33rd Australian National Go Championships

The 33rd Australian National Go Championships was held at the Younggil’s Go School in Strathfield (Sydney) on 27-28 November. This championship is the largest annual Go event in Australia. This year, 52 players participated in the tournament. There were two divisions and division A was for 3d-7d players with even as an open division, and division B was for 2d-15k with handicap.

Robert Vadas' opening speech

This time, I organized the event with Robert Vadas, who is the president of Sydney Go Club, and tried to do pre-registration to save the registration time. However, it was hard as there was no such pre-registration and nobody was used to doing that. This new plan confused participants and I thought I need better ideas to make people pre-register next time. On Friday, the day before the tournament was the teaching day. About 20 people came and some of them were from other cities. In this case, other cities are quite far away in Australia and this is one of big problems to promote Go in this country.

Kyung-Min Yu 6p, Hyun-Sub Kim 2p, Aoki Shinichi 9p, Ji-Sung Kang 8p, Younggil An 8p (from left)

There were three lectures by professional players, who were Hyun-Sub Kim, Ji-Sung Kang, and Mr. Aoki. When Hyun-Sub and Ji-Sung gave a lecture, I helped them to translate in English and Tony Purcell, who speaks fluent Japanese, helped Mr. Aoki. Mr. Aoki is a 9p from Nihon-Kiin and his lecture was nice and easy to understand though he doesn’t speak English well. After the lecture, there was a short break for dinner and simultaneous games afterwards. People on the teaching day seemed to be satisfied with lectures and simultaneous games. When the teaching day was over, I was exhausted, but on the other hand, I felt good to meet many nice people again. On the next day, I came to the academy early in the morning for the registration. I picked up John Hardy, who is the president of the AGA and Mr. Aoki from their motel and took them to the academy. The air was fresh and sun was going up in the morning. Sydney’s weather is fantastic and the sky is high and blue. Some of my friends came to Sydney in August and they were impressed by the blue sky. It was spring time, so warm and nice.

Sung Dae Hahn's introduction

The main tournament began at 10am, and the academy was really packed with many participants, their family, and observers. For the tournament, we prepared a special table for top players’ games each round and I had a plan to broadcast for the European Go TV with Matthew Crossman, who is a uni student and specialized with this. However, there was a technical problem with the internet, and it didn’t succeed though I could review live games on KGS with commentary. At lunch time, sushi was provided for the players, and they seemed to be happy with that because the sushi looked fresh and yummy.

The Australian Go Association's Annual General Meeting

On that day, every player played 3 games and when the 3rd round had finished, the Annual General Meeting had begun at the same place. John Hardy, who is the formal president, wanted to resign as he had been that place for 5 years and he’s tired now. He contributed a lot for the AGA and I personally thanks very much to him for many things he has done. Before the meeting, I asked him who is the strongest candidate for the next president, but he said he has no idea. Anyway, the meeting began and there were several subjects to discuss and talk about. When the time came to select the new president, Sang-Dae Hahn recommended Raphael Shin and there wasn’t any other candidate else, so that there was no vote and Raphael was decided as the new president of the AGA and he looked excited with it. I felt good because Raphael is keen on Go and who helped me so many things since I’ve come to Australia. There weren’t any other interesting subjects during the meeting, and it ended in one hour. On the first day of the tournament, there weren’t any big troubles or problems to running the championship, but actually, I didn’t do much. Robert and Neville, who is the vice president of the AGA did lots of things to run the tournament. Anyway, the first day was ok. Next day’s morning, the 4thround started at 9:30 and I recorded a top game and reviewed on KGS at the same time.

Round 4: Miao Zhao (left) vs Bi Jang

The game was quite important between Bi-Jang and Miao Zhao because they both are very strong candidates to win the tournament. Miao played boldly in the beginning with 4-6, but Bi managed the game very well in the middle game and he was winning at the end of the game. I stopped recording because I thought the game was almost finished and I had to do something else. When I came back, I was surprised to see that game reversed and I couldn’t believe my eye as there was no place to reverse. Bi Jang looked very disappointed after resigning, and I thought his chance to win the tournament flew away.

Bi Jang wins first place

On the fifth round, Miao beat William Chen easily, and there’s only one game was left. Miao’s opponent in the final round was Shu Ping Cai, who had lived in Singapore as a Go lecturer and he came to Melbourne Australia early this year. I saw him playat the Golden Aussie tournament in Melbourne in April, and I thought he could be one of the strongest players in Australia. He won that tournament and his playing style is smooth but doesn’t avoid fighting, and he has accurate at reading. Anyway, I recorded the final match and it was fun to watch. The game was exciting with a big fight from the beginning, and Shu took the lead of the game in the middle game. Miao realized he was behind, and tried to capture Shu’s big group in the centre, but Shu found out a very nice tesuji, and soon the game was practically over. Miao tried to do his best in the endgame, but there was no way to reverse the game. I can’t forget his sad, disappointed face and finally two players were 5-1 and some more of 4-2. Bi’s points were a little bit higher than Miao’s, and he took the first place. And Miao took the second. Third were both Shu Ping Cai and Raphael Shin.

Amelia wins a Go book

After all games finished, there was presentation and closing ceremony. Almost all participants were still staying for celebration and they looked happy. Some people got some go books and children got a gift. After the presentation, I forgot to take group photos with pros and winners, but other things were ok. The Australian National Championship finished successfully, and I was happy about that, but on the other hand, I didn’t feel satisfied because I could have done better with some more preparation and ideas, but next time will surely be better and you’ll enjoy the time if you come and join us.

Youngsters playing Go!

I want to thank all participants, especially people from far away. Everybody was happy with T-shirts which were donated by Billy Sun, who unfortunately couldn’t come to the tournament, but he made all participants happy. Raphael Shin donated Trophies and money, and I also really want to thank Robert Vadas and Neville Smithe. I really appreciate their kindness and work, and it could never succeed without their help. Thanks, Younggil AN 8p

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About Younggil An

Younggil is an 8 dan professional Go player with the Korean Baduk Association. He qualified as a professional in 1997 and won an award for winning 18 consecutive professional matches the following year. After completing compulsory military service, Younggil left Korea in 2008, to teach and promote the game Go overseas. Younggil now lives in Sydney, Australia, and is one of the founders of Go Game Guru. On Friday evenings, Younggil is usually at the Sydney Go Club, where he gives weekly lessons and plays simultaneous games.

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