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

Liu and Fitzgerald Win Four Apiece in Bay Area Monthly

Monday July 11, 2011

This month’s AGA ratings tournament in the San Francisco Bay Area was held July 9th in Palo Alto, CA. The playing field consisted of 24 players, including young players and adults ranging in strength from 20 kyu to 4 dan. Tournament organizer Roger Schrag estimates that at least half of the players will be heading to Santa Barbara soon to play in the upcoming US Go Congress. Kaiyang Liu 1d led the dan division with four wins, and Cieran Fitzgerald 20k led the kyu division, also with four wins. Next month’s ratings tournament is scheduled for August 13, also in Palo Alto. Photo by Lisa Schrag.

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Shi and Ye Top Redmond Cup Qualifiers

Monday July 11, 2011

Gansheng Shi 7d and Aaron Ye 4d placed first in the Redmond Cup qualifiers, held online over the past few months.  The Senior Division, for kids aged 12-17, was dominated by Shi,  a 17 year old Canadian, who won the Redmond in 2008 and 2009.  He was undefeated in the qualifier, but faced very strong competition from his own country, with Tianyu Lin 7d, age 14, and Jianing Gan 7d, age 15, almost making it to the finals.  From the U.S., three-time  Redmond champion Calvin Sun 7d, age 14, fought his way into the top four.  Sun got off to a a rough start, losing in rounds 2 and 3, but then rallied, defeating both Gan and Lin in a playoff to earn the right to face Shi at the Go Congress.  In the Junior Division, for kids under the age of 12, nine-year-old Aaron Ye 4d was undefeated.  He faced strong competition from a bevy of pint-sized prodigies in the Bay Area, including last years USYGC champion Kevin Fang.  It was Sammy Zhang 2d, age 11, who held his ground though, making it to the finals for the upcoming playoff at the Congress.  All four finalists have won a free trip to the US Go Congress, to compete for the Redmond Cup.  The final matches will be held on July 31, Aug. 2, and Aug. 4, at 3p PST, and will be broadcast live on KGS.
- E.J. Youth Editor, Paul Barchilon. The Members Edition of the E-Journal includes a game review of Sun’s final match with Lin by Feng Yun 9P.  Sun catches a large dragon to make a decisive win, but Feng Yun shows us  how Lin could have escaped with a throw-in. To get the EJ Member’s Edition, click here for details on AGA membership.

Waldron Weds

Monday July 11, 2011

Phil Waldron (3rd from left)– former President of the Canadian Go Association and a longtime contributor to American go as well – tied the knot with Cindy Pearson on June 11 in Ottawa, Canada. “Thomas Hsiang (2nd from right) and Steve Colburn made it from Rochester, and I’m grateful to Keith Arnold (far left) for making the long trek from Baltimore to join us,” Waldron reports. “Cindy’s not a go player but has learned the rules.  She’s quite indulgent, however, and happily joined me at a tournament in Rochester last year when we were dating.  Having discovered the local shopping opportunities in the city, she may be convinced to do it again.  I think we’re unlikely to make the U.S. Go Congress this year, but next year looks like a much better possibility.”

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AGA Board Ballots Due by End of Month

Monday July 11, 2011

Chapter reps should have received their AGA Board ballots via email by now, reports elections coordinator Arnold Eudell. All completed ballots must be received by July 29. Click here for details on the election, includes candidates and statements.

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Go Beats Out Shedd Aquarium for Fourth Grader

Monday July 11, 2011

Five young students, and their teacher, Xinming Simon Guo, took advantage of Chicago’s recent Family Fun Festival to introduce go to a larger audience. The Chinese-American Museum of Chicago prepared an assortment of activities to promote Chinese art and culture for visiting families and day-camp groups.  Guo and his students staffed a booth on June 25 and 26, and taught over 60 visitors how to play. “The highlight of the weekend is no doubt the story of a fourth grader  from Springfield IL who visited the event tent on Saturday,” reports Guo. “He said he was pretty good at chess and won the champion in the tournament for 7th graders. He showed great interest in go and learned how to play it immediately. I gave him a cardboard set as a reward for having played his first complete game. On the second day, everybody was astonished to see this boy again. His mom told me their original plan was to visit Chicago’s  Shedd Aquarium, but this boy was so attracted by this new game that he gave up the aquarium to revisit the weiqi desk to learn more about go. ‘How can a fourth-grader choose a game of go instead of visiting Shedd Aquarium — rated as the number one attraction for kids??’ his mother asked.  That’s the magic of go, I answered with a smile.”  Guo began his class at Xilin North Shore School in 2010, with the  the support of the American Go Foundation. Since then, the project has attracted about 25 kids to learn go. “This weiqi (go) demo event is a great opportunity for kids to use what they have learned during the last year. It’s also a chance for them to learn how to serve the public,” added Guo.  Students who taught in the booth were Hann Diao, Edward Lee, Jiangao Fang, Ray Li, and Jeffrey Tang. -Paul Barchilon, E.J Youth Editor, Photo: Guo is at left, the  fourth grader mentioned is at right.  Photo by Xinming Simon Guo.

IN MEMORIAM: Remembering Chester

Monday July 11, 2011

By Keith Arnold, hka

I am a go player, and I love go players, but we are an odd bunch at times.  It is not unusual for us to know a person’s rank, but not his name, his name, but not his job, or his KGS handle and not whether he’s married or single.

So when Mark Rubenstein posted on Facebook about the passing of longtime Chicago go mainstay Chester Zawacki (r) on June 19, I was sad, truly.  I remembered him from many Congresses, and I remembered him as a 2 kyu, but  it was not until I looked up his obituary that I knew of his wife and children.

I even posted on his memorial page how much I liked him, even if though I was not sure we had ever played. In fact, thanks to our AGA Database, it turns out that I played him four times, long-forgotten games in my yearly quest for the “Keith Arnold” prize in the Self-Paired tournament.

I guess my point is that I wish I was less one of those go players who simply know each other as opponents and not as people. Because Chester was not one of those kind of go players. I remember that he loved to talk, loved to get to know people. He certainly knew that I was married, and seeing him was one of the main reasons my wife Erica looked forward to the Congresses – he was one of the folks she loved to see again. And Chester knew me too. Just recently he called to talk about the Civil War, knowing that I am more than simply a 4 dan – but a person with interests beyond go.  Don’t get me wrong, Chester was a go player. He played non-stop, but he did not play silently, head down. He took in his opponent, getting to know him off the board as well as on.

With the annual U.S. Congress coming we have our best chance to spend a week getting to know one another and I hope that each of us strives to learn something new about each of our old go friends, or, better yet, about a new go friend.

Thank you Chester, not just for the forgotten four games, but for being the kind of unforgettable go person I’d like to be.

Click here for Chester Zawaki’s online guest book; photo by Mark Rubenstein

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GO SPOTTING: Go, Poker and the Sublime

Sunday July 10, 2011

When Frank Lantz thinks about games, he doesn’t play around. Lantz teaches game design at NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program, the School of Visual Arts, and the New School. He created games for Cartoon Network, Lifetime TV, and VH1 before becoming becoming the co-founder and creative director of Area/Code. His writings on games, technology and culture have appeared in a variety of publications. In a recent lecture on “Go, Poker and the Sublime” at a game developers’ conference (click here to view online), Lantz declared that games are an art form on a par with music, literature and film, perhaps even “the most important art form of the 21st century. Describing go to his mostly non-playing audience, Lantz comes up with some remarkably well-turned phrases, explaining how “Go is good at teaching itself to you,” “. . . at the border of the discrete and the continuous,” “. . . thought made visible to itself.” I especially enjoyed his riff explaining why “light” is better than “heavy,” yet “thick” is better than “thin.” Lantz goes on with a similarly eloquent description of poker, which he finds to be about “the alchemical transformative power of greed.” Looking at both games together, Lantz sees a contrast with video games that dominate today’s market. Go, poker and similar pastimes are more abstract, less reliant on make-believe – in short, they are games that grownups also play. They are infinite – players do not reach an end point as in narrative-based adventure and role-playing games. He exhorts the game developers in the audience to think big: “I want a game that I can play my whole life, that I can teach my son, and he will play his whole life.” Mostly known for the iPhone app “Drop7,” Area/Code has pursued other innovative “social gaming” ideas such as Macon Money,  an alternative currency “game” conducted in “RL” (real life) in Macon, GA; and Budgetball, a physical sport that also requires a certain degree of fiscal planning.  In January, Area/Code was acquired by Zynga, the social gaming giant behind Facebook megahits such as Farmville and Mafia Wars, giving Lantz an even bigger arena in which to realize his dream. With its emphasis on building, cooperation and balance, go has much in common with social media games like Farmville and Cafe World (another Zynga biggie) with the added spice of life-and-death struggle. If Zynga’s next games have bit more of a competitive edge, perhaps we’ll know why . . .
- Roy Laird

Hikaru Anime Online

Friday July 8, 2011

The Hikaru no Go anime series is now more available then ever, thanks to Hulu, Netflix, and iTunes.  Although Viz intitially canceled the series and stopped the English dubs at Volume 11, the show has become increasingly popular online in the subtitled versions.  Recently, iTunes has added the last two seasons, dubbed in English.  This makes the entire run available  without subtitles for the first time.  Hulu first made the show available last year, and Netflix added it for free streaming a few months ago.  To watch on Hulu, go here, For Netflix, search for Hikaru no Go.  Viz media also has the entire series streaming on their website, although you have to put up with ads, click here for their server.  Fans of the dubbed version can pay for each episode,  on iTunes-Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor

Top Players to Represent U.S. in Sport Accord Mind Games; Registration Deadline July 5th

Monday July 4, 2011

(UPDATED!) More than a dozen strong players have already signed up for the five-round Swiss qualifier to represent the U.S. in the Sport Accord Mind Games (SAMG) in December 2011. The registration deadline is 8P (EST) Tuesday, July 5. The field includes five former North American Ing Masters (NAIM) champions: Feng Yun 9P, Huiren Yang 1P, Jie Li 7d, Joey Hung 7d and Andy Liu 7d. Five players, including at least one female, will play in SAMG against five other strong teams including China, Korea, Japan, Europe and Chinese Taipei (representing Asia-Pacific). This means the US players will play against top players in the world like the legendary Lee Changho, Lee Sedol, Gu Li, Kong Jie, Cho U and Iyama Yuta. The qualifier will be held on July 10-12, July 13-16, July 17-20, July 21-23, and July 24-26 on KGS. Players may reschedule with mutual consent, otherwise they must play at the official game times: 8 pm ET/5 pm PT on July 11 (Mon), 14 (Thur), 18 (Mon), 21 (Thur) and 25 (Mon). Due to the tight schedule there may be some short notices, so organizers note that players are responsible for checking and replying emails in a timely manner.
- Zhiyuan ‘Edward’ Zhang

Jimmy Yang 5d Tops Triangle Go Group Friendship Tourney

Monday July 4, 2011

Jimmy Yang 5d (left front) won the June 26 Triangle Go Group’s Friendship/Ratings tournament in Durham/Chapel Hill, NC, topping a field of “18 friendly players,” reports organizer Bob Bacon. Yang was the only participant to go 4-0 for the day. New AGA member Yongman Kang took second place with a 3-1 record, losing only to Yang. Triangle Go Group veteran Peter Armenia won the B section with a 3-1 record. Second in this section was another youngster, Brian Wu, with a 3-1 performance, losing only to Armenia.  The C section was dominated by the older generation, with (not so old) Russell Herman taking first, at 3-1, and Steven Manning coming in second, at 2-2.  “Great games, great friends, great go!” says Bacon.

Categories: U.S./North America
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