American Go E-Journal » Traveling Go Board

The Traveling Go Board: Benjamin Hong’s Hong Kong Go Adventure

Wednesday May 28, 2014

On his BenGoZen blog, Benjamin Hong recently posted a nice report on his Hong Kong go adventure earlier this year. After spotting an ad for go on a bus, Hong was disappointed to discover that the Hong Kong Go Asso­ci­a­tion (HKGA) does not have a go salon where visitors can drop in for a game. “I was pretty bummed to hear that,” Hong, a 2-kyu who lives in the metro Washington area, writes. “After all, would my epic go adven­ture in Hong Kong be reduced to sim­ply vis­it­ing the HKGA and maybe tak­ing a few pic­tures? All hope was nearly gone until the sec­re­tary told my mom that I could take pri­vate lessons if I wanted to.” This launches an adventure across the city that will be familiar to anyone who’s tried to track down go in a foreign country. In addition to being entertaining, Hong’s tale has a happy ending and reveals the correct address of the HKGA, including a helpful photo of the sign to look for. Hint, not the one at right.

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Visit Seattle on a Tuesday

Monday May 26, 2014

“Visitors to Seattle should save Tuesdays for the Go Center”, advises Center Manager Brian Allen.  “It’s our biggest day.”  On Tuesday, May 20, the Center had 47 players visit, including 12 children.  New players can find instruction on Tuesday as well.  Saturdays are smaller, but usually there are more than 20 visitors at all levels.  There are evening classes on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday.  Your first ten visits to the Go Center are free, including classes. Visitors are invited to check out the weekly schedule, and the special events calendarPhoto: A Tuesday night in June 2013.
- photo/report by Brian Allen.

 

The Traveling Board: An Act of Kindness

Wednesday April 23, 2014

by Barry Pasicznyk

Every year go players from the Penn Go Society and Phoenixville Go Club teach go at Philadelphia’s Sakura (Cherry Blossom) Festival. This year an especially poignant moment occurred that I wanted to share with other go players.

While we were teaching people how to play go, a man approached our tables. He said that he wanted to donate a go set so we could pass it on. He mentioned that when he was in the hospital with cancer that someone came to the hospital to play go with him. Now he was cured of the cancer; I was under the impression that he had not expected to survive. He said that he was eternally grateful for the act of kindness in his most desolate time, and that he wanted to pass the go set on so others could enjoy the game.

So we accepted the go set and gave it to a group of young adults who seemed to be enjoying the game. We told them the story of the set so that maybe it would inspire them to acts of kindness.

Sometimes go is more than just a game.

photo courtesy BoomsBeat 

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Traveling Go Board: Go Hothouse in UK Garden City

Saturday November 16, 2013

A go hothouse sprang up in Letchworth Garden City, UK the weekend of November 8-10, when 14 of the UK’s strongest and most promising players congregated at the home of Letchworth Go Club organizers Simon and Alison Bexfield (see New Go Club Blooms in UK’s Garden City, EJ 4/5) for an intensive weekend honing their go skills under the guidance of  Juan Guo 5P. Juan, famous for her Internet Go School and a frequent attendee at US Go Congresses, flew in from her home in Holland to be there.

Co-host and participant Alison Bexfield 2d (pictured, right of center) described the event as “inspirational”, explaining that “the weekend was one of a series run by the British Go Association over the past few years to encourage the development of the leading UK players.” The program was developed by British Pair Go Champion Kirsty Healey who also organizes the weekends, which are aimed at increasing the number of players with a European Rating (GoR) over 2400. Invited attendees had to be rated over 2100 or meet other criteria such as being young and rapidly improving players.

The format was a mix of formal teaching from Juan on particular openings, interspersed with games and reviews of those games. Intensifying the complete absorption in go, many slept at the Bexfields’ or in nearby accomodation and the event was catered throughout by Simon Bexfield.

Participant Tim Hunt 2d (pictured, center), a senior IT developer at the Open University, told the EJ: “The event was excellent, as usual. Guo Juan is a fantastic teacher. The Bexfields are wonderful hosts.”

Check out Juan’s Facebook page for more photos.

Report by Tony Collman, British correspondent for the EJ. Photo by Juan Guo; (L-R) Matthew MacFadyen 6d, Richard Hunter 3d, Tim Hunt 2d, Alison Bexfield 2d, Matt Scott 2d.

 

The Traveling Board: Beijing, China

Sunday September 15, 2013

Gordon Castanza — former AGA Board member and EJ game recorder — passed along this report from his friend Ernest French of the Beijing Go Club, who sends this report and a collage of photos he took at the “Second Donghu Cup Amateur Wei Qi Invitational Tournament between China and Korea,” which was held on Saturday, September 7th in Beijing, China.

“Last Saturday we played in an amateur tournament up in Wangjing in northeast Beijing. It was outside in the middle of a park, on a beautiful, cool, blue sky morning. After the opening ceremony, we started our matches against local teams – time settings of 35 minutes per player, absolute. Altogether, I’d say 100+ go players showed up in total.

Participating for the BJGC were Sam, Karl, Carl, Gina, Chris, and me; each round was 5 games (1 person sitting out). The first round we had some tough games – I lost one I should have won, but we did manage to go 2 and 3. For 8 am, that’s a good result.

Next round we faced the kids and cleaned up 4-1 despite some questionable play on their part (but what’re you gonna do?) All in good fun. By this point it was heating up, and we were full of coffee and ready to go. Unfortunately, our final match-up was against the baitou team – a bunch of really good Koreans who had won every game of the day so far. My game was against an older gentleman who placed his (Chinese style) stones upside-down. He was quite good, and calmly took advantage of my questionable play. I broke into his giant moyo at the end of the game… but somehow it wasn’t enough and I lost by 15. Carl was the only one to defeat that team all day. That afternoon we continued an (unofficial) match against the Beijing Capital Airport team, who gave us some fun games. Thanks to Karl for finding & organizing this, and I definitely want to do it again sometime!” Click here for more photos.

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The Traveling Board: Innoshima, Birthplace of Honinbo Shusaku

Friday August 2, 2013

by Jan Engelhardt

Western go players sightseeing in Japan won’t want to miss Innoshima in the Hiroshima prefecture. That’s the birthplace of Honinbo Shusaku, the most famous go player ever. Shusaku was born as Kuwahara Torajiro on June 6, 1829 in Innoshima. At the age of 10 he moved to Edo (now called Tokyo) to join the legendary Honinbo go house. Even after he became a professional go player, Shusaku returned to Innoshima for long stays. The people of Innoshima are very proud on Honinbo Shusaku and value his heritage, calling themselves a “Go playing city” where as much as ten percent of the 20,000 inhabitants play go and twice a year Innoshima hosts a a “Shusaku Honinbo Go Festival” for professional and amateur go players.

The “Honinbo Shusaku Igo Memorial Hall” is a fascinating museum honoring Shusaku’s life and accomplishments, showcasing many artifacts of his life, including the old goban on which his mother taught him go. In the museum’s back yard there is a reconstruction of the actual living house of the family. The museum’s memorial hall is also used for go events, including professional ones. There are always go boards available for guests and it’s amazing to see all the letters, game records and go material related to Shusaku’s fascinating life. Next to the hall one can find a shinto shrine constructed by a later Honinbo in Shusaku’s honor.

Not far away is Shusaku’s grave. It is said that one becomes two stones stronger by touching the gravestone, and it’s traditional for visitors to light an incense stick there in the great player’s memory.
- Engelhardt, who was in Japan recently to attend the Osaka Go Camp, is the E-Journal’s German Correspondent. photos by Jan Engelhardt

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The Traveling Board: Osaka Go Camp

Sunday July 28, 2013

By Peter Schumer

Beautifully organized, the recent Osaka Go Camp drew about 35 “campers” from nearly a dozen countries.  Most of the instruction was in English, but there was a good bit of Japanese, French, and German mixed in amongst us and it made for quite an international and festive feeling.

Though ages ranged from mid-teens to early 70′s and our ranks ran the gamut from 20 kyu up to 7 dan, everyone got along really well and seemed genuinely friendly and supportive of one another. Every day there was a scheduled match followed by professional game reviews, several lectures, and simuls with pros.

One of the highlights was a visit and simultaneous games with Yuki Satoshi, currently Judan.  We also played lots of friendship matches with various local go clubs and go students of all ages. The most fun for me was a series of games with students at the Kansai Kiin who ranged in age from 7 to 12 but who were all at least 2 dan in strength.  It was the one group that had a winning record against us.

There were also many go-related sightseeing trips to Kyoto, Nara, Innoshima, Hiroshima, and the beautiful island of Miyajima. In Innoshima, we visited the Shusaku Museum and memorial site, where we learned that there are over 2000 local go players in a town of just 20,000, and it seemed that a good percentage of them showed up to test our go prowess. Two go boards at the Shusaku museum (left) were especially interesting: the one on the right is Go Seigen’s retirement board and stones, celebrating 70 years of an outstanding professional career in Japan, while the older board on the left belonged to Shusaku and was given to him by his patron Lord Asano (watch for Jan Engelhardt’s report on the Innoshima visit in an upcoming EJ).

After camp ended, I had a few extra days for travel.  One day I spent visiting the Shinto grand shrines in Ise, and my last full travel day was to Uji, a lovely small town just south of Kyoto. It is best known for growing arguably the best green tea in Japan and for several beautiful Buddhist temples, especially the Byodo-In which contains the famous Phoenix Hall.  Currently it is being restored and so was covered up, but fortunately I’d seen it on a previous visit.  This short-lived disappointment propelled me to walk farther along the Uji River until I came to the Tale of Genji Museum.  The last ten chapters of this classic of Japanese literature take place in Uji and so the museum largely focuses on them, but there are a couple of important scenes where go plays a significant role and luckily one of the life-sized displays (top right) was of such a scene (photo).
- A longtime local go organizer, Schumer founded the Vermont Go Club

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The Traveling Board: London, UK

Thursday July 25, 2013

The Central London Go Club took advantage of the current UK heatwave to call a go picnic on Sunday, July 21. It was held in Royal St James’s Park in the heart of the capital, adjourning later to the Captain’s Cabin pub in Piccadilly.

14 answered the call and in addition, as organizer Julia Woewodskaya told the E-Journal, “There were quite a few spectators; some were asking questions about the game; one person was explained the rules and played at least one game.”

Click here for more photos.
- Tony Collman, British Correspondent for the E-Journal. All photos by Kiyohiko Tanaka, Central London Go Club/Nippon Club Igokai, City of London Go Club

 

Go Dreams Come True at Osaka Camp

Thursday July 11, 2013

Going to Japan to train to play go is a dream for many western go players. It’s a dream come true for 32 players from around the world, who are now attending the 3-week Osaka Go Camp led by by Maeda Ryo 6P and Li Ting 1P. The camp started July 1, and most of the participants are from the United States, followed by Canada, France and Germany; all told, there are ten different nations represented by players ranging from 25-kyu up to 7-dan.

The daily schedule includes one league game and different kinds of professional lectures. Maeda is stressing the importance of endgame reading and gives out homework for that. The winner of the camp league will get the opportunity to play a teaching game against a professional 9-dan. The most promising candidate so far is Lionel Zhang 6D from the US, who has four wins and no losses thus far.

On the weekend there are friendly tournaments against local players visiting the camp. Some of them are regular visitors to the US Go Congress and were happy to be able to play in their hometown against westerners. Wednesday and Thursday are free days that can be used for sightseeing trips. There have already been trips to Kansai Kiin, Osaka Castle and Kyoto. Some people did not want to stop playing go for even a day and used their free time to pay a visit to the Kansai Branch of Nihon Kiin and challenged the people there.

The professionals are not just teaching go; they also take time to show participants around. Especially going out for dinner with local people is very worthwhile. Nakano Yasuhiro 9P even gave an example of traditional Japanese music, giving a performance with a shamisen, a three-stringed, Japanese musical instrument. Click here for additional photos and reports on the camp’s blog.
- Jan Engelhardt, German Correspondent for the E-Journal; photo: a friendly tournament against locals

Bay Area Organizers See Japan-U.S. Blind Go Connection

Wednesday June 26, 2013

Sighted go players who struggle to master the game of go may be surprised to learn that many blind people in Japan know how to play go, and that there are clubs with blind players who meet on a regular basis. Last Fall, Bay Area Go Players Association board members Roger and Lisa Schrag traveled to Japan and met with Mr. Fumio Miyano (second from right in photo) of the Japan Go Society for the Visually Impaired in Osaka, Japan. The Society produces special 9×9 and 19×19 go sets and Braille go books so that blind and visually impaired people can play go.  Black and white stones can be differentiated by feel, grid lines are raised, and the stones fit into holes in the board so that they will not move when a player touches them to read the board position.

The Japan Go Society for the Visually Impaired also hosts an annual international go tournament for blind players. There are some strong go players out there who are blind. Nakamaru Hitoshi of Japan and Song Jung-taek of Korea, for example, each are rated at 5 dan.

The Society has provided Bay Area Go Players Association with a special 9×9 go set and Braille go materials. “If you have a blind or visually impaired friend in the San Francisco Bay Area interested in learning to play go, we now have the necessary equipment to teach them,” says Roger Schrag; contact him for details and to make arrangements.