News from the American Go Association

February 4, 2005

In This Issue:
LATEST GO NEWS: Weekend Tourney Action; Lazarus Hosts BGC; Jiang Tops N.A. Fujitsu; Feng Wins Denver Tourney; Cho Chikun To Challenge For Judan; Hane Wins Third Game To Take Lead In Kisei; AGA Membership Up Again; Who's Tops?
GAME COMMENTARY: Hsiang on Pokas, Nakayama on 9-Stone Go
GO REVIEW: Punishing and Correcting Joseki Mistakes
ATTACHED FILES: 2005.02.04 Hsiang-Lui Fujitsu Game; 2005.02.04 Nakayama NS-15


WEEKEND TOURNEY ACTION: May Madness arrives early in Arlington, Virginia this Saturday, when the Northern Virginia Go Club's next quarterly tournament will be held. And on Sunday the Monthly Ratings Tournament takes place in Seattle, Washington at the Seattle Go Center. For more info:
ARLINGTON, VA (2/5): Allan Abramson 703-684-7676
SEATTLE, WA (2/6): Jon Boley 206-545-1424

LAZARUS HOSTS BGC: Tonight's meeting of the Brooklyn Go Club will be hosted by David Lazarus at 8P on the Upper West Side: 910 West End Avenue (9D) near 107 St (212-316-6021). "Our friend Jean Michel was in the final of the French Go championship but lost to a very young Ben jamin Papazoglou," reports club organizer Jean-Claude Chetrit. "Apparently Benjamin played a strange move in the avalanche joseki, but Jean did not find the right refutation." You can find the games at

JIANG TOPS N.A. FUJITSU: Jujo Jiang 9P won the North American Fujitsu Qualifier, which concluded last weekend; see Monday's EJ for a full report.

FENG WINS DENVER TOURNEY: Zipei Feng, a 16-year-old 7-dan, bested Jung Hoon Lee to win the January 29 Denver Winter Tournament; see Monday's EJ for a full report.

CHO CHIKUN TO CHALLENGE FOR JUDAN: Cho Chikun 9P emerges from a quiet period to win the right to challenge O Rissei 9P for the 43rd Judan title in Japan. Cho has to sacrifice a big group and only beats Takao Shinji 8P by 1.5 points. Full report in next Monday's EJ.
& nbsp;
HANE WINS THIRD GAME TO TAKE LEAD IN KISEI: Hane Naoki is now 2-1 against Yuki Satoshi 9P in his defense of his Kisei title in Japan. The third game was another exciting contest with Hane also winning by only 1.5 points, but he had to overcome Yuki's lead. Full report in next Monday's EJ.

AGA MEMBERSHIP UP AGAIN: Membership in the AGA bumped up slightly in January, the second consecutive monthly gain since the 22-month unbroken run of increases that ended in April 2004 and has been up and down since. Total membership now stands at 1,943, up 8 from December. Youth memberships jumped by ten in January, full memberships dropped by one and limited members increased by 11. The year-end figures for 2004 were 439 new full members for the year, 150 new limited members, 1,064 full renewals, 269 limited renewals and 259 youth members.

WHO'S TOPS? Only one player has been among the top ten prize winners in Japan every year since 1981 when records starti ng being kept. Think you know who? Send us your answer at and we'll choose a $10 go vendor prize-winner at random from among the correct answers.

GAME COMMENTARY: Hsiang on Pokas, Nakayama on 9-Stone Go
      "I got a little bit too relaxed and immediately played a 'poka' that allowed Black back into the game, says Thomas Hsiang 7d in today's commentary on his January 30 North American Fujitsu Qualifier game with I-Han Lui 7d. "Fortunately for White, Black has some shape problems that leave a little wiggle room." Find out what a poka is and how Hsiang wiggles out in the attached game file.
      "There are still things I don't understand about nine stone go," says Nakayama Noriyuki in today's bonus file, an installment of Nakayama's ever-popular "What's Wrong With That Move."
      To vi ew 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

GO REVIEW: Punishing and Correcting Joseki Mistakes
By Mingjiu Jiang 7P
Published by Slate & Shell
120 pp, $15
Reviewed by Lawrence Ku, 4k
     With many thousands of joseki patterns, it is near-impossible for an amateur to remember even a fraction of them. In "Punishing and Correcting Joseki Mistakes" Mingjiu Jiang 7P teaches you how to avoid and respond to joseki mistakes. Jiang's first book is very clear, with easy-to-understand diagrams and text.
     Using wh ole-board situations to demonstrate how to respond when an opponent plays incorrectly, Jiang shows the correct joseki sequences.  Most of them are very common mistakes beginning with the 3-4 point, the star point and the 5-4 point.  For each joseki, there are approximately five diagrams to illustrate the variations.
     If you are looking for a complete joseki dictionary that covers all the variations, this isn't it. But I found that learning how to simply avoid and correct joseki mistakes improve more than one stone and recommend "Joseki Mistakes" for players from 2d-5k.

By James Kerwin 1P
       What is the fastest way to improve from 20+ kyu to under 10 kyu?  Play as much as you can, but get the most benefit from your play.  You must have the right att itude and not get too caught up in winning and losing.  Don't be afraid of a stronger opponent, and don't try to bully a weaker opponent.  Simply try to play correctly, the best way you know how.  This approach will be uncomfortable but you must bear with it.  If you play comfortably you will repeat your customary mistakes and improve only slowly if at all.  Your discomfort is a sign that you are improving.  As Jane Fonda says, "Feel the burn!"
       Second, go over your games.  Even without assistance you can see a lot of your mistakes if you look for them.  And ask your opponent if he or she saw any moves that were clear mistakes.  If you have the budget for it I would highly recommend sending some of your games to a pro for commentary.  I comment games e-mailed to me and I'm sure many other pros do too.
       I never recommend that a player study.  Yo u play go for fun, and if study is too boring that's fine, don't study.  If you do want to study, the most valuable thing is solving tesuji and life and death problems.  Don't do problems that are too hard, concentrate on problems you can solve in 1 minute or less.  The next most valuable thing is taking lessons from a pro.
       Other forms of study are far less useful, although they have their place.  Next best is studying pro games.  Go through the game once.  Then try to replay the game from memory.  When you can't remember the move, think of where you would play.  Once you've decided, check the move actually played and compare it with your move.  Try to understand why the pro's move is better than yours.  Keep doing this until you remember the game.  Books can teach valuable concepts, but they can't teach you how to implement those ideas against resistance.
   &nb sp;   Studying joseki in a systematic way is a waste of time, which is why there's a folk proverb declaring "Study joseki, become two stones weaker!"  I recommend using a good joseki dictionary to look up joseki only when they came up in a game and you think you got a bad result.  Look up that joseki, understand where you went wrong and what you should have done, and then put the book away.
       Kerwin can be reached at

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