American Go E-Journal » Events/Tournaments

Ming Curran Tops Berkeley Ratings Tourney

Sunday June 15, 2014

Ming Curran 3D topped a field of 17 players ranging from 4d to 20k at the Berkeley Go Club’s ratings tournament on June 14. The event was hosted in the Games of Berkeley game store’s downstairs playing rooms, with store gift certificates given as prizes.

Organizers were Peter de Blanc and Linden Chiu, with Chiu directing. “Thanks to both Games of Berkeley and the Bay Area Go Players Association, who provided clocks and stones,” said Chiu.

Results: 1st: Ming Curran 3d (3-0); 2nd: Sean Wahl 10k (3-0); 3rd: Garnet Chaney 19k (3-0).
photo courtesy Linden Chiu

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Freedman Named AGF Teacher of the Year

Saturday June 14, 2014

Peter Freedman, of Portland, OR, has been named the AGF Teacher of the Year, winning a free trip to the US Go Congress in NYC.  Freedman, who has been active in the Portland area for decades, has focused his primary activities on youth go in recent years. Freedman and Fritz Balwit (2011 AGF Teacher of the Year) had tried to establish go clubs in schools for many years, but they were short-lived and drew minimal numbers  “Meanwhile, our chess and go program at Irvington Elementary had run for many years, with upwards of 30 students every term,” Freedman told the Journal.  “It became clear to me that chess and go clubs have a much better chance to introduce children and teens to go than free-standing go clubs. I approached several school chess coaches about the idea of morphing their programs into chess and go clubs, and now there are over 100 children in these clubs, spread over five  schools, I teach go and Fritz teaches chess in most schools. The students can play only chess; play only go; or, switch between chess and go each month.  New students must play a month of go before they decide on their option. There is a segment of our culture that knows, appreciates and respects chess, while only a few know of go. Yet, many of us were chess players before we were go players.  It seems like a nice path.  We need a new motto: chess is our friend, not our enemy.”

AGA President Andy Okun had this to say about Freedman: “While many people know him as a club organizer, AGA volunteer and co-director of the really successful 2008 Portland Congress, Peter has also been teaching go for many years, and very intensively since retiring eight years ago.  For the last three years, he’s run the Irvington Elementary School Go Team, which has played matches against teams in Portland, Detroit and Mexico City.  He led the effort to make the Portland Go Club a 501c3 so it could raise money for a go in the schools program, and has raised thousands of dollars for that effort.” Recent activities included bringing Mingjiu Jiang 7P to Portland, for a workshop attended by 19 players from across Oregon, ranging in age from 7 to 72, and strength from beginner to 3 dan. “Nine of the players were kids or teens,” said Freedman, “one of whom taught himself to play three months ago, another was a 7 year old kgs 3 kyu.  Andrew Nguy, who recently started the robust David Douglas H.S. Go Club, was also in attendance. Mingjiu was up to the challenge of teaching such a diverse group, moving from simple problems to more complex ones that the  advanced people could chew on.”

“The AGF board faced a very tough decision again this year,” reports President Terry Benson, “with five extremely strong candidates, each of whom fully deserved the award. Fortunately, we choose a new teacher every year, and the other candidates will all have a chance again next year.” Freedman and Balwitz have put together curriculum guides and outlines for their method, which can be downloaded on the AGA Teaching Page.  Free equipment, Hikaru no Go, and other resources are available on the AGF website.  -Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor.  Photos: Top: The Irvington Elementary Go Team plays a match against Mexico City, Freedman is 2nd from right; Bottom: students at the Mingjiu Jiang workshop last April. 

YKNOT4 Shaping Up for Strong Dan Levels, Kyu Levels Encouraged to Register

Thursday June 12, 2014

With the Young Kwon National Online Tournament (YKNOT) less than two weeks away, a competitive open section is shaping up with over 10 players 6-dan and above. Eligible players in the open section this year will earn NAMT points towards participation in the US Invitational, the 9-round $5,000 prize event. Players who qualify through NAMT will be eligible for an extra $2,000 in prizes.

“Dan level registration has been strong, but we also encourage kyu players to register!” says AGA Tournament Coordinator Karoline Burrall. “We encourage registration at all playing levels, and prizes will be awarded at all levels.”
YKNOT4 sponsor Young Kwon is a go player from Pearl River, New York and a previous US Open champion. Dedicated to promoting go in the United States, he has sponsored this tournament and provided the nearly $3,000 in prizes while offering free registration to all players. The only requirements for the tournament are AGA membership and a United States address. AGA life members living anywhere are also welcome.

Registration is free. The tournament games will be played on June 21, 22, and 28th. Click here to register, and visit the website for schedule, rules, and details.

EuroGoTV Update: Germany, Netherlands, Sweden

Tuesday June 10, 2014

Germany: Cristian Pop 7d (left) bested Alexandr Dinerstein 7d at the KidoCup Hamburg Top 8 on June 9 while Mateusz Surma 6d came in third. Netherlands: Jord de Jong 1k took the Districtstoernooi Groningen on June 8. Behind him were Rene Goedhart 3d and Sjoerd Koolen 2d. Sweden: The Swedish Championship finished on June 1 in Norrkoeping with Jakob Bing 3d in first, Kim Johansson 1d in second, and Fritiof Olsson 1k in third.
– Annalia Linnan, based on reports from EuroGoTV, which include complete result tables and all the latest European go news; photo courtesy of EuroGoTV

Ali Jabarin Wins Amsterdam International; Historic Euro-Korean Go Battle Remembered

Sunday June 8, 2014

Ali Jabarin 6d of Israel took the 2014 Amsterdam International Go Tournament main, centerpiece of Amsterdam Go Together 2014, with five wins out of six. It was played Friday May 30 – Sunday June 1 at the European Go Cultural Centre (EGCC), Amstelveen in the Netherlands (Holland) and Jabarin was only beaten by Zhao Baolong 2p of China who won all six rounds but, as a professional, took part out-of-competition. In second-equal place, with four wins each, came Pavol Lisy 7d of Slovakia, Yong-Su Yu 7d of Korea (pictured), Christian Pop 7d of Romania, Kim Paolo 7d of Korea and Csaba Mérő 6d of Hungary. Click here for full results, and here to connect with the EGCC’s Facebook account for more photos.

Pavol Lisy had also qualified as a pro the day before the main tournament after winning Stage 2 of the 1st Euro Pro Qualification (see Pavol Lisy First European Pro,- EJ, 7/1), a competition in which all the Europeans mentioned above have been participants, and for which Zhao has been professional coach, along with compatriot Li Ting 1p. Lisy’s new status will not, however, come into effect until August 1. Jabarin – along with Mateusz Surma 6d of Poland, Lukáš Podpera 6d of Czechia and Cornel Burzo 6d of Romania – is also still in the running to gain professional status by winning two further knockout rounds at Vienna on June 20.

Former Korean Amateur Champion Yong-Su Yu was a special guest at the event and well-known to the veterans there, as during the eighties he lived in the Cologne area in Germany and won the Amsterdam International every year from 1985-89. “I cannot [be] very content with the result in this Amsterdam go tournament,” he said, “but it’s not very bad. The top players in Europe are much stronger than I thought.” He also praised the hospitality he and his group, led by best friend Kim Paolo, had received and said, “Everyone in the Dutch Go Association [Federation] was so kind to us”.

In 1985 Yong-Su demonstrated the superiority of Korean amateurs in that era when he played a celebrated nine-game match, winning 7-2, against then Dutch and European Champion Ronald Schlemper 7d, a go prodigy who had come to dominate the game in Holland and who had won the European Championship twice already at that point (and has three times in all). The match, which featured games in the three Dutch towns of Leeuwarden, Arnhem and Tilburg, was sponsored by Dutch insurance company Interpolis, who published a book about it at the time, with game analysis by other Dutch amateurs.

Now one of Yong-Su’s party, Lee Kwang-Ku 3d, who is a journalist for Korean-language weekly Ilyo Shinmun and author of a three-volume book on modern Korean go, is also planning to write a book about the match with Korean professional commentary on at least some of the games. Schlemper, who these days lives in Japan, will be interviewed for the book too, which it is hoped will also be produced in an English-language edition. Photographer and sometime board member of the Dutch Go Federation Harry van der Krogt, now Financial Director of the EGCC, was the initiator of the match and following the Amsterdam tournament he has – by way of research for the book – traveled with Yong-Su, Kim and Lee to Arnhem to revisit the Hotel Groot Warnsborn (right), the only one of the match locations still standing. He told the E-Journal the hotel and surrounding park “made a great impression on me in 1985 [...] and now in 2014 it has not lost any of its charm“. It was also Yong-Su’s favourite location of the three: “Arnhem was the best place from three because maybe……..I could have a good time with Dutch go players…….drink….chatter. I could win all three games…..”.

Report by Tony Collman; photos by Harry van der Krogt: (from top) Yong-Su Yu at the Amsterdam International 2014; playing in the 9-game match with Schlemper in 1985; (L-R) Lee Kwang-Ku, Yong-Su Yu, Kim Paolo at the Hotel Groot Warnsborn.

Shigeo Hidaka Wins Go Congress Problem Contest

Thursday June 5, 2014

“May is over, and with it comes the end of our contest!” reports 2014 US Go Congress Director Matthew Hershberger. Throughout May, anyone who sent in the correct solution to the go problem featured in this year’s Congress logo was entered for a chance to win $50 off their Congress registration. More than 300 are already registered for the Congress, which runs August 9-17 in New York City.

The problem proved difficult for many, while others were already familiar with it from books or lessons. It’s a famous Chinese problem titled 明珠出海, which translates to “Pearl Emerging From the Sea”. The goal is simply for white to escape the net of black stones. Some two dozen players submitted their solutions. Of those, all but one answered correctly.

The contest winner is Shigeo Hidaka 2d. “Congratulations, Shigeo, and thank you to everyone who submitted their solution!” says Hershberger.

One possible solution is shown here. There are other slight variations that are also acceptable.

Seattle 1 to Play Canwa Vancouver 1 in Pandanet-AGA City League Finals

Wednesday June 4, 2014

Seattle 1 will play Canwa Vancouver 1 on Saturday, August 9th in the 2014 Pandanet-AGA City League finals at the US Go Congress in

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New York City. In other A League results, Greater Washington won 3rd place and Boston was 4th. New York City took first place in the B League, and Chicago was second. Play is still ongoing in the C League, where Katy TX 1 is currently leading with an undefeated score. They are followed by Canwa Vancouver 2, Katy TX 2, and Brentwood/Nashville. Round 6 will be played on Saturday June 17th. The game at right is the one that put Seattle 1 into the finals, with Seattle’s Ho Son (B) defeating Greater Washington’s Jie Li (W) in what turned out to be the tie-break game; as this game was played both cities had won a game (Board 1 – Seattle 1, Board 3 – Greater Washington).
- Steve Colburn, TD

3 Weeks Left to Register for YKNOT 4, Second Online NAMT Qualifier

Monday June 2, 2014

Players in the top section of the upcoming fourth annual Young Kwon National Online Tournament  (YKNOT) will be eligible to win points towards NAMT qualification, which this year means eligibility for the 9-round US Invitational tournament at this year’s US Go Congress; NAMT qualifiers in the US Invitational will be eligible for $2,000 more in prizes reserved for the NAMT players.

“We also encourage kyu players to register for the YKNOT,” says AGA Tournament Coordinator Karoline Burrall. “We want good strong competition at all levels! Every single player, including kyu players, can win part of the nearly $3,000 in prizes that the tournament offers.”

The Young Kwon National Online Tournament is the largest annual online tournament in North America. Registration is free and open to all levels, with nearly $3,000 in total prizes, which will be awarded to all levels. The tournament will take place on June 21, 22, and 28th. Click here to see the tournament webpage with registration details and rules and click here to register. Players have until Friday, June 20th to register. There are no citizen or permanent residency requirements; AGA members living in the US or AGA life members living anywhere are eligible, and even players who join the AGA the day before the start of the tournament are welcome to participate.

The YKNOT is the second online qualifier; the first is the June 7-8 Age of the Fabulist tournament, which is limited to players 4D+; register here.

Congress Pro Update; Teachers’ Workshop Returns

Monday June 2, 2014

Two more professional go players have just been confirmed for this year’s US Go Congress, bringing the total so far to 14 (click here for the complete list). Shinichi Aoki 9P won the 3rd NEC Shun-Ei Tournament in 1988; his sister is Aoki Kikuyo 8P. Korean professional Dahye Lee 4P, who specializes in teaching non-professional players how to teach youth in Korea, was a big hit at the Go Congress Teachers’ Workshop last year (photo) and will be returning this year.  The workshop will again offer the opportunity for players interested in teaching go to earn certification as an AGA-recognized go teacher.  The first workshop last year graduated 40 teachers, “far more than expected,” says Chris Kirschner, who is organizing the event this year.  The curriculum has been expanded this year and with more than 50 already registered, “We are far above the 23 we had at this time last year” says Kirschner.  The certificate program requires attendance of at least 8 hours including core topics, but those interested in only a few topics are welcome to attend those only.  The Congress website allows you to sign up for just those sessions in which you have the most interest.  The curriculum is still subject to change, so anyone interested in presenting their ideas at a session, or creating a new session is invited to contact Kirscher at planning@usgo.org.
photo: 2013 go teacher workshop participants show off their certificates; photo by Phil Straus

Pavol Lisy First European Pro

Sunday June 1, 2014

Pavol Lisy 1p (right)  of Slovakia has become the first-ever professional go player appointed by a European body, after adding two more wins at Amsterdam on Thursday May 29 to his two at Strasbourg the week before (see First Knockouts in Euro Pro Qualifications, 5/26 EJ) in the First European Pro Qualification Tournament.

The third and final stage of the tournament, which will see the appointment of a second European Pro, will be held in Vienna on June 20, where those who have only lost one game so far will compete in two further knockout rounds for the prize of professional status.

Lisy, who was a 7d amateur Slovakian Go Champion 2010-2014 and twice European Under-20 Champion, started playing go at age five. He previously had a hobby collecting beer bottle caps, of which he had thousands, mostly brown and white ones, and his father made a paper go board and used the bottle caps as go stones to introduce his son to the game.

The tournament is the result of an agreement (pdf, 6.85Mb) between the European Go Federation and the Beijing Zong Yi Yuan Cheng Culture Communication Co. Ltd. (“CEGO”), who describe themselves as “investors who themselves are Go friends [who] believe on (sic) the future development of European Go and are willing to commit themselves to promote Go [...] in the West“. The agreement is aimed at the establishment of  a full professional European go system and at enhancing the popularity of, and increasing the audience for go in Europe.

Click here for full tournament details, including results table, player profiles and the rules and constitution, and here to see the record of Lisy’s fourth round, clinching game with Cornel Burzo 6d of Romania.

Report by Tony Collman, photos by Harry van der Krogt: (lower left) Cornel Burzo 6d (right) congratulates Lisy on the  7.5 point win that secured him professional status.