American Go E-Journal » Events/Tournaments

BUDDHIST NUN MARJORIE “SU CO” HEY NAMED TEACHER OF THE YEAR

Thursday July 22, 2010

Marjorie “Su Co” Hey has been chosen as the AGF’s Teacher of the Year.  An ordained Buddhist nun, she is in good company, joining Honinbo Sansa, the 16th century founder of the Honinbo House, among notable go playing Buddhists.  Hey, who lives in Medford, MA, has been a dedicated go teacher for the past seven years, with go programs at elementary schools, libraries, and Boys and Girls Clubs, often running five or six separate clubs each week.  “For those people who are afraid I am teaching their kids Buddhism, I point out that go was being played at least a thousand years before Buddhism or Christianity were established,” Hey told the E-Journal, “go teaches us to do our best, treat our opponents with respect and to avoid being greedy (the surest way to lose).”   Hey seems never to have been worried about the competitive aspects of the game, and instead delights in teaching and helping beginners.  She is not a strong player herself, with an AGA rank of 18 kyu, but she possesses a special gift – the ability to fascinate and delight children.  Her main interest is in helping her students, and she enjoys seeing their progress. “Ralph St. Louis (age 14) and I played to see if he would be eligible to play in the Massachusetts Go Association (MGA) tournament. Playing even, he won by a half point,’ said Hey.  “The next morning I loaned him my 10 volume set of Level Up and he set to studying it before the Sunday tournament. I entered him as a 20 kyu. He played me the first game and mowed me down. He went on to play a 6 kyu and won and then lost to a 4 kyu. I only won two and lost two. Last night I checked the new ratings and I had gone from 19+ kyu to 18.9 kyu but Ralph went from 20 kyu to 16.6 kyu. WOW!!!! Ralph is more than 2 kyu stronger than me.”  Tom Bahun, a teenaged 2 dan, tells a similar story:  “the first tournament I went to at the MGA was dull and boring, but the next one was run by Su Co, and we had tons of fun.  All the kids had huge smiles on their faces they were  so happy, including me, even though I had lost.  She is all around a great person and a great teacher of go to children.” The Teacher of the Year Award has become quite competitive in recent years, and many excellent teachers are finding themselves on a waiting list for the honor, which includes an all-expenses-paid trip the annual US Go Congress.  Honorable mention goes to Portland go teacher Fritz Balwit, and Colorado teacher David Weiss, who were also nominated for the award this year. Hey will hold a round-table discussion — for those who teach and those who would like to — at the Congress, on Monday Aug. 2 at 5pm.
- Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor.  Photo: Hey, at center, teaching children at Brooks Elementary School in Medford MA.

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WANTED: MEMORIES OF NAKAYAMA

Sunday July 4, 2010

U.S. Go Congress organizers are putting together a special memorial ceremony in honor of Nakamaya Noriyuki 7P at this year’s Congress. “Many have special memories of Nakayama’s love of go and he will be sorely missed,” says Director Karen Jordan. Send your Nakayama photos, stories, articles and remembrances (max 200 words) to Jordan at  Director@gocongress.org with Nakayama Memories in the subject line. Deadline is July 10 for inclusion in the Nakayama scrapbook. The memorial ceremony is scheduled for the Go Congress on Sunday, August 1 at 3p. “The scrapbook will be available for viewing all week and will be presented as a gift for the Nihon Kiin at the Saturday Awards Banquet,” says Jordan.
photo by Phil Straus

EJ CONGRESS TEAM HAS OPENINGS

Monday June 28, 2010

The American Go E-Journal’s Congress Team has a few openings left for game recorders, photographers and reporters as we again this year provide wall-to-wall coverage of this year’s 26th annual U.S. Go Congress, live from Colorado Springs, Colorado. We’ll broadcast top-board games in both the U.S. Open and North American Ing Cup every day on KGS, as well as publish reports, photos and game records daily on the website and in the E-Journal. If you’re interested, please email journal@usgo.org

CONGRESS SIGHTSEEING TRIPS

Saturday June 26, 2010

There’s lots to do in and around Colorado Springs besides play go at the upcoming U.S. Go Congress, and Congress organizers are putting together the following sightseeing trips during the traditional Wednesday Day Off: tours of the Garden of the Gods, U.S. Air Force Academy, Manitou Cliff Dwellings (r), Cave of the Winds, Castle Rock Factory Outlets, Six Flags Elitch Gardens Theme Park, Denver Museum of Nature & Science, Denver Zoo. Look for your chance to sign up at the Congress.

YASUMASA HANE 9P & GO FAMILY TO ATTEND U.S. GO CONGRESS

Friday June 18, 2010

The opportunity to learn from top professional go players has always been a major attraction of the annual U.S. Go Congress, set this year for July 31 – August 8 in Colorado Springs, CO.  This year’s roster of pros includes a very special visit by Yasumasa Hane 9P (right, in blue jacket) well-known as a major contributor in the development of the Chinese fuseki as well as the father of Naoki Hane 9P (far left, in tan jacket), the current Honinbo and a former holder of the Kisei and Tengen titles. Hane’s family — wife Masami 1k (left front), daughter Michiyo Yamamori 1k (back center) daughter-in-law Shigeko Hane 1P (back left, next to husband Naoki), and Shigeko’s daughters Ayaka 1k, Ranka 1k and Rinka 4k (center) — will also be attending and playing in the U.S. Open. “It’s a great honor to host such a famous and impressively strong go family,” says American Go Association President Allan Abramson. “We look forward to learning much from the Hane family.” Also attending the Congress this year are defending U.S. Open champion Myung Wan Kim 9P (US), Seong-yong Kim 9P of Korea, Ming Jiu Jiang 7P US, Yilun Yang 7P (US), Ryo Maeda 6P (Japan), Cheng Xiaoliu 6P (China), Jennie Shen 2P (US), Hui Ren Yang 1P (US), Cathy (Chen Shuo) Li 1P (China), and Qiao Shiyao 1P (China). CLICK HERE for details and to register for the U.S. Go Congress.
- Chris Garlock; photo courtesy the Hane family. Includes reporting by Yuki Shigeno

ichiyo Yamamori 1k(daughter/wife of Yamamori6p

REGISTER FOR U.S. GO CONGRESS BY JUNE 30 & SAVE; REGISTRATION TOPS 300

Monday June 14, 2010

“Register for this year’s 2010 U.S. Go Congress by midnight June 30 and save!” says Congress Director Karen Jordan. Base costs increased $50 after 6/15 and will increase $75 after 6/30 and $100 after 7/17.  Registration for the Congress — set for July 31 – August 8 in Colorado Springs, CO — has now passed 300, including 12 professionals, 113 dan players and 138 kyus. Click here for the latest list of attendees.  The Congress website is being regularly updated with new Congress information, like the Go Congress group rate for people coming to the Congress site from Denver International Airport. Click here for the website of the Congress shuttle service; the e-mail address is aairshuttle@aol.com.  You may sign up and pay online. Questions about the Congress? Click here for answers to frequently asked questions.

MICHAEL REDMOND ON STUDYING, IMPROVING YOUR GAME AND HOW THE PROS TRAIN

Monday June 14, 2010

“My study of the endgame actually had more effect on my opening,” Michael Redmond 9P told the E-Journal during a recent interview during the World Amateur Go Championships in Hangzhou, China. Redmond, who this issue becomes a regular game commentary contributor to the E-Journal (Member’s Edition only; click here to join), shared his tips on studying, improving, and thoughts on the differences in professional training in Japan, China and Korea.

Over the last year or so, Redmond has been studying the classic Castle Games,  with special attention to close games. “The result was that I was reviewing very high-quality games, games in which the players were not being greedy, but were going for the balanced moves, and showing very good positional judgment, and I think that reflected onto my game and helped me a lot,” said Redmond. “I’m much more aware of what’s going on.”

Still, Redmond knew he had to focus on improving his endgame. “What happened was that I ended up with this big collection of close games, and I had them in Word and could print them out.” Redmond pulled a small booklet of clipped-together sheets from his pocket. “So what I did last year was to copy game positions about 30 moves from the end of the game. I like the fact that I don’t have the names of the players, because it brings back memories (of the specific players), so it’s better not to be seeing that. I write the result – for instance in this game, White wins by one point – so I have to hold the position in my head and count it, and by doing that, I think I’m improving my reading ability. Not just reading out an endgame, but life and death problems, as well.”

Redmond explained that “The problem is that you can have two endgame moves that are about the same size, but they each lead to a different endgame.” He launched into an analysis involving calculations of moves as small as 1/6th or 1/12th of a point, “so you have very fine points implicit in the seemingly simplest yose moves, including follow-ups and ko threats, which complicate the calculation.” And, he added, “calculating is not good enough; in fact it’s confusing, because there’s no way to see which move is bigger, you just have to read it out, and then it’s very clear. Right now I can do 30 moves, and I have done a 50-move yose.”

Eventually Redmond expects to be able to read out the last 100 moves, “because top players are capable of reading out the last 100 moves in less than an hour. If I can have a picture of what’s happening when I come to the last 100 moves, it’ll make a big difference.” If all of this sounds a bit confusing,” Redmond’s the first to agree, but said that “it shows that just calculating the size of a move, which is what I’ve been doing for years now, is pretty useless. Or I should say it’s useful, but it’s not exact, and it’s the reason why it’s pretty easy to lose a couple of points with that system.”

Asked about how he and other top professional study, Redmond said that “Everyone has their own system,” adding that “I think one of the weaknesses of Japanese go as a whole is that we don’t have any coaches. We all improvise on our own. The Chinese have coaches, and I think the Koreans do too. I think the idea of having coaches is a very good system.” The downside of the coach system that that “it changes the way a person’s game develops at the lower levels, and I think that in China it makes it more difficult (for individual players) to have a lasting strength.”

Conversely, Redmond said, the Japanese system turns out to have a hidden strength, because while Japanese players don’t have an established counter to the new Chinese or Korean moves, “the strength is for the player himself. In all of his personal study, he will be building a feeling for the game, which should last longer. So I think both methods have their strong points.”

Redmond said he doesn’t play much on the internet these days. “I wasn’t sure it was improving my game. It’s very hard to play at my best when I can’t see my opponent; it makes a difference in my feeling for the game. I think I concentrate better if I have an opponent in front of me. And I enjoy it more.” Redmond added that playing in person is the best way to improve your game. “Someone close to your own strength, a little stronger or even a bit weaker. Gives you a different viewpoint. And review your games. “
- Chris Garlock; photos by John Pinkerton

THE “IMPOSSIBLE” TIAN YUAN TOWER PROBLEM, SOLVED

Monday June 7, 2010

The “Impossible” Tian Yuan Tower problem (5/27 EJ) is “Far from impossible,” writes John Fairbairn, “especially once

[link]

you know the name of the problem, Shenlong Guotu, or Divine Dragon Shedding Its Bones. The Daoist phrase ‘shedding bones,’ or variants such as ‘shedding a skin’, always signify it’s an under-the-stones problem,” says Fairbairn, a longtime go writer and co-author of the Games of Go on Disk encyclopedia (GoGoD). Fairbairn was one of just eight readers to correctly solve the problem:  Steven Burrall, who also knew it was an ishi no shita, or “under the stones” problem; Daniel Gourdeau, Jimmy Guo, Marek Kamiński, Carlo Metta, Solomon Smilack and our very own weekly AGA go problem-meister Myron Souris. We won’t mention the name of the reader who wanted to know “is the problem black to play and kill or white to play and live?”

RANKA’S WAGC LAST THOUGHTS (Parts 1, 2 & 3)

Sunday June 6, 2010

“I’m only sorry that it had to end,” says 2010 World Amateur Go Championship winner Hongsuk Song in an interview just published on Ranka Online, along with several other post-event reports. Song says “the games against the Chinese player in the fifth round, and against the Czech player in the last round” were his toughest. “I would like to become a professional player,” says Song. “If that’s not possible, I may go to work for a company, but I would still like to be active in go. There’s much to be done, including publicity and teaching the game to children, so if I can’t be a professional player, that’s all right too.” Check out Ranka Online for Song’s take on the current competition between China and Korea, his favorite pro and hobbies, as well as brief post-event interviews with a number of WAGC players and officials, including U.S. player Thomas Hsiang, who said “China made it everything we hoped for and then some. The pairing system was very dynamic, better than the system used before. If there had been ten rounds it would have been perfect; then there would have been no accidents. I also liked the tie-breaking system. Of course I’m not satisfied with my own results, but what was absolutely great was the emerging new IGF structure, and the plans of the new IGF president for the future.”

KOREA WINS 2010 WAGC

Sunday May 30, 2010

With a perfect 8-0 score, Hongsuk Song 7d of the Republic of Korea is the new World Amateur Go Champion. Click here for complete results.  CLICK HERE for James Davies’ complete Ranka online report on the Round 8 action: “On the top board, Korea’s undefeated Hongsuk Song faced Czechia’s Ondrej Silt. On the second board, China’s Chen Wang faced Hong Kong’s Naisan Chan. All four of these young players were virtually assured of finishing in the top eight, and one of them would be the new world champion…”
- Chris Garlock; photo by John Pinkerton