. Amongst the casualties in the first round were Nie Weiping (9d) and Chen Yaoye (5d). Nie lost to 2-dan Shi Yue, and Chen was eliminated by 2-dan Liu Wei.


The main activity on the Taiwanese professional scene at the moment are the preliminaries to determine who represents Taiwan at international tournaments. The preliminaries for the CSK Cup have been underway for a while already, where one representative is being chosen from Taiwan to join 4 other Taiwanese representatives who are currently playing as pros in Japan: O Rissei, O Meien, Rin Kaiho and Cho U. The contenders for the remaining spot were: Zhou Junxun (9d), Lin Zhihan (7d), Lin Shengxian (7d), Dai Jiashen (7d), Chen Shien (5d) and one qualifier from the rest of the Taiwanese pros. The qualifier has not yet been decided, but Dai Jiashen and Lin Shengxian have both already been eliminated, both by Chen Shien. Dai was eliminated on Sunday, and Lin today. The more alert may have noticed that Chen’s reported rank has changed from 4-dan to 5-dan. Although this is unconfirmed, I suspect this is due to his victory in the Donggang Cup earlier this month.

Preliminaries for the solitary Taiwanese representative at the 3rd Toyota-Denso World Oza also kicked off in Taiwan today. The last time (in 2004), the representative was Zhou Junxun (9d), but this year he’s competing with Chen Shien, Lin Zhihan, Xiao Zhenghao (5d) and another qualifier from the rest of the Taiwanese pros. Note that Xiao has also been promoted to 5-dan, likely as a result of his victory in the 1st Guoshou tournament. The first game of the preliminary to choose the qualifier for the final stage was played today, with 1-dan Wang Yunzhong already causing an upset by eliminating one of the top Taiwanese pros, 4-dan Huang Xiangren.

Posted by Steve as Pro News at 4:06 PM, 1 Comment »

November 29th, 2005

Stellenbosch promotion

Congratulations to Wim Conradie, promoted to 25k.

Posted by Steve as Rank Changes, Stellenbosch at 11:32 AM, No Comments »

November 29th, 2005

What’s up in SA Go?

Alright, the website’s been quiet the last few days, as well as down for some time. This sorry state of affairs is mainly due to the unexpected power cuts last week in the Western Cape. An effect of the power cut was that the computer our website runs off was shut down, and when it restarted, the database our website relies on was not restarted.

In addition, no power on Friday, as well as my computer’s networking being messed up substantially on Monday, are the reasons there has been no Pro News yet. Hopefully I can issue an update sometime this afternoon.

So, what’s happening in SA Go at the moment. Well, tonight is the Cape Town Blitz Tournament, with 9 entrants so far, and place for 2 more. The big limiting factor here is clocks – they just don’t have enough. Already, a palm pilot is being employed to allow them to break the 10 participant mark. They currently have 9 entrants, but if you want to pop by, you can still enter. For more details, see the tournament page.

In Joburg, the debate on the details of their new Articles of Operation are not yet finished. However, in the meantime, the club has appointed new management, to handle the administration now that Tristen has headed overseas to the United States, and Dale is planning to leave the club for some time. The new management is in the form of Ben Gale (Information Officer, who is the general admin and contact person) and Willem Joubert (Asset Secretary, who handles the finances, equipment etc. of the club).

The Pretoria Go mailing list has gone down for the next few months, but will hopefully be re-instated in time.

SAGA have also received the long-awaited shipment of Go books for beginners which have been floating back and forth over the ocean as the South African and Japanese postal services struggle to understand each other. Which means that another order of Go books is going to be placed. And Sakkie, who will be placing the order, needs our help: he needs to know what books he should get. If you want to order specific books through him, you can probably do that, but he is mainly interested in recommendations of good books for purchasing stock for SAGA. So, if you have any suggestions, please e-mail Sakkie.

Finally, Aketa-sensei’s visit is coming closer. His accomodation in Stellenbosch has been arranged, but his Cape Town and Joburg accomodation is still being investigated. His flight into South Africa lands in Joburg on Sunday morning, and many thanks to Templar Wales and Ben Gale, who have volunteered to handle Aketa-sensei’s transport from and to the airport. He may still need transport to the JICA (Japanese International Co-operation Agency) offices in Pretoria, and definitely needs accomodation for 2-3 days in the Joburg area, starting from the Sunday morning he arrives. If you can potentially help with these issues, please contact Konrad Scheffler by e-mailing him or phone him at (072) 157 9600.

Posted by Steve as Cape Town, Joburg, News, Pretoria, Pro News, SAGA, Stellenbosch at 11:16 AM, 1 Comment »

November 29th, 2005

Rank changes

The Western Cape games for the last 2 weeks have not yet all been put into the ranking system, but based on games already entered, the following players have received promotions (new ranks in brackets): Steven Dawson (26k), Adrian Thom (19k), Ben Bredenkamp (15k), Lei Feng (12k), Jonathan Jones (10k), and Charl du Plessis (6k). Congratulations.

Posted by Steve as Cape Town, Rank Changes, Stellenbosch at 10:31 AM, No Comments »

November 24th, 2005

Aketa in Gauteng: call for volunteers

> Aketa will be arriving on the 4th of Dec. at 7:00 on
> flight # SQ478.
> Please do pick him up.

I think we need to put it a little more strongly than that.

As far as I know, Aketa has not yet booked his flight from Johannesburg to
Cape Town, so we are not sure on what day this will be. We need one or
more volunteers to accommodate him for the day or two while he is in
Gauteng, and to transport him from and to the airport. We may also need a
volunteer to accompany him to the JICA office in Pretoria (depending on
whether Sakkie is able to make it).

Please, this is only a week and a half from now!

Posted by konrad as News at 12:59 PM, 3 Comments »

November 24th, 2005

Julius set for next year’s WAGC

Reinhardt Messerschmidt sent the following mail to the SAGA mailing list last night:

My fellow go players

The attached update on the WAGC points race reveals that Julius Paulu has an
unassailable lead, and will therefore be South Africa’s representative in
Japan next year. Congratulations!

The file wagcpoints.csv contains a list of all players on the points system,
sorted by their current accumulated balances.

Remarks/reminders on how the calculations were done:

1) Due to the (infamous) clause:

” … 3.1.3 Ordinary Members forfeit their membership … by being twelve
months in arrears with membership fees … ”

that was in our constitution till 10 September, players who last paid fees
in 2004 were recognised as members for 2005.

2) Annual depreciation: At the start of each year, each player’s accumulated
points balance is reduced by 20%.

3) Representative’s depreciation: The WAGC representative for the year has
his/her accumulated points balance reduced by:

1000(n+2) – 1000(T-P)/(T-1)


n: number of times representing South Africa (including this year)
T: number of participants
P: final placing

Ben Gale represented South Africa for a 2nd time in 2005. He finished 30th
out of 65 participants, therefore 3453 points were deducted from his
accumulated balance.

4) Membership points: All members for the year receive 100 points.

5) Placement points: The 16 participants in the SA Championship receive
varying amounts of points according to their final placing:

1st 1900, 2nd 1600, 3rd 1300, 4th 1100, 5th 900, 6th 700, 7th 600, 8th 500,
9th 400, 10th 300, 11th 200, 12th 150, 13th to 16th 100

Members who did not qualify for the SA Championship but participated in at
least one of the qualifying tournaments (2004 Western Cape Open, 2005 Cape
Town Open, 2005 Johannesburg Open) or the 2005 SA Open, receive 50 points.

6) Participation points: Members receive the following points for games
submitted to the ranking system:

10 points for each internet game against another member
20 points for each club game (irrespective of the opponent’s membership
40 points for each tournament game (irrespective of the opponent’s
membership status)

A maximum of 400 participation points can be earned against a particular
opponent, and a maximum of 2 000 participations points can be earned in

Games that have been logged on the SAGC system by 11 November were taken
into account with this update; they are listed in games.csv. contains SAGC-style recordsheets showing an exposition of
participation points for each player.

Please check your details and notify me of any errors.


Attached to the mail were 2 zip files: and

Posted by Steve as News, SAGA at 12:30 PM, 1 Comment »

November 24th, 2005

Julius wins Soweto Handicap Tournament

Julius Paulu (1d) pulled off a perfect 4 out of 4 score to claim victory in the Soweto Handicap Tournament held on 14 October. His victories included wins over 3rd-placed Chris Visser (1k) and 2nd-placed Paul Edwards (1d). Chris and Paul both had 3 victories, while 4th-placed Sipho Mampe (2k) scored 2. The other 11 players in the field were all below 15 kyu, but participation has its own rewards: 9 of these 11 players scored promotions.

Posted by Steve as Soweto, Tournaments at 12:13 PM, No Comments »

November 24th, 2005

New members and rank changes

We welcome a number of Soweto players to the SAGC Rating system, all who have been transferred from the old SAGA ranking system except new player Thabo Nthite, who has been added at 25 kyu.

After adding the games of Soweto Handicap Tournament held in October, the following players have received promotions: Boitumelo Mohulatsi (17k), Ricardo Kaiser (17k), Ramon Deane (18k – from 21k), Ricky Pilane (18k), Zane Deane (19k), Mosa Diphafe (23k), Busang Monene (23k), Thabo Nthite (23k – from 25k), and Brian Huma (24k). Congratulations to all of you.

Posted by Steve as New members, Rank Changes, Soweto at 11:50 AM, No Comments »

November 22nd, 2005

SAGA 2005 Budget now available

SAGA’s budget for 2005 is now available on their financial statements page.

These statements show quite clearly that with the current membership levels, our current membership fees only cover about one quarter of the annual projected costs. Until either (a) membership levels rise substantially, (b) current members indicate a willingness to pay higher fees (unlikely), (c) some major costs are cut from the SAGA budget, or (d) another sustainable source of income for SAGA is found, it is clear to me that SAGA is dependent on the interest generated by its bank account and other investments.

Note further that this year’s budget relies heavily on profit from sales of books and equipment, another source of income which will not be sustainable unless the game keeps expanding to a new audience.

(Note that the comments on the budget are mine, and not SAGA’s, or the SAGA Council’s)

Posted by Steve as Announcements, SAGA at 9:00 AM, No Comments »

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