News from the American Go Association

July 7, 2006
Volume 7, #56 (Member's Edition)

Chicago, IL & Manitoba, Canada
GAME COMMENTARY: "Go is difficult"
KERWIN'S CONGRESS PREP GUIDE: The High Value of Game Commentaries
ATTACHED FILE(S): 2006.07.07 Cho-Kobayashi, Meijin, Go World #107.sgf; 2006.07.07 Korean Trick Move, Goama.pdf; 2006.07.07 Yang July Puzzle.sgf

CHO NAMCHUL 9P DIES AT 83: Cho Namchul 9P, the first Korean pro and founder of the Korean Baduk Association (Hangguk Kiwon), died on July 2nd at the age of 83. He was born in 1923 and went to Japan at the age of fourteen to become a disciple of Kitani Minoru 9P, returning to Korea in 1943. Cho reached 9P in 1983. He won the Korean Kuksu title when it was instituted in 1956 and held it until he was defeated in 1964 by Kim In 9P. Cho also was the initial holder of the Korean Chaegowi title and held that one for seven years until he was defeated by Kim In in 1967. Cho won a total of thirty titles and was the uncle of Cho Chikun 9P.

ZHAONIAN CHEN & JUNG HOON LEE IN MASTERS B-LEAGUE FINALS: Zhaonian Chen and Jung Hoon Lee play in the finals of the Masters B-League this Saturday July 8 on KGS at 4P last Saturday, July 1. More info at

FLOODS FORCE EAST COAST CAMP MOVE: The East Coast Youth Go Camp has been forced to change locations, due to major flooding of the original Delaware Water Gap site. "Through the generosity and dedication of Steve Wu, we were able to make a rapid change of the location to his hotel, a Days Inn, in Parsippany, NJ," reports a much-relieved David Dinhofer. "Because Steve Wu is a go, weiqi and baduk lover and supporter of youth participation in go -- he ran a winter go camp in the Pocono Inn this past Christmas -- he has extended the time for us to enroll campers," adds Dinhofer. "We still have space at the camp and can handle more campers, including day campers." Get details at or

KOREANS WIN NINTH CONSECUTIVE FUJITSU: Park Jungsang 6P of Korea defeated Zhou Heyang 9P of China in the international Fujitsu to extend the Korean dominance of this major event. Details on Monday.

TAKAO SHINJI SLIPS AHEAD IN MEIJIN LEAGUE: In the League to determine the challenger for Japanese Meijin Cho U 9P, Takao Shinji 9P and current Honinbo has slipped ahead of the other competitors with five wins. Details on Monday.

MARATHON TOURNEY ON IGS: The IGS is sponsoring an online 42-day marathon tournament from July 20th through August 31st. Players are invited to play as many games as possible during this period to vie for the 6th Cho Chikun Judan Cup. Registrations runs from July 7-18 at

NEW LIFE MEMBER BONUS: FREE SMARTGO: Become a life member of the AGA during July and get a free copy of SmartGo! Help the AGA and help your go skills at the same time. If you already have SmartGo, donate the extra copy to a friend or a member of your club. See for more information on the newest version of SmartGo. Join or upgrade your AGA membership now at

SUPPORT TOURNAMENT COORDINATOR WANTED: This volunteer supports the National Coordinator to maintain the national calendar of AGA tournaments and the development of new tournaments. In addition, this person will work on projects set up by the National Coordinator and help individual tournament directors as needed with AGA support. Interested? Email AGA President Mike Lash at To find out more about other opportunities available at the AGA click here:

WEEKEND GO ACTION: Chicago, IL & Manitoba, Canada
- July 8, 2006: Chicago, IL
'Baduk on the Beach' Handicap Tourny
Jason Allen 773.227.1629
- July 8-9, 2006: Manitoba, Canada
Manitoba Open Go Tournament 2006
Arax Orantz 204.222.1310

GAME COMMENTARY: "Go is difficult"
      "Go is difficult," says Cho U 9P, in his commentary on the hotly-contested Game Seven of last November's 30th Meijin Title Match with Kobayashi Satoru 9P. Cho saves his most critical comments for his own play and provides a fascinating look at the workings of one of the world's top go players during match play. The commentary was reported by Akiyama Kenji and translated from Monthly Go World by John Power, taken by permission from Go World #107, Winter 2006.
      Our first bonus file is A Korean Trick Move, taken from the 10th issue of IGN Goama, the new English language go journal on the Internet produced by the Russian Go Federation: is the address to sign up for it.
      Yilun Yang 7P is back this month with the latest in his series of clever life and death problems based on the months of the year. Be sure to turn off "next move" on your go software if you don't want to see the solution.
      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

KERWIN'S CONGRESS PREP GUIDE: The High Value of Game Commentaries
By James Kerwin 1P
      A short word to those who are training, just keep doing what you're doing. By the Congress you want to be able to manage your game without special effort so you can put your effort into playing.
      Every go player wants to get better, and the annual U.S. Congress is a good place to learn. There are lectures, individual lessons, small group lessons, and game commentary sessions. Of these, by far the most valuable are the game commentary sessions. These sessions are go lectures where a pro reviews tournament games. Record your games and take them to the commentary sessions to have a pro look at your game.
      Reviewing your games is an excellent practice, even if you can't get professional commentary. And with a pro commentary on your own game everything the pro says is about your own mistakes. This is the most effective way to improve, bar none.
      The best tool for recording games is PDA, such as a Palm Pilot. The main reason I got a Palm was to record go games, although I use it extensively for other purposes now. If you have a PDA you simply need to download a recording program. I use Pilot GOne (pronounced 'gone' I guess, but I presume it is supposed to mean 'go one') and I'm happy with it. Other programs are available as well. Ask around for recommendations. If you don't have a PDA you're stuck with pen and paper. Take a red and a black pen to the Congress; they have plenty of recording paper there.
      It's actually not easy to record games. If you can remember your game, the best way is to record it after you play. If you can remember 20 or so moves it's best to break about every 15 moves to record those moves. This technique will minimize the interference of recording with concentrating on the game. If you're not to that point yet you're stuck with recording move by move. Practice recording before the Congress.
      At the review session, if you have a PDA you should be able to put the game up pretty efficiently. If you don't you should review the game before so you don't waste time searching for moves. The pro has only a limited amount of time for each game; the more time you waste searching the less commentary you get. Immediately afterwards, make some notes on the comments so you can remember them. If you use a PDA you can enter variations in the game record and keep those too. Go over the game a number of times to really understand what the pro was saying.
      There are a lot of players at the Congress, so you may not get every game looked at. In addition to pro commentary, ask stronger players if they will review a game for you. Don't be shy about asking, just realize that if it's not convenient for them or they just don't want to it's nothing personal. You should have the same attitude asking players for games.
      Finally, after the Congress you can send your games to me or another pro for a commentary. Because you put so much effort into these games, I recommend you have every one reviewed. There is a fee, but it's worth it.
      The next best path to improvement is to play as much as you can, and be sure to ask stronger players for games. And when asked yourself by a weaker player, please return the favor by saying 'Yes.' After the game ask your opponent if s/he would like to review the game, and take some time to go over it. Ask questions about any moves you weren't happy with. Ask what s/he was thinking at various points.
      The other opportunities are worthwhile, but not as valuable. There are many lectures and they're free. They can be entertaining and informative. Small group lessons are good as are individual lessons. All of these can give you insights or new ideas which you can work on after the Congress to continue improving.
       Simultaneous exhibitions are fun. I still remember how thrilled I was the first time I played a pro. But these games are not real lessons, and you don't see the true power of a pro.


CONGRESS NON-PLAYERS WANTED: Seeking non-players at this summer's Congress in Black Mountain who are looking for an active week: exploring local (historical) sites, white water rafting, golf, moderate to strenuous hiking, anything outdoors and away from Go boards. Please contact Laura Champagne at: or use the Go Congress message board at:  (6/30)

VETTERS WANTED for new book "Improve Fast In Go", designed for players in the 15K-5K range desiring to reach Dan status. At least one vetter is sought in each of 3 categories: 5 Dan and Stronger, 4 Kyu - 4 Dan, 5 Kyu - 15 Kyu. If interested in participating, email Milton Bradley at with a brief description of your qualifications. (6/30)

GO LIBRARY FOR SALE: 360 Japanese Go Magazines from 1960 through 2006. Most in good to excellent condition. Classic magazines include Takagawa's 9th defense of 15th Honinbo Title (1960), Hashimoto wins 1st 10 Dan (1962), Sakata takes 2nd Meijin (1963), Rin Kaiho takes 4th Meijin (1965), Cho Chikun and Kobayashi Koichi's first titles, etc. $15 apiece OBO. 400 other items available, including books signed personally by Go Seigen, Sakata, etc. Contact: (6/16)

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Managing Editor: Chris Garlock
Assistant Editor: Bill Cobb

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