January 14, 2008; Volume 9, #2

World Go News from The American Go Association



MEMBER’S EDITION BONUS CONTENT: “This game is about persistence and keeping your head clear even if you are under heavy attack,” says Rob van Zeijst in today’s game commentary, taken from an October 10 game between Han Zenki 7P and Yu Ho 6P at the Ryusei Lightning Japanese Tournament. van Zeijst is a Dutch player who lives in Tokyo, where he writes the Magic of Go column in the Daily Yomiuri Non-members: join the American Go Association and get all this great content with every EJ! It’s all just a click away!



January 14, 2008; Volume 9, #2

OVER 300 EXPECTED FOR N.A. OZA: With 296 players already registered for this weekend’s North American Oza Go Tournament -- 159 in Baltimore and 137 in Los Angeles -- total turnout is expected to be more than 300 for one of the biggest events of the North American go tournament calendar. Festivities kick off with receptions Friday night. “A reception in Baltimore Friday night at 7P will be followed by a 3-round Lightning tournament,” reports organizer Keith Arnold. “The playing room will be open late into the evening.” In Los Angeles the reception is 6-8P, and “go boards will be set up for impromptu games and an informal jazz band playing,” reports organizer Andy Okun. There’s still time to register for either event, and pre-registration is highly recommended, as there will be a $10 penalty to register at the door and same day registrants who arrive after 9A will not play in the first round. Check-in is from 8-9:15A Saturday and Round 1 will be at 9:30A sharp; click here for the complete schedule of events. Live coverage – including broadcast of top boards on KGS from both locations, with commentary by Tadashi Sasaki 8P and Alexandre Dinerchtein 3P – will be provided by teams from the American Go E-Journal; watch the website for photos, reports and more. The bi-annual event is sponsored by Toyota and Denso, organized by the American Go Association and the Nihon Kiin and hosted by the Gilbert W. Rosenthal Memorial Baltimore Go Club, the University of Maryland Baltimore County Go Club, the Santa Monica Go Club and the Hopkins Go Club. Click here for a complete list of all the sponsors, including GoGoD, Yellow Mountain Imports and Kiseido Digital. Oza poster art by Mike Samuel.

“TIRELESS” LASH TO STEP DOWN AT END OF CURRENT TERM: American Go Association President Mike Lash (r) “has announced that he is not seeking a third term," AGA Board Chairman Roy Laird tells the E-Journal. “Mike has been a tremendous and tireless leader through a critical time of growth for the AGA,” says Laird. “The effects of his work will be felt long after he steps down and behalf of the entire Board and membership we thank Mike for a job extremely well-done.” The Board has formed a search committee to select the next AGA president, who will take over in August, when Lash's second two-year term expires. "It has been an excellent experience developing and leading such a great group of volunteers,” Lash told the EJ. “We’ve accomplished more in the last few years than I thought possible and the foundation has been laid for a huge amount of growth. I’m looking forward to turning the reins over to an energetic and fresh set of hands to continue the momentum. This is a big and expanding job as the President's role shifts from managing programs to managing program managers, and then supporting them with as much resources as we can. It's a major time commitment but a labor of love for the most part. " The Presidential search committee includes nine ex-presidents, board members and leading organizers “who will evaluate candidates and make a recommendation to the Board by June," said Laird, who will lead the committee. "This is a big and growing job as the AGA's Chief Operating Officer, with important management responsibility requiring a major time commitment for at least the next two years.” Laird notes that “Before nominating someone, please confirm that they accept the nomination and are prepared to lead the American go community as a top priority in their lives." Any AGA member can nominate any member (including him/herself) by sending an e-mail to roylaird@gmail.com, with "Nomination" in the subject line. photo by Chris Garlock

CALENDAR: LA/Baltimore Oza & Tacoma Plus Australia & UK
January 19-20: Los Angeles, CA
North American Oza West Coast Section
US players can win points to qualify for the World Mind Sport Game Trials
Andrew Okun towest@oza2008.com 424.216.1111
January 19-20: Baltimore, MD
North American Oza East Coast Section
US players can win points to qualify for the World Mind Sport Game Trials
Keith Arnold toeast@oza2008.com 410.788.3520.
January 19: Tacoma, WA
2nd Annual Verna Castanza Memorial Tournament
Gordon Castanza gcastanza@comcast.net 253.853.4831
January 18-20: Brisbane (Bardon), QU
Toyota & Denso Cup Oceania Division (AUSTRALIA)
John Hardy j.hardy@uq.net.au 0409.786.050
January 19: Maidenhead, BK
Maidenhead–Furze Platt
Eddie Best edwin.best@homecall.co.uk 01223.710582

GU LI WINS NEC CUP AGAIN: Gu Li 9P (l) defeated Kong Jie 7P on January 12th to take the Chinese NEC Cup for the third time, tying Chang Hao 9P's record. Gu also won in 2004 and 2006. This is a fast-play event; the players have ten minutes of basic time and one 30 second overtime period. Kong, who has won the Chang-Ki Cup twice, in 2005 and 2007, is in his twenties. Gu is about three months younger, but has won many more titles. He currently holds three national titles, including the prestigious Mingren and Tianyuan. Go also has two current international titles, the Chunlan and the China-Korea Tengen.

JAPANESE TAKE EARLY LEAD IN JEONGGANJANG: Aoki Kikuyo 8P (r) has put Japan on top of the Jeongganjang Cup. The Jeongganjang is a women's team match that runs like the Nongshim Cup and is also sponsored by a Korean company. There are teams of five players from China, Japan, and Korea, and the event is a "play and continue" or "ring" tournament with players from the three teams coming up in rotation. Winners play until they lose and the team of the last player standing wins the Cup. In the first stage of five games, played in Hangzhou China, on January 8th through the 11th, Lee Sula 1P (l) of Korea, who is in her mid-teens, won the first two games, eliminating Umezawa Yukari 5P, current Women's Kisei of Japan, and Wang Han 1P of China. Lee then lost to Aoki Kikuyo 8P of Japan who went on to defeat Song Ronghui 1P of China. So the Japanese are on top at the moment with two wins and Aoki will play a Korean representative in the first game of the second stage. The Chinese have lost two players and the Koreans and Japanese one each. The second stage will be played in Seoul, Korea, starting March 2nd. The Koreans won this Cup last year and two other times. The Chinese have won twice. Perhaps this will be the year for the Japanese.

TAKAO FIGHTING BACK IN MEIJIN LEAGUE: Takao Shinji 9P (r), current Honinbo in Japan, lost his fabled status as Honinbo-Meijin when Cho U 9P defeated him in the Meijin title match in 2007. But Takao seems determined to regain his special status as the League to determine the challenger for Cho U in 2008 gets started. Takao is already 2-0 in the League, having defeated two heavy-weights: Cho Chikun 9P, current challenger for the Kisei, and Kobayashi Satoru 9P, former Kisei, Gosei, etc. Sakai Hideyuki 7P, former World Amateur Go Champion and member of the Kansai Kiin, is also 2-0 as he continues to threaten to break into the big time. Meanwhile, Yoda Norimoto 9P, another top title winner, is 0-2, having lost to Sakai and to Kobayashi. Japan's amazing teen Iyama Yuta 7P is also playing in this League, but has not yet played a game. This round-robin event is often one of the more exciting moments in Japanese go.

KERWIN'S ROAD MAP FOR BEGINNERS: Part 8: How to Play Handicap Games
by James Kerwin 1P
Let me sing a song in praise of handicap games. Many beginning players hate handicap games. They make territory and then watch helplessly while white lives inside it. Or they chase and chase white and almost kill him, but in the end he wriggles off the hook. Who needs this frustration? Nevertheless I want you to embrace handicap games, as they represent a terrific opportunity to improve.
First let’s clear away the deadwood and establish what you should not do. Don’t fight with white: he will win. Don’t try to kill white’s groups: trying to kill groups is fighting. Don’t worry about territory: you start with enough to win. Without fighting or killing or territory, what’s left? Attack!
Attack is the best way to use handicap stones because they are ideally placed to put pressure on white. Handicap games are a perfect way to practice attack because they present many safe, controlled attack opportunities. There are many targets because white can’t afford the moves to make his groups strong. The situation is controlled because white, although he will try, cannot easily turn the attack into a fight; white is not really in a position to counterpunch. It is safe because black doesn’t need to get great benefits to win. He will win simply by making white defend.
You must have the right attitude to improve by playing handicap games. Do not be afraid of white. No matter the difference in rank, you are the player who is far stronger on the board because of the handicap. But you must not be greedy either. The handicap may entitle you in theory to win by a huge margin, but you must be content simply to win.
The diagram at right shows an example of what I am talking about. After white 5 black might think, “My God, white is trying to take my side stone!” This is the wrong attitude. Instead you should think, “My side stone is separating two weak white stones!” Thinking that way, it is natural to make sure white stays separated. Black 10 turns the lower right quadrant into one huge structure. After black 10 white 3 is adrift in the middle of a black ocean. Black 10 at 11 would be greedy. White will get some benefits too, that is the nature of go. But after white trashes the left side with 11 black lives easily in the corner with 12. White’s benefits are moderate. Later on, if white doesn’t reinforce his group, black will attack the group, probably starting with A.
Hear my song and seek out handicap games. When you play them, first make sure your groups stay strong. You cannot attack from a position of weakness. Then find the weak white groups and make white defend them while you solidify territory. Start with the weakest group and methodically pressure White’s groups one after the other. You will surely have many failures, but keep at it and you will be surprised how fast you improve.
Kerwin, a longtime go teacher, is a regular contributor to the E-Journal and American Go Yearbook. If you have questions on the material in this column, or on how to get stronger, email him at journal@usgo.org

SELL IT, BUY IT OR TRADE IT HERE with nearly 12,000 go-players worldwide! Classified ads are FREE and run for 4 weeks; email your ad to us now at journal@usgo.org

GO PLAYERS WANTED: Columbus, GA: Starting a go club. Day and time to meet TBA. If interested, email Dylan at dylaned@gmail.com (1/7/08)

GO PLAYERS WANTED: Kansas: Looking for go players in Kansas (especially in the Wichita area) to join the city's Go Club. For more information contact Andrew Wrinn (cell: 1-229-255-1100; email: wichitagoclub@gmail.com) or visit our website at http://wichitagoclub.googlepages.com/home/ (1/7/08)

FOR SALE: The original audio and video material from Pieter Mioch’s 1999 interview with Go Seigen at his house in Odawara, Japan. “The interview covers Go's views on religion and Chinese/ Japanese culture,” says Mioch, “there is almost no technical material dealing with the game itself.” If interested, email pmioch@ma.ccnw.ne.jp and include "Go Seigen Material" in subject line. (12/24/07)

GO PLAYERS WANTED: Rexburg, ID. The BYU-I Go Association has been formed and is looking for members. We meet every Wednesday 7-9 pm on the BYU-I campus, Manwaring Center building, first floor at the "Nordic Landing". instruction provided! email Mark: markoliver07@gmail.com (12/25/07)

GO PLAYERS WANTED: New Brunswick, NJ: Starting up a club in Rutgers University. I've gotten a few people already, and am still looking for those who are interested with any level experience. Please contact Andrew at tenorfella@gmail.com (12/17/07)

GO PLAYERS WANTED: Anyone interested in starting a Go club in Lexington, KY. Days to meet and times not yet decided, planning to seek input and discuss among all interested. Email dickens.ja@gmail.com (12/17/07)

GO PLAYERS WANTED: Washington, PA; I am going to start a go workshop every weekend at any coffee shop in Washington PA. Anybody is welcome. please drop a message to Qi Guan at guangame@gmail.com if interested. (12/17/07)

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Assistant Editor: Bill Cobb

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