News from the American Go Association
June 4, 2006

Volume 7, #47

YOUR MOVE: Why Chess Is More Popular, V.2; Where's Harry?
THE TRAVELING GO BOARD: Report from the 2006 WAGC
ATTACHED FILE: 2006.06.05 Yamada-Takao, Honinbo Title.sgf

JOEY HUNG SIXTH IN WORLD AMATEURS: Joey Hung 8d, the US representative to the just-concluded World Amateur Go Championships, took sixth place among sixty-eight players, losing only two games; this is one of the best-ever finishes for the US. Europeans did well this year, sending five former Nihon Kiin insei's to the tournament. Best showing was Cristian Pop of Romania in 7th place, followed by Ondrej Silt of Czechnia and Christoph Gerlach of Germany in 8th and 9th. Only Gerlach was not an insei. Topping the field was Japan's Satoshi Hirakoa, a second-time WAGC winner. Hiraoka lost on time to North Korea in the fourth round due to a misunderstanding of how the tournament clock works, but he recovered to defeat China in the eighth round which, together with the good luck that his early-round opponents all won in the last round, led to a higher SOS score that propelled him to championship. China's Wei-xing Tang, another 13-year old pro prospect, was second. Two other 7-1 finishers and teenagers, from North and South Korea, took the third and fourth place. Hong Kong was fifth at 6-2. The last 6-2 finisher was Canada's Yong-fei Ge, in 10th place.
- reported by Bill Cobb and Thomas Hsiang; see The Traveling Go Board, below, for more details from Hsiang, including exciting news about developments in an "Intellympiad" in 2008 and a new international amateur youth tournament. We hope to have commented WAGC game records soon. Full results and information about all the participants can be found at

NAMT DEADLINE EXTENDED: The registration deadline for the 2006 North American Masters Tournament (NAMT) has been extended until June 8th, reports organizer Jon Boley. "This year, if you are a 6-dan AGA rated player, you may be qualified to register for the NAMT," Boley says. Check out the NAMT website at where you will find the rules for the tournament, the players that have already registered and a schedule. Join last year's champion Jie Li and professionals Feng Yun 9P, Jiang Mingjiu 7P, Yang Yilun 7P, Lin Xuefen 1P, and Huiren Yang 1P in competing for over $6,000 in prizes. Questions? Email

NEW KERWIN SERIES STARTS FRIDAY: "Over the next two months I'll have specific suggestions for first-timers, for players who just want to enjoy the Congress, for those who want to improve, and for those who want to increase their rank or do well in the main tournament," says James Kerwin 1P, whose new series -- "Kerwin's Congress Prep Guide" - begins in this Friday's E-Journal Member's Edition. Give yourself every advantage, don't miss a week of this original material! Sign up now for the Member's Edition at

NEW PROVERBS FROM BRADLEY: Yutopian ( has just published a new book: New Go Proverbs Illustrated by Milton Bradley. The book contains twenty-five proverbs, half of which Bradley says are "completely new". Adds Bradley, "Aimed especially at double digit kyu players seeking to improve, it's a FUN book that can be read pleasurably by all, and which contains at least some wisdom that will probably be new to players as strong as 5K."

KERWIN DAY IN MINNEAPOLIS: Local go players in Minneapolis, MN are organizing a day of go-playing and a dinner in honor of Jim Kerwin 1P on July 15. "Jim has dedicated his professional life to the teaching of go," says organizer Steve Titterud. "He has made a unique contribution to the development of go in America and has touched the lives of many go players." Kerwin began his professional training under Iwamoto Sensei in 1973, became the first American to achieve a professional ranking in the Nihon-Kiin in 1978 and since returning to the U.S. in 1982, "has shared his knowledge with the American go community in a variety of ways - through workshops, published writings, individual lessons and group lectures, and as a go software consultant." The day's activities will include plenty of go-playing, followed by a dinner and "an opportunity for anyone to share experiences or observations related to Jim," says Titterud. RSVP by June 15 to

YAMADA EVENS HONINBO: Challenger Yamada Kimio 9P won the second game of the match against Honinbo title holder Takao Shinji 9P to tie the best-of-seven contest at 1-1. We have attached an SGF file of the game for your enjoyment; it concludes with a dramatic capturing race. Takao took this title last year from Cho U 9P, who had held it for two years. It was Takao's first win of one of the big seven titles in Japan. This is Yamada's first challenge for the Honinbo. He has never won one of the top seven. The Honinbo is the oldest professional tournament in Japan (this is the 62nd edition) and has a winner's purse of about $300,000 US. In previous games between these two, Yamada holds the edge by one victory. The third game in the match takes place this week.

GU LI FOUR-PEATS IN TIANYUAN: Gu Li 9P made it four years in a row as Tianyuan title holder in China by defeating Zhou Ruiyan 3P 2-1. Zhou took the first game, but Gu came back to hold on to the title by obtaining resignations twice in a row. Zhou, who has just turned fifteen, defeated another surprising pro teenager in the challenger's tournament, Chen Yaoye 5P, who is only two and a half years older, but was the challenger against Gu Li in the international LG Cup earlier this year.

KOREANS DOMINANT IN FUJITSU: The 19th international Fujitsu Cup has reached the semifinals with a familiar mix of players: three Koreans and one Chinese. The last Japanese, Yuki Satoshi 9P, was eliminated in the third round by Choi Cheolhan 9P of Korea. Choi will be paired against Park Jungsang 6P, also of Korea, in the semifinals at the beginning of July in Tokyo. The other pair will be Lee Sedol 9P of Korea against the lone Chinese player, Zhou Heyang 9P. Zhou beat Park Yeonghun 9P of Korea and Lee Sedol defeated Lee Changho 9P of Korea to reach the semifinals, guaranteeing that at least one Korean will be in the finals. Koreans have won this tournament the last eight times. The only Chinese to ever win in the Fujitsu was Ma Xiaochun 9P in 1995, who defeated Kobayashi Koichi 9P of Japan in the finals.

EJ ARCHIVES UPDATED, EXPANDED: Missed or misplaced your copy of the E-Journal? You can easily download copies of the EJ online 24/7 at  Plus check out samples of the bonus material included in the Friday Member's Edition, including game commentaries from the 2006 Toyota/Denso North American Oza Tournament!

YOUR MOVE: Readers Write

WHY CHESS IS MORE POPULAR, V.2: Milton Bradley from the Long Island Go Club provides a historical context for why go is "not as big as chess in North America" ("Why Chess Is More Popular," 5/26 EJ). "Chess has been established in America for at least 150 years longer than go," Bradley notes, "At the time of the Revolution, several of our founding fathers (including Ben Franklin, if memory serves me correctly) were chess players. The first tiny establishment of go outside of America's then-segregated oriental communities was not until 1913 in New York City, when Karl Davis Robinson, Edward Lasker, and Koshi Takashima began meeting at Chumley's restaurant." In 1858, Bradley continues "Paul Morphy of New Orleans was widely recognized as World Chess Champion, more or less 'institutionalizing' chess in America." Significant financial support for American chess began in the 1920's, as "wealthy New York financiers provided backing for chess, resulting in the creation and maintenance of the then-strongest chess club in America, The Manhattan Chess Club." Chess received a huge boost "when Bobby Fischer defeated the Soviet champion Boris Spassky in 1972 to win the World Chess Championship in the 'Match of the Century'" says Bradley, pointing out that "this victory for the West catalyzed interest in the game internationally. It was reported live on PBS, and received millions of dollars of free publicity. Chess clubs and stores selling chess equipment sprang up everywhere, and for a while chess was a craze that literally swept the country, introducing the game to millions of new fans. More recently, the book 'In Search of Bobby Fischer' (1988) and subsequent eponymous movie also provided millions of dollars worth of free publicity." Go's recent popular culture exposure in "A Beautiful Mind" and Hikaru No Go are mere ripples of interest in comparison, according to Bradley.

WHERE'S HARRY? "Like most disaffected chess players who discovered go late in life, I can only wonder where my game might be if I had learned to play in grade school," mourns David Bogie. "I was ten or eleven years old. Billy Crawford and I let his big brother slaughter us without mercy for years and I have hated chess since then. I tried to fool myself into enjoying it for decades before being shown go. The impact of 'Hikaru no Go' is tangible even in Boise, Idaho. But what if we had a phenom the likes of Harry Potter who played go?"

THE TRAVELING GO BOARD: Report from the 2006 WAGC
By Thomas Hsiang 8d
      The 2006 World Amateur Go Championship (WAGC) was held May 28-31 at "Huis Ten Bosch", a Dutch-style resort near the city of Sasebo, the second largest city in Japan's Nagasaki Prefecture. A total of 68 countries participated, making it the largest WAGC event ever.
      Joey Hung 8d of Fremont, CA, represented US and came away with a hard-fought 6th place. Joey cruised through his first five rounds, losing only to the 13-year old prodigy from Hong Kong, Nai-san Chan, before running into the Finnish 5 dan, Vesa Laatikainen. Trailing from the very beginning, Joey fell further behind in the mid-game, but then launched a fierce fight-back in the last stage of the game. The game turned in his favor during the final 20 moves, when his opponent made the final mistake; the 1/2-point win assured Joey that he would be a prize-winner as a top-ten finisher.
      The traditional Asada Fighting Spirit Award went to Laatikainen, a consensus choice who defeated Russia, Hong Kong, and Brazil's Alexandre de Souza, another former insei, in addition to his heroic showing against Joey.
      Two new special prizes were offered this year by the governor of Nagasaki prefecture and the mayor of Sasebo. They were given to the oldest player, Mladen Smud from Croatia, and Panama's Edgar Escobar who managed to keep smiling despite being winless for two years in a row.
      Preceding the WAGC, the International Go Federation (IGF) held its annual Board Meeting and General Meeting on May 26. As an IGF Director, I participated in both meetings.
      The biggest news at IGF this year was the progress in the planning of the "Intellympiad" event. As reported last year, IGF has joined force with bridge, chess, and draughts (checkers) in forming the International Mind Sports Association (IMSA) with the specific missions to run an Olympic-style mind-sports event. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) earlier this year agreed to allow us to use the term "Intellympiad", and the General Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF) agreed to sanction this event. The current plan is to hold the first Intellympiad in Beijing in 2008, immediately after the summer Olympics and the Paralympics. At the IGF meeting, China, Japan, and Korea all promised to strongly support this event; AGA and EGF will also be active participants.
      In separate news, Kansai Kiin sent its international director, 6-dan Fujiwara Katsuya (who visited the US Go Congress the past two years) to IGF with the blue print of a new international amateur youth tournament. After much discussion, IGF agreed to take up running this event which will be its third tournament after WAGC and International Pair-Go. Much of the detail of this tournament is still in the planning. So far we only know for sure that it will be a team event, with two 3-player teams
from each of China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Europe, and North America; there will be two age tiers of competition, 15 and 18; the tournament will "emphasize cultural exchange and friendship, not competition"; and the event will be held in July or August each year, starting in 2007.
      The 2006 WAGC concluded on the evening of May 31. The hosts, generous and gracious as always, once again outdid themselves in hospitality. Quite properly, there were fireworks at the dock outside the tournament site shortly after the closing ceremony: there is much to look forward to in the future of international go.


June 10 : Piscataway, NJ
Feng Yun Go School Monthly rated tournament
Feng Yun 973-992-5675

June 10: Sacramento, CA
Davis/Sacramento Quarterly Tournament
Fred Hopkins 973-992-5675

June 17: Richmond, VA
Virginia Open
William Cobb 804-740-2191

June 17: Tacoma, Washington
Late Spring Go Tournament
Gordon E. Castanza

July 2: Seattle, WA
Ratings Tournament
Jon Boley 206-545-1424

July 8-9: Manitoba
Manitoba Open Go Tournament - 2006
Arax Orantz 204-222-1310

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