American Go E-Journal » U.S. Pro Tournament

Andy Liu Sweeps Maryland Open, Qualifies for Tygem Pro Tourney

Sunday May 27, 2012

Andy Liu 7D convincingly defeated Jie Li 7D in the last round to complete his sweep of the 39th Maryland Open and AGA Tygem Pro Prelim, winning all five games at the May 26-27 event in Baltimore, MD.  ZhaoNian Chen 7D was second and Yixian Zhou 6D was third. Liu’s win qualifies him to compete in the AGA Tygem Pro tournament this August in Black Mountain, NC. Other qualifiers thus far include Edward Kim (Seattle) and Calvin Sun and Curtis Tang (Cotsen). Two more will qualify in the AGA TygemGo Online Pro Qualifier, which starts in early June.

Round 5 top results: Andy Liu d. Jie Li; ZhaoNian Chen d. Rui Xie; Kevin Huang d. Eric Lui; Yixian Zhou d. Yuan Zhou; Lin Lu d. Daniel Chou; Phil Waldron d. Jimmy Yang; I-Han Lui d.  Rongrong Zhang; Kevin Wang d. Justin Teng; Andrew Jackson d. Zhenying Gu.

Round 4 top results: Andy Liu d. Rui Xie; Jie Li d. Kevin Huang; ZhaoNian Chen d. Eric Lui; Yuan Zhou d. Lin Lu; Yixian Zhou d. Phil Waldron; Daniel Chou d. I-Han Lui; Jimmy Yang d. Andrew Jackson; Rongrong Zhang d. Justin Teng; Zhenying Gu d. Kevin Wang.

Round 3 top results: Andy Liu d. ZhaoNian Chen; Jie Li d. Eric Lui; Kevin Huang d. Yuan Zhou; Rui Xie d. Yixian Zhou d. Daniel Chou; Phil Waldron d. Edward Zhang; Jimmy Yang d. Kevin Wang.

Round 2 top results: ZhaoNian Chen d. Jie Li; Andy Liu d. Kevin Huang; Eric Lui d. Lin Lu; Rui Xie d. I-Han Lui; Yuan Zhou d. Daniel Chou; Dae Yol Kim d. Edward Zhang; Yixian Zhou d. Kevin Wang; Phil Wadron d. Zhenying Gu.

Round 1 top results: Jie Li d. Lin Lu; Andy Liu d. I-Han Lui; Eric Lui d. Yuan Zhou; ZhaoNian Chen d. Dae Yol Kim; Rui Xie d. Jie Liang; Kevin Huang d. Yixian Zhou; Daniel Chao d. Philip Waldron.

The tournament was played in Catonsville, Maryland, just outside Baltimore, and was organized by the Baltimore Go Club, and sponsored by the American Go Association, Tygem, Yellow Mountain Imports and the Baltimore County Department of Recreation and Parks.
photos: top left: Andy Liu (r) plays Rui Xie in Round 4; middle right: Andy Liu (r) plays ZhaoNian Chen on Board 1 in Round 3; bottom left: Zhaonian Chen (r) plays Jie Li on Board 1; photos by Chris Garlock 

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Maryland Open Kicks Off Saturday

Friday May 25, 2012

Registration runs from 9-10:30a at the 39th annual Maryland Open Saturday morning, with the first round scheduled for 11a. “Pre-registered or not, all are welcome!” says organizer Keith Arnold. The tournament in Catonsville, MD (just outside Baltimore), is also an AGA-Tygem Pro Prelim event for the AGA-Tygem Pro Final in North Carolina, which will be from July 28th to August 4th. The only other prelim is the AGA-Tygem Pro Online Prelim, also open to all, but sign up by Sunday, May 27. Top contenders this year include Yuan Zhou (who recently competed in the World Amateur Go Championships in China), Eric Lui, and Lin Lu; sources tell the EJ that Andy Liu and Michael Chen will be competing as well, so look for some exciting games on the top boards. The 2-day, 5-round tournament offers prizes at all levels, and top boards will be broadcast live on KGS by the E-Journal, starting around 11a (EST) Saturday.

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Maryland Open Field “Shaping Up Nicely”

Thursday May 24, 2012

With pre-registrations already running ahead of last year’s – 47 as of Wednesday night – “the field is shaping up quite nicely” at the Maryland Open and AGA-Tygem Pro Prelim this weekend, reports organizer Keith Arnold. In addition the expected turnout of top amateurs, the low- and mid-dan ranks are well-represented, as are kyu players of all levels. The 39th annual Open will be held again in the Catonsville Senior Center in Catonsville, MD and this year includes the first AGA-Tygem Pro Prelim, in which the top finishing player with qualifying citizenship earns the right to compete for pro certification this summer in North Carolina. The 2-day, 5-round tournament offers prizes at all levels, and top boards will be broadcast live on KGS by the E-Journal. Click here to register, see who’s coming, and for more information.

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Commemorative Pin for AGA TygemGo Online Pro Qualifier Participants

Wednesday May 23, 2012

All participants in the AGA TygemGo Online Pro Qualifier will receive a pin commemorating this first-ever Pro Qualifier competition. “The design is pretty neat,” said President Allan Abramson. “Thanks to the Pro Committee for the idea, and the design.” Register here “and be sure to practice on Tygem for the June Qualifier!” adds Abramson. The pro qualifier is the American Go Association’s pioneering effort to establish AGA pros in the international scene, supported by the Korea Baduk Association and Tygem. “Our joint view is a long one, creating the pros and opportunities for international competition and training, which will ultimately improve all US players,” says AGA President Allan Abramson. “The goal is people who will be able to win internationally, in major tournaments. This may take years to achieve, but 2012 is the beginning.”

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WAGC Short Takes: Yuan Zhou on Tygem & the U.S. Pro System; Nihon Ki-in Teams up with Cho U on New Go App; In the Gardens of the Guangzhou Chess Institute; A Glimpse of James Davies

Tuesday May 15, 2012

Yuan Zhou on Tygem & the U.S. Pro System: Yuan Zhou 7d warmed up for his World Amateur Go Championship appearance by playing on the Tygem server, where he told the E-Journal that “It was very easy and fast to get good games.” Heading into his fifth-round game against the UK’s Samuel Aitkin 4d, Zhou said he was pleased with his 3-1 record thus far, noting that his fourth-round win against Seizoh Nakazono 8d was the first time in WAGC history that the US had prevailed over Japan. He’s excited about the new American pro system now in development and looking forward to competing in the pro qualifier at the Maryland Open at the end of the month. “It’s so important for the future of American go,” Zhou said, “it will give hope to young American players that a go career is possible.”

Nihon Ki-in Teams up with Cho U on New Go App: Colorful cats, dogs and frogs danced on Taro Matsuo’s iPad as the Go World editor enthusiastically showed off the Nihon Kiin’s playful go app developed with top pro Cho U 9P. The new app features cute cartoon animals that guide a beginner through learning the fundamentals of go in a “fun and accessible way,” Matsuo said. Now available in the iTunes app store in Japanese (search for Nihon Ki-in or go), the hope is to release an English-language version later this year. The app joins other Nihon Ki-in apps including its tsume-go (life and death) app; IgoFree, for playing go in-person on an iPad, and e-publications including Go World, Go Weekly (featuring playable game records), and more than ten go books, “with two more due out next month,” Matsuo says proudly.

In the Gardens of the Guangzhou Chess Institute: Clouds of dragonflies flitted above us as we took in the view from the garden atop the Guangzhou Chess Institute. A waterfall burbled merrily nearby, giving a measure of relief from the oppressive heat. Built for the 2010 edition of the Asian Games, the Institute is a spectacular venue for go, chess and Chinese Chess events near scenic Baiyun Mountain, and includes two major playing halls, rooms for players and officials to stay in, and study rooms, as well as lush gardens and an impressive museum dedicated to the three games. The museum celebrates the Chinese origins of go, and the key figures in that history, from Ming emperor Yao, who legend says had it invented for his son, to Wu Qingyuan, known to the west as Go Seigen, the prodigy who triumphed so spectacularly in Japan, became one of the best players of all time and, with Kitani Minoru, broke away from the traditional opening patterns to develop modern go. Other Chinese go giants like Chen Zude, Nie Weiping and Gu Li are also highlighted, although all the museum text is in Chinese, leaving the western vistor to puzzle out things like the player’s names on the historical games on the walls (shown here by So Yokoku 8P). An exhibition of English-language panels covering much the same material were produced for the WAGC main playing area and perhaps will be displayed in the museum. The exhibits of boards, pieces and carved wood panels in the cool and shadowy museum are inviting in Guangzhou’s heat, but so too are the whisper of the breeze in the bamboo and rustle of the twisted pines in the Institute’s gardens, as the player’s stones click steadily along like cicadas in the trees.

A Glimpse of James Davies: James Davies does not flaunt his encyclopedic knowledge of the game of go, its history and players. It’s not his style. The author of elegant Ishi classics like An Introduction to GO, 38 Basic Joseki and Attack and Defense, who’s covering the WAGC for Ranka Online, Davies drifts about the playing area, seemingly aimlessly, keenly watching and listening, jotting down the occasional note, asking a quiet question or two of players exiting the playing area. Over six feet tall with a perfectly-trimmed bushy mustache that hides his expression but not the hint of a twinkle in his eyes, and always impeccably attired in a sports coat regardless of the oppressive heat, Davies’ comprehensive round-by-round reports and provide a keen eye for the telling detail, the way one player places his stones, the demeanor of another, the positional status of each game Davies turns his attention to. In another life, perhaps, the Baltimore native might have been a sportcaster, the kind with the true fan’s appreciation of the game and a gift for the sharp-eyed observation, dryly delivered.

- Chris Garlock; photos by John Pinkerton

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Maryland Open Next Stop in TYGEMGO Pro Prelim Series

Saturday May 12, 2012

Next up in the TYGEMGO Pro Prelim series is the Baltimore Go Club’s 39th Maryland Open on May 26-27 in Catonsville Maryland just outside Baltimore. The top finishing player with qualifying citizenship earns the right to compete for pro certification this summer in North Carolina the week before the US Go Congress. Top players also earn points to represent the US in the World MindSport Games in France. “However,” stresses local organizer Keith Arnold, “ALL players of ALL strengths are welcome to play and be present for this historic event.” Click here to pre-register or contact Keith Arnold at hlime81@comcast.net with any questions.

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Edward Kim 7d wins Seattle Pro Prelim

Monday May 7, 2012

Edward Kim (r) won all five of his games  to win the first AGA-Tygem Seattle Pro Prelim, held May 5-6 at the Seattle Go Center.   Ten players competed for the opportunity to go to the AGA-Tygem Pro Final in North Carolina, which will be from July 28th to August 4th.  Second place was earned by Yixian Zhou 6d, who had a 4-1 record.   Third went to David (Dong) Ma 6d, fourth (on a tie breaker) to young Vincent Zhuang 6d and fifth to Nicholas Jhirad 6d.  The second band, which was not competing for the pro position, had six  dan level players.  Kum Kang Lee 4d placed first, Job Betcher 2nd and Louie Liu 3rd.  The tournament also generated points for the 2012 World Mind Sports selection process.

The Seattle Go Center expressed “special thanks” to Tournament Director John Hogan, “who did a great job starting a new tournament tradition.” Bill Chiles was Asst. TD, while  Dennis Wheeler, Oren Laskin, Bill Camp, and Bill Thompson recorded games from the top two boards.  The games are available here.
- photo by Brian Allen

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Pro System Launch “Monumental Moment” for U.S. Go, says Cho Hunhyun 9P

Sunday April 29, 2012

For a guy whose nickname is “The God of War” and who has amassed over 1,000 career wins, Cho Hunhyun 9P in person in actually pretty mild-mannered. In Los Angeles this weekend to help launch the American Go Association’s (AGA) nascent professional certification system at the Cotsen Open AGA-Tygem Pro Prelim, Cho took a few minutes out of a jam-packed schedule Saturday at the Korean Cultural Center to sit down for an interview with the American Go E-Journal. “This is a monumental moment for the AGA,” Cho said, “and I wanted to be here, on behalf of the Korean Baduk Association, to show our support.” Saying that he’s “very impressed” by the American effort and enthusiasm for go, Cho said that simply by launching the American pro system “You have taken the most important step.” But, like the game of go itself, Cho encouraged American players to settle in for a long road ahead. “China dominated this game for 5,000 years,Japan dominated it for 500 years and Korea has been on top for just 30 years, so for American players to compete on a world level, it’s going to take a long time, 10, 20, maybe even 50 years.”  Developing a professional system is absolutely key to building the strength of American players, Cho said, because it creates the necessary financial incentives and infrastructure and ultimately will make it possible to have a career as an American professional go player. But because it’s impossible to predict the rise of homegrown go prodigies or geniuses, Cho said America must “just follow the path, be patient and put in the effort and someone will come forth.” This was Cho’s own path to the top, he said, saying that “choosing the path of a go professional was like destiny,” adding that he feels that “this journey has not ended” for him and he thinks he still has more to contribute to the game. “The beauty of go is that people become modest when they play.” As proof, Cho revealed that he’s recently taken up golf, where “I am now the amateur” and can just have fun playing.
- report/photos by Chris Garlock; translation for Cho Hunhyun by James Kim

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How to Earn Qualie Points for 2012 World Mind Sports Games in France

Friday April 13, 2012

All tournaments designated as North American Ing Masters qualifiers, as well as AGA-Tygemgo Pro Tournament qualifiers, are now tournaments at which strong players will be able to earn qualification points for the 2012 World Mind Sports Games (WMSG), scheduled to take place in Lille, France, from August 9-23, reports AGA Tournament Coordinator Karoline Burrall. Players interested in representing the U.S. at the WMSG must be U.S. citizens; all other AGA eligibility criteria for international representatives apply. Upcoming tournaments at which players can earn points are Ronghao Chen’s NAIM qualifier and Self Paired Tournament in Somerset, New Jersey April 21-22, the Cotsen Open in Los Angeles on April 28-29, the AGA-Tygem Seattle Pro Prelim in Seattle, Washington on May 5-6, the Rocky Mountain Spring Go Tournament in Boulder, CO on May 12 and the Maryland Pro Tournament (details coming soon). Details are on the tournaments calendar. Players should indicate to the tournament director that they would like to earn WMSG points at these events. “Players are welcome to play in and attend as many qualifier tournaments as they wish,” notes Burrall, “but only their two highest point scores will add to make up their final points.”

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AGA-Korea Agreements Posted

Sunday February 5, 2012

The recent agreements signed by the American Go Association with Korea to promote a new professional players’ system in theU.S.have now been posted. Click on our original report — AGA Inks Deals with Korea to Develop U.S. Pro System  (12/26/2011 EJ) – for details on the agreements AGA Board Chairman Andy Okun signed with the Korea Baduk Association and the Korean go server TongYang Online (Tygem) December 19th in Seoul, Korea.

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