News from the American Go Association

< P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt">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.

Aug ust 10, 2005

Volume 5, #69

In This Issue:

LATEST GO NEWS: Seattle Go Center Celebrates 10th Anniversary; "We Have Lost A Great Heart"; Congress "Day Off"



< st1:City>SEATTLE GO CENTER CELEBRATES 10TH ANNIVERSARY: "Please make yourself at home," urged Seattle Go Center (SGC) General Manager Frank Fukuda at the Center's 10th Anniversary celebration Wednesday night. A standing- room-only crowd of go players was welcomed by dignitaries including Japanese General Consul Katuo Tanaka and Tadashi Sasaki 8P on behalf of the Nihon Kiin, which owns the Center, along with the sister centers Kaoru Iwamoto founded in New York City, Sao Paolo, London and Amsterdam. "Go is making big footsteps in the world," Tadashi Sasaki told the assembled go enthusiasts, "an d is now played in 68 countries around the world." Nakayama Noriyuki 6P, also appearing on behalf of the Nihon Kiin, remembering how difficult it was to find go players when he first visited the United States 21 years ago sai d that "Places like the Seattle Go Center make it easier to play go now in the United States." The night's festivities included a sumptuous sushi spread, speeches, songs (including a hearty rendition of "God Bless America" in flawless English by Mr Sasaki), awards and poems, as well, of course, as continuous go. "The challenge of the next 10 years is to attract the new generation of players," added Consul-General Tanaka.

"WE HAVE LOST A GREAT HEART": We are very saddened to report that Greg Lefler, President of the Empty Sky Go Club in Rochester, NY, has passed away. "This is a devastating blow," said American Go Association President Mike Lash, "We have lost a great heart." Lefler was a tireless and enthusiastic go promoter, rejuve nating the Empty Sky Go Club, organizing last year's US Go Congress in Rochester and leading an ever-growing caravan of young go players to tournaments up and down the East Coast. "Greg's contributions to our c ommunity are immeasurable and the impact of his devotion to go will long be felt. Our deepest condolences go out to his family and friends." said Lash. Local go players will gather informally on Thursday at 6P to honor Greg's life at his favorite go haunt , Java Wally's on the Rochester Institute of Technology's campus in Rochester and welcome any and all friends of Greg's and go. Details on formal memorial services will be posted as they become available. Condolences and memories of Greg can be sent to jo and will be passed along to his family and the Empty Sky Go Club.

CONGRESS "DAY OFF": Wednesda y was the traditional "Day Off" at the US Go Congress; some players participated in the Die Hard Tournament while the rest explored the Seattle area or just rested up. Stay tuned for more news, games and photos on the website and in the next EJ.


by Solomon Smilack

     &nbs p; 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 the game again upon my return t o the United States, which is why I signed up to be a part of the largest go Congress in AGA history.

  ;      Not only is this year's Go Congress the largest, but it is also the most diverse. On the shuttle ride from the airport I met people from China and Japan, two of more than a dozen countries represented at this event. I'm glad to make use of my Japanese skills, which have helped me start conversations with se veral of the Japanese pros. When Frank Fukuda delivered translations of the opening address for the 50+ Japanese players, I listened intently and gained a more rounded view of how the place of this Congress in international exchange.

       It's not only my first Congress, but my first time at a go tournament. As such, I was amazed by how endless the tables seemed, as they ran end to end across the main playing 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 tables are smooth. Very smooth. I was very confused by how the bowls function, but once someone revealed their secrets to me I marveled at their design. When a tournament begins, the loud buzz of conversations disappears, and is replaced with a quiet chorus of Ing clocks beeping away.

       Arriving early, I fell instantly 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-to-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 begi n. 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. What makes it all worthwhile is the ability to play against friendly opponents for as long as I like. I went to bed exhaust ed, well past midnight, but woke up eager to hit the board again.

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

NOTE TO OUR READERS: We're pleased to make the Member's Edition special Congress reports available to our non-member readers this week. We hope you enjoy the reports, updates and games. Please consider supporting our work by joining the AGA; yo ur membership will get you the weekly Member's Edition, annual Yearbook & CD, as well as entitle you to participate in local and national tournaments, our rating system and, of course, the annual Go Congress. Find out more at

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