American Go E-Journal » U.S. Go Congress

Atari Founder Nolan Bushnell on Go, Pong, Life and Changing the World

Saturday August 4, 2012

A standing-room-only crowd packed into Washburn Hall at the U.S. Go Congress opening ceremonies Saturday night, where – after a brief but entertaining Congress welcome from Congress Directors Paul Celmer and Peter Armenia — Atari founder Nolan Bushnell regaled the rapt audience with tales of how he came to found the company that helped define the computer entertainment industry for years. The talk was the keynote presentation of the ongoing International Go Symposium (see below for Sunday’s schedule).

“Isn’t go a great game?!” Bushnell began, to cheers and applause. “Go allows us to engage both side of our brain,” Bushnell continued, “but it requires humility and patience, both of which are hard for Americans. But wouldn’t the world be a better place if everyone played go?” He then described how he learned go from a fellow chess club member in college, was instantly entranced by the game, and then got interested in arcade games while working in an amusement park. Punctuating his own history and that of the computer game industry with jovial asides – “I turned down an offer to buy a third of Apple for $50,000; I regret that.” – Bushnell described developing classics like the Atari 2600 gaming console and Pong, which drew knowing nods from many in the crowd of gamers, some of whom had brought their favorite Atari game cartridges to be autographed. “Go has been really important in my career,” Bushnell said, as he described the ups and downs of a long and fascinating life. “Just like in a game of go, at the end, you pick up the pieces and start over again.”

Now CEO of Brainrush, Bushnell has gotten interested in education and in the effects of aging on the brain, and he described software his company’s working on that he said has gotten tremendous results by focusing on play instead of the usual approach of “presentation, practice, test.” Bushnell concluded by throwing his arms wide and proclaiming that “I love go players” and confiding that he often plays on KGS (“Often anonymously”) but that he needs “a two-martini account” for those days when he just wants to have fun playing.

International Go Symposium Schedule for Sunday, August 5
A = Attending Congress; S = Skype presentation; also streaming live online. Papers and web links will be posted online after the Symposium; details will be announced in the E-Journal.

Sunday August 5

9:00    Thomas  Wolf  Go Theory S
Basic Seki in Go

9:45    Chen Zu-yan  Poetry S
The Art of Black and White: Weiqi in Chinese Poetry

10:30  Roxanna Duntley-Matos  Education and Community Organization  A
“Playing Under and Pushing Through the Stones”: Privileging Transnational Go Network Formation and Minority Leadership from Lower to Higher Education.

11:15  Peter Shotwell  History
The Origins of Go Strategies in Classical Chinese Grammar

12:00-1:00  Lunch 

1:00-2:30  A Panel Discussion on Go inChinaToday:
Marc Moskowitz  A
Wei Qi Wonders: Conversations About the Game of Go in China (Film)
and
The Challenges of Categorization for an Increasingly Globalized Game

Stephanie Mingming Yin (China1-dan Professional)  A
Experiences in Growing Up in the Profession and Observations on the Chinese Methods of Education  Joshua A. Guarino (Go Congress Japanese-English Interpreter) A
Cross-cultural memoirs

Peter Shotwell  (Go Historian)
Go in China1985

2:30 Hotta Yumi  A
Hikaru no Go creator – Interview
Paul Barchilon  (Vice-President and Youth Coordinator, American Go Foundation: 2006 Teacher of the Year)  Akane Negishi  (Translator)

3:15 Terry Benson  Rules/Attitudes A
Spreading Go – Rules and Attitudes Which Make That Hard

A Panel Discussion on Go on How to Start a Go Program in Your Community
Moderated by Roy Laird, PhD, LCSW-R (Program Director, New York City Children’s Aid Society)

Play Go and Grow: Why Every School and Library Should Have a Go Program  A
Paul Barchilon (Vice-President and Youth Coordinator, American Go Foundation: 2006 Teacher of the Year)

Developing Youth Programs
Peter Freedman, PhD (Portland, OregonChildren’s go organizer); 2011 Portlandand Mexico Children’s Tournament)  A

Teaching Children to Become Go Players
Siddhartha Avila (Program Director, Mexican Youth Go Community; Univ.of Michigan Cultural Ambassador Go Program)  A

The Art of Go in Education and Presentation of the International Children’s Go Art Contest

photos: (top right) Nolan Bushnell delivers Symposium keynote speech; (middle left) Bushnell talks with Congress attendees after the speech, including the EJ’s Steve Colburn (right) and Todd Blatt (left); (middle right): Congress Directors Paul Celmer (standing, center) and Peter Armenia (seated at right) with Chris Kirschner (left) as the Ghost of Congresses Past. photos by Chris Garlock

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Redmond Cup Live at 3pm.

Saturday August 4, 2012

The Redmond Cup finalists have arrived at the US Go Congress, and the stage is set for a showdown in both divisions.  Calvin Sun 7d, age 15, will face off against Jianing Gan 6d, also 15, in the Senior; both boys just played in the first AGA/Tygem Professional certification tourney, and Gan made it all the way to the finals, where he was just one game away from becoming a professional.  In the Junior Division ten year old titans Aaron Ye 5d, and Austen Liao 2d, will square off.  Liao is a dark horse contender who made the finals by fighting his way up to second place, from a seed at the bottom of the 10 player field, knocking out two players ranked higher than him.  Both games will be broadcast live on KGS, in the AGA Tournaments room, at 3pm EDT. -Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor

International Go Symposium Kicks Off Saturday: Nolan Bushnell Keynotes, Online Streaming Available

Friday August 3, 2012

The International Go Symposium kicks off a full schedule of presentations on the history and culture of the game of go at 9a (EST) Saturday morning in Washburn Hall at the US Go Congress in Black Mountain, NC. The Symposium – sponsored by the International Go Federation, the American Go Foundation and the American Go Association – will also be streamed live online.  Nolan Bushnell, founder of Atari, the first computer game maker, will deliver the event’s keynote speech at 7:30p. photo: Symposium organizer Peter Shotwell (in flowered shirt) and Symposium Videographer Terry Benson (in cap) setting up Friday; photo by Chris Garlock

International Go Symposium Schedule for Saturday, August 4 (the second and final day is Sunday, August 5); A = Attending Congress; S = Skype presentation

9:00    Chen Zuyuan  History  S
The Evolution of Japanese Territory and Chinese Area Scoring Since the Tang Dynasty

9:45    Jacques Basaldua  Computer  S
Advances in M-eval: A Multivariate Evaluation Function for Opening Positions in Computer Go

10:30  Peter Schumer  Teaching  A
Design of a College Go Course

11:15 IsraelRodriguez Nava  Culture  S
Cultural Considerations in the Spread of Go in Western Countries

12:00-1:00  Lunch break

 

1:00  Bill Spight  Go Theory  S
How to EstimateTerritory: Research into the Influence of Immortal, Partially Immortal, and Dead Stones, and the Estimation of Territory on the 3×3 Board

1:45  Francois van Niekerk  Computer  S
New Work on MCTS Parallelisatio

2:10  Peter Shotwell  Culture
A reading of the short version of “Historical Hypotheses and Facts About the Game of Go inVietnam,” a paper by Konstantin Bayraktarov of Bulgaria

2:15  Peter Shotwell Culture
Some Notes on the Possible Origins in Ancient Greeceand Rome(via Bactria) of the Tibetan Custodial Capture Game Mig Mang That Uses Go Stones and Boards 

2:30  Dalsoo, Kim  History  A
A Study of Flower (Star) Points in Go and Other Games

3:15  Kyle Blocher  Go Theory  A
The Value of Moves: Sente, Gote, and Combinatorial Game Theory

4:00  Ichiro Tanioka  History
The Origin of 19×19 Go-boards inChina

4:45  Dae-won Suh  Greeting

7:30  Nolan Bushnell  Keynote Speech
Peter Armenia, Paul Celmer & Peter Freedman
Moving Go From the Cultural Backgrouond to Center Stage

 

US Go Congress Update: US Open Check-In Required

Friday August 3, 2012

Hundreds of go players will converge on the YMCA Blue Ridge Assembly in Black Mountain, NC today for eight days of go at the 2012 U.S. Go Congress. Congress registration is in the Blue Ridge Center lobby area. Click here for 2012 Go Congress Handbook, the 43-page guide to the biggest U.S. go event of the year. The pocket-sized handbook – easily viewable online as well as on your handheld device — provides a comprehensive guide to the complete schedule of dozens of activities, from daily tournaments to pro lectures, as well as special events this year, including the first International Go Symposium to be held in North America, the Keith Arnold Challenge, Mountain Top Go, a Friday Night Campfire, pig picking and live bluegrass music. Also included are brief bios of the 17 professionals attending, a handy “Week at a Glance” overview, and site maps.

US Open Check-In: “If you are planning on playing in the US Open, and you are arriving during normal registration hours on Saturday, I’ll be seeing you there to confirm your participation in the tournament,” says U.S. Open TD Karoline Burrall. “You will need to check in with the US Open TD by 9pm. However, if you are arriving late on Saturday (after 9pm), you will need to check in for the tournament by sending me a quick email at tournaments@gocongress.org or by calling at 919-809-7397.” Anyone who does not check in with a TD to confirm participation in the US Open, will not be paired for Round 1 on Sunday morning.

Photo: Congress Directors Paul Celmer (l) and Peter Armenia (r) unload Congress materials on Friday afternoon; photo by Chris Garlock

AGA Announces New Pandanet-AGA City League

Friday August 3, 2012

On the heels of the successful Tygem Pro Test Tournament, which wraps up Saturday, the AGA has just announced another new fully-sponsored tournament.  The inaugural Pandanet-AGA City League will officially kick off during the 2012 US Go Congress, which begins this Saturday in Black Mountain, NC. “This an exciting new event and we expect it’ll become an important part of the American tournament scene,” said AGA President Allan Abramson. Funded by Pandanet, the tournament is formatted similarly to the Chinese and Korean City Leagues: each team consists of three active players, one alternate and one captain, representing a city or region in North America.  Players may be either pros or amateurs.  The top six teams are placed into an “A” League and will play a double round-robin with each other throughout the year on the International Go Server (IGS).  Other teams are placed into a “B” League and possibly a third, “C” League.  The top finisher in the B League moves up to the A League after each season, replacing the bottom A League team.  In addition to generous cash prizes provided by Pandanet, teams are encouraged to seek their own local sponsors to provide the team with travel, training, celebration and community events, and game-fees. “The primary goal of the City League is to provide a new opportunity for pros and strong amateurs to play,” reports AGA Tournament Coordinator Karoline Burrall. “A second goal is to generate regional interest and build up small, grassroots support for go in the North America. Watch for further announcements during the Go Congress and start organizing your own team now!”

U.S. Go Congress Updates: Getting There; MD Team Seeks Players; Game Recorders, Tennis Players and Soccer Fans Wanted; Club Team Tourney Reminder

Wednesday August 1, 2012

With the 2012 U.S. Go Congress just a few days away, organizers are putting the final touches on the biggest go event of the year.

“Be assured there are many industrious, creative, and energetic volunteers (as well as a few tired ones) working every day to make your Congress experience well beyond the ordinary,” says Congress Registrar Arlene Bridges. “Many unique events and activities await you that do not usually happen at a Go Congress.”

“But first,” Bridges adds, “you have to get there.” Click here to review a handy Congress Welcome PDF“to help you get to the Congress site on time and prepared to play!” The 20-page PDF includes info on what to bring, check-in details, Congress contacts, driving directions and a site map of the Blue Ridge Assembly (84 Blue Ridge Circle,  Black Mountain, North Carolina 28711)

Meanwhile, “there are still seats left on the Maryland team for the Wisonet State Team Go Tournament!” reports AGA TD Coordinator Karoline Burrall. “There is room left for one kyu-level player, three dan-level players, and one alternate player between 5k and 4 dan.” If you live in Maryland and want to compete against teams from New York, New Jersey, California, Virginia, and North Carolina, email Burrall at stateteamtournament@gmail.com by Friday, August 3. The 5-round tournament runs afternoons (2:30pm) on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday.

And American Go E-Journal Managing Editor reports that “The E-Journal has room for a few more game recorders next week at the U.S. Go Congress!” If you’d like to be part of the team that brings the Congress to the rest of the world, email journal@usgo.org. Garlock also invites racquet-wielding go players to join him for stress-relieving tennis sessions early each morning and in the mid-afternoon, when soccer maven Terry Benson will also be organizing pick-up soccer matches. See the Congress handbook for details.

Haskell and Rachel Small, co-directors of the Club Team Tournament, remind Congress-goers that “Any AGA-sanctioned Go club can field three players as a team. This year, clubs can only field one team. All teams will compete in each of the four rounds at 3pm on Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. Sign up by 1pm on Sunday the 5th!”


Got Congress updates? Email them to us at journal@usgo.org!

International Submissons Flood Go Art Contest

Monday July 23, 2012

The second International Children’s Go Art Painting Contest has received almost seventy entries.  Submitting countries include Japan, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, The Philippines, Pakistan, Bulgaria, Argentina, Mexico and the United States (including Hawaii).  The deadline was July 13th, and the artworks are being exhibited at Espacio Japón, the Japanese embassy in Mexico city’s cultural center. Go workshops, talks and an Ukiyo-e Go prints exhibition are also featured. The panel of judges was composed of members devoted to arts and education, including Fumiko Nakashima, Alma G. Juárez, Yuko Kosaka (Yuro), Daniella Campirano, Miguel A. Ramírez and Lilian R. Romero.  The judges made a final decision on three top places and two notable submissions for each category. The results will be announced August 5th at the International Go Symposium in Black Mountain, NC and the artworks will be on display during the U.S. Go Congress. The Mexican Youth Go Players Association would like to thank Japan’s Cultural Attaché in Mexico Miwa Yoshizawa; Ph.D Marcela Zepeda Zaleta,  the Principal at the Pipiolo Educational and Artistic Research Center; Israel Rodríguez Nava, President of Asociación Mexicana de Baduk-Igo-Weiqi; A.C. and the volunteers that supported us. Special recognition goes to all the enthusiastic children around the world that expressed their love for go through painting, they have many things to share with us at the International Go Symposium. -Siddhartha Avila, Comunidad Mexicana de Go Infantil y Juvenil. Photo:  Art by Aaron Ye 5d, 2nd place winner from last year’s A section.

Downloadable U.S. Go Congress Handbook Released

Saturday July 21, 2012

Saying “Welcome to our little gathering in the mountains,” U.S. Go Congress organizers today released a downloadable PDF of the 2012 Go Congress Handbook, the 43-page guide to the biggest U.S. go event of the year, coming up August 4-12 in Black Mountain, NC. The pocket-sized handbook – easily viewable online as well as on your handheld device — provides a comprehensive guide to the complete schedule of dozens of activities, from daily tournaments to pro lectures, as well as special events this year, including the first International Go Symposium to be held in North America, the Keith Arnold Challenge, Mountain Top Go, a Friday Night Campfire, pig picking and live bluegrass music. Also included are brief bios of the 17 professionals attending, a handy “Week at a Glance” overview, and site maps. “If you’re already registered, download the Handbook PDF now to begin planning how to get the most out of the week,” say Co-Directors Paul Celmer and Peter Armenia. “If you haven’t signed up yet now, check it out to see all the great go activity and then register online!”

 

Ziplines, Whitewater Rafting, Fly Fishing & More at Congress Day Off

Monday July 16, 2012

In case playing go isn’t thrilling enough, Go Congress organizers are offering a Zipline Adventure among the Day Off options. The course’s mile of suspended cable features ten zip lines, including one soaring 200 feet above the forest floor and one that is 1100 feet long, artfully-crafted platforms that nest seamlessly in large native trees, two rappelling experiences, two suspended sky bridges that span forest sections teeming with flora and fauna, and three short hikes. Participants “will enjoy a thrilling ride while learning about local culture, history, the natural environment, and perhaps more about themselves.” Other Day Off options include a tour of the Biltmore Estate, Whitewater Rafting, a Guided Waterfall Hike, Fly Fishing, Asheville On Your Own and Crafts At Your Own Pace. “Be sure to sign up early to ensure your place,” encourages organizer Cynthia Gaty.

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Wisonet Cup State Team Go Tournament Seeks Players

Sunday July 15, 2012

Six states — New Jersey, North Carolina, California, New York, Virginia, and Maryland — have been invited to compete in the first-ever Wisonet Cup State Team Go Tournament at this year’s U.S. Go Congress. “This is an exciting new addition to the Congress tournament schedule,” says AGA Tournament Coordinator Karoline Burrall. If you’re a resident of NC, CA, NY, VA, or MD who’s attending the US Go Congress and interested in participating in this tournament, email stateteamtournament@gmail.com by July 20, with your home state in the subject line. The 5-round tournament will take place at 2:30p on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday at the Go Congress. Each state may select a team of six players: three dan players, two kyu players, and an alternate between 5k and 4d who can play in any of the five team seats should a player be unavailable. The team from New Jersey has already been formed and is captained by Kevin Huang 7D and Larry Russ 3K. Other players on the team are Lionel Zhang 6D, Forest Song 4D, Steven Brethrick 2K, and Justine Ching 3D. The tournament is sponsored by Wisonet, Inc, which is providing $1500 in prizes and a free Super Pentominoes Puzzle for each participant.

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