AMERICAN GO E JOURNAL: News from the American Go Association

March 15, 2004

In This Edition:

U.S. GO NEWS: 2004 Go Congress Online; Guo Juan Returns; Room For AGA On KGS; New SmartGo Expanded; New Go Intro Book; Teaching Computers Go; Sgf Or Pdf? 2003 Yearbook On Web; Russ Williams Wins Haiku Contest; Melts In Your Brain

: O Rissei Takes Early Lead In Judan; Yamashita Hoping To Join Ranks Of The Comeback Kings; Qui Jun Wins King Of New Stars; Catalin Wins Ing Memorial In Karlovy Vary
GAME COMMENTARY: Introducing Dmytro Bogatskyy
GO REVIEW: Bruce Wilcox‘s Go Dojo; Contact Fights
ATTACHED FILES: 2004.03.15 Bogarskyy-Pop, Guo Juan Commentary.sgf; 2004.03.15 Yang March Beginner Solution.sgf; 2004.03.15 Yang March Intermediate Solution.sgf; 2004.03.15 Yang March Advanced Solution.sgf; 2004.03.15 Bogarskyy-Pop, Guo Juan Commentary.sgf; M&M.sgf


2004 GO CONGRESS ONLINE: The website is now up for this year92s U.S. Go Congress in Rochester, NY. Although registration forms are not yet available, you can check out the fine accommodations (Every room has two double beds with an optional rollaway, satellite TV, internet access, iron and ironing board and private bathroom) and nearby attractions (including Niagara Falls, Letchworth State Park, the Corning Glass Museum and the Rockwell Museum of Western Art) and the cool Congress logo at

GUO JUAN RETURNS: The next Guo Juan workshop is set for June 3-6 in Round Top, NY at The Woodlands $300, reports organizer Jean Claude Chetrit. This popular workshop with Ms. Guo, a 5 dan Chinese professional who lives and teachers in Amsterdam, fills up fast, so register early: or call 718-638-2266.
Get more info at http://brooklyngo

ROOM FOR AGA ON KGS: There is a new room on KGS named “American Go Assoc.” listed under clubs, reports Steve Fawthrop. “The room description is For members of the AGA to get together and chat or discuss issues of common interest and to play games against fellow members.” Unfortunately,” Steve adds, “it is not well known enough and there were not enough people to make up a team for the third KGS Team Tournament. So let‘s get lots of new people playing in there and enter a team next time.”

NEW SMARTGO EXPANDED: The new version of SmartGo has full support for game collections, making it easy to sort and organize your games and SGF files. And support for GTP (Go Text Protocol) means you can play against GNU Go and other Go programs using
SmartGo‘s user interface! Download the free SmartGo:Viewer and SmartGo:9x9
now at

NEW GO INTRO BOOK: Slate & Shell has just published an introductory book especially aimed at kids: Let‘s Play Go! A Simple Introduction to the Game of Go, by Yasuda Yasutoshi 9 dan, the Japanese pro who has popularized the use of the capture game to introduce beginners to go. The book starts with the capture game and leads players into regular go in a clear and direct way. Special discounts for teaching programs (contact ). 74 pages, $10 at

TEACHING COMPUTERS GO: “The ancient Chinese game of Go presents an ideal challenge for computer scientists studying artificial intelligence,” reports Dan Sadowsky in a recent article in The Chronicle, published by Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon. “The 4,000 year old board game with ‘simple, elegant rules and complex consequences’ has captivated and confounded researchers who‘ve tried to construct a program that can compete against the world‘s top human players, says Peter Drake, assistant professor of computer science.” Thanks to Anton Ninno for passing this along; read the whole article at http://www.lclarkedu/dept/chron/gamew04.html

SGF OR PDF? What‘s the best format for the attached problems we send out with the E-Journal? We‘ve been sending them out as .sgf files so readers can work them through using go software. But we could just as easily send them out as PDF files, if that would be easier to use. Vote for either .sgf or PDF by emailing us at

2003 YEARBOOK ON WEB: The CD version of the 2003 American Go Yearbook is now available on the AGA website at This selection of the “best of” the material published during the year in the weekly email American Go E-Journal includes material from the American Go E-Journals published in 2003, organized and indexed for your convenient use. While the game commentaries and problem files are not included on the website, a limited number of copies of the Yearbook are now available for purchase at
Special thanks to Mike Malveaux, who‘s maintained a searchable archive of the E-Journal since we first started in 2000. Mike continues to maintain the terrific archive at

RUSS WILLIAMS WINS HAIKU CONTEST: After careful consideration and lengthy debate, our judges named Russ Williams the winner of last week” contest to compose a haiku to accompany the moody screenshot of a go board from the popular TV series.” Russ winning entry was both evocative and clever:
in late night darkness
all the colors fade away
except black and white
Runners Up were Laura Kolb (back in a minute!/all measurement of time leaves/the game suspended) and Josh Gum (two invisible/forever contemplating/the meaning of go), and Honorable Mentions go to Lee Frankel Goldwater, Roy Laird and Keith Arnold for their entries.

MELTS IN YOUR BRAIN: While the rest of America has been happily munching those black and white M&M92s that popped up a few months ago, the E-Journal staff has been racking their brains trying to figure out a clever way to tie the little morsels into the black and white world of go. Full credit goes to Chuck Robbins, who suggested asking Yilun Yang to fashion one of his trademark life and death problems out of the ‘M&M’ logo. This was no problem for Mr Yang, who, in addition to the monthly E-Journal problems, creates whole-board problems based on each year92s digits, as well as a popular “Historical Go” series of life and death problems using the digits of years key to the history of go in America that ran in the old print Journal. So this week‘s challenge is to be the first to solve Mr Yang‘s M&M Life & Death Problem, which is laid out (in black and white M&Ms, of course) at While we92ve also attached the problem in .sgf format to make it easier for you to work on, you92ll see that the problem itself is quite difficult. You may want to grab a bag of M&Ms to help stimulate your brain while you work on it Send your solutions to us at As usual, the winner receives a go vendor gift certificate and braggin’ rights.


O RISSEI TAKES EARLY LEAD IN JUDAN: Trying to win his fourth consecutive title, O Rissei 9p, defeated challenger Cho U 9p by 9.5 points after 281 moves in Game One of the 42nd Judan. Rissei, who played White in this first game, leads 1:0 in this best-of-five match. Rissei was the only Japanese player to win in the best-of-five China/Japan Cyber 5x5 match played last year. Cho U currently holds both the Honinbo and Oza titles and is engaged to be married to Women‘s Honinbo, Kobayashi Izumi 5p. The Judan began as the Lightning Go Meijin title in the late fifties and changed to the Judan (sponsored by the Sankei Newspaper) in 1961. Game records can be found at
-reported by Dennis Hardman

YAMASHITA HOPING TO JOIN RANKS OF THE COMEBACK KINGS: Again defying all odds, Yamashita Keigo 9d, played Black and forced challenger Hane Naoki 9p to resign in Game Six of the 28th Kisei title match after 177 moves. At one point, Yamashita was down 0:3 and looked like he was about to lose his title to Hane, who had beat him late last year in the 29th Tengen. If Yamashita wins the seventh and deciding game, this will be only the sixth time in 50 years of major Japanese go tournament history that a comeback of this kind has occurred. Yamashita will then join the ranks of go greats Cho Chikun 9p and Rin Kaiho 9p who are the only other players to win a major best-of-seven tournament after being behind 0:3. Cho, who could be called “the John Elway of Go” (for you football fans out there) did it three times! Go to http://www.gobaseorg to learn more about these “Great Comebacks in History”. Game Seven of the 28th Kisei will be played on March 17th and 18th. Game Six records can be found at
-reported by Dennis Hardman

QUI JUN WINS KING OF NEW STARS: 21 year old Mingren title holder Qiu Jun 6p, won game three (by resignation) of the best-of-three 11th Xinren Wang (King of New Stars) against Wang Xi 4p to take the overall championship by a total score of 2:1. Earlier this year, Jun won the 16th Mingren Title by defeating Zhou Heyang 9p with a total score of 3:2 to become the youngest Mingren. The Xinren Wang is a tournament open to all pro and amateur Chinese players under the age of 27 and 7p, hence the name “King of New Stars”.
-reported by Dennis Hardman

CATALIN WINS ING MEMORIAL IN KARLOVY VARY: According to the British Go E-News (http://www.britgoorg), go professionals Catalin Taranu, Alexandr Dinerchtein, Guo Juan, and Svetlana Shikshina took places 1 through 4 in the Ing Memorial Go Tournament held last week in Czech spa town Karlovy Vary. All four players had a 5/5 result and were placed with tie break games. The Ing Memorial is an invitational tournament that has been held every year since 1990 and features the best go players in Europe. The country distribution this year included four players from Russia, three players from the Ukraine, two Romanian players, three players from the Netherlands, one player from the UK, three German players, one French player, one Hungarian player, two players from the Czech Republic, and four special invitees including all four winners. For more information about this exciting tournament, go to
-reported by Dennis Hardman

GAME COMMENTARY: Introducing Dmytro Bogatskyy
“A few years ago, I saw a man at several large European tournaments,” says Guo Juan. “He always smiled and was very friendly to everyone. With him there was a very small and very shy little boy. “This is my son,” the man said. “He plays go too, though he is not very strong yet.” The little boy, named Dmytro, never said a word, but just stared at the go boards. The man was not a weak player, but today his son is much stronger. The last time I met Dmytro, he told me that his dream is to study go in Asia.94 In today92s game commentary, Dmytro Bogatskyy, 6d plays Cristian Pop, 6d in Round 6 of the 2003 Toyota Pandanet European Tour Brno. The commentary is by Guo Juan 5p.
The solutions to last week92s life-and-death problems by Yilun Yang are also attached this week. And of course we also have the special M&M problem for your enjoyment, as well.
To view the attached .sgf file(s), simply save the file(s) to your computer and then open using an sgf reader such as Many Faces of Go or SmartGo. Readers who need .sgf readers can get them for most platforms at Jan van der Steen‘s

By Aria von Elbe
We insomniacs have one thing going for us: we can accustom ourselves to Japanese time and therefore have no problem with staying up until all hours of the night watching the fabulous Kisei matches online.
Maybe my mind analyzes better at 1 a.m., but pro matches are starting to make sense. It‘s not that I‘m reading things through, or that I‘m even trying to predict what Hane sensei‘s response will be to Yamashita sensei‘s kakari, but the moves... make sense. This is odd,
considering I have had hardly any time to practice in the last few weeks. Not for lack of trying; that one haphazardly scheduled exam on Friday just really throws off normal Thursday club. (But my exams did go pretty well, for anyone who‘s interested.)
Okay, so it‘s not good to be staying up until 2 or 3 a.m. You don‘t need to tell me that, but if I‘m up, I might as well watch Yamashita sensei defend his title. Wouldn‘t you? Especially
considering what a fabulous rollercoaster the series has been. Who‘d have thought that the game I went to Seattle to see would end up in sudden death. True, when I was in Seattle I had pros to explain the moves, but to be honest, even the explanations were over my head. So why am I getting it now? Have I really gotten better? I mean, the pros are, always have been, and always will be, on a different level, but it‘s nice to get a glimpse of that plane once in a while. Thank god for the IGS.
But who am I to say anything? I‘m just an 18 kyu. Maybe I‘m just imagining it.
-15-year-old Aria von Elbe is a 10th-grader in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

GO REVIEW: Bruce Wilcox‘s Go Dojo; Contact Fights
Reviewed by David Dinhofer
I first met Bruce Wilcox about 14 years ago when I was researching
the go-playing program, Nemesis, which Bruce wrote single-handedly and which I think was the first of its kind.
Bruce has now assembled some of his thoughts on CD under the title, “Bruce Wilcox‘s Go Dojo, Contact Fights.” I loaded the CD into my computer in no time without complication and it runs entirely on its own without the dreadful registry alterations that plague most Windows applications. A no-frills program that reviews the basics of contact fights from beginner to dan level play, there is no distracting music or little pop-ups. Because of this, I suggest you don‘t use it when you are tired. It gets right to the point with the simple logic that is Bruce‘s teaching strong point. He has broken the concepts into sections for Beginners, Novices, Intermediate and Advanced players without strict guidelines for each. They are essentially, low, middle and high kyu levels and low dan level instruction.
Each “chapter” ends in one or more tests that explain the details and helped
me understand the logic behind Bruce‘s presentation when I was not able to
grasp it directly from the text. When I first got going, I found it hard to do the basic “contact test” until I tried to look at it through the eyes of a beginner (it is so easy to forget our “childish” mistakes as beginners and the open mind we used to have to any move). He goes through his rules of engagement in a straight forward and orderly fashion that is easy to remember.
To help understand the contents and the context, Bruce, has put whole game
sections at the end of the later chapters (after the test). He uses a .sgf format and has incorporated an .sgf reader in the CD. It can be used to review other .sgf game files. The game files he uses are annotated with his own witty commentary. With a night of free time and no one around to interrupt me, I was able to go through the text and tests in about four hours. I could have done it faster if I had skipped the beginner section. In retrospect, that would have been a mistake. If you are tempted to do so, think twice about it. It only took me about a half hour to do the entire beginner section. As an AGA 1 kyu player, I found that the information and format were important in making me think in “straight lines”. All too often, we forget the basics of our move theory in the middle of a game. I plan to review this CD at least two or three more times before my next expedition into the tournament circuit.
Of course, there is always a little bad with the good. The bad is that it is definitely a no-frills program. You can adjust the font but not much else. It is in book presentation with text on the right page and pictures on the left page. It is a little pricey at $25 but when I asked Bruce about this, he explained that this “book” has over 1400 pages.
All in all, I think this is a must-buy for all kyu players. As a kyu player myself, I hesitate to recommend it to dan players, but from what I saw in the example 3-dan game, it might even behoove dan level players who want to make sure they have a good understanding of these basic concepts. I hope Bruce will expand his Go Dojo concept to include some of his other important go teachings in the future.
Order online at http://webpages.c


AVAILABLE: beautiful t shirts for the Brooklyn Go Club, designed by Michael Samuel and about to be made. $12. Jean Claude Chetrit 718-638-2266
http://brooklyngo (3/15)

WANTED: 7-12 grade players in the Santa Fe, New Mexico area to join our Santa Fe Preparatory School Go Club. We are also looking for a strong local player willing to mentor the members from time to time. Contact: James Taylor ( Our club website is http://www.sfprep org/clubs/SFPrepGo/index.htm, and we meet Thursday afternoons from 3:30 to 5:00. (3/15)

WANTED: Someone with a Macintosh computer running system 10.3, Panther, who has successfully downloaded sgf software to read the games in this newsletter who is patient and willing to provide assistance so I can successfully download such software and read the games. Contact Andrew Whitmont at Please identify your purpose in the header of the email so I don‘t think its spam. (3/15)

WANTED: Go players in Ft. Collins, CO. Our club is currently looking for more members, beginner to dan level. Feel free to contact Steve for more information at (3/8/04)

WANTED: Materials showing steps in traditional go stone manufacture. Needed for children‘s classes and outreach programs. Would like a shell and piece of slate with holes from stone blank removal and possibly some unshaped blanks as well. A few sample finished stones would also be appreciated. Willing to compensate. Any leads on proper contacts would be very helpful. Please e-mail (3/8/04)

WANTED: Logo for the new Cyprus Go Association: http://cyprus.eur
Contact Nicholas Roussos at (3/8/04)

AVAILABLE: Cornel Burzo, a top European 6dan player is now teaching online on IGS. For details check out http://www.goless or contact him via email at (3/1)

WANTED: Go players in the Warren/Detroit area of Michigan. Contact (3/1)

WANTED: Go players in the Ventura County, California area (Ventura/Oxnard/Camario/Thousand Oaks/Westlake Village/Port Hueneme/etc.) Contact David Whiteside at (2/23)

WANTED: Looking for old go trash; old boards, game records, broken equipment, books (any language), newspapers, magazines. If you have anything to sell or give up to a youth player striving to learn more, email (2/23)

WANTED: Looking for a portable Go set; email (2/23)

WANTED: Go Reviews; older complete years, 60‘s & 70‘s. Send info on condition and price to (2/23)

WANTED: 1993 Ranka Year Book. Contact (2/23)

WANTED: Go players in Raleigh, NC. The Wolf Go Club is a new registered student organization at NC State University and part of the Triangle Go Group. We meet Thursday nights in the Talley Student Center and welcome both students and non students to join us. For more information contact (2/23)

AVAILABLE: Anyone is interested in lessons with an IGS 5dan, contact to schedule a free evaluation lesson, (2/23)

WANTED: Old issues of Japanese, Chinese, and Korean magazines. Also wanted: old books of game collections. Contact Gordon Fraser at (2/16)

Got go stuff to sell, swap or want to buy? Do it here and reach nearly 7,000 Go players worldwide every week at Go Classified! Listing are free and run 4 weeks; send to us at


March 21: Dearborn, MI
Second Annual Dearborn Go Tournament
Danny Walters 313-779-6092

March 27: Denver, CO
Rocky Mountain Spring Go Tournament
Eric Wainwright 303-626-0103

March 27: Washington, DC
Nova Cherry Blossom 2004 Tournament
Allan Abramson 703-684-7676

April 3: Raleigh, NC
The Spring Fuseki Tournament
Troy Hurteau 919-515-3318

April 10 & 11: San Francisco, CA
San Francisco Go Club Spring Tournament
Steve Burrall 916-688-2858

April 17 & 18: Toronto, ON, CANADA
Victoria Education Centre Toronto Open
Frank Monks 416-591-6414

April 17 & 18: College Park, MD
2004 John Groesch Memorial Tournament
Steve Mount 301-405-6934

April 18: Boston, MA
MGA Spring Handicap Tournament
Zack Grossbart 617-497-1232

June 3-6: Round Top, NY
Guo Juan Workshop at The Woodlands
Jean-Claude Chetrit 718-638-2266

June 24-27: Hackensack, NJ
2004 New Jersey Yang 7p Go Workshop
John Stephenson 201-612-0852

For the European Go Calendar see

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Editor: Chris Garlock