News from the American Go Association

April 18, 2005

In This Issue:

U.S. GO NEWS: Xie Tops Houston Tourney; Guo Juan Workshop Almost Full; Spreading Go Inside The Beltway; Shodan Challengers Surging Ahead; Jie Li Live In DC; Free Yearbooks Going Fast
WORLD GO NEWS: Cho Chikun Takes Judan To Decisive 5th Round; Fujitsu Down To Final Eight; Kobayashi Leading Japanese Pro Winners; Goddard Dethrones Hall At British Go Congress
THE TRAVELING BOARD: A Go Player on the European Poker Tour
ATTACHED FILE: 2005.04.18 Shodan Challenge Yang on HAMUNI-Chong.sgf


XIE TOPS HOUSTON TOURNEY: Rui Xie 6d took first place in last weekend's Houston Spring Go Tournament. "A strong turnout of 35 players from all over Texas competed for a total prize purse of $590," reports Houston Go Club organizer Robert Cordingley. "Players from Austin, Georgetown, San Antonio, Dallas, Denton, Waco and Houston included a good showing of college and grade school students. Our youngest player was 7-year-old Noah Penny who was honored with a special prize." Winner's report: Division I (14 players); 1st: Rui Xie 6d ($200); 2nd: Ju Zhao 4d ($100); 3rd: Stephen Sun 1d ($100). Division II (15 players): Max Morrison 27k ($100); 2nd: Jonathon Sobieski 15k ($50); 3rd: Stanley Sun 24k ($20). Division III (6 players): 1st: Clayton Stewert 35k ($40); 2nd: Gregory Beck 35k ($20); 3rd: Leo Penny 34k ($10).

GUO JUAN WORKSHOP ALMOST FULL: There are just a few slots left in the upcoming Guo Juan workshop at the "Woodlands" in Round Top, New York on Memorial Day weekend. Guo Juan is a 5 dan Chinese professional who lives and teaches in Amsterdam and participates in European tournaments. "She is one of the best go teachers I know," says organizer Jean-Claude Chetrit. "Her English is excellent, her style a joy." Get more details, see photos from previous workshops and sign up at the
guestbook of the workshop's webpage or contact JC at

SPREADING GO INSIDE THE BELTWAY: The go booth was hopping with enthusiastic newbies and patient volunteers at an April 9 Sakura Matsuri event on the National Mall in Washington, DC, reports American Go Association Community Outreach Coordinator John Goon. "It was great fun and a beautiful day," says Goon, who promises "We'll do this again next year." Over 500 handouts were given away, over 100 Way to Go Books distributed and more than two dozen crowd members provided their e-mails for follow up contact, while a Washington Post reporter interviewed some of the younger go players for a future Kids Post article and a Post photographer took dozens of pictures. Volunteers included: Juan Pablo Quizon, Craig Anderson, Todd Heidenreich, Allan Abramson, Max Peterson, Ching-Sung Chin, Wesley Mao, Kevin Chin, Kabe Chin, Francis Meng & Alan Perrin. Check out John Goon's photo at

SHODAN CHALLENGERS SURGING AHEAD: "What I liked best was the lack of intimidation you all played with," Jon Boley 6d told Shodan Challengers after Saturday's simul on KGS. "Normally, I don't lose even teaching games, but today some of you found ways to do it. I think you all have good prospects of making Sho-dan. By the Congress? Well, that remains to be seen!" The second round of simuls with Boley will be Saturday, May 7; log on at 1P to watch! And don't forget to check the Congress website at to sign up, get the latest updates and to see who's already registered.
In another bit of exciting news, we already have our first successful Shodan Challenger! Jonathan Markowitz, who was a 7k when he first joined the Challenge late last year, has earned a solid 1.8 AGA rating after a strong performance in the recent NoVa Cherry Blossom tournament (including a convincing win by resignation over E-Journal Managing Editor Chris Garlock). At this rate Jonathan may well be a 2d by the Congress; our hearty congratulations to him!

JIE LI LIVE IN DC: "Arguably THE strongest amateur player in America, Jie Li, 9d, has agreed to come to the Greater Washington Go Club this Friday," reports Haskell Small. Li, U.S. Open and Ing Cup Champ, currently holds the highest listed AGA rating, 9.44499, and has defeated professional players in tournament play. "At this one-time special event, Jie will do a lecture-style presentation of one of his exciting games," says Small. The lecture begins at 8P in the basement of the Cedar Lane Unitarian Church, 9601 Cedar Lane, in Bethesda on April 22. "Since he is in our area for a short while anyway, Jie wishes to share his wisdom with us at no charge," adds Small. "We are grateful for his generosity, and encourage all of you to take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity." Small is also organizing a dinner with Jie beforehand; email him for details at or call 202-244-4764

FREE YEARBOOKS GOING FAST: Yearbooks are flying out the door in this month's special offer of a free copy of the brand-new 2004 American Go Yearbook for the first 50 new members to join the AGA during the month of April! 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

COMING UP IN FRIDAY'S MEMBER'S EDITION: Gordon Fraser on "Learning from the Stones," Kaz on life & death problems with more than one answer, and Yilun Yang on a 2-stone handicap game. All this and the latest news updates! Non-members can sign up now at


CHO CHIKUN TAKES JUDAN TO DECISIVE 5TH ROUND: After winning the first game in his challenge against O Rissei 9P for the 43rd Judan title in Japan by a half point, Cho Chikun 9P proceeded to lose the next two in the best-of-five match. However, he managed to put together some brilliant tesuji in the endgame of the fourth game and pulled even at 2-2. Mace Lee on the site reports that moves 158 and 160 in this game were amazing. O Rissei was forced to give up a group on the side to protect his center moyo and had to resign. You can download the game record at Cho has also made it to the semifinals in the tournament to determine the Gosei challenger; his opponent will be Yuki Satoshi 9P.

FUJITSU DOWN TO FINAL EIGHT: After two rounds the 18th Fujitsu Cup international tournament has been reduced to eight players. Contrary to our report on Thursday, these include one Japanese (O Meien 9P), three Chinese (Wang Xi 5P, Gu Li 7P, and Yu Bin 9P), and four Koreans (Choi Cheolhan 9P, Yoo Changhyuk 9P, Song Taekon 7P, and Lee Sedol 9P). Gu Li eliminated Lee Changho 9P in the second round. The North American representative, Jujo Jiang 9P was defeated by Wang Xi by resignation in the first round. The South American representative Eduardo Lopes 6d and the European representative Taranu Catalin 5P also lost in Round One. The third round will take place in Seoul on June 4th. Three Japanese players lost by 1.5 points in the second round: Cho U 9P, Yamashiro Hiroshi 9P, and Yoda Norimoto 9P. Cho U, the current top player in Japan, was defeated by China's current number one, Gu Li.

KOBAYASHI LEADING JAPANESE PRO WINNERS: John Power reports on the Nihon Kiin home page that the top winners among Japanese professionals so far this year, are: 1) Kobayashi Satoru 9P with 11-0 (Kobayashi has now won 13 games in a row); 2) Kim Shujun 7P with 11-5; 3) Cho U 9P and Yamada Takuji 7P both 10-2; 5) Komatsu Hideki 9P 10-3; 6) Cho Chikun 9P 10-6; 7) Yamashiro Hiroshi 9P 9-1; 8) So Yokoku 7P and Cho Riyu 7P both 9-2; 10) Takao Shinji 8P 9-4; 11) Aoki Shinichi 9P and Yamada Kimio 8P both 9-5.

GODDARD DETHRONES HALL AT BRITISH GO CONGRESS: Tony Goddard 6d of Sheffield won all six of his games at the 38th British Go Congress, toppling T. Mark Hall, who was aiming for a three-peat in this event, but had to settle for second place. Held April 8-10 at Leicester University, 62 players participated in the British Open. In another Congress event, David M. King 1d of Swindon won the British Lightning tournament for the second year in a row, defeating Francis Roads in the final game.
- reported by the BGA news


"Is it just my imagination, or is this week's Shodan Challenge review the same as the one from last week?" asks alert reader Chris Johnsen. Johnsen is quite right: due to a mix-up in production, we inadvertently re-ran the previous week's game in last Friday's Member's Edition of the EJ. We apologize for the error and include the correct game in today's edition and hope our non-member readers enjoy the bonus and will consider signing up for the full Member's Edition at

THE TRAVELING BOARD: A Go Player on the European Poker Tour
by Jonathan Nagy, 7d
I recently returned from two weeks competing in the European Poker Tour in Vienna, Austria and Monte Carlo. I had pretty much replaced my on-line go playing with poker on-line as a nocturnal habit, and logged a lot of hours when I was cooped up with the flu earlier this year. One side benefit was winning all-expenses-paid trips to these EPT events, including tournament entry fees, 5-star hotel accommodations, and a generous travel allowance.
The event in Vienna was a $2,500 euro, three-day elimination event. Concerned about getting down to the final 9 players in three days, organizers ran a brutal schedule the first day, playing for 3-hour stretches with just 10-minute breaks between. With virtually no experience playing "live" poker, I had to adjust to the physical aspects of the game like counting chips, counting the pot, and screening and protecting my cards. The exhausting schedule, combined with the bitter Vienna weather and the smoke in the card room, left me more relieved than disappointed when I was mercifully eliminated from the tournament by the wee hours of the next morning and gratefully tottered off to bed. Early elimination left me plenty of time to explore the stunning architecture lining the grand streets of Vienna, discover the city's wonderful coffee houses and make some new friends.
The Monte Carlo Finals were a $10,000 euro entry fee, four-day affair, hosted in the super deluxe Hotel Hermitage by PokerStars, the online site through which I won my trip. Monte Carlo is a pretty, but totally artificial place, sort of like Disneyland or Las Vegas but infinitely classier. The gardens are perfect, without so much as a stray leaf, and the streets are spotlessly clean. Even the dogs are well-behaved.
Run at a much more relaxed pace than Vienna, the Monte Carlo event's steep entry fee brought a higher level of competition than Vienna. Although there were some wealthy poker aficionados, the bulk of the players were split between European professionals and on-line qualifiers like myself. I felt more relaxed and played well enough to survive the first day. Although I began the second day with a healthy chip stack that put me in the middle of the pack, I was completely "card dead" and got eliminated just three hours into the second day, earning me a 90th place finish out of 230 entrants. Not good enough for the money, but not bad for an inexperienced newbie.
Prices in Monte Carlo were outrageous, even surpassing the world-class price gouging you see in Sevilla during the Feria. I was afraid a hamburger might cost me 50 euros but managed to find one for just 28 ($36 US). Needing a bathing suit to take advantage of the hotel's magnificent spa and pool overlooking the harbor, I stopped by a small shop where a young lady showed me a pair of plain nylon boxer trunks. In my local flea market in Cadiz, the trunks might fetch 5 euros, but here in Monte Carlo they were 143 euros. When I said, "These are OK, but would you have something a little cheaper?" a look of terrible pity came over the face of the salesgirl, as if I were some poor hungry dog in the street who hadn't eaten in three days, and in her beautiful French accent she replied "Ohhh, I'm soooo sorry Monsieur, but NOTHING here is cheap!" She wasn't kidding. A plain nylon brief down the street at a men's store was 186 euros. To avoid another pitying look, I asked the s alesman if he had lined boxer trunks and he proudly showed off a sleek pair of Dolce & Gabbana, priced at 340 euros, heart-stopping even for someone who's used to betting more than that on a single flop.
There were numerous side tournaments and smaller 9-handed sit-and-go events, but I only played in a few of these as the stakes were far beyond what I'm accustomed to and feel comfortable with. But it was great fun watching some of the world's top players play long into the night for thousands of euros, drinking and playing like total maniacs, raising and re-raising with any two cards.
On the last day, there was a 530 euro buy-in tournament with one 500 rebuy. This means that if you lose all your chips, you can pay another 500 to reload and keep playing. Again, this is much higher stakes than I'm accustomed to and I planned on sitting it out, but I thought, Heck, this is the last chance I'll have to play live poker for awhile so why not. If I lose 530, I'll simply get up and leave. Problem was, I was probably the only person there who didn't have 530 euros in his pocket, so I had to hit up the cash machine and while I laboriously counted out my entry fee in fives, tens and twenties, everyone else gave me pitying looks and took out a single 500-euro note. But I played well, caught a few good cards, and ended up taking second place for a prize of 15,000 euros, and flew back to Madrid the next day with my pocket stuffed with a giant wad of those 500-euro notes.
Nagy, a 7d go player who was a fixture of the New York City go scene for many years, now lives in Cadiz, Spain.

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April 23: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Alberta Open 2005
Chuck Elliott 780-426-5716

April 23: Seattle, WA
Cherry Blossom Festival Tournament
Jon Boley 206-545-1424

April 30: Hartford, CT
CCC Weiqi-Spring Tournament
Bill Fung 860-648-1527

April 30: Middlebury, VT
Vermont Annual Spring Tournament
Peter Schumer 802-388-3934

April 30-May 1: Los Angeles, CA
2005 Cotsen Go Tournament

May 1: Brooklyn, NY
Go Demonstration
Jean Claude Chetrit 718-638-2266

May 7: Dearborn, MI
Dearborn Go Tournament III
Danny Walters 313-336-4622

May 8: Seattle, WA
Monthly Ratings Tournament
Jon Boley 206-545-1424

May 12: Competing on KGS
4th Annual National K-12 Team Championship
Christopher Vu 281-480-8615

This is a digest of events for the next month only; for a complete listing see the Tournament Calendar on the AGA website:
For the European Go Calendar see

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