American Go E-Journal » Events/Tournaments


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



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.


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


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  You may sign up and pay online. Questions about the Congress? Click here for answers to frequently asked questions.


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


Monday June 7, 2010

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


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?”


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.”


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


Sunday May 30, 2010

See below for Michael Redmond 9P’s commentaries on three Round 8 game records (click on “link” to download the sgf or “read more” for the online viewer): Song Hong Suk 7d (S Korea) vs Ondrej Silt 6d (Czechia) (photo at right); Wang Chen 7d (China) vs Nai San Chan 6d (Hong Kong); Fredrik Blomback 5d (Sweden) vs Cheng-Hsun Chen 6d (Chinese Taipei). CLICK HERE for James Davies’ complete Ranka online report on the Round 8 action & CLICK HERE for latest standings, courtesy of Alain Cano




5 MINUTES WITH: John Gibson, Ireland

Sunday May 30, 2010

Dubliner John Gibson has an unusual claim to fame, even for a go player. He once played go with Ira Einhorn the infamous “The Unicorn Killer” now serving a life sentence for the 1977 murder of Holly Maddux. In the early ‘80s, Gibson was introduced to “Ben Moore” – a pseudonym of Einhorn’s, while he was on the run — by the Secretary of his Dublin chess club, “and we played a number of games,” says Gibson. “He was about 7 kyu.” Gibson has been playing go for 34 years and participated in the first World Mind Sports Games in 2008. He attends one of the two Dublin go clubs at least once a week and reports that there are ongoing serious efforts to teach go in Ireland, although go is not supported by the Irish government and so they have to supply all their equipment themselves.
- None Redmond, special correspondent for the E-Journal; photo by John Pinkerton