News from the American Go Association

September 4, 2006
Volume 7, #76 (Member's Edition)

Michael Redmond 9P Goes Back to the BeginningBEGINNER'S MIND: Can't Stop Thinking About Go

GO HELPS SOLVE REAL-WORLD PROBLEMS:  "The challenges of Go are more representative of the real-world problems humans face," writes Brendan Borrell in a Newhouse News Service report that appeared in the Seattle Times on August 28. "The pieces may be black and white, but the solutions never are." Borrell goes on to quote Lewis & Clark College professor Peter Drake as saying that solving this class of problems will help in designing electronic circuits, controlling flows in a sewage plant, or building cars that can drive themselves. "It's considered an open question in artificial intelligence," Drake added. Read the whole story online now at  Thanks to Joel R. Simpson for the story tip.

SHIBUMI HEADED TO SILVER SCREEN?: Keanu Reeves plays go-playing assassin Nicholai in a screen version of Trevanian's "Shibumi" now in development, according to EJ writer-at-large Joel Turnipseed who reports that apparently it's "a big Warner Bros. flick." Further details are as hard to come by as the real identity of Trevanian; once rumored to be a pen name of Robert Ludlum, Trevanian turned out to be Rodney William Whitaker, born June 12, 1931 in Granville, New York, who died December 14, 2005 in the English West Country. Find out more about Trevanian at  Further info on the movie can be sent to us at

KOREANS & CHINESE DOMINATE SAMSUNG: Top Korean and Chinese players dominate the field for the Samsung World Go Championship, which begins this Wednesday, September, 6. "It's a pity the Japanese team is not so large and strong this time," notes Goama editor A. Dinerchtein. The players include: KOREA: Lee Changho(9d, runner-up), Choi Cheolhan(9d, best-4), Cho Hunhyun(9d), Yoo Changhyuk(9d), Lee Sedol(9d),Seo Bongsoo(9d, wild card), Park Yeonghun(9d), Park Jungsang(9d), Ko Geuntae(5d), Cho Hanseung(9d), Rui Naiwei(9d, female qualification winner), An Dalhun(7d), Kang Dongyun(5d), Paek Hongsuk(4d), Yun Junsang(4d), Kim Hyeongwoo(1d), Bae Junhee(1d) CHINA: Luo Xihe(9d, winner), Hu Yaoyu(8d, best-4), Chang Hao(9d), Gu Li(9d), Yu Bin(9d), Zhou Heyang(9d), Wang Yao(6d), Piao Wenyao(5d), Chen Yaoye(5d), Zhang Wei(5d), Fan Yijing(1d, female qualification winner); JAPAN: Cho Chikun(9d), Yamashita Keigo(9d), Kono Rin(8d), Kim Sujun(7d). Commented and uncommented games from the tournament will be available online at

CHO U AND LEE SEDOL FACE OFF IN WORLD OZA: Cho U 9P of Japan and Lee Sedol 9P of Korea will face off in the finals of the 3rd Toyota Denso World Oza. In the semifinals, Lee Sedol defeated Lee Changho 9P of Korea by resignation, while Cho did the same to Park Yeonghun 9P of Korea. the best-of-three game finals will be played in early January in Tokyo. Lee Sedol won the first World Oza and Lee Changho won the second, with Chang Hao 9P of China being the runner-up both times. Cho's challenge is to break the Korean's hold on this international title, for which the champion wins abut $250,000.00 US.

YAMASHITA TO CHALLENGE CHO U FOR JAPANESE OZA: Yamashita Keigo 9P defeated Kobayashi Satoru 9P to win the right to challenge Cho U 9P for the Oza title in Japan. Cho currently holds three of the top seven titles in Japan, the Oza plus the Meijin and the Gosei. Later this month he will be facing Takao Shinji 9P, the current Honinbo, in defense of the Meijin title. Cho is also in the running for the challenger's spot in the Judan, but there are several rounds to go in that contest. Yamashita is the current Kisei.

TOP WOMEN PASS ON JEONGGANJANG: With several top women players passing on participating, the Chinese team may have a hard time holding onto the upcoming Jeongganjang Women Go Championship, reports Goama. Rui Naiwei 9P, the strongest woman in the world, decided not to join the Chinese team when they asked her to play the qualification competition first; Hua Xueming 7P says "I decided to skip the tournament, giving more chances for younger players" while Zhang Xuan 8P explains that " My daughter will enter the school soon and I cannot leave her alone."

CHO SEOKBIN WINS TOYOTA-PANDANET TOURNEY: Cho Seokbin 7d of Germany won all six of his games to top the just-concluded Toyota-PandaNet European Go Tour event in Brno, Czech Republic. Csaba Mero 6d of Hungary was second, losing only to Seokbin. Pat Blaogh 6d of Hungary was third, also winning five games. Winning four were Cristian Pop 7d of Romania, Tibor Pocsai 6d of Hungary, Michail Glachendo 5d of Ukraine, Catalin Taranu 5P of Romania, Ondrej Silt 6d of the Czech Republic, and Dmitrij Bogackij of Ukraine. This win puts Cho firmly in the lead in the yearlong tour, which awards 1500 Euros to the top winner.

NO WORLD GO CHAMP: While many sports and games have a single world championship contest, go is different. The latest issue of the new internet go journal from Russia, Goama, points out that there are an increasing number of "world" championships with none seen as dominant, from the LG Cup and the Fujitsu to the Ing Cup, the Samsung, etc. However, Goama, notes, Korea and China do have rating systems that establish the number one player in those countries. In Korea it's Lee Changho, followed by Lee Sedol and Choi Cheolhan, and in China Gu Li, following by Zhou Heyang and Xie He. Alexandre Dinerchtein, creator of Goama, has polled top players about this issue in recent years. The consensus seems pretty clear. Here are the player's views (with the date they gave them): Cho Chikun (2003): 1. Lee Changho, 2. Lee Sedol, and 3. Park Yeonghun. Xie He (2003): Cho Hunhyun, Lee Changho, Lee Sedol. Park Yeonghun (2004): Lee Changho, Lee Sed ol, Choi Cheolhan. Lee Sedol (2005): Lee Changho, Choi Cheolhan, Gu Li. Park Chonsang (2006): Lee Changho, Lee Sedol, Gu Li. Gu Li (2006): Lee Changho, Lee Sedol, Choi Cheolhan. Yoda Norimoto (2006): Korean players are still the strongest in the world.
- Bill Cobb

BOB BARBER'S MEMORIES OF THE 2006 CONGRESS: A gorgeous setting, the Blue Ridge Assembly in Black Mountain, NC featured an original building, Robert E. Lee Hall, started in 1906.many of the buildings had wide porches with rocking chairs, surrounded by mountains and trees...the Congress Opening Ceremony began with a storyteller who linked our obsession with go with a gripping tale of local Native Americans equally obsessed with baseball. scrolls with the ten precepts of go in beautiful calligraphy lined the playing area while in the back of the room, each of the large room dividers had a go problem on one side, with the solution on the other..a member of the North Carolina team created a go board in the shape of the state which was in almost-constant use by players of all strengths (one day, there was even a commentary by Michael Redmond and Nakayama Sensei).live bluegrass Wednesday at Lee Hall and clogg ers at the banquet, as well as the Southern fondness for great desserts at every meal, and this was the first Congress to be woken at 7am by reveille and a recording of "Nothing Could Be Finer"...the Nakayama Award, created to be presented at future Congresses to those who have made a special contribution to this tradition, in honor of the final visit of Nakayama Noriyuki to the US Go Congress, and this year presented to Nakayama Sensei himself -- a beautiful glass Treasure Chest which can hold go stones, the cover of which mirrors the cover of Mr. Nakayama's most famous book -- this work of art was lovingly made (at his own expense) by Jeff Shaevel, who presented it at the banquet.when I bumped into Mr. Nakayama at the airport later, he took the chest out of his carry-on, showed it off, and checked to see if the ladder still worked. It did.
      Barber, who represents the Central Region on the AGA Board, is the AGA's Congress Liaison and a local go organizer in Chicago, IL.

PROFESSIONALLY SPEAKING: Michael Redmond 9P Goes Back to the Beginning
By Chris Garlock 2d
     "It's back to the opening again," American-born professional Michael Redmond 9P told the E-Journal in a recent interview. When we last caught up with Redmond a few years back, he was working on his endgame, which he says is now "acceptable." The 43-year-old Redmond took time from a busy schedule at the 2006 U.S. Go Congress, which he was attending with his wife, Xian-Xian Niu, a Chinese 3-dan professional, their two daughters, Yumi and Emi and Redmond's mother, None.
     Redmond's highlights of the year so far include being one of sixteen participants in the 54th Oza Tournament, and playing Cho in the Gosei. These days, he says he's working on "keeping my concentration; I have a tendency to get tired in the middle of the game." Since part of the challenge is "stamina," a remarkably fit-looking Redmond says he's been "exercising, eating more vegetables, walking a lot, working on improving my health." Redmond says that he's not alone in his efforts. "I've noticed that getting fit is key to the top players who make it to championships and it makes a difference even in shorter games. For instance, the Chinese players are very athletic."
     Looking at the bigger picture, Redmond says "the level of go is improving. It's more innovative now. Even in Japan, because of the elimination of the oteai system, young players now have a chance to play the top players, which gives them opportunities to try their experimental moves against top players." Redmond would like to see "a worldwide rating system" and says that "internet go is the way there, with major servers in Japan, China and Korea." The internet has also been "a wonderful study tool for professionals, a chance to play more games. A lot of pros from Japan, China and Korea, instead of just playing with the same people over and over, now get to play with a much wider range of players, allowing the different cultures to converge."
     Just prior to attending this year's Go Congress, Redmond, long a supporter and advocate for youth go in the United States, had been the lead teacher at the East Coast Youth Go Camp. Born in 1963 in Santa Barbara, California, United States. Redmond began playing go at 11, went to Japan and became an insei at 14 at the Nihon Ki-in, studying with legendary pro Oeda Yusuke 9P and attaining professional 1-dan at age 18. He and his mother None (look for our interview with her in the EJ in the coming weeks) founded the Redmond Cup "to show young players that they can compete, and provide a doorway to the World Youth championships." Redmond said that "When I was playing go (as a youngster) in America, I'd go to an LA tournament every few months and my strength would bounce because I'd get to play strong players."
     Although excited and pleased with the strong showing by young players in this year's Ing and US Open tournaments - in which teens beat both pro Ming Jiu Jiang and top US amateur Jie Li 9d - Redmond expressed concern about "the next generation," noting that "After not being here for four years, I recognize former pre-teens who have grown up, but there aren't as many little children, the next wave."
     Asked for advice on how to improve, Redmond - harking back to his new exercise regiment - advises that "If you want muscles you have to do weightlifting, and life-and-death problems are how you build your go muscles. If your life-and-death is weak it's difficult to become even a strong kyu player." Redmond warns against practicing with difficult problems, noting that "the easy ones are the ones that come up in actual play, and are the ones that are most often messed up." Adds Redmond, "Go through the same set of problems several times: the simple problems are closer to the right tesuji." Pro game study is also key, says Redmond, suggesting "Choose someone you like, which will help you develop a favorite opening and a feel for the game. You have to start somewhere."

BEGINNER'S MIND: Can't Stop Thinking About Go
By Aria von Elbe 17k
      The Go Congress has only just ended, and I can't stop thinking about go. I've been reading my new books, going through my old ones, and of course I'm still speaking in Japanese. Someone please tell me I'm not the only one like this. And there's something new: I'm replaying pro games incessantly, and I'm not sure why. Maybe it's something to do with how much more interaction I had with the pros this year. I was Maeda Ryo 6P's Pair Go partner again this year (don't give up on me sensei! We'll go 2-0 next year for sure!), but this year we played against a pro and his partner in the first round. We lost that round, but to see Duan Rong 7P and Maeda-sensei go at it, while Becky Mulligan and I just sort of sat there and played our own game, albeit on the same board, was breathtaking. Both pros said I made some very good moves, which of course only made me more happy.
     This year I was able to witness a pro-only study group with Redmond-sensei, Nakayama-sensei and XianXian-sensei. That blew my mind; to hear pros talking about moves I didn't understand, running through more variations than I thought possible, counting at the speed of light. But I have to say, XianXian-sensei coming over afterwards and asking me to play her daughter Yumi and having "3 pros and a tennis pro watching" me do it, as Nakayama-sensei said, might have actually pushed me off the edge. All thanks to forgetting to set my alarm clock and missing my open game.
     But there is just something about the pros, either sitting there watching them or having them help you, that just sort of stuns you for a minute. Last year someone told me "if you didn't know, you'd never guess they were pros," and that might be true away from go. But when they get close to a board, or have stones in their hands, or just talk about it, there is no way to miss it. They place stones so elegantly and can make more noise slamming them down than Jie Li and Michael Chen combined. They can answer problems that would make Curtis Tang pause in just a second, and yet there's more than that. They exude this air of intensity when they're playing a game, that you almost feel more inclined to watch them think through the problem then watch the board. They know they don't know everything about the game, but it almost always seems like they do and if they give you advice, you know you're going to use it. We amateur players rarely even register a s blips on their radars, but they don't mind, they sit and play with us and teach us anyway. They love the game, probably more than we ever can, and they're so extraordinary because of it.
     So maybe that's why I'm replaying their games. Maybe I'm hoping that next time Murakami-sensei comes and shows a variation to Jie Li after an Ing game, I can say "oh!" too, because I'll understand what it means.
     Von Elbe has just begun her freshman year at New York University and expects to be frequenting the local go scene.


PLAYERS WANTED (Bayside, NY): Looking for go players in Flushing, Queens or
Long Island NY. It's too lonely by myself and my 2 other go players. Please
reveal yourselves.

PLAYERS WANTED (Ft Myers FL): Seeking go players of all levels in the Ft. Myers, FL area interested in starting a go club. Contact me at 239-543-7823 or my yahoo email, (8/28)

PLAYERS WANTED (Las Cruces NM): Go in Las Cruces, New Mexico? Contact Peter Shotwell, who has just moved there, at (8/28)

WANTED TO BUY: I am interested in buying a copy of the 1982 movie "The Go Masters," original title "Mikan no Taikyoku," with English subtitles. I think there was a VHS-version released that included English subtitles; pretty sure there was no DVD. Contact (8/21)

PLAYERS WANTED (Gallup NM): Looking for go players in the Gallup, New Mexico area. There are a bunch of chess players but they turn blank at the mention of our beloved game. Lee (8/21)

SELL IT, BUY IT OR TRADE IT HERE with over 8,000 go-players worldwide! Classified ads are FREE and run for 4 weeks; email your ad to us now at


September 9: Livermore, CA
Vintage Go Event
Stephen Herrick 925.423.7458
Lynda LoDestro 925.422.6780

September 16: Davis, CA
Davis/Sacramento Quarterly
Fred Hopkins 916.548.8068

September 23: Durham, NC
Triangle Memorial
Paul Celmer 919.779.7925

October 1: Seattle, WA
Ratings Tournament
Jon Boley 206.545.1424

October 8: Somerville, MA
MGA Fall Handicap Tournament
Zack Grossbart 617.497.1232

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

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