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

GO SPOTTING: Mr Nice Plays Go

Tuesday July 26, 2011

Danish E-Journal reader Martin Liechti spotted go in the new film Mr. Nice, a 2010 crime film – now in limited release in the U.S. – about Howard Marks, a notorious Welsh drug smuggler played by Rhys Ifans (a friend of Marks in real life) and also starring Crispin Glover and Chloë Sevigny. Liechti sent us this screenshot of a scene in which a woman is sitting by a goban. The Danish subtitle says: What’s that?

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Japanese Insei Win Friendship Matches With U.S. Youth

Monday July 25, 2011

Ten of America’s young players competed against Japanese insei online last Thursday, July 21, in the first-ever youth friendship matches between the two countries.  The insei, who are studying professionally at the Nihon Kiin, walloped the US team with a 7-3 record.  The insei played live from the Nihon Kiin, while their US counterparts were competing from all across the country.  The matches were held on the Japanese Yugen no Ma Go Server, which is accessible in English through wBaduk.com.  On the top board, US favorite Calvin Sun 7d lost against Shodai Hirano 6d, both boys are 14 years old.  The two youngest competitors were both 9, Asami Ueno 6d (in pink bow above) and Aaron Ye 4d.   Ueno got off to a good start, with a large capture in the corner, and then proceeded to create living groups effortlessly everywhere she invaded, before Ye was forced to resign.  It wasn’t all losses though, Vincent Zhuang 6d, Andrew Lu 6d, and Ashish Varma 4d pulled out all the stops to win their games.  Zhuang, who along with Ye will represent the US at the World Youth Go Championships in Romania next month, scored a commanding win by resignation against 11-year-old Kazuma Yamaguchi 6d, while Lu bested Saeka Iwata 6d.  The darkhorse victory went to 16 year old Ashish Varma 4d, who vanquished Tomohiro Watanabe 6d, age 15.  A full players gallery, with pictures, results and game records is available on Tigersmouth.org. The members edition of this story contains a commented game record on Varma’s win, by Feng Yun, 9P.  AGA youth membership is a steal at only $10, and gets you commented games every week in your mailbox, click here to join.
- Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor.  Photo: Japanese insei at the Nihon Kiin, by Tom Urasoe.

Milwaukee Go Club Spreads Go at Art Museum

Monday July 25, 2011

As part of its Summer of China programming, the Milwaukee Art Museum not only recently presented a spectacular nevermore-to-leave-Beijing exhibit of newly restored artifacts from the Forbidden City, but also a two-day Chinese culture festival on that included a go tournament and a go demonstration table on July 23. Hundreds of Milwaukee Go Club brochures were snapped up by the middle of the second day, and hundreds more stopped by to take a look. One young visitor, Ishmael Robinson (r) was so captivated that he stayed for more than an hour and a photo of his lesson with Alex Wang not only made the front page of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel’s Sunday local section, but was ranked #3 in their top Photos of the Week. The festival was preceded by an introductory session at a local public library, “where six attendees caught the go bug, one of whom plans to introduce the game at the daycare where she teaches,” reports local organizer Joyce Tang Boyland. “Thanks are due to all our adventurous and devoted players and volunteers,”  Tang Boyland adds, “without whom this could not have taken place, especially Bob Barber, who TD’ed the tournament and provided mentoring and guidance.”
- photo by Michael Sears, courtesy the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

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Seattle Go Center Pleased With Renovation

Monday July 25, 2011

The new tenant at the Seattle Go Center has begun renovations by taking out some old walls.  The recent work has pleased the Board and staff of the Seattle Go Center.  “We are happy to see that Companion Pet Clinic is on schedule to open this fall” reports manager Brian Allen.  The long term lease with the veterinarians will be a big help to the Go Center budget.  Rent payments begin in December; the downstairs was empty for over a year.

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What’s Your “Shusaku Number?”

Sunday July 24, 2011

Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon is a trivia game based on the concept of the small world phenomenon and rests on the assumption that any individual can be linked through his or her film roles to actor Kevin Bacon within six steps. Now there’s the Shusaku number, which represents the “distance” between a go player and Honinbo Shusaku, measured in go opponents.

Kuwahara Shusaku  (1829-1862) was the strongest player of Japan’s “Edo” period, a “golden age of go” where four “houses” devoted themselves to winning the honor of playing in the “Castle Games” for the Emperor. The author of the most famous move in go history – the so-called “ear-reddening move” – Shusaku once famously responded, when asked the result of a game, “I had black.”  (The komi system was still more than fifty years in future.) He won nineteen consecutive games over a thirteen-year period, an unparalleled achievement, before dying of cholera at age 33. To equal this achievement today, a player would have to win every game on white by at least eight points. The ideas Shusaku left behind, especially the so-called “Shusaku opening,” formed the foundation of go theory for the next hundred years.

How closely are you connected to Shusaku? Borrowing from the world of mathematics, where authors proudly calculate their “Erdos number”, some go players enjoy figuring out their “Shusaku number,” a series of games leading back to the historic figure. For instance, The E-Journal’s erstwhile translator Bob McGuigan’s “Shusaku number” is four, a very respectable achievement for an amateur player. McGuigan once played a game with Sumiko Shiratori 5P, who in turn once played Fumiko Kita 6P, an important figure in the Hoensha, forerunner of today’s Nihon Kiin. Ms. Kita in turn once played Hoensha founder Honinbo Shuho, Shusaku’s unlucky opponent in four “Castle Games.” That’s a three-player link, so Bob is a four. (Shusaku’s “Shusaku number” is of course zero.) If you have ever played Bob, you are a five.  Click here to learn how to trace your “go lineage” to the great master.  When you’ve got that all figured out you can take it to the next level, and try to figure out yourWinning Shusaku Number,” where you have to trace a series of victories all the way back to someone who beat Shusaku.  Handicap wins on black don’t count, so good luck with that . . .
- Roy Laird

Categories: U.S./North America
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Jiang, Yang & Li Lead in SAMG Qualifier

Thursday July 21, 2011

Mingjiu Jiang 7P, Huiren Yang 1P and Jie Li 7D are leading the way in the Sport Accord Mind Games qualifier after three rounds. East Coast rivals Jie Li and Andy Liu battled it out in Round 3 on Monday, July 18, with Li exacting revenge on Liu, who had dethroned Li last November as U.S. rep at the Fujitsu Cup; Li had been the Fujitsu rep three times. Mingjiu Jiang 7P from San Francisco defeated California amateur champion Danny Ko 7D on Monday and Huiren Yang 1P from Boston managed to handle former Japanese insei Sorin Gherman in 290 moves. Click here for current standings and game records. Round 4 starts on Thursday 7/21 at 8p ET.

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Jiang & Li Lead SAMG Qualifier

Tuesday July 19, 2011

Mingjiu Jiang 7P and Jie Li 7d lead the online Sport Accord Mind Games Qualifier, both with three wins and no losses.  There are just two rounds left in the SAMG: Round 4 on July 21-23 and Round 5 on July 24-26. Click here for latest standings.

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Yuan Zhou 7d upset FengYun 9P by just 1.5 points in this July 11 Round 1 game.

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Excitement Building for Upcoming U.S. Go Congress in Santa Barbara, CA

Tuesday July 19, 2011

With just twelve days left before the year’s biggest go event on the continent, there’s still time to register for the 2011 U.S. Go Congress July 30-August 7 in Santa Barbara, CA – and to sign up online for Congress tournaments and events! ”This year’s Congress is proving truly exciting,” says Congress Director Lisa Scott. “Between tour groups from three countries, new tournaments, tons of trips to local attractions, and nearly 20 pros, we’re beyond pumped!”
- photo of the University of California, Santa Barbara, site of the 2011 U.S. Go Congress

Prabhavalkar & Thompson Top Tacoma Tourney

Monday July 18, 2011

Rohit Prabhavalkar 9k and Bill Thompson 16k topped the July 17 Tacoma (WA) Go Club’s Congress Warm-up tournament, posting 3-1 records. The 4-round tournament, held at the Seattle Go Center, drew “Fourteen intrepid go players, ranging from 6d to 17K, who showed up on a beautiful Sunday morning in Seattle to play go,” reports Gordon Castanza. TD Mike Malveaux was also warming up: he’ll be the US Open TD at the upcoming 2011 US Go Congress in Santa Barbara. The Tacoma Go Club provided lunch-time pizzas for all players.
- photo courtesy Gordon Castanza

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Canada Edges Out U.S. in Gerry Cup Mixed-Team Tournament

Monday July 18, 2011

It was a rough weekend for U.S. teams. The Japanese women’s soccer team beat the U.S. team in the World Cup and Canada edged out the  U.S. 8-7 in the third Gerry Cup mixed-team tournament. Click here for details on the Gerry Cup; your local sports section has reports on the women’s soccer match.

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