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Two Weeks at the Lee Sedol Baduk Academy: Van Tran’s Journal (#3)

Tuesday November 22, 2011

July 10: Sunday the dojang is closed so I went to Myongi with Om, an 18-year-old Thai player who has been there for a year. We went by subway and bus. The public transportation in Korea is quite complicated, and we had to transfer subways and buses a couple of times. When we arrived at Myongi we met with Om’s friend and we visited the Inseidong, the Korean Go Club. It fascinates me that there seem to be no weak players to be found in Korea. The club was filled with people 7-dan or stronger and there was a pro tournament on the third floor of the building. After visiting the Inseidong and shopping at Myongi we went to the cinema to watch Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2.
Photo (right): Very clean subway!

July 11: Today at the dojang, school founder Lee Sedol 9P came to teach the inseis. He seemed to be very calm and modest. He went over all of the inseis’ games and I  watched the review. I was shocked to see that Lee Sedol was able to play out a whole game after just seeing the board a few times as he went around the room. I got him to sign my fan during lunch, which he did with a smile and nod. On a side note I won all but one of my games against Kang Chang Hyo, the top player in the 10th division. I was put in the lowest league which has 2 dans to 4 dans, but through intense concentrated study for a week I went on a winning streak and was able to end up seco2nd in the league.
Photo (left): A day at the dojang

July 14: Today was a pretty good day. I won two games against people in higher leagues. One’s name was Pakchan and I don’t remember the other’s name, but they are both significantly stronger that the people in my league. Even though I was able to beat them, the headmaster wouldn’t move me up because of my losing streak in the first two days which brought down my record. I memorized another three pro games today, all played by Lee Sedol. I find his games a challenge to go over because he tenukis and plays aggressively all over the board. It takes a lot of thought to follow.

Sixteen-year-old Van Tran spent two weeks in South Korea at the Lee Sedol Baduk Academy earlier this year and sent the E-Journal his report, which is appearing in the EJ this month. The high school junior lives in the Houston suburb of Spring, Texas, has been playing for two and a half years and is “about 3 dan.”

Categories: Youth
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Cho Hanseung Wins 55th Kuksu

Sunday November 20, 2011

Korea has a new Kuksu in town. On November 16, Cho Hanseung 9P defeated Choi Cheolhan 9P in the deciding game of the 55th Kuksu title match. The two players exchanged blows in a five game series, in which black won every time. Cho finally triumphed, winning the series 3-2. The Kuksu is the most prestigious of the domestic Korean titles. The word corresponds to the Chinese characters (国手, guoshou), which literally mean ‘national hand’, but translate loosely to something more like ‘national treasure’. This is Cho Hanseung’s first Kuksu title. He gained early discharge from compulsory military service after winning a gold medal for Korea in the 2010 Asian Games. Some say that since leaving the army he’s been stronger than ever…

- Jingning; based on her original article: Cho Hanseung wins 55th Kuksu in Korea. Photo: Cho Hanseung 9P.

Categories: World
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Bruno Witte, 92, Passes

Monday November 14, 2011

“While Bruno Witte (AGA # 3885) did not play in AGA tournaments, I think he was the oldest active registered go player in the AGA” when he died recently at 92, reports Ted Terpstra. “He was a member of the San Diego Go Club for many years and I had a Thursday afternoon game scheduled with him for the last several years. He regularly beat me (5 kyu) with a three stone handicap.” Witte was a retired mathematician.

Categories: U.S./North America
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Two Weeks at the Lee Sedol Baduk Academy: Van Tran’s Journal (#2)

Monday November 14, 2011

July 8: Today, I woke up, got ready and went to the dojang a little early. I’ve started changing my style from the traditional peaceful play found frequently in the States to the somewhat reckless fighting style of the Koreans. I think it’s the best way to improve because it forces you to read further. I have also found that life and death problems are a huge part of Korean go because they come up so often in their games. Today I memorized a pro game on the recommendation of the headmaster. He says it’s not enough to go over a pro game; you have to memorize it in order to get a solid feel of the best move on intuition. I find pro games to be much more helpful now because when you memorize them you understand why professionals make each of their moves. It’s easy to gain two stones in strength by putting a purpose in each stone you play. Oh it’s  a good night because I won all my games today!
Photo (right): Dinner at the dormitory

July 9: Today is Saturday, which is kind of like a break day at the dojang. Everyone participates in a team tournament. On my team was Yu Minh and Masakito, a 7 year-old student from Japan. Both of them are 9d and aspiring professionals. I felt out of place and was given handicaps against the other players. I played a 9d insei with 6 stones and won. The next game I played with another 9d insei with 6 stones and won again. Our team won the tournament, but I knew I didn’t deserve to win because they were much stronger than me.
photo (left): Win some, lose some

Sixteen-year-old Van Tran spent two weeks in South Korea at the Lee Sedol Baduk Academy earlier this year and sent the E-Journal his report, which is appearing in the EJ this month. The high school junior lives in the Houston suburb of Spring, Texas, has been playing for two and a half years and is “about 3 dan.”

Categories: Youth
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AGF Scholarship Applications Due Nov. 20

Monday November 14, 2011

Applications  for the American Go Foundation(AGF) college scholarship are due November 20th. The program recognizes high school students who have served as important youth organizers and promoters for the go community. To apply, download and complete the application form here. Applicants should describe their accomplishments and volunteer work in a short essay. Read about this year’s winners, Jasmine Yan and D’Mitri Moore here.

 

Go Spotting: Neal Stephenson’s Novel “Reamde”

Sunday November 13, 2011

Neal Stephenson’s new novel Reamde has a reference to go, reports Ken Parel-Sewell. “On an iPad in portrait mode, the reference starts on page 271. The section starts with the words ‘Like any Russian, Sokolov enjoyed a game of chess.’ The next paragraph then starts talking about go. ‘He had heard somewhere, though, that mathematically speaking, the game of Go was more difficult than chess…’ It goes on to use go as a metaphor for a particularly difficult situation this character has found himself in. It goes on for a few paragraphs. Check it out.” Stephenson’s speculative fiction novel, set in the present day, centers on the plight of a hostage and the ensuing efforts of family and new acquaintances to rescue her as various captors drag her about the globe. Topics covered range from online activities including gold farming and social networking to the criminal methods of the Russian Mafia and Islamic terrorists, according to Wikipedia’s post.

Sempais Leading the Way in WV

Sunday November 13, 2011

“In Glen Dale, West Virginia, an unlikely new program has attained a huge following at John Marshall High School: Go Club.  With a membership of nearly 100 students, the club has grown by massive leaps and bounds in a way that no one thought possible. Go Club started two years ago with a handful of students in my study hall,” writes school teacher David Will.  ”I had brought a board and a book of go problems with me to study hall one day to give me something to do while my students worked on homework.  Three students approached my desk and inquired about the game, something that they had never seen before.  Two of those students would go on to important roles in the club. In years past, I have always taken two or three days to teach the basics of go to my World History classes to close the chapter on ancient Chinese history.  For the rest of the year, many of the students would play the game, but it had not gone beyond a diversion for after the completion of worksheets and tests.  Now, I had an interesting opportunity.  These students and I played go daily for months, honing their skills to where they were competition for me, and one even finally defeated me. Continue reading…)

Debarre Wins Another French Championship

Sunday November 13, 2011

Eighteen-year-old Thomas Debarre 6d (r) won a third French Go Championship October 29-30 at Beire-le-chatel, near Dijon, France. Debarre beat Rémi Campagnie, a young Frenchman who lives in Canada in a final that was commented live on KGS by Fan Hui 2P.
- reported by Alain Cano

Categories: Europe
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Zhixiong Shi Tops NOVA Pumpkin Classic; Chinese-American Team Wins Wisonet Team Tourney

Sunday November 13, 2011

Over two dozen players – some in Halloween costume – participated in the 2011 Pumpkin Classic in Arlington, VA on October 29. The four-round handicap tournament was sponsored by the NOVA Go Club and Capital Go Club. Zhixiong Shi, Kabe Chin, Diego Pierrottet and Anderson Barreal won their respective divisions, taking home trophies as well as the traditional pumpkin.

In the 3-round Winsonet Greater Washington Team Go Competition — also held in Arlington on October 29 — Team Chinese American defeated Team USA 3-1, Team Korean American 3-1 and Team Taiwanese American 2-2 in a tie-break. Chinese anchor Lin Lu 7D was the only female player in the high-Dan competition and pulled out three impressive anchor wins against Juan Pablo Quizon 5D (US), Ray (Hsien-Ho) Chang 7D (Taiwan) and Jin Park 7D (Korea). Team Taiwanese American was the runner-up, beating Korea 3-1 and US 4-0. The USA team, which averaged 4D, was seemingly the underdog, but thanks to anchor Quizon and blitz player Joshua Lee 5D, took third place by winning over Koreans (2-2) who have two 6-dans and one 7-dan.

Pumpkin Classic Winners Report:
Dan division: 1st, Zhixiong Shi; 2nd, Ray Hunley.
1-4 kyu division: 1st, Kabe Chin; 2nd, Kelsey Dyer and Kevin Chin
7-10 kyu division: 1st, Diego Pierrottet; 2nd, Julian Erville
15-22 kyu division: 1st, Anderson Barreal, 2nd, Jackson Hergenrather and David Dobbs.

Winsonet Greater Washington Team participants:
Chinese America: Binquan Wang 5D, Zhenying Gu 5D, Wei Sun 5D (Captain, Zhixiong Shi 3D
Taiwanese American: I-Han Lui 7D, Daniel Chou 6D, Justin Teng 4D, Ching-Sung Chin (Captain)
USA: Daniel Short 4D, Haskell Small 3D, Yuan Zhou 7D (Captain)
Korean American: James Park 6D, Won Seok Suh 6D, Chang Sun Lee 2D, John Goon (Captain)

- based on reports by Tournament Director Edward ‘Zhiyuan’ Zhang

 

Categories: U.S./North America
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Allen Posts ’11 Go Congress Photos

Sunday November 13, 2011

American Go E-Journal photographer Brian Allen has posted photos from this year’s U.S. Congress online. In addition to general photos of the 2011 Go Congress in Santa Barbara, CA, there are albums of the Youth Awards and the Korean Baduk Association awards. There’s also a nice album of Allen’s shots from the 2008 U.S. Go Congress in Portland, Oregon. Allen, who also manages the Seattle Go Center, is a professional photographer, so please be sure to carefully observe his restrictions/permissions on use of his images.
photo by Brian Allen