World Go News from the American Go Association

April 9, 2007
Volume 8, #30

Phil Waldron Takes On MoGo
YOUTH GO: Boulder Kids Profiled
PROFESSIONALLY SPEAKING: Keeping the Apprentice System Alive

ERIC LUI COMPLETES 2-TOURNEY SWEEP: In an impressive back-to-back performance, Eric Lui 8d (l) won the dan section at the University of Maryland John Groesch Memorial tournament on April 1, adding to his March 31 NoVa Cherry Blossom Tournament trophy (ERIC LUI SWEEPS DC CHERRY BLOSSOM 4/2 EJ). Eric Eller won the John Groesch Memorial Prize for the best result by a player under the age of 20 who is new to tournament go. Twenty players participated, Chuck Robbins was TD and the Groesch family provided refreshments.
WINNER'S REPORT: DAN (4 players): 1st: LUI, Eric 8d (3-1). 2nd: BERNARDO, Neil 2d (3-1) 3rd: BENGSTON, Matthew 1d (3-1). KYU DIVISION A: 1-10k(11 players): 1st: PETERSON, Max 4k (4-0). 2nd: MOUNT, Steve 4k (3-1). KYU DIVISION B: 11-30k(5 players): 1st: XU, Stephanie 16k (4-0). John Groesch Memorial Prize: ELLER, Eric 14k (2-2). photos courtesy Steve Mount (at left in top right photo, playing Todd Heidenreich)

YUANXIN XI WINS DAVIS-SAC TOURNEY: Yuanxin Xi 2d won the March 31 Davis/Sacramento Spring Quarterly in Davis, CA. Twelve players from the Bay area, foothills and Central Valley attended. WINNER'S REPORT: Division I (2d to 1k) - 1st: Yuanxin Xi, 2d, 2nd: Jeff Newmiller, 1k, 3rd: Willard Haynes, 1d. Division II(2k to 20k) - 1st: Leo Leung, 20k, 2nd: Vincent Eisman, 8k, 3rd: Richard Simpson, 13k.

CRUMPLER & MILLER TOP ALL-IOWA: Ken Crumpler and Matt Miller topped the April 1 All-Iowa Tournament, while the Cyclone Go Club retained the All-Iowa Cup for the fifth straight time. Crumpler, from Kansas City tied for first with Matt Miller, from Ames, IA, both with 3-1 records. “Ken went home with the Yunzi stones and bowls,” reports Ramon Mercado, “while Matt took the bamboo board, both items donated by Yellow Mountain Imports.” The Cyclone Go Club’s All-Iowa Cup win made it the club’s fifth consecutive Cup win. “We hope to inspire other surrounding clubs from Iowa and beyond to come and challenge the Cyclones for the title of Iowa's strongest,” said Mercado. The Ames-based Cyclones sponsored the tourney, which drew 18 players, from as far away as Chicago and Kansas City. The money raised will be used to help the winner of the CyGo Congress Scholarship with room and board expenses. This year's scholarship winner was Tyson Williams (l), ”who also received a beautiful Duel Timer clock donated by Slate and Shell.”
WINNER’S REPORT: 1st: Ken Crumpler & Matt Miller (tie); 2nd: Lee Huynh (Chicago), Jeff Bradshaw (Ames), and Bob Ayres (KC) (3-way tie); 3rd: Louis Schenck (Des Moines), “who has the distinction of being the only player to beat our local 4D Hong Hua. photos by Ramon Mercado

LIEF TOPS IN OAHU: Aaron Lief 12k topped the 5-player Kailua District Park Go Tournament on March 31, in Kailua, Hawaii. “It was a small tournament with only scholastic players,” reports TD Frank Alejandro, “but lots of interesting games.” OPEN SECTION (5 players): 1st Lief, Aaron 12k, 2nd Warner, Aston 14k, 3rd Souza, Christian 16k

YASUHIRO WINS EURO TOUR FINAL: Paris Nakano Yasuhiro 7P won the 2007 Tournoi de Paris last weekend in Paris, France. The final event in the 7th season of the Toyota - IGS-PandaNet European Go Tour drew 291 players from over 20 countries to the 3-day event . Cho Seok-bin 8d (who's visiting the US later this month; see story below) took second and Noguchi Motoki 7d was third. Fan Hui 8d - a regular contributor to the E-Journal - was 4th and Merlijn Kuin 6d took 5th. In 6th was Mero Csaba 6d, while Jeff Seailles 5d was 7th and Cornel Burzo 6d - another EJ contributor - was 8th. Balogh Pal 7d was 9th and Hubert Thomas 4d was 10th. Full results

TOP EURO PLAYER TO VISIT US: Cho SeokBin 7d (EGF) will visit the US for the first time later this month, reports Akane Negishi of the Portland Go Club. NW, after the European Go Tour 2006 Final -- which was held last weekend in Paris. Currently ranked as #1 in the European Tour , SeokBin will visit Seattle, Tacoma and Portland from April 18 through May 13. “We are going to have some fun events with him at each location,” says Negishi, adding that private and group lessons will also be available. For more info, contact her at

IBEROAMERICAN/TOYOTA TOURNEY SET FOR ECUADOR: The Iberoamerican Go Tournament/Toyota Cup will be held in Quito, Ecuador from October 12-14 at the Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Quito. A highlight of the event will be an exhibition game on October 14 in Ecuador’s Middle of the World where “We plan to have Ecuadorian children playing go, half of the board in the Northern Hemisphere and the other half in the Southern Hemisphere,” reports organizer Loli Puerta. The event is sponsored by Toyota-Denso and organized by the Asociacion Ecuatoriana de Go with support from the Japanese Embassy, Korean Embassy, Mutualista Pichincha, Cafelibro and under of auspices of the Federacion Iberoamericana de Go. Contact Oswaldo Moreano at or check out the website (Spanish only)

3 US PROS CONFIRMED FOR US GO CONGRESS: With nearly 100 already signed up for this year's US Go Congress, "the latest news is that we have not one, not two, but three American professional go players attending thus far!" reports Co-Director Peter Nassar. The US pros are James Kerwin 1P, Yilun Yang 7P and Xuefen Lin 1P. Kerwin, author of the new EJ series "Kerwin's Road Map for Beginners," and Mr. Yang, author of "The Fundamentals Principles of Go," are "well-known for their inspired teachings and national workshops," says Nassar. Register today to secure your place at their lectures at this year's Congress, and save $100 off registration.

MIND GO CLUB LAUNCHES FORUM: The Mind Go Club – an Israel-based AGA chapter run by Shavit Fragman -- has opened a new Go Forum in both English and Hebrew and welcomes go players to join and contribute.

TWO US YOUTH CAMPS: "Youth go summer camps are a great place to become immersed in go and to meet and play with other enthusiastic go players of all ages and skills," say camp organizers. Michigan Go Summer Camp July 1st to 7th in Ortonville MI with Jie Li 9d, and the West Go Camp July 14-21 with Mingjiu Jiang 7P at Pacific Lutheran University Tacoma, Washington. Click here for details. Photo: Michael Redmond 9P teaching a beginner's class at a 2006 camp; photo by Jodee Raines.

GO WORLD OFFER RETURNS: If you missed the January offer, here’s another chance to purchase 24 issues of Go World magazine for just $60. That’s just $2.50 for each copy of the superb chronicle of contemporary go featuring commented games and a wealth of instructional material in every issue. Those who already took advantage of the January offer can now expand their collection with a "fill-in" offer of a limited number of 11 additional issues for just $30. Or, order the whole enchilada -- 35 packed issues -- for just $80, the best deal of all. Plus, the first nine purchasers of any offer will receive an additional "mystery issue". Supplies of the "fill-in collection" are limited -- there are only 12 complete sets -- so we will reduce the charge accordingly if you receive fewer than 11 issues. Note: AGA membership required! Click here to download the PDF order form. Check out Go World

HU YAOYU DEFEATS CHANG HAO TO TAKE RICOH CUP: Hu Yaoyu 8P (r) came out on top of the 48-player field in the Chinese Ricoh Cup -- aka the Liguang Cup -- defeating Chang Hao 9P by resignation. Hao won this title in 2-001 and 2004. Click here for pictures and career highlights of Hu, who is in his twenties. Chang Hao, who is in his thirties and has been one of the very top Chinese pros for some years, also just lost the finals of the international Chunlan Cup to his fellow countryman Gu Li 9P.

PARK YEONGHUN THREEPEATS IN KISUNG: Park Yeonghun 9P defended his Korean Kisung title successfully against Choi Cheolhan 9P by a score of 2-0, winning the second game by 3.5 points. This makes it a threepeat for Park, who took this title from Choi in 2005 and defended it successfully against An Choyoung 9P last year.

SAKAI HIDEYUKI WINS SIX STRAIGHT IN RYUSEI: Sakai Hideyuki 7P, the former World Amateur champion, has an amazing six-game winning streak going in the Ryusei tournament in Japan. The Ryusei begins with ten groups of eleven players each. The members of a group play each other in the "win and continue" style and the last player standing at the end of the series in each group joins a final, single-elimination tournament. At least one player -- Kono Rin 6P -- has managed to win all ten games in his section, but even six wins is remarkable. The players in the groups are arranged in order of rank, so a streak like this means Sakai is consistently beating players rated above him.

Reviewed by Phil Waldron 6d
    Breakthroughs in computer go are often greeted with both interest and skepticism, and a recent Reuters report of a go program “not far from reaching the level of a professional go player” was no exception. “Put up or shut up” is my usual reaction, and I was delighted when one of MoGo's authors agreed to a test match. The computer would be connected to KGS for a seven-game series, and I could play at any time to ensure there wasn't a human waiting on the other end. We alternated colors and played with 7.5 point komi, although a mix-up in the settings had the first two games played without compensation.
    I began the first game applying carefully-considered tactics and strategies honed after years of play. I got slaughtered. I reacted to defeat like a typical human, rationalizing that I don't play well on small boards, I was tired and I played White without komi. While this was all true to varying degrees, the fact remained that I had just lost, and lost badly. This was clearly a competitor worthy of respect. Like the Terminator, it would not feel pity or fear and would not succumb to boredom: I would have to play seriously to win the match. My attitude adjustment took only a few seconds of reflection, and the rematch began almost immediately. The end of this game exposed another human emotion: satisfaction. I had won. Pasted it, actually. I was so pleased that I didn't even bother to rationalize away the fact that I had played Black without komi, and I smugly imagined MoGo’s transistors quivering at the thought of another game. Take that, C3PO! By Game Three, MoGo was set to play with full komi and the match was on in earnest. A combination of my improving small-board experience and more serious play yielded three straight wins before I dropped another game to MoGo, but a final victory sealed the match for the human side with a convincing 5-2 margin.
    I later had the chance to play some more games with MoGo on reduced komi to estimate its strength, but it wasn't easy. I managed to win a no-komi game holding White, but later lost when receiving partial compensation. It seems safe to conclude that MoGo plays with (AGA) dan-level strength on a 9x9 board, an estimate supported by MoGo's results against other players online. Fully even games against strong amateurs seem to be a little too much for it to handle, and its strength diminishes somewhat on larger boards, but the day when it achieves full equality may not be so far off. MoGo looks like the real thing.
    Waldron is a regular contributor to the E-Journal; the Go Review column appears in the Friday Member’s Edition, free each week for AGA members. Click here to join.

YOUTH GO: Boulder Kids Profiled
    The final two qualifiers for the U.S. Youth Go Championships will be held on April 14th and 15th, in Boulder and Philadelphia respectively. "We have been profiling kids across the country regularly,” reports Youth Editor Paul Barchilon, “and now I get to write the story that is nearest to my heart – that of the kids at my own club."
    "Jessica and Katherine Lin were among the first regular members of the Boulder Public Library Kids and Teens Go Club in Colorado,” says Barchilon. “They started coming after the second or third meeting, some three years ago now. I remember teaching both girls to play on the 9x9 board while their mother looked on. They were identical twins, just eight years old and cute as a button. Both girls got the hang of the game quickly, and we soon saw that they were very competitive with each other and the other kids too. Today the girls are rated at 4 and 5 kyu, and I struggle to hold white against them in an even game. They both compete in all the adult tournaments, and Jessica won the 2006 Denver Pair Go tournament with her partner Stuart Horowitz. The girls will be turning 12 just before the World Youth Championships, which bumps them into the senior bracket.
    “There they will play a very strong opponent indeed,” Barchilon continues, “12-year-old Kellin Pelrine, 3.6d. I remember when Kellin and his mother first came to club, about 18 months ago. Kellin had read about go in a book and had been trying to play 19x19 with his mother. She looked completely lost while Kellin was full of enthusiasm but not quite clear on the concepts yet. I explained that it was better to start on the 9x9 board, and proceeded to teach them from the beginning. Between the first and second weeks he came to club, Kellin checked out and read several go books. Within a few months he had gone through every book we had in our go library (some 30 volumes at the time). In just six months Kellin was Shodan and giving me handicaps! He was always extremely polite and had a great attitude. Even when he lost games by a large margin, he would just smile and say ‘Would you like to play again?’ Somewhere along the way this very sweet little boy suddenly started saying things like ‘Those stones of yours aren’t going to be finding any eyes there’, as he plopped a stone down on the vital point and destroyed a large group of mine. It soon became apparent that we were not going to be offering enough of a challenge to this gifted young man! Kellin now takes weekly lessons with Jung Hoon Lee 8d, who studied professionally in Korea. Kellin still comes to our club though, and he helps out with teaching games for all the other kids as well as many adults. In the junior division we have two more little prodigies on their way up. Another set of twins, Matthew and Nathan Harwit, are currently making rapid progress. They have been playing for about five months and have hit 10 kyu already – a rate we haven’t seen since Kellin caught us all by surprise. These ambitious 9 year olds are crazy for go. Their mother told me she has found them playing go under the bedsheets, with a flashlight, well past their bedtime."
photos -- Katherine Lin, left, and Jessica Lin, right -- courtesy Lin family.

PROFESSIONALLY SPEAKING: On Training the Spirit and the Apprentice System
from the Asahi Shimbun

    Though the apprentice system is dying out in the go world, Obuchi Morito 9P is not only keeping it alive, but has seen many of his students enter the professional ranks recently. What is it like to leave your parent's home and spend your days training at the home of your master? We visited the Obuchi household in Sagamihara in Kanagawa Prefecture to find out.
    The Obuchi household is a big family, 14 altogether, with five of their own children plus apprentices. Obuchi 9P started taking in apprentices in the summer of 2000, recruiting them at places like the All Japan Children's Go Tournament. Now, including his eldest son, he has eight apprentices, as well as two children who commute from their own homes. Four have already become professional players and a fifth has been unofficially confirmed.
    For the students of the master, the day begins around 5 in the morning, before the sun has risen. After housekeeping chores, the training begins immediately. When the elementary and middle school students have left for school, the remaining apprentices resume their studies. On the day we visited, four of the students continually played for three and a half hours until the afternoon.
    "In the past, in every field there was a professional system with a master and apprentice relationship and I think that sustained Japan,” says Obuchi 9P. “Today, almost no parents let their children go off on their own. This is a difficult age for the apprentice system. But for the go world today, it is necessary." Obuchi was himself an apprentice of Oeda Yusuke 9P and US-born Michael Redmond 9P was also apprenticed to Oeda. When Obuchi first became an apprentice, he had to promise not to return to his parent's home until he became a professional. “Even telephoning was against the rules." There was no television, computer or cell phone. When he was in the final stage of testing to become a professional, he stopped going to school; every week on Saturday and Sunday he would go to the Nihon Ki-in for training.
    First-year middle school student Takeuchi Yasuhiro says, "I became an apprentice to become a professional. It's hard being separated from my parents, but these surroundings are the best for studying go."
    The study room is a 12 tatami mat room furnished with ten go boards. On the bookshelves are works containing the games of the old masters from the Edo Age (1600-1868) such as Dosaku and Shusaku, through Kitani Minoru, Go Seigen and modern Korean professionals like Lee Changho.
    Itakura Kenta, a third-year middle school student -- who had just become a professional a week before our visit -- was often so lonely in the first few days after arriving that he says tears often came to his eyes. Now, he silently plays through the games of the great players of the past every day. "I became an apprentice thinking that I would stick to it and see what would happen,” says Itakura. “I thought that somehow I could make it."
    There is great emphasis placed on living together. After lunch, master and students often go together to a nearby hill to climb and go walking. "It's natural how everyone creates the lifestyle together. That's what a family is, isn't it?" asks the master’s wife, “Mother” Kazuyo. If the students have lapses in manners or their attitudes about their lives are bad, "Master" and "Mother" scold them severely. The behavior of the elders is a good model for the juniors, but it’s a two-way street. "When I see these youngsters playing so seriously,” says a smiling Horimoto Mitsunari, who became professional shodan last year, I remember how I was myself a few years ago and it makes me want to dedicate myself even more."
    Obuchi 9P is determined to "raise professional players who can win against the Koreans and the Chinese." That is also expressed with perfect manners, indicative of the rich spirit of the professional player. "We don't only want to raise people who are just strong at go," adds Kazuyo.
    This article originally appeared in the Asahi Shimbun and was translated by Bob Terry for Sushi & Sake magazine and edited for the EJ by Chris Garlock

Click here for complete listing

April 14-15: Philadelphia, PA; 2007 U.S. Go Youth Championship Qualifier
Peter Nassar 215.898.6271
April 22: Menlo Park, CA; 4th California High School Goe Team Tournament
Mingjiu Jiang 650.969.2857
April 22: Somerville, MA; MGA Spring Handicap Tournament
Zack Grossbart 617.497.1232

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PLAYERS WANTED: Ft. Myers, FL area. Seeking players to form go club for regular play and/or starting school go clubs with regular classes and tournaments. If interested call Kent at 239-222-3625. email address I presently play with the Sarasota Go club, but would like to advance the game in my own area. (4/2)

WANTED: Copy of "Beyond Forcing Moves" by Takagi Shoichi. Prefer mint or clean but will consider all offers. Email (4/2)

PLAYERS WANTED: Chicago, IL: Looking for go players in West Chicago. Email (3/19)

PLAYERS WANTED: Bemidji, MN. Seeking go players in this area; I have been playing go for a little less than one year, and am tired of only playing online. If there is anyone interested (new or experienced), please contact me at (3/13)

FOR SALE: "The Breakthrough to Shodan" by Naoki Miyamoto, 9-Dan, translated by James Davies, The Ishi Press, 1976. 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. $95 or best offer plus postage. Contact Andy at (3/12)

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