World Go News from the American Go Association

March 12, 2007
Volume 8, #21

YOUTH GO: Profiles of Lawrence Ku, Xiao Feng Ha, Landon Brownell, Tony Zhang & Calvin Lee
CAN'T STOP THE MONKEY JUMP: A Beginner Studies the Pros

ROCKVILLE BREAKS DC WINNING STREAK: With a tied score of 6-6, the Rockville (MD) go club finally broke the Greater Washington Go Club’s unbroken string of victories in Friday’s match-up (left), the latest in the nearly year-long series of team matches in the metro Washington area. “Nothing is forever,” admitted GWGC team captain Haskell Small, “GWGC can gloat we are still undefeated, but this may be a hollow claim -- RCGC has pulled even, and next time anything can happen!” Small offered the ceremonial victory fan to the RGCG team, but “The RGCG felt obliged to earn that privilege with an unequivocal win the next time around,” said co-host John Goon. Meanwhile, RGCG team captain Juan Pablo Quizon announced the creation of a new award to honor the Most Valuable Player in the match. The award, a carving of a monkey’s head from a coconut shell, will be presented by Quizon to the MVP at the next match. photo courtesy John Goon

ROYCE BITES BIG APPLE: Liam Royce 16k topped last Sunday’s Big Apple Tournament with a 4-win sweep at the New York Go Club in New York City. Three-game winners included Greg Rosenblatt 4d, Kei Kawabata 4k, Edward Gaillard 3k, Leonard Baum 5k and Neil Bernstein 8k.

SEATTLE & HAWAII HOST YOUTH QUALIES: The 2007 US Youth Go Championship (USYGC) tours the West Coast and beyond this month. Qualifiers will be held in both Seattle and Hawaii this weekend, while San Francisco will host their event the following weekend. Fifteen-year-old Lawrence Ku 6d (the EJ’s West Coast correspondent) is favored in Seattle for the senior bracket, while Landon Brownell 7d, who will miss the Seattle qualifier (he’s competing in the state chess championships that weekend) may make the SF qualifier the following week, where Calvin Lee 6d and Tony Zhang 4d will top the field. Looking to Hawaii this weekend, the senior bracket is shaping up as a contest between 17-year-old Kevin Kitamura 1d and feisty 15-year-old Xiao Feng Ha, who’s rated at 1k, but is aiming for 5 dan by the US Go Congress. In the junior bracket, look for 4th grader Chase Keesler to make a strong showing. Keesler is approximately 12 kyu with the rest of the junior field not far behind and catching up. With so many exciting young players competing, we have a full slate of youth bios for our readers this week (see below). As the month continues AGA West Coast Correspondent Lawrence Ku will be reporting from Seattle, and Orange County senior bracket winner Matthew Burrall will be covering the San Francisco event for the E-Journal. We should have a full report on Hawaii as well, and game records from several of these events.
- Paul Barchilon, Youth Editor

YANG, KERWIN, US CONGRESS, WEBSITE UPDATES: This week regular EJ contributor Yilun Yang 7P begins a brand-new problem series, this one focusing on the endgame. We hope you enjoy these elegant problems; click here to get the weekly game commentaries in Friday’s Member’s Edition. And look for a new series soon from James Kerwin 1P, another longtime EJ contributor whose last series covered how to train for the Go Congress. Also coming soon, a Special Congress edition of the E-Journal previewing both the US Go Congress and the European Go Congress. Be sure to check our website regularly, as it’s often updated between issues as go news breaks.

YOUTH CAMP DEADLINE EXTENDED: The Early Registration Deadline for the Youth Go Camp West in Tacoma has been extended to March 31 (postmark date), reports Coordinator Brian Allen. "We are offering the $50 discount to players at the US Youth Go Championship Regional Tournament, which takes place next weekend at the March 17-18 Seattle Go Center,” says Allen. “Winners of both age brackets also get a $400 scholarship to the Go Camp of their choice." Mingjiu Jiang 7P (right) will lead the instruction at the West Coast Camp. A visit to Mt. Rainier will be included in the week's activities. For more information on all three Go Camps (Michigan, Washington and China) check out the Summer Camp page on the AGA website. caption: Mingjiu Jiang 7P at Mt Rainier during Go Camp West 2006.

ANDY LIU TO LECTURE AT NY CLUB SUNDAY: The New York Go Center’s Master Player Lecture Series features US Champion – and 2007 World Amateur Go Championship US Rep -- Andy Liu 8d this Sunday. “Although Andy is still in high school, he may be the strongest amateur player in the country at the moment,” says the NYGC’s Roy Laird. “In fact, he's more than that -- to win the US Open this summer, he went undefeated in a field that included Bay Area pro Mingjiu Jiang!” The club day fee is required for non-members, but there is no additional charge, and you can come from 1P onward and stay until closing, and play as much go as you want. Liu will present two of his recent games at 3P and take questions. Send an e-mail to to reserve a seat.

HINOKI PUBLISHES TAKAO’S “BRUTE FORCE”: Hinoki Press has just released a new go book: Pure and Simple: Takao's Astute Use of Brute Force, by Takao Shinji 9P. Takao, one of the top Japanese pros, shows how to find simple, effective lines of plays in all aspects of the game, with particular attention to the creation and use of thickness. Takao also offers a thorough analysis of some of his recent games, illustrating the techniques he has discussed. Available from Slate & Shell

PARIS HOSTS TOYOTA PANDANET FINALE: The International Paris Go Tournament, the biggest go competition in Europe after the European Congress, is scheduled for April 7-9 in Paris, France. As many as 350 players of all ranks from over 20 countries are expected to participate in the 12th and final event in the Toyota Pandanet European Go Tour, a competition which offers large prizes for the strongest players. Click here for complete details.

TOMA & DUGIN WINS EURO YOUTH CHAMP: Eleven-year-old Theodor Toma 2k (right) of Romania won the under-12 European Youth Championship title, while Artem Dugin 5d of Russia won the under-18 title. Both players swept their divisions with six wins each. Toma’s father and coach Dr. Iulian Toma 3d will captain of European team when they participate in the World Youth Championships later this year in Boston, MA,
- Marilena Bara, European EJ Correspondent

KATO TAKES JAPANESE WOMEN'S MEIJIN: Kato Keiko 5P (left) defeated Aoki Kikuyo 8P 2-1 to gain her first title. Aoki has held this title five times, first in 1990, and has held several others. Kato has been the challenger twice for the Women's Kisei.

CHO CHIKUN 1-0 IN JUDAN DEFENSE: Cho Chikun 9P (r) took the first game in the defense of his Judan title against Yamashita Keigo 9P. Cho is going for a third straight year of holding the Judan. Yamashita, who has never won this title, was also the challenger last year. This is the only title Cho currently holds. Now in his fifties, Cho has become a member of the older generation among Japanese pros.

ZHOU RUIYANG WINS CHINESE XINREN WANG: Zhou Ruiyang 4P defeated Wang Lei 5P 2-0 to win the 14th Chinese Xinren Wang tournament. Zhou pulled off a 1.5 point victory in the first game, but took the second by resignation. This "New Pro" event is restricted to players under thirty and 7P. This is Zhou's first title; he is still a teenager, a bit younger than Wang who is just into his twenties. The women's version of this tournament was won by Cao Youyin 2P, defeating Tang Yi 2P 2-1 to gain her first title.

CHO U TAKES NEC CUP IN JAPAN: Cho U 9P defeated Takao Shinji 9P to win the fast play NEC Cup. With a winner's prize of about $145,000 US, this tournament involves the top sixteen players in Japan in terms of titles held. Cho U also won it in 2005. Cho now holds four Japanese titles, but only one of the top seven, the Gosei, which he took from Yoda Norimoto 9P last year. Takao currently holds both the Meijin and the Honinbo titles.

RUI NAIWEI 1-0 IN WOMEN'S KUKSU: Rui Naiwei 9P defeated Cho Hyeyeon 7P by a mere half point to take the first game in the finals of the Women's Kuksu in Korea. This is the fifth time these two have met in the finals for this title. So far, Cho has won only one of those matches, though she has held the title twice. Rui has won it four times. Since 2000 these two are the only players to win this title.

      This is the latest in the E-Journal’s ongoing profiles of top contenders in the US Youth Go Championships.
     LAWRENCE KU is a fifteen-year-old 6 dan from northern California. He learned how to play go at Chinese school when he was nine years old, and reached shodan four years later. “I only played 1-2 games a week, even when I was a kyu player, so it took me a long time to get to Shodan,” he tells the EJ. He admits to reading lots of go books in his free time, though. Ku is currently learning go from Mingjiu Jiang 7P, and is the 2007 Jujo Youth Cup runner-up. He says young players should “go to as many tournaments as they can, and also, be serious about every game they play.” Besides playing go, he enjoys writing for the E-Journal and typing up tournament reports for the AGA.
     XIAO FENG HA is a high school sophomore. She started playing go in November of 2005 and has been receiving lessons from Koji Nochi sensei at the Hawaii Go Club. Her current strength is about 1 kyu. She also plays on KGS. Her favorite go book is "Korean Style of Baduk". She attended the 2006 Go Camp, and her goal is to become 5 dan by this year’s US Go Congress.
      LANDON BROWNELL 7d is from Corvallis, Oregon. He is seventeen years old, and was home schooled. He learned go with his brother four years ago, and he still does not have a teacher. At the 2005 Go Congress, he won first place in the 4-dan division. Landon is a national high school chess champion, and he likes go and chess equally well.
      TONY ZHANG, a 13-year-old 4 dan, was first exposed to go at his weekend Chinese school. He was 7 at the time, and at the age of nine he started playing go on the internet as well. With his father's guidance, he reached shodan within three years. He attended the 2005 AGA summer youth camp as well as the US Go Congress. Later, he began to study Chinese go books with his father, who is an AGA 1 dan. Tony plays at the Menlo Park Go Club and sometimes has his games reviewed by Mingjiu Jiang 7P. He enjoys playing tennis and ping pong with his friends and is in both his local youth orchestra and his middle school orchestra.
     CALVIN LEE, a 17-year-old 6 dan tells the E-Journal “I started playing go in April of 2004 after watching Hikaru No Go. I found a few friends at my high school who played and they showed me the ropes. I taught myself by reading books, watching games, and playing online on KGS. I reached Shodan about five months after I started playing. I have no professional teacher even now, so it's pretty difficult to improve, but I'm still trying my best. I guess an interesting fact about me would be that I can solve the Rubik's Cube in around 20-25 seconds. Outside of go I am the layout editor for the school yearbook. I am on the volleyball team, and I do math competitions. I also participate in speech and debate, and I play guitar for my church. I don't have any career goals, but I'm looking to attend a good college and major in either pure mathematics or computer science.”
- reported by Paul Barchilon, Lawrence Ku, Sid Kobashigawa, Mrs. Zhang and Calvin Lee

CAN'T STOP THE MONKEY JUMP: A Beginner Studies the Pros
by Motoko Arai
     Place a single black stone on the board. Next to it, put another black stone. That stone can be referred to in many ways: extension (nobi), crawl (hai), push (oshi), descent (sagari), etc., and depending on the white stones around it, you can say "butt against" (butsukari) and so on. Do you dare to think that a beginner can understand all the differences? This is what I want to discuss. If you can, it's best to learn to play go when you're young. Which is to say, this situation has a lot in common with a child's acquisition of his/her native language.
    Okay, let's see: I (subject), go (object), play (verb). Let's take this situation. We want to express this in English. I, go, play. Okay, the meaning gets across, but if we try for something a bit more fluent: I play go. / I am playing go. / I am a go player.
Yup, all of these have "I" as the subject, doing go. Depending on the point you're making, the way of expressing this thought changes. Each of the above three sentences has a vaguely different meaning. But if you try to explain the difference between them it's pretty tough, isn't it? For example, try to explain the difference between "I play go" and "I am a go player" to someone who isn't a native English speaker and I think you'll find it pretty difficult. Just like a native English speaker can sense the difference between "I play go" and "I'm a go player" intuitively, so someone who has played go since childhood - a kind of "go native speaker" - can sense the difference in the ways of referring to our solitary black stone, intuitively.
    And guess what? Just maybe, the people who generally write go commentaries and books are "native go speakers." They can read and understand the jargon intuitively, without crib notes or dictionaries or grammars close at hand. But for an absolute beginner...
    I'm not saying that there should be a translation for every piece of go commentary. That would probably be even more complicated. But there are "non-native speakers" out there who play the game too. And, well, if people could just keep this in mind, it would be a wonderful thing.
    Motoko Arai is an award-winning science fiction author in Japan. Translated by Chris Donner from the Nihon Kiin's Go Weekly, December 4, 2006.


March 17-18: Seattle, WA
USYGC Regional Qualifier
Sponsored By the Ing Foundation This is one of three in the Western Region
Gordon Castanza 253.853.4831
Jon Boley 206.545.1424

March 17: Tempe, AZ
Arizona Go rating tournament
1 pm at ASU
Bill Gundberg 480.429.0300

March 18: Catonsville, MD
UMBC Spring Thing
Todd Blatt 443.392.6822

March 18: New York, NY
Master Player Lecture Seres at The New York Go Center
US Champion Andy Liu
Roy Laird 212.223.0342

March 20: Tempe, AZ
Arizona Go rating tournament
7 pm at ASU
Bill Gundberg 480.429.0300

March 23-25: Ann Arbor, MI
James Kerwin Workshop
Eric Jankowski 734.417.5547

March 24-25: San Francisco, CA
SF Go Club Spring tournament and World Youth Go Championship qualifier
Registration for the WYGC must be received by Mar. 17
Steve Burrall 916.688.2858

March 24: Raleigh, NC
Spring Fuseki
Owen Chen 919.531.9234

March 24: Syracuse, NY
6th Semi-Annual Syracuse Go Tournament
Richard Moseson 315.682.7720

March 25: Sunnyvale, CA
11th Jujo Jiang Cup Youth Goe Tournament
Mingjiu Jiang 650.969.2857
Joe Lee 408.255.5117

March 31: Arlington, VA
Cherry Blossom
Allan Abramson 703.684.7676

April 1: Ames, IA
The All-Iowa Tournament
Hosted by the Cyclone Go Club of Iowa State University
Ramon Mercado 787.410.1977

April 1: College Park, MD
John Groesch Memorial
Steve Mount 301.405.6934
Neil Bernardo

April 1: New York, NY
New York Go Center Monthly Rating Tournament
TD: Boris Bernadsky 212.223.0342

April 7: Baltimore, MD
5th Annual Hopkins Go Tournament
Lisa Scott 816.651.6347
Scott Waldron 410.236.4668

Locate go clubs worldwide at

FOR SALE: "The Breakthrough to Shodan" by Naoki Miyamoto, 9-Dan, translated by James Davies, The Ishi Press, 1976. This hard-to-find work is based on a series of 10 articles on 3- and 4-stone handicap play that Miyamoto wrote for the Igo Shincho in 1973 and 1974. He makes the case that getting to shodan is not a matter of talent or genius, but of
focusing on fundamentals, then presents a series of basic ideas to be followed in play with practical illustrations. This paperback is in good condition, a bit scuffed up with one corner starting to come apart a tiny bit, but overall sound. It belonged at one time to the
Association Quebecoise des Joueurs de Go. $95 or best offer plus postage. Contact Andy at (3/12)

PLAYERS WANTED: Monument, CO: Anyone in the area of Monument, Colorado willing to start a go club, or just someone to play against. Also anyone who has any ideas on where to host a go club. Please contact (2/26)

WANTED: Go-playing Chinese-speaking English-speaking China Guide. I am looking for one person who will travel through China with me, exploring China and playing go. I will pay expenses but no salary. Please email (2/26)

FOR SALE: 6 go books, all in great condition. Janice Kim's Learn to Play Go,Volumes 1-5, and Elementary Go Series Vol.2, 38 Basic Joseki. Retails ~$90, sellingfor $50. Email at (2/26)

SELL IT, BUY IT OR TRADE IT HERE with nearly 10,000 go-players worldwide! Classified ads are FREE and run for 4 weeks; email your ad to us now at

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Managing Editor: Chris Garlock
Assistant Editor: Bill Cobb

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