News from the American Go Association

April 22, 2005

In This Issue:
LATEST GO NEWS: AGA Tops 2,000 For First Time; Big Turnout Projected For Cotsen; Online Iwamoto Tourney Set; Brooklyn Doubleheader; Weekend Go Action; Baldridge Wins Alert Reader: Coming Up
GAME COMMENTARY: Back To The Wall & An Unstable Group
GO REVIEW: Segoe Kensaku/Go Seigen Tesuji Dictionary
PRESIDENT'S REPORT: An Infusion of New (and Renewed) Blood
ATTACHED FILES: 2005.04.28 Go World 103 Hane-Yamashita.sgf; 2005.04.28 Go Review Problem V12.sgf


AGA TOPS 2,000 FOR FIRST TIME: Marking a major milestone, membership in the American Go Association topped 2,000 for the f irst time ever last month. "This is a tremendous vote of confidence in our national go organization," said AGA President Michael Lash, noting that membership rose in nearly every category, from both Full and Limited members to Youth, Sustainers, Life Members and Chapters. Lash credited the April membership drive -- which offered a free copy of the 2004 American Go Yearbook to new or returning members -- with helping boost membership to a record 2,017, far surpassing the previous high of 1,995 set just a year ago. The April increase also extended to five months a recent streak of membership increases. "This achievement sets a new platform on which we will build more plans to attract new and former members to serve our growing national go community," said Lash. "Keeping these members a part of the AGA over the long term will be the ultimate measure of our success, and new programs are being built to ensure we meet that challenge as well."

BIG TURNOUT PROJECTED FOR COTSE N: With nearly 100 players already pre-registered, organizers are predicting a big turnout at this weekend's Cotsen Open in Los Angeles. In addition to the strong field and luxurious amenities (including free buffet lunches, on-site masseuses and free AGA Limited memberships), Yilun Yang 7P will be playing Xuan Zhang, a female world go champion, in a exhibition game Sunday morning. Plus: amateur 9d Jie Li is rumored to be flying in from Washington, DC to defend his 2004 Cotsen championship title. The Cotsen Open will be held in downtown LA at the Mayfair Hotel, which was built during the heyday of the Roaring Twenties, and still reflects the grandeur of the era with glass etchings, brass fixtures, skylights and dramatic pillars. Cotsen info/registration: Best Western Mayfair Hotel, 1256 West 7th Street, Los Angeles; 213-484-9789;  

ONLINE IWAMOTO TOURNEY SE T: The 2nd Iwamoto Tournament is set to begin on May 26 on KGS. Organized to honor the memory of Iwamoto Kaoru, last year's first-annual event was a success, and has been improved for this year, reports organizer Jose Miguel Pasini. The Iwamoto "is played without handicap but there are many different categories, so people will be well matched," says Pasini. Each round lasts a week, so that only one game per week has to be played. Visit the tournament web site at:

BROOKLYN DOUBLEHEADER: Tonight's meeting of the Brooklyn Go Club will be hosted by David Lazarus at 8P at his Upper West Side place, 910 West End Ave (9D) near 105 St. (212-316-6021). "This Saturday and Sunday our club will be manning a table at the Sakura Matsuri festival in the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens from 1 to 5, right under the cherry trees," reports BGC organizer J.C. Chetrit. "This event has been fabulous in every one of the last ten years that we have been going." Get details on the festival schedule, as well as directions to the Gardens at


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

April 30-May 1: Brooklyn, NY
Go Demonstration at Brooklyn Botanic Gardens Sakura Matsuri festival
Jean Claude Chetrit 718-638-2266

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

BALDRIDGE WINS ALERT READER: Ethan Baldridge is this week's Alert Reader winner, winning a $10 go vendor gift certificates for spotting our Alert hidden in last week's game commentary. Winners are drawn at random fr om those who correctly report the Alerts. Keep a sharp eye out and you could be a winner too!

COMING UP: A special "live" report Saturday from the Cotsen Open in LA, including a commented top-board game, plus the full Cotsen winner's report Monday, the latest go news from abroad and more reader responses to Jonathan Nagy's poker adventures.

GAME COMMENTARY: Back To The Wall & An Unstable Group
    At the start of Game 4 of last year's 28th Kisei title match, title holder Yamashita Keigo 9P had his back to the wall, down 0-3 in his defense of his first big title. If he were to lose the match with straight losses, his victory the previous year might begin to look like a fluke. We're very pleased to present this critical game in today's E-Journal, taken by permission from Go World #103 (Winter 2004-05). Go World is a quarterly go magazine published by Kiseido and offers pro game commentaries a nd pro news along with instructional material ( The extensive commentary is by O Meien 9P as reported by Yamada Hiroyuki in the Yomiuri Newspaper. The game was played in In-no-shima City, the birthplace of the Edo-period "go saint" Shusaku. In 1997, it declared go an official "city sport", the first city in Japan to do so. The aim was to help publicize the city and also to promote tourism by go fans. A number of other cities, including Omachi in Nagano Prefecture, where the World Amateur Go Chamionship was held in 1996, have followed its lead. The city does what it can to make visiting go players feel at home; on request, it will dispatch go players to hotels to play guests.
    In today's bonus problem file, the time has come for Black to strengthen his only unstable group. But how?
    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: Segoe Kensaku/Go Seigen Tesuji Dictionary
Reviewed by Patrick Bridges
    This comprehensive tesuji dictionary is simply one of my favorite go books, even though I don't speak or read Japanese. The dictionary is organized into three volumes of problems, divided into sections about specific types of tesujis (attachment, placement, etc). Each problem is presented in the context of a realistic half-board position, and rated in difficulty from C to A.
    C-level problems are very doable at the 5k level or so and are the kind of thing a dan player should see easily. B-level problems are challenging but solv able for high kyu and low dan players, while A-level problems are very hard even for high-dan players, but for me as 3 kyu they're very eye-opening. Reviewing A-level problems has expanded my perception of what is possible even if I usually get the answers wrong; one result is that I'm doing significantly better on the B-level problems than when I began studying this book.
    Unlike some English-language go books, the production qualities in this dictionary are exceedingly high. Each book includes a glossy softcover and two embedded cloth bookmarks; one for marking the current problem you're on in the front half of the book and one for marking the current solution in the back half of the book. That the book is in Japanese is not a particularly large problem, as it's easy to pick up "black to play" and "white to play". Picking up on the "if black plays 1, white plays 2" in the accompanying text is somewhat more difficult but not really necessary to ge t a lot out of these books.
    Note: Available only in Japanese; not translated. Available from Kiseido for $365 (not a typo; a 1117 page single volume), scroll down to the Japanese books:

PRESIDENT'S REPORT: An Infusion of New (and Renewed) Blood
By Mike Lash, AGA President
    I'm very pleased to welcome James Heiney, Alan Mishlov and Ulo Tamm to national positions at the American Go Association. James is coming on as our new National Membership Services Coordinator, Alan is taking over the National Education Coordinator position and Ulo Tamm is serving a return engagement as our Treasurer. More than anything else, these appointments re-affirm the reason the AGA thrives - our membership is strongly endowed with committed, bright and enthusiastic people willin g to donate their time and energy to ensure our success. I encourage every AGA member to think of ways to help these volunteers by working on the staff or taking on other AGA projects to help continue building the American go community.
    A Lock Haven, PA, resident, new National Membership Services Coordinator James Heiney feels strongly about helping to connect and support AGA members from all points on the map, including those in areas with currently limited numbers of members and chapters. Membership services has long been an area where the AGA could be doing more to encourage new members and reward existing members, and James will be focusing on these concepts. Many excellent ideas were generated in a committee effort last fall so James already has a long menu of projects to implement and you can expect to hear from him in the near future.
    While National Education Coordinator Alan Mishlov now lives in Florida, he hailed from Chicago for 25 years, where he was a member of the Evanston Go Club. Alan is very enthusiastic about evaluating the broad range of active education programs across the country. We will be exploring the whole gamut of programs run by chapters, individuals, universities, grade schools, companies and other groups, with an eye to determining what really works and deserves more AGA support. Alan will define a national approach for the AGA to consistently sustain the local efforts with publications, employment of Go teachers, equipment distribution, standard school programs, and selected project funding. This is a long-term program with the results accumulating slowly and steadily. Stay tuned.
    Ulo Tamm, who so ably served as AGA Treasurer under the Laird administration, has agreed to resume his duties so that current Treasurer Ben Bernstein can spend more time with his family and business. Ben has served the AGA for years and his quiet but dedicate d work has been a steady source of reliable, sensible and wise counsel for the AGA leadership. Ben will be sorely missed; we cannot thank him enough for his service to the AGA and look forward to seeing him at the board in our tournaments. Broomfield, Colorado resident Ulo Tamm's past experience in AGA financial affairs and familiarity with our needs will make this important transition seamless: the AGA Board appointed Ulo Treasurer on March 20 and he'll officially take over June 1, 2005, the start of fiscal year 2006. Until that date, all financial matters and inquiries should be directed to Ben.
    Our deepest gratitude goes to all four of these dedicated volunteers. I hope their dedication serves as inspiration to you and proof of the growing momentum of activity in the AGA. Anyone interested in working with them on these AGA programs, or any others, please contact me at
and I'll get you connected right away.

GET LISTE D & BOOST TURN OUT! Got an upcoming event? Reach over 7,000 readers every week! List your Go event/news in the E-Journal: email details to us at

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 Garlo ck

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