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

The Janice Kim Files – Game On

Monday July 13, 2015

(or what I learned during my two-year vacation from playing games) by Janice Kim 3P

PastedGraphic-1For me go and poker are the same. As they are like two sides of my same coin, I find the optimal strategy in go is to know everything, and in poker, to be random.

Humans are not randomizers, they require computers, or cards, and even those require perfect input for true randomization. A good watch with a sweeping second hand can take care of a lot in poker. If you develop the strategy of eyes going to your watch, as if you’re the smartest Princess Bride in the world poisoning a cup, basing your actions entirely on the position of a watch hand on the dial, you will be about as random as humans get. I look pretty much like Lee Chang-ho would playing poker, a Stone Buddha in a skirt and heels, a non-sentient target no more than a table’s-length away, which is why it is oh-so-perfect.

Of course this is only truly useful if you are not looking at your cards at all, so as not to introduce the possibility of fear in yourself, and playing against the best cash players in the world, and aren’t an actual threat to the way of life to wealthy and powerful, testosterone-enhanced, actively aggressive people. And then you have to have enough chips neatly stacked in front of you, or maybe with one almost toppling over, to enrage enough or entice enough to engage enough to get any play. The buy-in on such where-are-you-on-the-guest-list events is steep if you aren’t backed.  Continue reading…)

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Go Spotting – Gosset on Weiqi vs. Chess

Friday July 10, 2015

David Gosset, Director of the Academia Sinica Europaea, published an in-depth look at go in The World Post, on April 3rd. “For centuries, literati have been fascinated by the contrast between the extreme simplicity of the rules and the almost infinite combinations allowed by their execution,” writes Gosset.  To read the full article, click here.  -Thanks to Teddy Joe for the link.

Yen and Cheng Lead Redmond Cup Qualifiers

Wednesday July 8, 2015

 

albert02-e1396729327197-200x300 20150708_213647Albert Yen 7d (at left) and Ary Cheng 1d (at right) lead the Redmond Cups Senior and Junior standings after completing the preliminary rounds, held online, over the last few months. The Senior division, with a field of nineteen players, was especially hard-fought: the three top-seeded players, Yen, Jeremy Chiu 6d, and four-time Junior champion Aaron Ye 6d, were all still undefeated after the third round. By the end, it was still close, with four players holding 4-2 records or better. Although the Senior division was competitive, the fifteen-year-old Yen was dominant, winning all six rounds.  Some luck was needed to pull me through undefeated,” Yen told the Journal, “Yunxuan Li is a respectable opponent in the finals, and I must be very careful as his fighting is quite strong.

Yunxuan Li 6d, age 17, claimed second place in the Senior division by going 5-1. His one defeat was in the third round against Yen, but he will have a chance for revenge when the two front-runners square off in a best of three in the finals. While this will be Yen’s first time competing in the finals, Li is excited to return after finishing runner-up in the Junior division in 2009: Its been six years since my last Redmond. It is such a pleasure to be in it again.

In the Junior Division players fought neck and neck. With a field of seven, byes became an issue, so the event was run as a a round robin – giving each kid a chance to play all of the others. Nine-year-old Ary Cheng 1d, was the clear-cut winner, losing only once to the top seed. Cheng told the Journal he is thrilled to have made it into first place as a shodan: I will work hard to improve my skill and play the best game I can in the final.” The battle for second place and a trip to the finals, on the other hand, was extremely close. Two players – the top seed, Tingwen Zhang 5d, and Raymond Feng 1d – finished 4-2. The mathematical tie-breaking systems were no help: Zhang and Feng both had the same SOS and SODOS scores. The tournament directors used their face-to-face matchup to decide second place. Because he had pulled off an upset in the first round against the higher ranked Zhang, Feng earned his place as the runner-up.

The final rounds will be broadcast live on KGS, from the US Go Congress, at 3 pm on August 2nd, 3rd, and 6th. Yen, Li, Cheng, and Feng have all won a free trip to Congress, where they will play best-of-three matches for the titles of their respective divisions. -EJ Special Report by Julian Erville

 

Korean Youth Tourneys

Tuesday July 7, 2015

The Korean Baduk Association is inviting any interested youth to two different events.  Airfare is not covered, but accommodations, meals, and all local transport is.  The World Youth Baduk Festival will be held in Inje, Gangwon, from August 1-4.  Students from Elementary school up through College are all invited.  The 2nd Kuksu Mountain Cup will be held August 7-12 in Jeolla South Province, the age limit is under 15, but slightly older is also acceptable.  All levels of players are welcome. Contact youth@usgo.org if you are interested in attending any of these events.

Go Spotting: New York

Friday July 3, 2015

1455892_10205587223336295_1169984074605248569_n“I went to New York for a vacation, and when I went to the American Museum of Natural History, at the Japanese Hall, I saw a board of go and stones. I was surprised of the size, because I had never seen a Goban for real,” writes Mateo Nava, of Mexico City.

The Janice Kim Files – What Go Means to Me

Thursday July 2, 2015

A special E-J Column by Janice Kim 3P

2012.02.21-janiceKimWhen I was young I liked to read, and to watch TV, and didn’t go out much, except alone to explore arroyos, watch movies, or go jogging very early in the morning, when the light was still gray.

Going out jogging, it’s right on the surface of my memory how the air tasted, like an apple, and the way the sidewalk curbs looked in that light, gray on gray, appearing out of the mist like phantom tracks. If it had been raining, there’d be sounds, the splish-gerr-splish of some unseen tires driving through a puddle. Back at home we still have an old pinon tree that you could climb up, and then on to the roof.

On weekend afternoons my activity was to ride my bike to the store, and rent a movie to watch at home. My favorites were “Journey to the Center of the Earth” with James Mason, and “The Golden Voyage of Sinbad” with the old Ray Harryhausen monsters. Later the grocery store put a Ms. Pac-Man arcade game in the back storeroom. The nearby 7-Eleven had Tempest (awesome) and Centipede (slightly less awesome), thus in the shopping district of my own small town forming the classic arcade triumvirate that makes me feel truly special because, I was there. I had a long blister on the side of my hand from using it like a blade with the dial controller, gaining precision and more speed than possible just by turning it with my fingers.

Later someone figured out how to pry open the front panel near the Insert Coin slots, so you could click a small red button inside to increase number of games left on the digital counter. Once you could insert your quarter without that delicious frisson of fear — will it be worth it? Will I ride out this quarter, or will it be wasted on some stupid slip on the first alien attack wave? — the fun was spoiled, and once the summer moment was gone and you could play endlessly for free, it was impossible to recall why it was ever fun in the first place.

I loved board games, but had trouble getting anyone to play. My personality seemed dull to myself, and to lack sparkling qualities. I framed my analysis of the structure and meaning of a game in terms of how to win, and didn’t understand the point of playing otherwise. Sometimes I would say something, or examine flowers or things people left in the street, and people would snort or snicker, or look worried or irritated. My sister was popular and had close friends, but I was too much of an accountant, with friendship owed and due, to be very much fun for anyone. Or maybe it was because I was really different than everyone I knew, invisibly at first, then for certain when I lived in as the only girl insei in Korea, without the ability to speak Korean. Even though the purpose of being there was to play a board game, I still couldn’t get anyone to play very often, because I was one of the least skilled there.

But there were moments. Like when I couldn’t go to the summer camp at the Buddhist temple because they didn’t have girls’ accommodations, and when they came back, Yu Chang-hyuk walked into the research room before everyone else and saw me sitting alone and came over and gave me a hug. Later I beat him for the first and only time in my life, and he sat there muttering to himself, “I don’t know how it is that I won every battle, but lost the war.” That’s how a decade later in another moment, I gave a computer program a 25 stone handicap and defeated it at the AAAI conference. I watched Yu Chang-hyuk play a game online sometime after that, and some kibitzers were saying his moves didn’t make sense, and I wrote that he was the very best player in the world. Someone asked “Why do you say that?” and someone else answered, “Because she LOVES him, ha ha.”

We really can do almost anything. I can see how and why, but also where it is all going. We will all lose in the end, and go to the great review in the sky. The other day my son said that they’ve made big steps in plastification and we may be able to live forever, and I’m thinking about that digital counter in the arcade and the air that tastes like apples and the pinon tree and I find myself hoping we both die too soon to be made into plastic. I’m just looking for another summer moment. Seems like go is our best chance.

 

 

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Lin Wins Happy Cup

Monday June 29, 2015

IMG_2917Fifth-grader Ethan Lin took first place  in the 8th annual Happy Cup Tournament, winning all four of his games, on June 7. “The tournament was hosted by the Santa Clara Youth Go Club at Sunflower Chinese School, where thirty-seven young players competed for trophies and cool prizes,” reports organizer Wenguang Wang, “the players and their parents also got to enjoy an ice cream party after the tournament. I decided to organize this tournament so that more and more children could play go, I wanted to make the tournament as fun as possible so the players would enjoy playing go more.” -Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor.  Photo by Xiao Xie: First place winner Ethan Lin is at far right in the blue shirt.

 

Congress Price Goes up July 1

Monday June 29, 2015

“Register now for the Go Congress and save $100,” says Congress Director Josh Larsen, “with events such as the US Open, Lectures, Simuls, Reviews of top matches, the annual lightning tournament and crazy go – this 8 day go event is not to be missed. Check out our new digital schedule online or from your smartphone.” Register and pay by June 30th to avoid the extra charge.  Players can sign up here.

 

Guo Named AGF Teacher of the Year

Sunday June 28, 2015

11209379_770514846401471_999873868351024353_nXinming Simon Guo 1d, of Chicago, Illinois, has been named the AGF Teacher of the Year, winning a free trip to the 2015 U.S. Go Congress in St. Paul, Minnesota. Guo has been active in youth go promotion for years, first partnering with the Confucius Institute in Chicago in the fall of 2012 to offer go instruction to Chinese language classrooms. “This program has been very successful,” Guo told the Journal. “Some schools requested more instructional hours, and some schools added go to their after-school program. More teachers joined this program in 2014 and 2015.  One school started a tournament after my introduction courses. Meanwhile, I have started to train teachers to meet the increasing demand for go in Chicago’s schools.”

In 2012, Guo founded the GoAndMath Academy, whose mission is “to use go to help develop students’ math ability, especially number sense.” In 2013 and 2014, Guo organized several workshops, one was to aid Chinese teachers in the Chicago area in bringing go to the classroom as a part of Chinese culture. The other two workshops were directed towards math teachers at ICTM (Illinois Council of Teachers of Mathematics) in October of 2013 and MMC (Metropolitan Mathematics Club of Chicago) in February of 2014. “During these workshops, I gave a presentation on the link between go and Common Core State Standards,” Guo told the E-Journal. “I taught teachers how to play go and how the game can be integrated into math classrooms. Specifically, the teachers learned ways to incorporate go to help students develop number sense and incorporate three domains in Common Core standards — Counting and Cardinality, Operations and Algebraic Thinking, Number and Operations in Base Ten.” Guo’s approach to integrating go into American school curricula affected about 3,500 students and 50 teachers in 2013, and subsequently 6,500 students in 2014.

“As a licensed math teacher and a go instructor, I will continue to research how go helps develop students’ number sense and other math abilities. Currently, I am designing a go and math curriculum that can be easily used in school settings, especially in math classrooms.” Guo is currently affiliated with over forty schools in the Chicago area, three universities, and three museums and libraries. Guo will give a talk at the US Go Congress on Monday, Aug. 3. “My plan is to let go players know that go can help math and it is correlated with the new Common Core Math Standards. This is a powerful research result to extend go to school programs, and this is what I have done for years. Usually I present this go and math correlation to math teachers and educators in conference. I will adjust it for go players.  I am a go player for math teachers and math teacher for go players,” adds Guo. -EJ special report, by Amy Su. Photo: Guo (standing) teaching kids, from GoandMath Academy’s Facebook page.

 

US Go Congress Updates: Last week to save on registration; latest list of pros, Girl’s Tourney & Tennis court report

Saturday June 27, 2015

This is the last week to save on US Go Congress registration; the Congress price goes up July 1. 2015.06.25_hoshikawa-koyo

The latest list of professional go players attending this year’s US Go Congress includes Myungwan Kim, Yilun Yang, Hajin Lee, Feng Yun, Jennie Shen, Wang Qun, Cao Youyin, Ryo Maeda, Koyo Hoshikawa (right), Xuefen (Shirley) Lin and Mingjiu Jiang. Inseong Hwang 8d, a longtime go teacher in Europe, has also just confirmed he’ll be attending this year’s US Go Congress.

The top four AGA-rated under-16 girls (as of August 1, 2015) who enter at the Congress will compete in the first-ever Girl’s Tournament.

Tennis-playing go players can bring their racquets; the Congress site has courts and EJ Managing Editor Chris Garlock will take on all comers.