World Go News from The American Go Association


MEMBER'S EDITION BONUS CONTENT: Today’s game commentaries are from last weekend’s Romanian National Championship, with Cornel Burzo 6d – who finished 2nd – providing commentaries on two of his games. Burzo teaches online: find out more at Our bonus file today is an easy endgame problem from Yilun Yang 7P
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November 17, 2008; Volume 9, #58

CHO ONE GAME FROM REGAINING OZA TITLE: Cho U (left) 9P has taken the first two games of the best-of-five-game title match with Yamashita Keigo 9P for the Oza title. Yamashita has held this title for the last two years, having taken it from Cho in 2006. Cho had held it for three years before that. He currently holds four titles: Meijin, Gosei, Agon Cup, and NHK Cup. Cho is also challenging for the Tengen title against Kono Rin 9P, and leads 1-0 in that contest. You can watch the third game of the Oza title match live on IGS on November 30th starting at 6P EST. Photo from the Hungarian Go Association website

GU LI HANGS ON IN MINGREN: Gu Li (right) 9P won Game 3 to hang on in his best-of-five-game defense of the Korean Mingren (J: Meijin). Gu lost the first two games to challenger Piao Wenyao 5P. Games 4 and 5 are scheduled for November 19th and 20th. Gu currently holds five Chinese titles and two international ones (Fujitsu and Chunlan), while Piao, who is just twenty, has only taken one, the CCTV Cup in 2007. Photo by Picasa user BadukNews

LEE SEDOL TAKES FIRST GAME IN KUKSU DEFENSE: Lee Sedol (left) 9P has won the first game in his best-of-five-game defense of the Korean Kuksu (National Champion) title against challenger Mok Jinseok 9P. Lee won this title for the first time last year. Mok won a few titles in the late '90s, but has not taken any lately, although he was number one in Korea in terms of number of games won last year, with 93 wins and 29 losses for a winning rate of 76%. Lee Sedol was in second place, but Mok won 12 more games than Lee. This year Lee is leading on that list, while Mok is tied for third. Lee Sedol currently holds four international titles and two national ones. The next game in the title match is scheduled for November 24th. Photo by Picasa user BadukNews

CHINESE TAIPEI SECURES STATUS AS GO SUPERPOWER: Li-cheng Chien cemented Chinese Taipei's status among the go superpowers with his win in the just-concluded 3rd Korean Prime Minister Cup, held November 8-11 in Goyang City, South Korea. Chien, the Chinese-Taipei representative, won the championship trophy by beating China and Japan, winning on tie-break despite losing to the Korean representative who in turn lost to China. Korea took 2nd, China 3rd, both with a 7-1 record; followed by Hong Kong and Ondrej Silt of Czechia, the highest-placing European. U.S. rep Thomas Hsiang (seated) placed 6th with a record of 6-2, losing by a single point in the first tie-breaker. Hsiang was followed by Australia, France, Singapore, and Macau - the other 6-2 winners. "The significance of Chinese-Taipei winning a first international amateur title was noted by all," Hsiang tells the E-Journal, noting that Chien's win follows Chou Chun-hsun's capture of the LG Kiwon Championship. Japanese representative Kazumori Nagayo came in a surprising 11th with a 5-3 record. More details can be found on the tournament webpage. Photo by Cuong

YUE WU TOPS DAN DIVISION IN HOUSTON TOURNAMENT: Yue Wu 3d of Houston, TX took first place in the dan division at the Houston Fall Go Tournament held on November 9. "Twenty five players from all over the state (including Waco, Killeen, Dallas, and Saledo near Austin) joined us," reports Houston Go Club president Robert Cordingley. Players were asked to fill out a written survey so that the club could improve future tournaments. Survey respondents seemed to like the venue and the one-day format, with one of the only problems cited being, "No Heineken." A prize purse of over $600 was awarded to players in three divisions. Winner's Report: Dan Division: 1st: Yue Wu 3d, 2nd: Christopher Dean Hudnall 3d, 3rd: Daniel Duan 1d. Single Digit Kyu Division: 1st: Bill Holden 7k, 2nd: Jon G. Gehrkin 1k, 3rd: Jared H. Jessen 7k. Double Digit Kyu Division: 1st: Jack Ye 10k, 2nd: Nathan K. Martin 11k, 3rd: Geoff Haddad 20k.

ANDY LIU SWEEPS NYC TOURNEY: Andy Liu (in green) 7d (AGA 9.03) won all four of his games in the Masters Open at the New York Go Center in New York City on November 9. "Although only twelve people played in the tournament, it was pretty intense having so many talented players in one room," TD Boris Bernadsky tells the E-Journal. Four of the tournament entrants were past winners of the US Open, and all of the prize-winners were 7d or above. and David Saunders donated over $1,400 in prizes. TD Bernadsky adds that "It was a very enjoyable tournament to run. It was great to see old friends meeting." Winners Report: 1st: Andy Liu 7d/AGA 9.03 (4-0), 2nd: Jong Moon Lee 7d/AGA 8.29 (3-1), 3rd: Tae Hwan Oh 7d (3-1), 4th: Xiliang Liu 7d (3-1). Photo by Roy Laird

AGA PREZ LAUNCHES MEMBER-TO-MEMBER DRIVE: Believing that growth in membership and funding "are the keys to the future of the American Go Association," new AGA President Allan Abramson in launching a member-to-member membership drive. "If each current AGA member pledged to bring in one new member each in the next year, we would quickly double our existing membership," says Abramson. "Former Board member Gordon Costanza heard my call for this pledge at the Congress, and within one week had signed up five new members!" Others who have taken the pledge include Trevor Morris (Amherst, MA), Terry Schurter (Ewing, NJ), Mike Wallstedt (Taylorsville, UT), Mertin Lebl (Tucson, AZ), Chris Burg (Tucson, AZ), Tyson Williams (Ames, IA) and Larry Russ (Hoboken, NJ). Abramson notes that "More members equals a bigger budget and a bigger budget equals more go for us all," and also urges "players who read the E-Journal but who are not yet AGA members to consider joining this year; increased membership will support our ability to expand EJ coverage." Click here to take the Member-to-Member Pledge.

KOREANS SENDING BIG GROUP TO U.S. CONGRESS: A group of more than fifty Korean players will be attending - and competing in - the 2009 U.S. Go Congress in Washington, DC, Thomas Hsiang reports. Hsiang, the American Go Association's Vice President on International Relations, helped arrange the Korean group visit and adds that "several leaders in the Korean Amateur Baduk Association have expressed interest in joining this group to hopefully inaugurate a permanent link between the US and Korean Baduk communities." Strong Korean players have been a fixture of the European Go Congress for some years now. Another new development in Korea is the establishment of the "King's Baduk Academy," Hsiang tells the E-Journal. "Supported by a number of Korean sponsors, this is a 3-7 year program to train the truly devoted to become pro players and/or go teachers." Each country is given up to one fully-funded slot for this program and other self-paying slots are available. Applications are being accepted through the end of 2008; stay tuned for more information in future EJ reports.

CHINESE TEEN SWEEPS FIRST ROUND OF WOMEN'S WORLD TEAM MATCH: The Chinese team is favored to win the Jeongganjang Cup after teenager Song Ronghui (right) 1P swept all five opponents in the just-concluded first stage. The Jeongganjang is a win-and-continue tournament between five-member teams of women pros from China, Japan, and Korea. There are five games in each of three stages (the third stage can be less than five if more than one player remains on the winning team). Song, who won a gold metal in the individual women's section of the recent World Minds Sports Games, defeated Lee Daehyeoi 3P and Lee Hajin 3P of Korea as well as Kato Keiko 6P and Mannami Kana 4P of Japan. Song will still be up at the start of the second stage in January in Seoul, Korea, with the other two teams now down to three players each. Korea still has Park Jieun 9P and Lee Minjin 5P, who are strong players with a lot of titles--Lee took the last five games last year to win the Cup for the Koreans. The Japanese also have experienced title holders yet to play. The Koreans have won this event four times and the Chinese twice. The best result for the Japanese second place in 2007.

EUROPEANS PERFORM WELL AT KOREAN PM CUP: As noted above (Chinese Taipei Secures Status As Go Superpower), Ondrej Silt of Czechia was the top European at the Korean Prime Minister Cup, placing 5th. Silt only lost to China and Hongkong and finished one SOS-point ahead of Thomas Hsiang from the US. Frédéric Donzet of Paris, France was the best 5D at 8th place and only lost to Japan and Hungary. Among the five-pointers there were many of the usual 6D suspects from Europe, like Dmytri Bogackyj (Ukraine), Csaba Mero (Hungary), Alexey Lazarev (Russia) on places 13-15 and Merlijn Kuin (17th, Holland). Also two 5D's did well: Vesa Laatikainen (Finland, 18th) - he defeated a Canadian 7D in the last round - and Lucian Corlan (Rumania, 20th). Surprisingly strong was the performance of Lothar Spiegl (Austria) at 12th place he was the best 4D and lost only to China, Czechia and the Ukraine. Janez Janza (Slovenia) at place 19 was the best 3D. Also two shodans from Europe won five games: Ngoc Cuong Nguyen (Luxembourg, 22) and Dmitris Regginos (Cyprus, 24). Other notable European performances came from Martin Reindl 2D of Slovakia who placed 29th and started with a win against 5D from Rumania, and Francois Gonze 1D (Belgium) placed 31st while Pablo Morales (Spain) was 32nd. Also noteworth was EJ friend and fellow go editor Mehmet Barsbey 1D of Turkey, who defeated 3-dans from both Argentina and Brazil. results: Click here for results.
- reported by Peter Dijkema, European EJ correspondent; photo of an unknown PM Cup player by Cuong

BERLIN TO HOST MAJOR TOURNEY: The 29th annual Berliner Kranich tournament will be held November 28-30 in Berlin, Germany. The international go tournament one of the largest and oldest in Germany and features seminars, go vendors, food, calligraphy and more. Many top players are expected, including Oh ChiMin 7D and Hong Seul KI 7D of Korea, Ang Li 3P from China and many strong European players. Top games will be presented live online by EuroGoTV and Yoon YoungSan -- the Korean professional now living in Hamburg to promote go in Europe -- will comment the final game of the Berlin championship on Friday evening, just before the Kranich. Details (in German) are available on the Berlin Go association website.

GERMAN TOURNEY UPDATES: Hong Seul-ki (left) 7D swept the recent Hamburg Tengen, played in the Hamburg suburb of Rahlstedt November 8-9. Hong was 5-0 in the A group at the 26th annual Tengen, ahead of Michael Budahn 3D (both of Berlin) and Floris Barthel 4D (from Utrecht in the Netherlands). Only local Lukas Scholz 5k was also undefeated. Micha Eggen 6k won B-group 7-0; about fifty players participated in each group. In the C group, 14 youngsters played, with young Fréderic Claasen 17k winning, while his even younger sister Alina 24k finished at 3-3. Fréderic Claasen first laid claim to fame at the 2008 European Go Congress in Sweden, where he did well in both the kids championships and as the partner of Yoon Young-sun 5P in Pair Go, where they reached the final knock-out stage. In last week's report on the German Pair Championships in St. Augustin, we neglected to mention that almost one hundred people played in the open tourney there. In the top group no one was without a loss: Matthias Terwey (4-1), Tobias Berben (3-2) and Hai Lin (2-2 and a jigo) - all 4D - took top places, while Malte Weiss (5-0) and Christina Amhof (4-1) were 1k's who are likely to win their way into the dan rankings. Up-and-coming youngsters to watch are Jonas Sorgalla 9k, Nils Brakmann 20k and Lena Knauer 25k all won their five games in the main tourney; Knauer is not only perhaps the youngest winner, but is also from Cologne, which will host the European Championships in 2012.
- reported by Peter Dijkema, European EJ correspondent

NEW GO MAG LAUNCHED: A popular social room on KGS has now branched out into a slick online publication. Founded in November 2007 by Eric Dunham of Avon, Minnesota, The Enclave room on KGS quickly grew to be the single largest social room on KGS outside of Computer Go. "As the numbers grew, so did my ambition," Dunham says in the first edition of The Enclave, which is subtitled "A Premium English Language Go Magazine" and was produced earlier this month. The 38-page magazine -- available only as an easily downloadable PDF -- is indeed impressive in both scope and production, featuring a fascinating range of go material, including a very interesting interview with Alexander Dinerchtein 3P and an article about the latest developments in go-playing computer programs. Other articles in the premiere edition include a lesson for beginners, a first-hand report from the Norwegian Go Championships and life and death problems. With high production values, excellent pictures and well-edited text, The Enclave is a welcome addition to the small but growing world of English-language go publications. Dunham hopes to continue publication of The Enclave as a free bi-monthly publication with instructional material, game commentaries, articles and reports about the game.

TEXAS HIGH SCHOOL CLUB THRIVING: "In the first meeting alone we matched the record attendance of last year," reports 16-year-old Kris Taylor, President of the Jasper High School Go Club in Plano, Texas. "We had about 30 people for our first meeting, which was just elections and rules and stuff. I had to leave early so when I did, a sophomore member from last year took over and began to teach the beginners some basics. Even the teacher started learning this year!" Taylor launched his high school go club last year with AGF support, and his school fielded two teams in last year's Ing School Teams Championship. Already an active organizer in the 10th grade, Taylor has a website for his club, and has made a series of Go videos on Youtube, including one on how to care for Yunzi go stones. The club meets after school in social studies teacher Jeff Koch's room. Koch, a non-player until this semester, told the Journal: "I've been most impressed by the more-experienced club members' drive to promote the game to new players; teaching them not only a fun game, but forcing them to stretch analytical skills that they might not otherwise use in their daily lives."
-Paul Barchilon, Youth Editor. Photo: Jasper High School Go Club: President Kris Taylor (at far left holding board); Vice President Michael Wu (far right with board); Photo by Jeff Koch

PRO GAME COMMENTARIES ON GO SENSEI PROJECT: Jay Tabaniag's new Go Sensei Project now has 15 sample pro game commentaries from Russian player and teacher Alexander Dinerchtein; click here to download these game commentaries.

GO SPOTTING: Mathematician Paul Erdos
"Between long walks, loafing in the common room, and endless games of Go, it was hard to imagine when work got done," wrote Bruce Schechter in "My Brain is Open: The Mathematical Journeys Of Paul Erdos" (Touchstone, 1998) The famed Hungarian mathematician Paul Erdos (right) (pronounced Air-dish) became a go player when he moved to the United States in the 1930's; this passage describes Erdos's arrival at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, in 1938. "That Erdos and other mathematicians became addicted to Go at the Institute is easy to understand," Schecter continues. "The ancient Asian game is deceptively simple, played by alternately placing black and white stones (at the Institute they used thumb tacks) at the intersections of a 19x19 rectangular grid. A game of Go, viewed from the right perspective, is really nothing more than a problem in graph theory. If, as G. H. Hardy wrote, 'chess problems are the hymn-tunes of mathematics,' a game of Go is a cantata." Thanks to H. Vernon Leighton for passing this along. If you've seen an interesting reference to go, send it to us at

CALENDAR: Tucson, Palo Alto, Chicago & Amherst

- November 22: Tucson, AZ: Tucson Go Club November Rating Tournament
Martin Lebl 520.850.9213

- November 22: Palo Alto, CA: Bay Area Go Players Association Monthly AGA Ratings Tournament
Roger Schrag 510.501.2701

- November 22: Chicago, IL: He's Dead But He Won't Lie Down
Bob Barber 773.467.0423  

November 23: Amherst, MA: Western Mass late Fall Go Tournament
Bill Saltman 413.323.8658

GO PHOTO: Go Masters in Gardena
"Attendees at the November 8-9 workshop with Tadashi Sasaki 8p of the Nihon Ki-in got a bit of a surprise when Yoshiaki Nagahara 6p (l) and Masaaki Fukui 8p joined in Saturday morning for a few hours of teaching games," reports Andy Okun. "Nagahara and Fukui accompanied Sasaki to the United States to do some tourism but were not quite ready to start taking in the sights." The workshop at the South Bay Ki-in in Gardena, CA, was the second this year presented by the South Bay Ki-in and Santa Monica Go Club, and attracted 26 participants. Photo by Andy Okun

JENNIE SHEN PHOTO CREDIT: Last week's photo of Jennie Shen 2P was taken by Glenn Peters of the Portland (OR) Go Club; click here for more of his go photos.

AGA CAPS AMATEUR RANKS AT 7D: The American Go Association Board of Directors last week approved a policy capping top ranks for amateurs at 7 dan, "with exception for rare honors for a small number of players with outstanding achievement, such as winning the U.S. Open twice." The new policy also notes that "Exceptions will be granted by the AGA President, under criteria developed through a public process, and approved by the President." The policy is a response to concerns about top amateur American ranks in relation to other countries at international events. Ranks are distinct from AGA ratings; click here for AGA Ratings Statistician Paul Matthews' article Inside The AGA Ratings System

GO QUIZ: Smoke & Mirrors
Last week's Quiz asked what the cultural phenomenon was in both Shonen Jump's 2004 English
edition of Hikaru no Go, Volume One and The Middle Game of Go. Many of you, knowing the Middle Game of Go is a serious book, and remembering that Sakata held a cigarette in his hand on the cover of your old copy, conjectured that smoking was the only "cultural phenomenon" that was part of the book. A closer look at the cover of the 2007 edition reveals that the cigarette has vanished. Similarly, in Hikaru no Go, as Cordell Newmiller points out - "a particularly rude player extinguishes a cigarette on a go board to arrogantly mark the correct move. The cigarette was changed to chewing gum in the US release." 5 out of 14 smoked out the correct answer, including Reinhold Burger, this week's winner, selected at random from those answering correctly. With just a few weeks left, the race at the top tightens: P Waldron 27/29, K Salamony 26/29, S Fawthrop 18/20, G Kerr 17/17, Reinhold Burger 13/13, T Fung 10/12, P Schumer 10/14, J Huber 7/7, T Morris 7/13, B Kirby 6/8, R Mercado 5/5, O Nava 5/5 and D McGlothin 5/9. THIS WEEK'S QUIZ: Takemiya Masaki (right), who attended this year's U.S. Go Congress, has won 3 of Japan's top 7 titles and challenged for 6 out of 7. What's the one title in which he has ironically failed to qualify for the final? Click here  to send us your answer.
- Keith Arnold; photo by Chris Garlock
2008.11.17 Takemiya

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

FOR SALE: Volumes 1-11 of the Hikaru no Go manga (English version), in excellent condition: $40 plus shipping. Email Anderson Mills at (11/17)

PLAYERS WANTED. Baltimore, MD: Lake Walker Go Club in north Baltimore area; we meet on Mondays at 8P. Contact Jim Pickett 410-433-5257 (11/17)

PLAYERS WANTED: Murfreesboro TN: We meet every other weekend & might change location soon due to winter (our club is at a park); possible candidates should call first: 615-977-4528 (11/17)

GO PLAYERS WANTED: Independence, MO: Open every Tuesday from 5-7P at the game cafe in Independence Square, 107 Lexington, MO 64050; cost is free, $2 for drinks (unlimited refils); (11/3)

GO PLAYERS WANTED: Lexington, KY: New Go club forming at the Lexington Public Library downtown First meetings are November 5th and 19th from 6-9pm, and players of all levels are welcome! Email for more information. (10/20)

GO PLAYERS WANTED: Flint, MI: Go players wanted to either start a club or to get together casually to play some live games. UM-Flint students highly welcome and encouraged! Please contact Dustin at (10/13)

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 Photographer); Keith Arnold (Go Quiz); Peter Dijkema (Dutch/European Correspondent); Marilena Bara (Romania/European Correspondent); Ian Davis (Ireland Correspondent); Jens Henker (Korea 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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