American Go E-Journal » U.S./North America

MICHAEL REDMOND ON STUDYING, IMPROVING YOUR GAME AND HOW THE PROS TRAIN

Monday June 14, 2010

“My study of the endgame actually had more effect on my opening,” Michael Redmond 9P told the E-Journal during a recent interview during the World Amateur Go Championships in Hangzhou, China. Redmond, who this issue becomes a regular game commentary contributor to the E-Journal (Member’s Edition only; click here to join), shared his tips on studying, improving, and thoughts on the differences in professional training in Japan, China and Korea.

Over the last year or so, Redmond has been studying the classic Castle Games,  with special attention to close games. “The result was that I was reviewing very high-quality games, games in which the players were not being greedy, but were going for the balanced moves, and showing very good positional judgment, and I think that reflected onto my game and helped me a lot,” said Redmond. “I’m much more aware of what’s going on.”

Still, Redmond knew he had to focus on improving his endgame. “What happened was that I ended up with this big collection of close games, and I had them in Word and could print them out.” Redmond pulled a small booklet of clipped-together sheets from his pocket. “So what I did last year was to copy game positions about 30 moves from the end of the game. I like the fact that I don’t have the names of the players, because it brings back memories (of the specific players), so it’s better not to be seeing that. I write the result – for instance in this game, White wins by one point – so I have to hold the position in my head and count it, and by doing that, I think I’m improving my reading ability. Not just reading out an endgame, but life and death problems, as well.”

Redmond explained that “The problem is that you can have two endgame moves that are about the same size, but they each lead to a different endgame.” He launched into an analysis involving calculations of moves as small as 1/6th or 1/12th of a point, “so you have very fine points implicit in the seemingly simplest yose moves, including follow-ups and ko threats, which complicate the calculation.” And, he added, “calculating is not good enough; in fact it’s confusing, because there’s no way to see which move is bigger, you just have to read it out, and then it’s very clear. Right now I can do 30 moves, and I have done a 50-move yose.”

Eventually Redmond expects to be able to read out the last 100 moves, “because top players are capable of reading out the last 100 moves in less than an hour. If I can have a picture of what’s happening when I come to the last 100 moves, it’ll make a big difference.” If all of this sounds a bit confusing,” Redmond’s the first to agree, but said that “it shows that just calculating the size of a move, which is what I’ve been doing for years now, is pretty useless. Or I should say it’s useful, but it’s not exact, and it’s the reason why it’s pretty easy to lose a couple of points with that system.”

Asked about how he and other top professional study, Redmond said that “Everyone has their own system,” adding that “I think one of the weaknesses of Japanese go as a whole is that we don’t have any coaches. We all improvise on our own. The Chinese have coaches, and I think the Koreans do too. I think the idea of having coaches is a very good system.” The downside of the coach system that that “it changes the way a person’s game develops at the lower levels, and I think that in China it makes it more difficult (for individual players) to have a lasting strength.”

Conversely, Redmond said, the Japanese system turns out to have a hidden strength, because while Japanese players don’t have an established counter to the new Chinese or Korean moves, “the strength is for the player himself. In all of his personal study, he will be building a feeling for the game, which should last longer. So I think both methods have their strong points.”

Redmond said he doesn’t play much on the internet these days. “I wasn’t sure it was improving my game. It’s very hard to play at my best when I can’t see my opponent; it makes a difference in my feeling for the game. I think I concentrate better if I have an opponent in front of me. And I enjoy it more.” Redmond added that playing in person is the best way to improve your game. “Someone close to your own strength, a little stronger or even a bit weaker. Gives you a different viewpoint. And review your games. “
- Chris Garlock; photos by John Pinkerton

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IN MEMORIAM: Edmund Havens

Monday June 14, 2010

Edmund Havens was killed in an automobile accident in Spain on May 28. Greater Washington Go Club (GWGC) organizer Haskell Small says Havens was a “kind, elderly gentleman who has come to the club several times in the past year or so. I knew him from way back in the GWGC’s early years, and I was happy to see him return. I will miss him.” Havens was a “Proud father, devoted husband, intrepid traveler, avid reader, movie buff, puzzle addict, veteran Marine, retired civil servant, arts patron, and Past Master,” according to Haven’s obituary in the Washington Post, which includes details about calling hours Tuesday night, the memorial service on Wednesday and interment Thursday.

Categories: U.S./North America
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QUALIFIERS SET FOR 2010 N.A. ING CUP

Monday June 7, 2010

Qualifiers for this year’s North American Ing Cup (NAIM) tournament have been scheduled. The NAIM features the largest prizes in North America as 32 of the continent’s top players meet each year at the US Go Congress for an exciting week of competition.  First up is the June 12 Santa Monica Coffee Cup in Santa Monica, CA. Pre-registration required; abc@okun.name THIS JUST IN: also on June 12, the KGC Summer Tournament will be held in Kalamazoo, MI; register at paul@kzoogo.info The New York Go Center NAIMT Qualifier will be held June 13 in New York City; pre-register at badukboris@gmail.com The first KGS NAIM Qualifier is set for June 19 (note: rescheduled from 6/5!) ; pre-registration is required; deadline 6/17 by midnight EST. Email badukboris@gmail.com The second KGS NAIM Qualifier will be held June 26-27; pre-registration required by midnight (EST) June 24: badukboris@gmail.com photo: at the 2009 Santa Monica NAIM Qualifier; photo by Andy Okun

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TIGERSMOUTH TEAM TO TAKE ON INSEI EMPIRE JUNE 13

Monday June 7, 2010

The AGF’s youth go website Tiger’s Mouth have put together a 20-member dream team to challenge Alexandre Dinerchtein 3P and his Insei League, who have been taking on all comers on KGS recently.  The Insei League allows KGS players anywhere in the world to take part in a professional go school taught by Dinerchtein and other Korean Professionals.  The Inseis crushed the British Go League team 7-3 on May 22nd, followed by a 10-3 rout of the Russian National Female Team (in which 2 of the 3 winners were also members of the Insei League as well as Russian nationals) on May 30th. Poland fought back in style on June 5 though, finally stopping the Inseis 13-7.  ”Your team will be the next one we beat,” said Dinerchtein, known as Breakfast on KGS, when he challenged the U.S. recently.  ”Not so fast Breakfast,” responded the AGF’s youth go website Tiger’s Mouth, who put together a 20-member dream team to challenge the Inseis.  Team Tigersmouth has star youth players Curtis Tang 8d and Gansheng Shi 8d,  plus Calvin Sun 7d, ten more dan level kids, and 7 kyu level players.  The stage is set for Sunday June 13th in the AGA Tournaments room on KGS, at 10 am west coast time, observers are welcome.  Pairings will be available shortly before the match  here, Tigersmouth team info is available here.
- Paul Barchilon, EJ Youth Editor

CANADA DOMINATES REDMOND CUP

Monday June 7, 2010

Canadian youth have all but shut the U.S. out of the Redmond Cup this year, with Jianing Gan 6d and  Gansheng Shi 8d winning the Senior Division, and Oliver Wolf 2d and Henry Zhang 1d winning the Junior.  Zhang is the only one of the three from the U.S., he is also the younger brother of former Redmond champ Hugh Zhang.  All four youth have won a free trip to the US Go Congress, where they will play a best two-out-of-three match with their opponent, and split a $1,000 prize pool courtesy of the AGF.  The Senior Division, for youth 12-17 years old,  had 27 youth competing and featured U.S. stars Curtis Tang 8d, Calvin Sun 7d, and Zhongxia Zhao 7d among the top players.  Leading the pack was two-time Redmond Champion and current title holder Gansheng Shi 8d.  Shi has a simple but effective strategy: he just wins, all the time.  Tang or Sun were both favored in this event, but it was fellow Canadian Jianing Gan who pulled out all the stops to place first. He was the only player to beat Shi, each losing only one out of their seven games. Gan, just 13 years old, will be familiar to E-J readers as the challenger to Myungwan Kim in the SPOT1 finals recently.  In the Junior Division, nine kids, all under the age of 12, duked it out for top honors.  Ten-year-old Oliver Wolf had the top record, with four wins in five games.  Four players had three wins, but Henry Zhang had the best SOS (Sum of Opponents Scores) record, and also was the only player to beat Wolf. The Redmond Cup, now in its 17th year, was directed by Michael Bull.  
- Paul Barchilon, EJ Youth Editor.  Photo: Yunxuan Li (l) vs. Jerry Shen (r) in 2009 Redmond finals, Jr. Division.

AGA WEBSITE TO ACCEPT ADVERTISING

Sunday June 6, 2010

Ads will soon begin appearing on the American Go Association (AGA) website, reports President Allan Abramson. “This will be a new source of revenue for the AGA, as we search for sponsors and donors,” he said. The AGA is working with Advanced Marketing Technologies to implement the website ads and Webmaster Steve Colburn “will monitor implementation to ensure that ads are appropriate to the AGA’s site and audience,” Abramson added. The web advertising was approved by the AGA’s Board last year. Those interested in information on advertising on the AGA website should contact Colburn at webmaster@usgo.org; for general AGA sponsorship questions contact Board fundraising Chair Andy Okun at abc@okun.name

Categories: U.S./North America
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WEST COAST JANICE KIM 3P WORKSHOP SCHEDULED FOR JULY

Saturday June 5, 2010

Professional go player Janice Kim 3P (r) will teach a two-day workshop in San Francisco the weekend of July 24-25. The workshop is open to all players 15 kyu and stronger. A unique feature of this workshop is that students will submit game records prior to the workshop so that Kim can customize workshop content to the needs of each student. “Students are to comment their game records before submitting them,” says organizer Roger Schrag, “and Janice will pick the best one, on the basis of quality of level-appropriate questions and clear reasoning, and will award a special prize.” Workshop details are available from the Bay Area Go Players Associationphoto by Ernest Brown

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ABRAMSON APPOINTED TO SECOND TERM AS AGA PRESIDENT; POHL RE-APPOINTED SECRETARY

Saturday June 5, 2010

Allan Abramson has been re-appointed President for another 2-year term by the American Go Association’s Board of Directors, reports Board Chair Roy Schmidt. “Allan’s initiatives for new, permanent membership cards, cost-reduction measures during the recession, and promotion of online, members-only tournaments won strong support for his re-appointment,” Schmidt told the E-Journal. Abramson pledged to re-double his efforts to promote growth of membership and expand online tournaments to include all AGA members during his next term. Polly Pohl was also re-appointed as AGA Secretary, with the Board expressing its “deepest gratitude for Polly’s accurate record-keeping and tireless fact-checking,” said Schmidt.

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JIE LI 7D WINS MARYLAND OPEN

Tuesday June 1, 2010

An undefeated Jie Li 7D (r) topped a 58-player field to win the 37th annual Maryland Open over the Memorial Day weekend. “Five 7-dans and two 6-dans  fought it out in a very strong open section,” reports organizer Keith Arnold, “but Jie Li emerged as the only player to finish 5-0 in the entire event.” “I am very impressed by the improvement of the younger generation of players, such as Eric Lui, Gus Price and Ricky Zhao,” Li told the E-Journal. “They played well.” The Empty Sky Go Club won the Greg Lefler Award and Kelsey Dyer 2k the Fighting Spirit Prize. Li is four-time US Open champion, has won the North American Ing and Toyota-Denso Oza three times each, and represented North America three times in the Fujitsu Cup. He’s also served as a board member at the American Go Association for the past two years and urges go players of all ages to join the AGA. “Members get a lot of benefits such as the free Yearbook and playing at rated AGA tournaments locally, or playing online in national tournaments,” says Li. Find out more and join online here. Sam Zimmerman directed. Click here for an album of photos from the MD Open.
- includes reporting by Keith Arnold and Zhiyuan ‘Edward’ Zhang; photo by Zhang
WINNER’S REPORT: Open Section: 1st Jie Li 7d; 2nd Eric Lui 7d; 3rd Guthrie; Price 7d; A Section: 1st Scott Waldron 4d; 2nd Gregory Rosenblatt 5d; B Section: 1st Keiju Takehara 2d; 2nd Ed Downes 1d; C Section: 1st Stephen Tung 1k; 2ndst Stephen Allen 6k; 2nd Ed Caldiera 7k; E Section: 1st Justin Chiang 10k; 2nd Jamie Birger 9k; F Section: 1st Matt Payton 25k; 2nd Deirdre Golash 13k. Joe Maia 2k; D Section: 1

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AGF SCHOLARSHIP DEADLINE EXTENDED

Tuesday June 1, 2010

The deadline for the AGF College Scholarship essay has been extended to June 15th.  ”The $1,000 award honors students whose enthusiasm and dedication have contributed to the  go community,” reports AGF Board Member Matthew Mallory.  ”All youth organizers and promoters  that are in their junior or senior year of high school should apply as soon as possible,” Mallory urges.  CLICK HERE for more information and the application.