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

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.

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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!”

US Go Congress Announces New Logo & Contest

Monday May 12, 2014

The US Go Congress has a brand-new logo (right), and to celebrate, organizers are holding a contest. The logo was designed by Michael Samuel, a go player and graphic designer whose work includes logos for The History Channel, Sears, Hillary Clinton, and both the Seattle Go Center and the New York Go Center. The logo features a classic go problem in which the enclosed white stone must escape: all registered players who submit a complete and correct solution to the problem will be entered into a pool, “and one lucky player will win $50 off their Go Congress registration fee,” says Congress Director Matthew Hershberger. Solutions must be emailed to registrar@gocongress.org before the end of May. “At first glance it may seem impossible, but don’t give up!” Hershberger adds.

First Batch of Pros Confirmed for U.S. Go Congress

Thursday May 1, 2014

Feng Yun 9P, Myungwan Kim 9P, Yang Yilun 7P and Stephanie Yin 1P have confirmed that they’ll be teaching at this year’s U.S. Go Congress. Pro delegations from Japan, China and Korea are also expected. The weeklong event will be held August 9-17 in New York City and features pro lectures and simuls, as well as rated and unrated tournaments. Click here to register.
- photo: Stephanie Yin, playing on Board 2 at the recent Washington Open Baduk Tournament, checks out the Board 1 game between Andy Liu 1P (right) and Kevin Huang 7d. photo by Chris Garlock

$200 Go Congress Youth Scholarships Offered

Monday April 28, 2014

The 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 30th. 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 30th will be placed in a lottery with the remaining scholarships  awarded at random from qualifying essays.  The scholarships are available for youth who are under 18.  For more information, and to apply, click here.  - Story and photo by Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor. Photo: Calvin Sun 7d  plays Lionel Zhang 6d, in the Youth Room at the  2013 Congress.


Game Theorist Frank Lantz to Keynote US Go Congress

Monday April 21, 2014

Frank Lantz, noted game theorist, developer and teacher, will deliver the keynote address at the 2014 US Go Congress opening ceremonies on Saturday, August 9th at 7 p.m., at the Hotel Pennsylvania in New York City. Now the director of a graduate program in game theory and development at New York University, Lantz became known to the go community because of his lecture ‘Go, Poker and the Sublime’ at the at the 2011 Game Developers Conference (Life and Death and Middle Pair: Go, Poker and the Sublime 10/30/2012 EJ). In 2005 Lantz co-founded area/code, a New York based developer that created cross-media, location-based, and social network games. In 2011 area/code was acquired by Zynga and became Zynga New York. In 2012, The New York Times referred to Lantz as a “reigning genius of the mysteries of games” following his design of iPhone puzzle game Drop7.

Teacher of the Year Nominations Sought

Tuesday April 8, 2014

Nominations for the American Go Foundation’s  Teacher of the Year award are now open. The award is presented each year at the U.S. Go Congress and recognizes an outstanding American teacher. The winner  will receive an all expenses paid trip to the congress.  To be eligible, a teacher must be a member of the AGA, have been teaching go to children for at least two hours a week (during the school year) for two years, have started a go club or organization for youth, and have helped their students enter appropriate tournaments, if possible.  If you would like to nominate someone for this award, including yourself, e-mail mail@agfgo.org.  Nominations are due by May 5th and should include a description of the teacher’s activities,  how long they have been teaching, and how many students attend their program. - Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor.  Photo: Last year’s winner Richard Moseson from New York.  To read more about Richard’s work, click here.

Three Top-Player Congress Tourneys Merged into Single Super-Event, AGA Announces

Wednesday April 2, 2014

An expanded prize pool and a new tournament structure are planned for the strongest players at this year’s US Go Congress. “The AGA Board, in close consultation with strong players across the country, felt strongly that we needed to raise the stakes, the prestige and the competitiveness of the top tournaments and this is the result,” said American Go Association President Andrew Okun. 

In recent years, strong players competed in three separate main tournaments at Congress, the 6-round US Open open section in the mornings, the 4-round North American Masters Tournament (NAMT) for North American professionals and qualified amateurs in the evenings, and the 4-round Strong Player Open, also in the evenings. 

In the new structure, these three tournaments will be combined into a single 9-round US Open, which will serve both as the top section of the U.S. Open and as the NAMT. The U.S. Open winner will take a top prize of $5,000 and the NAMT-eligible player with the strongest result will become the North American Masters Champion and win $2,000. Other prizes will be paid to other finishers both overall and in the NAMT.  All players 7d and above – and all players who qualified for the NAMT — will be eligible to compete in this new event. Strong players who wish only to play the traditional six rounds of the US Open may do so instead, but will not be eligible for the top prizes. 

The U.S. Open/NAMT will take place during the six mornings of the US Open – at the 2014 US Go Congress in New York City August 9-17 — with an additional three rounds in evenings during the week. Click here for the FAQ on these changes.
photo of 2013 NAMT and SPO playing room by Phil Straus