News from the American Go Association

April 30, 2005

ATTACHED FILES: 2005.04.30 Cotsen#1.sgf; 2005.04.30 Cotsen#2.sgf; 2005.04.30 Cotsen#2.sgf

COTSEN PAYS TO PLAY: Like so many go players, Eric Cotsen 1k just wanted to play. Unlike many, he was willing to put his money where his board was. "I just wanted to get a bunch of people together to meet and play go," the 45-year-old educational and video-editing entrepreneur told the E-Journal today. So, fifteen years ago Cotsen organized his first tournament in Los Angeles. About 60 players turned up and when Cotsen held the third-annual Open in Las Vegas, 145 turned out to play. Attendance has held steady since then at or above 100, making it one of the larger annual tournaments on the American go scene. Not only does the Cotsen have one of the bigger prize purses ($5,000), but Eric Cotsen himself foots the entire $30,000 tournament cost himself so he can run it his way.
     "I'm one of those people who needs to be doing something new all the time," Cotsen said, "so every year we add something different or unusual, like masseuses or sweatshirts and customized Cotsen Open water bottles."
     A longtime games player, Cotsen learned go from a friend and finds it a "beautifully elegant game." Smilingly confessing to a short attention span, Cotsen is attracted to go's "perpetual movement" and says "You never get bored. Every time you think you've mastered one level, another one opens up. The learning curve is continuous."
     A big supporter of the American Go Association, Cotsen covers the cost of Limited memberships for any non-members who want to play in the Open, and strongly encourages participants to ante up the remaining $25 to become full members. "The AGA's done a great job of helping build our go community and I'm proud to have the AGA as a co-sponsor of the Cotsen Open."
     A whirlwind of organizing activity between rounds, Cotsen is just another go player when each round begins, hunkered down happily over his board like the rest of the crowd of fellow go players. After all, he's really just here for the game.

THE UPSIDE OF TENSION: "No thanks," Jie Li 9d said, politely waving off the offer of a stress-relieving massage this morning, "I don't want to be relaxed." Smart move: all three of his games today were long and hard-fought and Li wound up playing nine hours straight. For today's Special Edition we've got a double bonus for our readers: all three rounds of defending Cotsen champion Li's games, with commentary on two of them by Yilun Yang 7P. Li demonstrates his dominating style in Rounds 1 and 3 and pulls off an amazing recovery in Round 2 after a critical (and unusual) reading mistake. We hope you enjoy the games; if you're a non-member, please consider supporting the organization that makes this kind of coverage possible by joining the American Go Association today. Find out more at

COTSEN LEADER REPORT: Open Section standings (after three rounds): 1st: Jie Li 9d; 2nd: Seung Hyun Hong 6d; 3rd: Jong In Jeong 6d; 4th: Rui Wang 6d; 5th: Joey Hung 6d; 6th: Jon Boley 6d; 7th: Matthew Burall 6d; 8th: Deuk Je Chang 6d; 9th: Ned Phipps 6d; 10th: Yixian Zhou. Handicap section 3-game winners: Jie Li 9d; Tommy Slater 2d; Wai-to Char 2k; George Huang 6k; Chris Burg 12k; Nathan Borggren 14; Chance Reimer 14k; Lance Hsu 25k; Steve Hsin 30k; Alex Ladante 30k. Final winner's report in Monday's EJ.

THE PROFESSIONAL DIFFERENCE: Sure, the big prize money, free food and strong field are attractions but what really sets the annual Cotsen Open apart from every other go tournament in the world are the professionals. Not just Yilun Yang 7P, who provides challenging life-and-death problems and will play Chinese pro Xuan Zhang online live tomorrow morning. Two professional masseuses worked the room this morning as the tournament got underway, methodically moving down the rows of players hunched intently over their boards as the tanned young women with blond-streaked hair relieved aching muscles and sore backs. The laid-back LA vibe was a mellow contrast with the usual electric competitive tournament scene. "There's a lot of tension there," Leyla Morris told the EJ, "some tough knots that just won't seem to come out no matter how hard we work." Sounds like some of Mr Yang's problems.

THE "L.A." TEAM: Eric Cotsen's name is on the tournament but it's his team that helps realize his vision. Right-hand assistant Casie Rizer did much of the heavy lifting, along with Robson De Souza, Lauren Madison and Chris Hayashi. Peripatetic Tournament Director Chuck Robbins was flown in from the East Coast to ensure smooth pairings.

A PEEK AT SMARTGO 2.0: The EJ got a sneak preview of the next release of the SmartGo software when we caught up with creator Anders Kierulf at the Cotsen Open last weekend. Now in pre-alpha development, version 2.0 will have a whole new look and feel, and includes several major advances, including the ability to connect to IGS and to easily filter the 30,000-game pro game database for study. Look for more updates as development continues.

FREE YEARBOOK OFFER EXTENDED: We hope you enjoy today's Special Edition of the American Go E-Journal's Member's Edition, with coverage and games from this weekend's Cotsen Open in Los Angeles. Because of the huge response to our April free Yearbook offer, we're extending it for one more week. Join the AGA by midnight, May 8 and get 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 (or re-joining: offer open to former members too), now's the time! Sign up now at sp

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Editor: Chris Garlock

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