News from the American Go Association

April 7, 2005

In This Issue:
LATEST GO NEWS: Oto Tops SF; Gu Li Holds On To Tianyuan; Czechs Sweep Season Finales In Europe; Finals Set For Pandanet Open; Play For Free; Verwelkoom Aan Boord; Free Yearbook Offer For New Members; Upcoming Tourney Action; Castillo Alert Reader Winner
GO REVIEW: Basic Techniques of Go
ATTACHED FILES: 2005.04.07 commentary.sgf; 2005.04.07 Dutch Game Extra.sgf; 2005.04.07 Yang on Shodan Challenge Game.sgf


OTO TOPS SF: Robert Oto 5d took top honors in last weekend's San Francisco Go Club Spring tournament; full winner's report in Monday's E-Journal.

GU LI HOLDS ON TO TIANYUAN: Zhou Heyang 9P made a generous exchange at the end of the third game of his title match with Gu Li 7P that enabled Gu to hang on to the Tianyuan title for another year. Details Monday.
CZECHS SWEEP SEASON FINALES IN EUROPE: Czech Republic players swept the recent European Cup and Toyota Pandanet European Go Tour events, with Vladimir Danek 6d winning the first and Radek Nechanicky 6d the second. Details in Monday's EJ.
FINALS SET FOR PANDANET OPEN: The preliminary round of the Pandanet Open Professional and Amateur Internet World Go Championship has concluded with 8 pros left standing for the finals. Details Monday.

PLAY FOR FREE: All entry fees for 2005 Cotsen Go Tournament are fully refunded Sunday afternoon, reports coordinator Casie Rizer, "but only if you pre-register!"
The Cotsen, which will be fully covered in the E-Journal, is scheduled for April 30 & May 1 in Los Angeles, CA. Info/registration:

VERWELKOOM AAN BOORD: We're pleased to welcome members of the Dutch Go Association (DGA) to the Member's Edition of the American Go E-Journal! The DGA members join members of the British Go Association and Australian Go Association, who receive the Member's Edition as a benefit of membership in their home country go organizations and the reciprocal relationship between those organizations and the American Go Association. As a benefit of the developing relationship between the American Go E-Journal and the Dutch Go Journal (DGJ), we're very pleased to include a game this week between two top Dutch amateurs, commented by Alexandre Dinerchtein 1P and originally published in the DGJ and translated for us by editor Merijn de Jong. We look forward to continuing to work with the Dutch Go Association and Journal, as well as other go organizations to bring you the best of world go.

FREE YEARBOOK OFFER FOR NEW MEMBERS: Today's Member's Edition is being sent to our non-member readers as a free sample of the commentary and reviews provided every week to members. As an additional incentive, the first 50 new full members to join the AGA during the month of April will receive a free copy of the brand-new 2004 American Go Yearbook. The 100-page volume (a $30 value) features the best of last year's E-Journals, from game commentaries and reviews to columns and more, including a CD with all the year's EJ content (including all game commentaries!). Member benefits include the weekly Member's Edition with attached game commentaries and reviews, as well as the 2005 Yearbook, which will be published in January, 2006. If you've been thinking about joining, now's the time! Sign up now at

UPCOMING TOURNEY ACTION: Plan now for upcoming events in
College Park, MD (4/16-17), Houston, TX (4/16-17), Menlo Park, CA (4/17) & Cleveland, OH (4/17). Full listing online at

CASTILLO ALERT READER WINNER: Ryen Castillo 18k is this week's Alert Reader winner, winning a $10 go vendor gift certificate for spotting our Alert hidden way at the end of our April 1 game commentary. Winners are drawn at random from those who correctly report the Alerts. Keep a sharp eye out and you could be a winner too!

      Of course, years of training, sharp strategic skills and deep reading ability are key elements of top-level professional play. Then there's luck. "Lee Changho was really lucky!" says Alexandre Dinerchtein 1P in today's fascinating commentary on the Round 3 Nongshim Cup game between Lee Changho 9P and Cho U 9P, played February 23 in Shanghai, China. Holding a slight lead late in the game, Cho U simply overlooks a tesuji and is forced to resign a few moves later.
      For another instance in which luck plays a role, Dinerchtein next turns his attention to a game between two Dutch 6-dans, Geert Groenen and Frank Janssen, from Round 4 in last November's Martini Cup. Although White gets a "terrible" result early on and the game seems almost over, Groenen hangs in and ekes out a 1.5-point win (although the lead actually swings back and forth several more times). Dinerchtein's analysis shows how Groenen makes the most of a couple of lucky breaks.
      Rounding out our Big Bonus Edition is the latest Shodan Challenge commentary by Yilun Yang 7P, who provides his usual thorough analysis of a game played by Eric Lavine, who does not yet have an AGA rating but whose rating on KGS is 4k. Shodan Challengers are kyu-level players who have publicly accepted the challenge of trying to achieve 1-dan by this year's U.S. Go Congress in Tacoma, Washington. The E-Journal is following the progress of each Shodan Challenger and has arranged for professional game analysis to help the Shodan Challengers improve their games. See photos of some of the Challengers at   Want to take the Shodan Challenge? Email us today at
      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

GO REVIEW: Basic Techniques of Go
by Haruyama and Nagahara, Ishi Press
by Robert McGuigan 4d
     It was with a nostalgic feeling that I opened "Basic Techniques of Go" in preparation for this review. One of the first modern, technically advanced go books available in English written by professional players, it was the first post-beginner book I encountered in my own go education, almost thirty years ago. Opening my mind to the vast potential of the game, "Basic Techniques"  was a revelation and in just 170 pages this book covers the same territory as five or six volumes of the Elementary GO Series. It was originally written in English in 1969 by two Japanese professional players with the help of Richard Bozulich, and targeted go players who wished to reach first or second dan strength.
     Covering what one needs to know to reach that goal in such a short book means that it is very condensed. Even so, there are many find-the-next-move problems and answers, as well as chapters on tesuji, even-game opening theory, handicap go (nine-, six-, and four-stone games) and the end-game. Discussion of basic joseki and middle game tactics is sprinkled through the book. Many readers have remarked on the extensive use of Japanese go terminology in this book. By now useful English equivalents for many of these terms have been developed and become widely used, but when I first found this book it was so exciting for me that I didn't mind the Japanese terminology and I still feel that the reader shouldn't let this get in the way. However, there are so many more cosmopolitan books available now that any future edition of "Basic Techniques" should probably use fewer Japanese terms.  
       Although it's hard to say what level player will benefit most from this book (the authors assume a background equivalent to the material in Iwamoto's "Go for Beginners"), I think somewhere around 15-kyu would be about right. Another interesting possible use for this book would be as a comprehensive 1-stop review for single-digit kyu players who have probably seen most of the topics in other books.

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Published by the American Go Association; text material published in the AMERICAN GO E JOURNAL may be reproduced by any recipient: please credit the AGEJ as the source. PLEASE NOTE that commented game record files MAY NOT BE published, re-distributed, or made available on the web without the explicit written permission of the Editor of the E-Journal. Please direct inquiries to

Articles appearing in the E-Journal represent the opinions of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official views of the American Go Association. To make name or address corrections, notify us at the email address below. Story suggestions, event announcements, Letters to the Editor and other material are welcome, subject to editing for clarity and space, and should be directed to:
Editor: Chris Garlock

American Go Association P.O. Box 397 Old Chelsea Station New York, NY 10113-0397