World Go News from The American Go Association
February 4, 2008; Volume 9, #7
TOPS SALT LAKE TOURNEY: Robert Zeng 6d topped the
February 2 tournament in Salt Lake City, UT. "We had 16 players,"
reports Mike Wallsted, who served as TD, and "organized it with the
help of a local gamestore, Game Night Games and Mike Compton." Winners
Report: Robert Zeng 6d (3-0), Erik Lakis 2k (3-0), John Bernhardt 8k
(2-1), and Charles Laser 19k (3-0).
MASTERS EXPANDS: The North American Ing Masters
Tournament (NAIM) will expand to 32 professional and amateur players
this year, reports Chris Kirschner. "The NAIM qualification cycle for
2008 will have 8 qualification tournaments," Kirschner tells the EJ,
"each provided with $500 to sweeten
the tournament pot." AGA chapters are invited to submit bids to host
these tournaments between March 15 and July 15; 32 qualifying players
will be invited to play in the finals at the Congress in Portland in
August. The finals will be a 5-round Swiss paired tournament with first
prize of $3,000. These tournaments will provide qualification points
for both NAIM and WMSG finals. Submit hosting bids to
INVESTIGATES TOXIC GO STONE RUMORS: Rumors have been
circulating on the Internet that Chinese go stones contain lead and may
be harmful, especially to small children. An E-Journal investigation
reveals that the stones in question have been recently reformulated to
safe levels, that a prominent US distributor is replacing such sets,
and that in the case of stones in circulation that do contain low
levels of lead, "there should be no significant risk" with proper use. Read
Dr Roy Laird's complete report below.
WORKSHOP RETURNS TO HOLLYHOCK: Prep for this year's U.S.
Go Congress by attending Jim
Kerwin's Hollyhock Go Workshop, which runs from July 27th to
August 1st on Cortes Island in British Columbia. "It's a perfect
combination with the US Go Congress starting August 2nd, if you can
make both," Kerwin tells the EJ. "Relaxed and beautiful, Hollyhock,
located on Cortes Island, BC, is an ideal place to study go." photo from 2007 Hollyhock workshop by
TEAM EVENT HEATING UP: With just under three weeks to go
until the February 22nd registration deadline, the playing field for
the new Ing team competition is looking to be quite exciting. Mission
San Jose High, in Fremont, California will be tough to beat, with two
six dans, Lawrence Ku and Calvin Lee, both playing on the same team.
Further down the coast Calvin Sun and Cherry Shen, also both 6d, are
playing for the Orange County Kids Go Club; as this is a team
competition, it may well boil down to who sits in the third chair.
Across the country, and in Canada, teams with a wide range of ranks are
registered as well, ranging from 28k to 6d. Chester High School in
Illinois is fielding no less than three teams under the direction of
Dwight Lochhead, while Fair Oaks Go Club, Manlius Pebble Hill, Boulder
Kids and Teens, Saratoga High, and Hebbville Academy are all fielding
two teams. Youth whose schools don't have enough members for a team can
still register as independents and be paired by the tournament
directors. There is still time to join in the fun, click
here for more information and to register.
- Paul Barchilon, EJ Youth Editor
OZA IN PICTURES: Now you can relive those magic moments
- or see what you missed -- at the recent North American Oza East and
West tournaments by checking out online photo albums: official N.A.
Oza pages, Gurujeet
Khalsa's Oza East photos; Carrie
Gustavson's Oza East pics and Terry
McIntyre's Oza West album. photo
(l) by Carrie Gustavson
CALENDAR: Phoenix, Leuven, Helsinki & Cheshire
February 9: Phoenix, AZ: Phoenix Chinese Week
Chinese Cultural Center 11am - 6pm, Reg by 9:30am
Quan Li email@example.com 602.326.7556
February 9-10: Leuven, EU: Leuven
Frank Segers firstname.lastname@example.org +32499399067
February 9-10: Helsinki, SF: Takapotku
Part of the Pandanet Go European Cup tournament series. Call between
5-11P Finnish time.
Janne Nikula email@example.com +358.50.341.4050
February 9: Cheshire, CH: Cheshire
Frodsham Community Centre, Fluin Lane, Frodsham, Cheshire, WA6 7QN
Tony Atkins firstname.lastname@example.org 0118.9268143
GET LISTED & GET PLAYERS! We
post tournaments worldwide. Click
here to list your event.
TAKES SECOND GAME IN KISEI: Cho
Chikun 9P (r) defeated Kisei
title holder Yamashita
Keigo 9P on January 31st in the second game of their title
match to even the score at 1-1. Yamashita is aiming for a threepeat in
this match. He also held the Kisei title for one year in 2003 and is
the current national Oza champion. Yamashita turns thirty this year,
but Cho is already in his fifties--and continues to amaze by his
ability to compete at this level at that age. He won the NKH Cup last
year and has held the Judan title for the last two years. Cho has won
71 titles, the most of any Japanese pro.
CHANGHO SWEEPS KOREAN SIPTAN: Lee
Changho 9P (l) finished off Mok
Jinseok 9P on February 2nd to take the Korean
Siptan [Japanese: Judan] title by a score of 2-0. Mok is in
his upper twenties and has won two national titles and played in
several international events. He won more games in 2007 than any other
pro in the world: 93 with a winning percentage of 76%. However, he
rarely makes it into tournament finals or title matches. Lee, of
course, has won more international titles than anyone else and a huge
number of national titles. This was the third edition of the Siptan,
and Lee has won it twice.
DOMINATE EURO OZA: Alexander Dinerchtein 3P and Ilya
Shiksin 7d of Russia and Christian Pop 7d of Romania took top honors at
the Oza European Championship. All three will represent Europe in the
World Oza in Japan. The tournament was held January 31 through February
3 at the European Go Centre in Amsterdam, Holland and drew 58 players.
After two days
of qualifiers, 24 players made it into three parallel knock-out
quarter-finals. While Holland, Romania and Russia each had two players
in the finals, the pairings did not give any nationality a sure ticket
to the World Oza. The Russians, holding the highest ratings, were
expected to win, but the final between Dutchman Rob van Zeijst and
Christian Pop of Romania promised a close contest, as Pop is next to
van Zeijst in the European ratings. In a dramatic final round, Shiksin
-- the current European Champion -- was the first to be sure of his
title, with more points on the board as white against Burzo of Romania.
Next, Dinerchtein (r in photo) won a resignation from Frank Janssen 6d
(l) of The Netherlands. In the final top game, van Zeist fought back
after an initial set-back but still lost by a couple of points to Pop
(see below for a profile of Romania's Gheorghe Pãun, who is
largely responsible for go's boom in Romania). The youngest participant
was 14-year old Thomas Debarre 4d, an up-and-coming youngster from
France and the only other top teen besides Ilya Shiksin at this year's
Oza. Just 17, Shiksin won a place in the World Oza for Europe two years
ago and told the E-Journal "Two years ago I was very excited, now I
already got used to success." Also interesting was the first appearance
of Diana Koszegi 1P from Hungary in her first tournament in Europe
after her recent promotion. She did well until the semi-finals, when
she lost to Pop. Soon she will return to Korea, she told the EJ; she
wants to finish her University degree in Baduk there, but mainly looks
forward to competing in pro-leagues and getting stronger. Four games
each round were broadcast simultaneously by EuroGoTV on both KGS and
IGS, drawing audiences of up to 650 visitors at one time for one game.
Other games also drew audiences of hundreds, while Rob van Aurich
produced 13 tournament bulletins with games and results. Catalin Taranu
5P was present for game commentary and gave a large simul, losing only
- Report/photo by Peter Dijkema, European correspondent for
the American Go E-Journal.
REVIEW: Chinese Go Stones
by Dr Roy Laird
Some readers have expressed concern recently about rumors that have
been circulating on the Internet that Chinese stones contain lead and
may be harmful, especially to small children. So we decided to
investigate, and here is the result.
stones -- opaque, often flat on one side, with a faint
greenish translucence -- have been manufactured in Yunnan province in
southern China since the 1600's. According to legend, the imperial
treasury burned, and an employee discovered that the fire-baked jewels
had a particular
luster. Local manufacturers produced stones with a similar appearance
for centuries, but during China's tumultuous conflict in the early 20th
century, the process was lost. Zhou En-lai ordered the production of
replicas in the 1970's, and the Yunnan Weiqi Factory was back in
here for a video in Chinese that shows glimpses of the
process; we also see Queen Elizabeth II receiving a set of yunzi stones
as a gift.)
In early January, a go blogger reported finding lead in his set of
yunzi stones, using an inexpensive home test kit available online.
It turns out Yellow Mountain Imports (YMI), which imports yunzi stones
to the US, was already on the case, with their own test of 20 sets of
black and white stones.YMI immediately established a return
policy for concerned customers and contacted the
manufacturer, who changed the formula. According to YMI, "Yunnan Weiqi
Company has recently achieved levels of less than .05%, which surpasses
the FDA requirements for levels of lead permissible in paint.
Production of stones by this method will begin after Chinese New Year."
The stones also contain melamine, which caused the poisoning of many
dogs and cats last year when a Chinese pet food manufacturer used it as
filler, but like lead, it poses no danger if not consumed. What about
the stones now in circulation? The Consumer
Products Safety Commission tells us that lead poses a
significant danger to young children when ingested in large amounts.
The main danger is "leaching" of lead into food or drink that is stored
in lead-based containers for a long period; for instance, keeping your
favorite sherry in a crystal decanter that contains lead. Yunzi stones
are not meant to be consumed, nor do they flake like lead paint, so
with proper use there should be no significant risk. Of course the
choking hazard makes it even more important to keep stones away from
small children who may mistake them for candy. Click here
for more on lead safety. (Thanks "Chiyodad" for the link!) Conclusion:
If you bought your yunzi stones from YMI you can return them for a
lead-free set, but with proper use even the sets now in circulation
pose very little risk of lead exposure.
Chair of the AGA Board, is a clinical psychologist who
works with children.
PROFILES: Romania's Gheorghe Pãun
Mathematician and novelist Gheorghe
Pãun (r) was largely responsible for go's boom in
Romania in the Eighties. Romanian players like Catalin Taranu 5P,
Cristian Pop 7d, Mirel Florescu 6d, Cornel Burzo 6d, Dragos Bajenaru 6d
are now among Europe's top players. Paun, a senior researcher at the
Institute of Mathematics of the Romanian Academy, penned a number of
articles about the game, as well as Romania's first introductory book
on go, which has sold over 100,000 copies and helped drive the sale of
300,000 go sets in Romania in the Eighties. Paun, Corresponding Member
of The Romanian Sciences Academy (1997), Member of Academia Europaea
(2006) and the author of the P-system theory about membrane
computing , served as the first president of the Romanian Go
Federation from 1990 to 1992 and also persues a strong interest in
literature, authoring science fiction novels, as well as romance and
- reported by Marilena Bara, Romanian Correspondent for the
E-Journal. NOTE: We welcome suggestions and reports on other seminal
figures in go history in your country; email us at email@example.com
STOP THE MONKEY JUMP: Two Epiphanies
by Motoko Arai
Looking back on it now, I think it was about this time that I had two
epiphany-like experiences during games with Mr. A.
First, epiphany number one. I was getting better gradually, and
thinking, "Hey, maybe I'm finally becoming a decent opponent for Mr.
A." (I mean, I was still losing by points, but playing against someone
like Mr. A and not having a big group die during the game felt like a
So, in this one game I had linked up my stones on the left and the
bottom and made a few points, and then in the left top area I had a
decent-sized piece of territory. Because of this, Mr. A had taken the
whole right side. (I would lose based on points here alone.) In the
center, while completely surrounded by Mr. A's territory, I had just
barely managed to live. Yeah, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. I had five open points so
it was definitely alive. Okay, at least I didn't have any groups that
were going to die.
And then, out of the blue, Mr. A placed a single stone in the center of
my 5-point group. Huh? What's this? I have five open points, right?
I'll just take that stone. Is he just committing suicide? So I placed
my stone to capture, and then Mr. A played inside there again. Huh?
Wait a second. huh?! Now I can't take this stone. Well, I can, but then
my group will die.
"This is called a bulky five shape."
* * *
Now, for epiphany number two. Around this time, in a different game, I
found myself for the first time in a position to kill one of Mr. A's
groups - in the bottom corner. They were definitely dead. I wasn't just
going to capture one at a time-I was going to kill the whole group.
This was also a first for me, and I was pretty excited about it.
Here's the situation: my stones were all connected with no possible
cuts, and Mr. A's group didn't have enough space to make two eyes. Yes,
yes, yes - I did it! But I had to be careful not to allow my own stones
to be put in atari. If that happened, then Mr. A would kill me and
live. So, I just wait for Mr. A to place a stone here. And I wait. and
I wait. "All right, looks like we're finished, okay?"
But I'm still waiting! Mr. A had proclaimed the end of the game without
playing that last stone. No way was that okay!
"But wait - there's still this point. It'll be dame so please put a
"But if I play there I'll die. If someone's going to play there, please
"But if I play there, your stones will live."
"Exactly. That's why neither of us has played there. Neither of us can
put a stone there or we will die. It's called seki."
Bulky five. Seki. I'd read these terms in books and not understood
them. I'd had them explained to me and regrettably not really
understood them. Now, in an instant, their meaning was crystal clear.
Oh, what an epiphany.
Motoko Arai is an award-winning science fiction author in
Japan. Translated by Chris Donner from the Nihon Kiin's Go Weekly
(February 19, 2007 issue)
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