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

Redmond Plays Redmond

Saturday August 6, 2011

Michael Redmond 9P treated the winners of his namesake tournament to a special simultaneous game at the US Go Congress Friday August 5th.  The six players were current Redmond Cup champions Aaron Ye 4d, age 9, Calvin Sun 7d, age 14; last year’s winners:  Redmond Meijin Curtis Tang 7d, age 18, and Oliver Wolf 3d, age 12; and current runners-up Gansheng Shi 7d, age 17, and Sammy Zhang 4d, age 11.  It was the Junior Division that scored points though, with both Ye and Wolf notching wins against Redmond, at 4 stones, while all of the Senior contestants lost! – Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor.  Photo:  Nine-year-old Aaron Ye 4d (l) forces Michael Redmond 9P to take heed.or : Former Redmond Junior Champion Oliver Wolf 4d, age 12,  gives Michael Redmond 9P cause to reflect.
- report/photos by Paul Barchilon


The Go Congress Remembers Yoshi Sawada

Friday August 5, 2011

At a memorial set up for Yoshi Sawada – the popular go player and translator who died unexpectedly in late February – attendees at the 2011 U.S. Go Congress shared their memories. Here’s a selection:

I’ll miss his witty banter with Maeda, I’ll miss the energy and joy he brought to a room.
- Anonymous

He was always so happy, and it made me happy to see him. The Congress just is not the same without him. - Anonymous

With his warm heart and experience he often helped many of us from Japan who sometimes felt unfamiliar traveling abroad.
-    Miyoko Miyama

His kindness and generosity was overflowing. He was always there with a broad smile and welcome.
- None C. Redmond

He radiated sunny good humor and cheer. I wish I had been able to play with him longer.
- Chris Scammon

He loved go, but he didn’t just keep it to himself – he shared it with everyone, along with his joyful and generous spirit.
- Roy Laird

Yoshi was always a bright spot in our day, helpful and generous with his laughter.
- Steve and Eileen Barberi

Yoshi made Maeda’s lectures great fun. Rock-paper-scissors. You are missed dude.
- Frank B

Yoshi Sawada: A Brief Biographical Sketch
by Steve Burrall
Yoshi Sawada was born in 1950 in the Belgian Congo while his father was stationed there working for the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. They moved to Belgium and then back to Japan where he attended elementary school and high school, although he attended junior high in Geneva.

His father was a very strong amateur go player and though Yoshi often watched his father play, he was not allowed to touch go equipment and did not actually play go while growing up.

After attending college in France, he went to work for the Japanese Foreign Ministry in Paris, where he began playing go as well as developing expert golfing skills. A few years later he came to the U.S. where he nearly became a professional golfer.

Shuttling back to Japan in the off-seasons allowed Yoshi to take lessons from professional go players and mingle with top pros like Ishida, Rin and the Kobayashis. He ended up in Sacramento helping establish the Japanese American Community Center and worked there until Proposition 13 eliminated its funding. During those years he received his 1 dan and 3 dan diplomas from the Nihon Kiin.

During the early ‘80s he trained personnel for Furrow’s Hardware and his legendary generosity led to his next career change. After completing an arduous task as a favor to a Japanese businessman while at Furrow’s, he soon had a hectic career as a highly sought-after international business consultant. He was also a professional tennis instructor at the Laguna Racquet Club.

- this is an edited version of the biography Burrall wrote for the Sacramento Go Club newsletter in 1998; photos by Chris Garlock (top right) and Debbie Siemon (bottom left)


Shusaku Number, Corrected

Thursday August 4, 2011

In our recent “Shusaku Number ” article (What’s Your “Shusaku Number?”), we mistakenly reported that Hoensha founder Honinbo Shuho faced Shusaku in four of the “Castle Games.” Shuho actually never had the chance to play in those matchups. However, records of 38 games between the two masters have been preserved. The oldest dates from 1850, when Shuho was just twelve years old; most notable is the ten-game series (jubango) that Shuho and Shusaku played in 1861. In that series, playing mostly Black with no komi, Shuho managed six victories and one tie. For more details including copious historical material and several commented game records, you can consult Invincible: The Games of Shusaku,  generally regarded as one of the most important go books to ever appear in English.
- Roy Laird

Categories: U.S./North America

PRO GAME COMMENTARY: NAIM Round 2, Board 4: Maeda & Shen on Hu-Chen

Wednesday August 3, 2011

2011 US Go Congress
North American Masters Tournament
Round 2 Board 4


W: ZiYang Hu 1p
b: ZhaoNian Chen (Mike) 7d
Commentary by Maeda Ryo 6P, Jennie Shen 2P, transcribed by Chris Garlock
Recorded by Solomon Smilack


Pandanet-IGS Announces New Client

Wednesday August 3, 2011

Next February, IGS (the Internet Go Server) will be twenty years old. In those two decades, IGS has gone through many major changes, especially since it was acquired by Pandanet. These days, in addition to hosting hundreds of players at any hour of the day or night,  IGS simulcasts many major tournaments, attracting as many as 1,500 online observers, hosts two of its own online events (The Pandanet Cup and the Cho Chikun Tournament.)  On Tuesday afternoon at the U.S. Go Congress, nearly forty Congress attendees gathered for a presentation from Pandanet-IGS on the latest upgrade.IGS President Hiroko Taki (in E-Journal hat and Pandanet t-shirt in photo) and Pandanet staffers Hidekazu Hirai and Keiko Sota , who had traveled from Japan announce that PandaGo, a new, improved, Java-based client, was released in April. They also noted that a client, Tetsuki,  is available for the iPod/iPhone/iPad, a feature not currently available from KGS, the other server prominently used by Western players. Click here or here to view a Tetsuki video that Mr. Hirai and Ms.Sota presented.  A client for the Android is scheduled to roll out in November. A general discussion of IGS followed; players were especially interested in the ranking system. AGA International Liaison Thomas Hsiang explained that the system is extremely transparent, and is explained at length here. It’s a conservative system, moving slowly through a large numbers of grades – each level is split in half, so for instance a 3K must earn their way to 3K+ before advancing to 2K. Grades tend to run about 3 ranks below AGA ratings. Attendees were also interested to know how IGS handles the problem of “escapers.” Mr. Hirai responded that players who log off their games forfeit within five minutes. A bug that currently boots iPhone users offline when their phone rings is being fixed. With 75,000 active users, Pandanet-IGS hopes to attract more interest from Western players and urged online players to take the new clients out for a test drive, and write to with comments and suggestions.
- Roy Laird; photo by Phil Straus


Zen, Go bot and The Daily

Wednesday August 3, 2011

“A recent victory for a program called ‘Zen’ — which last month beat a highly ranked amateur player from Taiwan — has the Go programmer community buzzing,” reported Benjamin Carlson in the July 31 edition of The Daily. Carlson notes that “In games ranging from chess to ‘Jeopardy!’ powerful computers are making short work of human champions — with one notable exception.” “Can this be a turning point in the history of Go?” asked Zen co-creator Hideki Kato in a Go forum after the victorious results. The “Go bot” story — which discusses recent advances in go and AI through Monte Carlo Tree Search — goes on to quote Jie Li 7D, who calls go “one of the most artistic board games” as well as go programmer David Fotland, who says ““It’s so hard to look at a position and figure out who is winning.”

Categories: U.S./North America

Brian’s Go Photo: Outdoor Lesson with Yilun Yang 7P

Wednesday August 3, 2011


Brian’s Go Photo: Li Ting from the Kansai Kiin

Wednesday August 3, 2011

Living in the corner for double digit kyu players.  Prizes were joseki handkerchiefs from Kansai Kiin. photo by Brian Allen


Congress Game Records Posted

Wednesday August 3, 2011

If you haven’t had a chance to catch any of the live broadcasts from the ongoing U.S. Go Congress in Santa Barbara, CA — and even if you have — check out the wealth of game commentaries and game records we’ve posted online:

Tournament Crosstabs:

Game Reviews:

US Open
Round 1 Board 1 reviewed by Mingjiu Jiang
Round 2 Board 1 reviewed by Maeda Ryo
Round 2 Board 2 reviewed by Li Ting and Maeda Ryo
Round 3 board 1 reviewed by Jennie Shen

North American Masters’ Tournament

Round 1 Board 1 reviewed by Hajin Lee
Round 2 Board 1 reviewed by Li Ting and Maeda Ryo
Round 2 Board 4 reviewed by Jennie Shen and Maeda Ryo

Redmond Cup
Round 1 Senior Division by Curtis Tang

Pair Go Tournament

Round 1 Board 1 – Hugh Zhang & Jasmine Yan vs Aaron Ye & April Ye
Round 1 Board 2 – Dae Hyuk Ko & Wan Chen vs Patrick Allen & Lisa Scott
Round 2 Board 1 – Yuan Zhou & Roxanne Tam vs Hugh Zhang & Jasmine Yan
Round 2 Board 2 – Dae Hyuk Ko & Wan Chen vs Lionel Zhang & Amy Su

photos: Ryo Maeda & Jennie Shen comment a North American Masters game (top right); Pandanet President Hiroko Taki & AGA IGF VP for International Affairs at Tuesday night’s Pair Go Tournament; photos by Steve Colburn


Sun and Ye Sweep Redmond

Wednesday August 3, 2011

Calvin Sun 7d and Aaron Ye 4d both won their second round matches in the Redmond Cup Tuesday, Aug. 2nd, at the US Go Congress.  Sun, who placed second to Gansheng Shi 7d in the qualifiers, ended up sweeping the finals with two wins in a row.  Redmond finals are a best two out of three matches, so there will not be a third round.  In the Junior Division, Sammy Zhang 4d fought valiantly, but was overwhelmed by Ye in both matches.  All four kids won a free trip to congress to compete, and will split a $1,000 prize fund from the AGF.  This year they will receive a special treat as Michael Redmond 9p will present the Redmond Cup in person at the awards banquet at the US Go Congress. Sun’s second round win is below, all of the final matches are on the crosstab – Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor.  Photo: Gansheng Shi (l) and Calvin Sun (r).