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

Behind the Scenes at the US Go Congress: Tech Support

Friday August 5, 2016

As you might imagine, there’s a lot of behind-the-scenes work that goes into broadcasting games from the annual US Go2016.08.05_tech-issues-IMG_0649 Congress, whether on KGS, Pandanet, YouTube or Twitch. Most of the time, everything works, and go fans around the world can follow the top-board action from the comfort of their own homes or at work.

But sometimes things go sideways. Like Thursday morning. With just minutes to go before the sixth round in the US Open Masters was scheduled to begin, and with Bao Yun and Ito Kenryo — the last two undefeated players left — seated at Board 1, the internet connection for the game recorder’s computers and the livestream feed went dead. The E-Journal team quickly scrambled to troubleshoot the problem, find workarounds and implement backup plans. The BU tech guys were called in, cables and adapters were swapped and software settings were rapidly reconfigured. As always, the priority was to ensure no disruption or distraction for the players while working to bring the best possible broadcast to viewers on the various platforms. At home, viewers probably didn’t even notice the 2-minute delay in the start of the round, which otherwise went off without a hitch. The way we like it.
- Dennis Wheeler & Chris Garlock; photo by Garlock

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Hajin Lee’s Next Big Move

Friday August 5, 2016

It’s only August and already Hajin Lee has had one heck of a year. She got married, stepped down from her post as Secretary General of the International Go Federation, got promoted to 4-dan professional at the Korean Baduk Association and got accepted to an MBA program in Switzerland. Oh, and there was that whole AlphaGo thing.
2016.08.05_hajin-lee-IMG_0744
The AlphaGo games against Lee Sedol in March came just before the end of Lee’s tenure at the IGF and the huge crush of media interest generated headlines and news reports around the world as hundreds of journalists descended on Seoul, where she’d spent years as a pro. “Working at that event was really crazy, it was one of the busiest times of my life, but it was still fun,” she said. In addition to witnessing the most massive promotion of go in the history of the game, Lee came away with a personal memento of the moment:  “DeepMind sent me a beautiful set of Wedgewood tea cups and pots” for her wedding to fellow go player Dan Maas.

But the tea party will have to wait; Lee is moving to Switzerland this Fall to get an MBA focusing on international organizations. “When I applied for the program, I wanted to get some kind of job at the UN. But right now, I am open to other options because there are many organizations that do education or philanthropy work and I am mostly interested in those sectors,” building on her work at the IGF. “I really enjoyed working with the global community and the international context [at the IGF],” she told the E-Journal.

Lee was also recently promoted to 4P by the Korean Go Association. “In the Korean pro system, it’s a cumulative point system,” she explains. Her last promotion was to 3D in 2007. As for the question on many of her fans’ minds, Hajin — known for her popular go broadcasts as Haylee on YouTube — says this, “For the time being, my plan is to continue my YouTube broadcasts in Switzerland. The hope is to continue it for as long as I can.”
- report/photos by Samantha Fede, E-Journal special correspondent, reporting from the 2016 U.S. Go Congress . photo: Lee with husband Dan Maas at the Pair Go tournament Thursday night at the 2016 US Go Congress; photo by Chris Garlock 

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2016 US Open Masters Players

Friday August 5, 2016

The US Open Masters Division is the tournament for the best of the best, with the biggest prizes and most intense schedule. The invitational event, with 44 top players this year, is a 9-round event at the US Go Congress, with 6 rounds played at the same time as the US Open and an additional three rounds played Sunday, Tuesday and Friday nights. The new format replaced the 4-round North American Masters Tournament (NAMT) and the 4-round Strong Players Open in 2014. Eligibility in the Masters Division is limited to professionals, 7 Dan or stronger players and NAMT qualifiers. The top prize will be $5000 for first place, plus a $2000 for the top-placing North American Masters Tournament qualifier. Click here for the 2016 Masters Division cro2016.08.05_US Masters Open playersssgrid, with results and top-board game records.

Top row: Bohan An, Matthew Burrall, Fan Chen, Zhaonian Chen, Jeremy Chiu, Yuan Fu, Yongfei Ge, Thomas Hsiang, Alan Huang, Kenryo Ito, Zhongfan Jian

Second row: Xinying Jiang, Dae Hyuk (Daniel) Ko, Jung Hoon Lee, Haoshen Li, Ryan Li, Jie Liang, Tianyu (Bill) Lin, ZhiYuan (Andy) Liu, Benjamin Lockhart, Mengxue Luan, Eric Lui


Third row: Qipeng Luo, Bowen Man, Irene Sha, Gansheng Shi, Zirui Song, Gabriella Su, Calvin Sun, Shuo Sun, Zhengbokang Tang, Tongyu Wang, Zehua Yang


Bottom row: Albert Yen, Bao Yun, Feiming Yun, Cheng Zhang, Hanchen Zhang, Hugh Zhang, Lionel Zhang, Siyuan Zhang, Zhongxia (Ricky) Zhao, Xiangnan Zheng, Yuan Zhou

photos/collage by Chris Garlock

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Why We Play: Melissa Cao 4D, Edward Gillis 2D

Friday August 5, 2016

Melissa Cao 4DMelissa Cao
Age: 13
Lives in: New Jersey
Home Club: Feng Yun Go School
Years playing go: 4
Favorite thing about go: “I like how sometimes when you fight you get the outside, you get a wall and you’re able to use that wall to make territory and use that for other battles during the game.” Melissa said she’s mostly been playing that way this tournament, and that’s her typical style. “I usually like go because it helps my concentration too. Before I wouldn’t concentrate as much but after I’ve been playing go I would concentrate more.”

Edward GillisEdward Gillis 2D
Age: 58
Lives in: Boston, MA
Years playing go: 44
Favorite thing about go: “The rules are simple, but the strategy is complex. The margin between winning and losing is narrow so it makes it a good game from the point of view of developing strategies.” Edward used to play chess, but transitioned to go at a young age. “I like go better than chess because it seems more universal. It’s simple rules, you can cultivate a sense of attack and defense or who has the ability to force his opponent (sente). I only heard about go much later than chess. I was making a go board for myself in high school shop class. It turns out my [math] teacher was a go player, so I advanced rapidly. That got me a good start, so I was lucky.”

- report/photos by Samantha Fede, E-Journal special correspondent, reporting from the 2016 U.S. Go Congress  

 

 

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US Go Congress Updates: Bao the One to Beat; AlphaGo Keynote Video Posted; Pro Game Commentaries; Tournaments Schedule

Thursday August 4, 2016

Bao the One to Beat: Yun Bao 7d prevailed over Kenryo Ito 1P Thursday morning in the sixth round of the US Open2016.08.04_Bao Masters, giving the “Blindfold Go” master a 6-0 record with just three rounds to go. The game was hard-fought by both players, with Ito in a dramatic byo-yomi that had viewers on the edge of their seats. Click here for the game record and here for the livestream broadcast on the AGA’s YouTube channel. Bao has beaten the players with 5-1 records — Andy Liu, Hanchen Zhang, and Eric Lui — so unless something unusual happens in the next couple of rounds, he’s the odds-on favorite to win the 2016 US Open Masters title.  Of course, there remain strong opponents who will try to block Bao in the next three rounds; see below for the schedule. Complete US Open Masters results through Round 6 and top-board game records here. Click here for the US Open crosstab, updated through Round 4. 

AlphaGo Keynote Video Posted: Aja Huang and Fan Hui’s AlphaGo keynote speech has now been posted on the AGA’s YouTube channel.

Pro Game Commentaries
US Open Masters Round 6, Ito Kenryo 1p (W) vs. Bao Yun 7d (B) Hajin Lee 4p with Stephen Hu 5d
US Open Masters Round 6, Andy Liu 1p (W) vs Danny Ko 7d (B) Liao Guiyong 9p with Louie Liu 3d & Matthew Harwit 5d
2016.08.04_US Open Masters Round 6-Liao Guiyong 9p
US Open Masters Round 6, Zirui Song 1p (W) vs Eric Lui 1p (B) Liao Guiyong 9p with Louie Liu 3d & Matthew Harwit 5d
US Open Masters Round 6, Cheng Zhang 7d (W) vs Michael Chen 7d (B) Liao Guiyong 9p with Louie Liu 3d & Matthew Harwit 5d
US Open Masters Round 6, Shuo Sun 7d (W) vs Hanchen Zhang 1p (B) Liao Guiyong 9p with Louie Liu 3d & Matthew Harwit 5d

US Go Congress Tournaments Schedule: Friday 8/5
9:ooa: Us Open, round 5; US Open Masters, round 7
1:00p: Senior Cup, round 4; Youth Team Match
3:00p: Women’s Tournament, round 4
7:00p: US Open Masters, round 8; Evening League, night 5

Youth Lightning / 9×9 / 13×132016.08.04_u16-girls-taylor-shu
The youth room has been abuzz with tournaments and impromptu games of relay go in the basement all week, presided over by Devin Fraze, Youth Room Coordinator. Table winners in the Lightning: Albert Yen 7d, Young He 5d, Jessica Wu 3d, Kilin Tang 7k, and a tie between Brian Ye 19k and Stephanie Tan 22k. Table winners in the 9×9: Kilin Tang 7k, Sarah Crites 10k, and Billy Ganbaatar 14k. Table winners in the 13×13: Tony Xie 6d, Patrick Zhao 2k, and Gabriello Adler-Abramo.

Under 16 Girls Championship
Taylor Shu 6d (right) defeated Gabriella Su 6d to clinch the championship in the second annual Under 16 Girls Championship Tournament. Gabriella took second place, while Melissa Cao 3d and Jessica Li 3d placed third and fourth respectively.

Evening League: Latest updates here.

report by Karoline Li, Congress Tournament Liaison; photos by Chris Garlock except for Under 16 Girls Tournament (bottom right) photo by Ted Terpstra. 

 

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Chen and Cao Top Youth Adult Pair Go

Thursday August 4, 2016

IMG_20160802_132911Michael Chen 8d and Melissa Cao 4d won the top table at Youth Adult Pair Go on Tuesday at the Go Congress.  The event was a big hit with both young and old, drawing 56 players to the Youth Room. Seven tables competed, with first and second place at each table winning prizes, including go books donated by several publishers, Hikaru no Go manga, and several new sets of various anime series donated by Winston Jen. Devin Fraze has taken over in the Youth Room this year,  allowing longtime organizer Paul Barchilon to actually play in the event,  pictured below with his partner, 5 year old Tselmuun Ganbaatar (who was violating all known standards of Pair Go rules and etiquette by telling her partner how it important it was for him to play where she told him). Every table saw exciting games, many with giggling kids – and astonished adults as the kids outplayed everyone nonetheless. Other events in the Youth Room included lightning go on Sunday, 9×9 and 13×13 tourneys on Monday, and relay go on Thursday.  One youngster said he enjoyed relay go the most, because he “really likes to run.” Fraze, whose day job is teaching fifth grade, was clearly up to the challenge of managing so many kids at once.

IMG_20160802_132501Winners Report: Table one: 1st place: Michael Chen 8d and Melissa Cao 4d,  2nd place: Daniel Liu 6d and Jinli Wang 6d; Table two: 1st place: Frederick Bao 3d and Sai Sun 5d, 2nd place: Kelly Liu 2d and Yunbo Yi 6d; Table three: 1st place: Yungyan Wu 1k and Tao Wu 1d; Table four: 1st place: Owen Sedgwick 12k and Irene Sha 6d; Table five: 1st place: Liya Luk 9k and Allen Noe 1k; Table six 1st place: Sarah Crites 10k and Bob Crites 7k; Table seven: 1st place Zoey Zhang 30k and Yunzhe Zhang 6d.
- Story and photos by Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor

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Localizing the Impact of AlphaGo

Thursday August 4, 2016

AlphaGo has brought go global attention but it’s organizations like the American Go Association that must now figure out2016.08.04_aga-mtgs-ngc how best to capitalize on the new interest in the game. Anyone with questions about the AGA, or who would like to find out more about how you can get involved in promoting go, should plan to attend at least one of the AGA’s organizational meetings on Friday and Saturday at the US Go Congress.

On Friday at 2p, AGA leadership will meet with strong players to discuss issues of concern to them, include the latest on the postponement of the World Mind Sports Games. On Friday at 3p, the AGA board of directors convenes its Congress board meeting. All attendees are welcome and encouraged to observe. From 4:30 to 5:30p, AGA’s IT man and web admin Steve Colburn will be available to discuss the AGA’s website and Internet presence.

Then on Saturday, at 2p, find out what’s involved in hosting a Go Congress in your area. “It’s fun and easy,” promises AGA president Andy Okun. At 3p, the AGA Chapter Assembly — comprised of representatives on the AGA’s chapters — meets.
The agenda includes discussion of the chapter rewards program, future Congress hosting ideas, plus next year’s Congress.

All meetings will be held in Room 312 in Boston University’s George Sherman Union. For further info, email Okun at president@usgo.org
photo: DC-area organizers meet to plan to new National Go Center, earlier this week at the US Go Congress; photo by Chris Garlock 

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Fan Hui: AlphaGo Makes Us Proud to be Go Players

Thursday August 4, 2016

Demonstrating the continuing fascination with all things AlphaGo, it was standing-room-only on Thursday2016.08.04_aja-fan-thank-you-IMG_0272 afternoon at the US Go Congress when Fan Hui 2P presented a detailed commentary on Game Five of the AlphaGo-Lee Sedol match. Blending his trademark self-deprecating humor and intense commitment to the game, Fan — who was the first pro to play AlphaGo in October 2015 — illustrated some of the key parts of the game with ideas and comments he’s gleaned from reviews with many other professionals including Gu Li 9P, as well as AlphaGo’s own estimates of where Lee Sedol should have played. Although many of the proposed moves were not terribly sure in Fan’s estimate, he joked that “One thing for sure is that AlphaGo thinks it’s good for white, so I think so too,” drawing a laugh from the audience.

DeepMind is due to release commentaries on games one and two as well in the coming weeks, for which Fan gave brief trailers. In conclusion, Fan 2016.08.04_aja-fan-sign-lids-IMG_0281said AlphaGo had not just changed the course of go history, but the day-to-day lives of go players around the world. “Before, when you told friends or family members you play go, they’d look at you in puzzlement and ask what go is. Now they know it’s the game in the famous ‘Man versus Machine’ match. Now you can be proud to say ‘I am a go player.’”

In a brief presentation before the lecture, American Go E-Journal Managing Editor Chris Garlock and AGA president Andy Okun made both Fan and AlphaGo programmer Aja Huang honorary members of the E-Journal team “in appreciation for your incredible work publicizing go to a global audience,” presenting them with E-Journal caps. They — along with Garlock — were also given letters by the Empty Sky Go Club’s Steve Colburn from members of go clubs in Upstate New York thanking the entire AlphaGo team for making go “worldwide headline news” and “breaking a barrier that has not been seen in the world of go until now.” Huang and Fan then signed the lids of two go bowls that will be auctioned off at the Congress closing night banquet to benefit the American Go Foundation.
- Andy Okun; photo by Todd Heidenreich

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Behind the Scenes at the US Go Congress: Matthew Hershberger

Thursday August 4, 2016

One of the workers behind the scenes at this year’s US Go Congress is US Open and US Open Masters Tournament 2016.08.04_hershberger-IMG_0516Director Matthew Hershberger. Often working until the wee hours of the morning to prepare the next day’s pairings and then working through the afternoons to pair the US Open Masters tournament that evening, Hershberger pairs over 200 games per day. He doesn’t remember when he first learned about go, since there were a lot of strategy games around his house growing up. Then he discovered Hikaru No Go. “It was a bit of a feedback loop,” Matthew says, “I started reading Hikaru No Go because I was interested in go, then that made me realize that I could actually learn and play online.” His first Go Congress was the European Go Congress in Finland, and then he ran his own Congress in 2014 in New York City. He enjoys tournament play the best because of the ability to completely focus on go without distraction. This led him to get some experience running local tournaments, and now a local in Boston himself, he stepped up to the plate when the 2016 Boston team was looking for a US Open director. His calm and congenial manner mask how much work he successfully completes on a day to day basis here at Go Congress, managing over 400 go players in competition for some of the US Go community’s top prizes.
Karoline Li, Congress Tournament Liaison; photo: Hershberger mentally pairing the next round; photo by Chris Garlock

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Crazy Go: Benson’s 19 Variations

Thursday August 4, 2016

“Crazy go. It’s insane!” The 19 variations of go available Tuesday night at the US Go Congress have grown from just two that 2016.08.04_Crazy Go - Karoline LiTD Terry Benson played at a Go Congress in Cambridge, England in 1976; Rengo Kriegspiel, a game of pair go where none of the four players can see each other or the board, and a variation of team go involving three-player teams and a lot of beer. Benson’s lineup on Tuesday included Rengo Kriegspiel, Joker Go, Blind Go (where both players are blindfolded, not just one as per Bao Yun), Galactic Go, and Zen Go, which is a three-person go game, which means that every turn you play for the opposite color. “In terms of actual instruction in go, Zen Go is the best,” says Terry. “You have to change your perspective each turn!”
report/photos by Karoline Li, Congress Tournament Liaison

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