American Go E-Journal » U.S. Go Congress

US Go Congress A Week Away

Thursday July 31, 2014

Eight days of go in the city that never sleeps is just over a week away at the upcoming US Go Congress at the Hotel Pennsylvania in New York City. There’s still time to register for the biggest go event in North American, which starts on Saturday, August 9, with nearly 500 already signed up. The schedule includes both rated – such as the US Open and continuous Self-Paired — and unrated (9×9, 13×13, Lightning, etc) tournaments, lectures and simuls with professional go players and more. Click here for the latest day-by-day schedule. “We now offer an optional meal plan in the form of vouchers to use at the nearby Café R,” reports Congress Director Matthew Hershberger. “Each voucher is worth $11 and we sell them in groups of 3 for $31.” Click here for more details on these and other costs.

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What Do You Think?

Wednesday July 30, 2014

An education program for middle level players…an educational library on the web site for members only… a rewards program. These are some of the ideas Central Region Director Bob Gilman is looking for feedback on in preparation for a special session at the upcoming US Go Congress to discuss ideas for overall development of the organization. Read more about these ideas and comment here.

Nearly 30 Pros to Attend US Go Congress

Monday July 14, 2014

Nearly 30 professional go players are expected to attend this year’s US Go Congress, August 9-17 in New York City. Ranging in strength from 9-dan to 1-dan, the professionals come from Japan, Korea and China, as well as the United States; click here for the list, which does not yet include the Kansai Ki-in pros, Maeda Ryo 6P, Mariko Deguchi 1P, and newly-minted pro Francis Meyer 1P (right). A major attraction at the annual Congress, the professionals will give lectures and play simuls; the tentative Congress schedule has been posted here. Reminder that late fees for Congress registration will go up after July 15.

Go Congress Hotel Rates, Late Fees Going Up July 15

Saturday July 5, 2014

July 15 is the deadline to reserve the lowest hotel prices for US Go Congress attendees at the Hotel Pennsylvania. “After July 15, we cannot guarantee room availability or prices, so you’d have to book rooms at the hotel’s normal rates instead of our special discounted rates,” says Congress Director Matthew Hershberger. “We’ve negotiated incredibly low rates with the Hotel Pennsylvania for go players, so don’t miss out!” Late fees for Congress registration will also go up after July 15. The US Go Congress runs August 9-17 in New York City.

US Go Congress 2014: Meet the Korean Pros

Thursday June 19, 2014

Sixteen professional go players have been confirmed for this year’s US Go Congress, set for August in New York City. They include the following pros from Korea:

Park Jungsang 9P: Born in 1984, Park became a professional in 2000 and was a semi-quarter finalist in the 6th Samsung World Championship in 2001, as a 2-dan pro. Park won the 8th SK Gas Rookies Cup in 2004 and was a semi-quarter finalist at the 10th LG World Championship in 2005. In 2006 he won the 19th Fujitsu Cup against Zhou Heyang 9P, earning immediate promotion to 9P. That year he was also the runner-up in the 3rd Electronic Land Baduk King of Kings against Lee Changho 9P. In 2007 he was runner-up at the Maxim Coffee Cup against Lee Sedol 9P and runner-up at the 3rd Zhonghuan Cup against Lee Changho 9P. Park was the Silver Medalist at the 1st World Mind Sports Game Individual Division in 2008. An active commentator on Baduk TV since 2009, he’s also been the Chief Commentator at Korean Broadcasting System (KBS) since 2013. Park Jungsang will give lectures for strong go players at the Congress; as an active Baduk TV commentator he’s very knowledgeable on recent joseki and openings.

Lee Dahye 4P: Born in 1985, Lee graduated from Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, where she majored in Japanese. She became a professional in 2000. A lecturer for ‘How to Baduk’ at Baduk TV since 2008, she was a proofreader of Hikaru no Go’s Korean version in 2011 and published the book ‘Falling in Love with Baduk’ that same year. She was a lecturer on ‘Endgame master by Lee Dahye’ at KBaduk TV from 2011 to 2012 and ‘Beginner’s Project, Open the Baduk’ in 2014. Lee has been a teacher of multiple cultural kids program since 2011 and a Visiting Lecturer in baduk at the Hankuk University of Foreign Studies since 2012. She’s a Visiting Lecturer at Halla University this year. Lee specializes in teaching beginners and will give series of lectures at the ‘Teacher’s Seminar’ at the Congress again this year. She was very popular last year and expects to attract a lot of would-be go teachers.

Myungwan Kim 9P: Born in 1978, Kim became a professional in 1994. He was runner-up at the BC Card Rookies Cup in 1998, 1999 and 2002, and a Semi-Quarter finalist at the 10th Samsung World Championship in 2005. He won the US Open from 2008 to 2010. The Korean Baduk Association sent Kim to the United States in 2008 to help spread baduk. “I am going to help both Korean pros with their lectures as a co-lecturer and translator,” he says.

 

Categories: U.S. Go Congress
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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. 

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.

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

Go Quiz: Name that Problem

Tuesday May 27, 2014

The vast majority of you (84%, or 38 out of 45) correctly chose Edward Lasker as the source of the quote “The rules of go are so elegant, organic and rigorously logical that if intelligent life forms exist elsewhere in the universe they almost certainly play go.” Lasker, a leading German-American chess and go player, was instrumental in developing go in the U.S., and together with Karl Davis Robinson and Lee Hartman founded the American Go Association. “It’s not go-related, but Arthur C. Clarke had a fine comment (quoted from memory here),” writes Fred Baldwin. “Either we are alone in the universe or we are not. Each possibility is equally terrifying.” On a cheerier note, Ramon Mercado writes that “I truly enjoyed reading that bit about the Chumley’s speakeasy in NY. I’ll make sure to have a pint at it next time I’m in NY, if it’s allowed to be opened.” And speaking of Chumley’s, AGA Archivist David Doshay sent along these terrific shots of play at the club, shot for Life magazine in 1940.
This Week’s Quiz: The go problem on this year’s US Go Congress logo is from a collection of classic Chinese problems and like most such problems it has a name. Is it: The Warrior Escapes; An Ambush of Five Stones; or A Pearl Emerging from the Sea? Click here to submit your answer. And, for a chance to win $50 off your Congress registration, email your solution to the problem to registrar@gocongress.org before this Sunday, June 1.
- photos (top right & left) courtesy Life magazine

Congress Earlybird Registration Deadline Fast Approaching

Sunday May 25, 2014

The end of May is coming fast, and with it, the end of the US Go Congress’s early bird pricing. “Register before June 1st to secure the current lowest price,” urges Congress Director Matthew Hershberger. After June first, the registration fee will go up by $50. “This is also the deadline to submit your answers for our contest!” Hershberger adds. “Everyone who sends the correct answer to the problem on the Congress logo will be entered to win an extra $50 off their Go Congress registration. Send your solution to registrar@gocongress.org before June 1st; see the Congress website for more details and a larger view of the problem. “So far, only a handful of players have found the correct answer,” says Hershberger. “Perhaps the problem is too difficult? Don’t give up!”