World Go News from The American Go Association




MEMBER'S EDITION BONUS CONTENT: Three great games for your enjoyment today: a no-holds-barred nail-biter from Jie Li 9d and Joey Hung 8d, the 3.5-point Pair Go game between Jasmine Yan/Ricky Zhao of the US and Chuyang Liu/Michael Liang of Canada, and Cho Chikun's 1,300 win game record. Enjoy: membership has its' benefits! Non-members: join the American Go Association and get all this great content with every EJ! It's all just a click away!

Volume 9, #32: June 30, 2008

ZHANG TOPS S.F. TOURNEY: Tony Zhang 5d topped the field of forty three players who turned out for the June ratings tournament. Held in San Francisco's Japantown Center, the June 21 event set an attendance record for the monthly events. Players ranged from 7d to 25k, with eight players entering at 5d and above. "Eleven of the players won a go book, seven for playing in their first AGA-rated tournament and four for winning all four of their games," reports Roger Schrag, adding that five players joined the AGA at the tournament. The monthly ratings tournaments are organized by Bay Area Go Players Association, and are held at various places in the San Francisco Bay area. The next tournament will be held July 19 in Palo Alto. Click here for details. The Tournament Director was Steve Burrall 5d and Roger Schrag 10k was the Tournament Organizer. Four game winners: Tony Zhang 5d, Linden Chiu 3k, Henry Zhang 8k, Jingxi Zhai 19k. Photo by Roger Shrag

HAYNES & WILLIS WIN IN SACRAMENTO: Willard Haynes 1k and Jared Willis 16k won the June 28 Davis/Sacramento Go Club summer tournament, held in Sacramento, CA. Haynes won the upper division (1 kyu and up) with a 3-0 record (1 bye), while Willis won the lower division with a 4-0 record. Between rounds two and three, Michael Redmond 9P -- who was seeing family in the area - put in a surprise appearance. Redmond is heading up the US team to the World Mind Sports Games in Beijing later this year.

REDMOND CUP PRELIMS WRAP UP: With five rounds completed, the preliminary rounds of the 15th Redmond Cup are over. In each division, finalists are chosen to play at the US Go Congress this year in Oregon for a large cash award. In the Junior Division, Calvin Sun is undefeated, keeping his winning streak alive since he swept the USYGC. Hugh Zhang (left), who lost only to Sun in these five rounds of play, is the only player with four wins in the Junior Division. Thus, these two young stars, who played in last year's Redmond Cup Junior Division Finals and placed 1st and 2nd at the USYGC, will be clashing on the go board at Congress. In the Senior Division, William Zhou seemed to be undefeatable, since he had swept the USYGC and had cruised to four wins in the first four rounds of the Redmond Cup. However, Gansheng Shi from Canada managed to pull a victory off against Zhou, and both have four wins. Cherry Shen, who lost to William earlier in the tournament, had won every other round she played, including her victory over Gansheng Shi. These three finalists -- William Zhou, Gansheng Shi, and Cherry Shen -- will have a play-off at Congress to determine the Senior Division winner. Click here for full results.

CANADA PAIR WIN FREE TIX TO WMSG: The Canadian team of Chuyang Liu and Michael Liang defeated the U.S. team of Jasmine Yan and Ricky Zhao by 3.5 points (see attached game record) on June 24 to earn the Japan Pair Go Association air tickets to the World Mind Sports Games in Beijing in October. Both pairs will play in Beijing.

U.S. CONGRESS PASSES 400: Attendance at this year's U.S. Go Congress has now passed 400. The annual Congress is North America's biggest go event of the year and features eight days of go, this year at Portland State University in Portland, Oregon from August 2-10. Highlights include the US Open, North America's biggest tournament, the continuous and ever-popular Self-Paired Handicap Tournament, professional instruction, special events, private lessons, the North American Ing Cup, the Redmond Cup, go vendors and more. Whether you're looking to improve fast, catch up with old (and new) go friends, or enjoy a unique family vacation, the Go Congress has a lot to offer just about everybody. Click here for more details, including online registration, who's coming and the list of Congress events. If you plan to play in the US Open at this year's U.S. Go Congress, organizers warn that you must be on-site and have confirmed that you're playing by Saturday, August 2nd at 6P. "If you cannot arrive by this time, you must notify the US Open Tournament Director that you are ‘on your way' by 6P on August 2," says Congress Co-Director Peter Freedman, "Otherwise you will not be able to play in the first round on Sunday." The Congress phone number is 503-928-4445; if your current playing rank differs from your AGA rank, the same timeline applies for notifying the TD, whose email address is NOTE: "If you try and register for a room on our web site and can't get one, please email the registrar at," says Freedman. "We expect the college will give us rooms on a case by case basis beyond what we reserved." Photo: Pro game commentary at the 2007 US Go Congress, photo by Steve Colburn

HOUSTONIANS GET STRONGER: "It just keeps getting better and better for Houston Go players," reports Robert Cordingley, President of the Houston Go Club. The club is now offering two lecture series, one aimed to the 10k-5k players - which started June 24th -- and the other designed to improve playing strength to 7k, which starts June 30th. The Cy Fair Go Club started meeting every Thursday from 5-7P at the Lone Star College in Cy Fair in the College and Conference Center Building. "Open to all skill levels and anyone that is interested in learning the game," Cordingley says, "players should bring their own board and stones." For details, go to the Houston Go Club's website.

SHEN PLAYS BIG AREA IN KALAMAZOO: A dozen players participated in the Jennie Shen workshop in Kalamazoo last weekend. "Everyone was treated to lectures, a simul, and lengthy game reviews," reports organizer Jason Preuss. "Even though this was Jennie's first workshop her experience as a teacher was quite evident. Everyone now has a better understanding of basic shapes, direction of attack, and playing the big areas. The Kalamazoo Go Club would like to thank the Ing Foundation whose professional teaching grant made the workshop possible." Photo: Shen playing Ben Schooley in a simul with Reed Blaylock looking on, photo by Jason Preuss

LATEST SMARTGO BOOSTS PRO GAMES: The latest version of SmartGo includes 45,202 professional games. "SmartGo 2.8.3 includes 2,811 professional games played in 2007 and 877 played in 2008, so you can study the most recent joseki and fuseki innovations," says creator Anders Kierulf. "If you prefer the old masters, there are 420 games by Honinbo Shusaku." Version 2.8.3 is a free upgrade for existing customers. "If you don't know SmartGo yet, download the free 15-day trial and give your go study a boost before the Congress," Kierulf adds. Special offer for E-Journal readers: Until July 15th, specify 'ejournal' as your coupon and get $10 off; $59 instead of $69!

GO TOKYO 2008 TOUR OFFERED: The Japan Travel Bureau is organizing a 6-day 'Let's GO to Tokyo 2008' tour that includes attending the public game commentary of the Toyota & Denso Cup World Go Oza on August 27 at the Nihon Ki-in in Tokyo. The tour also includes sightseeing and shopping in Tokyo, trips on the Lake Ashi Excursion Boat and Komagatake Ropeway and a visit to the Owakudani Valley, where "legend says that eating just one of the black eggs that are boiled in the healthy sulfur springs of the valley can add five to seven years to a person's lifespan." For more details, email Hiroyuki Sakai at

VOLUNTEERS WELCOME: If you're interested in teaching go in schools, getting go into school curricula, doing local go publicity programs, directing tournaments, enlisting new members, or helping raise funds for new go programs, the American Go Association wants to hear from you. AGA leadership will once again be running a Job Fair at the upcoming U.S. Go Congress, this year joined by Terry Benson of the American Go Foundation. "Feel free to volunteer for anything you wish, and we will sort it out: the more the better for the AGA!" say AGA President Mike Lash and AGA President-Elect Allan Abramson. Anyone interested should review the AGA organization chart, and Board minutes on the AGA website and email either Lash at or Abramson at

AGA BOARD VOTE UPDATES: VOTING UNDERWAY IN BOARD ELECTION: Balloting has begun in the 2008 American Go Association Board Directorship elections. Ballots for the AGA's Region Directorships were mailed last Thursday to AGA chapters and members without email. "Notifications for electronic voting for the At-Large position will be delivered to all eligible members shortly through e-mail or letter if no email is available," reports Arnold Eudell. RECALL BALLOTS MAILED: Ballots in the vote on whether to recall AGA Board Member Roy Laird went out last Thursday, June 26 to all current chapters. "Email ballots are required by midnight July 10 and ballots mailed in must be postmarked by then," AGA President Mike Lash tells the E-Journal. "Counting is on Monday, July 14th," and will be reported in the EJ and/or website as soon as possible.

CORRECTION: Kono Rin is 9P, not 8P, as reported in one of our references to him last week (Updates On Japanese Professionals 6/23 EJ); he was promoted last year. Thanks to T Mark Hall for catching the error.

GO CALENDAR: July Events

July 7: Montville Township, NJ: Morris County AGA Rating Tourney
David Pan 973.978.0036
July 12: New York, NY: NYGC Big Tournament-Special 8 Round Blitz!!
Boris Bernadsky 646.438.1338
July 19: Hueytown, AL: Birmingham Go Association Invitational
Louis Gutenschwager 205.903.0688
July 19: Palo Alto, CA: Bay Area Go Players Association Monthly AGA Ratings Tournament
Steve Burrall 916.688.2858
July 19: Arlington, VA: Congress Tune-Up
Allan Abramson 703.684.7676
July 20: Somerville, MA: Massachusetts Go Assoc. four-round handicap tournament
Eva W. Casey 617.666.8934
July 27 - August 1: Cortes Island, BC: James Kerwin Go Workshop
James Kerwin 612.823.0699

YOUR MOVE: Readers Write
"I still haven't gotten my American Go Yearbook," writes Pauline Pohl. "Have they all been shipped?" Yes; if you were a full AGA member as of December 31 2007 and have not yet received your 2007 Yearbook, email us at and we'll help get you your Yearbook.

IWAMOTO ONLINE TOURNEY CANCELLED: The online Iwamoto tournament has been cancelled, organizers have reported. "Meanwhile, we invite you to participate in Iwamoto's Facebook group where you'll be able to make suggestions to be included in next year's tournament." You can also reach the Iwamoto Tournament's Team at

HANE HANGING ON IN HONINBO: Challenger Hane Naoki (right) 9P, who was down 0-3 in the Honinbo title match with Takao Shinji 9P, managed to defeat the title holder in round 4 to keep his hopes alive. To take the title he will have to win the remaining three games in this best-of-seven-games event. Takao is hoping to hold this title for the fourth consecutive year; he also is the current Judan title holder and was Meijin-Honinbo in 2006. Hane held the Kisei title in 2004 and 2005 and the Tengen for three years, 2001-2003, but he has never been Honinbo. The remaining games of the title match will all be played in July.

WON SUNGJIN UPSETS GU LI IN CHINA-KOREA TENGEN: Won Sunjin (left) 9P has scored a stunning - and decisive - win over Gu Li 9P in the China-Korean Tengen. Won stunned Gu by sweeping the first two games of the best-of-three match, both by resignation, giving him his first international title. The China-Korea Tengen features the winners of the national Tengen (Japanese) titles in China (Chinese: Tianyuan) and Korea (Korean: Chunwon) play a best-of-three games match every year. This year's Chinese title holder is Gu Li 9P, who has won the Chinese title for the last
six years straight and has won this dual China-Korea match in four of the last five years. Gu is a currently a dominant player in China, holding five national titles in addition to two international ones, the Chunlan Cup and this one. Won Sunjin 9P, twenty-two years old, won the Korean title this year. He also won the BC Card Cup last year.

RUI NAIWEI FALLS, PARK JIEUN LAST HOPE FOR WOMEN IN GG AUCTION CUP: Park Jieun (right) 9P is the last woman standing in the GG Auction Cup match, which pits a dozen each of Korean women and senior men pros against each other. Rui Naiwei 9P defeated Seo Nungwuk 9P, reducing the men to six players, but she then lost by 1.5 points by Choi Kyubyeong 9P, leaving Park Jieun as the women's team's last hope. The most recent women to be promoted to 9P, Park dispatched Choi, but must defeat five more if the women are to repeat last year's victory. A formidable player, Park has beaten Rui in a number of matches, but faces stalwarts on the men's team like Seo Bongsoo 9P, who won the international Ing Cup in 1992, and Cho Hunhyun 9P, who has won many national and international titles.

YOUNGSTERS VIE FOR FIRST TITLE IN JIANQIAO CUP: Two young female pros, neither of whom has yet won a title, are the finalists for the Jianqiao Cup, one of the top events for women pros in China. Twenty-year-old Lu Jia (left) 1P and 19-year-old Wang Xiangyun 1P will face each other in the best-of-three-games finals. Neither finalist has yet won a title, although Lu took second place in this event in 2006. Now in its sixth year, the winner for the first four years was Zhang Xuan 8P, who is now forty. Last year Zheng Yan (right), 2P, who is in her early twenties, won; she was also runner-up in 2004 and 2005. However, this year Zheng was eliminated in the first round.

CHO CHIKUN HITS 1,300 WINS MARK: Cho Chikun 9P's June 19th defeat of O Rissei 9P in the 33rd Kisei League was a major milestone, marking the 1,300th win of Cho's career. Only one other Japanese player -- Rin Kaiho 9P in 2006 -- has ever reached that total. Rin's current total is 1,324 wins, but Cho's chances of outscoring Rin are promising: Cho is 51 years old and has a winning rate of 65.6%, while Rin is 64 and has a winning rate of 62.1%. Cho achieved 1,000 wins in 1999 and 12,000 in 2005. Last year he successfully defended his Judan title against Yamashita Keigo 9P and extended his title collection to 71.
Among all pros, Cho Hunhyun 9P of Korea has the most victories, with 1,765, and only his former pupil, Lee Changho 9P -- who currently has 1,411 victories - has a chance of catching him.
- Jens Henker, Korean News correspondent for the E-Journal

MIHAI SERBAN DOMINATES ROMANIAN YOUTH CHAMPIONSHIPS: Fourteen-year-old Mihai Serban 4d won three divisions at the June 15-21 Romanian National Championships. Seventy youngsters from across the country competed in six divisions. A highlight of this year's events was the presence of Cristian Cobeli, who first taught Catalin Taranu and Cristian Pop, both now top European players from Romania. Cobeli came with a new generation of young go players from Vatra Dornei, including his son, who took first place in the under-8 category. Players from the two main Romanian go schools in Bistrita and Braila dominated the tournament, and for the first time children from the Bucharest GO Club attended. After the tournament most of the young players took the train to the Mamaia resort's Black Sea, for the go summer camp June 23-29, where they met top Romanian go players. Winner's Report: Under 8: 1. Haja Daniel (Vatra Dornei); 2. Berende Daria (Bistrita); 3. Berbecariu Crina (Bistrita). Under 10: 1. Berende Tudor (Bistrita); 2. Iacob Alexandru (Braila); 3. Haja Daniel (Vatra Dornei). Under 12: 1.Theodor Toma (Atari Braila); 2.Tudor Berende (Children Palace Bistrita); 3. Alexandru Iacob (Atari Braila). Under 14: 1. Mihai Serban 4d, (Childrfen Palace Bistrita); 2. Toma Theodor 1dan, Braila; 3. Mastan Diana 6kyu, Bistrita. Under 16: 1. Mihai Serban (Children Palace Bistrita); 2. Laura Avram (Children Palace Bistrita); 3. Flaviu Berbecariu (Children Palace Bistrita). Under 18: 1. Mihai Serban 4d, (Children Palace Bistrita); 2. Avram Laura 1d, Bistrita; 3. Toma Theodor 1d, Braila.
- reported by Marilena Bara, Romanian Correspondent for the E-Journal

GO PHOTO: T. Kohmoto 6d (at right, playing Trevor Morris 7d) and S. Hyodo 3d, teachers at the New York Go Center, visited Washington DC last week before returning to Japan. "They are long-time friends of U.S. go," reports Allan Abramson, "having attended Congresses and even the NOVA Cherry Blossom tournament. Last Monday, they played all comers at the NOVA Go Club, and spent a long day in touring the area. The Nihon Kiin finds volunteers like them every three months to teach at the NY Center." Photo courtesy Allan Abramson

GO QUIZ: Takemiya!
While the Nihon Kiin always sends wonderful professionals to enrich the annual U.S. Go Congress, the announcement that Takemiya Masaki 9P is coming this year is stupendous news. He is certainly the most prestigious Japanese pro to come in years. In fact, you have to go back to the 2nd Congress to find a more famous Japanese pro in attendance. Was it Kato Masao, Cho Chikun, Sakata Eio or Kobayashi Koichi? Click here to vote and you could be next week's quiz winner!
- Keith Arnold, Quizmaster

TRAVELING BOARD: Dinner with the future of Chinese Go
by Paul Barchilon
I am eating dinner in a shopping mall with four teenage girls, all 7-dan. Clearly, this is not your average suburban mall. Not surprisingly, this is not America; I am in China and these girls begin the pro test in just two weeks. I'm here thanks to a charming young lady named Xingshou Liu, who just turned 18 the other day. Although she is taking the pro test here in China, I actually met her back home in Colorado when she and fellow teenager Zipei Feng held a simul and challenged 18 of our local players at once. She has been text messaging me since I arrived, and has arranged for me to meet her friends. Another go friend from America is also here, 21-year-old Jin Chen 7d, who is studying with them at the prestigious Nie Weiping Wei Qi School here in Beijing. As we dine on sumptuous Chinese food, the teenagers and Chen explain what it really means to go pro in China. 16-year-old Zhu Zhen tells me she is taking the test for the second time. She started studying go when she was 9 and made 1 dan in two months. She stopped a little after that though, and didn't play again until she was 11. At 13 she dropped out of school to study go full time, a requirement of any child who wants to go pro. The strong ones leave school as early as third grade. Zhu and her friends study go from 8:30 am to 8:30 pm, six days a week. They have left their families and moved into the school, which costs them around 16,000 yuan (US$ 2,330) a year, including room and board. To get into the school, you must be Chinese 5 dan or higher, which is equivalent to an AGA rank of at least 7 dan. There are 120 boys, 15 girls, and 15 pros all studying together at the Nie Weiping school. The girls have it easy compared to the boys. There are fewer of them and they are pre-qualified to take the test if they can hold a 5 dan rank at the school. About 100 girls will take the test this year. They have given up everything for this opportunity; only two of them will pass. They are allowed to keep trying until they turn 20. 17-year-old Zhang Zhou Shu Bin left school in the 8th grade, but was allowed to home-school for another year before stopping. It took her almost four months to reach 1 dan. She smiles and laughs when I ask if she misses her family. She does, but she says she loves her independence too. Zhu agrees, but both turn serious when I ask if they regret leaving school. They do, and are very conscious of how much they are missing out on by devoting everything to go. What happens if they don't pass, I ask. They can teach, and will be able to make a living that way, but they have lost their childhood and a normal education forever. The boys face stiffer competition. 400 of them will compete each year, the top 12 will become pro, the next 50 will be pre-qualified for next year. Anyone under 15 who can survive this playing field, and makes it to the top 20, will also be granted professional status. If they don't make the grade by 17, they have lost their chance and can no longer compete. Xingshou Liu, Jin Chen, and Zipei Feng have all taken another path instead. Liu dropped out of school for go in fourth grade, but her parents were not satisfied with her options. Both of them held university degrees, and wanted a more balanced life for their daughter. Liu returned to school in the fifth grade, and is currently in college in the US. She kept studying go too, but less intensively. She tells me she has no regrets. She and Chen both say they love go and are able to enjoy playing while still having a normal life. Zhu and Shu Bin are still in the race to win though. I ask if they have any advice for all the kids in America who want to turn pro. Shu Bin laughs, "Go to Japan instead of China, it is easier. The age limit is higher and you can stay in school for longer."
E-J Youth Editor Barchilon is studying go for a month in China. Updates on his adventures, including the promised report on go in Ping Yao, can be found online.

SELL IT, BUY IT OR TRADE IT HERE with nearly 13,000 go-players worldwide! Classified ads are FREE and run for 4 weeks; email your ad to us now at

GO PLAYERS WANTED: Middletown, CT. The Central Connecticut Go Club meets every week on Fridays in Middletown, CT. We would love to have some new players drop by! Check out our website (6/23)

GO PLAYERS WANTED: Tulsa OK, Starting a go club, need members, any level is welcome. If interested contact me at (6/16)

TEACHER WANTED: Seeking teacher (1 dan or above) for 13 kyu student in Lake County, Illinois (Grayslake area). Fee and number of lessons to be negotiated. Please e-mail if interested. (6/9)

GO PLAYERS WANTED: Bluffton SC/Hilton Head SC; Starting a go club, need members, any level of strength is welcome. Need to get members in order to start fundraising for equipment. If interested, please contact me at: (6/9)

GO PLAYERS WANTED: Maine: Looking for go players who would like to start a go club in the State of Maine. I've always been interested in go, and I love teaching beginners. email (6/2)

GO PLAYERS AND/OR CLUBS WANTED: Tampa, Florida, near USF. Email Brandon Berger at (6/2)

GO PLAYERS WANTED: Bluffton, SC: Starting a go club, need members, any level of strength is welcome. This would be one of the only clubs in the state. If interested, please contact (6/2)

Go PLAYERS WANTED: Southern WV around the Athens to Bluefield area. Andrew Lewis; (6/2)

GO PLAYERS WANTED: Alamogordo NM and surrounding area: Looking to find some players for regular games - any skill level! Contact Doug Simpson at (6/2)

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 Dijkema (Dutch/European Correspondent); Marilena Bara (Romania/European Correspondent); Ian Davis (Ireland Correspondent)
Columnists: James Kerwin 1P; Kazunari Furuyama; Rob van Zeijst; 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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