World Go News from the American Go Association
July 30, 2007; Volume 8, #56

IN THE YOUTH ROOM: Kids, Pros, Ground Golf & More
YOUR MOVE: Responses To “Saving Go”
GO QUIZ: Whose Fight?

2007 U.S. GO CONGRESS UNDERWAY: Nearly 500 go players from across the United States and around the world are competing and participating in this year’s U.S. Go Congress, which kicked off Saturday night in Lancaster, PA. Hundreds more are following US Open and Ing Masters top board games LIVE on KGS each morning and evening (starting at 9A and 7P EST) plus you can check here for photos, news and more, updated throughout each day. Photos: top by Chris Garlock, left by Steve Colburn

5 PROS COMPETING IN ING TOURNEY: Five professional go players – Feng Yun 9P (r), Mingjiu Jiang 7P, Yilun Yang 7P, Huiren Yang 1P and Xuefen Lin 1P – are playing in the 2007 North American Ing Cup, now underway and being broadcast LIVE on KGS. They fill out a field of 24 of the top players – 16 in the A League and 8 in the B League -- in the country competing for $10,000 in prizes from the Ing Foundation. The 4-round tournament will be held Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Friday nights at 7P EST. The exciting Round 1, Board 1 game between Feng Yun 9P and Eric Lui 8d is attached. photos by John Pinkerton

WALL CHARTS & GAMES POSTED ONLINE: Now you can keep up with how your friends and clubmates are doing at the Congress! For round-by-round results of the U.S. OPEN, click here and for ING MASTERS results click here PLUS: Top-board game records are posted online and updated daily.

BY THE NUMBERS: 386 players in the 2007 US Open; 71 participants in the 9x9 tournament; 60 players in the 13x13; 18 teams in the Team Club Tournament.

HAO, BLATT TOP 9X9 TOURNEY FIRST ROUND: Saturday night, after the enchanting sounds of Matt Bengtson's pianoforte concert died away, 71 go players gathered in the main playing area for the first tournament of the 2007 Congress. Ricky Zhao 6d was the dan table winner, while Todd Blatt 1k was the kyu table winner. The table winners will face each other in play-offs throughout the rest of the week. The players competed in round-robin tables of six players each. Dan table winners: Ricky Zhao 6d, Jonathan Sobieski 3d; Haskell Small 3d, Saul Lapidus 1d. Kyu table winners: Todd Blatt 1k, Nick Blake 1k, Laura Kolb 2k, Mark Rubenstein 4k, Richard Moseson 6k, Seth Wax 10k, Joyce Hong 19k, Tom Caulder 20k. Martin Lebl is the TD.
- reported by Laura Kolb

THE OTHER SIDE OF THE BOARD: Sunday night, 60 players flipped over the go boards in the main playing area and faced off on 13 x 13 boards. Tables of six players played each other in a round-robin to determine the table winners, who will play off over the next few days. While most table winners proved themselves on the board alone, a coin toss was needed to resolve a 3-way cyclical tie at one table between Leonard Baum, Sean Reeves, and Jean Waldron. Table winners: Will Zhou, 7d; Tom Xu, 3d; Jared Beck, 2d; Bill Phillips, 1k; Stephen Tung, 4k; Karoline Burrall, 5k; Leonard Baum, 5k; Sheehan Hsu, 6k; Tiffany Wu, 15k; Stanley Sun, 17k.
- reported by Laura Kolb, photo by Roy Laird

LOOK MOM, I KILLED THE GROUP! Michael Plesser 20k solves a life and death problem in Ryo Maeda (at right) 6P’s Monday afternoon workshop as Maeda and translator Yoshi Sawada applaud. Photo by John Pinkerton

IN THE YOUTH ROOM: Kids, Pros, Ground Golf & More
By Paul Barchilon
The Youth Room is up and running here at the campus in Millersville. We lucked out and scored the student center, which offers us pool tables, computers with internet access, and of course more go boards than you can shake a tesuji at. Sunday we had more than 40 kids of all ages and strengths participating in the 9x9 and 13x13 tournaments and fortunately John Hogan, from the Seattle Go Center, is here helping me out. 9x9 isn't just for beginners; our top table has 7 dans Landon Brownell and Will Zhou, as well as 3 dan Tom Xu. But it is Jarret Pon 1d, who wins the table, which has been handicapped appropriately. Of course we have plenty of beginners too, with a particularly fun table of 7- and 8-year-old battling it out in the 20 kyus. Meanwhile, Isoka Ashida, 6P, is playing four kids in a simul. Her colleague from the Life Sports institute in Japan has brought a game he calls Ground Golf with him, and a number of kids are running around outside playing what appears to be a cross between putt-putt and cricket. At 3P Yasuhiro Nakano 9P shows up. Not yet 30, Nakano is one of the youngest ever to attain the top ranking. He takes on Ricky Zhao 6d, Jack Yang 6d and Yang Xu 4d, but the three other slots are kyu players. 20 kyu Michael Plesser is beaming after his game, even though he lost. Jack Yang played at two stones, but was sweating bullets the whole game and finally had to resign. "Phew, he is really strong!'" Yang tells me when it is all over. Nakano is a man of many talents: after dinner he begins his lecture by playing the Shamisen, a traditional Japanese lute. I have never seen anyone play one, and it is quite enthralling. He strikes the plectrum with a strange wooden spatula, hammering out complex rhythms with a lyrical flow. His audience of go players are rapt with attention. After his performance he pulls out the stones and gives everyone a thrill of a different sort with go problems. Nobody is able to solve most of them, but you can hear the gears clicking in people's heads as he shows the ingenious solutions.
Barchilon, the EJ Youth Editor, is Youth Director for the 2007 U.S. Go Congress

Mingjiu Jiang 7P teaching (l). Photo by Chris Garlock
Simul with Yilun Yang 7P. Photo by John Pinkerton

THE WORLD'S LARGEST PRO TOURNAMENT: The international Samsung Cup is distinguished by the number of pros who participate. The final tournament involves 32 players, with half the spots seeded and the other half available via a preliminary tournament open to any pro in the world. Participants must pay their own expenses to the event, which is held in Seoul, Korea. This year there are 308 players vying for sixteen openings in the prelim. The group includes some very well-known players, such as Chen Yaoye 9P from China (the world's youngest 9 dan pro), Jiang Zhujiu 9P for Korea (known as "Jujo" to US players, Jiang won every year in the original North American Masters Tournament), Iyama Yuta 7P (the amazing teenager from Japan who won a title at the age of 16), etc. A number of women pros are also playing. Last year two spots in the final tournament were reserved for women (Rui Naiwei 9P for Korea and Fan Yijing 1P of China, both of whom lost in the first round). In the main tournament, the semifinals as well as the finals were best-of-three-game matches last year. The winners of the Samsung have followed a familiar pattern. The first winner was a Japanese, Yoda Norimoto 9P, in 1996, then for the next eight years Koreans dominated (Lee Changho 9P won three times in a row), with a Japanese managing to slip in a win in 2003, and for the last two years Chinese players have won. The main event will be in September.

YOUR MOVE: Readers Write

RESPONSES TO “SAVING GO”: “Smarter computers will make the world a better place by being better able to meet human needs,” writes Kirk Martinez in response to Paul Celmer’s suggestion that go programmers stop (“A Modest Proposal to Programmers” 7/26 EJ). “It is not the end (solving go) that is valuable, but what we learn along the way.” Martinez adds that “The algorithms developed over the last fifty years in the pursuit of a good chess-playing program have resulted in advances in the fields of chemical modeling, data mining, and economics to name a few.” Finally, he notes, “Just because a game is solved doesn't mean it can no longer be a source of achievement or beauty. Being theoretically solved and actually knowing how to play well are very different things.” Phil Wall says that “Isn't it the doing that's important? I might never win a tournament in my life, and I might remain the worst player in my Saturday afternoon go circle in Champaign, Illinois, but I still play every Saturday that I'm able to, and I still love doing so. Go is dead, long live go!” Along the same lines, Russ Williams points out that “No one thinks human athletes are devalued because a car can move faster or a forklift can pick up more weight.” Adds David Oshel, “The fascination with go programming lies precisely in the fact that no one knows HOW the game will be solved; no one knows yet what ‘stronger’ and ‘weaker’ means, or why the 9x9 players can throw random moves onto the board and still win. Do they win because human players are flummoxed by irrational moves, or because the 9x9 players are revealing unsuspected aspects of the game? Game playing programs are research into the nature of the minds who play go, and that is certainly a worthy thing!” Finally, Dennis Hardman writes that “In the end, we'd never be able to stop energetic and inspired programmers from trying to understand the mysteries of go to the extent needed to allow the machine to win against the pro. And their effort, while initially annoying perhaps, will only serve to highlight the beauty and appeal of the game. Because, ultimately, I'd rather play YOU - a feeling, alert, fallible, friendly human being - rather than a machine, even if that machine is better than you. I'd rather study a game played to two great professionals, than a game played by a bucket of bolts. Knowing these great human players are shackled by the same physical limits that I am is what makes their accomplishments so amazing, so interesting, so compelling.”

GO QUIZ: Whose Fight? This car – parked outside one of the Go Congress dorms -- belongs to a well-known North Carolina go player. Is it Peter Armenia, Paul Celmer, Brad Jones or Frank Salantrie? Click here now to vote!


FOR SALE: Complete collection of Go World issues #1 through latest (#111).
Issues #1-10 are protected by hard binding. All issues are in perfect condition.
Asking $1000 plus shipping & insurance. Please contact (7/16)

PLAYERS WANTED: Syracuse Go Club has formed a second weekly meeting on Thursdays, 6-9pm, at the Second Story bookstore, 550 Westcott St. in the Syracuse University neighborhood. We've had 4-5 players showing for the past few weeks, and want to add more. Contact Anton Ninno at or visit our club's website (7/16)

PLAYERS WANTED: Charleston, SC: beginning player looking for players in the area. Nels Lindberg; (7/16)

PLAYERS WANTED: Northern Illinois, Lake County. Player from Antioch, IL would like to find players in the Lake County area interested in starting a go club, or anyone who would just like to play! If interested, contact Dave at (7/9)

PLAYERS WANTED: Mid-Ohio Valley: I'm based out of the Parkersburg, WV area and would like to find some local players. Contact Ryan at (7/2)

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Managing Editor: Chris Garlock
Assistant Editor: Bill Cobb

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