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

Children’s Programs Flourishing

Monday April 25, 2011

Elementary school go programs are on the upswing, with organizers across the country launching programs for young kids. Xinming Simon Guo used the Chinese New Year last February to introduce 64 second-graders at Hawthorne Elementary, in Chicago, IL, to the game. “We celebrated a special Chinese Spring Festival. Besides having delicious food for the celebration of the Chinese New Year, the students were treated with ‘delicious’ Chinese culture in the game of weiqi (go).”  Guo reports that some of the kids will soon join his weekly program at the local Chinese school.

In Camp Hill, PA, Mark Lichtenstein started a program at Eisenhower Elementary.  “I received go equipment from the AGF last school year,” reports Lichtenstein, “it got some use at the high school where I was teaching part time but the school closed over the summer, which I had anticipated.  I  brought the equipment with me to my new location, and I am glad I did, because it gave me the opportunity to lead a small go club at Eisenhower.  I had 6 to 8 children in the club plus an assistant from the high school for each meeting.  We met in February and March every other week for about an hour.  Everyone learned some basics.  Due to time constraints and attention spans, we started on 9×9 and moved to 13×13 but never went to 19×19.  A few parents approached me at other school events and told me that their children were having a great time.  The highschooler downloaded a go app for her smart phone.  The parent running the chess club a few tables over was intrigued but I’ve not got him playing yet.”

Programs like these are directly supported by donations to the American Go Foundation (AGF).  The AGF offers free equipment to any go program for kids in the US and Canada (through the CGA).  They also offer free sets of Hikaru no Go to school and public libraries.  For more information, or to make a donation, visit the AGF website. - Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor.  Photo – at Hawthorne Elementary in Chicago, Guo is at far left, in the rear, wearing an orange shirt.  Photo by Xinming Simon Guo.

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GO SPOTTING: Discover Magazine on “Who’s Smarter, a Human or a Computer?”

Sunday April 24, 2011

“Go computers are not even close to human capability,” reported Andrew Moseman last February in Discover Magazine . In “Who’s Smarter, a Human or a Computer?” Moseman reviews “the ways that humans can still out-think our computational creations—for now.” On the eve of the IBM’s supercomputer thumping of Jeopardy champions, Moseman looked at checkers, chess, poker and go, as well as Scrabble and Risk, which are also games where humans still do better than computer programs. “There won’t be any major popular game solved for a while now,” University of Alberta professor Jonathan Schaeffer — a member of a research team that created a poker-playing AI that can best human players in limit Texas hold ‘em — says. “There’s a gap.”
photo: Watson faces its human rivals in a practice round. Image: Jeopardy / IBM

European Youth Notch First Win in Transatlantic Match

Sunday April 24, 2011

Over 1,000 spectators showed up to cheer on their favorite youth players at the 3rd Transatlantic Youth Match, held Sunday, April 17 on KGS.  From the start, it was a very close match, as the two under-12 boards split their games 1-1 early on in the first series.  While the North American side took the lead with victories by Andrew Lu and Jianing Gan, the Europeans quickly answered, tying the match 3-3 at the end of the series with Ali Jabarin’s victory over Bill Lin.  The second series was equally nail-biting.  Although the Europeans were seemingly down on their last leg, with victories by Gansheng Shi and Daniel Gourdeau putting them in a 4-5 hole, a close win by Thomas Debarre over Ryan Li tied the match up once again.  In the last game to finish, Ricky Zhao had a slight lead against Mateusz Surma, but a large ko in the end proved to be too much for him to handle, giving the Europeans a 6-5 win, their first ever in the history of the Transatlantic Youth Match.  More details, including game records, can be found on the TrabsAtlantic Youth website http://www.usgo.org/tournaments/TransAtlanticYouth/3/
- reported by Lawrence Ku, who also organized the match

Salt City Tourney Draws Skateboarders & Nonagenarian

Sunday April 24, 2011

This year’s Salt City Go Tournament, held April 16 in Syracuse, NY “was remarkable for the efforts that several made to attend it,” reports organizer Richard Moseson.  Brandon Mills traveled the farthest, driving six hours up from Pittsburgh, PA and returning home that evening, while teenagers Justin Gagne and Lyndon Whitney caught an early train from Rochester and then skateboarded (!) the final eight miles to the tournament.  Winner of the Dan Division and taking home the $250 first place prize was another distant traveler, Phil Waldron 5d, who drove down from Ottawa, Ontario.  He and Jared Beck 2d of Ithaca, NY — who captured the $100 second place prize — both finished with 3-1 records. The top two finishers in the B Division, both with 4-0 records, were Seth Rothschild 10k and Tom Smith 11k, students from Syracuse University and the Rochester Institute of Technology respectively, while the first two places in the C Division were won by Lyndon Whitney 18k and Yuk Ki Chau 13k. Seventeen prizes –including several go books generously discounted by Slate and Shell – were awarded in all, out of a field of 30.

Photos: right: top two winners Phil Waldron (l) and Jared Beck (r) with Wayne Nelson and 3rd place winner Jonathan Wang watching. Left: Nonagenarian Milton Sack 11k, playing in his first tournament ever. photos by Richard Moseson

Categories: U.S./North America
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U.S. Go Congress Registration Nears 200 Mark

Monday April 18, 2011

Registration for the 2011 U.S. Go Congress is approaching 200, with 174 registered, including 96 kyu-level players, 57 dan-level players, and 20 non-players. “Initial deposits must be paid by June 1st to ensure the lowest price!” say organizers Lisa Scott and Andrew Jackson. The Congress runs July 30 – August 7 in Santa Barbara, CA, and the registration thus far “suggests that turnout is going to be very high,” say Scott and Jackson, “and also that the discount we’ll be able to offer will be high as well.”  Click here for details and to register.

photos by Gen Zhang & Edward Zhang at the 2010 U.S. Go Congress

More Tourneys Raising Aid for Japan Relief

Monday April 18, 2011

As aftershocks continue to hit Japan, more go tournaments are raising funds to aid in the earthquake/tsunami recovery efforts. This Saturday the Tsunami Relief Tournament will be held in New York City; space is very limited, so you MUST pre-register: email  Badukboris@gmail.com And thanks to sponsorship of the April 30 Western Maryland Go Club Spring Tournament by the Insei League on KGS, “we will be able to donate the majority of the entry fees to the tournament to Japan relief efforts,” reports Trevor Morris. Pre-registration is not required, but if you think you might be coming, let them know on Facebook. The recent Go4 Japan tournament – usually known as the Antwerp Go Tournament – raised $800 for the Japanese Red Cross Society. The April 9-10 event in Antwerp, Belgium drew 30 participants from Belgium and Holland, and “we made both the regional newspaper and television, which is nice as well,” reports Joost Vannieuwenhuyse.

Ye Sweeps WYGC Qualifier

Monday April 18, 2011

Eight-year-old Aaron Ye 3d (at left) fought his way to victory in the Jr. Division qualifier for the World Youth Go Championships (WYGC), and will be going to Romania to represent the US in August.  The initial rounds were held online, with a live final at the BAGPA ratings tourney in Palo Alto, CA, on April 9th.  Ye faced serious competition throughout the event, and almost lost to Jeremy Chiu 1k (at right) who is just nine years old himself.  Ye made a strong showing in this event last year, but lost in the finals.  He studies with Mingjiu Jiang 7P, and has worked very hard on his game this past year.  Chiu’s AGA rank is lagging behind his ability, he is pushing 3d on KGS, and had a very strong performance in the recent School Teams Tourney, helping his team win first place.  In the semi-finals, Chiu knocked out Sammy Zhang 2d, while Ye defeated Luke Zhang 1d, setting the stage for a showdown between the pint-sized prodigies the following weekend.  Chiu got off to a strong start, and dominated the game, but an endgame error gave Ye the win at the last minute. Today’s 

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game commentary by Feng Yun 9P shows how both players could have improved their game.  The E-Journal is pleased to have Feng Yun on board for youth commentaries, and members can get game reviews like this in their e-mail box every week.  We are making today’s commentary available to everyone, as an incentive to join the AGA.  Youth memberships are only $10, and get you great games like this, as well as guaranteeing you will be invited to events like the USYGC and the Redmond Cup.  To join, click here. -E-J Youth Editor Paul Barchilon.  Photos:  Aaron Ye at left, Jeremy Chiu at right.

AGA Go Camp Confirmed for Summer Fun

Monday April 18, 2011

The AGA East Coast Go Camp has finalized details for this year’s camp, which will be held at the Madison Suites Hotel in Somerset, New Jersey, July 23-30. Mingjiu Jiang 7p and Yuan Zhou 7d will be the primary teachers.  Jiang, one of the driving forces behind the incredibly successful Bay Area (CA) scene, and organizer of the Zhujo Jiang youth tourney every year, has a proven track record with kids.  He counts some of the strongest youth in the country among his students.  Zhou, one of the most popular teachers on the East Coast, is also well known for his many books on go.  His deep insight into what kyu players are failing to see make his lessons all the more valuable.  “Students aged 8 – 18 are invited to spend a week playing go and making friends,” says camp director John Mangual.  “Double-digit kyus, upper-level dans, and anyone in-between can all participate. At previous camps, beginning players rapidly improved between 5 – 10 kyu levels in just one week, while advanced players improved their fundamentals and learned more about life and death, joseki and midgame fighting.   Our professional staff will make camp worthwhile for even the strongest amateurs.  The camp is an exciting chance to play go face to face, instead of just online,” adds Mangual. For more information, visit the camp page here, or e-mail Mangual at agagocampeast@usgo.org. - Photo: Kids take a break from studying to bury one of their counselors in pillows, photo by Amanda Miller (who is at the bottom of the pillow pile) from last year’s camp. -Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor.

Jimmy Yang 4d & Cary Team B Top Carolina Spring Go Tournament

Monday April 18, 2011

Jimmy Yang 4d (front, left) of Virginia swept the Open section of the annual Carolina Spring Go Tournament, while the Cary Chinese School Team B won the team event. The April 10 event was organized by the Cary Go Club and the Chinese-American Friendship Association of North Carolina and held in Raleigh, attracting 30 go players from 7 to 70 years old.

For the first time in the tournament’s 8-year history, reports organizer Owen Chen, a team event was organized for the youth players.   Each team consisted of three players, with each team member’s individual score being accumulated for the team score. Twelve go class students from the Cary Chinese School formed three teams while three students from the Raleigh Academy of Chinese Language formed the remaining team. “The team competition was fierce,” says Chen. “Young players kept reporting and checking the team scores posted on the wall after each round.” For the most part, the team scores were very close and each team had a chance to win the team tournament in the last round.  In the end, Cary Chinese School Team B, consisting of Alvin Chen, John Zhu and Byron Qi, won the team event with 7 individual wins.

Winner’s Report: In the individual competition, Jimmy Yang 4d of Virginia swept the open section with 4-0.   Jeff Kuang 5d and Owen Chen 5d tied for the second place of the open section, each with one loss. Andrew Zalesak 1k won Section A (7k-1d), Ralph Abbey 13k won Section B (8k-15k) and  Samuel Sites 18k won Section C (16k-19k).  All three of them went a perfect score of 4-0 to win their sections.  Larry Zhang 20k won Section D (20k-25k) with 3-1.   Alvin Chen 16k finished second in Section C with 3-1 and Byron Qi went 2-2 and yet still finished in the second place of Section D.

Categories: U.S./North America
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Eric Lee 2d Wins Pittsburgh Spring Tourney

Monday April 18, 2011

On April 9th, 16 players from around the Pittsburgh area and from Ohio and West Virgina gathered at Carnegie Mellon University for the Pittsburgh Spring Tournament.  Eric Lee 2d won the upper division with a record of 3-0, and Josaih Odhner 10k won the lower division with a record of 3-0.
- Kim Warzinski

Categories: U.S./North America
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