Thursday June 4, 2015
The Academia Cubana de Go has announced that it will host the 17th Ibero-American Championship tournament in Havana October 9-11. US players are very welcome, organizers say. “I had a great time,” says Bob Gilman, who was one of four US players at last year’s Ibero-American Championship in Quito, Ecuador in 2014
The relaxation of restrictions on travel to Cuba by US citizens should make it easier for US players to travel to Havana for this tournament, says Gilman, who visited Havana in 2013 with a group of US players. “Travel for a competition is now permissible under a ‘general license.’” While prior government approval is not necessary, travelers must maintain documentation for five years that this travel meets the specifications in the Treasury Department regulations. “I am doubtful whether a trip extending much before or after the tournament would meet the regulatory standards for travel for a competition,” says Gilman. “Another possibility would be a ‘people to people’ group trip such as in 2013.” While this would permit seeing more of Cuba, it “requires more organization and has its own set of regulatory standards to meet,” notes Gilman, who adds “I would be interested in hearing from US players interested in making the trip.” Write Gilman here.
Tuesday May 26, 2015
Mexico City triumphed over Portland, OR in a friendly children’s tourney held May 16th on KGS, reports organizer Peter Freedman. Each city fielded a team of six children, ranked from 10-21k. They participated in a three-round tournament using 19×19 boards and KGS handicaps. “Luke Helprin’s parents hosted the Portland team at their house, and his dad Ted graciously provided snacks and helped with Spanish,” said Freedman. Portland got off to a good start in round one by winning 4 out of 6 games. Round two was a tie with each team winning 3 matches, setting the stage for a decisive showdown. In the third round, Mexico City came up from behind by winning 5 out of 6 matches. -Austin Freeman with Paul Barchilon. Photo by Siddhartha Avila: Members of the Mexican team Skyping with Portland.
Winners Report: Overall Wins: Mexico 10, Portland 8; 3 game winner: Luke Helprin 20k; 2 game winners: Hikaru Saito 10k, Diego Ali Manjarrez 14k, Leonardo Valdovinos 14k, Daniela Luciano 22k, Almudena Espinosa 21k.
Thursday February 12, 2015
“The Academia Cubana de Go is organizing a tournament in Havana at the beginning of April and is encouraging US players who want to compete to come,” Bob Gilman writes. “Under President Obama’s new Cuba policies, travel restrictions for US citizens going to Cuba have been liberalized.” Write firstname.lastname@example.org if you want more information about this tournament and travel possibilities.
Monday February 2, 2015
The recent resumption of diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba has renewed hope that a Cuban delegation will be able to attend this year’s US Go Congress. An effort last year stalled because of problems getting visas from the US State Department. “We are quite hopeful of better success this year,” says Bob Gilman, AGA Director for the Central Region. “We have learned some things from the 2014 effort, and the recent thaw in US – Cuban relations can only be helpful.”
The AGA has invited three Cuban players to the 2015 Go Congress in St. Paul, MN, including Rafael Torres Miranda 2d, President of the Academia Cubana de Go, Roylan de la Torre Marrero 5d and Orlando Mederos Trujillo 5d.
The invitation builds on 2013 visit by US players to Havana, where a friendly competition between US and Cuban players was a great success. “There are Cuban go players in all provinces of the country, and they were a serious and enthusiastic group,” says Gilman, who organized the visit.
Fundraising is now underway to enable the Cuban delegation to attend the Congress. “Cuba is a poor country, and the Cuban players cannot afford this trip without help from the US go community,” says Gilman. “The US go community has received wonderful support from Japan, Korea, and China and we’re now in a position where we can help the growing go community in Cuba.” While the details are worked out and the costs are finalized, those interested in helping can make a pledge here. As in 2014, if donations cannot be used, they will be returned, e.g., if visa problems should again prevent some invitees from coming. Contributions will be made through the American Go Foundation (AGF), and may be taken as a deduction on the donor’s federal income tax.
Sunday January 18, 2015
The first-ever Mexican Go Congress was held November 15-17, 2014 at the Tlatelolco Cultural Center in Mexico City, Mexico. The 3-day Congress hosted several events, including the first Mexican Open Tournament, a 13×13 tournament for kids, and go and origami workshops. Hajin Lee 3P and Kim Sooyong 4P — both sent by the Korean Baduk Association – provided game reviews, lectures and simultaneous game exhibitions.
Organized by the Mexican Go Association and sponsored by UNAM, Mexico’s main public university and KABA, the inaugural Congress was a watershed momento not only for the development of go in Mexico, but in Latin America as well. With a 45-player field for the Open Tournament and a total of more than 300 attendees, the event turned out to be a huge success.
“This Congress was a multi-purpose event” said Mexican Go Association president Emil García, “The players not only had the chance to play in an official tournament and feel the seriousness of it, but also had the opportunity to gain insight of how professional players think of the game. It was also a great chance for the youngest players to share and learn. I was surprised by the amount of youngsters who participated in the 13×13 tournament and in the workshops. Kids are increasingly becoming a main actor in Mexican go.”
“European and American go are developing really fast, and they are getting a lot of international support; Mexican and Latin American go shouldn’t lag behind,” said Garcia. “That’s why we are working really hard to be catch up.” He added that “2015 will be a year full of surprises for Mexican go, so stay tuned!”
- reporting by Emil Garcia; click here for a Congress photo album.