World Go News from The American Go Association



February 25, 2008; Volume 9, #10

MEMBER'S EDITION BONUS CONTENT: Today's game commentary offers a terrific lesson in playing the opening, as Yuan Zhou 8d takes an in-depth look at the many direction-of-play mistakes in a kyu game. One of the strongest players in the US, Zhou has won many titles and is also a popular teacher, lecturer, and author. Our bonus file today is an easy endgame problem from Yilun Yang 7P. Non-members: join the American Go Association and get all this great content with every EJ! It's all just a click away!

KEVIN HUANG NEW JERSEY CHAMP: Kevin Huang (seated in green shirt at left) 8d won the New Jersey Open, topping a 72-player field in Princeton, NJ last weekend. Jie Liang 8d and Minshan Shou 7d tied for 2nd-3rd place. 5 game winners: Andrew Huang 5d, Larry Bartels 4k, Jonathan Liang 6k. 4-game winners: Trevor Morris 6d, Jun Wang 6d, Jasmine Yan 4d, Marc Palmer 1d. David Byrne 2k, Larry Russ 4k, Michael Wu 6k, Tiffany Wu 10k, Joyce Hong 10k, Terri Schurter 11k, Larkin Xu 19k. The Princeton Go Club organized the February 23-24 event, and TDs were Paul Matthews and Rick Mott. Photo by Rick Mott

MONTHLY RATINGS TOURNEY DEBUTS IN NORCAL: More than 30 players turned out for the inaugural Bay Area Go Players Association (below) monthly ratings tournament on February 16. "We're really excited that go players in northern California will be able to play in an AGA-rated tournament every month of the year," said Tournament Organizer Roger Schrag 10k. Held at the All Saints' Episcopal Church in Palo Alto, California, the one-day tournament attracted adults and children from all over the San Francisco Bay area. "Everything went smoothly, and the venue was great!" said Tournament Director Steve Burrall 5d. Six players won all three rounds: Tony Zhang 5d, Willard Haynes 1k, Jason Pfaff 5k, Sammy Zhang 7k, Justin Fang 12k, and Aryo Sorayya 20k. "Six people played in an AGA rated tournament for the very first time," noted Schrag, "And the AGA got four new members." The next rated tournament in northern California will be the Spring Tournament, March 15-16 in Menlo Park. Photo by Roger Schrag

HONG-SUK SONG TOPS NOVA CHINESE LUNAR TOURNEY: Korean insei Hong-Suk Song 8d took top honors in the Chinese Lunar New Year Tournament on Saturday, February 2 at George Mason University in Arlington, VA. Over 70 players took part in the second annual event, which once again drew participation from many members of the local Chinese community, "Thanks largely to the hard work of Ching-Sung Chin, Hank Chao and Yeena Liu, who represented UBS, our principal sponsor," reports Allan Abramson. The event featured three simultaneous tournaments: a 4-round handicap, a pair go, and a beginner's lightning tournament. Three pairs played in the pair go event, and in two rounds each finished 1-1, tied for both first and last. The pair teams of Andrew Jackson 4d - Gwyn Whieldon 22k, and Scott Waldron 4d - Quynh Vo 3k, "each took home a bottle of wine to console themselves," Abramson reports. The team of Keiju and Yukino Takehara, "being minors, took home a bottle of apple cider." Julian Li 35k, took the honors in the lightning tournament, with a perfect 4-0 record. In the main handicap tournament, everyone who had a perfect 4-0 result took home a trophy, a prize and $20. Mr. Song, as the top band winner, took home $40. The winners were: First Place: Hong-Suk Song, 8d (Korean Insei), 4-0; Yi Jin Chen 3d, 4-0; Ji Li, 2s, 4-0; Jiwei Fan 1d, 4-0; Wei Guo, 2k, 3-1; Jian Deng, 5k, 3-1; Baifu Li 6k, 4-0; Kevin Chin 9k, 4-0; Winston Ou 12k, 3-1; Ben Wang 15k, 3-1; Joey Phoon 25k, 4-0; and Melody Chao 30k, 4-0. Second Place: Yuan Zhou 8d and Renjie Wang 6d (tied), 2-2; Li Wang 3d, 2-2; Jinglu Qiao 2d, 3-1; Todd Blatt 1k, 2-2; Xiaoling Du 3k, 2-2; Jerry Chen 6k, and Kabe Chin 6k (tied), 3-1; Louise Ingram 8k, 3-1; Garrett Smith 12k, 3-1; Gurujeet Khalsa 19k, 3-1; Justin Hsu 27k, 2-2; and Kenny Hyunh 32k, 2-2.

CLUB NEWS: Olympia Go Club & Mississippi Go Society: The Olympia Go Club "meets 2-3 times a week at a cafe in downtown oly called the Artisan's Café," reports Jason Baghoudarian. "We have 4-8 people playing usually, with strengths from 20k to 3dan. Go players are welcome to come by and check it out!" For details, email PHOTO (at left): At the Mississippi Go Society's Weekly Game Nights at Barnes and Nobles in Jackson, MS. Photo courtesy Rez Johnson

YOUTH GO UPDATES: Teacher of The Year, U.S. Youth Championships, Venue Wanted
- Teacher Of The Year Nominations Deadline Approaching: applications for Teacher of the Year must be submitted to the American Go Foundation by March 23rd. To be eligible, a teacher must be a member of the AGA, have been teaching go to children for at least two hours a week for two years, have started a go club or organization for children, and have helped them enter appropriate tournaments, if possible. If you would like to recommend someone for this award, including yourself, e-mail . The winner receives an all expenses paid trip to the US Go Congress.
- Still Time To Enter U.S. Youth Go Championship: It's not too late to register for the upcoming United States Youth Go Championship (USYGC), which starts on March 8th and 9th, with events held simultaneously in Boulder, CO; and Chicago, IL. All youth are encouraged to attend. Click here for a list of regional qualifier locations; e-mail a qualifier organizer on the list to register. Only youth who joined the AGA by January 1, 2008 will be eligible to move on to the finals, but all youth in a region (including kids who have not yet joined the AGA) may compete for prizes, fun and a chance at a $400 scholarship to the AGA Go Camp of their choice. Contestants need not win to be eligible for the camp scholarship: first choice goes to the winner, but if they decline the scholarship, any kid who competed in the event is eligible. The AGF will select the highest qualified conte
stant, who is available and willing to attend, from each event. "The camps are training grounds for our future star players, and kids of any rank are encouraged to come," says AGF President Terry Benson, who adds, "A 25 kyu can still win a trip to the camp, and there are 16 camp scholarships available, so don't be afraid to enter the USYGC!"
- Youth Championship Venue Wanted: Help train the next generation of go players and have a lot of fun by hosting the 8th Qualifier for the USYGC. Any AGA Chapter may host a qualifier, e-mail Nicole Casanta at for details. - reported by Paul Barchilon, EJ Youth Editor

MORE RECORDING SHEETS: Whether you prefer a standard grid, circles you can fill in or more space for notes, we've now got a range of recording sheets (19x19 and 9x9) available online for download. Thanks to Christopher L. Wuest and Tyler Reynolds for responding to last week's posting of Chuck Robbins' recording sheets.

GO CALENDAR: Dublin, Ireland & Ames, IA
February 29 - March 2: Dublin, Ireland
Irish Go Congress
Olivier Deme +353.1.2021311.9.

March 1: Ames, IA
Beginners Go Workshop
Ramon Mercado 787.410.1977
GET LISTED & GET PLAYERS! We post tournaments
worldwide. Click here to list your event.

CHINESE WIN THEIR FIRST NONGSHIM CUP: Chang Hao (l) 9P has led his team to China's first-ever Nongshim Cup win, upsetting the Koreans, who have dominated this international team match tournament. The Nongshim pits five-player teams from China, Japan, and Korea, with the winner being the last player standing. The Koreans had won seven of the eight Cups thus far -- the Japanese broke through in 2006 when Yoda Norimoto 9P defeated Lee Changho 9P in the final game - and this year the Koreans looked likely to triumph again. Chang Hao 9P was the Chinese team's last man, and there was only one Japanese player, Takao Shinji 9P left for the final stage, but the Korean team still had two players, Lee Changho 9P, who had won the final game seven of the last eight years, and Park Yeonghun 9P. Chang managed to defeat Takao by 2.5 points, then knocked out Lee, who for the first time was not the Korean team's final player, by a half point, leaving Park as the final barrier to China's first Nongshim win. Chang won the final showdown by resignation and his four straight wins brought the Cup to China.

TEEN XIE YIMIN BECOMES MEIJIN-HONINBO: Teenager Xie Yimin (r) 3P, who already held the Japanese Women's Honinbo title has also captured the Women's Meijin title by defeating former Meijin Kato Keiko 5P 2-0; both wins were by a half point. Kato won the Meijin title last year from Aoki Kikuyo 8P. There are two other women's titles in Japan: the Kisei and the Strongest Woman (Saikyo). Xie held the latter in 2006, but has yet to win the Kisei. The only other Women's Meijin-Honinbo was Kobayashi Izumi in 2001.

UMEZAWA YUKARI REPEATS AS WOMEN'S KISEI: Umezawa Yukari (l) 5P has defeated Mukai Chiaki 2P 2-0 to hold onto the Japanese Women's Kisei title she took from Mannami Kana 3P last year. This is the only title that Umezawa has won, now for the second time.

CHO UP AGAINST THE WALL IN KISEI: Cho Chikun (r) 9P must win all three of the remaining games in the Kisei title match against Yamashita Keigo 9P to take the title, now that Yamashita has moved out to a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven-games match. Yamashita won a third game on February 22nd by resignation. Yamashita is trying for a third straight win of this most prestigious of the Japanese national titles. The next game is scheduled for February 27-28.

RUI NAIWEI DETHRONED IN KUKSU: Rui Naiwei (l) 9P -- who has dominated the Korean women's titles for several years now -- was defeated in the semifinals of the 13th Women's Kuksu by Lee Minjin 5P. For the past two years Rui has held all three women's titles: the Women's Kuksu, Kisung, and Myeongin. Lee Minjin will now face Park Jieun 9P (the third woman 9P in the world) in the finals. Twenty years older than Lee and Park, Rui has won the Women's Kuksu five of the last seven years, while neither Park nor Lee have ever held it. Park won the Women's Myeongin in 1999; Rui has held it seven times in its nine-year existence and she is the only winner of the Women's Kisung, which was inaugurated in 2006. Rui is also the only woman to win an "open" title, the Kuksu, the most prestigious national Korean title, in 1999.

GO QUIZ: New Voters Dominate: Perhaps reflecting a trend in our current primary process, this week's poll on your favorite Go Congress was blessed with many new voters, but with 6 out of 17 having gone to only one - Lancaster - naturally the 2007 Lancaster Congress won with 7 votes. We did have 5 folks who have been to 10 or more, including one person each who date back to the first, the second and the third. Three chose North Carolina as their favorite, 2 the second Denver, and there were also votes for D.C., Santa Fe, Chicago, San Francisco and the first Denver. Personally, my two favorites are the second Rochester and the first Seattle. Most disturbing were the choices of Bob Barber and Paul Celmer - who chose the two Congresses they ran themselves - clearly masochists in our midst! Far more sensible was Jean de Maiffe who chose the one AFTER she ran hers. "Seeing friends" dominated the Favorite Things voting, but some fun memories included - Playing go while listening to bluegrass music in N.C. (deMaiffe), watching Larry Kaufman beat Rin Kaiho at Shogi at the first Congress(Barber), recording games in the Ing Competition (Ben Armitage) and Pair Go (Terri Schurter). Of course several folks mentioned the professionals, particularly Redmond and Nakayama. Congrats to this week's winner, Cynthia Gaty, chosen at random from those participating. THIS WEEK'S QUIZ: While Yamashita Keigo and Cho Chikun fight it out for the Kisei title, this week's quiz question asks Which pro has challenged for the Kisei the most number of times, WITHOUT ever winning? Is it Kato Masao, Takemiya Masaki, Rin Kaiho, or Kobayashi Koichi? Click here to vote and remember to give us your actual name if you want to compete. Please try to get your answers in BEFORE Friday morning.
- Keith Arnold, Quizmaster; photo: Michael Plesser 20k (l) solves a life and death problem in Ryo Maeda 6P's workshop at the 2007 U.S. Go Congress; photo by John Pinkerton.

YOUR MOVE: Readers Write

BRADLEY DEFENDS "NEW GO PROVERBS": "Phil Waldron's devastating review (2/18 EJ Go Review) of my book ‘New Go Proverbs Illustrated' is correct in part," writes author Milton N. Bradley, "especially regarding the tactical errors that remained in the final text. I regret these greatly, and apologize for my carelessness in not finding and correcting them before the book went to print. But regarding the value of the proverbs themselves and the book as a whole, I must strongly disagree with Waldron. The proverbs selected for inclusion weren't a result of some theoretical analysis, but instead resulted from my personal observation of the gaps in the thinking of the many beginning and intermediate players I'd taught over the years that most inhibited their progress, whose amelioration would most contribute to their improvement the fastest with the least effort, and thus result in their long term continuation with go. After 95 years of go in the US, there are still only about 2300 members in the AGA - less than 0.01% of the nation's population! I believe that abysmal statistic offers strong indication that the American go community has been doing something very wrong! The question I sought to answer was what, and how best to correct it. Although none of these proverbs may possess the elegance of Segoe's "There's Death In The Hane", for example, that's clearly not important if they fulfill their design intent of quickly and easily improving the skill of their intended audience. As a pragmatist, I still firmly believe that New Go Proverbs Illustrated - errors and all - is far more useful than just for ‘leveling a wobbly goban' as Waldron contends."

MORE ON LEAD IN YUNZI STONES: "Although I think the article by Dr. Roy Laird about lead in Yunzi stones (Chinese Go Stones, 2/4 EJ) is largely correct," writes Everett Lipman, "I disagree with Dr. Laird's conclusion that ‘with proper use even the sets now in circulation pose very little risk of lead exposure.'" Lipman, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Physics at the University of California in Santa Barbara, CA says that "I told ‘ChiyoDad' about the lead in Yunzi stones in mid-December. After getting a positive result with the LeadCheck chemical test, I had a friend of mine in the UC Santa Barbara Geology Department test Yunzi stones with x-ray fluorescence. The white stones from my set contain about 200 times the amount of lead allowed by law in paint. I would never allow children of any age to handle these stones. Note that the lead level allowed in jewelry is the same as that for paint, and jewelry doesn't flake. It may be that adults, especially those who wash their hands after playing, will experience no ill effects, but I would be reluctant to conclude that there is ‘very little risk'. I also think that the characterization of this information as ‘rumors' does a disservice to the E-Journal's readers. My experience with Yellow Mountain Imports in dealing with this issue has been very positive, and I hope to see their business thrive. Nevertheless, I think we should be careful about telling AGA members that these stones are safe when they may well not be." The Consumer Product Safety Commission's "Guidance for Lead in Consumer
, a link that appeared in the EJ article, identifies a number of products that "present a risk of lead poisoning", including children's jewelry and even "figurines used as game pieces." They are not banned as lead paint is, and other toys now being sold may pose a similar risk, but it would be prudent to keep older yunzi stones away from young children. - Roy Laird

OPENING GAMES: "I'm having problems in opening games," writes Marcos from Brazil, "how to manage?" You need to have an sgf viewer. There are many choices, from free viewers like CGoban to paid choices like SmartGo.

FINDING GAMES: Long-time member and contributor Andrew Whitmont reports that despite renewing his AGA membership, "The E-Journal I get still does not have games attached. What's up?" For some Yahoo users, Yahoo hides sgf attachments. On the left there is a menu option to show attachments; clicking this usually reveals the attached games.

KERWIN'S ROAD MAP FOR BEGINNERS: Part 9: Defining - And Using -- Pressure
by James Kerwin
When I've used the word ‘pressure' previously, I've been using it as a common English term, not a technical definition. Let me make my meaning more explicit. When you play into the ‘hot zone' you almost a
lways force an immediate response, often starting a sequence where both sides develop. When you play near an opponent's position you do not necessarily force a response. Instead you create threatening follow-up moves. Pressure is creating these threatening follow up moves. Consider Dia. 1. At the start white has no threats against the black position. White 1 generates a little pressure. For example A and B are not empty forces but value moves for white. They would allow white to reinforce his position to the right while forcing black to answer. However if black does not answer and white later plays 3 he creates a lot of pressure. Now white has C and D similar to A and B. But white can also scoop out black's base with E and F. And if white wants to build the center he has G and H. After white 3 white can drive black in any direction of white's choosing. The point that generates the most pressure on the opponent is the one-space approach. This move is so valuable and so often played for pressure that I call it the ‘pressure point'. A knight's move approach also applies pressure, but not as much. It also gives the opponent better responses. A two-space approach also generates pressure, but much less. An important part of improving at go is learning the value of pressure. Pay attention to your opponent's approach moves. Before you decide not to answer them, check out what threatening moves they create. And if your opponent ignores your pressure, make sure you use the threats you created to realize additional profit from your pressures moves. Pressure is even more important for black in handicap games than in even games. The superhighway to winning a handicap game as black is to focus on pressure. If black is pressuring white, black is winning. When black stops pressuring white he stops winning. And when white can apply pressure black starts losing.
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

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GO TEACHER WANTED: Baltimore, MD: AGA-rated 4k looking to become strong. Teacher can be in the area or online, but must be willing to do at least two intense one-on-one training sessions per month and oversee my general study. Willing to negotiate payment. Please look at my games as "notsomuch" on KGS to see if you can help me. If interested, please contact Joseph at (2/25)
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Managing Editor: Chris Garlock
Assistant Editor: Bill Cobb
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