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

New York City, 1977: black and white in the dark

Thursday July 13, 2017

by Terry Benson2017.07.13_nyc-blackout

Forty years ago today, I was staring down intently at my go board on the second floor of the Zen Oriental Book Store in midtown Manhattan when all the lights snapped off. “The breaker blew,” said a player, intent on his own game.  I looked up from my game, over the board, past my opponent and out the windowed front onto a completely darkened West 57th street. It was the 1977 New York blackout.

Of course, being go players, we kept playing.   Our wonderful waitress/hostess Kazuko calmly brought out candles. The tea was still warm. There were little Japanese cakes and games to play.

Eventually, though, we all headed out into the city. Riding my bike past the rioting and looting on Broadway was surreal, like simultaneously watching and being in a movie. We all made it home safely that night and to this day we remember holding off the world’s chaos  – for a little while anyway – with go.

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Nat’l Go Center hosts Summer Sizzler tourney and “Surrounding Game” this weekend

Tuesday July 11, 2017

The temperature is definitely sizzling in DC. Unless you are enjoying the area beaches, the place to be on July 15 to get out of the heat is at the 2017.07.01_surrounding-game-evanstonSummer Sizzler tournament at the National Go Center. This is a 4-round AGA-rated tournament with prizes for all divisions. Doors open at 8:30 with first round at 9:00 AM. The at-the-door fee is $20/adult and $15/youth, but you can save 20% by pre-registering now online. Pre-register here.

The NGC is hosting the DC Premiere of “The Surrounding Game” at 7:30 PM on July 15, with a second showing at 1 PM on July 16. If you come to the Summer Sizzler tourney on the 15th, there will be time to get dinner at one of the many area restaurants and get back for the showing. and the Center will be open after for those who want to play some more go. No spoilers, but some local luminaries appear in the film as well.

Register for the Saturday night premiere here, or the Sunday afternoon showing here.

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AGA Board election: Important notice for Chapters

Sunday July 9, 2017

All current chapters should have received your chapter vote count via the agachapters list, reports Arnold Eudel. There are many chapters with recently expired chapter memberships that may not have been included. “Please check your chapter status and individual memberships and vote count,” Eudel urges. “Elections are running late so please do so ASAP and inform elections@usgo.org when completed.”
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Slate & Shell to cease distribution of print books; will continue to release e-books

Monday July 3, 2017

Longtime go publisher Slate & Shell has announced that it is ceasing distribution of print books. 2017.07.03_S&S-logo“Our books will continue to be available in either print, through Amazon, or as e-books, through SmartGo,” said publishers Bill Cobb and Laurie Crammond. “There will continue to be new SmartGo e-books, and we will also do on-demand print books that can be ordered from Amazon—including a number of currently out of print books,” Cobb tells the E-Journal. “The next (new e-book) will be Yuan Zhou’s analysis of the AlphaGo-Ke Jie match.” The effective date for ending distribution is August 1. Until then, all of Slate & Shell’s books are marked down at least 50%, “most more, some much more,” added Cobb and Crammond. Orders must be received by August 1. “Please note that if you order several books, it would be wise to request priority shipping as the books have a greater chance of arriving in good condition,” S&S said in their announcement.

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“Surrounding Game” screening updates

Sunday July 2, 2017

The Evanston Go Club has arranged their very own screening of The Surrounding Game. “It was so easy to set up!” said club president Mark 2017.07.01_surrounding-game-evanstonRubenstein. “I just followed the instructions under the film’s Host A Screening section, and the theater accepted our request. The only requirement is that we have to sell at least 73 tickets by July 5, or the screening will be canceled, in which case all tickets will be refunded.” At presstime 59 tickets still need to be sold; click here for tickets. The movie will be shown Wednesday, July 12, 2017 from 7:30 PM to 9:00 PM at Century 12 Theatre, 1715 Maple Ave. Evanston, IL 60201.

“This is Evanston’s main movie theatre, and it’s really nice; stadium seating, free parking, and they sell beer and wine that you can bring into the theatre if you want to,” says Rubenstein. “Tell your friends and family about this unique event. It’s not just for go players; the film was made in order to reach a wider audience and introduce more people to the game. Remember, it won’t happen without your support, so reserve your tickets now!” said Rubenstein. “And for those of you who don’t live in the Chicagoland area and would like to promote the film, check out the website. It’s not often we have the opportunity to reach a mainstream audience like this, so let’s take advantage of it!” For any questions, please contact Mark Rubenstein at mark@evanstongoclub.org or 847-869-6020.

Update: The Surrounding Game will screen July 18 in Lehi, UT at Adobe from 12pm-1:30pm. The address is 3900 Adobe Way, Lehi, UT 84043. Contact: Devin Flake, dflake@adobe.com.

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NoVA go class offered for kids

Saturday July 1, 2017

Yang Shuang 2P has agreed to teach a two-week afternoon class in the summer camp at McLean High School in Northern Virginia. Camp 2017.07.01 Yang Shuangdirector Dinny Li welcomes kids to join the go class –likely during 3-4:30pm, for the week of 7/17-7/21 and 7/24-7/28 — contact her at 703-371-3414, hcscamp.va@gmail.com

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Cotsen Open registration now open

Thursday June 29, 2017

Registration for the 2017 Cotsen Open is now open. The tournament is set for October 21-22 at the Korean Cultural Center in Los Angeles. “As 2017.06.28_2016-cotsenalways, you get your registration fee back if you show up to both days, lunch is provided by Eric, and masseuses are available,” reports Tournament Organizer Christopher Saenz. “We are also working on getting a screening of the Surrounding Game.”
photo: at the 2016 Cotsen Open; photo by Chris Garlock

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Pause the Clock: Reflections on Ryan Li’s historic victory

Thursday June 29, 2017

by Keith L. Arnold, hka2017.06.28_ryan-li

The American Go Association has come a long way since I first became active in 1985. In those days the place to be was on the East Coast with far more events and tournaments. But now, we have wonderful broadcasts of top professional games, and if you live on the East Coast, as I do, they don’t start until 1:30 in the morning, making the West Coast the place to be. Bleary-eyed bitterness aside, it is a great time to be a Western go fan, with access to world news, live streaming events and global opponents as close as your nearest screen.

Having just finished my Kickstarter download of “The Surrounding Game” documentary, which focuses its wonderful introduction to the world of go on the birth of our professional system, being confronted almost immediately with Ryan Li 1P’s victory over two-time world champion Chen Yaoye 9p last week was pure serendipity. There is a moment in the film where I express my skepticism about our pro system effort. I should explain, as I swallow some crow, that my main objection was always concern that we could not provide our new pros a living. I would sarcastically urge players to “keep your day job” at meetings when the topic came up, but I should confess that I also had concerns about how strong our pros would be.

Now, as we celebrate Ryan’s win, it’s a good time to take a moment to appreciate the route we have taken to get here, and why this is such an amazing accomplishment. Those of us used to the bullet train of the modern internet go world might benefit from a little history from the guy still riding the rusty bus several stops behind.

For decades, American players had no chance to play a professional at all, certainly not in a serious game. Apart from occasional, usually Japanese, pro tours, we could only look at their game records, on paper, received months after the games were played. We s2017.06.28_ryan-li-close-uptudied, and we played as much as we could – usually once a week at our local clubs.

The US Go Congress was the first change. Beginning in 1985, American go players, at least for a week, once a year, could grab a simul or three from professional go players. But this only made the gap seem all the more vast. In 1986 at the first Seattle Go Congress, our strongest player Charles Huh played Sakata 9 dan in a two stone one-on-one exhibition game. Sakata, one of the greatest players in history, was no longer at his peak form, yet Huh was helpless at two stones, and that was with Sakata outside most of the time on smoking breaks.

In the 1990s, Western players started to have chances to play professionals in serious matches during the annual Fujitsu Qualifiers. Still the gap seemed evident – as Michael Redmond 9P played for a decade without a loss to an amateur player. But the 1990s also brought the internet. Access to news, sgfs, opponents and unlimited chances to play began to increase the Western level of play. While I do not mean to diminish the efforts of our early professional teachers — Feng Yun, Yilun Yang, Zhujiu Jiang, Ming-jiu Jiang, James Kerwin and others — the steady shrinking of time and distance provided by the internet has broadened, amplified and, arguably, exceeded their efforts.

More and more opportunities to play pros arrived, and Western players started to win. On the one hand, I do not think this was a matter of percentages — more games does not guarantee more wins — I think we were actually getting stronger. However, the wins were often against non-active pros, certainly not against current top international players.

All that changed last week. In a serious international event, a Western pro defeated, not just a pro, not just a 9 dan, but a 9 dan world champion in his prime. It is an accomplishment for Western go that is simply unequaled. Before this week, I would argue that our greatest accomplishment was Eric Lui’s third place in the World Amateur Championship. We cannot forget the significant accomplishments of Michael Redmond 9P, but because he trained in Japan, I submit that Redmond’s success is the success of a Westerner, not the success of Western go.

Ryan Li 1P, homegrown and homemade, has announced to the world that we are more than a grateful recipient of support and a vacation opportunity; we are now a force to be reckoned with. We also owe an enormous debt of thanks to Myungwan Kim 9 dan.  Without his vision, help and guidance we would not have been able to put Ryan where he clearly deserved to be.

a western pebble
slung across the mighty seas
brings down a champion


photos courtesy Ryan Li

 

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Japanese delegation to conduct workshop at 2017 US Go Congress

Wednesday June 28, 2017

There will be a 5-day go workshop conducted by the Japanese delegation to the 2017 US Go Congress in San Diego. The Nihon Ki-in is sending Yamashiro Hiroshi 9p (vice chairman of the Nihon Ki-in, director of INAF) and Tsuruta Kazushi 4p to work with 7-10 very strong US and Canadian attendees at the Congress. The target audience are the under-thirty (U30-years-old) North American players ranked 6 dan and above, including AGA professionals.

Either Yamashiro or Tsuruta will play a game against one of the attendees from 1-3 p.m. (SMTThF). Then from 3-4:30 p.m., there will be a game analysis by both Yamashiro and Tsuruta for all workshop attendees.

To register for the workshop, Congress attendees should send an email to the Congress professional coordinator, I-han Lui  ihan.lui@gocongress.org.  If the number of requests becomes too large, priority will be given, in order, to AGA pros, U20 amateurs, and higher-ranked amateurs.

Submitted by Ted Terpstra, Co-Director 2017 US Go Congress – San Diego

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Wednesday is “Big” night at the NGC

Tuesday June 27, 2017

Since the opening of the National Go Center in Washington, DC May, organizers reports that “we have been very gratified to see the volunteer 2017.06.25_ngc-kidsupport for having the National Go Center open Tuesday thru Saturday nights.” And “Now that we have had a little time to be open and get feedback, the top suggestion has been that we pick a single night that everyone is encouraged to come if they can so that no matter what your level, you can always find a good match. Also it should have a time where beginners can come and get dedicated instruction in how to play. And with community turnout, a social time to bring refreshments, plan activities, and see friends.”

With that in mind, Wednesday has been designated the “big” night at the NGC. “We’ll be open longer hours on Wednesdays, from 5-11 PM, with 5-7 a special time for beginners to learn the game with volunteers on hand to teach. Feel free to bring refreshments to share also.”

Friday is “another great night to play with a dedicated group of attendees,” NGC organizers add. “Check the schedule for other nights before you come as our summer schedule is a little less regular.” Details on the NGC’s Facebook page and follow the NGC on Twitter.

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