American Go E-Journal » Youth

GO PLAYING TEEN WINS SIEMEN’S PRIZE

Monday November 15, 2010

A striking advance in mathematical game theory earned top honors for the team of James Pinkerton 1d (l), and Rafael Setra (r) in the recent Region Five Finals of the 2010-11 Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology, a premier science research competition for high school students. Pinkerton, an avid go player, and Setra are seniors at Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring, Maryland.  Their win in the team category has scored them a $6,000 scholarship for their mathematics project, The Duplicator-Spoiler Game for an Ordinal Number of Turns.  Their math research might be analogized to mirror go–the players, a spoiler and a duplicator alternate turns, choosing elements from two sets until the duplicator is unable to mirror the spoiler’s move.

In the math, the number of turns for the spoiler to win tells you about the complexity of statements in mathematical logic needed to differentiate the sets.  Traditionally the games have a finite number of turns and their research extended the games to arbitrary lengths over various infinite structures. “This team has made a striking extension of a game-theoretic interpretation of descriptive logic that dates back to the 1960s. Using it, they can distinguish between mathematical structures not separable by simple queries,” said competition judge Haynes Miller, Professor of Mathematics at MIT. “Their work has potential applications to resource allocation in designing search algorithms. What impressed me about these students was their clarity of thought. It’s a very confusing subject to work in and they found their way through it to a new frontier.”

Pinkerton is president of the Chess Club and a member of the National Honors Society and French Honors Society. Fluent in French, he single sculls on the Potomac and plays chess and go competitively. Pinkerton teaches chess as a volunteer in several programs in his county and in inner-city Washington, DC. He also teaches mathematics to underclassmen. He credits his father (E-J staff photographer John Pinkerton) who taught him “fun mathematics, not the dreary algebra of secondary school,” with nurturing his love for the subject.  Pinkerton would like to study mathematics in college and to become a university professor. Setra was born in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and moved to the US when he was eight years old. He speaks Portuguese and Spanish and is part of Operation Fly, National Honors Society and the Martial Arts Club. A volunteer at Viers Mill Elementary School, Setra plays Starcraft 2, non-competitive football and has just learned how to play go from Pinkerton. He would like to study mathematics, engineering and computer science and to become a college professor.

“Each year, the Siemens Foundation invites America’s high school students to make their mark in the world of science,” said Jeniffer Harper-Taylor, President of the Siemens Foundation. “We commend these students on rising to the challenge and pushing the envelope of scientific thought.” The students presented their research to a panel of judges from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), host of the Region Five Finals, on November 6th.  Pinkerton and Setra will also be invited to compete at the National Finals in Washington, DC, December 3–6, 2010, where the winners of six regional competitions will vie for the $100,000 Grand Prize and national acclaim for extraordinary scientific achievement at the high school level.
-EJ Youth Editor Paul Barchilon, photo: James Pinkerton (l) and Rafael Setra (r), courtesy of the Siemens Foundation

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ZHUANG TOPS YOUNG LIONS TOURNEY

Monday November 15, 2010

Vincent Zhuang 5d took top honors in the 2010 Young Lions Tournament on Saturday, November 6. Organized by the American Go Honor Society (AGHS), the  tournament was held on KGS.  More than sixty youth go players signed up for the tourney. There were four divisions: Dans, Low Kyus, Middle Kyus, and High Kyus. One of the participants described the tournament as “a hectic but fun experience” and another described it as the “highlight of my week.” More AGHS tournaments, including the annual School Teams Tournament, are in the works.  AGHS Presidents Jack Ye and Jasmine Yan directed the tournament, and were assisted by  Rebecca Cheng, Eric Chen, Tommy Liu, and Viral Kotecha.  - Eric Chen and Jasmine Yan

Winner’s Report: Dan: 1st place, Vincent Zhuang 5d; 2nd place, Andrew Lu 6d,  3rd place: Yunxuan Li 3d , and Aaron Zhang 2d; Low Kyu (1k-5k) division: 1st place, Jeremy Chiu 1k; 2nd place, Jeffrey Yan 2k,  3rd place, Kfir Dolev 2k, and Haisong Yang 5k; Middle Kyu (6k-10k) division: 1st place, Justin Oh 6k; 2nd place, Raymond Liu 10k; 3rd place, Eugene Lee 9k, and Eric Chen 8k; High Kyu (11k-30k) division: Terry Luo 11k; 2nd place, Daniel Zhang 12k; 3rd place: Viral Kotecha 12k, and David Hao 17k.

YOUNG LIONS TOURNEY REGISTRATION OPENS

Monday October 11, 2010

Registration is now open for the Young Lions Tournament, run by the American Go Honor Society (AGHS). The tourney is scheduled for November 6-7.  Depending on turnout, there will be a qualifying event on October 30. A list of pre-qualified players from the AGHS School Team Tournament is here. Participants must be 18 or younger and have solid, KGS or AGA ranks. To register, email your name, rank, and KGS username to  aghsregister@gmail.com by October 23.   All matches will be played on KGS in the American Go Honor Society room (Room List –> Social –> American Go Honor Society room). Trophies will be awarded to the top four in each division and plaques will be awarded to the winners of each division.  Who knows? Maybe you will be the next leader of the pride. The AGHS also announced  it’s new officers,  Jasmine Yan and Jack Ye are Co-Presidents, Andrew Thacker is the  Secretary, and Tim Savoie is the Treasurer. - by AGHS President Jasmine Yan

SHEN AND SU WIN 2010 AGF COLLEGE SCHOLARSHIP

Monday September 27, 2010

Cherry Shen 6d, and David Su 1d, have been chosen for the 2010 AGF College Scholarship.  The $1,000 awards are presented each year to outstanding youth who have been active go organizers or teachers.  “Although I enjoy the competitiveness of go,” said Shen, “there are other aspects of the game that I enjoy just as much: volunteering, teaching kids, and meeting a diverse group of people bridged by one game.”  Su, an active high school organizer in the San Francisco Bay Area, told the Journal “I started playing Go in 7th grade and then joined my school’s go club in freshmen year, but I did not foresee that I would be leading the club 2 years later.”

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TANG NAMED REDMOND MEIJIN

Monday August 16, 2010

Curtis Tang 7d,  was named Honorary Redmond Meijin at the final awards banquet at the US Go Congress, Aug. 7th.  Tang, now 17 years old, has a long history of success in the Redmond.  He took the Junior Division championship in 2001, 03, and 04, and then again in 2006 in the Senior Division.  This year marks his fifth win in the Cup, and also the last year he is eligible to play in it.  The only other person ever to win five times is Eric Lui, 7d, who won his fifth time in 2001, and was also named Redmond Meijin.  The title is honorary, and for life, so both young men are now Honorary Meijin.  None Redmond herself presented the Cup to Tang.  His winning matches in the finals are available online. Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor.  Photo by Curtis Tang.

WOLF WINS REDMOND CUP

Monday August 16, 2010

Oliver Wolf 2d, age 11, won the Junior Division of the Redmond Cup at the recently concluded US Go Congress.  His opponent, Henry Zhang 1d, also 11, took second place.  Wolf won the first round match, held Aug. 2, but Zhang rallied to come from behind in round 2, winning by 3.5 points.  The decisive match was held on Aug. 5, with Wolf winning the game, and the title of Redmond Champion.  Both boys received a special honor when None Redmond, founder of the Redmond Cup, and tireless youth go advocate for decades, presented the trophies in person at the final awards banquet at the Go Congress.   The boys also won $350 for first place, and $250 for second, as well as a free trip to the Go Congress to compete. All three matches were broadcast live on KGS, and the sgf files are available online.  Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor.  Photo by Ling Shan; from left to right: Oliver Wolf , None Redmond, Henry Zhang.

KIDS SCORE BIG IN GO CONGRESS YOUTH ROOM

Friday August 6, 2010

Congress-going youth have had an exciting week in the Youth Room, with pro simuls, mini tournaments and prizes, prizes, and more prizes.  Thanks to the generosity of Winston Jen, every kid at the Congress has won a free set of all seventeen volumes of the Hikaru no Go manga.  DVD sets of popular series like Hunter x Hunter and Fruits Basket, piles of Hikaru no Go merchandise, Audio Go Lessons from Guo Juan, and donations from Art of Problem Solving.com and Wolfram Mathematica rounded out the prize pool as well.  Eight-year-old Aaron Ye 2d (center, in photo at left) enjoyed his game review with Yilun Yang 7p, and so did the crowd that gathered round to watch. Youth also got to play six-on-1 and 8-on-1 simuls with top pros from Korea, China, and Japan.  Mini tournaments were held most days, with prizes for 9×9 table winners, 13×13, and Lightning.  Youth Adult Pair Go remains one of the most popular events, with 44 youth and adults playing this year, paired as one youth and one adult of opposite genders, with a few same-gender pairs thrown in for good measure. The Youth Team Tournament, modeled after Hikaru no Go, was also popular, with nine teams competing.  Top honors went to Keiju Takahara, Oliver Wolf and Takashi Hoshi in the dan division, and Anurag Varma, Albert Hu, and Alvin Hu in the Kyu division. Both teams are playing in the photo at right, while Winston Jen (third from left, standing) observes the match. - Paul Barchilon, Youth Editor, photos by Paul Barchilon (top left) and Chris Garlock (bottom right).

13-YEAR-OLD SUN PLACES FOURTH IN WORLD YOUTH

Thursday August 5, 2010

Thirteen-year-old 7 dan Calvin Sun (at right in his match against Korea) placed fourth in the recent World Youth Go Championships, representing the U.S. Nine-year-old Kevin Fang 1d was the Junior Representative, placing eighth.  “I am happy to have this opportunity to be in the exciting WYGC tournament,” Fang told the E-Journal,  “I got to play with the top junior players in the world.  I did not reach my goal this time, and ended up with the youngest player award.  I hope I will do better next time.”   The boys won a free trip to Penghu, Taiwan, to compete at the finals, July 22 – 28.  Mingjiu Jiang 7p went as team coach (see below for his commentary on Sun’s critical Round 4 match against Czechia).  “This was my sixth time representing USA in the WYGC,” writes Sun, “I placed fourth in the senior division this year and Kevin tied for eighth in the junior division–which is a very good outcome considering he was the youngest player participating in the competition. He also got the award for ‘Youngest Player’.  Other than the players from China, Korea, Japan and Taipei, the European Go players were also very strong. My most important game was the fourth round against Czech Republic’s representative, Lukas Podpera, 15. The winner would advance to the finals. Before the game, Mingjiu Jiang 7P helped me study all of Podpera’s games, and I played a fuseki he was not used to, thus leading throughout the game and winning by 17 points.  In the Senior Division, Korea’s Insei Han Seung Joo placed first,

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China’s Baolong Zhao 2P placed second, Chinese Taipei’s Jiayuan Xu 6d placed third, and I placed fourth. In the Junior Division, China Qicheng Li 1P placed first, Korea’s Insei Min-Jun Shin placed second, Chinese Taipei’s Zhengxun Cheng placed third, and Singapore’s Yifei Yue placed fourth.  Penghu is an archipelago made up of 64 small islands west of Taiwan. The tournament took place on Penghu’s largest island, Magog.  The last day we went to another small island and went swimming and crab catching . Unfortunately, it was raining that day so many activities such as snorkeling and fishing were canceled. For dinner, we ate the crabs we caught that afternoon,” said Sun.
- Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor, Photos by Yanchen Sun.  From left, at left, Mingjiu Jiang 7p, Kevin Fang 1d, Calvin Sun 7d

5 MINUTES WITH: The Harwit Twins

Thursday August 5, 2010

Twin brothers Matthew and Nathan Harwit finish each other’s sentences, are virtually the same strength and are hardly ever seen apart but they’re quick to tell you that Matthew’s the older one. “Two minutes,” the twelve-year-olds say together. Matthew’s 4d and Nathan is 3d but they both agree they’re very close in strength and indeed Nathan won when the two were paired in Tuesday’s third round of the North American Ing Masters tournament. They’ve only been playing a couple years, learning the game after seeing it played at a chess tournament at their elementary school in Boulder, Colorado. “We thought it was cool,” says Matthew, “and the go players were friends of our mother,” adds Nathan.  The boys are regulars at the Boulder Kids and Teens Go Club, run by Paul Barchilon and David Weiss.  The club boasts four dan-level children, all of whom are at the Congress. The fraternal twins are fiercely competitive with each other, of course, and play at least one game every day, in addition to taking on other players on KGS. They cheerfully admit to having been caught playing go by flashlight under the covers after bedtime, and are thrilled to be playing in the Ing this year. “It’s great to get your butt kicked by 8-dans,” says Nathan, “yeah, we learn a lot and it’s fun,” adds Matthew.
- report/photo by Chris Garlock

TANG WINS REDMOND CUP

Monday August 2, 2010

Curtis Tang 7d (r) won both Redmond Cup games, shutting out Jianing Gan 7d in the Senior Division.  Gan had been favored to win, placing first in the qualifiers, while Tang placed third, and was only selected to play when second place finalist Gansheng Shi was unable to attend the Congress.  Tang, now 17 years old, has a long history of success in the Redmond.  He took the Junior Division championship in 2001, 03, and 04, and then again in 2006 in the Senior Division. Both finalists won a free trip to the US Go Congress to compete, and will receive cash prizes as well, and this year None Redmond herself will present the Redmond Cup at the awards banquet. Click here for both game records (under Redmond Cup Senior Division).
- Paul Barchilon, Youth Editor