A blog post over a half-a-month late – definitely a sign I’ve been to busy.
Well, last January 15, the Philippine Go Association had its second national tournament – I’d pretty much say it was a pretty successful one, considering that we had a larger turnout than last year. Admittedly, a 27-player turnout in another country would be accounted as dismal, but we’re in the Philippines, where Go/Wei Qi/Ba Duk hasn’t had much penetration into the mainstream. You’ll see guys in street corners playing chess or checkers, but you’ll never see Go in the streets – unlike in many East Asian countries where the game is an obsession, with national institutes dedicated to playing the game.
An ancient game of strategy played on a 19×19 board, Go is played with black and white stones being placed on an empty board until all territory has been claimed by either players. A gross simplification of the rules – but the rules themselves are pretty simple. It’s the infinite permutations of the board that make it worth playing – it’s like watching Conway’s Game of Life being animated not by algorithms but two players.
The tournament had over four rounds – I participated in three and had to bail out for the fourth. The prizes for the top players were pretty great. They were as follows:
1st place: - 2011 National Go Champion title and trophy - cash prize: P5000 - book: Essential Life and Death vol 4 - Korean-style Insei League on KGS 1 month membership (95 USD) - +12pts in PhGo International Tournament Qualification 2nd place: - cash prize: P3000 - book: Essential Life and Death vol 4 - Korean-style Insei League on KGS 1 month room access - +8pts in PhGo International Tournament Qualification 3rd place: - cash prize: P2000 - Korean-style Insei League on KGS 1 month room access - +5pts in PhGo International Tournament Qualification Self-paired side event: - 1 Go set from KABA
That’s a pretty impressive haul.
Anyway, we had participants from all over: Cebu, Nueva Ecija, Bulacan, and Cavite. We even had foreign participants from Korea and England. The top spot was claimed by Kim Sunyong of Korea, a dan level player. In addition to the players, we had the PGA’s Japanese patron, Mr. Izeki, and Seol Ki Hong and Seunghyun Lee showed up to show support and play a few teaching games.
For those interested in learning this deep and interesting sport, or want to find other players, and you live in the Philippines, contact the PGA at the website linked above or join the Google groups.