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

AGA On-Line Simuls Continue Through June

Thursday April 3, 2014

Simultaneous games with strong players continue to be available to AGA members in the AGA Community Room on KGS. For April, simuls are now scheduled in the evenings beginning this Saturday, April 5 and continuing on Wednesday, April 9, Saturday, April 12, and Wednesday, April 30.

The full simul schedule through June is available here.  “Volunteers are adding simuls to the schedule on an on-going basis, so keep checking it for the latest information,” urges organizer Bob Gilman.

Since this program began in October 2013, there have been 128 games played. “These simuls are a great way to test your strength and develop your game,” Gilman says. “You will have the chance to learn tactics and strategies from a stronger player. There will generally be a brief review afterwards. And don’t worry about being ‘too weak.’ These are handicap games and intended to help you learn.”

The games are played in the AGA Community Room on KGS (under “Clubs”) in the Rooms List. If you need room access, email bobgilman.aga@gmail.com with your AGA ID number and KGS username.

 

Categories: U.S./North America
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Three Top-Player Congress Tourneys Merged into Single Super-Event, AGA Announces

Wednesday April 2, 2014

An expanded prize pool and a new tournament structure are planned for the strongest players at this year’s US Go Congress. “The AGA Board, in close consultation with strong players across the country, felt strongly that we needed to raise the stakes, the prestige and the competitiveness of the top tournaments and this is the result,” said American Go Association President Andrew Okun. 

In recent years, strong players competed in three separate main tournaments at Congress, the 6-round US Open open section in the mornings, the 4-round North American Masters Tournament (NAMT) for North American professionals and qualified amateurs in the evenings, and the 4-round Strong Player Open, also in the evenings. 

In the new structure, these three tournaments will be combined into a single 9-round US Open, which will serve both as the top section of the U.S. Open and as the NAMT. The U.S. Open winner will take a top prize of $5,000 and the NAMT-eligible player with the strongest result will become the North American Masters Champion and win $2,000. Other prizes will be paid to other finishers both overall and in the NAMT.  All players 7d and above – and all players who qualified for the NAMT — will be eligible to compete in this new event. Strong players who wish only to play the traditional six rounds of the US Open may do so instead, but will not be eligible for the top prizes. 

The U.S. Open/NAMT will take place during the six mornings of the US Open – at the 2014 US Go Congress in New York City August 9-17 — with an additional three rounds in evenings during the week. Click here for the FAQ on these changes.
photo of 2013 NAMT and SPO playing room by Phil Straus 

1st Washington Open Baduk Championship Set for April 26-27

Wednesday April 2, 2014

The East Coast is getting a new major tournament. The first Washington Open Baduk Championship will be held in Northern Virginia on the weekend of April 26-27. With a top prize of at least $1,000, and cash prizes for every section, “this two-day tournament is not to be missed!” says organizer Allan Abramson. Click here for more details and to register. 

The Championship is sponsored by the Embassy of the Republic of Korea, the Korean Cultural Center – DC and Scorpion Sport Inc. in L.A., co-hosted by the Korean Amateur Baduk Association (KABA) and the American Go Association (AGA), and organized by the NOVA Go Club, the Baltimore Go Club, and the Korean-American Go Association.

The Championship will be a rated five-round, one hour per player event. AGA membership is required. No entry fee, and lunch is free. Other attractions will include a rapid tournament on Friday night, lectures by Myungwan Kim 9P and another Korean professional, and simuls with the pros. “A packed weekend of competition and fun for all,” says Abramson. 

Your Move/Readers Write: Real Cotsen, Fake Chickens

Wednesday April 2, 2014

“Can you confirm that the Cotsen dates (Cotsen Dates Confirmed for 2014-2016 4/1 EJ) are real, not an April 1st joke?” writes Anders Kierulf. “It just seems so unlikely after the dates moving around every year and being announced very late. Also, the 2016 dates should probably be Oct. 22-23, not Oct. 23-24, as that’s not a weekend.”
Yes, the 2014, 2015 and 2016 Cotsen dates are real, though as Kierulf notes, the 2016 dates are actually October 22-23. The Dumb Cluck? 9×9 Go Reportedly Solved story, on the other hand, is not real. Our apologies for any confusion. 

Go Camp Registration Opens

Tuesday April 1, 2014

The AGA Go Camp is pleased to announce that registration for the 2014 camp is now open. Camp will be held from August 3 to August 9, the week before Go Congress, at YMCA Camp Kresge in White Haven, PA, about a 2 hour drive from New York City. Camp directors Amanda Miller and Nano Rivera invite campers of all skill levels, and between the ages of 8 and 18, to join them for a week of go-playing and fun. Youth who played in the NAKC or the Redmond Cup are eligible for a $400 scholarship, and need-based scholarships of up to $250 are also available. For more information on the latest camp-related news, and to download the registration forms, please visit the camp website at http://www.gocampeast.org/. Any questions can be e-mailed to Amanda Miller at agagocampeast@gmail.com. - Story and Photo by Amanda Miller

Cotsen Dates Confirmed for 2014-2016

Tuesday April 1, 2014

Not only have this year’s Cotsen Go Tournament has been confirmed and scheduled for October 25-26, according to AGA President Andy Okun, but dates have been set for 2015 and 2016 as well. For the third time running, this year’s event will take place at the Korean Cultural Center-Los Angeles (KCCLA), in the Mid-Wilshire district of Los Angeles.

“Our thanks to Eric Cotsen (left) for his continued hosting of this outstanding event, and our gratitude as well to retired Ambasador Suh Dae-won (right), the Korean consulate in Los Angeles and the staff and management of KCCLA for providing such a beautiful venue,” said Okun. The two-day, five-round event will include lunch, some pro go teaching and massage therapy and, Okun hopes, “a vendor table or two and other goodies.” As in previous years, the E-Journal will provide full on-site coverage, broadcasting top-boards live on KGS.

In addition, though venues have not been locked down, two more Cotsen tournaments have been agreed to between Cotsen and the AGA for Oct. 24-25, 2015 and Oct. 22-23, 2016.
- photo: Cotsen (left) and  Ambasador Suh Dae-won at the 2013 Cotsen; photo by Chris Garlock
Update: the 2016 dates have been corrected.  

U.S. Go Congress Registration Opens with Special Rebate Offer

Sunday March 30, 2014

Registration for the 2014 U.S. Go Congress has opened with a special offer: $50 cash for using your AGA Capital One Visa credit card. Use it to pay for the Congress and you’ll get an extra $10, for a total of $60. “This year’s Congress is in New York City, one of the continent’s premier destinations,” says AGA president Andy Okun. “To help Congress attendees enjoy themselves in the Big Apple, we’re offering $50 cash walking-around money to any Congress attendee who at the time of registration shows us their AGA Capital One Visa credit card and tells us, hand on heart, they have bought something with it.” 

Possible New York City uses for this cash windfall include museum entry, cab fare, hot dogs, pretzels with mustard, lemonade, pizza slices “or oysters,” says Okun, noting that author Mark Kurlansky has argued that New York should really be called “The Big Oyster”. Oysters used to be plentiful in New York, and when European settlers first arrived, it is estimated that half of the oysters in the world were in New York’s harbors, inlets and riverbeds. Although that’s no longer the case, “$50 should get get you a dozen Blue Point oysters, a bowl of clam chowder and two beers at the Oyster Bar in Grand Central Station,” Okun says.
One payment per credit card. The AGA affinity card is a no fee credit card, “so it costs you nothing to apply and use the card,” says Okun. The AGA receives a one-time payment of $50 the first time you use it and a percentage of your spending on the card thereafter. Click here to apply for the card and here to register for the Congress.

 

Matthew Burrall & Tai-An Cha Top Davis/Sacramento Tournament

Sunday March 30, 2014

Matthew Burrall 6d and Tai-An Cha 5k topped their divisions in the Davis/Sacramento Go Club’s Spring Tournament at the Arden-Dimick library in Sacramento on March 29, 2014. There was a field of 17 players ranging in strength from about 20 kyu to 6 dan. “This was the largest number of player that we have had at one of our tournaments in quite a while,” reports Willard Haynes.
photo: Matthew Burrall 6d (left) and Tai-An Cha 5k

Categories: U.S./North America
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NOVA Cherry Blossom Report

Sunday March 30, 2014

The annual NOVA Cherry Blossom tournament was held on Saturday, March 29, at George Mason University Law School in Arlington, VA. Thirty-nine players participated, including long-distance commuter Paul Celmer from North Carolina. “A special visitor was Mr. I. Moon, Chairman of the Board of the Fairfax County Board of Education, who is promoting go and recruiting go teachers for his elementary schools,” reports organizer Allan Abramson. Reach Moon at IMoon@fcps.edu.

Winners Report:
First place: Justin Teng, 7D, 3-1; Muyuan Wang, 3D, 4-0; Julian Erville, 1K, 4-0; Darren Bias, 4K, 4-0; Barreal Anderson, 9K, 3-0; Steve Manning, 11K, 3-1; and Jonathan Luo, 15K, 3-1
Second place: Josh Lee, 5D, 3-1; Nathan Epstein, 1D, 2-1; Frank Luo, 1K, and Frederick Bao, 2K (tied at 3-1); Matt Payton, 5K, 2-2; Bob Crites, 9K, 3-1; Liam Royce, 11K, and Kevin Stefanik, 11K (tied at 2-2); and Caroline Scheck, 15K, and Sarah Crites, 18K (tied at 2-2)

Categories: U.S./North America
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“New Yorker” Reports on Computer Go

Wednesday March 26, 2014

The latest advances in computer go are covered in a new post by The New Yorker. In “The Electronic Holy War”, Patrick House reports on the Densei-sen, “or ‘electronic holy war,’ tournament, in Tokyo, where the best Go programs in the world play against one of the best humans” where Crazy Stone last March defeated Yoshio “the Computer” Ishida.

The article does an excellent job of explaining why go has been so tough for computers to crack. “Part of the difficulty for computers—and humans—is that it is often hard to determine at any given time whether a group of pieces is being surrounded or doing the surrounding, and thus who is ahead…Without a clear understanding of who is ahead, programs like Deep Blue stutter. ‘All the machinery that was built up for computer chess is pretty useless,’” (Murray) Campbell (a member of the IBM Deep Blue team says.

It also explains how “Monte Carlo” algorithms, initially developed seventy years ago as part of the Manhattan Project, have been the key to developing stronger go programs. “The better the programs got, the less they resembled how humans play: during the game with Ishida, for example, Crazy Stone played through, from beginning to end, approximately three hundred and sixty million randomized games. At this pace, it takes Crazy Stone just a few days to play more Go games than humans collectively ever have. ‘I have to be honest: I still find it kind of magical, that it works as well as it does,’ Campbell said.”

The “electronic holy war” will run once a year in Tokyo until 2017, the report continues. “This past weekend, at the second annual tournament, Crazy Stone faced Norimoto Yoda, a Japanese professional who has a reputation for slamming pieces onto the board—sometimes shattering them—to intimidate his opponent. Crazy Stone was given a four-move head start and, lacking the eyes and ears through which another player might have been intimidated, won by two and a half points. “After the match, Yoda, through a translator, told me that he was grateful for Crazy Stone because it eased up at the end and allowed the game to be closer than it actually was: the result of randomness—or, perhaps, of the beginnings of pity.”
Photograph of Rémi Coulom and Ishida Yoshio courtesy of gogameguru.com