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

Mark Lee wins Jin Chen Memorial Tournament in Seattle

Tuesday January 12, 2016

Jin Chen with Mark LeeMark Lee won the sixth annual Jin Chen Memorial Tournament, held at the Seattle Go Center on January 3.  Lee (in yellow shirt) was visiting from California; readers may remember that he was undefeated in the U.S. Open in 2014.  Dong (David) Ma placed 2nd in the Open Section of the Jin Chen, which had eight players.  The Handicapped Sections had 20 players.   The Dan Handicapped Section was won by Zhihong Yao, with Dengda (Dan) Tang placing 2nd.  The SDK section was won by John Johnson, with Eric Backus placing 2nd.  The DDK  section was won by Elan Ma, with Michael Hixenbaugh placing second.  Elan Ma, who was undefeated in her games, also won the Youth Prize.  
- photo/report by Brian Allen

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AGA Pro Tourney: Final Results and Team Credits

Saturday January 9, 2016

In the final set of games in the AGA Professional Qualification Tournament on Saturday morning, Andrew Lu defeated Daniel Gourdeau and 2016.01.06_player-group-shotJeremy Chiu beat Sarah Yu. Lu took third place and a seeded place in the next pro tournament, Gourdeau was fourth, Chiu is fifth and Yu sixth.

Thanks to the entire E-Journal team for bringing this week-long event to the world. Dennis Wheeler not only did his usual stellar job recording games, cleaning up game records and helping manage the team, but took on new responsibilities for producing our series of game highlight videos, which I think you’ll agree are an excellent addition to our coverage. The game recording team included regular LA volunteers Richard Dolen and Joe Cepiel, with the welcome addition of Greg Kulevich and Esther Jun, who both did a terrific job. The commentary team included Myungwan Kim 9P, Tyler Oyakawa 6d, Norman Tsai 7d and I-han Lui 7d, who all did excellent work drawing out key lessons for our series of brief videos. Andrew Jackson provided tech support for the videos and Steve Colburn kept the tournament page and crosstab updated. Thanks to Akane Negishi and her team of admins at KGS for their support, as always.

Many thanks as well to the staff of the Hotel Normandie, its architect and go enthusiast Jingbo Lou and the folks at Cassell’s who generously provided not only a calm and elegant venue but all the help we needed and water and coffee when we were thirsty.

2016.01.09_ej-teamSpecial thanks to Tournament Director Jeff Shaevel for ensuring the event’s smooth operation throughout the week — as he has each year — and a very special thanks to AGA president Andy Okun, who not only coordinated the entire event with Myungwan Kim 9P, but was always there taking care of the myriad details, both tiny and big, to make the event a success, including assuming game recording duties when needed.

Of course, the biggest thanks goes to the eight players who gave it their all this week — Eric Lui 7d, Ben Lockhart 7d (who also participated in a video commentary), Aaron Ye 7d, Andrew Lu 7d, Daniel Gourdeau 6d, Jeremy Chiu 6d, Sarah Yu 6d, and Manuel Velasco 5d — they are all a credit to the game and an inspiration to go players of all levels.

Finally, if you’re interested in being on the E-Journal team at future events — it’s a lot of fun and a great way to improve your game — send us an email at journal@usgo.org.
- Chris Garlock, Managing Editor, American Go E-Journal; photo by Garlock

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Eric Lui Wins AGA Pro Tourney to Become Latest US Professional

Friday January 8, 2016

For Eric Lui, the fourth time was the charm. Lui (left) has played in all four AGA Professional Qualification Tournaments, losing to Ryan Li in last year’s final, but on Friday 2016.01.08_lui-ye-finalafternoon he became the American Go Association’s fifth professional, defeating Aaron Ye by resignation to close out a near-flawless performance this week with a 9-1 score, his only loss a half-pointer in the first round. “It’s been a long week,” Lui told the E-Journal immediately after clinching his win, “but it feels really good. The field was stronger this year.” Lui said that he fully intends to pursue a career as a professional. “Now I have some decisions to make,” he said, smiling tiredly. “Not right away, but soon.” For amateur players who want to get stronger, the new professional’s advice was to “Play a lot of games. Preferably in person, and fast games.”

“Eric’s determination and steadiness are a real inspiration,” said AGA President Andy Okun, who was on hand all week at the Los Angeles tournament.  “It heartens me to see his efforts rewarded.”

Ye, in his first pro qualifier, turned in a strong performance with an 8-4 record, taking second place and earning a slot as a seed in the next qualification tournament. In the lower bracket, Ben Lockhart clinched 7th place by beating Manuel Velasco, who finished in 8th place. Andrew Lu defeated Daniel Gourdeau on Friday afternoon, so they’ll play a third-game decider on Saturday morning, as will Sarah Yu and Jeremy Chiu. Lu and Gourdeau will battle for third place, while Yu and Chiu will compete for fifth;  the games start at 9:30a Pacific Time on KGS. Full tournament details here; click here for video game highlights.
- report/photo by Chris Garlock

 

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AGA Pro Tourney report: Eric Lui into finals, awaits opponent

Thursday January 7, 2016

Thursday morning’s session at the AGA Professional Qualification Tournament  featured just two games, Ben Lockhart vs Aaron Ye and Sarah2016.01.07_Yu-Velasco-analysis Yu vs Andrew Lu, in a battle to move onto the semi-finals. Lockhart had an early lead but then played a couple of slow moves and Ye was able to pull ahead; a huge semeai then developed and Lockhart missed the critical move to win the capturing race (click here to see Myungwan Kim’s brief video commentary). Sarah Yu, who had played tengen in her Wednesday night match against Lu, played a similar center move Thursday, explaining afterwards that she felt the 7.5 komi was heavy and this would lead to more favorable josekis. However, she failed to make effective use of her unusual move and Lu gained the advantage. This game also developed into a crowd-pleasing semeai (click here for Myungwan Kim’s video commentary).

In the afternoon matchups, Eric Lui defeated Andrew Lu by resignation, advancing to the semi-finals. Daniel Gourdeau won against Aaron Ye; he lost against Ye in the round-robin, so they’ll play again on Friday morning to determine who advances to the final with Lui. Ben Lockhart beat Jeremy Chiu, tying their match at 1-1; they’ll play on Friday morning. Sarah Yu beat Manuel Velasco, knocking him into the bottom bracket; she’ll await the winner in the Lockhart-Chiu game. The live KGS broadcast will start at 9:30a PST.
- report/photo by Chris Garlock, with technical support from Dennis Wheeler. photo (l-r): Sarah Yu, Danny Ko, Manuel Velasco, Daniel Gourdeau, Andrew Lu and Ben Lockhart.
CORRECTION (1/8): Our original report did not indicate that Eric Lui is in the finals and that the winner of the Gourdeau-Ye game will advance to the finals. 

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AGA Pro Tourney Moves into Knock-out Section

Wednesday January 6, 2016

The round-robin section of the AGA Professional Qualification Tournament wrapped up Wednesday morning with few surprises except for 2016.01.07_knock-out-startssecond-seeded Ben Lockhart’s 7th-place finish. Eric Lui was first, Aaron Ye second, Daniel Gourdeau third, then Andrew Lu in fourth, Sarah Yu was fifth, Jeremy Chiu sixth, and Manuel Velasco eighth.

The knockout section commenced on Wednesday afternoon as Los Angeles enjoyed a second straight day of rain, although of course the eight top-ranked North American go players at the Hotel Normandie were oblivious — or at least impervious –to the weather. The knockout section is a best-of-three, with the first game having already been played in the round-robin. Eric Lui had beaten Manuel Velasco in the round-robin and had no trouble with him on Wednesday afternoon, knocking Velasco down into the lower bracket. Daniel Gourdeau’s win against Jeremy Chiu secured his place in the upper bracket as well. Sarah Yu had lost to Andrew Lu in the round robin, but won on Wednesday; they’ll play to advance on Thursday morning. And Ben Lockhart, who had lost to Aaron Ye in the round-robin, beat him by a point and a half in the knockout, forcing a third game on Thursday morning. Both games will start at 9:30a PST on KGS.

A brief video of Myungwan Kim 9P’s commentary on the Ye-Lockhart game has been posted on the AGA’s YouTube channel.
- report/photo by Chris Garlock

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Your Move/Readers Write: Pro Tourney Highlight Videos a Hit

Wednesday January 6, 2016

“I like the You Tube highlights from the qualifier games,” says Bob Gilman. “These analyses of important situations provide insights in a readily 2016.01.07_Round 5 Highlightsdigestible form. Longer game commentaries are good to have also, but they demand a big time commitment to watch, and it’s easy to forget many of the points made. I hope you continue to do features like these.”

“Just wanted to compliment the short videos,” writes Keith Arnold. “While there is some suggestion that they were born of necessity and bad internet connection, I actually think they have been uniformly excellent, informative and just right for busy modern life and short attention spans.”

The latest batch of pro tourney game highlights includes Sarah Yu (W) vs Manuel Velasco (B)Ben Lockhart (W) vs Aaron Ye (B) and Jeremy Chiu (W) vs Eric Lui (B), all from the fifth round of the round robin.

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Eric Lui Leads in AGA Pro Tourney Round Robin

Tuesday January 5, 2016

Top seed Eric Lui 7d is one game away from winning the AGA Pro Qualification Tournament’s round robin section, with a 5-1 score and and just2016.01.06_Lui-Gourdeau one more round to play before the knock-out section begins. Third-seeded Aaron Ye 7d is in second place, also with five wins, and Andrew Lu and Daniel Gourdeau are next with three wins each. Second-seeded Ben Lockhart has scored just two wins thus far, as have Jeremy Chiu, Sarah Yu and Manuel Velasco. The knock-out section begins Wednesday afternoon; it’s a best-of-three match in which the first game was played in the round robin.

All the games are being broadcast live each day on KGS, starting at 9:30a PST and 3p PST. The tournament is being held in Los Angeles at the Hotel Normandie. Click here for the tourney crosstab with results and game records. Brief game highlight videos are posted on the AGA’s YouTube channel.
- report/photo by Chris Garlock; photo: Eric Lui (left) reviews his Round 6 game with Daniel Gourdeau

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AGA Pro Video Highlights Feature Norman Tsai & Ben Lockhart

Tuesday January 5, 2016

In our latest batch of brief video game highlights focusing on key points in selected games, Norman Tsai 6-dan shows how Jeremy Chiu’s 2015.01.05_Round 4 Highlightsattachment to unimportant stones in his third-round game against Andrew Lu causes him to choose the wrong direction of play. In Daniel Gourdeau’s third-round game against Aaron Ye, Tsai explores what happens when a forcing move turns out not to be forcing after all. The dangers of gambling on a big kill are the focus of Tsai’s review of Ben Lockhart’s third-round game against Sarah Yu. And the problem of defending unimportant stones comes up again in Eric Lui’s third-round game against Manuel Velasco. Finally, second-seeded Ben Lockhart reviews his fourth-round game against Manuel Velasco.

“I like these game extracts as they are wonderful illustrations of when applying basic principles would have made a big difference,” comments Dontbtme. “It’s illuminating, so thanks a lot.” 

You can check out all of our videos on our Pro Tournament playlist.

 

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Lui, Ye and Lu Leading in AGA Pro Tourney Round Robin

Tuesday January 5, 2016

After four rounds in the AGA Pro Qualification Tournament, Eric Lui 7d, Aaron Ye 7d and Andrew Lu 7d are tied for first place in the round robin2015.01.04_round4-board2 section, each with three wins. Ben Lockhart 7d and Daniel Gourdeau 6d are next with two wins each, and Jeremy Chiu 6d, Sarah Yu 6d and Manuel Velasco 5d each have one win apiece. There are three more rounds in this section, after which the knockout rounds will begin on Wednesday afternoon. All the games are being broadcast live on KGS, starting at 9:30a PST and 3p PST. Click here for the tourney crosstab with results and game records. Brief game highlight videos are being posted on the AGA’s YouTube channel. photo: the Round 4 Velasco-Yu game Monday night; photo by Chris Garlock 

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Ke Jie Edges Lee Sedol by Half-Point to Win MLily Cup; AGA YouTube Coverage Draws Record Audience

Tuesday January 5, 2016

Ke Jie 9P edged out Lee Sedol 9P by the narrowest of margins — a half-point — to win the MLily Cup Monday night in a dramatic deciding fifth game that drew a record number of viewers to the AGA’s 2016.01.04_youtube-screencap2YouTube channel, where Myungwan Kim 9P and Andrew Jackson provided blow-by-blow commentary to a nailbiting audience that hit just over 14,000 at its peak, far surpassing the previous record of 400 viewers. The winner collected not just this year’s MLily international title and a purse of over $300,000, but bragging rights in the classic showdown between two go titans, one a seasoned veteran from Korea, the other a young rising star from China. The battle see-sawed back and forth, taking fans of both players on a wild ride, and went on until just past midnight on the West Coast, drawing intense attention worldwide — especially in Korea and China — and the AGA’s broadcasting efforts, anchored by Kim and Jackson, brought the match to a much broader gaming audience on YouTube and Twitch. A report on Myungwan Kim’s commentary was also featured in the Chosun news, helping to drive thousands of Korean viewers to the AGA’s YouTube channel as well. The coverage even inspired one viewer to donate to the AGA. “I had such a blast on the live MLily Cup Game moderated by Andrew Jackson with the Myungwan Kim 9p comments) that I just donated $50 to the org, this is truely awesome!” wrote Indigonauts. “This is amazing that I can watch a professional #baduk match in English now. Thanks @theaga,” added Christopher Annanie on Twitter. The AGA broadcast team also included Kevin Hwang, Peter Nelson, Steven Hu, Nick Sibicki, and more (we’ll update this more completely asap).
- Chris Garlock

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