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

Terpstra, Gilman, Khalsa & Zhang Win in AGA Board Election

Friday August 15, 2014

Ted Terpstra, Robert Gilman, Gurujeet Khalsa and Edward (Zhiyuan) Zhang are the winners in the 2014 American Go Association 2014.08.15_Gilman-Zhang-KhalsaBoard of Directors elections. Terpstra defeated Jingwei ‘Jay’ Zheng 16-12 for the Western board seat, Gilman was unopposed in the Central region, as was Khalsa in the Eastern region. In the At-Large Director race, Zhang defeated Diego Pierrottet 85-46. The directors — all of whom are incumbents except Terpstra, who replaces Steve Burrall, who didn’t run — will serve 2-year terms.
photo: Gilman, Zhang and Khalsa at Friday’s AGA Board meeting; photo by Phil Straus

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Thursday’s Go Congress Report: Mark Lee Takes Lead in Masters; Xiaotian Hu Leading in US Open

Thursday August 14, 2014

Mark Lee Takes Lead in Masters; Xiaotian Hu Leading in US Open: Eighteen-year-old Mark Lee 7D (right) has taken the lead in the US Open Masters Division, beating Zirui Song 1P in the sixth round Thursday morning to stretch his winning streak to 6-0. The former insei from Korea is a student of Myungwan Kim 9P and will be going to school in Los Angeles this Fall. Masters players with 5-1 records are Matthew Hu, Conner Li and Ryan Li; click here for the cross-tab, including game records for games broadcast on KGS by the EJ. In the US Open, Xiaotian Hu is leading with a 4-0 record; click here for the cross-tab. There will be two Masters rounds on Friday, Round 7 starting at 9a and Round 8 starting at 7p; top board games will be broadcast live on KGS; as usual there will be pro game commentaries beginning around 10a on KGS.

Chiu Wins Die Hard Tourney: Jeremy Chiu 6d topped a field of 81 players at Wednesday’s Die Hard Tournament, emerging as champion with a perfect 4-0 record.

Pair Go Photo Album Posted: Photographer Sarah Small’s gorgeous images from Thursday night’s Pair Go Tournament have been posted on Facebook; we’ll post results tomorrow.

Keep up with breaking news at the 2014 US Go Congress by following us on Twitter @theaga and Facebook at American Go Association

2015 Congress Website Launches

Thursday August 14, 2014

With next year’s Go Congress set for St Paul, Minnesota, organizers today released a beta version of the 2015 US Go Congress website and encouraged go players to check it out. “Sign up now for updates and you’ll be the first to know as we finalize details” says Congress Director Josh Larson. The St Paul Congress proposal – tentatively scheduled for August 1-9 – will be presented to the AGA General Assembly on Saturday but after a year of planning by the local organizing team, and with no other 2015 proposal on the agenda, approval is expected to be a formality. “The weather is great in the Twin Cities area this time of year,” Larson told the E-Journal, “and we’ve become nationally known for great food, craft breweries, outdoor activities, the Minnesota Twins and of course the nearby Mall of America.” Organizers will release updates as the dates are confirmed and once venue details are finalized, Congress registration will open, “hopefully by early 2015 if not sooner,” Larson said. photo by Phil Straus

Professionally Speaking: Pro Lectures at the US Go Congress

Thursday August 14, 2014

While most of the action at the 2014 US Go Congress happens on the top floor of the Hotel Pennsylvania in midtown Manhattan, perhaps the most popular – the lectures by professional go players – takes place down on the 6th floor in nondescript conference rooms named after European capitals like London, Paris and Budapest. Each afternoon and evening finds  dozens of players raptly following every word of a go professional as he – or just as often, she (click here for the impressive list of pros at this year’s Congress, including four 9-dans) – explores the fascinating mysteries of the game of go. On Thursday night, Feng Yun 9P (left), after an exhaustive review of several josekis, blithely added, “But you can also tenuki: in the opening there are many many big moves, so you can just move on.” Across the hall, Mingming “Stephanie” Yin 1P (right) was exhorting her audience to study life and death problems. “You don’t have to study for hours every day,” she reassured them, “just pick a number of problems to do and then do them every day. They shouldn’t be too easy, and they shouldn’t be too hard, but you must do them every single day. If you do just two every day that’s more than 700 a year; that’s a lot! But you have to do them every day.”
- report/photos by Chris Garlock

2014 US Open Masters Players

Thursday August 14, 2014

The US Open Masters Division is a 9-round event, with 6 rounds played at the same time as the US Open and an additional three rounds played Sunday, Tuesday and Friday nights. The new format replaces the 4-round North American Masters Tournament (NAMT) and the 4-round Strong Players Open. Eligibility in the Masters Division is limited to professionals, 7 Dan or stronger players and NAMT qualifiers. Prizes total over $11,000, including $5,000 to the first-place winner and additional prizes to the top three NAMT scorers within the Masters Division. Click here for the Masters Division crossgrid.

Top row, (l-r): Burrall, Matthew; Chen, ZhaoNian; Cheng, Ziyi; Chiu, Jeremy; Cho, Beomgeun; Dong, Yue; Gan, Jianing; Gao, Yifei
Second row: Hu, Zi-Yang; Huang, Andrew; Jiang, Xinying; Jiao, Sonyyan; Ko, Dae-Hyuk; Koh, Juyong; Lee, Joshua; Lee, Mark
Third row: Li, Conner; Li,Dongfang; Li, Ryan; Liang, Jie; Lin, Tianyu; Liu, Xiaohan; Liu, Zhi-Yuan; Lockhart, Benjamin
Fourth row: Ma, Wang; Okada, Ryo; Song, Zirui, Sun, Calvin; Teng, Justin; Wang, Jun; Wu, Changlong; Wu, Lirui
Fifth row: Yang, Huiren; Ye, Aaron; Yu, Lianzhou; Yu, Ximeng; Zhao, Zhongxia; Zheng, Xiangnan; Zhou, Yuan

For profiles of some of the Masters players, check out our pre-Congress series of profiles
US Go Congress Player Profiles: Wu and Zhou
US Go Congress Player Profiles: Sun, Ko, Koh, Lin, Teng & Ye
US Go Congress Player Profiles: Chen, Liang, Lee & Chiu
photos by Chris Garlock

 

Go Congress Youth Room Packed

Wednesday August 13, 2014

The Youth Room at the US Go Congress has been bustling all week, with over 100 kids and teens registered this year. Sunday drew scores of kids for Lightning Go, and 9×9 and 13×13 were very popular on Monday afternoon. Tuesday’s Youth Adult Pair Go featured 68 players, although several of them were Rengo (same sex pairs) instead of male-female.  Many charming pairs were children playing with their parents, or strong players joining with younger siblings and relatives, even Andy Liu 1P got in on the action, playing with Alex Jiang 7k . After the day off break, Relay Go is planned for Thursday. The most popular event of the week, the Youth Team Tourney (where teams of three will compete in the same format seen in the Hikaru no Go manga) is set for Friday. Winners at all of these events have had their choice of a slew of great prizes: Hinoki Press generously donated a full case of each of their popular Heart of Go Series, all seven volumes, while Winston Jen donated both anime, and copies of the latest Japanese manga about go, Hoshizora no Karasu (Crow in the Starry Sky) – in the original Japanese, as it has not been translated into English. GoGameGuru donated both sets of stones, and copies of Speed Baduk Vol. 2.  Youth Room directors Paul Barchilon and Fritz Balwit “have had our hands full, but are having a great time with the kids,” Balwit told the E-Journal.

Table Winners Reports: Lightning: Daniel Liu, Gilbert Feng, Frederick Bao, Patrick Lu, Daniel Zhao, Douglas Patz; 9×9: Forest Song, Willis Huang, Benjamin Peng, Yuga Suzuki, Sarah Crites, Seth Liang; 13×13: Sammy Zhang, Mike Fellner, Yuga Suzuki, Patrick Bao, Dowson Yang, Alex Du; Youth Adult Pair Go: Lirui Wu 7d and Dongfang Li 1P, April Ye 1d and Dae Hyuk Ko 7d, Melissa Zhang 2d and James Sedgwick 6d, Kelly Lu 3k and Michael Chen 7d, Melissa Cao 5k and Jie Liang 7d, Ann Wu 10k and Steven Wu 10k, Sammy Suastegui 15k and Jesy Felicca 6k, Sarah Crites 16k and Bob Crites 8k, Douglas Patz 22k and Alexandra Patz 13k. -Story and Photos by Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor; top: Youti Wen 22k and Shen Wen 4k at left, vs. Alice Sedgwick 17k and Richard Newman 12k; Bottom: Prizes in the Youth Room, courtesy of Hinoki Press, GoGameGuru, and Winston Jen.

US Go Congress Goes a Little Crazy

Wednesday August 13, 2014

“White plays capturing black, putting herself and black into atari,” calls Crazy Go TD Terry Benson. He officiated several games of Rengo Kriegspiel on Tuesday evening – a pair go game in which all four players face away from the main board and play their stones on their own empty board in front of them; the only clues about where their opponents — and even their partner — have played comes when they make an illegal move, or play where their own team or their opponents already have stones. Rengo Kriegspiel is only one of dozens of variants on the game of go that were played by an enthusiastic crowd of around 100 players. Familiar games include Magnetic Go, 4 Color Go, Tessellation Go, 3D Go, Spiral Go, and Blind Go. “After all these years, it’s still crazy,” said TD and Crazy Go founder Terry Benson. New Crazy Go games, never before played at a Go Congress, were even invented on the spot. Four players donned sleeping masks to block their vision and transformed Blind Go into Rengo Blind Go, and a few other players added the fundamentals of Tiddlywinks to their go game. Spectators and players alike are enthusiastic about the creativity of the games and the fun of adding a little Crazy to Go; “Crazy Go is my favorite part of the Congress!” said Bob Crites.
- report/photos by Karoline Li

Day Off Photo Contest: Still Time to Submit!

Wednesday August 13, 2014

Our first batch of Congress Day Off photos has been posted on the AGA’s Facebook page; check ‘em out and send your submissions to us at journal@usgo.org. Photo(s) should be from Day Off or NYC sight-seeing adventures and must include a go board!
photo by Phil Straus

Game Theorist Frank Lantz on why go should be “A little less Tang Dynasty and a little more NASCAR”

Wednesday August 13, 2014

“We should do a better job embracing and celebrating go’s status as the deepest, most challenging competitive game in the world, deeper than chess, harder than poker,” said New York University Game Center Director Frank Lantz in the keynote speech last Saturday night opening the 2014 US Go Congress in New York City. In a riveting 45-minute multimedia presentation on ‘Go in the New Age,’ Lantz urged hundreds of assembled go players to challenge their own assumptions about how to popularize the game. A self-described “terrible amateur despite a lifetime of off-and-on study,” Lantz described go as “a beautiful work of vibrant culture” and in a tour de force performance that melded history, art and culture, insisted that despite being more than 4,000 years old, go is not an ancient antique, “It’s alive here and now,” he said excitedly. Go, he suggested, should not be content to be a game of interest only those intrigued by the arcane.

“There is a huge online audience of game players who play games that require study and intelligence, not just fast fingers,” he said, describing how video, multiplayer and other e-games have huge audiences worldwide. He urged the US go community to develop a significant, interesting go presence on Twitch, “where there are millions of these people” and suggested marketing go to this audience with the theme “Go is the most difficult strategic game ever invented.” We should “worry less about the beauty and age of go in marketing it,” Lantz said, and emphasize the game’s difficulty and challenge.

Stars and a global rating system are important too, Lantz said. “It should be as easy to follow top go players as it is to follow an NBA team. Who’s the best player in the world? That gives other players – especially young ones – someone to follow and to emulate.” Tournaments also should be easier to follow, he added. “What’s a ‘jubango’” he asked, noting that Gu Li and Lee Sedol, two of the top players in the world, are currently competing in a one-on-one showdown that no-one outside the go world – and arguable many inside – don’t really understand and therefore find it hard to follow.

“We should be a little less Tang Dynasty and a little more NASCAR,” Lantz argued.  The speech garnered an enthusiastic response and Lantz’ analysis and suggestions have doubtless been a topic of discussion at this week’s Go Teacher’s Conference at the Go Congress. 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).
- Chris Garlock, with Peter Freedman; photos by Phil Straus

He Xie 9P On Mastering the Fundamentals

Wednesday August 13, 2014

He Xie 9P furrows his brow as though studying an especially knotty life and death problem. He cocks his head slightly, thinking. The seconds tick by, the silence stretches out nearly a minute. I’ve asked him his favorite thing about the game of go and now I see why his playing style has been described as “calm and cool like water.” Finally, he says, “The rules are very simple but the variations, starting from an empty board, are immense. Cosmic.”

Born in Qingdao, China in 1984, Xie – one of the strongest players in China today — learned go at the age of 6 from his father, improving so rapidly “that my dad could not beat me,” Xie said in an interview Monday afternoon at the US Go Congress, where he’s a visiting professional. Xie turned professional at 11 in 1995, and was promoted to 9P in 2012. Well-known for an intense work ethic when it comes to studying, Xie stressed the “crucial importance of the fundamentals” to improving, including studying life and death and endgame.

“These are the core techniques of go. Only after you’ve mastered the fundamentals can you think about the middle game,” Xie said quietly but firmly. “You cannot be weak in any part of your game. At the same time, you must study and research the opening. There are many new variations in the opening” that need to be explored. Then comes playing games, “and it’s extremely important to review your games.”  Online go has made it easier than ever to get a game but Xie doesn’t play online much himself, although he says that it’s given players around the world more access to a “treasure trove” of go resources, from game records to live broadcasts of professional games. “It’s a good thing,” he says, that’s contributing to a much faster spread of new ideas about the game. Go Seigen himself, the master go player who just celebrated his 100th birthday recently, “has always stressed the importance of trying new ideas, of experimenting.”

While professionals “realize they must spend time on all aspects of the game,” Xie said there are many amateurs who play “simply because they enjoy the game; they play for the love of the game.” For such players, it’s enough to “focus on studying the part of the game that interests you the most.” But for those amateurs who really want to improve, Xie said that studying life and death problems is the surest way to get stronger. Studying endgame is also key, he said, although there are not as many books or other resources on the subject.

Asked about the future of go in the United States, Xie, who’s visiting this country for the first time, said that while go has thousands of years of history in China, Japan and Korea, “the United States has been catching up quickly, thanks to online go spreading information so much more quickly,” adding that he’s happy to see the recent increase in interest in the US and Europe. Asked about whether computer go will ever attain professional strength, he smiled and said “It’s possible,” although he noted that while programs have done well at 9×9 the increase in complexity to 13×13 and 19×19 “is exponential.”
- Chris Garlock; photo by Phil Straus; translation by Daniel Chou