American Go E-Journal

AGA Board Discusses U.S. Pro System, Tapping Winnings

Tuesday December 6, 2011

American Go Association Board member Daniel Smith has been appointed “Board Liaison to the E-Journal” and will be reporting for us on topics of discussion at Board meetings. Here’s his first report:

Several controversial topics have been discussed at recent meetings of the American Go Association’s Board of Directors. One is the long-discussed development of an American professional system and the other is a proposal for the AGA to take a cut of prize winnings at some top tournaments.

Full details of the pro system have not been worked out but the intention is to start the new system in 2012, and have the first pro certification tournament before the 2012 Go Congress. Efforts will be made to give newly selected pros high-quality training; a central idea is that the AGA will find sponsors and create new pro tournaments; current long-running tournaments like the US Open and Ing Masters will not be changed. Myung Wan Kim and Andy Okun have both been working hard on this proposal.

The “tap” proposal was initially made by Thomas Hsiang, the AGA’s Vice President of International Affairs, who proposed that the AGA take a percentage – or “tap” — prize winnings at certain qualifying — mainly international — tournaments, as most other national go associations already do. The Board has had lively discussions on the issue previously, and the proposal was vigorously debated at the November meeting. A major factor now is the news that the Sport Accord Mind Games will be inviting U.S. for the next five years, making this no longer a hypothetical question. The Board authorized the president to implement a tap of not more than 30%; President Allan Abramson currently plans a 20% tap, which would only apply to a player if he or she receives $1000 or more in prizes or playing fees at one of these tournaments, but plans to contact players who could be affected for their comments before deciding on the final policy.

Other topics of discussion at recent Board meetings: the board’s goals for the AGA (which include the pro system, improving the AGA member experience, fundraising and sponsorship, and using new methods to market go and increase membership), and the search for the next AGA President. Click here for minutes of the October meeting; November minutes will be published after the next board meeting, which is set for January 4th. Any comments or suggestions should be sent to the appropriate region’s director.