Go players of New Zealand,
 
Season’s greetings to you all.  There are bits of news from all over the place this month, but we’ll start with a report on the 13th International Amateur Pair Go championship, by Leon Phease of Dunedin.  He and his mother, Yucong, represented NZ at this event in November, where they finished 19th out of a field of 32.  Here is Leon’s report:
 
An account of my time at the international amateur pair go championship.
By Leon Phease
 
After a 2-hour wait at the airport because of a leaky fuel tank or something or other, my mother and I got underway. 11 uneventful (boring) hours later we landed at Narita airport in Tokyo.
 
After going the wrong way several times on the trains to get to the hotel we finally made it to our destination at 22:00 Tokyo time, or 20 hours after I had woken up in Auckland on Friday the 15th of November.
 
It was a struggle to wake up the next day but somehow I managed it and then after a boring speech by some sponsor and then another speech by some organizer we started the first round of the 13th international pair go championship. Our first opponents were both 6 dan from Japan and in the end, after what I thought was a well played game by me, we found ourselves several points (about 20 or so) short.
 
After that we played the traditional friendship game where players and their partners and their opponents were all drawn by random. I was drawn with a Japanese 3 dan who was going to play in the handicap competition which was for the Japanese who wanted to play but weren’t good enough for the main competition. Our opponents were from Japan and Indonesia. My pair won that game which was quite pleasing. Then there were more speeches and then a feast then I went to bed.
 
The next day was perhaps the most exhausting day that I spent in Japan. First we played Denmark and won, then Israel and won, then another Japanese team and lost and then another Japanese and lost. The winners of the tournament were the Chinese team who beat Korea in the final by winning from time. The Chinese team was made up of a 12-year-old and a 13-year-old which I thought was quite impressive as they were both very close to professional strength.
 
After the tournament we had the prize giving and incredibly I won a spot prize. We also had a big feast, which was nice. Then after that I had some photos with professionals like Takemiya Masaki. Then it was bedtime.
 
The next day I woke late and was only just in time for a demonstration of IGS Pandanet. Then we had a big meeting and ate lunch and listened to so many long speeches that I nearly fell asleep again. Then we were free.
 
We spent the afternoon at the Nihon Ki-in where we bought a really cool magnetic go board and had a look around. For tea we ate a huge variety of foods because it was a place where they lay out all the food and we could choose whatever we wanted. Then we went and played go until 23:00 closing time.
 
It was the next day when we finally finished our stay in Japan. We took the trains back to the airport, weighed down with all the different souvenirs that we had picked up and also with, for a 13-year-old, an experience of a life-time.
 
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For more information, check out http://www.pairgo.or.jp/amateur/indexe.htm
 
World news
Japan is changing to a 6 point komi.  This brings them in line with the other major go-playing countries: Korea has changed to 6 and China has changed to 7 (there is no equivalent to 6 in the Chinese counting system).  As you know, New Zealand already uses a 7 point komi (here it was felt that if the players’ strengths were so close, a draw (jigo) should be possible).
 
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Auckland
Colin reports:
 
Ted Kim (who played in the recent NZ champs, finishing 3rd equal) has opened a golf and go "school" in Howick.  He is qualified (in Korea) to teach both. He's hired half a building and erected netting so you can practise golf (aiming to hit a target rather than distance). He plans to teach go in the evenings. The school opening party was held on Saturday 7th Dec.  We played one game - both adopting bold strategies. I had the victory, helped no doubt by many distractions to my opponent.
 
The school is located at the western end of Wellington Street (I’ll confirm address and phone next newsletter – Ed.)
 
We had our last meeting at the church and will be meeting at Mike Taler's house for a while till another venue is settled... this looks like it may be the Auckland Chess club.
 
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Wellington
The Wellington club had an end-of-year fun evening in December.  All games were on 9x9 boards, some at lightning pace, others a bit slower.  I thought I had a couple of good games, until Teru informed us that the correct komi for a 9x9 game is 7 points!  Everyone brought along food and drink, so as well as go, there was plenty of food, wine, green tea and conversation.
 
The prize for the most er.., interesting board went to Andrew, with his perspex and red paua shell board, complete with paua stones.  Probably just as well that he had removed the under-board illumination system, which may have detracted from the otherwise subtle aesthetics.
 
We also welcome two more players to the Wellington club.  Both Geoff Cant and Robert McComb passed the initiation test (finding the clubrooms) and are keen to further their skills.  Geoff is down from Palmerston North for a few months, while Robert has returned to Wellington after working overseas for several years.
 
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Finally, I wish you all a safe and happy holiday season, and if you find yourself too heavy, try losing a few stones….
 
Dan
 
December 2002