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 Post subject: Change is afoot
Post #1 Posted: Wed Feb 02, 2011 4:10 am 
Oza

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I'd say the main characteristic of the tournament scene of the past few years has been the rise of the teenybopper. Looks like things are changing now.

Below are the top ten ranking lists for the three CJK countries in 2010, with ages. Although the Korean and Chinese lists still have a youthful air, teens are now becoming like hen's teeth. Japan remains the country of Gaudeamus igitur, veteri dum sumus, with not a single teen in the top 20. On the other hand, they are the only country to have a woman in the top ten.

KOREA
1. Yi Se-tol 27
2. Pak Cheong-hwan 18
3. Ch'oe Ch'eol-han 25
4. He Yeong-ho 24
5. Weong Seong-chin 25
6. Kang Tong-yun 22
7. Yi Ch'ang-ho 35
8. Kim Chi-seok 21
9. Pak Yeong-hun 25
10. Cho Han-seung 28

Plus two more teens in the top twenty. The top oldie is Cho Hun-hyeon (25th) at 57, and next is Yi Ch'ang-ho.

CHINA
1. Zhou Ruiyang 19
2. Xie He 26
3. Kong Jie 28
4. Gu Li 27
5. Li Zhe 21
6. Wang Xi 27
7. Tuo Jiaxi 20
8. Jiang Weijie 19
9. Chen Yaoye 21
10. Gu Lingyi 19

There are no more teens in the top twenty. Zhou Heyang (15th) and Chang Hao (17th) are the oldest in the top twenty, at 34 .

JAPAN
1. Cho U 30
2. Yamashita Keigo 32
3. Iyama Yuta 21
4. Takao Shinji 34
5. Hane Naoki 34
6. Kono Rin 29
7. Yamada Kimio 38
8. Xie Yimin 21
9. Cho Chikun 54
10. O Meien 49

The CK lists are based on their country's ranking systems. The Japanese list is based on tournament winnings. Cho U made 90 million yen in 2010. Mimura Tomochika in 20th place made 7 million yen (not a lot). There were no teens in 11th to 20th places. If anything, while there was much less gold, there was even more silver.


Last edited by John Fairbairn on Sat Feb 05, 2011 3:44 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Change is afoot
Post #2 Posted: Wed Feb 02, 2011 4:14 pm 
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I'm amazed Cho Chikun stays competitive at his age.

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 Post subject: Re: Change is afoot
Post #3 Posted: Wed Feb 02, 2011 4:25 pm 
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emeraldemon wrote:
I'm amazed Cho Chikun stays competitive at his age.


Especially when you see his picture here:

http://justplaygo.com/index.php/JPG/bc_ ... ent_begins

He looks like the crazy uncle that everyone avoids at a party.

My Cho Chikun anecdote: after the end of the second day of the 1999 Kisei (where I got my avatar photo with Takemiya), I was leaving the hotel in Paris where the game was played, and he and someone else came running up to the elevator I was in alone. I didn't know what to say, so I just bowed, and he bowed back.

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 Post subject: Re: Change is afoot
Post #4 Posted: Wed Feb 02, 2011 4:39 pm 
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kirkmc wrote:
emeraldemon wrote:
I'm amazed Cho Chikun stays competitive at his age.


Especially when you see his picture here

*snip*


I dunno, when I see that picture I find it more plausible, the 'crazy uncle' look seems to include some vitality. He doesn't look 64 to me.

Maybe I'm biased because I think his hair is awesome.


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 Post subject: Re: Change is afoot
Post #5 Posted: Wed Feb 02, 2011 6:09 pm 
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Cho is one of a kind. Very free and wise looking!!!!!!!!!

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Post #6 Posted: Thu Feb 03, 2011 12:36 am 
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Monadology wrote:
I dunno, when I see that picture I find it more plausible, the 'crazy uncle' look seems to include some vitality. He doesn't look 64 to me.


Maybe because Cho Chikun is 54 years old, born in 1956.

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Post #7 Posted: Thu Feb 03, 2011 7:34 am 
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Cho Chikun has always reminded me of Columbo (TV detective played by Peter Falk) -- unkempt but brilliant.

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 Post subject: Re: Change is afoot
Post #8 Posted: Thu Feb 03, 2011 2:56 pm 
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emeraldemon wrote
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I'm amazed Cho Chikun stays competitive at his age.



The reason why is obviously because the level of competition in Japan isn't very high.

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Post #9 Posted: Thu Feb 03, 2011 3:50 pm 
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joppon wrote:
The reason why is obviously because the level of competition in Japan isn't very high.


nice troll


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 Post subject: Re: Change is afoot
Post #10 Posted: Fri Feb 04, 2011 2:01 pm 
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I've seen the term troll used a number of times on this forum but I'm not sure exactly what it means.

I'm serious. There's no way that he should be in the top ten at 64(let me give you that one more again. Sixty. Four.), if the country he's playing in is sufficiently competitive.

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Post #11 Posted: Fri Feb 04, 2011 2:13 pm 
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joppon wrote:
I've seen the term troll used a number of times on this forum but I'm not sure exactly what it means.

This is what a troll is.

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 Post subject: Re: Change is afoot
Post #12 Posted: Fri Feb 04, 2011 2:40 pm 
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I recognise that my post could or would inflame some. But my intent was not to provoke. I simply could not let emeraldemon's post go unanswered. And it most assuredly was not off-topic.

Half the people on this forum seem to be mathematicians, ask any of them what affect age has on mental functions. And yes, I'm aware that dimunition of capability is different from person to person. But to imagine that at 64 Cho Chikun is around about the same strength as Yi Ch'ang-ho at 35 seems to me to be far too implausible to be credible.

Thus my earlier conclusion.

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 Post subject: Re: Change is afoot
Post #13 Posted: Fri Feb 04, 2011 3:54 pm 
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joppon wrote:
Half the people on this forum seem to be mathematicians, ask any of them what affect age has on mental functions. And yes, I'm aware that dimunition of capability is different from person to person. But to imagine that at 64 Cho Chikun is around about the same strength as Yi Ch'ang-ho at 35 seems to me to be far too implausible to be credible.

Thus my earlier conclusion.


This discussion has been had before. In the first case, why do mathematicians have the primary authority on the impact of age on performance in Go? First you'd have to show that math and Go are similar enough for comparability. There are different kinds of mental functions, you know.

Different academic fields can have very different ages of deterioration, not that any of those are more or less likely to be relevantly analogous. Unless specific studies are going to be conducted or other evidence is provided to back up these claims, I find your certitude far more problematic than the notion that a professional Go player could remain competitive at 54 (noting Vesa's correction), simply because Cho Chikun does in fact appear to be performing competitively. That is far better evidence than wishy-washy anecdotal inference based on comparisons between an academic field and competitive board game or your initial declaration which didn't even include any supporting remarks.


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 Post subject: Re: Change is afoot
Post #14 Posted: Fri Feb 04, 2011 4:54 pm 
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Rin Kaiho made the semifinals of an international tournament at the age of 58 or 59 in the year 2001. Cho Chikun won an international tournament in 2003, at the age of 47. Cho Hunhyeon won one at the age of 49.

You simply have no idea what you're talking about.

To spell it out a bit more, even if age has a pronounced effect on mental function, so long as there is a range of variation, you can infer very little from the fact that one older player does well in his nation (note that Cho is very much an outlier in Japan). Maybe you could ask those mathematicians about statistical inference.

Btw: I do think that Japan's level is definitely lower than China and Korea, though various attempts to quantify it haven't been as dramatic as you might think. But a bad and overstated argument for a true conclusion is still a bad argument.

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 Post subject: Re: Change is afoot
Post #15 Posted: Fri Feb 04, 2011 5:12 pm 
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You realize that Japan is also the country with the oldest professional system... and thus have more pros at that age, right?

China got its first pros during the Nie Weiping era, and Korea got its first pros during the Cho Hunhyeon era.

That's 80's and 90's, before that, there were no pros in either country.

Compare that to the Japanese, who had a pro system in place before that. Obviously, there were more pros at the same age in Japan than in the other countries once all three had a pro system, including the dominant ones like Chikun, Kaiho, Kobayashi, Takemiya, Yoda, etc.

There was a higher concentration of them than the other countries, so it's not that unheard of that we seem a percentage of them rank high competitively even now.

Especially when you consider how dominant Cho Chikun was.

To just say that, "Oh hey, Japanese people have an old guy in their top 10? They must suck,"

is an ignorant statement of quite a large magnitude.


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Post #16 Posted: Fri Feb 04, 2011 7:47 pm 
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Quote:
But to imagine that at 64 Cho Chikun is around about the same strength as Yi Ch'ang-ho at 35 seems to me to be far too implausible to be credible.

Cho is 54 years old.

Quote:
China got its first pros during the Nie Weiping era, and Korea got its first pros during the Cho Hunhyeon era.

That's 80's and 90's, before that, there were no pros in either country.

Korea had pro system in 60s. Cho HunHyun contributed a lot to make Korea's Baduk stronger since he came back from Japan. But he is not the first pro in Korea.


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Post #17 Posted: Fri Feb 04, 2011 8:07 pm 
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pardon me if I ask this in the wrong place, but Xie made it to the top 10 in earning list, yet Suzuki Ayumi and Iwamaru Taira were the two promoted based on the earnings. how do they count the earnings? does earning from teaching/events (teaching/simul games) also added to the promotion criteria?

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Post #18 Posted: Fri Feb 04, 2011 9:48 pm 
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In chess there are some players who have remained world class players as they got older.

Vassily Smyslov made it to the quarter finals of the Candidate matches for the World Chess Championship at age 62, before losing to Gary Kasparov who went on to become World Champion.

Victor Kortchnoi played a World Championship Match at age 50 against Karpov and remained pretty strong into his 60s.

Mikhail Botvinnik won a World Championship Match at age 50.

Emanuel Lasker won the 1924 New York International Chess Tournament at age 55, 1.5 points ahead of a very strong field that included many of the strongest players of the day.

Of course, you could say these are the exceptions that prove the rule. Excelling at intellectual games seems to require a lot of mental energy and competitive drive and for most people these tend to diminish as they get older. But experience also counts for something, and I don't see any reason why someone who remains fit and maintains a high level of motivation couldn't stay competitive into their 60s.

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Post #19 Posted: Sat Feb 05, 2011 4:39 am 
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Let's have some correctives, to which I'll add some personal musings.

1. Cho is 54. I either mistyped or miscounted - don't know which.

2. Pro activity in Korea is not recent. In Korea it is usually counted as starting in 1945 when Cho Nam-ch'eol, recently back from Japan, started the ball rolling. It wasn't the first organisation of top players but what made it "professional" was rejection of gambling go. The Hanguk Kiweon started in 1955. Cho Hun-hyeon's later contribution was to raise the bar to world level.

3. Pro activity in China is not recent. Japanese style grades were adopted in 1982, but before that it was a long era of shamateurism. Groups of pros coming together as a guild can be dated back to the Shanghai Go Association in 1933 under Gu Shuiru and Guo Tisheng. Gu had studied under Hirose Heijiro in Japan, was given 4-dan pro (then a high grade) by the Nihon Ki-in and lived the life of a pro in China (he had columns in Shanghai and Tianjin newspapers). The Chinese Revolution and the Cultural Revolution obviously played havoc with earning any kind of an intellectual living in China, but pro go is not a recent thing there.

4. Good oldies in go are nothing new. Even in recent times, Sakata was quite old before he started clocking up titles. Fujisawa Hideyuki won the Oza in 1992 at age 67.

5. The conditions in the CJK countries vary enormously - so much so that this imperils easy comparisons. Some random examples not usually considered. Oldies in Japan have a few advantages: one is less travel. Higher ranked and thus usually senior players get home advantage, and even where travel is required it is far less onerous than in China. Another advantage, probably, is more sensible time limits than in (especially) Korea. The fact that go is seen as an "old man's game" in Japan may also have an effect - sponsors presumably aim at the fan base, and may bias invitations or playing conditions towards the older players. China, putting a high priority on international success instead, favours a system of trainers and coaches. These positions provide comfy spots for older players who can effectively and happily retire from active play early. Older players in Korea are the worst off at the moment, and their bitterest gripe is against the Mickey Mouse time limits, but that is the result of go sponsors there favouring tv and the internet to a degree far exceeding Japan especially (still newspaper driven) and China. Korea is also the country where veneration of the old is by far the strongest. But every action has a reaction. Young people - the main fan base in Korea - possibly welcome the chance to see the young trump the old for a change.

6. "Which country is the strongest?" is only one question. Other valid questions are: "In which country is go the healthiest? and "Which country produces the best go?" Personally, I think that on current patterns go is more likely to have a long and healthy life in China and Japan than in Korea, and I think China and Japan also produce better games. China has many more good games, but as the Chinese do greatly respect the two-day games in Japan, I think we should, too. Korea comes out low in those assessments, in my view. However, it may well currently have the players with the best raw talent.

7. If we take the (I think) useful stance of saying what we would each do to improve go in each country, I'm not sure that China needs to change anything for the men, but it could probably do more for women's go (it doesn't at present because there is not enough international kudos to be gained). Korea needs to get back to sensible time limits and, if a magic wand could be waved, get more stable sponsorship. Japan needs to engage more with international go, and to accept the need for a training/coaching squad at that level.

8. However, although I believe all these changes would benefit go in each country, I see few signs that they are being addressed. Focus instead seems to be on the internationalisation of go. China's eyes seem to be on spreading go in the other countries of Asia. Japan seems stuck in the mindset of promoting go in Europe and America. Korea seems somewhere in-between.


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 Post subject: Re: Change is afoot
Post #20 Posted: Sat Feb 05, 2011 5:14 am 
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Good oldies are nothing new--if anything, good younguns are the development. When Rin Kaiho challenged for the Meijin at 23, that was a shock. It's less pronounced, but even Japan has seen its go become more youthful, if you take the long view of a half century.

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