News from the American Go Association

November 24, 2006

Volume 7, #100 (Member's Edition)


LETTER FROM JAPAN: Goodbye, The Congress I Love
MY CORNER: World Wide Go!
GAME COMMENTARY: Holiday Cornucopia
ATTACHED FILE(S): 2006.11.24 Lui-Chen, Feng Yun; 2006.11.24 Chang-Smith, Hsiang; 2006.11.24 Counting Territory, Donner Series

WALDRON TOPS UMBC TOURNEY: Scott Waldron 3d topped the November 12 University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) tournament narrowly beating out TianrenTan on tie breaks. Full report Monday.

NEW CLUB GROWS IN DETROIT 'BURBS: The South Oakland Go Club of Michigan, a chapter of the American Go Association, has recently formed, reports local organizer Bill Phillips. A club "primarily for the beginner in the north suburbs of Detroit,"the new group plays on Monday evenings at a local coffee shop. Details on Monday, or check out the club at

TAIWANESE TO LECTURE AT CHI CLUB: Two strong Taiwanese players studying in Chicago will begin a lecture series in January, reports Jason Allen of the Lakeview Go Club. Details Monday.

KONO RIN RETAKES LEAD IN TENGEN: Kono Rin 9P won Game Three to go ahead 2-1 in the defense of his Tengen title in Japan against Yamashita Keigo 9P. Details Monday.

Lee Sedol 9P beat Choi Cheolhan 9P to take the KBS Cup 2-0. Details Monday.

Alex Selby 3d edged out William Brooks 3d on tie breaks to top the 10th Swindon tournament in Great Britain, while Matthew Macfadyen tied up the match for the British Championship against Bei Ge at 2-2. Details Monday.

CHALLENGER'S CHALLENGE: Shodan Challenge Coordinators Lee Huynh and Laura Kolb are looking for dan players to comment games by 2007 Challenge participants. The comments will be just for the players, NOT for publication, and will be a huge help in this program to help players improve their game. If you're a dan player and have a few minutes to review an .sgf file or two, Lee and Laura want to hear from you! Email them at

       This week's question honors Robert Altman -- director of more than three dozen films, including M*A*S*H, McCabe and Mrs. Miller, Nashville and this year's A Prairie Home Companion - who died Tuesday at 81. Which of these Oscar-nominated "go" films was directed by Altman? GOod Night, and GOod Luck, The GOodbye Girl, GOsford Park, or GOodbye Columbus? Click here if you know the answer: One prize-winner will be drawn at random from the correct answers and will be awarded a prize from one of our fine go vendors.
      Congratulations to Young K. Kwon of Pearl River, NY for being among the slim majority of readers who recognized that Roy Laird, who has done practically every other go job -- President, Journal Editor, AGA Director, AGF Director, Congress Pro Liaison -- has never directed a U.S. Go Congress. Every one of our "red herrings" were chosen by someone, so some intros are in order. Ned Phipps is best known for being one of the longstanding strong guys on the West Coast - but he was also the Director of the 4th Congress in Berkeley. Paul Mathews is a mainstay of the AGA, running our rating system, the Rutgers Congress, number 5, was his baby, along with co-Director Rick Mott. Finally, a special thanks to Grant Franks, who stepped up and volunteered to run a Congress when the AGA was in a real bind, and did not have a site. In less than a year he put together the terrific Santa Fe Congress, the 14th, in 1998.
- Go Quiz Editor: Keith L. Arnold, hka

LETTER FROM JAPAN: Goodbye, The Congress I Love
By Noriyuki Nakayama 6P
       I participated in the US Go Congress this year as I have for last 21 years. The US Go Congress, which started in 1985, could just as well be described as "the US Open Go Festival." Participants include players from European countries, Japan and many other countries who love this "Festival" as well as go enthusiasts and go maniacs from every corner of the United States. In this sense, the US Go Congress is quite different in nature from Japanese go seminars. While go seminars in Japan usually last at most two nights and three days, the Go Congress runs eight days and the one in Europe lasts for two weeks. For many participants, these events are a vacation involving spouses and other members of the family. Many wives and children learn go and participate in events like Pair Go, the 9x9 tournament and Kid's Go. The number of participants increases dramatically during the Congress, which marks the biggest difference from these kind of eve nts in Japan.
       The Congress venues usually offer swimming pools, tennis courts, golf courses, hills and forests for picnicking and trail-walking. However, spending eight days in the world of go lures almost everybody into playing, like Emi Redmond, oldest daughter of Michael Redmond and Shen-shen Niu, who participated last year as 20 kyu but this year played as 2 kyu and ended up with 3 wins and 3 losses. The 2 kyu in U.S.A. would match at least amateur 2 dan in Japan.
       The Congress this year was held at Black Mountain in the state of North Carolina. Of the past 21 Congresses, this was probably the most rural, held deep in the country, with crystal-clear streams flowing through the forests which held the buildings housing this year's Go Congress, owned by the YMCA. The Y's Christian daily life rules, including no alcohol, no smoking and no TV leave all kinds of time to play Go, so this must be the heaven for the serious go enthusiasts.
       Participating professionals included Michael Redmond, Shen-shen Niu, and Akihide Murakami from the Nihon Ki-in. The Kansai Ki-in sent three pros including Chen Kaei 9P and Ryo Maeda 6P who had a super-busy schedule teaching young players, as he has been doing every year. Many countries now send go pros including Korea and China, creating a kind of go teaching international competition. I have been engaged in activities to introduce and popularize the game of go in the USA before US Go Congress was organized, but unfortunately, this year's visit will be the last one due to my wife's health problem. I know that I will miss the Go Congress and my friends there very much since I have started this journey when I was 49 and it has lasted a full quarter-century since then.
       On August 19, 2006, my last lecture started after all the Congress events were finished. It had become a kind of Congress custom for me to present a lecture as the final event but this year's -- literally "the last lecture" - attracted most of the approximately 250 people at the Congress. In the standing ovation which lasted long after I finished, overwhelmed by the emotion, I could not find the words to say Goodbye Go Congress, Goodbye America, Goodbye my dear American go friends!
- From the October 9, 2006 edition of the Nihon Ki-in's weekly Go magazine, translated by Frank Fukuda and edited by Chris Garlock.

MY CORNER: World Wide Go!
by Mike Lash, AGA President
       Recently, an unusual coincidence of international events gave the AGA an opportunity to thoughtfully create, and put into action, a strategy for improving our existing relations with three major foreign go associations simultaneously. Dae Yol Kim visited Seoul, Korea with Eric Lui to attend the 1st Prime Minster's Baduk Championship, organized by the Korean Amateur Baduk Association (KABA). As the AGA's ambassador, Dae held extensive talks with officials from the KABA about its recent inception and escalating success, as well as the Hankook Ki won, the Korean professional go association. Both organizations host international events in which we can participate, but AGA officials had not previously met personally with them to discuss their business structure, their plans and our relations.
       At the same time, AGA Executive Vice President Chris Kirschner went to Hang Zhou, China with Jack Shi to attend the annual International Cities Tournament. Hang Zhou was where I made the AGA's first official appearance in China last year. The follow-up this year was very valuable as Chris carried forward discussions started in 2005 and opened new areas of business. As a result, we may see more invitations for the AGA to participate in Chinese tournaments and opportunities for AGA players to study in China may be possible as well.
       And just last week, National Pair Go Coordinator Allan Abramson attended Tokyo with our Pair Go team, Curtis Tang and Wan Yu Chen. Allan met with Nihon Kiin officials to reinforce our strong relations with the Japanese Go community and explore new opportunities for expanding the partnership.
       While most of the AGA's activities serve our members living in the United States, I hope you're as proud as I am that we support, pursue and participate in go all over the world. As go spreads across the globe, we are a part of that movement. The future of international go for the AGA is bright!

GAME COMMENTARY: Holiday Cornucopia
       To help you celebrate this Thanksgiving holiday weekend, we've got a veritable cornucopia of goodies: two game commentaries and an NHK lesson. I-Han Lui 7d gets into trouble early in his game against Zhaonian Chen 8d in the 4th Annual Feng Yun Go Tournament. The commentary is by Feng Yun 9P. 2007 Shodan Challenger Daniel Smith 5k gets a lesson from his opponent and from commentator Thomas Hsiang 8d in our second game commentary. And our very special bonus file today is the first contribution from our new Japan-based correspondent Chris Donner, who translated Yamada Kimio 9Ps terrific lesson on "Counting Territory" from the October issue of NHK's Go Lessons.
       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

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

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