American Go E-Journal

Eric Lui Wins AGA Pro Tourney to Become Latest US Professional

Friday January 8, 2016

For Eric Lui, the fourth time was the charm. Lui (left) has played in all four AGA Professional Qualification Tournaments, losing to Ryan Li in last year’s final, but on Friday 2016.01.08_lui-ye-finalafternoon he became the American Go Association’s fifth professional, defeating Aaron Ye by resignation to close out a near-flawless performance this week with a 9-1 score, his only loss a half-pointer in the first round. “It’s been a long week,” Lui told the E-Journal immediately after clinching his win, “but it feels really good. The field was stronger this year.” Lui said that he fully intends to pursue a career as a professional. “Now I have some decisions to make,” he said, smiling tiredly. “Not right away, but soon.” For amateur players who want to get stronger, the new professional’s advice was to “Play a lot of games. Preferably in person, and fast games.”

“Eric’s determination and steadiness are a real inspiration,” said AGA President Andy Okun, who was on hand all week at the Los Angeles tournament.  “It heartens me to see his efforts rewarded.”

Ye, in his first pro qualifier, turned in a strong performance with an 8-4 record, taking second place and earning a slot as a seed in the next qualification tournament. In the lower bracket, Ben Lockhart clinched 7th place by beating Manuel Velasco, who finished in 8th place. Andrew Lu defeated Daniel Gourdeau on Friday afternoon, so they’ll play a third-game decider on Saturday morning, as will Sarah Yu and Jeremy Chiu. Lu and Gourdeau will battle for third place, while Yu and Chiu will compete for fifth;  the games start at 9:30a Pacific Time on KGS. Full tournament details here; click here for video game highlights.
- report/photo by Chris Garlock

 

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