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

Join the AGHS – officer applications open

Monday August 13, 2018

AGHSLogo2Officer applications for the American Go Honor Society (AGHS) have been released. The AGHS is an organization run primarily by high school students to promote go throughout America, and hosts events such as the Young Lions Tournament, School Teams Tournament, and Youth Go League. The application is due on September 7; all high school go enthusiasts are encouraged to apply! For more information, including officer descriptions, please visit the application form here. 

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US Go Congress updates: videos uploaded; comedy podcast visits; more Open games posted

Friday August 10, 2018

US Go Congress videos uploaded: All the 2018 U.S. Go Congress videos have now been edited and uploaded to the AGA’s 2018.08.10_congress-video-teamYouTube channel; click here to check them out. “All the intermissions/breaks are edited out so people won’t have to skip around,” says Stephen Hu, who directed this year’s video coverage. The 24 videos – watched live on Twitch by audiences of up to 12,000, include US Masters top board commentaries, the Pandanet-AGA City League and Pair Go finals, Redmond Cup finals, the Facebook ELF Open Go event, as well as an interviews with Chinese pro Ding Wei, 2018 Congress Co-Director Nate Eagle, 2019 Congress Director Dave Weimer, and a 2018 Congress re-cap with Hu and producer Chris Garlock. photo: EJ video team in action: (l-r): Joel Cahalan, guest 2018.08.10_comedy-podcastcommentator Eodeokdung (Leo) Lee 2P, Stephen Hu, Nathan Epstein; photo by Chris Garlock

Comedy podcast visits Go Congress: Action Comedy Nerd Show co-host Jerry Jaffe 1d (right) dropped by the 2018 US Go Congress and produced an episode of the podcast, with interviews with Andy Liu, Yuan Zhou, Nate Eagle, and Josh Lee.  Click here  to check out the podcast (also available through iTunes and Stitcher). In the episode, Jaffe also teaches podcast co-host Dan Brown about the game, “as well as schooling him on which movies Will Smith is or is not in.”

More Open games posted: US Open players continue to send us their 2018 sgf game files and it’s not too late to get your games preserved for posterity on the US Open crosstab; email them to us at journal@usgo.org (be sure to make sure all the player info, including result, is completed).

 

 

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Jump on in, the water’s fine: A first timer takes the Congress plunge       

Tuesday August 7, 2018

by Bethany Nyborg 18 kyu2018.08.06 Bedford Club story page1

I attended my first US Go Congress seven years after I first learned to play, and yet I could count on the fingers of one hand how many times I had played against someone who knew what they were doing. Go came to Bedford, Virginia seven years ago when my brother and I watched Hikaru No Go, joined the AGA, and started a go club at the Bedford Public Library, which garnered us some coverage in the local paper (right). We learned very quickly that no one knew about the game. Our only option was to teach as many people to play as we could. As teenagers, we had more success teaching children than adults. I knew I would not live in that area for long, so my goal was to create a pocket of people who had heard of go. When the next person passionate about go came along, I wanted them to find their work already begun.

Even though my dad’s new job was in Northern Virginia, I realized my obstacles had not decreased: I had just started going to college full time, and I didn’t have a driver’s license or a car. Go was put on the back burner for the next four years, but I always listed it in my top three favorite hobbies. Then I saw that the 2018 Go Congress would be at William and Mary College in nearby Williamsburg. With the support and blessing of my new husband (and a scholarship from the AGF), I decided to make this year’s US Go Congress my first AGA event.

On the way to the Congress my nerves tensed as I wondered what people would think of my inexperienced, self-taught go. I rarely played online because I was afraid p2018.08.06 Bethany Nyborgeople would think I was wasting their time by playing such bad moves. Still, I had positive experiences the three times I had been to an AGA go club, and I had high hopes for the Go Congress.

Starting at registration, I met people who were as excited about go as I am and by the end of the first evening’s 9×9 tournament my fears had evaporated. I found that years of studying go problems on my own had given me important skills, and through the tutelage of good players I was able to improve my game in the areas that had intimidated me before. It did not matter that my game was lopsided going in, I was there to learn and improve. Much to my surprise, I came away with two medals, winning the 9×9 kyu championship and coming in second in my division at the Women’s Tournament. Every day I reveled in being surrounded by people talking about go and playing morning, afternoon, and evening. I achieved all my goals, made new friends and, armed with my AGA teaching certificate, I look forward to jumping back into promoting go in my community and creating new spaces for people to play.

 

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Kirschner sweeps Vino Invitational

Tuesday August 7, 2018

Chris Kirschner shares the fruits of his labor on the go board at Sunday’s Straus Vino Invitational, an unrated mini-tournament2018.08.06 Kirschner-vino among houseguests visiting former AGA president Phil Straus, including Kirschner – longtime Seattle Go Club organizer – E-Journal editor Chris Garlock and Bruce Katz, the only other go-playing member at the Racquet Club of Philadelphia. The prize for the winner of the two-round knock-out tourney was a bottle of Oregon pinot noir, which Kirschner – who swept the field – generously shared with his wife Marianne (2nd from left) and hosts Phil Straus and Margaret Harris (at right). Runner-up Garlock received a signed copy of Kirschner’s autobiography “Echoes and Shadows.”
photo by Phil Straus

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North American professionals wanted for first Tianfu Cup World Professional Weiqi Championship

Monday August 6, 2018

The first Tianfu Cup World Professional Weiqi Championship has requested participation by two North American professionals. The first round will be held September 20-27 in Beijing with a second session from December 20-27 in Tianfu, Sichuan. Airfare, accommodation, and meals will be covered by the event organizers. Prizes start at 30,000 RMB (~4300 USD) for losing the first round. If interested, or for more details, please contact tournaments@usgo.org no later than Sunday, August 12. Depending on the number of responses, there will be a preliminary tournament to select representatives.
- Jeff Shaevel, AGA National Tournament Coordinator

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Cotsen tourney registration opens

Wednesday August 1, 2018

With the annual US Go Congress just wrapped up, go fans looking for their next big go event can mark their calendars for the 2018.08.01-cotsen-open2018 Cotsen Open, set for Oct 13-14 in Los Angeles. Registration has just opened; click here to sign up. As always, pre-registration ($20) will allow attendees to get their money back on Sunday after competing in ALL five matches, AND a free food voucher for Saturday and Sunday. Otherwise pay $25 at the door and get no refund.  Organizers encourage using the PayPal system “to allow us to have a more accurate count of who is competing this year, which helps cut down the pairing time delay and speeds up the tournament starting on time.” If you have any questions please feel free to email Tournament Organizer Christopher Saenz cotsenopen@gmail.com. “We look forward to seeing you all again in October,” say Cotsen organizers.

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2018 EJ Congress team credits

Wednesday August 1, 2018

Coverage of this year’s US Go Congress took a giant leap forward with two innovations. One was the social feed in the new Go2018.07.24 adult-youth-social Congress app, which enabled both Congress attendees and go fans worldwide to follow the action in Williamsburg; big thanks to Gurujeet Khalsa for making this happen and to everyone who posted, especially our two intrepid reporters, Julie and Matt Burrall, who seemed to be everywhere all the time with their updates on all things Congress.
The other was our Twitch broadcasts, which attracted audiences unthinkable just a few years ago, hitting over 12,000 at one point. Stephen Hu, Nathan Epstein, Joel Cahalan and Eli Ferster did amazing work, whether behind or in front of the cameras, supported by Andrew Jackson and Michael Wanek offsite. Big thanks to all of the c2018.07.24_FB_IMG_1532376461324asters who participated this year — Ding Wei 9p, Yilun Yang 7p, Mingjiu Jiang 7p, Ryo Maeda 6p, Yoonyoung Kim 4p, Eodeokdung Lee 2p, Stephanie Yin 1p, Ryan Li 1p, Eric Lui 1p, Andy Liu 1p, Qucheng Gong, Zhaonian Chen, Albert Yen, Stephen Hu, Justin Teng, Edward Zhang, James Pinkerton, Jonathan Hop, Keith Arnold, Chris Garlock, Julie Burrall, Samantha Fede, and Samantha Soo — sometimes recruited at the last moment but all enthusiastic in their support for this tremendous new way to bring go events to a worldwide gaming audience. Special thanks as always to I-han Lui for all his help coordinating the professionals, and to Daniel Chou for translation.
A very special shout-out to our game recorders, without whom these broadcasts couldn’t happen: Dennis Wheeler and Richard Dolen brought us the morning games, while Bart Jacob, David Weimer, Anthony Long, Russell Herman and Dale Blann provided evening coverage. Thanks too to our friends at KGS, led by Akane Negishi and her band of merry 2018.08.01_2018 EJ team 2018admins. This year’s tournament directors not only did their pairing jobs admirably, but got results to the EJ team promptly so that we could keep the crosstabs — US Open Masters and US Open — updated:  Joshua Lee, Justin Teng, Todd Heidenreich, Steve Colburn, Qucheng Gong and James Pinkerton.

Joining the Burralls on our crack EJ reporting team were Samantha Fede, Paul Barchilon, Justin Teng and photographer Phil Straus; check out their reporting here.
Last but never least, this year’s Congress Directors, Nate Eagle and Diego Pierrottet, not only put on a great Congress — with the help of a lot of friends — but they went out of their way to support the EJ team to ensure that both attendees and those who could not be there were able to follow all the action at this major annual American go event. We owe them both official EJ team caps!
Go is a great game, but it’s the amazing people who play it that bring us together year after year. For me, that’s especially true of this phenomenal group of people who assemble each year, taking precious time from family and work obligations — and sacrificing time on the board we all love — to bring go to our community and to the world. For that I thank you all from the bottom of my heart. See you next year in Madison!
- Chris Garlock, Managing Editor/Producer
Team photo by Phil Straus
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2018 U.S. Go Congress volunteer acknowledgements

Tuesday July 31, 2018

By Nate Eagle and Diego Pierrottet2018.07.31-eagle=khalsa-okun-diego

Being co-directors of the 34th annual U.S. Go Congress is the biggest, hardest thing we’ve ever done, and the generosity of attendees in encouraging us has been tremendously meaningful. But the thing we feel, more than anything, is immense gratitude toward the huge team of volunteers, from our core team to all the people who showed up out of nowhere, ready to work, who made the event possible.

Anchoring our core team were Gary Smith, the registrar who made it all possible, Gurujeet Khalsa, whose creation of the first-ever official Go Congress app was such a huge success, Todd Heidenreich, the treasurer who also served as a font of institutional knowledge throughout the week, and I-Han Lui, who managed the pro schedule and was vital with many details of Congress operations.

We are also particularly proud of the National Go Center regulars who played big roles this year: Nathan Epstein, who, working with Xiaocheng (Stephen) Hu on broadcast, took the tech operations of the Congress and the E-Journal team (managed as usual by Chris Garlock; look for his Congress EJ team acknowledgements tomorrow) to new heights, Joel Cahalan, who provided vital Ruby on Rails experience to craft the first-ever SMS pairing notification system, which will now be passed to future Congresses, and Eli Ferster, the assistant registrar who could handle anything.

Daniel Zhao helped in dozens of vital ways throughout the week. Doug Wilkinson (left) poured sweat and, on at least one occasion, blood into the incredibly difficult task of managing the Congress’s substantial equipment needs. It was also Daniel and Doug’s first Congress!

2018.07.31 WilkinsonAndrew Hall performed amazingly in his first year directing the U.S. Open, and his assistant TD, Dan Ritter, was up early every single morning or the last to leave at nights, making sure that players had ready clocks and orderly tables to waiting for them. Josh Lee directed a tremendously exciting U.S. Masters tournament in his first outing. Big thanks to tournament directors Steve Colburn, Keith Arnold, Peter Schumer, Andy Olsen, Lisa Scott, Jim Hlavka, Neil Ritter, Justin Teng, Terry Benson and Todd Heidenreich. And a particular thanks to Greg Kulevich, director of the Seniors Tournament, who worked hard this week, giving up most of his own Congress experience to make one of the biggest tournaments of the Congress a success. Thanks to our excellent translators, Jonathan Hop and Satoru Inoue. Huge thanks to Devin Fraze, who ran the wonderful youth room, and Paul Barchilon, to whom Devin passed the baton at the end.

Thanks to James Pinkerton, Qucheng Gong, and to Facebook, for bringing OpenGo to the American Go community this year: over 66 players got the chance to personally play and learn from the strongest open-source Go AI in the world, and over 10,000 people got to tune in and watch Andy Liu and Ryan Li play Pair Go with OpenGo as a teammate. (It was a particular honor for Nate to get to be one of the hands of OpenGo as Andy’s partner.) And thanks to the volunteers who made the simuls possible by serving as the eyes and hands of OpenGo, which was not an easy job: it required multiple hours of back-straining, brain-draining effort. You did great.

Thanks to the people who showed up early on Friday to help us get everything set up and to help on registration morning, 2018.07.31_josh-lee teachesamong them Chris Kirschner, Marianne Palhamous, Lee Schumacher, John Grenier, Ted Terpstra, Mark Nahabedian, Wayne Nelson, Keith Arnold, Patrick Bannister, Kristal Soo, and so many more. Particular thanks to Neil and Dan Ritter, who assembled the two giant monitors that became the center of the Congress experience, and then disassembled them again so they can travel to next year’s Congress in Madison.

Thanks to Lisa Scott for managing the AGA meetings and for working to bring us the first year with an official Code of Conduct, a hugely valuable tool for making the Congress a welcoming place for everyone.

Thanks to the front-desk staff at William and Mary—all students—who handled the largest group they’d ever had come through with kindness, patience, and helpfulness.

We will have inevitably missed people—please know that no matter what it was, your contribution toward making Congress happen was essential and appreciated. Thank you, and we hope to see everyone next year in Madison!

photos: top right: Nate Eagle (left) and Diego Pierrottet (right) with the National Go Center’s Gurujeet Khalsa (second from left) and AGA president Andy Okun (second from right), photo by Phil Straus; bottom left: Doug Wilkinson, Equipment Manager and first-time Congress attendee, photo by Nate Eagle; bottom right: Masters TD Josh Lee teaching go.

 

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US Go Congress social feed photos posted to AGA Facebook page

Tuesday July 31, 2018

The photos posted to the 2018 US Go Congress app’s social feed — one of the app’s most popular features — have now been2018.07.30 Congress social album posted to the AGA’s Facebook page. E-Journal reporter Julie Burrall will also be transferring the photo captions over the next few days; help spread the word by tagging folks you know. EJ photographer Phil Straus is adding more photos to his 2018 Go Congress album, and we’ve posted an album of photos from the 2018 Pandanet City League finals, where you can also tag folks.

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Tim Song upsets Ahn Dalhoon to win 2018 US Open Masters; Tianyi Chen wins top section of US Open

Saturday July 28, 2018

Tim Song 1P snatched the US Open Masters title from Ahn Dalhoon 9P, defeating the Korean professional in the ninth and 2018.07.28_brandon-zhoufinal2018.07.28-Song-Zirui(Tim) round by resignation in a thrilling game watched by hundreds on Twitch and KGS. Tianyi Chen won the top section of the US Open (click here for the official final standings), and in an interesting wrinkle, 15-year-old Brandon Zhou 5d (right) went 6-0 to top the 5-dan division, defeating three 6-dans, including 6-dan division winner Tianyi Chen.
Commentator Yilun Yang 7P’s assessment in the Masters final was that Ahn had a good position until he ran into time trouble in the late middle game, but AI analysis indicated that Song had an advantage from fairly early in the game. Either way, Song (left), a young Chinese pro who now lives in the US, relentlessly pressured Ahn until, with the last few seconds ticking away in his final byo yomi – and with two weak groups at stake, he turned off the clock in acknowledgement of his defeat. “I’m really impressed with way 2018.07.28-Ahn-Song-Cupthe field has developed in recent years,” said AGA president Andy Okun. “It bodes very well for the future of American go.” The upset was not the only one of the day. On board 2, Chinese pro Ding Wei 9P fell to Michael Chen 7d, also losing by resignation. The losses by the two top professionals threw the results into tiebreaks; both Ahn and Song were 7-2, but Song prevailed by a single SOS point. Song is the title winner, but because they had the same win/loss records, they’ll split the $7,500 first and second place prize money evenly. Four players had 6-3 records, and Ding Wei won the third place trophy on SOS; Andy Liu, Ryan Li and Michael Chen are the runners-up. Latest Masters crosstab here.
- report by Chris Garlock and Dennis Wheeler; photos by Garlock
7/29: updated with link to official final US Open standings

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