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

Terry Benson receives Lasker Award

Friday August 18, 2017

Longtime go organizer Terry Benson was awarded the Edward Lasker Award at the 2017 Go Congress closing banquet for his lifetime of service2017.08.17_benson-award-cropped to the American Go Association and the go community. Completely surprised but obviously pleased, Benson was visibly moved by the recognition and received a standing ovation. “Terry has been organizing and helping and working tirelessly for the organization and the game since before I was born,” said AGA president Andy Okun. “It is not only a real privilege and honor to be able to give him this award, but humbling to see the very high bar he’s set for the rest of us.”

Benson served as president of the AGA from 1977-1989 and as Managing Editor of the American Go Journal from 1976-1998. He is currently the president of the American Go 2017.08.17_lasker-awardFoundation and during his tenure the AGF has raised over a half million dollars to promote go. From time to time he’s hosted the longtime floating Brooklyn Go Club, which moves from apartment to apartment throughout New York City. He began playing go in 1960 with a cardboard and plastic Christmas present set his parents bought at a New Jersey mall. He taught himself and a couple of high school buddies. One of them found Arthur Smith’s go book and “tried to steal a march” on him, but Terry found Lasker’s Go and Go-moku. “The games were horrible, long kyu slugfests, jidorgo, but great fun,” he remembers.  He played occasionally through high school and college. In 1975 he stumbled into Games Gallery where then-AGA President  John Stephenson and Treasurer Matthias Thim were playing across the counter. He was quickly drawn into the game and almost immediately recruited a succession of other enthusiasts who helped create the AGA of today. “I get too much credit,” he says, “but I’ll do whatever bit I can to get more people playing go.”

The Lasker Award is named after Edward Lasker, a founder of the American Go Association. Other awardees include Richard Dolen and Frank Fukuda in 2013.


Go Congress Updates: U.S. Open crosstab updated; Pro game commentaries, Masters Rounds 4-9; 2017 U.S. Go Congress coverage links

Monday August 14, 2017

U.S. Open crosstab updated: The 2017 U.S. Open crosstab is now completely updated through Round 6 and all game records that have been2017.08.14_PS- flamingo-go sent in have been posted as well. To include yours, send in your sgf file by this Sunday, August 20. Be sure to complete the info section, including names of both players and the result. Send to

Pro game commentaries, Masters Rounds 4-9: Click here to download the following pro commentaries:
On Sojin on the Round 4, Board 2 game between Wu Hao and Ryan Li
Stephanie Yin on the Round 5, Board 2 game between Tim Song and Michael Chen
Stephanie Yin on the Round 5, Board 3 game between Ryan Li and Gansheng Shi
Feng Yun 9P on the Round 6, Board 2 game between Yongfei Ge and Andy Liu
Yilun Yang 9P on the Round 7, Board 2 game between Ryan Li and Andy Liu
Cathy Li 2P on the Round 9, Board 1 game between Wu Hao and Yongfei Ge

2017 U.S. Go Congress coverage links: If you missed any of the 2017 U.S. Go Congress coverage, click here for our comprehensive website reports, including tournament updates, profiles and more, and click here for our extensive video coverage, including daily previews, game commentaries and wrap-ups.

- report Chris Garlock; flamingo go photo by Phil Straus


Yang Hong wins U.S. Open top division; Eric Feiveson tops 1-kyu division

Sunday August 13, 2017

Yang Hong won the 2017 U.S. Open at the U.S. Go Congress in San Diego last week, winning all six rounds. Eric Feiveson took first place in the 1-kyu2017.08.13_us-open-IMG_8744 division. Click here for a PDF of the final standings (down to the DDKs) and a DDK multiband PDF.

Click here for the complete U.S. Open crosstab, which includes some game records; if you’d like yours included, send your sgf file to us by next Sunday, August 20. Be sure to complete the info section, including names of both players and the result. Send to

- report/photo by Chris Garlock


Wu Hao 2p sweeps 2017 U.S. Masters; N.A. pros take next three places

Saturday August 12, 2017

2017.08.12_Hao-WuWu Hao 2p of China swept the 2017 U.S. Masters tournament, scoring a perfect 9-0 record. North American pros were close behind with Ryan Li 1p second at 8-1, Andy Liu 1p in third (7-2) and Eric Lui 1p taking fourth (6-3). The rest of the top-10 finishers were: 5th: Zhaonian (Michael) Chen 7d; 6th: Zirui Song 7d; 7th: Yongfei Ge 7d; 8th: Bao Yun 7d; 9th: Albert Yen 7d; 10th: Zhongxia (Ricky) Zhao 7d.2017.08.12_Masters-player-collage

Click here for the Masters crosstab, with complete results and top-board game records. Here’s a PDF with the final standings.

Top row (l-r): Ai, Muzhen; Chen, Zhaonian; Chui, Jeremy; Gao, Yifei; Ge, Yongfei; Gourdeau, Daniel
Row 2: Hao, Wu; Huang, Alan; Ko, Daehyuk (Daniel); Li, Ryan; Liu, Zhi Yuan (Andy); Lockhart, Ben
Row 3: Lui, Eric; Luo, Qipeng; Naddef, Jean-Loup; Shi, Gangsheng; Song, Zirui; Sun, Quan
Row 4: Xiaoran, Liu; Yang, Hu Zi; Ye, Aaron; Yen, Albert; Yoder, Eric; Yu, Sarah
Row 5: Yun, Bao; Zhao, Zhixun; Zhao, Zhonxia (Ricky); Zhou, Erica; Zhou, Sean; TD Matthew Hershberger & Assistant TD Jiao Li

photos by Phil Straus; collage by Chris Garlock


Your Move/Readers Write: Crosstabs, explained

Saturday August 12, 2017

“I’m looking at the Crosstabs page on the AGA web site but there is insufficient information to make heads or tails of it,” writes Chuck Bell. “Is 2017.08.12_crosstab-screengrabthere an explanation of these tables anywhere? They don’t appear to me to be self-explanatory.”

The AGA Crosstab system is a very odd duck. It was really something that was semi-cobbled together and since then has had very few changes. In the current/existing system the page reads as: Player – ## (this is the number from the TD system), Rounds and results (Try hovering your cursor over the numbers, it will show you the name of their opponent), and overall result for the tournament. In the rounds columns the numbers display as something like “4B+”. This means that the the player’s row you’re looking at played player #4, they played as Black, and they won the game. If you look at player 4, it will show they played player X, played as White, and lost the game. Hovering over the result will again show you the name of the opponent.
The system is far from perfect but the reality is that we’re an all-volunteer organization and often have to settle for “good enough.” That said, we’d welcome anyone who’d like to jump in and help. Most of the software that the AGA uses is on GitHub. This set of code can be found here. Anyone who would like to work on projects like these, please email us at or
- Steve Colburn


U.S. Go Congress Tournaments Recap: Day Seven

Saturday August 12, 2017

fullsizeoutput_aafUS Go Congress Tournament Schedule: Saturday 8/12
9:00a: US Open, round 6; US Open Masters Division, round 9
6:00p: Awards Banquet
That’s all, folks.

US Open Masters Division
Wu Hao has won all eight games so far and is going into the final round of the tournament undefeated. Ryan Li 1P who had the second-best record coming out of round seven also won his eighth round against Bao Yun. Stay tuned for the final results for both the US Open and US Open Masters Division tomorrow. Matthew Hershberger, one of the hardest working volunteers at this year’s Go Congress with over 300 players to wrangle, directed both the US Open and the US Open Masters Division for the second time. Check out our Behind the Scenes profile on Matthew from last year’s Go Congress.

Seniors’ Tournament
Shunichi Hyodo and David Baran prevailed in the dan and kyu divisions respectively in this year’s Seniors’ Tournament. Both won all five games. In the kyu division Nick Maffeo took second place with Dave Frankel in third, and in the dan division Masahiro Kawaguchi took second place with Jeff Rohlfs in third. Long-time go player George Schmitten was awarded a special mention by TD Greg Kulevich for sportsmanship.

Women’s Tournament
The final round of the Women’s Tournament took place this afternoon; stay tuned for the final winners report tomorrow. Long-time Women’s Tournament TD and US Go Congress Coordinator Lisa Scott returned to the director’s chair again for this year’s tournament. Check out our Behind The Scenes profile about Lisa from last year’s Go Congress.

North American Pair Go Championship
Gabriella Su 6d and Aaron Ye 7d are headed to Japan after winning the top table at Thursday night’s Pair Go tournament. They first defeated Jessica Wu 3d and Justin Teng 6d to move to the championship match, and then had a whirlwind endgame finish against Sophia Wang 3d and Lionel Zhang 7d to clinch the championship. Su and Ye will represent the U.S. at the International Amateur Pair Go Championships in Tokyo in December. TD Todd Heidenreich would like to thank his assistant TD Patrick Ferl for his help managing the tournament, as well as Steve Colburn and Dennis Wheeler for managing the top table in the strong players room.
Table winners: Yuankun Li 1P and Ziyang Hu 2P, Yuanjing Dong 5d and Quan Sun 7d, Julie Burrall 2d and Matthew Burrall 7d, Yidong Wang 3d and Matthew Hershberger 3d, Jiao Li 5d and Noah Doss 1k, Weiqiu You 5k and Yifei Gal 7d, Youqi Fan 1d and Jaile Chen 2k, Feng Yun 9P and John Crossman 16k, Laura Sparks 10k and Brady Daniels 3d, Liya Luk 6k and Brian Ye 7k, Vivie Truong 7k and Ricky Harper 8k, Isabella Leong 22k and Yiyang Liu 2d, Antonina Perez-Lopez 20k and Tevis Tsai 7k, Lucia Moscola 24k and Ted Terpstra 5k.
-photo (right): Lee Anne Bowie of Seattle managed to play in both the Women’s Tournament and the Seniors Tournament.
-report/photo by Karoline Li, Tournaments Bureau Chief


U.S. Go Congress Tournaments Recap: Day Six

Friday August 11, 2017

fullsizeoutput_aadUS Go Congress Tournament Schedule: Friday 8/11
9:00a: US Open, round 5; US Open Masters Division, round 7
1:00p: Seniors’ Tournament, round
1:30p: Youth Team Tournament; U16 Girls’ Tournament
3:00p: Women’s Tournament, round 4
7:00p: US Open Masters Division, round 8

US Open Masters Division
Wu Hao 2P of China is still undefeated after six rounds and will face Albert Yen 7d – who defeated Gansheng Shi 1P in round six – in round seven of nine Friday morning. American professionals Andy Liu 1P and Ryan Li 1P both have five wins.

US Open
Roughly 350 players in the main US Open field played Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday mornings, and 26 of them remain undefeated with four wins. Those players are Isabella Leong 22k, Zizhao He 10k, Justin Lee 10k, Mario Espinoza 9k, Darwin Kim 8k, Elias Klingbeil 8k, Arenas Rudvalis 6k, Kevin Steadman 6k, Shawn Blue 4k, Noah Doss 3k, Gregory Pongracz 2k, Terry Benson 1k, Anthony Long 1k, Nathanael Eagle 1k, Reinhardt Messerschmidt 1d, Ken Koester 2d, Benjamin Armitage 2d, Daniel Alvira 2d, Lee Huynh 2d, Gilbert Feng 3d, Ziqin He 3d, Jianuo Wang 3d,  Tyler Oyakawa 3d, Mizuo Sakakibara 5d, Yang Hong 6d, and Ruochen Sun 7d.

Game records reminder: To get your game records added to the official US Open crosstab, email your sgf files to us at Be sure to complete the game information with both player’s names and the game result. For best results, please send them in by 6p on the day the game is played.
-photo (right): Seniors’ Tournament director Greg Kulevich considers a move.
-report/photo by Karoline Li, Tournaments Bureau Chief


Behind the Scenes at the US Go Congress: Andy Olsen

Friday August 11, 2017

IMG_0488Every tournament must have a director, and Andy Olsen has consistently stepped up to the plate on the Wednesday day off to direct the Die Hard tournament for those players that don’t want to take a rest day in the middle of the annual U.S. Go Congress. Olsen believes this is the fifth time he has directed the event. “I like to volunteer and help out, and this tournament is a focused one-day effort,” Olsen says. “The rest of the time, I get to play.” He first learned to play go in college, and began playing on IGS while also playing in his college chess club in 1993. After graduating college he moved to Houston, and tried both the local chess and go clubs. “The part of go I like best is the exchange of ideas with your opponent and reviews after the games,” Olsen explains, and the players at the Houston go club did that – the players at the chess club didn’t – so he stuck with go. The 2003 Go Congress in Houston took place during a lull in his go playing habit, which Olsen characterizes as unfortunate, but he has attended every Go Congress since 2009 in Washington DC. At more than half of those he has served as the TD for the Die Hard tournament, working hard behind the scenes to make sure that go players who want to maximize this once-a-year opportunity to immerse themselves in the game are afforded a chance to pass up local charms and get some more rated games under their belts.

-report/photo by Karoline Li, Tournaments Bureau Chief


U.S. Go Congress Tournaments Recap: Day Five

Thursday August 10, 2017

IMG_0491US Go Congress Tournament Schedule: Thursday 8/10
9:00a: US Open, round 4; US Open Masters Division, round 6
1:00p: Seniors’ Tournament, round 4; Youth Relay Go
3:00p: Youth Redmond Cup; Women’s Tournament, round 3
7:00p: North American Pair Go Championship; Evening League day 4

Die Hard
While other players relaxed and gave themselves a break from go on Wednesday, over 90 players decided they didn’t need a break and played four rounds in the Die Hard tournament yesterday. Five die hard go players went undefeated: Aaron Ye 7d, James Carrier 3k, James Funk 6k, Darwin Kim 8k, and Zongren Huang 20k.

fullsizeoutput_aabCrazy Go
Tuesday night was abuzz with go activity ranging from slightly nontraditional to downright bizarre. “We’ve got a new variation of Treasure Go this year,” says long-time TD Terry Benson about Tuesday night’s Crazy Go event. The new variation was introduced as an addition to regular favorites including Tessellation Go (photo left), Zen Go, Rengo Kriegspiel, and Galactic Go. Treasure Go is played on a 13×13 board with golden treasures on each of the 4-4 points; a captured treasure is an automatic win. Players must prevent their opponent from capturing any of the treasures and still win on the board. “The upset of the night was when Cole Pruitt and Ben Lockhart – who made a special request to be sure to play – lost to two 24 kyus,” reports Benson. “The crowd was enthralled and then went wild. But as always in Crazy Go, everyone wins!”

-photo (right): Die Hard go players concentrate on their games on Wednesday.
-report/photos by Karoline Li, Tournaments Bureau Chief


Aaron Ye achieves Redmond Meijin; Ary Cheng and Matthew Cheng tied in Junior Division

Thursday August 10, 2017

2017 Redmond Cup Senior Division15-year old Aaron Ye 7d (at left) defeated Muzhen (Alan) Ai 7d (right) 2-0 to claim his fifth Redmond Cup title, making him the third Redmond Meijin (following Eric Lui 1p in 2001 and Curtis Tang 8d in 2010). Ai put up a good fight throughout the match, having held a large territorial lead for most of Game 1 until a decisive mistake in the endgame gave Ye the opportunity to just barely reverse the game and win by 1.5. Determined to cement his title in Game 2, Ye played a solid game, establishing an early territorial advantage and holding it until Ai was forced to resign after miscalculating the life and death of one of Ye’s groups. Ye has been a dominant force in the Redmond Cup ever since he  started playing in it at the age of 9, winning the Junior Division four times in a row from 2011-2014. While the competition grew tougher once he aged into the Senior Division (13-17), Ye has remained at the top of the North American youth scene.

In the Junior Division, 11-year old Ary Cheng 6d came out swinging against 10-year old Matthew Cheng 5d, slaying a dragon in what would be a swift Game 1 victory that took just over an hour and only 139 moves. However, Matthew was not deterred and came back in Game 2, able to kill a large group himself and bring the series to a tie. Ary is trying to win his third consecutive Junior title, but this year could be the most difficult yet. He won both of his previous titles with clean 2-0 sweeps.  The third and deciding game will take place on Thursday, 8/10 at 3 pm PDT and will be broadcast live on KGS, Youtube, and Twitch, with live video commentary by Michael Chen 8d and Lionel Zhang 7d. Missed any of the games? You can watch recordings of the two Senior Division games with video commentary by former Redmond Cup champions and finalists below: Game 1 (commentary by Eric Lui 1p and Julie Burrall 1d) Game 2 (commentary by Gansheng Shi 1p and Ricky Zhao 7d) - Story and photo by AGA Youth Coordinator Justin Teng.