News from the American Go Association

November 4, 2005
Volume 5, #96
WEEKEND GO ACTION: Piscataway NJ & Ottawa, Canada
GAME COMMENTARY: The Kids Are Alright
THE TRAVELING BOARD: Report from Seoul
GO REVIEW: Bob Hearn's Top 10 Go Books
ATTACHED FILES: 2005.11.04 Challenge, J2TS-Wu, Feng Y un; 2005.11.04 Phipps-Yi Hangzhou Game; 2005.11.04 McGuigan Series #4

CHINA OFF TO A GOOD START IN JEONGGANJANG CUP: The Jeongganjang Cup is a women's international team competition between Korea, China, and Japan. The initial Chinese player has won the first three games of the first stage. Details on Monday.

YAMASHITA CHALLENGES FOR KISEI AND OZA: Yamashita Keigo 9P is the challenger for both the Kisei and the Oza titles in Japan. Details on Monday.

$20K IN PRIZES AT OZA: With $20,000 in prizes, the upcoming Oza tournament may well be the biggest tournament of the year. Registration is now open for the January 14-15, 2006 event, which will be held simultaneously in both New York City and Las Vegas, NV. Don't miss the exciting event: reserve your spot now at  

DINERCHTEIN OFFERS GROUP LESSONS: Alexander Dinerchtein 1P is now giving group lessons on KGS. A top European player and popular commentator (his games are often featured in the E-Journal), Dinerchtein's lessons run 2 hours each and cost $10 per student. Contact him for details to

ROBBINS TOPS MOST ACTIVE: Indefatigable Tournament Director and go road warrior Chuck Robbins 4d has racked up 94 tournament games this year, contributing to an impressive 953 lifetime tournament games, 52 more than the next-highest Steve Barbieri (who's been playing longer than Robbins). The Top 10 most active players for 2005 thus far: Robbins, Charles (94); Lebl, Martin (68); Bacon, Bob (50); Sudhoff, Horst (50); Bridges, Adam (48); Pe terson, Max (42); Kolb, Laura (41); Baum, Leonard (41); Lin, Katherine (40); Gionfriddo, Sal (40). The Top 5 lifetime most active: Robbins, Charles (953); Barberi, Steve (901); Arnold, Keith (812); Sudhoff, Horst (794); Zimmerman, Samuel (592).

SHODAN CHALLENGE ENTERS BYO-YOMI: Less than a month left to sign up for the 2006 Shodan Challenge! Open to players of all strengths, the Challenge now has five Divisions: the 20-kyu Challenge, for beginners; the 10-kyu Challenge for 11-20k players; the 5-kyu Challenge for 6-10k players, the Shodan Challenge for 5-1k players and the 5d Challenge for 1-4d players. Challengers publicly accept the challenge of trying to achieve a specific goal by next year's U.S. Go Congress August 12-20 in Black Mountain, North Carolina. For more details on how to qualify for the Challenge, email us today at (Deadline for application: December 1, 2005)

WEEKEND GO ACTION: Piscataway NJ & Ottawa, Canada
- November 5: Piscataway NJ
Feng Yun Go School monthly AGA rated game
Feng Yun 973-992-5675
- November 6: Ottawa, Canada
Embassy of Japan Go tournament
Charles Chang 613-722-0603

GAME COMMENTARY: The Kids Are Alright
       Today's games both feature young go players. In the E-Journal Challenge Game, Feng Yun 9P reviews a game by sixteen year old James Wu 8k. Wu, who lives in Fairfax, VA, has been playing go for less than a year.
       Our second game is from the recent Hangzhou (China) Invitational and showcases 11 year-old Zhong Yi's game against Ned Phipps 7d of the US. Yi is from Hangzhou, China, the host city for the invitational tournament.
       O ur bonus file is the latest installment of "Questions from Actual Play #5," the new series of studies brought to us by Robert McGuigan in translation from "Jissen ni tsuyoku naru 80 dai (80 questions for getting strong at real play)" by Haruyama Isamu 9P.

THE TRAVELING BOARD: Report from Seoul
by Bonnie Liao
       Forty-eight players from 16 countries participated in the week-long 2005 International Baduk Team Championship, October 24-28 at Olympic Parktel in Seoul, Korea. Organized and sponsored by the Korea Amateur Baduk Association (KABA), this was the first time the championship - held annually since 1999 -- had been expanded worldwide.
       Participating countries included ten from Asia, four from Europe, as well as Australia, Argentina and the United States. The U.S. team finished in 10th place (out of 16) and in the indi vidual competition Michael Chen 7d, the 16-year-old Redmond Cup Senior Division Champion, finished highest at 15th place, Ron Snyder 7d took 25th and Lionel Zhang 3d, the 10-year-old Redmond Cup Junior Division Champion finished 26th (out of 48 players). Mr. Noh of the Philippines won six straight games without meeting any player from the "Big Three" and won the individual competition. The top four teams were 1st: Korea, 2nd: China, 3rd: Japan, 4th: Taiwan.
       Lionel, the youngest player at this championship, had a great time in South Korea. He and an 11-year-old player from Taiwan became good friends and playmates. Born and raised in the U.S., Lionel is completely bilingual - fluent in Chinese Mandarin and English. His language skills enabled him to communicate with most players, especially his new friend from Taiwan, who could only speak Chinese Mandarin. Lionel played six official championship games plus a dozen or so friendship matches. One day, a senior Korea player (probably from a local baduk club) asked Lionel for a match. At the beginning, Lionel felt that the gentleman was quite strong, but soon he discovered some weaknesses and was able to win the game. The gentleman told Lionel that he wished to see him again in future championships.
       Lionel also experienced something completely beyond his wildest imagination while he was in Seoul. "You can have your butt washed while sitting on the hotel toilet by pressing a button," I heard Michael (Lionel's roommate from the U.S.) scream on our first day in Seoul. "It blow-dries your butt as well if you press another button. There were other buttons that I didn't dare to press..."
       Bonnie Liao is Lionel Zhang's mother.

GO REVIEW: Bob Hearn's Top 10 Go Books
by Bob Hearn 1d
   &nbs p;   Like Bob Barber, I'm also bit of a nut about go books (Bob Barber's Top 10 Go Books, 10/7 EJ); a quick count yields 157 titles. But my list has some interesting differences from his. Although I'm also big on fuseki, somehow I don't have any fuseki titles here. I guess I'm still waiting for the perfect one (That might come with Volume 3 of Fujisawa's Tesuji Dictionary, due next year from Slate and Shell, which reportedly includes "probably as good an exposition of go theory as you'll ever see in a Japanese book").
- LESSONS IN THE FUNDAMENTALS OF GO (Kageyama): This is just the best go book ever written, period. Certainly, if I had to pick one go book for a desert island, this would be it. You can read it and get a lot out of it at 10k, again at 7k, then 4k, 1k... Each time, it offers new insights. And Kage's friendly, informal tone makes it a joy to read.
- TESUJI (Davies), LIFE AND DEATH (Davies), and ATTACK AND DEFENSE (Ishida / Davies): For m e these are the standout volumes in the Elementary Go Series. Tesuji teaches you basic tactics; even at 1d I like to go through the problems again every now and then. Life and Death is the best way to learn about living and dead shapes, as well as being a decent reference book (but not at the level of Cho Chikun's "All About Life and Death"). Attack and Defense makes tangible the concepts of territory, influence, power, and thickness, and shows how to use them to direct middle-game strategy - for amateurs, at least, the meat of the game.
- INVINCIBLE: THE GAMES OF SHUSAKU (Power): I must confess that I still have not devoted the time to this wonderful book that it deserves. But the games that I have played out on my board have been astounding, and there is a wealth of commentary, not only on the games but also on Shusaku's life and development.
- COUNTING LIBERTIES AND WINNING CAPTURING RACES (Hunter): One eye beats no eye - right? But what if there are a lot of e xtra liberties? What are the criteria for when a race can become a seki? Knowing when you have to add a move and when you've already won a race can be critically important. Counting, when you can do it, is much easier than explicit reading. Hunter categorizes capturing races into six basic types, depending on eyes, shared liberties, etc., and clearly explains how to count in each case.
- LEARN TO PLAY GO (Kim/Jeong): Volumes 1-3 are perhaps the best books today for beginners; players up to about 1k can benefit from volumes 4-5.
     These books make both Bob Barber's list and mine:
- GRADED GO PROBLEMS FOR BEGINNERS (Kano): These are great for review at any level short of high-dan, I'd imagine. As a 1d, I periodically go through volume 3 at a pretty good pace. Volume 4 I go through as well, but sometimes I have to think about the problems a bit; pros say there is value in studying tsume-go problems that you can do fairly easily.
- DIC TIONARY OF BASIC JOSEKI (Ishida): An essential reference once you to get to 3k or so. This version was written in 1975; there is an updated Japanese version from 1996. It would be very nice if someone would translate it (hint hint!).
- MAKING GOOD SHAPE (Zeijst/Bozulich): Knowing which moves make good shape and which do not makes it much easier to read effectively - and also helps satisfy the old maxim "when you do not know what you are doing, do it neatly". Good shape will come back to help you; bad shape will come back to haunt you. It's a real surprise it took so long for a book just about shape to be published. (This one does have an unusually high number of typos, but they don't detract significantly.)
       What's your Go Top 10? Which books, software, teachers or other go instructional material have helped you the most? Send in your Top 10 list - along with brief explanations - and we'll publish the best and most interest ing! Send them to us at


PLAYERS WANTED: Lewiston, ID; Looking for go players in the Lewiston/Clarkston area to learn, teach and play the game. I'm a beginner (10k or so) but very serious about Go. Email if interested:

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Assistant Editor: Bill Cobb

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