News from the American Go Association

SPECIAL U.S. GO CONGRESS EDITION: Plus, now you can experience a virtual 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 posted throughout each day by the Congress E-Team. Check IGS and KGS as well; some games are being broadcast live.

August 8, 2005
Volume 5, #67

In This Issue:
LATEST GO NEWS: Hsiang Evens It Up In Masters; Li Notches 2nd Win In Ing Title Defense; L ightning Strikes; Midnight Madness Spreads; Mastering The U.S. Masters
GAME COMM ENTARY: A Young Amateur Takes on a Pro
PRO INTERVIEW: Nakayama on Starting Late
A GO REPORTER AT LARGE: Behind The Scenes With The Pur ple People
GAME COMMENTARY: A Young Amateur Takes on a Pro
ATTACHED FILES: 2005.08.08 USOpen2 Board 1 Chen-Lin


HSIANG EVENS IT UP IN MASTERS: Thomas Hsiang 7d held onto a narrow lead to win Round 2 of the US Masters Tournament by 3 points Monday, defeating Jie Li 9d. The best-of-3 tournament is now tied 1-1, with the third and final game to be played Friday night. The fi nal will be broadcast live on the internet; watch for details. Round 2 will be posted online soon at

LI NOTCHES 2ND WIN IN ING TITLE DEFENSE: Jie Li 9d, defending his 2004 title, has defeated Yuan Zhou and Jung Hoon Lee in the first two rounds of the 2005 Ing Invitational AT THE us Go Congress. The complete results are as follows:
      &nbs p;Round 1 (Sunday night): Jie Li (defeated Yuan Zhou); Edward Kim (Yongfei Ge); Jong Moon Lee (I-Han Lui); Joey Hung (Jin Chen); Jung Hoon Lee (James Sedgewick); Dewu Zhang (Ted Ning).
       Round 2 (Monday night): J ie Li (defeated Jung Hoon Lee); Jong Moon Lee (Edward Kim); Eric Lui (Thomas Hsiang); Yongfei Ge (I-Han Lui); Lianzhou Yu (Jon Boley); Ted Ning (Jin Chen); Yuan Zhou (James Sedgwick), Joey Hung (Dewu Zhang).

LIGHTNING STRIKES: The ever-popular Ligh tning Tournament attracted a record 144 players this year, reports Director Keith Arnold. "We also had our first-ever five-way tie." Table winners include: Dan tables: Patrick Sun 1d, Tony Zhang 1d, Tom Xu 3d, Kento Nikaido 3 d, Hao Sen 2d, Lawrence Ku 2d, Cornel Burzo 7d, Kory Stevens 4d, Gina Shi 6d, Cherry Shen 3d. Kyu tables: Chris Watson 12k, Eileen Hlavka 9k, Selina Chen 21k, Luke Allen 7k, Eunice Lin 6k, Angela Pham 30k, Jason Won 3k, Jordan Hoang 1k, Albert Guo 2k, Ti mothy Pollin 4k, Kevin Shang 4k, Zack Liu 14k, Jacquelyn Yuan 16k, Karoline Burrall 10k.

MIDNIGHT MADNESS SPREADS: Sixty-two players participated in Round 2 of the Midnight Madness Tournament Sunday night, up from 56 Saturday night. Look for 3-gam e winners tomorrow, plus more reports from other tournaments.

MASTERING THE U.S. MASTERS: The US Masters is a pro-amateur tournament sponsored by the American Go Association and the Ing Foundation. The initial field held some of the strongest playe rs in North America: Feng Yun 9P, Jie Li 9d, Jung Hoon Lee, Thomas Hsiang, Joey Hung and Yuan Zhou (late drops by Yilun Yang and Hui Ren Yang for personal reasons, precluded filling out the field to 8 players). These six play ers played a preliminary Round Robin on the IGS, which featured several close games with Thomas Hsiang defeating Feng Yun by 3 points, Jung Hoon Lee defeating Thomas Hsiang by one point, Jung Hoon Lee defeating Yuan Zhou by 3 points and Feng Yun defeatin g Yuan Zhou by 4 points. The best-of-3 Masters Finals are being played in person by Jie Li 9d and Thomas Hsiang 7d at the ongoing US Go Congress in Tacoma, WA, and are being broadcast live on IGS and KGS. Both players are also competing in the Ing Invitat ional, a major 4-round tournament held each night, and Hsiang is playing in the US Open, a 6-round tournament held each morning at the Congress (Li decided not to compete in the Open to concentrate on the Masters and Ing tournaments).
  &nbs p;    JIE LI 9d started playing go at the age of 11 in his native China. Now 24 and a college student in San Diego, Jie is perhaps the winningest amateur title-holder in the United States, with multiple wi ns in the U.S Open, Ing Cup, Texas Open, Cotsen Open, Toyota Oza and Tokyo Semitsu. His other interests include reading, traveling, teaching "and playing anonymously on the Internet." Adds Jie, "Go is very hard. The more I learn about it, the less I know ."
     THOMAS HSIANG 7d has been playing go for 40 years. The 56-year-old college professor teaches electrical engineering at the University of Rochester in Rochester, NY. He's won the Ing Invitational twice, the US Open three times and the North American Fujitsu once. His hobbies include go and music. Thomas' favorite thing in go is being "Ahead in semeai by one liberty, of course."

       "When you have a lone stone in an area where your opponent is strong on both sides, don't just run it out," advised James Kerwin 1P Sunday during a game commentary. "You'll only succeed in making a bad stone into a bad group." Kerwin says to try to use the stone another way, perhaps as a ladder breaker or as back pressure in a nearby fight. "Every stone you add to a weak group just makes things worse for you as you r opponent continues to reap benefits from attacking it."
- reported by Bill Cobb

GAME COMMENTARY: A Young Amateur Takes on a Pro
       Today's game commentary is from the US Open Round 2 game between Zhaonian Chen 7d and Xuefen Lin 1P, with commentary by Xuefen Lin. Zhaonian Chen is an up-and-coming young player to keep an eye on and, though he's clearly outmatched in this game against a pro, he gives it his best shot and never gi ves up.
        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

PRO INTERVIEW: Nakayama on Starting Late
By Solomon Smilack
     Nakayama Noriyuki 6P wears a fishing hat and a smile wherever he goes. He is, in a word, jovial. Now in his 70s, Nakayama's interest in go continues unabated, as if he is still making up for a late start. The se days, travel is Nakayama's only diversion, and he's been a frequent and much-loved visitor to the U.S. Go Congress, where I caught up with him for an E-Journal interview.
      Nakayama sensei began playing go when he w as 15 years old, just after the end of the Second World War. He had watched the game often, and knew the rules, but had never held the stones himself. "Go was not a children's game. Of all the Japanese pros, I probably have t he latest start." It was a serious time, Nakayama says, with the wide-scale destruction brought on by the war: "It was very hard at that time. There weren't even buildings for a while."
      In his home town of Nagano, h is mother's father was known as the weakest player in the area. In spite of this, or perhaps because of this, his grandfather's home had become the gathering place for the strong local players. One summer day, it was raining so hard that no one came to pl ay. Nakayama pouts, imitating his grandfather. Glum, moping, and bemoaning the bad weather, his grandfather sat at the lonely board, then, lifting his eyes from the board to the young Nakayama, smiled, and eagerly motioned him to sit down. "You know how t o play, don't you? Let's play."
      That day, his grandfather gave him nine stones and beat him ten games in a row. They played well into the evening, and Nakayama finally won the 11th game. "Come back tomorrow," said his grandfather, "and I'll give you 8 stones." The next day they played with 8 stones, the following day with 7, and by the end of summer vacation Nakayama was holding white. His rank increased slowly but steadily, rising by a dan rank once a month, until he was the strongest player in Nagano.
      Coming from a poor family, Nakayama had no means of traveling to Tokyo to pursue his go future. When he asked for his father's bicycle, he was hard pressed to answer why he needed to go to Tokyo. "Are you going to go to Tokyo to get a job? Are you going to university?" It was hard to find work in Tokyo, and for a while he didn't even have a place to live. Finally, he found a job recording profession al games. So proud of his work, he switched to English to tell me, "I was a supreme game recorder."
      Nakayama began taking the Pro Test each year, and each year he failed. Finally, he pas sed on his ninth attempt, just before his 30th birthday, becoming the oldest player to pass the Pro Test. After a quick ascent to 3P, his rank increased slowly but steadily. Unlike most professionals, who peak by age 30, Nakayama's rank increased once a decade: 4P when he was 40, 5P at 50, and 6P at 60.
      Having passed 70 without a jump to 7P, he says he isn't holding his breath for a promotion. While he still plays professionally, most of his income now comes from hi s work as an author. Between writing go articles for monthly publications and writing go books, he stays very busy both at his home in southern Chiba Prefecture and abroad. In his own words, "I live so far south, I almost live at Narita airport." And it's not far from the truth: Narita is almost a second home for Nakayama sensei, who has traveled overseas every year since he was 49.
      Nakayama's tale is living proof that dedication overcom es hardship and that hard work is rewarded. Like many, I have often thought that only those who learn go as children can grow up to be pros, and that even their careers will be over by 30. Nakayama's story shows that the game can last a lifetime, and tha t careers can begin at 30. When's the next Pro Test?

A GO REPORTER AT LARGE: Behind The Scenes With The Purple People
By Aria von Elbe
     The Congress Office is the brain of the annual week-long go extravaganza. And it's there that a budding young go journalist can find a story. "I don't believe it," says Ken Koester, Tournament Director of the 2005 US Open, adding "We have all the Round 1 results? Afte r everything that happened this morning?"
"I'm surprised," Duane Burns, Deputy Director agrees.
     "The saints be praised! It's a miracle!" says Koester, affecting a thick Irish accent.
&nb sp;    "Wow, we've got all the results," Jared Roach, another Deputy who's been working on compiling results all day, mutters in disbelief.
     That's just a snippet of the conversation here in Congress Ce ntral, tucked away next to the cafeteria. Everyone passes it, but few notice it. Inside are boxes staked upon boxes and yet more boxes, stamped in three languages. There's a desk as big as a queen-sized bed under everything, but you can't see it, covered with papers, and half a dozen laptops or so at any given time, plus assorted printers, cables crisscrossing, paper clips, push-pins, five different types of tape, staples, glue, paper.someone made a major buy at Office Depot.
    & nbsp;There's always a buzz of conversation about printers not working, more supplies they need to clutter up the desk more, pros coming in late, "We need at Chinese translator!" People enter with problems or questions, and th e Purple People (that's the color of the Congress staff t-shirts) swing into action. Even walking around during lunch or a break, anyone wearing purple is a magnet for go players in need.
     "The next time I run a Congress- " Congress Director Steve Stringfellow began. "By Friday you won't be saying that," Burns interjects. "We've never had someone do it two years in a row, " Koester adds. The banter continues, paper curls out of the laser printer, more jokes are told, and t he work continues.

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

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