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

Shubert hands KGS over to new management

Wednesday May 3, 2017

KGS founder Bill Shubert has handed over management of KGS — the largest Western-based international go server in the2017.05.03_kgs world — to a new team. “Building and running KGS was incredibly exciting, and I’m very proud of how popular it is and how many people enjoy and use it every day,” said Shubert in a recent post. “But in recent years I haven’t been able to give KGS the attention and effort that it deserves. I’m thrilled that the AGF and the new KGS management team are ready to take it over! With their resources and skills we can all expect great changes for KGS.” The American Go Foundation has assumed stewardship of the server, and, according to the post, plans to stabilize it financially and support the upgrades needed to make KGS even more accessible and more usable to the go world.

“We’d like to thank Bill for his contribution to the game of Go and the Go community in the years he’s dedicated to this service,” said the KGS admin team, comprised of head Administrator Akane Negishi (KGS sweety), Lee Schumacher (KGS lelliot), who will handle KGS operations and Oren Laskin (KGS oren), who will focus on development. “We hope to continue to uphold his high standards and continue to make KGS the best go server.”

“This is a big moyo move for the AGF.” said AGF President Terry Benson. “To reach more kids and more players we need to build the community of online players into a force to spread the game.”

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Eric Lui 1P wins first National Go Center tournament

Sunday April 30, 2017

Eric Lui 1P swept the first tournament held at the brand-new National Go Center in Washington, DC. The Cherry Blossom2017.04.30_Lui-Chen-mr-dan Festival Go Tournament was held on Saturday, April 29, with a field of 48 comfortably breaking in the new Center, which just opened Friday. “Everyone played well,” Lui said, “especially Jiang Xinying in the second round, who I had a lot of trouble with; she played very tough.” The final round against Zhaonian Chen was also an exciting match, with a rapid flurry of complicated moves at the end as Lui’s overtime periods steadily slipped away but in the end Chen came up short on points and had to resign, leaving Lui with a perfect 4-0 record. The Board 1 games were all broadcast live on KGS and the last two games were streamed on the AGA’s Facebook page.
photo: Mr Dan from the Nihon Kiin watches final at National Go Center between Eric Lui (right) and Zhaonian (Michael) Chen; photo by Chris Garlock

Winner’s Report
First place: Eric Lui, 1P, 4-0; Qingbo Zhang, 5D, 3-1; Yanqing Sun, 3D, 3-1; Quinn Baranowski, 1D, 4-0; Isaac Weiner, 2K, 3-1; Anderson Barreal, 7K, 4-0; Brandon Sloan, 8K, 4-0; Lewis Reining, 13K, 2-2

Second place: Zhaonian Chen, 7D*, 3-1; James Pinkerton, 5D, 3-1; Benjamin Armitage, 2D, 2-2; Nathan Epstein, 1D, 2-2; Jiayang Su, 1K, 2-2; Zhao Zhao, 5K and Patrick Sun, 5K, 2-2 (tie); Joon Lee, 10K, 2-2; Dennis Ting, 16K, 2-2

* (AGA policy is that top amateur rank is 7D, consistent with international practice, even if the AGA rating is 8D). Note that NOT present at the award presentation were: Zhaonian Chen, Jiayang Su, Lewis Reining, and Dennis Ting.

 


2017 Cherry Blossom Round 1: Chou-Chen


2017 Cherry Blossom Round 2: Chen-Huang


2017 Cherry Blossom Round 3: Huang-Lui


2017 Cherry Blossom Round 4: Lui-Chen

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National Go Center opens “a very good place to play go”

Friday April 28, 2017

The new National Go Center opened Friday in Washington DC with an afternoon event featuring a ribbon-cutting and speeches by 2017.04.28_ngc-ribbondignitaries from as far away as Japan and as near as Northwest DC. Festivities continue today with a tournament starting at 9a (be there by 8:30 to register; follow the Board 1 action live on KGS) and then at 7p tonight a Member’s Access event that includes pianist Haskell Small and another pianist performing Small’s “A Game of Go,” an original composition inspired by a famous game by the legendary Shusaku. Michael Redmond and Chris Garlock will then do a commentary on one of the new games by Master/AlphaGo reprising their roles as commentators on the historic AlphaGo match a year ago. 

Center Executive Director Gurujeet Khalsa welcomed the assemblage and American Go Association president Andy Okun called the opening — attended by a full house — “very heartening” and said that “it’s clear that DC has risen to the challenge of building a community and a sustainable institution.” The Go Center, Okun declared, “is going to be e very good place to play go.”

American Go Foundation — and former AGA president — Terry Benson reminded the attentive audience of the long history of Japanese support for American go, noting that “JAL sponsored our first US Championship,” and that Japan’s Go Review was the primary source of go news and instruction in the 1960′s. He also pointed out that “the first U.S. Go Congress was held not far from here and was 2017.04.28_ngc-scrollorganized by some of the same folks who have now helped found this National Go Center.” Benson showed a go fan autographed with “strong heart” by Kajiwara and, choking up slightly, said that “go is not just a game for us, it’s something that can be so much more. The Go Center will be a crossroads for the world and that’s just what Iwamoto would have wanted.”

Nihon Ki-in chairman Hiroaki Dan (right, in photo at left, with Khalsa) — who flew in from Japan just for the opening — and Iwamoto North American Foundation Executive Director Thomas Hsiang (via recorded message) offered their hearty congratulations on the Center’s opening and wished the organizers well. Mr Dan noted that the Nihon Ki-In “is over 90 years old but go has been played in Japan for over 1,000 years and our goal is to help spread it throughout the world.” Also speaking were Mark Hitzig, Executive Director of the Japan-American Society of Washington and the Japan’s Deputy Chief of Mission Atsuyuki Oike, who said that “The go board is a universe of the entire world.”

After officially opening the Center with a ribbon-cutting, everyone headed up to the American Film Institute’s Silver Theatre in Silver Spring for a special private screening of the brand-new documentary “AlphaGo,” fresh from its world premiere last Friday at the Tribeca Film festival in New York City, after which many of the players, energized by the epic 2016 Lee Sedol-AlphaGo match, headed back to the NGC to play go.
- report/photos by Chris Garlock

 

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Six Days of Outreach in Seattle

Friday April 28, 2017

winner 13x13 Sakura Con copyThe Seattle Go Center conducted back to back outreach efforts, first at the Sakura Con Anime and Manga event, April 14-16, and then for the Cherry Blossom Festival of Japanese Culture,  April 21-23.  Two volunteers, John Richards and David Snow, put in a total of more than 70 hours  at the two events.  Many other Go Center members contributed as well, with at least 15 volunteers giving instruction and playing teaching games at Sakura Con.  On the Tuesday following the Cherry Blossom Festival, 6 new players came to the Seattle Go Center, showing that we had made some new friends.Cherry Blossom 2017 copy  Top photo:  Sakura Con 13×13 winner Ivan Check with TD Daniel Top; Bottom: Teaching games at Cherry Blossom.  report/photos by Brian Allen

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Last call for DC “AlphaGo” tix for Friday’s screening

Friday April 28, 2017

While space is extremely limited for Friday’s grand opening of the National Go Center in Washington, DC, there are still free2017.04.28_AlphaGo_Greg_Kohs_3 tickets available for the 7p private screening of the new must-see “AlphaGo” documentary at the American Film Institute’s Silver Theatre. Email journal@usgo.org to get yours. The screening will be followed by a Q&A with Michael Redmond 9P and E-Journal editor Chris Garlock, who served as commentators for the AlphaGo-Lee Sedol match last year. Read our report on the film here. The screening is at 7p at AFI, 8633 Colesville Rd, Silver Spring, MD 20910. AGA members, their families and members of the go community are welcome and encouraged to attend.

AFTER THE SCREENING: The new National Go Center — 4652 Wisconsin Ave NW in Washington, DC –will  host its first-ever regular go play: help get the Center off to a great start!

photo: still from “AlphaGo”

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National Go Center opens Friday: free “AlphaGo” tix still available

Wednesday April 26, 2017

With the opening of the new National Go Center less than 48 hours away, excitement is building in the go community 2017.04.26_AlphaGo_Greg_Kohs_smand a full schedule of events is planned, highlighted by Friday night’s “AlphaGo” screening, followed by club play at the Center and then the Cherry Blossom tournament Saturday. See below for complete details.

Friday, April 28
3:30p: Grand Opening ribbon-cutting: Featured guests include Nihon Ki-in Chairman Hiroaki Dan and his wife Yasuko and Michael Redmond 9P. This is event is open to the public but space is very limited; register here.
7:00p: “AlphaGo” screens at AFI Silver Theatre: This is private event and free tickets are still available; email
journal@usgo.org. AGA members, their families and members of the go community are strongly encouraged to attend. The screening is at 7p at the AFI Silver Theatre in Silver Spring, MD, 8633 Colesville Rd, Silver Spring, MD 20910. (btw Chinese readers can check out this nice translation of our recent article on the AlphaGo movie)
AFTER THE SCREENING: The new National Go Center — 4652 Wisconsin Ave NW in Washington, DC –will  host its first-ever regular go play: help get the Center off to a great start!
photo: still from “AlphaGo”

Saturday, April 292017.04.26_ngc-in-process
9:00a: Cherry Blossom 2017, a 4-round AGA rated tournament. Pre-register here; space is limited and pre-registration for this historic first NGC tournament is strongly encouraged.
7:30p: Haskell Small’s “A Game of Go” and commentary by Michael Redmond 9P with Chris Garlock (Member Priority event; see note below)
The evening’s program begins with pianist Haskell Small and another pianist performing Small’s “A Game of Go,” an original composition inspired by a famous game by the legendary Shusaku.
Michael Redmond and Chris Garlock will then do a commentary on one of the new games by Master/AlphaGo reprising their roles as commentators on the historic AlphaGo match a year ago. Audience questions and comments are welcome! photo: the NGC’s main playing area during renovations earlier this month; photo by Chris Garlock

NOTE: Saturday night’s event is a “Member Priority” event. Space is limited and first priority will be given to those who have made a membership commitment to the NGC at the basic level of $60/year or more. Click here to join (note “membership” in message).

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DC “AlphaGo” doc screening update

Tuesday April 25, 2017

Friday’s screening of the new “AlphaGo” documentary as part of the Grand Opening of the National Go Center in Washington, DC is now a2017.04.25_AlphaGo_Greg_Kohs_1
2017.04.25_AlphaGo_Greg_Kohs_1private free event; those interested in attending should email
journal@usgo.org. AGA members, their families and members of the metro DC area go community are encouraged to attend. The screening is at 7p at the AFI Silver Theatre in Silver Spring, MD.

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Austin’s ‘Post Tax Season’ tournament draws record crowd

Sunday April 23, 2017

2017.04.23_austin-winnersOn April 22nd, Austin held it’s ‘Post Tax Season’ tournament with a recent record 32 participants, ranging from 7D to 18K.  Three players finished the tournament with a 4-0 record: Zhixun (Troy) Zhao (7D), Joseph Pan (11K), and Paris Uch (15K). Honorable mention to those players going 3-1: Yi (Victor) Zhu (5d), Jim Conyngham (4K),  Leigh Linden (6K), Raymond Wang (7K), Jiang Lin (8K), Francois Wolf (12K), Nathan Hess (13K).
- report/photo by Bart Jacobs

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AlphaGo film finds the humanity in the code

Saturday April 22, 2017

Machine beat man last year but at last night’s world premiere of “AlphaGo,” the people were the stars. The documentary about the 2016 AlphaGo-Lee Sedol match screened at the Tribeca Film Festival and “chronicles Google’s DeepMind team as it prepares to test the limits of its rapidly-evolving AI technology,” writes Tribeca film programmer Ian Hollander. “The film pits machine against 2017.04.22_alphago-premiere-panelman, and reveals as much about the workings of the human mind as it does the future of AI.” The film has four more showings at Tribeca this week (Sunday at 4:15, Monday 6:15, Wednesday 9:15 and Thursday 4p) and will then screen Friday night at the American Film Institute’s Silver Theatre in Washington, DC to cap the Grand Opening of the National Go Center (stay tuned for details on tickets).

Director Greg Kohs has pulled off the impressive feat of making a film about go that will appeal to both players and non-players. There is, of course, plenty of go, and, for those who followed last year’s match, the film offers a chance not only to revisit the most momentous match in go history, but to venture behind the scenes to see what the DeepMind crew was seeing, thinking and feeling as their creation took on the legendary Lee Sedol. Kohs’ team also captures wonderful small moments that will resonate with go players, like a close-up of Lee’s fingers tapping as he considers a move, or a longshot of Lee from above on an empty terrace as he smokes a cigarette while AlphaGo, oblivious to the presence or absence of its opponent, plays move 37, the famous gasp-inducing shoulder-hit in Game 2. Kohs then takes us inside the AlphaGo team’s room where they explain that that the program calculated that there was a one-in-ten-thousand chance that a human would make that move, yet decided to play it anyway. 

As fascinating as it is to finally “see” AlphaGo in the whiteboard scribbles, screens of data and the laptop that sits next to programmer Aja Huang as he plays AlphaGo’s moves, it’s the dramatic and ultimately deeply emotional and satisfying journey of the DeepMind team that really drives the film. CEO Demis Hassabis, along with programmers Aja Huang and David Silver, are all clearly brilliant and intensely driven, but like go professional Fan Hui, they find beauty and poetry in the lines of code that increasingly shape all our lives. More than that, they find humanity. “To be a master, you must crush the cage of everything you know,” Fan Hui said after Friday night’s screening. “We asked AlphaGo to win a game,” added David Silver, “but we can use AI to win at other things, to solve other problems.”
- report/photo by Chris Garlock; photo (l-r): “AlphaGo” director Greg Kohs, Fan Hui, David Silver, Demis Hassabis and Wired writer Cade Metz. 

 

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Teacher of the Year Nominations Sought

Saturday April 22, 2017

photo-3-552x600Nominations for the American Go Foundation’s  Teacher of the Year award are due by May 21st. Presented each year at the U.S. Go Congress, the award  recognizes an outstanding American teacher. The winner  will receive an all expenses paid trip to the US Go Congress.  To be eligible, a teacher must be a member of the AGA, have been teaching go to children for at least two hours a week (during the school year) for two years, have started a go club or organization for youth, and have helped their students enter appropriate tournaments, if possible.  If you would like to nominate someone for this award, including yourself, e-mail mail@agfgo.org.  Nominations are due by May 21st and should include a description of the teacher’s activities,  how long they have been teaching, and how many students attend their program. - Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor. Photo:  Paul Lockhart, 2016 AGF Teacher of the Year, working with students in New York.  Read more about Lockhart’s work here.

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