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

NOVA Cherry Blossom Report

Sunday March 30, 2014

The annual NOVA Cherry Blossom tournament was held on Saturday, March 29, at George Mason University Law School in Arlington, VA. Thirty-nine players participated, including long-distance commuter Paul Celmer from North Carolina. “A special visitor was Mr. I. Moon, Chairman of the Board of the Fairfax County Board of Education, who is promoting go and recruiting go teachers for his elementary schools,” reports organizer Allan Abramson. Reach Moon at IMoon@fcps.edu.

Winners Report:
First place: Justin Teng, 7D, 3-1; Muyuan Wang, 3D, 4-0; Julian Erville, 1K, 4-0; Darren Bias, 4K, 4-0; Barreal Anderson, 9K, 3-0; Steve Manning, 11K, 3-1; and Jonathan Luo, 15K, 3-1
Second place: Josh Lee, 5D, 3-1; Nathan Epstein, 1D, 2-1; Frank Luo, 1K, and Frederick Bao, 2K (tied at 3-1); Matt Payton, 5K, 2-2; Bob Crites, 9K, 3-1; Liam Royce, 11K, and Kevin Stefanik, 11K (tied at 2-2); and Caroline Scheck, 15K, and Sarah Crites, 18K (tied at 2-2)

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“New Yorker” Reports on Computer Go

Wednesday March 26, 2014

The latest advances in computer go are covered in a new post by The New Yorker. In “The Electronic Holy War”, Patrick House reports on the Densei-sen, “or ‘electronic holy war,’ tournament, in Tokyo, where the best Go programs in the world play against one of the best humans” where Crazy Stone last March defeated Yoshio “the Computer” Ishida.

The article does an excellent job of explaining why go has been so tough for computers to crack. “Part of the difficulty for computers—and humans—is that it is often hard to determine at any given time whether a group of pieces is being surrounded or doing the surrounding, and thus who is ahead…Without a clear understanding of who is ahead, programs like Deep Blue stutter. ‘All the machinery that was built up for computer chess is pretty useless,’” (Murray) Campbell (a member of the IBM Deep Blue team says.

It also explains how “Monte Carlo” algorithms, initially developed seventy years ago as part of the Manhattan Project, have been the key to developing stronger go programs. “The better the programs got, the less they resembled how humans play: during the game with Ishida, for example, Crazy Stone played through, from beginning to end, approximately three hundred and sixty million randomized games. At this pace, it takes Crazy Stone just a few days to play more Go games than humans collectively ever have. ‘I have to be honest: I still find it kind of magical, that it works as well as it does,’ Campbell said.”

The “electronic holy war” will run once a year in Tokyo until 2017, the report continues. “This past weekend, at the second annual tournament, Crazy Stone faced Norimoto Yoda, a Japanese professional who has a reputation for slamming pieces onto the board—sometimes shattering them—to intimidate his opponent. Crazy Stone was given a four-move head start and, lacking the eyes and ears through which another player might have been intimidated, won by two and a half points. “After the match, Yoda, through a translator, told me that he was grateful for Crazy Stone because it eased up at the end and allowed the game to be closer than it actually was: the result of randomness—or, perhaps, of the beginnings of pity.”
Photograph of Rémi Coulom and Ishida Yoshio courtesy of gogameguru.com

Go Spotting: Teen Wolf Takes Sente

Tuesday March 25, 2014

MTV’s Teen Wolf has shattered the Go Spotting record, featuring go four weeks in a row, on a show that’s not about go.  With a viewership of 3.5 million, repeated mentions of the game, and even a summary of the main goals, local clubs could soon be seeing a surge of new players if even a fraction of those viewers become curious about go and learn to play.  This week’s episode, entitled “The Divine Move” both starts and ends with go.  Early in the episode Mrs. Yukimura (Tamlyn Tomita) advises a desperate Stiles (Dylan O’Brien) while the family is seated around a go board “he made a powerful move by splitting the two of you.”   “So what’s our move?” responds  her daughter Kira (Arden Cho), as she places a stone on the board. “The Nogitsune has had sente until this point, what you need is a ‘Divine Move’ in order to turn this game around,” responds her mother.  Stiles does find a divine move, in the story arc at least, and his friends defeat the Nogitsune at last.  Towards the end of the episode, Kira’s parents are seen picking up the pieces from the go board, drawing a conclusion to the story arc (and the season).  Full episodes of Teen Wolf can be streamed on the MTV website here. As an added bonus, in the after show (Wolf Watch) series creator Jeff Davis also talks briefly about go. -Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor.  Photo from the MTV website: Kira places a stone on the board, while Stiles talks to Mrs. Yukimura.

 

 

AGA City League Round 3 Set for March 29

Sunday March 23, 2014

The next round in the AGA City League is set for Saturday, March 29. Click here for the team pairings in the A League, B League and C League and catch the action live on game day at 3PM EST on Pandanet using the new GoPanda2 software. Games will be played in the AGA City League room.
- Steve Colburn, TD

Maryland Open Set for Memorial Day Weekend

Thursday March 20, 2014

The 41st Maryland Open is coming up May 24-25 just outside Baltimore, MD. The 5-round event — 3 rounds Saturday, two on Sunday — attracts players from across the Eastern Seaboard, with prizes in all sections. “This is a very popular weekend,” warns organizer Keith Arnold, “so make reservations now!” Click here to register and for hotel and venue info.

Categories: U.S./North America
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AGA Go Camp Set for August

Wednesday March 19, 2014

The AGA Go Camp is confirmed for this summer, reports Camp Director Amanda Miller. Camp will be held the week before the Go Congress, from August 3rd to 9th, at YMCA Camp Kresge in White Haven, PA. White Haven is about 2 hours outside of New York City, so anyone who wishes to attend both camp and congress should be able to do so easily. Miller will be joined by co-director Nano Rivera, and they invite campers of all skill levels, and between the ages of 8 and 18, to join them for a week of go-playing and fun.  More information regarding the camp will be available soon, and registration will open within the next two weeks.  Keep an eye on the camp website for details.  Those who played in the NAKC or the Redmond Cup are eligible for a $400 scholarship, and need-based scholarships will also be available. Any questions can be e-mailed to Amanda Miller at agagocampeast@gmail.com. -Story and photo by Amanda Miller

Go Spotting: Teen Wolf – Third Week in a Row

Wednesday March 19, 2014

MTV’s Teen Wolf seems to be on a go jag.  This week’s episode featured another conversation about strategy, with Kira (Arden Cho) learning about go from her mother, who even explains what the game is about, and describes territory.  Later in the episode, Kira’s father tells her that go is called Baduk in Korea, and that her mother is a very aggressive player – too aggressive for her own good.  This marks the third week in a row that go has been featured on the show, and next week’s episode is titled “The Divine Move,” which any Hikaru no Go fan will immediately recognize as a key concept in the manga.  My guess is that next weeks episode will revolve around another go match, possibly between Kira and her mother. Check out Teen Wolf on the MTV website here. -Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor.

Zhang Wins “Hikaru no Go Tourney” in Portland

Tuesday March 18, 2014

Nine-year-old Andrew Zhang, of Corvallis, OR, took 1st place with a record of 7-1, at the Hikaru no Go Tournament in Portland, on March 16th.  14 youth competed in the event, the youngest was six and the eldest in high school, reports organizer Peter Freedman. “We developed a unique format, designed specifically for new players, who had to play  four 9×9 games, three 13×13 games, two 19×19 games, or three total games of any of the previous combinations,” said Freedman.  Beverly Cleary’s John Meo, age 13, took second place with a 6-1 record. Third place went to Hikaru Sato, age 11, with a record of 5-2. Four children made the trek up the valley to Portland to play in the tournament. -Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor

San Diego Club Promotes Go at Cherry Blossom Festival

Saturday March 15, 2014

The San Diego Go Club manned a go booth on May 8 at the 9th Annual Cherry Blossom Festival at the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park. “On a perfect San Diego sunny spring day in the 70’s,thousands crowded into the expanded garden,” reports club president Ted Terpstra. The club introduced go to the passersby and played demonstration games. Comments ranged from “What is that interesting game?” to “You play go in America! I am a Chinese level four player.” Several new members were signed up for the club.

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Teen Wolf Update: Michael Redmond 9P is the Nogitsune

Saturday March 15, 2014

Turns out the board position in episode 22 of Teen Wolf (EJ 3-12-14) is from a real game. “I had the pleasure of setting up the go board for this scene, and I got paid for it too,” reports 2012 AGF Teacher of the Year Joe Walters. “The empty triangle is a real move. The game was between Michael Redmond 9P and Chino Tadahiko 9P on March 15, 2012, in the B section of the Meijin. I set the game up for the scene sometime before Xmas last year, they provided the board and stones. I did it on the floor in the room where they shot the scene, but not on the tree stump where they used it in the final scene. Someone took pictures of the board, and they duplicated the setup when they shot the scene later on. They just wanted a game that looked real, so I selected that one because it was by an American 9 dan pro and had only a few moves,” said Walters.

The game itself had been offered as a commented record by Michael Redmond, and appeared in the members edition of the E-Journal.   “The empty triangle, white 140, was just a normal endgame move,” Redmond tells the E-Journal. “Although good shape is advantageous even in the endgame, correct reading and calculation becomes much more important and as the board becomes crowded with stones, so-called ‘bad shapes’ become more likely and can often be the correct move, as in this case. Looking for good shape in this game, I would have chosen black 97 because, although I say it myself, it was an inspired and well-calculated move with which I forced the sequence that secured my win.” The timing in the episode of Teen Wolf is pretty good, as white actually resigns the move after the empty triangle, which coincides with Stiles sweeping the stones off the board, and also means the Nogitsune was playing Redmond’s moves. “I am glad to know that my games are getting this extra chance to be viewed by a non-playing audience,” adds Redmond. “It is great that go is now being used more in movies and other such media, and it is always exciting to see that reported in the AGA E-Journal.”  This week, as a special bonus for non-members, the E-J is providing Redmond’s commentary on his game record.  If you would like to receive exciting games like this in your e-mail every week, join the AGA as a full member here. -Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor 

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