American Go E-Journal » Events/Tournaments


Monday August 2, 2010

The key to making a living shape is “not two eyes, but six points,” Ryo Maeda 6P said in the second of his four-part U.S. Go Congress lecture series.  He went through various sizes of eyes, saying that most players need to “reset” their thinking.  For example a group with a three-space eye “is not dead, it just has one eye.”  He showed the four-space “mountain” eye, as well as the four-space square eye, which he called “baka” (‘stupid’ in Japanese).  He then went on to the bulky five shape (stupid eye plus one) and the rectangular six, which is alive.  Only the “flower six” (or rabbity six) is dead, but Maeda said not to worry about that shape as it has never come up in one of his games: “before you get in flower six, you do something else.”  Someone from the audience suggested “stupid four plus two ears” for that shape, which was well received.  He also described how to avoid studying joseki by making the rectangular six shape in the corner. Sometimes that shape can “turn into ko, but you don’t die.” Instead of studying and remembering joseki, “which is complicated — you can make one mistake and mess it all up,” just remember the rectangular six.

If you are trying to kill a group, first see if it can be turned into a five-point shape, then look to reduce it from the outside.  Playing from the outside is less risky, than playing the “fancy stuff” on the inside that a professional might use, because if it fails “you can lose.”  Most life and death problem books are geared toward a single answer, but in the Maeda method, “there are many right answers.” Players should “erase everything they know and start with the Maeda method — it’s not too late.”  Translator Yoshi Sawada 6D said that the method is simple, “that’s why his book is only six pages” to much laughter.  As he did in his first lecture on Sunday, Maeda finished Monday’s lecture with two rounds of simul rock-paper-scissors with the audience, with a prize for the last one standing.
- report/photos by Jake Edge



Monday August 2, 2010

There was a lot of laughter at the Nakayama Noriyuki 7P memorial service Sunday. Just as sensei would have wanted. Nakayama, who was a popular visitor at both the European and U.S. Go Congresses for over two decades, died on February 16. The service began with a solemn kenseki ceremony, in which Nakayama – whose portrait overlooked the gathering at the U.S. Go Congress in Colorado Springs, CO — took white and mourners each placed a black stone on the go board, slowly filling it up. Then the mourners took turns remembering Nakayama and it quickly became clear that Nakayama’s legacy is as much in the hearts of the many go players he touched over the years as it was on the go board. Master of ceremonies Haskell Small 3D – the only other winner (besides Nakayama himself) of the Nakayama Award (given for exceptional service to the Go Congress; he organized the first U.S. Go Congress in 1985) – admired the “precise and definitive fashion with which Nakayama would place each move, pressing it firmly down into the board.” Yasumasa Hane 9P said he hoped “the memory of Mr Nakayama remains long in your hearts.” And, describing Nakayama’s many interests – from go to food, adventures and Japanese literature — Richard Dolen 5D celebrated Nakayama’s “wonderful curiosity,” adding “he was such a sweet man,” a sentiment shared by many of those present. AGA President Allan Abramson 3D took note of Nakayama’s “irrepressible delight” in the game, while former AGA President Roy Laird 3k said that his greatest lesson was “to take go seriously but also to have fun with it.” There were many tales of Nakayama’s jokes and gleeful approach to the game, including Ken Koester’s story about Nakayama’s “stone-color-changing tesuji.” Shunichi Hyodo 6D, who has led Japanese tour groups to the Go Congress for years, laughed about how he would only see Nakayama each year at the Congress. Former AGA Board Chair Dave Weimer 3D reminded attendees that Nakayama’s lectures “were always the highlight of the Congress for many of us.” Betsy Small 11k surely spoke for all when she said that “The delight and joy that he took in go was infectious and inspiring. Goodbye and thank you.”
- report/photos by Chris Garlock


Monday August 2, 2010

“I told Pogo (yes, that’s his real name) that I’m going to the 2010 Go Congress,” says Weekly Go Problem Editor Myron Souris. “After doing his happy dance over being rid of me for a week, he gave us a couple of his favorite tsumego problems as exercises. By the way, Pogo is the one on the left.” Adds Souris, “You might be impressed with Pogo’s go playing ability, but he’s not that good. With three stones, I can beat him more than half the time. Even worse, a rabbit in the yard interrupts a game for 5 minutes.” See below for this week’s problems. Be the first kyu-rated, active AGA member to submit correct solutions to both problems and win the prize of a back issue of Go World magazine. Plus: another Go World will is available to the first kyu-rated 2010 Go Congress attendee to submit solutions. Email solutions to; the Problem Editor’s judgment is final. “And no fair asking your dog for help!” says Souris.



Sunday August 1, 2010

“Who wants to be spending time organizing your go club when you could be playing go?” asked Santa Fe go club organizer Robert Cordingley Monday evening. Cordingley conducted a presentation on his online software GoClubsOnline, which simplifies the process of registering players for tournaments, sending email to club members, uploading data to the AGA, tracking a club library, and more.  Clubs can register with GoClubsOnline for $95/year for up to 30 members, though Cordingley is offering a discount for the duration of the Congress to $80/year for attendees.
- Report by Jake Edge

U.S. OPEN ROUND 1, BOARD 1: Jennie Shen 2P on why “I hate this opening”

Sunday August 1, 2010

“This opening has been going on and on for over 15 years,” says Jennie Shen 2P in her U.S. Open Round 1 game commentary, “I think they should do something else.” Youngster Tianyu (Bill) Lin 7d (r) comes up with an unusual move in a common joseki and dukes it out with Myung Wan Kim 9P (l) in the Board 1 game from the first round of the 2010 U.S. Open on Sunday morning. There are two versions of the game below: a partial game record with commentary by Shen and the complete game record including KGS kibitzes. Game recorded by Solomon Smilack; published in the American Go E-Journal.


US Open Round 1, Board 1: uncommented full game record

U.S. GO CONGRESS: Day One Photo Album

Sunday August 1, 2010

(clockwise from bottom center) Huiren Yang 1P simul; Yilun Yang 7P simul; Cathy Li 1P simul; Mingjiu Jiang 7P group game commentary; strong player game analysis (center). Photos by Chris Garlock


Sunday August 1, 2010

Understand the Maeda method and you’ll get very good at the middle game and won’t lose fights, Ryo Maeda 6P (r) said in his Sunday afternoon lecture. He described four different ways to attack and capture a third-line stone. The key is “how to make your stone more effective than your opponent’s,” Maeda said. It’s important to protect weak stones: “If you have a weak stone, you protect it — that’s it.” In addition, “if you want to capture your opponent’s stone, make your group stronger, then good things happen.” Use the normal move in most cases, Maeda advised, “and leave the best move to professionals.” Looking at contact fights, Maeda pointed out that nearby friendly stones can be liabilities in such situations, as weak and strong positions can get reversed. Stones or groups with two liberties are considered weak, and with one liberty, “it’s too late.” However, “when you atari but can’t capture, it’s usually a bad move.” Yoshi Sawada 6D provided his usual animated translation of the Maeda method, which will be detailed in three more lectures this week. Maeda’s popular lectures have been a feature of U.S. Go Congress for the last ten years.
- report/photo by Jake Edge


Sunday August 1, 2010

“The future of American go looks very bright,” Yasumasa Hane 9P told the E-Journal in an interview Sunday morning. “You have so many young serious players.” Hane is the Nihon Kiin’s official representative to this year’s U.S. Go Congress, and he’s accompanied by his family, including wife Masami 1k, daughter Michiyo Yamamori 1k. daughter-in-law Shigeko Hane 1P, and Shigeko’s daughters Ranka 1k, Rinka 4k and Ayaka 1k (YASUMASA HANE 9P & GO FAMILY TO ATTEND U.S. GO CONGRESS 6/18 EJ). The father of Naoki Hane 9P, former Honinbo, Kisei and Tengen title holder, Hane is also known as a major contributor in the development of the Chinese fuseki. He studied with Toshihiro Shimamura 9P, and told the E-Journal that as a student, “We never played with Shimamura, only with each other, but that was old-style and today it’s better for the teacher to play with students.”  Interestingly, Hane says that as teachers of amateur players, “The biggest mistake we make is to teach too much.” The best way to work with beginners, Hane said, is “just let them play and enjoy the game. When they find that it’s fun, they will stay.” With both pros and amateurs, he added, “you can’t push too much too soon” or there’s a risk of burn-out. He loves go because “it’s an art” and says that the current focus on winning makes him “a bit sad; the games we play will always be there, and we must leave art that we can be proud of.” These days, Hane said, “there’s no value placed on the opinion of the loser; winning is all.” Like Takemiya Masaki 9P, he urges players to “play where you want and don’t be afraid. If you’re chasing the dream you must take the risk.” His advice to go students is to “play your best move and don’t be afraid to make a mistake; the pro will correct your mistake and you’ll learn.” He also strongly advises those looking to improve to record their games and review them with stronger players, and was “very impressed” with the number of players he saw recording their games at the Open on Sunday. “The U.S. Open is great,” Hane said, “you should do it twice a year!”
- report/photo by Chris Garlock


Sunday August 1, 2010

The 2010 U.S. Go Congress formally launched Saturday as hundreds of go players gathered from across the country and around the globe. As players checked in at the University of Colorado in Colorado Springs, Colorado, the main playing area filled up with go players engaged in friendly games and there was even an impromptu simul as Qiao Shiyao 1P played a 3-on-1. Later, there was a taiko drum performance, welcoming ceremonies – including the official Go Congress Director plaque transfer from last year’s Congress Director Todd Heidenreich to this year’s Co-Directors Karen Jordan and Ken Koester.
- report/photos by Chris Garlock


Sunday August 1, 2010

NORTH AMERICAN ING ROUND 1 CROSSTABS/GAMES: Click here for complete first-round results – including 10 game records — from the North American Ing Masters tournament.

13X13 TABLE WINNERS: Henry Zhang 2k, Yukino Takehara 4k, Sathya Anand 7k, Charles Polkiewicz 14k, Oliver Wolf 2d, Mark Gilston 1d and Kory Stevens 5d. Takehara, Anand, Gilston and Stevens are all in the finals. 14 dan players total; 24 kyu players total.
- Lee Huynh & Laura Kolb; photo: at the 13×13 tournament

9X9 TOURNAMENT: Dan division: Matthew Burall 7d plays Josh Larson 3d; Kyu division: Scott Abrams 2k plays Albert Hu 3k; Smith Garrett 12k defeated Sathya Anand 7k and will play the winner of the Abrams-Hu game.
- Lee Huynh & Laura Kolb

TANG WINS FIRST ROUND IN REDMOND CUP: Curtis Tang 7d won his first round Redmond Cup game against Jianing Gan this afternoon.  Tang, the only player to defeat Gan in the qualifiers, had arrived at Congress at 3a Sunday morning, and played in the US Open a few hours later. Visibly tired, he rallied during the Redmond game to take the first match, which was broadcast live on KGS and drew hundreds of spectators.  Tune in for round 2 at 3p Monday in the AGA Tournaments room on KGS.  The Junior League game between 11-year-old 1-dans Henry Zhang and Oliver Wolf will also be broadcast at the same time.
- Paul Barchilon, Youth Editor