News from the American Go Association

July 31, 2006
Volume 7, #63

My First Tournament

CHENG WINS NORTHERN CALIFORNIA OPEN: Michael Cheng 5d won last weekend's Northern California Open, one of the largest tournaments in the Bay Area. Held in San Francisco's Japantown, the mixture of go players skewed young this year, with just a third of the 44 players adults. Seven of the participants played as 4 dan, making a third of the players 4d or above. Also of note was that only two players -- Hugh Zhang and Kevin Liu -- managed to win all five of their games. Ernest Brown directed.
       Winner's Report: 5D+ Division: 1st: Michael Cheng 5d; 2nd: Ned Phipps 7d; 3rd: Reid Augustin 5d; 1D-4D Division: 1st: Lawrence Ku 4d; 2nd: Charles Lo 4d; 3rd: Eric Branlund 1d; 1K-5K Division: 1st: Hugh Zhang 1k; 2nd: Willis Liu 3k; 3rd: Lindin Chiu 3k; 6K-30K Division: 1st: Kevin Liu 10k; 2nd: Jacklyn Yen 21k; 3rd: Henry Zhang 15k.
- reported by Lawrence Ku, special EJ West Coast correspondent

FENG YUN TO ENTER SAMSUNG CUP QUALIFIER: Feng Yun 9P, the Chinese-American player, teacher and author, will enter the qualifying round of the Samsung Cup in Seoul, Korea on August 11. If she qualifies, she will be seeded into the 32-player knockout featuring a top prize of $200,000. Last year Lee Changho lost to Luo Xihe of China, the first time the title has gone to a non-Korean player since 1996. For more information about the tournament go to or Ms. Feng's career as a go professional in the US was described in an article in The New York Times on January 14, when she won the right to play for the US in the World Toyota Denso Oza Championship. Learn more about her career at
- reported by Roy Laird

CONGRESS PASSES 400 MARK: Registration for this year's US Go Congress is now over 400, and with the annual 8-day go extravaganza just three weeks away, turnout may well surpass last year's 480 turnout in Tacoma, WA. Set for August 12-20 in Black Mountain, NC, the Congress features several major go tournaments, simultaneous games with a dozen go professionals from Japan, Korea, China and the US, and enough go to satisfy even the most die-hard go fan. Details at  including a schedule of planned events at

FENG YUN GO SCHOOL GOES TO BEIJING: The eleven young go players participating in the first Feng Yun Go School Summer Camp in Beijing have arrived safely, Feng Yun 9P tells the EJ. "They've immediately been submerged into the intensive yet fun-packed go training activities," she says. The four-week summer camp, organized by Feng Yun Go School, is located at the famous Xingze Go School in Beijing. "The theme is go and Chinese culture," Feng reports. "The campers will be learning and playing go with the local students of the Xingze Go School. In addition, they will have chances to play with the visiting professional players." After classes, Feng Yun will be reviewing and commenting the games the campers play. "It is really a great opportunity to improve their go skills, and in addition to learning go, the campers will be touring many attractions in Beijing - they've already toured the Great Wall, the Forbidden Cit y, Tian An Men Square, the Temple of Heaven, and Beijing University -- and exploring the ancient, mysterious Chinese culture." The young campers have quickly adapted to their new lifestyle at Go Camp. "Many campers keep playing go until late at night and can't get enough from a full day of learning" says Feng Yun. "Just a few days ago, they had the chance to play against world champion Luo Xihe 9P, recent winner of many games in international pro go tournaments and one of the best players in the world." Feng has also arranged to for players to participate in local tournaments organized by Beijing Go Association and will have a chance to get Chinese dan/kyu certificates.

U.S. INVITED TO JOIN NANNING TOURNEY: The United States has been invited to participate in the China Nanning International Weiqi Invitational Tournament, scheduled for August 26 - September 1 in Nanning, China. AGA President Mike Lash is looking for a volunteer to be the players' coordinator; those interested in either coordinating or participating in the tournament can email Lash at The tournament is supervised by the Chinese Weiqi Association.

NEW GO SONGBOOK AVAILABLE: Silly go songs have been a part of the U.S. Go Congress for years, to the delight of some and perhaps the chagrin of others. Winners of the Bob High Memorial song writing contest are sung at the banquet; and somewhere after the banquet, someone will be singing "The Go-Dan vanity", "I Made it Miai," "Buddy, Can You Spare an Eye?" and other favorites from over the years. Editor Bob Felice has updated and expanded The Official AGA Songbook, weighing in now at 130 pages. Download it for free from  or get one from Bob for $14 at the Congress (contact him at; there will be a limited number of copies available at the Congress) or write to for how to get your copy.

CHO U SWEEPS GOSEI TITLE: Cho U 9P has taken the Japanese Gosei title from Yoda Norimoto 9p in three straight games, winning the first by only a half point and the last by two and a half. Yoda had held the title for three consecutive years, taking it from Kobayashi Koichi 9P in 2003. Yoda also held the Gosei title for three years from 1996 through 1998, when he lost it to Kobayashi Koichi. This is Cho's first win of this title. He has held the Oza for the last three years and the Meijin for two years. Although he is generally considered the top player today, he has never held three of the top seven titles: the Kisei, which is the most prestigious, the Judan, and the Tengen. Although he has won many titles in the past and was the finisher in Japan's recent triumph in the international team Nongshim Cup tournament, this was Yoda's only current title.

TAKEMIYA IN TENGEN FINALS: Takemiya Masaki 9P, who's now in his fifties and hasn't won a title since the '90s, has made it to the finals of the Japanese Tengen challenger's tournament. He will face Yamashita Keigo 9P and current Kisei in the finals, but may not be unduly intimidated by this since he had to defeat current Honinbo Takao Shinji 9P to gain the finals. Takemiya has won twenty-two titles in his career, is one of the most popular pros in Japan on a personal level, and is famous for his center-oriented "Cosmic Style" of play.

JAPANESE OZA CHALLENGER FINALISTS SET: Kobayashi Satoru 9P defeated Iyama Yuta 7P to join Yamashita Keigo 9P in the finals of the Oza challenger's tournament. Iyama is the teenager who surprised everyone by winning the Agon Cup last year (he lost to Cho U in the first round of that fast play contest this year). Cho U 9P, who now holds three of the top seven titles in Japan, is the current Oza.

MEIJIN CHALLENGER'S LEAGUE GOING DOWN TO THE WIRE: With only four games to go in the nine player league to determine this year's challenger for Cho U's Meijin title, one player has five wins (Takao Shinji 9P current Honinbo) and five players have four wins (Yamashita Keigo 9P current Kisei, Yamada Kimio 9P, Sakai Hideyuki 7P past winner of the World Amateur Go Championship, Yoda Norimoto 9P, and Han Zenki 7P who, like Sakai, has never won a pro title).
The games are scheduled for August 3rd.

GOGOD UPDATED & EXPANDED: The latest update of the GoGoD Encyclopaedia and Database is now out with over 40,200 authenticated games in the database. "There has been special focus on the early Oteai games and earlier Korean games," reports T. Mark Hall "but we have a newly discovered Kitani game and Sakata has now become a milligod with over 1000 games." The encyclopaedia portion now contains its own mini-library of around 10 books or book-length features (not counting collections of games or problems), boosted by recent contributions from Charles Matthews and Denis Feldman, plus around 300 features, the complete and expanded New In Go - check it out at -- hundreds of pictures, and many well-tested programs (for Windows users only - but Mac users can access all text, which is in html format). "Of course, we cover t he entire Orient, and the last two millennia," adds Hall. "All for the cost of maybe three normal books." See the GoGod website for purchase details: Current subscribers and contributors will receive their copy either by mail or in person at the US Go Congress.

HUANG WINS GO QUIZ: Rui Naiwei 9P was the first woman to win a pro tournament not restricted to women, the Kuksu. Tim Huang is this week's winner, selected at random from those responding correctly.

THIS WEEK'S GO QUIZ: Go Seigen's playing career was cruelly shortened by an accident, when he was hit by: a truck, a motorcycle or a car? Click here to vote:  One winner will be drawn at random from the correct answers and will be awarded a gift certificate from one of our fine go vendors, or a free Limited membership.

By Paul F. Glenn 30k
      My first go tournament was the July 22 Congress Tune-Up, held in Arlington, VA, and it was quite an experience. I've been playing go for a little over a year, but have struggled a lot with the game. I still make the same basic mistakes, and have progressed little. Most of my playing has been on-line, mainly via email, so I thought playing face-to-face might help my game. I know from my experience playing chess that I do better looking at a real board and real pieces, so I thought that might be true of go as well.
      The tournament itself was very well-run: Allan Abramson did a great job of organizing it, and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. A few things stood out to me. First, I was impressed at the skill level. There were far more people at the ten kyu ranking or better than I expected (about half of the players, I think). Given that I've been stuck at 30 kyu for a year, I was impressed with how good these people are. I was also struck at how good the kids are. In my second-round game, I played a teenaged girl who easily beat me by a huge margin. Other kids, some of them even younger, were even more impressive. Depressing, too. It's not good to resent kids, I know, but it can't be helped sometimes. Too bad my parents didn't teach me to play when I was a kid.
      In the first two rounds, I was beaten really badly. My first opponent defeated me by about 40 points after giving me a 3-stone handicap and I resigned the second game after it became clear that I would lose by at least one hundred points. I stewed and seethed over lunch with a friend. It's incredibly frustrating to play for more than a year and get nowhere. Adding to the frustration is that several of my friends who started playing around the same time have vastly outpaced me. I'm sure I was a very pleasant lunch companion.
      So I wasn't looking forward to the third round, but with a ten-stone handicap, I actually played reasonably well. I've certainly played with a handicap before, but not that big. With ten stones, no matter where my opponent played, I had at least one stone nearby. I ended up winning, which I'm sure is more a reflection of the handicap than my skill, but it still felt nice to win. I was byed out of the fourth round game - presumably because there was an odd number of players by the end of the tournament - so I went out on a win, which was nice.
      Even though it was incredibly frustrating at times, I actually had a good time at the tournament. I'm not sure if playing face-to-face helps, but I want to try it again. I'll probably try another tournament. At the rate I'm progressing, I'll be 20 kyu or so in time for the 2016 Congress Tournament, so beware.
      Glenn, a freelance writer and professor, lives in Wheaton, Maryland.


August 12-20, 2006: Black Mountain, NC
The 22nd US Go Congress
Paul Celmer 919.779.7925

Published by the American Go Association
Managing Editor: Chris Garlock
Assistant Editor: Bill Cobb

Text material published in the AMERICAN GO E JOURNAL may be reproduced by any recipient: please credit the AGEJ as the source. PLEASE NOTE that commented game record files MAY NOT BE published, re-distributed, or made available on the web without the explicit written permission of the Editor of the E-Journal. Please direct inquiries to

Articles appearing in the E-Journal represent the opinions of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official views of the American Go Association.

To make name or address corrections, go to Story suggestions, event announcements, Letters to the Editor and other material are welcome, subject to editing for clarity and space, and should be directed to:
Editor: Chris Garlock

American Go Association P.O. Box 397 Old Chelsea Station New York, NY 10113-0397