American Go E-Journal » U.S. Go 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.

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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 

U.S. Go Congress Registration Opens with Special Rebate Offer

Sunday March 30, 2014

Registration for the 2014 U.S. Go Congress has opened with a special offer: $50 cash for using your AGA Capital One Visa credit card. Use it to pay for the Congress and you’ll get an extra $10, for a total of $60. “This year’s Congress is in New York City, one of the continent’s premier destinations,” says AGA president Andy Okun. “To help Congress attendees enjoy themselves in the Big Apple, we’re offering $50 cash walking-around money to any Congress attendee who at the time of registration shows us their AGA Capital One Visa credit card and tells us, hand on heart, they have bought something with it.” 

Possible New York City uses for this cash windfall include museum entry, cab fare, hot dogs, pretzels with mustard, lemonade, pizza slices “or oysters,” says Okun, noting that author Mark Kurlansky has argued that New York should really be called “The Big Oyster”. Oysters used to be plentiful in New York, and when European settlers first arrived, it is estimated that half of the oysters in the world were in New York’s harbors, inlets and riverbeds. Although that’s no longer the case, “$50 should get get you a dozen Blue Point oysters, a bowl of clam chowder and two beers at the Oyster Bar in Grand Central Station,” Okun says.
One payment per credit card. The AGA affinity card is a no fee credit card, “so it costs you nothing to apply and use the card,” says Okun. The AGA receives a one-time payment of $50 the first time you use it and a percentage of your spending on the card thereafter. Click here to apply for the card and here to register for the Congress.

 

Progress Reported on Project to Bring Cuban Delegation to U.S. Go Congress

Saturday March 8, 2014

“We are making good progress toward bringing a group of Cuban go players to this year’s U.S. Go Congress,” (Cuban Delegation Invited to US Go Congress 1/20/2014 EJ) reports Bob Gilman, who has been organizing the project. Three Cuban players have accepted the invitation to attend, and fundraising for the project is nearly complete. “Go has been the bridge for us to learn about many cultures, places, and especially good people, for whom friendship and respect are most important values,” says Rafael Alberto Torres Miranda 2D (at left in photo), one of the invitees and President of the Academia Cubana de Go. The other players invited are  Carlos Alberto Perez Palacio 5D and Roilan de la Torre Marrero 5D. The Cubans have their passports now and are working with the Cuban Sports Ministry to obtain US visas.  

The visit will return the hospitality the Academia extended to a group of US players who played there in February 2013. Because the Cubans cannot afford the travel costs themselves, Gilman, working through the American Go Foundation, has been raising money to sponsor the visit. There is a brief video on the project here. “We estimate we will need about $6,000,” says Gilman, “and we are nearly there, but still need some additional donations.” Those interested in supporting the project can make out a check to the American Go Foundation (with “CC2014” in the memo field); include your email address so that Gilman can acknowledge donations as they are received.  Send checks to: Robert D. Gilman, P.O. Box 40020, Albuquerque, NM 87196-0020. “I will  hold them uncashed until the Cubans have their visas, probably in April. At that point I’ll inform contributors and send the checks on to the AGF for cashing.” For more details on the  project, email bobgilman.aga@gmail.com.
photo by Andrew Okun 

Categories: U.S. Go Congress
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U.S. Go Congress Website Update

Tuesday March 4, 2014

The 2014 U.S. Go Congress website is undergoing some testing today and may be offline at times. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Categories: U.S. Go Congress
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Redmond Cup Deadline March 15

Sunday March 2, 2014

The 21st annual Redmond Cup will begin in April, and registration is due by March 15th. Preliminary games will be played online and the four finalists will be invited to the 2014 US Go Congress to play the final games. There are two divisions in the Cup; the Junior league for kids 12 and under, and the Senior league for 17 and under, on August 17th 2014. Competitors in both leagues must have an AGA or CGA rank of  1 dan or higher.  Redmond tournament director Michael Bull, who ran the event for the past twenty years, has retired this year, and the event will now by run by Paul Barchilon and Justin Teng.  The Junior league has been expanded to include 12 year olds, and both leagues now require a dan rating (kyu players can compete in the North American Kyu Championships instead).  Players who complete the tournament will be eligible for $400 scholarships to the AGA Go Camp, or $200 scholarships to the US Go Congress, on a first come first served basis, courtesy of the AGF. Competitors from Mexico are also invited to the event. The participants must be members of the American Go Association or the Canadian Go Association and either residents of the U.S., Canada or Mexico, or citizens of the United States living anywhere in the world, provided that they are also members of the AGA.  For more information on the event, read the rules document here. To register click here. -Story and photo by Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor.  Photo: David Lu 6d (l) vs. Aaron Ye 6d (r), while Justing Teng records the game for broadcast, from the 2013 Go Congress in Tacoma.

U.S. Go Congress Coming to the Big Apple

Friday February 28, 2014

“The U.S. Go Congress has never before been in a place so close to so much!” says Congress organizer Matthew Hershberger. As previously reported (’14 US Go Congress To Be Held In Midtown Manhattan, Sources Say 12/4/2013 EJ), the Congress will be held August 9-17 in midtown Manhattan, “just a stone’s throw from landmarks like the Empire State Building and Madison Square Garden,” Hershberger tells the E-Journal. “You will be playing on the 18th floor of the world famous Hotel Pennsylvania just across the street from Penn Station. Times Square, Bryant Park, Grand Central Station, and Korea Town are all just minutes away on foot, and the subways will easily get you anywhere in the city.” The hotel, which has been hosting visitors since 1919 boasts that “more guests have stayed with us than in any other hotel in the world.”

The Congress website is now live and though registration is not yet open, “you can check out the prices and start planning your trip now.”

The largest go activity in the United States, the annual U.S. Go Congress features 8 days of go, including tournaments, professional lectures and game analysis, continuous self paired games, and all kinds of go-related activities from morning to midnight.

And while New York is an expensive city, “we’ve worked hard to keep the Congress affordable,” says Hershberger. That means there are a few differences from previous years. This year there is no meal plan provided; instead, players will be free to explore the many local restaurants of all kinds and at all prices. Locals say you can eat reasonably easily for less than $30/day, or, if you’re so inclined, splurge at some of the best restaurants in the world.

Since the Congress is in a hotel this year, there are no dorm rooms available. “We’ve negotiated extra low prices for guests staying in the hotel,” says Hershberger. A typical room with two beds will run around $1,100 per person (including Congress registration), and there are lower-cost options for the more budget-conscious. You are allowed to have extra people in a room, so groups who are willing to share a room with more people than beds can cut costs significantly.

“Come for the go, come for the camaraderie of old friends, come for thrill of the big city!” urges Hershberger. “Whatever your reasons, we are looking forward to seeing you in New York this August!”

 

 

Cuban Delegation Invited to US Go Congress

Monday January 20, 2014

A delegation of Cuban go players has been invited to attend this year’s U.S. Go Congress for the first time and AGA board member Robert Gilman is coordinating fundraising efforts to support the visit. “The Cubans have greeted our invitation with ‘immense joy’,” Gilman — who organized the 2013 visit by US players to Cuba (Traveling Board: U.S.-Cuba Friendship Match “A Rare Opportunity”) — reports, “but the key question is money. Cuba is a poor country, the Cuban internal currency is worthless in the U.S. and the AGA does not have the budget to sponsor the delegation, so we’re asking the go community to step up. Cubans have made strong efforts to develop go there, but isolation from the international go community and limited internet have handicapped them. This visit will help them develop and extend bonds with our neighbors to the South.” The invitees are  Cuba’s top two players and the president of the Academia Cubana de Go. The video here describes this effort.

Contributions can be made through either the AGA or the American Go Foundation (AGF); contributions to the AGF are tax deductible. In either case, put “CC2014” in the memo field, and mail the check to Gilman at  P.O. Box 40020 in Albuquerque, NM 87196-0020. Checks will be acknowledged as they are received but not cashed until its clear the project is a go. If you are contributing, please complete the form here.

’14 US Go Congress To Be Held In Midtown Manhattan, Sources Say

Wednesday December 4, 2013

According to informed sources, plans are under way to hold the 2014 U.S. Go Congress at the Hotel Pennsylvania in midtown Manhattan from August 9-16. “It’s a terrific location with easy access all that New York City has to offer,” the highly-placed source said. The Pennsylvania has previously hosted the East Coast Oza qualifiers. More details on the 2014 US Go Congress are expected to be announced soon.