American Go E-Journal » Events/Tournaments

US Go Congress tournaments: Old favorites and new excitement

Saturday May 14, 2016

Tournament details for this year’s US Go Congress — July 30-August 7 in Boston — are still in development, but in addition to2016.05.14_2015usopen-DSC_0057 the US Open and US Open Masters, players can already look forward to favorites like the Diehard, Lightning, Crazy Go, and Pair Go tournaments. Some new excitement has been added for all levels in the form of Relay Go tournaments, where teams of players will switch off playing games of pair go, with an added element being that the teams that are currently not playing are able to discuss and strategize. One tournament will be open to all, and one will be an exciting US-China team showdown featuring professional and very strong players that promises to be an exciting addition to Go Congress events. A new Evening League will be a week-long ladder tournament, combining elements of the Self-Paired tournament and Midnight Madness and giving players the opportunity to self-pair and play rated games throughout the day. Stay tuned for further updates as we get closer to game-time.
- Karoline Li, EJ Congress Team (if you’re interested in being on this year’s team, email us at journal@usgo.org)
photo: at the 2015 US Open; photo by Chris Garlock

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Preliminary line-up of Go Congress pros (and topics) announced

Monday May 9, 2016

Organizer’s of this year’s US Go Congress – July 30- August 7 in Boston, MA — have just announced the following line-up of 2016.05.09_congress-pro-collageprofessionals and their lecture topics.  Myungwan Kim 9p: “Mathematical Endgame” (all levels), “Liberty racing” (kyu level), “Puppydog and Bulldozer” (all level) and many more. Yilun Yang 7p on “How to play a reasonable opening” and “Against a strange move.” Andy Liu 1p on “The secret to get stronger.” Stephanie Yin 1p will present a series: “How to improve from one level to another” (15 kyu to 5 kyu) and “How to improve from one level to another” (5 kyu to 1 dan). More pro news and lecture topics are coming in the future, Congress organizers promise. Meanwhile, nearly 300 have already registered for this year’s Congress; click here for complete details.

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Go Congress “Early Bird” discount extended; “Blindfold Go” master Bao Yun confirmed, AlphaGo Q&A

Sunday May 1, 2016

The early bird discount for this year’s US Go Congress has been extended to midnight Monday night. Click here now to save 2016.05.01_congress-updates$25 on registering for the Congress, which runs July 30-August 7 in Boston, MA.

In other Go Congress news, “Super Brain” Bao Yun 7d, the blindfold go master has just confirmed he’ll be attending this year’s Go Congress, where he will challenge an American professional in an even game blindfolded at 1p on Monday August 1.

Also, there will ba a Q&A session right after the AlphaGo team’s keynote address, please submit your questions here.

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Congress Scholarships for Youth

Monday April 11, 2016

0807151358aThe American Go Foundation (AGF) is offering $200 youth scholarships to this year’s US Go Congress.  Interested youth must write an essay on why they want to go; the application deadline is May 31st. Twenty-five scholarships are available, and up to 15 awardees will be selected by June 1. Five scholarships are available to residents of Canada or Mexico. Applications received after May 31st will be approved on a space available basis.  The scholarships are available for US youth who are under 18. Youth who competed in either the NAKC or the Redmond Cup are eligible for an additional $200 scholarship, for $400 total. For more information, and to apply, click here.  - Story and photo by Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor. Photo: The Youth Team Tournament is one of the many activities in the Youth Room at Congress.

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Google DeepMind team members confirmed for US Go Congress

Saturday April 9, 2016

Google DeepMind team members Aja Huang 7d and Hui Fan 2P have just confirmed that they’ll attend this year’s US Go 2016.04.09_aja-huang-congressCongress in Boston. “This is an exciting opportunity for the American go community to meet some of the team behind AlphaGo, which attracted global attention to go,” said Congress Director Walther Chen. The Congress runs July 30-August 7; click here for details. Dr. Huang (right), who was seen by millions worldwide last month playing for AlphaGo against Lee Sedol 9P, will give the keynote speech — together with European champion Hui Fan 2p — at the Congress opening ceremony on July 30. They’ll also attend a “Computer Go Afternoon” session on August 4. In other Congress updates, the attendance of the following professional players have been confirmed: Myungwan Kim 9P, An Yan 7P, Hajin Lee 3P, Yi Tang 2P and Shuang Yang 2P.
- Chun Sun

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The Traveling Board: Eric Lui on the 2016 IMSA

Wednesday April 6, 2016

By Eric Lui2016.04.06-eric-lui-1st_IEMG_-Feb-28-2016-11-36-AM

It’s unusually nice out today*. As I stroll down my neighborhood and head towards the park, the sun’s rays hit me square in the back, right between the shoulder blades. The tingling warmth spreads all the way down and brings feeling to my toes…

It’s midnight in Huai-An, China, the site of the inaugural IMSA Elite Mind Games 2016. After a thirty-hour ordeal that included a cab ride of record-breaking speed between Shanghai’s international and domestic airports followed by a half-day layover, I arrived at the New Century Grand Hotel, a majestic venue secluded from downtown and just about everything else.

I’m looking around for a familiar face. There are none, to my slight disappointment mixed with relief, since at this point I’m rather unsure in my ability to form a coherent thought, let alone communicate in words. I stumble inside the luxurious living quarters on the eighth floor (surely a sign of good things to come), dragging the trusty luggage that has been with me to the ends of the earth. I check my phone for messages, and there it is, in flawless pinyin, ‘ming tian jian’, meaning ‘see you tomorrow’. Just for a moment, the fatigue melts away and my mind is clear and sharp.

The next morning at the dining hall I’m greeted by Ryan Li and Sarah Yu, the Canadian half of our North American Go Dream Team led by Mingjiu Jiang on the first board and Andy Okun, AGA president extraordinaire, as team leader. With players from around the world representing the various disciplines (Go, Chess, Draughts, Bridge, and Xiangqi), it’s a truly international event, complete with a security checkpoint and metal detectors located at the entrances to each of the playing areas.

2016.04.06_Team_IMSA-cropped“If the situation is bad, keep your head up and wait for your opponent to make a mistake.” Mingjiu chuckled slightly, motioning with his fork towards the air. It was lunch the next day and he was giving us some last-minute advice before we were set to take on Korea in the Men’s Team competition. We nodded solemnly in unison, Ryan and me, carefully avoiding each other’s gaze to prevent the inevitable burst of laughter. Despite arriving after midnight and missing the opening ceremony, Mingjiu appeared in good spirits, greeting anyone he recognized with a hearty clap on the shoulder. With so many varied and delicious desserts up for grabs, it was all I could do to resist overindulging myself right before the game. I reluctantly bade farewell to the sublime chocolate cake, looking back one last time before taking the long walk to the battlefield with the others, each of us lost in our own thoughts.

Both Korea and China fielded teams of some of the world’s top players. While we were unable to take a game from either 2016.04.06_Ryan-Li-1st_IEMG_-Feb-27-2016-11-038country, we scored a win against Japan in a game where Ryan (right) fully showcased his fighting skills to defeat one of Japan’s up-and-coming young professionals. Against the Taiwanese team there were also good chances to win, although their superior experience prevailed in the end. After consecutive defeats, we managed to regain some pride with a victory over Europe. Overall, we were still somewhat disappointed, but there were moments during my own games when I felt that my opponents were not as strong as I imagined, and I was not as weak. With steady, determined effort, I wholeheartedly believe that in the foreseeable future the West will be competitive on the international stage.

After the conclusion of the Men’s Team and Women’s Individual events, the Pair Go knockout in which Ryan and Sarah participated took place. I wandered into the game review room during the final round, and, whilst standing around awkwardly, was invited by one of the top Taiwanese players, Chen Shiyuan 9p, to take a seat alongside him and Zhou Junxun 9p as they analyzed their compatriots’ game. Being able to ask them questions when I didn’t understand something was a real treat. Even after just a couple of hours, I felt like I had gotten stronger. These are the moments that every go player lives for.

I’m on the trail now, picking up speed as I navigate the winding path through the riverbend. When I reach the top of the hill, I’m breathing hard and my jet-lagged legs are starting to cry out in protest. In just a few days it’ll be roughly twenty degrees cooler again for a while before the warmth finally returns for good. But for now, on the cusp of spring, I’ll take one more lap around the baseball field, one more breath of the crisp air, enjoying the moment while it lasts, wishing for one more day in sunny Huai-An, and my very own copy of AlphaGo.

*The IMSA Elite Mind Games were held in early March and Eric sent in this report a few weeks ago; we apologize for the delay in publication. Click here for the E-Journal’s previous reports on the IMSA. Team photo (l-r): Mingjiu Jiang, Sarah Yu, Andy Okun, Eric Lui, Ryan Li

 

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2016 Go Congress Registration Opens

Friday March 18, 2016

Registration for this year’s US Go Congress — July 30-August 7 in Boston, MA — is now open: click here2016.03.18_go-congress-logo

“The organizers of the Boston Go Congress are very excited to welcome all attendees,” says Director Walther Chen. “We’ll be doing our best to provide lots of fun go activities and an overall great experience.”

Check back regularly for more updates on tournaments, activities, attending pros, and more.

Important: this year, the policy for minors is more stringent, please contact the registrar directly at registrar2016@gocongress.org to make sure that you have completed all procedures before Go Congress.

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Tightened Procedures for Unaccompanied Kids at Go Congress

Wednesday March 9, 2016

At the insistence of staff counsel at Boston University, the US Go Congress and AGA this year will be instituting tougher2016.03.09_go-congress procedures for the appointment of guardians for under-18s staying at BU for the Go Congress without parents, AGA President Andy Okun told the EJ. “It is more involved than in previous years, which is regrettable, but campuses and their lawyers are feeling some pressure in the wake of the Penn State scandal. More vigilance in this area seems to be both inevitable and a good thing, and this is just the year we have to start.” If under-18s are staying in campus housing without a parent or formal legal guardian with them, a parent will have to sign a waiver and appoint an onsite guardian, as has been necessary since 2011. That guardian will have to be staying in the same housing and be attending Congress in the same time period, as always. The new requirement is that the guardian will also have to undergo a database background check by a third party service hired by AGA, as well as a brief online training in the protection of minors. AGA will charge the parents $25 for the background check, although the actual cost will vary and likely be more. The BU policy doesn’t apply to kids who are not staying in campus housing; for them, Congress will ask parents to sign a form as in prior years, but without the need for background check or training. Congress this year has booked some rooms at a hotel near the campus and other housing options are available around Boston. Questions about the policy can be addressed to president@usgo.org or director@gocongress.org. The forms will be ready within the next week or so, Okun said.

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Korea Tops IEMG Pair Go

Thursday March 3, 2016

Koreans Park Jeonghwan 9p and Choi Jeong 6p defeated the Chinese team of Tang Weixing 9p and Yu Zhiying 5p to take first place in the three 2016.03.04_mind-games-pair-goround pair go competition at the IMSA Elite Mind Games in Huaian.  

Playing for North America, the Canadian team off Ryan Li 1p and Sarah Yu 6d, took sixth place overall, losing to Ilya Shikshin 1p and Natalya Kovaleva 5d.  Li and Yu lost in round one to the Taiwanese team of Joanne Missingham 7p and Lin-li Hsiang 6p, but scored a win in round two against Ali Jabarin 1p of Israel and Elvina Kalsberg 5d of Russia.  

Japan secured third place with Tomoya Hirata 7P and Hoshiai Shiho 1P defeating Missingham and Hsiang.
- Andy Okun, Special Correspondent for the E-Journal, with reporting by Hajin Lee
photo: Pair go top medalists with Pair Go founder Mrs Taki and local CP official

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Korea, China Win at IEMG, with NA Players in 5th Place; Li Scores Against Japan Pro

Tuesday March 1, 2016

Two of the three go events at the IMSA Elite Mind Games ended Monday with Korean and Chinese victories, while the North American Men’s2016.03.02_1st_IEMG_team_korea team and lone woman contender Sarah Yu 6d each took 5th place.  In the course of the match, each of the three men players defeated a pro with Ryan Li 1p scoring a final round win against the young Japanese talent Mutsuura Yuta 2p.

The men’s team, comprising Li, Jiang Mingjiu 7p and Eric Lui 1p, were winless in the first three matches of the five match round robin, losing to Korea (see team photo at right), Taiwan and China.  Round four was against the European Go Federation team of Fan Hui 2p, Ali Jabarin 1p and Ilya Shikshin 1p, expected to be the main competition for North America.  On board three, Lui beat Shikshin while on board two, after falling behind early on, Li scrapped hard and fought gallantly, but was unable to catch up with Jabarin.  The match turned then on board one, where Jiang beat Hui, recently in the news for his October match against AlphaGo, in a hard fought half-point game.

North America’s final day match against Japan could not have moved North America out of 5th but was the deciding factor in Japan or Taiwan taking 3rd place in the match.  Japan, needing the win to stay on the medal stand, won by 2-1.  Although Li beat the strong 16-year-old Mutsuura, Lui lost to Toramaru Shibano 2p, another 16-year-old with a strong record in his two years of pro play.  Jiang meanwhile, lost to Hirata Tomoya 7p, although both a disappointed Jiang and some observers in the room thought he had a chance to win.

Li’s win was in line with the opinion expressed by the Asian team captains present, that the young AGA and EGF pros had improved significantly, approaching in strength a new Chinese pro and matching weaker Japanese pros. They mainly need more  opportunities for serious tournament play in order to improve.

Korea effectively won the tournament by beating main rival China by 2-1 in round two.  Both were undefeated against the other teams.  Japan staked its claim on third place against main rival Taiwan in round one when Mutsuura and Shibano prevailed in their games.

In the women’s individual tournament, a 12-player double elimination, Sarah Yu lost in round one to Korea’s Oh Yujin 2p, but then won against Rita Pocsai 4d of Hungary and then Elvina Kalsberg 5d to guarantee at least a fifth place finish.  Her round four match against Yu Zhiying 5p went beautifully until the players were in byo yomi and the Chinese pro took control of the game. Yu Zhiying went on to win the tournament.  Yu’s last game was against Cao Youyin 3p.  Cao won, taking fourth.  Joanne Missingham 7p of Taiwan was third and Choi Jeong 6p of Korea took second.

A three-round pair go event started Tuesday, with Yu and Li facing off against Taiwanese teammates Missingham and Lin Li-Hsiang 6p.

- reported by Andy Okun from Huaian, Jiangsu Province, China; photo courtesy Ranka Online

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