News from the American Go Association

August 7, 2005
Volume 5, #66

In This Issue:
LATEST GO NEWS: Masters Round 2 Adjourned; By The Numbers; Re membering Iwamoto And Hiroshima; Midnight In The Garden Of Go; "Virtual" Go Congress
GAME COMMENTARY: Temporary Insanity at the Masters
ATTACHED FILES: 2005.08.06 Masters1 Li-Hsiang


MASTERS ROUND 2 ADJOURNED: Round 2 of the US Masters Tournament was adjourned Sunday at 6:15P (PST) after 178 moves. The players - Jie Li 9d on Black and Thomas Hsiang 7d on White - will resume the game tomorrow; they must participate in Round 1 of the Ing Invitational tonight, beginning at 7P after a brief din ner break. The Masters Round 2 game thus far is posted on the Congress Updates Page, as is Round 1, with commentary by Jie Li:

BY THE NUMBERS: 480 (tota l Congress registration; a new record!); 186 (number of brand-new Congress attendees); 82 (number of youth players); 40 (college students); 55 (Japanese visitors).

REMEMBERING IWAMOTO AND HIROSHIMA: On August 6, 1945, Iwamoto Kaoru and Honinbo Has himoto Utaro had just resumed their Honinbo championship game when they were interrupted by a blinding flash, a deafening explosion and a terrible wind that blew out the windows and knocked the stones off the board. The game was being played just outside Hiroshima; the police chief, fearing an American bombing raid, had moved the game out of the city. Later that day, survivors of the atomic bombing began to stream past the playing site, where play was continued and the game w as completed: Iwamoto lost the game but won the match. Iwamoto's grandmother had said that a world full of go players would be a more peaceful place and in response to the events of that day 60 years ago, Iwamoto made a lifelong commitment to sharing his passion for go with the international community, a commitment that led to his founding of go centers around the world, including the Seattle Go Center, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year.
- reported by Jon Boley

MIDNIG HT IN THE GARDEN OF GO: As most of the Go Congress attendees, weary from traveling to Tacoma, headed towards their beds at 11 Saturday night, the main playing area was still electric with activity as a whopping 56 players prepared to play in the first-eve r Midnight Madness Tournament. The new Congress event was organized by the indefatigable Chuck Robbins, who also directs the Ing Tournament as well as dozens of East Coast events during the year. The rated tournament is set t o run every night at midnight, with 50 minutes per player and sudden-death overtime. Almost 100 had signed up, but the number dwindled steadily as some players' arrivals were delayed and others decided a few extra hours of sleep might well improve their chances in the US Open, slated to start bright and early Sunday morning. "Sorry, we're exhausted, we're going to have to drop out and get to bed," two participants told Robbins as midnight neared. As the clock struck twelve, silence settled over the assem bled players, and except for the steady click of stones one might almost have thought a midnight tournament just another restless go dream.
- reported by Aria von Elbe

By Solomon Smilack
       I haven't played much go in the last few months, despite living in Japan until the end of July. Yokoyama sensei, who mentored me for the duration of my 2-year stay, gave me his personal set of go stones as a farewell gift. He was worried because he knew that I only had glass stones, which he deemed inadequate. But he was also hesitant, and made me promise to pick up th e game again upon my return to the United States, which is why I signed up to be a part of the largest Go Congress in AGA history.
        This year's Congress, held in Tacoma, WA, is not only the largest, but it 's also the most diverse. On the shuttle down from the airport I met people from China and Japan, just two of the more than a dozen countries represented at this event. I'm glad of the opportunity to make use of my Japanese skills, which have helped me st art conversations with several of the Japanese pros. When Frank Fukuda of the Seattle Go Center translated the opening address for the large contingent of Japanese players, it was fascinating to hear about the famous "Atomic Bomb" game from a Japanese perspective.
       This is not only my first Go Congress, but my first time at a go tournament, and I was amazed by how endless the tables seemed, running end to end across the main playi ng room. It was as if I was viewing a huge goban, where every intersection was marked with an Ing board, clock, and set of stones. The Ing boards are smooth. Very smooth. And I was very confused by how the seemingly impenetrable Ing bowls function, but on ce someone revealed their secrets to me I marveled at their clever design. When the tournament begins, the loud buzz of conversations disappears, replaced with a quiet chorus of Ing clocks beeping away.
       Arrivin g early Saturday, I fell instantly and easily into the Continuous Self-Paired Tournament. Simply receiving invitations to play made me feel welcomed, as if I was an old friend being asked out for a drink. After several back-t o-back games I was so dizzy that I wondered if I had been drinking. After my fifth consecutive game I looked at the clock and rubbed my eyes - the Midnight Madness Tournament was about to begin. Whether by my own skill or my opponent's late-night fatigue , I somehow managed to kill a group in yose for the comeback victory.
       The great thing about the Go Congress is being able to play against friendly opponents for as long as I like. Even though I went to bed exha usted last night, after finishing my Midnight Madness tournament game, I woke up eager to hit the board again and excited about the coming week of go.

"VIRTUAL" GO CONGRESS: Experience this year's US Go Congress online by checking out our brand-new Congress Updates page at Latest news and reports, tournament updates, plus photos and games, are being posted throughout each day by the Congress E-Team. We plan to have every Masters game, as well as game records from the top boards of the US Open and selected games from the Ing Tournament. Most of the games, if not all, will be commented. Check IGS and KGS as well; some games ar e being broadcast live.

THE E-TEAM: Chris Garlock, Bill Cobb, Aria von Elbe, Solomon Smilack, Ethan Baldridge, Andrew Briscoe, Chuck Robbins, Michael Samuel, Jeff Boscole.

GAME COMMENTARY: Tempo rary Insanity at the Master's
       Today's game, the first round of the US Master's Finals, was played yesterday, August 6 at the US Go Congress in Tacoma, WA; Jie Li 9d takes white against Thomas Hsiang 7d; the com mentary is by Li, with additional comments by Hsiang.
       Registration for the Go Congress had barely gotten underway Saturday morning when Li and Hsiang sat down to begin Round 1 of the 2005 Masters, a best-of-3 match between two of America's top players. Both players had arrived Friday night and seemed well-rested for the battles ahead. The 11A start was delayed briefly as a few last-minute technical details were attended to (K eith Arnold's traveling table board and stones - which have made the trip to 20 US Go Congresses -- were pressed into service when the gobans could not be set to the proper height). The two players chatted and joked as the closed circuit television camera was fine-tuned so that the game could be watched outside the playing room without disturbing the players.
     The game got interesting when Hsiang left off a joseki move to take a big move elsewhere (B25). Jie Li thought for more than 20 minutes about how to take advantage of this with W26 and Hsiang considered his own response for more than 40 minutes (B27). Hsiang then had "a moment of temporary insanity" when he played B33, "an endgame move," allowing Jie Li to grab the last big point. With B47, Hsiang launched an all-or-nothing effort to get back in the game that kept spectators in the hall outside watching excitedly right up to the end of a dramatic fight. Watch the comments closely for an amusing aside by Thomas, who wonders if he should call for assistance from his sensei, the beloved Noriyuki Nakayama, a longtime Congress attendee. Round 2 of the Masters has been adjourned until tomorrow and is posted online 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 G o or SmartGo. Readers who need .sgf readers can get them for most platforms at Jan van der Steen's

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