World Go News from The American Go Association




MEMBER'S EDITION BONUS CONTENT: Hot off the boards, we bring you two games from last week's 6th Ing Cup: the Round 1 game between U.S. rep Mingjiu Jiang and Liu Xing and the Round 2 game between Cho Chikun and Lee Changhao. The latest commentary from Yuan Zhou 8d takes a look at a workshop game between two 5-kyus. Last but not least, Duan Rong 7P reviews the proper sequencing of peeps and ataris in a translation by Ze-Li Dou from the Chinese World of Weiqi weekly. Non-members: join the American Go Association and get all this great content with every EJ! It's all just a click away!

May 5, 2008; Volume 9, #20

YEARBOOK SURVEY: Tell us what you think of the new American Go Yearbook and you could win a prize! Click here to take our brief survey. Boris Bernadsky is this week's winner. The 124-page compilation is the biggest Yearbook yet, featuring the best of last year's world go coverage in the E-Journal, including major event reports, photos, youth and world go news and a Yearbook CD that includes every 2007 E-Journal, including all game records.

REPORT FROM THE 6TH ING CUP: The early rounds of the 6th Ing Cup took place at the Shanghai headquarters of the Ing Chang Ki Educational Foundation from April 30th to May 4th. Two dozen players -- including Mingjiu Jiang of the US and Taranu Catalin from Romania representing the European Go Federation -- played for go's richest prize purse, with over $600,000 in prizes. The action took place in the paneled tournament room on the 18th floor of the Ing building and the Ing Foundation managed the event with style. There was an opening day marching band, an exhibition of antique go artifacts, a public display of panels detailing the history of go and the contribution of Mr. Ing Chang Ki's to the development of the game and a welcome banquet of 350 with many go dignitaries including Lin Hai Feng (Rin Kai Ho), Cho Hyun Hyen, Otake Hideo, other well known go figures and local political leaders. All the games were broadcast on the internet and also sent by closed circuit to the three viewing rooms on two floors of the building. The Asian press covered the event extensively. Sixteen players vied in a preliminary round for 8 places in the round of 16 to face 8 seeded players. Officially the 24 represented China (11), Korea (6), Japan (3), Chinese Taipei (2), US (1) and Europe (1) but the actual birthplace, parentage, and training of many of the players was in other countries. There were no upsets in the first round (click here for the full report), with U.S. rep Mingjiu Jiang drawing a tough opponent, Liu Xing, who turned out to be the only Chinese to make the semifinals. Jiang called the game "difficult" and thought later that his move at 33 should have been at 192 (see attached game record). The round of 16 saw the Koreans nearly go through as a group, with four out of five advancing, while two of the top Chinese went out. Gu Li was beaten by Cho Chul Han and Chang Ho lost to Cho Chi Kun (representing Japan) by three points in one of only two countable games in the round. One notable game was the mirror go game that lasted 42 moves in the contest between Song Tae-gon and Piao Wenyao. In the quarterfinals on Sunday May 4th, the Koreans were again dominant with three wins. Only Liu Xing saved a bit of the home team honor by killing a 40-stone black dragon of Park Young Hun. Cho Chikun was beaten by 3 pts by Lee Chang Ho in an exciting contest (see attached game) with huge territories to leave the Japanese again out of the Ing finals. The Ing Cup semifinals will be in late fall and the finals early next year.
- reported from Shanghai by Terry Benson, Special Correspondent to the E-Journal. Photo: Mingjiu Jiang (at left in foreground) plays Liu Xing; photo by Terry Benson.

HECK TOPS MGA TOURNEY: Gus Heck 3k topped the April 20 Massachusetts Go Association Spring Tournament in Somerville, Massachusetts. Sixteen players participated and Wanda Metcalf was TD. RESULTS: OPEN SECTION(16 players):1st: HECK, Gus 3k; 2nd: NGUYEN, Tu 10k; 3rd: LUTER, Adam 3k.

ZHUANG AND FANG WIN USYGC IN TACOMA: Vincent Zhuang 1k, and Fang Chih-Yu 2k, topped their divisions at the final USYGC qualifier May 3-4 in Tacoma, WA. Hosted by the Tacoma Go Club, the event was held in conjunction with the Roy Hayashi Memorial Tournament, the North American Ing Tournament, and the World Mind Sports Games qualifier. "The campus was spectacular, with its flowering magnolias, azaleas, rhododendrons, and Japanese Cherry Trees, of Pacific Lutheran University," reports tournament director Dr. Gordon Castanza. All winners received trophies, and the top two got $400 scholarships to the go camp of their choice. Third place winner Tai (Nguyen) Phan 19k, also won a stunning goban, donated by Dr. and Mrs. Steve Stringfellow, and second place winner Kevin Burton 18k, won a table board. While the young players "displayed great volubility in kibitzing their games," reports Castanza, "when asked to comment for the E-J, 'Yes!' and 'Great!' were the best they could muster as they quickly turned away with arms full of booty." Winners Report: Senior division (12 and up): 1st: Vincent Zhuang,1k. Junior Division (under 12): 1st: Fang Chih-Yu (Daniel) 2k; 2nd: Kevin Burton, 18k; 3rd: Tai (Nguyen) Phan 19k.
- reported by Paul Barchilion, Youth Editor. Photos: (above right) Fang Chih-Yu (left) vs. Vincent Zhuang (right), B+R; (left) Tai Phan (left) plays Kevin
Burton in the 3rd Round,
photos by Gordon Castanza

IT'S DESOUZA & WU IN FL YOUTH TOURNEY: Alex Desouza 6k and Derek Wu 15k won their divisions at the April 26 United States Youth Go Championship (USYGC) qualifier in Fort Myers, FL. "The Tournament was a real honor and a blast to put together," reports TD Joshua Frye, a math teacher at Lexington Middle School in Fort Myers. "It was great to see all my students' progress in less then a year," adds Frye, "The students enjoyed themselves tremendously and their interest in go has been rejuvenated from this tournament. We had five intense rounds of go play, with pizza and refreshments for all, followed by foosball and air hockey." Senior division winner Alex Desouza 6k told the E-Journal that "When the results were announced, and I realized that I had won, I felt really proud of myself. I think that all the time and effort I put in practicing paid off." Said Junior Division winner Derek Wu 15k, "This was fun...When's the next match?" Senior Division runner-up Jordan Winters 6k, told the EJ he had fun, despite losing to his rival, DeSouza. "It was cool, we had fun go activities in between rounds, like a blitz game on a huge 9x9 Mr. Frye made last year. We had two teams and we had to run to the board and play, then run to hit the clock, I loved watching everyone freak out to hit the timer."
- reported by Paul Barchilion, Youth Editor. Photo: (right) Alex Desouza (left) battles Jordan Winters (right), photo by Joshua Frye

CLOCK TICKING DOWN ON KERWIN WORKSHOP: "Jim Kerwin will be leading another great workshop at Hollyhock this summer," reports longtime fan and student Phil Straus. "Do you want to be there? Please decide very soon," as accommodations at Hollyhock are filling up. "The location, the facilities and the length of the workshop make it a perfect opportunity to study go and have fun. Also, this year, it's a great combination with the US Go Congress starting August 2nd, if you can make both." Click here for details.

PROS, WINE TOURS & MORE AT U.S. GO CONGRESS: Seven professional go players have now been confirmed for this year's U.S. Go Congress; new pros include Cho Hye-Yeon 7P, Lee JiHyun 3P, Byeong Jun Kim 2P and Guo Juan 5P, who join Maeda Ryo 6P, Kim ByeongJun 2P and Jennie Shen 2P. Congress organizers have lined up a number of non-go activities, including an Oregon Wine Country tour, a visit to the Columbia Gorge -- which served as the inspirtion for folksinger Woody Guthrie - which includes a stop at Mt. Hood. Also on tap: a trip to the Oregon Coast, where the mountains reach down into the Pacific Ocean, hiking in Forest Park, the largest contiguous park - 16 miles -- within city limits in the continental US and a Wednesday night blues performance by Terry Robb (left), one of the Northwest's premier acoustic blues guitarists. "Each morning we'll have a local resource person available to respond to your requests about shopping, galleries, strolling gardens, places to go and things to do," promise Congress Co-Director Peter Freedman.

WORLD MIND TEAM GUIDELINES OUT: Final qualification guidelines have now been published for the World Mind Sports Games (WMSG) Team. Click here for an FAQ and general participation guidelines. Click here for more up-to-date information and the application form. To compete for the team, players should follow the instructions in both documents.

KGS TOURNEY PAIRINGS POSTED: Pairings in the KGS Suk B Choi Amateur Invitational have been posted online. The Invitational features 16 of the strongest amateur players on KGS who will compete in the knockout event; match dates will be posted when the players decide their schedule.

TALKING STONES RETURNS: Longtime go writer Peter Shotwell (right) returns to the E-Journal today with a new version of his Talking Stones column, which has appeared off and on in AGA publications over the years. The new monthly column will be "more oriented to what's happening now," Shotwell tells the E-Journal, saying that future columns may include "looking at various websites and other interesting things that are going on," as well as interviews with various go people "like the computer go wizards, pros, Koreans, John Fairbairn, Bill Spight and so on." Click here to read today's column.

AGA MEMBERSHIP DIPS SLIGHTLY: Membership in the American Go Association declined last month, the first drop in eight months and just the third in the past year. "We've had a record-breaking year of growth," said AGA President Michael Lash, "including the last seven straight months of increases. I'm confident that the AGA's strong track record of member service and excellent programs will continue to attract new members in the months ahead." Total membership was 2,392 at the end of April, down from a record high of 2,420 the previous month. The slight 1% decline was across the board, with full memberships down 15 to 2,035, sponsors down 2 to 36, sustainers down 1 to 61, Limited memberships down 10 to 190, Youth memberships down 11 to 778 and Chapter memberships down 3 to 126.

AGA DIRECTOR NOMINATIONS OPEN: Nominations are now open for four Directors of the American Go Association whose terms expire this September: Western Region (currently held by Gordon Castanza), Central Region (Roy Schmidt), Eastern Region (Chuck Robbins) and Member-at-large (Roy Laird). Terms for all four director positions are two years; nominations close on June 15, and must be made in writing by a full member of the AGA. To be eligible, candidates must be at least 21, a full AGA member in good standing for at least one year, resident in the USA for at least six of the last twelve months and must declare in writing a willingness to run and perform the duties of office. For complete details on eligibility requirements, or to make a nomination, contact or mail Arnold Eudell, 9513 Baroness Ct., Laurel, Maryland 20723.

WESTERN REPS OUT IN ING FIRST ROUND: The Western representatives were knocked out in the first round of the 6th international Ing Cup, as were the Taiwanese reps. North America rep Mingjiu Jiang 7P and Europe's Taranu Catalin 5P both lost to Chinese representatives, Liu Xing (left) 7P and Piao Wenyao (right) 5P respectively. Liu is in his twenties and won the Chinese Agon Cup in 2006. He then defeated Cho U 9P in the match between the Chinese and Japanese Agon Cup winners. Liu also won the Chinese CCTV Cup in 2005. Piao, also just breaking into his twenties, won the CCTV Cup last year. The two Taiwanese reps also went out in the first round. Zhou Junxun 9P, who won the international LG Cup last year, was eliminated by Park Yonghun 9P, the young star from Korea who won the international Fujitsu earlier this year. Cho U 9P, a native of Taiwan though a member of the Nihon Kiin, was also playing as a Taiwanese rep. He was beaten in a one-point game (using Ing scoring -- this is equivalent to a half-point game under Japanese scoring) by Cho Chikun 9P, a native Korean who is also a member of the Nihon Kiin and is playing as a Japanese representative. Cho Chikun is the only Japanese rep who won in the first round, although O Meien 9P, another Taiwanese who plays for the Nihon Kiin, is seeded into the second round. Click here for full results and game records.

IYAMA YUTA HOLDING LEAD IN MEIJIN LEAGUE: Iyama Yuta (left) 7P, the Japanese teen who turns twenty at the end of this month, is maintaining his lead in the League to determine the challenger for Meijin title holder Cho U 9P. In the round-robin match between nine players his score is now 4-1 and he is the only player who has lost only one game. His three remaining games are against Kobayashi Satoru 9P (4-2), Yoda Norimoto 9P (2-3), and Cho Chikun 9P (2-2): a formidable set of opponents. Iyama's only loss was to Yamada Kimio 9P (3-2) by one and a half points, playing Black. He has defeated Takao Shinji 9P (3-2), Sakai Hideyuki 7P (2-2), Ko Iso 7P (2-3), and Chin Kaei 9P (0-5).

WORLD AMATEUR PLAYER PROFILES: Players from 70 countries and territories will compete in the 29th annual World Amateur Go Championship May 29-31 in Tokyo, Japan. The American Go E-Journal will once again provide full coverage of the 8-round tournament, posting daily updates on the web and in the EJ, including news, features, photos and game records live from the playing venue at the Nihon Ki-in. We've been profiling WAGC players and this week we're pleased to introduce the players from U.S., Austria, Cuba, Costa Rica, Malaysia and The Philippines.
- Chris Garlock

UNITED STATES: Mozheng Guan 8d is a 21-year-old student from Holmdel, NJ. He's been playing since he was 14 and his titles include the Redmond Cup in 2002, 2003 and 2004, the 2003 Maryland Open, the 2007 NorCal Open, US Pair Go IN 2003 and has been a US representative at the World Youth Go Championships in 2002, 2003 and 2004. Hobbies include, swimming and movies. His favorite thing about go is that "Go gives the players a lot of freedom. Because the rules of the game are so simple, there's a lot of room to be creative and try different things."

AUSTRIA: Franz Hüttler 4d lives in Vienna. The 42-year-old chemist has been playing 25 years and was Austrian Champion in 1993, 1994, 1996 and 1999. His favorite thing about go is that it's a brain-sport.

CUBA: Antonio Fernandez (right) 3d is a 40-year-old professor from Havana. He's been the Cuba Champion every year since 2000. He's married with two sons. Hobbies include chess and he loves "everything" about go.

COSTA RICA: David Quesada (left) 5k is a 21-year-old physics student in San Jose. Hobbies include anime and music. His favorite thing about go is "the deepness of simplicity."

MALAYSIA: Mohd Zaid Waqiyuddin 5d is a 25-year-old engineer who lives in Kuala Lumpur. He won the 2008 Malaysia Weiqi Tournament. Hobbies include traveling, watching great movies and chatting and at the WAGC he says "I hope to meet many more go friends from many countries." His favorite thing about go is that it hasn't yet been "solved by computer. And the community is really passionate."

THE PHILIPPINES: Martin Thomas Sacramento 1d lives in Manila, where the 29-year-old is a 3D Technical Director "for various animated productions such as Hoodwinked and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse." Hobbies include kendo, 3d animation and drawing. His favorite thing about go that it "has combative elements which I enjoy, it's like mind-sparring."

GO QUIZ: Stone-Faced & Stonewalled
Perhaps it's telling that there are no go players among the four familiar faces pictured on Mt. Rushmore in South Dakota, the
one state without go club contact info currently on the AGA website. Just over half of you got it right, with Montana, Kansas, New Mexico and North Dakota receiving educated guesses. One person, smelling a trick, incorrectly said "none" and the ever-careful Grant Kerr makes this generous (with gas well over $3 a gallon) offer - "Come join us in Regina SK on Friday evenings - it's only a 10-hour drive from Rapid City!" Congrats to this week's winner Carrie Lapidus, chosen at random from those responding correctly.
THIS WEEK'S QUIZ: No mystery who's lined up in this photo (right) from the first Denver Go Congress; from left to right are Hal Small, Chris Kirschner, Bill Saltman, Ned Phipps, Paul Mathews and Stu Horowitz. The question is, Why was this photo was taken, and, for bonus points, why isn't Haskell wearing a shirt? Click here to enlighten us.

TALKING STONES: Shirakawa's Search for the Origins of Go
by Peter Shotwell
     This new monthly column is a revival of one that I wrote back in the '80s for the AGA quarterly print Journal, where I explored topics and personalities in the world of go which lie outside the actual game-playing boards. Much has happened in the intervening years, and I'm excited to continue these adventures with the E-Journal's vastly expanded worldwide audience.

     Shirakawa Masayoshi's ‘A Journey in Search of the Origins of Go' is both a personal and historical account. Shirakawa includes pleasant descriptions of games he's played over the past decade or two, while accompanying Japanese go delegations to China. There's also some interesting commentary about early Japan and, making it a must-read book for history and literature buffs, extremely good information about the go-playing characters of ‘The Romance of the Three Kingdoms.' It also contains the best story in English of kirichin, the old Chinese rule that subtracted two points for every live group.
     While Shirakawa's dubious statements about the possibility of Japanese go in the third century AD and the earliest Chinese playing boards can be overlooked, the cavalier rendering of his book's main subject cannot. While he attempts to trace the origins of go to the Shang dynasty 4,000 years ago-which is a possibility-his 'proofs' are divination devices that are no older than the Han period, which began in 206 BC, a little more than 2,000 years ago.
     Similarly contrived is Shirakawa's attempt to link early go history with ideas of eleventh century Song dynasty writers who began to combine Daoist, Confucian and Buddhist mystical thinking about the game. So is his curious and ultimately inexplicable use of a 16th century diviner who tried to apply go to post-sixth century Buddhist ideas about 'number,' 'substance' and 'function.'
     Admittedly, Shirakawa's essays were cobbled together after being written over several decades. However, probably because the translator was told 'not to change a word,' the book suffers from a lack of editing. Furthermore, its mystical terms and concepts aren't explained in the English version, since he was writing for a Japanese audience who perhaps would have understood at least some of them.
     Perhaps because Shirakawa is a journalist and not a historian, when he tries to associate the origins of go with calendars or divination practices without logic or real historical evidence, his presentation often comes across as chaotic and mystifying at best, and downright deceptive at worst. By failing to tell a straightforward story of how magic squares, trigrams, hexagrams, Nine Star Divination and other such esoteric matters came to be associated with go by mystics such as Go Seigen and a few Chinese historians, Shirakawa unfortunately winds up doing a great disservice to those readers new to these vast, fascinating subjects.
Peter Shotwell is a longtime go writer whose books include 'Go! More Than a Game,' 'Go Basics' and 'Beginning Go.' His go research, including a detailed look at Shirakawa's book and two new appendices on cognitive psychology and Tibet, can be found online. Reach him at

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Published by the American Go Association
Managing Editor: Chris Garlock
Assistant Editor: Bill Cobb
Professionals: Yilun Yang 7P; Alexandr Dinerchtein 3P; Fan Hui 2P
Contributors: Paul Barchilon (Youth Editor); Lawrence Ku (U.S. West Coast Reporter); Brian Allen (U.S. West Coast Photo Editor); Peter Dijekma (Dutch/European Correspondent); Marilena Bara (Romania/European Correspondent); Ian Davis (Ireland Correspondent)
Columnists: James Kerwin 1P; Kazunari Furuyama; Rob van Ziejst; Roy Laird; Peter Shotwell
Translations: Chris Donner (Japan); Bob McGuigan (Japan); Matt Luce (China)

Text material published in the AMERICAN GO E JOURNAL may be reproduced by any recipient: please credit the AGEJ as the source. PLEASE NOTE that commented game record files MAY NOT BE published, re-distributed, or made available on the web without the explicit written permission of the Editor of the E-Journal. Please direct inquiries to

Articles appearing in the E-Journal represent the opinions of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official views of the American Go Association.

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