News from the American Go Association

May 6, 2005

In This Issue:
LATEST GO NEWS: Hsiang To Represent US At WAGC; Small & Arnold Lecture At Smithsonian; Jie Li At NoVa; Go Camp Deadline Nears; More Photos Online; Go Geocaching Spreading; Korea Squeaks Through In CSK Cup; Weekend Go Action; Barry Wins Alert Reader; Coming Up
GAME COMMENTARY: 3 More From The 2005 Cotsen
GO REVIEW: Essential Joseki
ATTACHED FILES: 2005.05.06 Cotsen#4 Li-Jeong; 2005.05.06 Cotsen#5 Li-Boley; 2005.05.06 Cotsen Yang-Zhang Pro Demo


HSIANG TO REPRESENT US AT WAGC: The US representative to the 26th World Amateur Go Championship later this month w ill be Thomas Hsiang 7d of Rochester, NY. Hsiang will join top players from 65 countries and territories in competing to become the world's top amateur player. The tournament is sponsored by Japan Airlines and the Nihon Kiin and has grown from just 15 countries in 1979. Read more at:

SMALL & ARNOLD LECTURE AT SMITHSONIAN: Longtime local go organizers Haskell Small 3d and Keith Arnold 5d will present a brief lecture at the Smithsonian this Saturday, May 7 as part of the "Asian Games: The Art of Contest" exhibit, which ends on May 15. The two will cover go history, culture and rules and the lecture includes audience participation as well as a replay of a game shown on one of the ancient go boards in the exhibit. The lecture begins at 2P in the Sackler Gallery. For info on the exhibit, go to http://www

JIE LI AT NOVA: Jie Li 9d will appear at Monday's meeting of the NoVa Go Club in Arlington, Virginia. Li, who won last weekend's Cotsen Open in Los Angeles, will do an in-depth analysis of one of his recent tournament games. The lecture begins at 7:15P at the Central United Methodist Church, 4201 N. Fairfax Dr (corner of Stafford, by the Ballston Metro). Info: Allan Abramson,

GO CAMP DEADLINE NEARS: Kids, don't lose on time! The deadline for signing up for this year's exciting Youth Go Camps is May 31, just a few short weeks away. Every summer since 1998, kids from 8 to 18 from all over the US and abroad have met for a week to study go in a traditional summer camp setting; play and instruction are supplemented by many typical camp activities. This year an East Coast location has been added in Oneonta, NY; the West Coast camp is in Oakland, CA. Get details and sign up now at

MORE PHOTOS ONLINE: Regular visitors to the AGA's website will have noticed that as of this week we're now updating the homepage photos more often. The current plan is to update the homepage photo at least every other day, to keep the website fresh and interesting. Our thanks to Ethan Baldridge for keeping the photos up-to-date, as well as the calendar and go classified sections; Ethan recently took over from Laurie Crammond, who's done wonderful work on the site for us over the last year.

GO GEOCACHING SPREADING: A new go geocache has been hidden in New Hampshire, based on an idea by the Syracuse Go Club's Anton Ninno ("GOT GPS?" 4/14). "We hope that by hiding go-themed geo-caches, people will learn about the game, and get interested in playing it," says Karen Plomp, who secreted the geocache. "This cache contains AGA flyers, and 9x9 go boards to help people get started." M ore details can be found in Karen's go blog at  and the cache itself is listed at   "We hope that other people will hide go caches all around the country. It would be a perfect way to get more people exposed to the game."

KOREA SQUEAKS THROUGH IN CSK CUP: Korea barely nudged out Japan in the CSK Cup this week, as both teams wound up with 10 wins each. After the third round, Korea, Japan, and China were all 2-1, but due to Japan's winning all five games in the final round against Taiwan, they and the Koreans ended up with the same number of individual wins, ten each. The Koreans got the title because their top two players did slightly better than the top two Japanese. The Chinese put up a good fight in the final round against Korea, with Zhou Heyang 9P defeating Le e Changho 9P, to avenge his loss to Lee in the Chunlan Cup, but China's edging out Korea by a score of 3-2 in round three wasn't enough. You can download all the game records at

CORRECTION: The game record for Round 3 of the 2005 Cotsen mistakenly indicates that Black (Joey Hung) won; White (Jie Li 9d) won the game by resignation; we apologize for the error.

WEEKEND GO ACTION: Dearborn, MI & Seattle, WA
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

BARRY WINS ALERT READER: Eoghan Barry 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 in all our game attachments; you could be a winner too!

GAME COMMENTARY: 3 More From The 2005 Cotsen
      We have three game commentaries today, Rounds 4 & 5 from last weekend's Cotsen Open in Los Angeles, CA, and Yilun Yang 7P's online pro-pro demonstration game against Xuan Zhang 8P.
      In Round 4, defending Cotsen champion Jie Li makes an unusual slip in a hard-fought game against Jong In Jeong 6d, demonstrating that even top-level players can mis-read from time to time. Yilun Yang's 7P's comprehensive commentary illustrates the depth of these top player's game and shows missed opportunities on both sides.
     Jon Boley 6d takes White against Jie Li 9d in Round 5 in a short but interesting game that's an instructive lesson in winning a won game.
    &n bsp;In our third game commentary, Mr Yang plays Xuan Zhang 8P in a demonstration game played on Sunday, May 1 at the 2005 Cotsen Open. Mr Yang played live on the internet and a large crowd of Cotsen players watched the game unfold live as Bob Terry played out the moves on a demonstration board. Mr Yang's commentary is taken from his play-by-play commentary immediately following the game, with some additional post-game comments provided to the E-Journal by Mr. Yang.
     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

By James Kerwin 1P
     & nbsp; Congratulations to those who have made it to shodan (1 dan, literally "starting dan"). Only 10 percent of go players become dans, so you probably have at least some talent for the game and if you don't, you have my admiration for your work ethic. Either way, if you want to advance still further you must be prepared to work. As in all things, the farther you go the harder the next step is.
       Take stock of your situation. First, honestly assess your talent. Are you very talented, moderately talented, or not very talented. Second, how easy is it to get games with stronger players, say taking 3 stones or more? If you're very talented and can get games with stronger players you don't need to do much beyond play a lot. If you're less talented and have stronger opponents you will need to supplement play with study. If you don't have stronger opponents you will have to work much harder and you still won't make fast progres s unless you take lessons from a pro.
       Kyu games tend to be won by knockouts, such as the death of a group or a catastrophic loss of territory. To advance in the dan ranks you will have to learn to box and not just punch. You must be prepared to go fifteen rounds every game and to win on points, not by knockout. You must win a majority of the rounds, even if only by a little. Each punch must be well directed and solid. You can see the truth of this clearly when you replay pro games.
       You must put more importance on details and small advantages. It is not enough to save your groups, you must learn to live gracefully and without struggle. It is not enough to press a group hoping to kill it, you must learn how to extract profits from the groups you attack even as they make life. It is not enough to take or destroy territory, you must learn how to do it in sente. It is not enough to win the battle, you must also leave the battle in good shape to fight the next one. It is not enough to play the right moves, you must make sure you play them in the right order.
       So how do you make these improvements? There are three parts to your improvement plan; find better opponents, have the right attitude, and study.
       If you don't have stronger players at your club you must find better ones. If you're not on the internet, get on. Check out the online clubs and ask stronger players for a game. Many may decline to play, but some will accept. And don't forget to accept some games from weaker players as well. In addition, you can go to tournaments. There are many more now than when I started out, and there should be a number that won't be too far from you. If you do poorly at first don't worry. The players at tournaments aren't better, but they tend to be very competitive and they'll make you work for each win. They're probably not outplaying you, they're outworking you.
       In the kyu ranks attitude is important, but not critical. After you become a dan player you won't make much more progress unless you have the right attitude. The right attitude is not humility exactly, but something like it. You already play good moves, but you can't let that fact blind you to better moves. Your moves may be successful, or powerful, or clever, but that is irrelevant. There is really only one question, and you must ask it every move. That question is: "Is this move the best move, even if the best move is only a little bit better than this move?" You must be consumed with the search for the best move, the correct move. Any other attitude will slow you down or stop you completely. You can't afford pride, or fear, or greed, or complacence.
       What should you study? The m ost important thing is to review your own games. Ask your opponent if he would like to review the game immediately after it's finished. If he won't review it with you, review it later. If he will review it be sure to review the moves you were uncertain about. Ask him what he thinks, and listen carefully. He may be right or wrong, but he will surely say something you can use to get better. If you think you mishandled a situation, print out the board position and ask stronger players what they think you should have done. And don't be shy about sending games to a pro for commentary. After reviewing your own games the next best study is solving tesuji or life and death problems. And spend some time reviewing pro games.
     (This is the latest in a series by Kerwin on how to get stronger: "Getting to 10K" ran on 2/4 & "Getting to 1K" ran on 2/24)

GO REVIEW: Essential Joseki
by Rui Naiwei
Reviewed by Jonathan Tien 5k
       Joseki are crucial point to master if you hope to play go well. However, many players inevitably get bogged down in joseki "encyclopedias," slogging through dull, unimaginative volumes of joseki after joseki after joseki, with little or no explanation to assist in the learning process. While beginners should start with books such as "38 Basic Joseki," higher kyu and dan players need a more challenging source for learning and reviewing joseki.
       Rui Naiwei's "Essential Joseki" combines the accessibility of an elementary joseki book and the detail of a multi-volume "dictionary." The book is organized by corner stone (3-4, 4-4, 3-3, and 5-4) and further divided by various approach moves. Each section is followed by diagrams showing various variations of joseki with brief but clear explanations on how the variation is used, and what the pros/cons are.
&n bsp;      "Essential" goes far and beyond most joseki books. Despite thousands of joseki variations, Rui Naiwei has managed to create an accessible and handy reference with enough detail and complexity to challenge lower dan players.

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