News from the American Go Association

December 25, 2006
Volume 7, #109

Beginner's Lesson
YOUTH GO: A Club Grows in La Costa

TEEN KUPON TOPS BRER FOXX IN CHI: High school student Austin Kupon 2d took top honors in the December 9 Brer Foxx Memorial Tournament in Chicago, Illinois. Two dozen players participated. "Kupon is still in high school," reports TD Bob Barber, "we expect great things of him. (Shodan Challenger Coordinator) Laura Kolb is challenging herself to be shodan by next Congress. This is the second time Herve Liotard is a winner; he took the money back to France to buy his parents Christmas presents. And our heartiest congrats go to Phil Wall, who won so that we wouldn't have to."
       Winner's Report: 1st Place Dan: KUPON, Austin 2d; 1st Place Low Kyu: KOLB, Laura 2k; 2nd Place Low Kyu: WALL, Philip 4k; 1st Place Mid Kyu: LIOTARD, Herve 9k.

SMARTGO 2.4 RELEASED: SmartGo 2.4 has just been released, "now with over 39,000 games, and numerous enhancements," says Anders Kierulf. "The most improved feature is Guess Next Move: It now tells you when you're close to the right move, or when your move is good but your timing is off. And it keeps track of how you're doing." Get $10 off the regular price through the end of the year: enter 'holiday' as your coupon at

IS YOUR '06 TOURNEY LISTED?: Make sure your tournament is reported in the 2006 American Go Yearbook, now in production! Click here -- -- to review the current list of nearly 80 2006 tournaments, and also make sure we have photos of your event. Send reports and photos to us at

NEW YOUTH GO WEBSITE PLANNED: The American Go Association (AGA) and the American Go Foundation (AGF) are seeking volunteers to launch a new youth-oriented site, reports Youth Editor Paul Barchilon. "A team of at least five people is needed: graphic artist, web developer, editor and two teachers," says Barchilon. "Someone with cartooning skills would be ideal. There is a charming site for kids in Korea ( ), and the British Go Association has one as well ( )." Anyone who is interested in the project and would like to volunteer can contact Barchilon at

CHO U STILL A CONTENDER: Despite losing two titles recently (the Oza earlier this month and the Meijin in November), Cho U 9P is still a serious contender for major titles in Japan. He currently holds the Gosei among the top seven titles, along with the Agon and the Ryusei, which is more than any other Japanese pro, although both Takao Shinji 9P and Yamashita Keigo 9P hold two of the top seven. Cho is in the Meijin league (to determine the next challenger for Takao Shinji) and has a 3-0 record in the seven round Honinbo League (also to determine the next challenger for Takao), which is matched only by Cho Sonjin 9P who is also 3-0. Cho lost to Yamashita in the third round of the Judan, and is in the next Tengen tournament, though he has yet to play a game. He lost out on being the challenger for the Kisei this time only on tie breaks, an impressive record in the top seven.

RUI NAIWEI IN WOMEN'S KUKSU SEMIFINALS: Rui Naiwei 9P, who currently holds all three Korean Women's titles--the Myeongin, the Kuksu, and the Kisung, has reached the semifinals of the 12th Women's Kuksu (National Champion) Tournament in Korea. She is paired against Lee Youngsin 4P. Lee, who is just turning thirty while Rui is in her forties, won this title in 1998, but has won no other titles. Rui is scheduled to defend her Myeongin title against Lee Dahyeoi 3P in January. Rui has won the Women's Kuksu four times, the Women's Myeongin five times, and is the only winner of the Women's Kisung, which just started in 2006.

CHONGQING TEAM DOMINATES CHINESE A LEAGUE: The Chongqing team came out on top of the highly popular traveling teams competition in China, which has now completed its two-stage season. The League involves twelve teams of four players, with some substitutions in some matches, and the Chongqing team was basically Gu Li 9P, Yu Bin 9P, Wang Xi 9P, and Wang Lei 5P, with a few appearances by Liu Jing 8P. Out of eleven matches in each stage, they only lost one match in the first stage, with one tie, and two in the second stage, with two ties.

MITCHISON TOPS SCOTTISH BARLOW: Neil Mitchison 1k of Varese took top honors with a 4-0 record the Scottish Barlow Tournament in Edinburgh on December 16th. Thirty-five kyu players turned out. Neil McLean 1k of Elgin was second. The only other four-game winner was Lukasz Rudnicki of Edinburgh. The three top Scottish residents enter the Scottish championship match with current champion Robbie Miller of Edinburgh. These are John O'Donnell of Glasgow, Neil McLean, and Adam Heslop of Edinburgh.

GREAT GO STUFF GOING, GOING...: The bad news: all the copies of Graded Go Problem for Beginners have already been snapped up and we're out of Go World #100. The good news: we've still got copies of Cho Chikun's terrific "GO: A COMPLETE INTRODUCTION" at just $5 and plenty of the rest of our inventory of selected back issues of GO WORLD for only $3 each (or take advantage of our special offer of a complete set of 25 back issues for just $60!). Supplies definitely won't last long at these great prices, so click here now to order!

FREE GO WORLD OFFER: Less than a week left to take advantage of our Year-end offer: join to renew your AGA membership during the month of December and you'll not only get the forthcoming 2006 American Go Yearbook - over 100 pages of the "best of" the E-Journal and a CD with every 2006 game commentary PLUS lots of bonus games AND two copies of Go World! Two terrific go resources AND a full year of the weekly Friday Games Edition: make a good move and act now at

COMING UP FRIDAY: New E-Journal contributor Fan Hui 2P - the strongest ranked European player -- reviews his game against Motoki Noguchi 7D in the Paris Meijin tournament.

THE PLAYING LIFE: Beginner's Lesson
by David Kobak
       Some months ago I submitted a request for go players in my area (Southfield Michigan). I was delighted by the kind responses I received so quickly. After mustering up some nerve I attended a gathering at a local coffee shop. This go group centered around beginners such as myself. After meeting some of the players and observing a game in progress I was asked if I cared to play a teaching game. I accepted, and was rapidly beaten by an 11-year-old, then a 10-year-old. These girls were very polite and gracious winners, especially to a 53 year old priest! I left this first meeting of go players feeling like...I was beaten up by 10 and 11 year olds! I must thank those two young girls. I brought out my go books and began reviewing. I played several games on my computer. I felt inspired to study more and not feel disappointed. They told me the only way to get better was to practice practice practice (sage advice). Ladies, whoever you are, I owe you my thanks. The next time we meet I hope to be a more worthy opponent. My first experience playing go was a true treat.
       Kobak can be reached at

YOUTH GO: A Club Grows in La Costa
       "What I think was most important and most encouraging was that everyone was having tons of fun," says 17-year-old Gil Lee, a senior at La Costa Canyon High School in Carlsbad, California. Like a growing number of kids around the nation, Lee has started a go club at his school, which first met last September, when 17 people showed up. "I used the gigantic hanging board that two of my members made for me to teach some basic connections and 9x9 demos for the first 30 minutes or so. Surprisingly, it was quite successful! I didn't expect everyone to be attentive, but they were for the entire lesson, and I had many good questions. In school, they're all looking forward to Fridays, and I had to make a sign-up sheet for hosting go club meetings because too many guys wanted to host the next one at their house, and it almost seemed like they were going to have a fight over it. I'm very excited that this is working out so well and I'm happy to see many members improving each week. The AGF equipment A FREE CLASSROOM STARTER SET was perfect for our club. Some of the members are asking me to teach them online, and I plan to have everyone sign up on KGS."
       On Sundays Lee takes some of the stronger members with him to the North County Go Club, and in October he took six of them to the Cotsen Tournament in Los Angeles, which he reports was "A very memorable experience, and we all had lots of fun during those two days"
       When the AGF recently checked back in with Gil, he reported that "About 20 members show up on Friday go meetings regularly, and we have 28 members total. We don't play 7 straight hours of go, but mix in other stuff... like Hacky Sack, Guitar Hero, some sports, and whatever...But we do require members to complete three games per two weeks; we have a round robin ladder play going on bimonthly. Anyway, we have loads of fun, and I like how the club is going. Please be sure to include my deepest appreciation to the AGA and the AGF -- I've gotten a lot of resources and tips just when I needed them, and they encouraged me to have faith in what I've started at my high school! I've managed to help five beginners into the 15-20k range and two stronger members into the 11-13k range, while I currently play at 8-9k on KGS. I only regret I didn't know about Go earlier in my life."
       Between writing college application essays, homework, and other commitments, Lee has managed to make a website for his club. Check it out at:  His future plans for the club include attracting more members and ultimately hosting tournaments.
-Reported by Youth Editor Paul Barchilon. Contact him at

by Eric Lui 7d
       The story goes that if you ask someone in Korea if they know how to play baduk and they say "I know a little," they are 1-5 dan; if they say "I know some," they are 5-7 dan; if the answer is "I know a lot," then they're lying. This story illustrates the humble culture in Korea, where go has its greatest popularity, now played by some 12 million people. Even a random young man I bumped into at the Seoul airport upon arriving for the Jeonju Baduk Festival last month was a strong player. I had come to play for the American Go Association as the official US representative in the 1st Prime Minister's International Baduk Championship, which was part of the Jeonju Baduk Festival, the Korean equivalent of the Go Congress. Jeonju is the hometown of Lee Changho, still the strongest player in the world. I was fortunate enough to get autographs from and pictures with Lee Changho and Yoo Changhyuk, and received the 9th place prize at the award ceremony from Mr. Seo Bongsoo, who recently made it to the semi-final of the Samsung Cup.
       I met up with fellow-Americans Jon Boley 6d and Matthew Burrall 5d, who were studying baduk in Seoul for a few months. Hanging out with them was great, although having people stare at us constantly -- there were a limited number of English-speakers at the event -- was a bit unsettling.
       The Prime Minister Cup saw some early-round surprises, as Japan lost to the Netherlands after missing an endgame atari. I drew the challenging task of facing powerhouse Taiwan in the first round, and lost despite having good chances. In the second round, jet lag caught up with me, and I ran into a world of trouble against Finland. I was able to create a semeai and luckily found myself ahead by one liberty. The tournament concluded with China, Korea, and the Philippines taking the top places; Yongfei Ge of Canada took 5th. When I asked Yongfei about his secret to success, he said that his luggage got misplaced at the airport so he wore the same outfit every day. Matthew, Jon, and I took part in the Lightning Tournament, which featured 64 players and was open only to foreigners. I managed to make it to the top 8, while the final was an interesting matchup between two Chinese players.
       The tournament has long since ended, but memories remain as strong as ever. Beyond the magnificent opening and closing ceremonies, the amazing cuisine, and the spectacular sightseeing, it was particularly enjoyable to watch Matthew die horribly in gote in a friendly Pair Go game. Even more, it was an honor to participate in this championship in the sheer beauty of autumn in Jeonju.

Locate go clubs worldwide at

PLAYERS WANTED: Mansfield, OH: Attention go youngsters...I wish to start a go club in Mansfield; anyone who wishes to play please contact me at (12/25)

FOR SALE: Collector's items. The original American Go Journal from vol. 1, no. 1 (Fall 1949) to vol. 8, no. 4 (Sept. 1961): all 29 issues in very good condition. Also the revived American Go Journal from the 1970s. The big journal from vol. 9, no. 1 (Jan. 1974) to vol. 11, no. 3 (May/June 1976), all 15 issues. The small journal from vol. 11, no. 4 (July/Aug. 1976) to vol. 14, nos. 5/6 (Oct., Nov., Dec. 1979), all 16 issues. The Eastern Go Newsletter from no. 1 (May 1975) to no. 12 (April 1976). The Voice of the Go Movement from no. 1 (May 1976) to no. 6 (Oct. 1976). If interested in any of the above, contact Ted Drange, (12/25)

WANTED: Go players in the area of Noblesville, Indiana. Anyone interested, email (12/25)

PLAYERS WANTED: Bucks/Montgomery Counties, PA: Are there any go players in the Bucks Montgomery area outside of Philadelphia? The Penn Go Society is a little bit of a drive so I was thinking more local. Contact me at

GO PLAYERS WANTED: Clifton Park, NY: Anyone interested, e-mail: or phone: 518-253-9706 (12/18)

WANTED: Volunteers to help run go panel/booth at upcoming AnimeNEXT anime convention, July 6 - 8, 2007, Meadowlands Exposition Center, NJ;  For more information call 646-821-5588 or email (12/11)

FOR SALE: Go Review, complete set, all 164 issues from Jan. 1961 to Spring 1977. If interested, contact Ted Drange, (12/11)

FOR SALE: Complete go set; board 2 1/8 inch Agathis, shin-kayabowls, 8mm glass stones. Lightly used for ~10 games. Contact John if interested. (11/27)

BOARDS AVAILABLE: Custom-made go boards from master craftsman with 30 years experience. 9x9, 13x13, 19x19, single or double sided. You pick the species of wood, thickness and finish. Quotes from (11/27)

SELL IT, BUY IT OR TRADE IT HERE with over 9,000 go-players worldwide! Classified ads are FREE and run for 4 weeks; email your ad to us now at

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

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