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A seat at the board: a game recorder’s view

Tuesday August 22, 2017

by Nate Eagle2017.08.19-wu-hao-eagle

Move 110 of Wu Hao’s game against Ryan Li in this year’s U.S. Masters is remarkable: two seemingly dead white stones reach out a toe to the first line, creating a connection to the outside that turns out to be unbreakable due to an invisible sente, one that ends up swallowing up black’s four outside stones and becoming a game-winning fortress of territory. You can check out that move now and relive it—the timelessness of game records is one of the magical things about go, better even than baseball’s much-loved box scores—but I got to actually be there.

I sat next to Ryan Li, across the table from Wu Hao (right), my hand perched in readiness near the trackpad on my laptop, and traveled with two amazing players for several hours. I did my best to be as easy for them to forget as an extra chair at the table, trying not to stretch or fidget or distract from the game. How did I spend those hours? As well as I could, I tried to understand the game and think about white and black’s choices. If you had a magical view into the brain activity of the three humans at that table, of course, you would see two brains afire with electrical tempests of analysis and one brain with a single red LED blinking fitfully. But I was there with them, waiting while they thought, ready to ink their moves into electronic permanence before the 2017.08.19-nate-eagle-IMG_8652stones stopped vibrating.

That waiting, those long stretches of silence, is the difference between being forced to watch a match in its entirety and viewing a record afterward. It’s what gives one’s mind the time to ask questions, and those questions are what make watching a game edifying. It’s exciting when I anticipate a move correctly; even more so when—far more commonly—I’m wrong, and I get to spend the next few minutes learning about why the move actually played was stronger, sharper, bigger, or better-timed. The Socratic principle holds true in go as it does in all things: no teacher can give us knowledge, they can only help us answer our own questions.

Getting to be a recorder during this year’s Go Congress was a privilege and a pleasure: if you’re interested in volunteering to record at a future AGA event, please email journal@usgo.org.

Eagle, who recorded evening Masters games (as well as the City League final), went 6-0 to win the shodan division of the 2017 U.S. Open
photo (top right): Eagle’s view of Wu Hao; (bottom left): Eagle recording a game between Matthew Hu and Tim song during the Pandanet AGA City League finals on August 5; photo by Chris Garlock

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Upcoming Go Events: Mason

Monday August 21, 2017

August 26: Mason, OH
2017 Cincinnati Tri-State Go Tournament
Frank Luo frank.luoy@gmail.com 513-787-0202
Fang Yan fangyan@hotmail.com 513-767-1424

Get the latest go events information.

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Ary Cheng 3-peats as Redmond Cup Junior Champion

Sunday August 20, 2017

20170810_16075111-year old Ary Cheng 6d (r) defeated 10-year old Matthew Cheng 5d (l) in the third and deciding game of the Redmond Cup Junior Division Finals Thursday August 10th at the 2017 US Go Congress to claim his third consecutive title.  While Matthew has been the only challenger so far to defeat Ary in his 3 consecutive Junior Finals, Ary has still established his dominance at the top of the Junior scene.  In addition to clinching the Redmond title with the final match, he also defeated Matthew in the US Open that same day. Taking black in game 3 of the Redmond, Ary was off to an early lead due to a joseki mistake by Matthew.  However, Matthew fought back strongly. While there were several opportunities for him to turn the game around, he wasn’t able to take full advantage of them and Ary seized victory. Ary and Matthew both took home trophies as well as $300 and $200 respectively. In addition, all of the Redmond Cup finalists also had all of their Congress expenses covered, courtesy of the AGF and AGA. Both kids still have at least one year left in the Junior Division (Under 13), so we can expect them to clash again in the near future and continue to develop as rising stars in the youth Go community. If you missed the game, you can check out the exciting live video commentary of the third game provided by 2005 Redmond Cup champions Zhaonian Chen 8d and Lionel Zhang 7d. Registration for next year’s tournament will open in early February 2018; check out the Redmond Cup page to learn more about the tournament and eligibility requirements.

Special thanks to Ashish Varma, Ethan Frank, and Dennis Wheeler for broadcasting the Redmond Cup Finals on KGS, and if you missed any of the video broadcasts, you can find them on the AGA’s Youtube channel. Stay tuned for highlighted videos of the commentaries; game records of all of the games will be uploaded on the Redmond Cup page within the next week. – Story and photos by Justin Teng, AGA Youth Coordinator

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Ryan Li 1P ready to face next opponent in the MLily top 16

Saturday August 19, 2017

IMG_4795Ryan Li 1P is gearing up for his next match in the  MLily Meng Baihe Cup World Go Open Tournament (MLily Cup), achieving his place in the top 16 after a stunning upset win against Chen Yaoye 9P (photo at right) in the last round on June 21st; see the story and game record here“My goal going into the match was to not let him win too easily,” Li (right) said of preparing for the June match with Chen. In an interview at the recent U.S. Go Congress, Li said that he was excited for the match against Chen as a learning opportunity since Chen is a world champion who had previously beaten Ke Jie 9P. During the match, there was a moment at the beginning of the endgame, after all the groups had been settled, when Li realized he could actually win. “He told me that it felt like his heart would pop out of his chest,” Stephanie Yin 1P said with a smile. Li remembers that his first professional go tournament was as an amateur player invited to participate in the MLily preliminaries in 2012 where he lost in the first round, and he characterizes his place in the top 16 of this year’s MLily as a life achievement. “I’ve always wanted to be in the top 16 in a professional go tournament,” he says. “I set that goal right before this tournament started, and it immediately happened. It’s just amazing.” Ryan Li is only the fourth professional go player to be certified by the AGA, winning the January 2015 pro certification tournament, and when not playing go, he is pursuing a PhD in atmospheric sciences at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut.

Li will face Li Xuanhao 6P in Tongling, Anhui on August 24th, and he used the 33rd US Go Congress as training to prepare for the match. He won eight of nine games in the US Open Masters Division, taking second place and losing only to tournament champion Wu Hao 2P of China. On top of his Go Congress training, he has been studying his opponents’ game records for the past year, and says Li Xuanhao’s style is calm; he expects playing against Li to be difficult, and not just because of his calm, solid style. “I know him pretty well,” Ryan says. “If I were playing someone else, I could review games with him and discuss strategy, but since he’s my opponent of course that would be awkward.” What is he most looking forward to? “I’m really looking forward to all the time before the match, because I’m still in the top 16 right now,” Ryan laughs. Stay tuned for our on-site coverage of the top 16 of the MLily Cup this week.

-report by Karoline Li, EJ Tournaments Bureau Chief; photo by Stephanie Yin 1P

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Last chance to add your U.S. Open games to the crosstab

Saturday August 19, 2017

With nearly 100 game records already added to this year’s U.S. Open crosstab, we’re extending the deadline for submitting games. The new2017.08.19_recording-IMG_8751 deadline is 11:59pm next Sunday, August 27. Email your sgf files to us at journal@usgo.org and be sure to complete the game information with both player’s names and the game result.  

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Black to play