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

Yunzi Stones and Lead: An Update

Friday February 14, 2014

“I bought ‘Yunzi Stones’ from Yellow Mountain Imports as a gift for my young children so we can play baduk together,” wrote EJ reader Jason Lee recently. “Later on after ordering, I saw online that this kind of stone can contain lead. So when my order arrived I got a lead test kit from the local hardware store to check them for safety. It turns out that the stones sent to me did contain lead. This is unsafe for my children to use and maybe me too. I wrote about my experience here. Thank you for the great work (the EJ does) for baduk players. I read the website every week.”

The EJ originally reported on this in 2008 (Go Review: Chinese Go Stones 2/4/2008) and we later reported (Yunzi Stones Now Lead-Free 6/23/2008 EJ) that YMI had contacted the manufacturer, who had agreed to eliminate lead from the manufacturing process of yunzi stones, which are special go pieces manufactured in the Chinese province of Yunnan. Apparently the manufacturer did not completely eliminate the lead, instead reducing it below the levels recommended by the Consumer Products Safety Commission; see below for details.

Yellow Mountain Imports responds: “Thanks for reaching out to us. We thought we had resolved this many years back when we had gone through all the reformulation and subsequent tests with the Yunnan Weiqi factory so obviously we were concerned. We take product safety seriously so when we heard these new complaints, we contacted the Yunnan Weiqi Factory immediately. They were equally concerned and arranged for a current official radio spectrometry test. The black stones tested positive at 0.005% (50 parts per million). Lead was also found in the white stones, at an even lower concentration, less than 0.002 (20 ppm). The Yunnan Weiqi Factory reformulated Yunzi stones to be within safe levels as per our request many years ago, while maintaining as much as the original qualities as possible, but it turns out that they cannot eliminate it completely. Lead makes the stones more durable and less brittle. These levels are well below the 0.009 (90 ppm) level recommended by the Consumer Products Safety Commission, but we do not claim that they are lead-free. Anyone who has purchased Yunzi stones and wants to return them can do so and should contact us.” Email customerservice@ymimports.com with any questions or concerns.

Myungwan Kim Opens Go School

Thursday February 13, 2014

Myungwan Kim 9P (left) has opened his own go school, the American Go Institute in the city of Arcadia east of Los Angeles. Kim tells the EJ the Institute offers comprehensive and specialized training programs for kids to approach go and is dedicated to helping and developing kids’ potential. “With expert instruction and a proven training methodology, the Institute provides a true foundation for future success,” Kim said. Kim moved to the US in 2008 to promote go at the behest of the Korea Baduk Association and has been instrumental in starting the AGA’s professional certification program. For the stronger players, the Institute’s methodology involves a great deal of deep reading practice and life and death work in keeping with the latest techniques used in Asian go schools, as well as face-to-face play and review. Beginners are also welcome. In addition to Kim, top level former insei Evan Cho (right) is teaching at the Institute. For more information, call 626-538-4286 or e-mail americangoinstitute@gmail.com.

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Bongkyun Moon 4D Tops Twin Cities Winter Tourney

Monday February 10, 2014

The Twin Cities Go Club Winter Open tournament was held last Saturday, February 8, on the University of Minnesota campus in Minneapolis, MN. Thirty four players participated in a three-round McMahon tournament. “Additional players showed up throughout the day and enjoyed casual games in our social room but did not participate in the tournament,” reports Aaron Broege. Bongkyun Moon 4D won all three of his games to place first in the tournament. Bo Hessburg 3k and Xiaoyu Wang 2k also won all three of their games. Prizes were awarded for first place and for individuals who won all three of their games. “There was also a raffle for prizes including books donated by club members, gift cards to the coffee shops where we regularly meet, an AGA membership, and a game review session for kyu players with stronger members of the club,” Broege says. “We welcomed some new faces at the tournament and added four new AGA memberships that day to push our club totals to over 30 active AGA members. We are looking forward to our quarterly AGA ratings tournament in April.”
photo: Bongkyun Moon 4D (left) playing Yanqing Sun 2D; photo courtesy Aaron Broege

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NJO Attracts Players of All Strengths

Sunday February 9, 2014

In the run-up to this year’s New Jersey Open (NJO) in three weeks (March 1&2), Princeton senior Tiansheng (Eric) Guo ran an introductory go class on campus during the intersession break, reports organizer Rick Mott. “Guo got more than 20 attendees, and hopes more novice players will enter the tournament this year,” Mott says. As well as drawing some of the strongest players in the mid-Atlantic region, the NJO honors Bob Ryder, formerly of Bell Labs and a longtime AGA organizer who held the NJO at Rutgers for many years, with a memorial Beginner’s Prize. Registration Sat. 3/1   9AM-10AM at Frist Campus Center, Princeton University. Click here for tournament details.

School Teams Tournament Set for March

Tuesday February 4, 2014

The annual School Teams Tournament is set for March 22 and 29 this year. Run by the American Go Honor Society (AGHS), and co-sponsored by the AGA and the AGF, the event is the largest annual youth competition in North America, drawing players from dozens of schools across the continent.  All K-12 schools and organized learning institutions (such as Chinese language schools) in Canada, the US and Mexico, can register teams consisting of three players. Each school is allowed a maximum of three teams. This year, all teams that complete their matches will also receive an entry prize (regardless of their score in the event).  Teams can choose between a full set of Hikaru no Go manga (23 volumes), two classic go books from Slate and Shell (Fundamental Principles of Go, and Master Play), or a $50 gift certificate to the go vendor of their choice (due to customs fees, not all gifts may be available for Mexico and Canada).  For more details visit the AGHS website. The event is “a good opportunity to see which school club is the best in North America and a chance for young players to communicate,” says AGHS Promotion head Yunxuan Li, “our recent champions in 2012 and 2013 are High Land Park High School and Albert Einstein High School. Will we see the returning of a defending champ or the rise of a new champion?” Rules for the event are here, to register, click here. - Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor. Double click on the image to enlarge it to full size.

 

Kyu Championships Deadline Feb. 11th

Saturday February 1, 2014

Young players, in the US, Canada, and Mexico have until Feb. 11th to register for the North American Kyu Championships (NAKC). The tourney will be held on KGS, on Saturday Feb. 15. Brackets in the NAKC will be divided by rank, with a new bracket formed approximately every 5 ranks or so depending on the range of participants. Within brackets, all games will be played even.  Dan level players will be able to compete in the Redmond Cup (including players from Canada and Mexico).  Youth who compete in either event will also be eligible for $400 scholarships to the AGA Go Camp, or $200 scholarships to the US Go Congress, courtesy of the AGF, on a first come first served basis.   Registration is now open for both the NAKC and the Redmond Cup, and more information can be found on the AGA webpage for youth events.  The deadline for the NAKC is Feb. 11th. to register, click here.  For Redmond Cup registration, click here.  - Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor. 

AGA City League First Round Results

Monday January 27, 2014

The first round of play has mostly been completed for the AGA City League, reports TD Steve Colburn. In the A League,

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 Boston defeated Los Angeles (2-1), Greater Washington beat Toronto (3-0), and Canwa Vancouver 1 defeated Seattle 1 (2-1). In B League, Chicago beat Washington DC 1 (3-0), NC Raleigh defeated Washington DC 2 (2-1), and New York City defeated San Francisco 1 (3-0). In C League, Seattle 2 won over West Tennessee/Memphis (2-1), Canwa Vancouver 2 defeated Katy TX 2 (3-0), Brentwood/Nashville def Lincoln (2-1) and Central New York/Syracuse vs Katy TX 1 is in progress, currently 1-1. Check the Pandanet site for all the most up to date information. Here’s the game record for the Evan Cho (LA) vs Huiren Yang (Boston) game.

Zhang, Enyeart & Hoffman Sweep in Austin, TX

Sunday January 26, 2014

John Zhang 4D, Peter Enyeart 3k and Damon Hoffman 17k all went 4-0 to top the Austin “Dead of Winter” Go Tournament on January 25 at local game store Great Hall Games in Austin, TX. “This was the first of what is planned to be quarterly tournaments throughout 2014,” said tournament director Bart Jacob. He added that although “the unusually cold and icy weather limited the number of out-of-town players this time, we hope and expect future tournaments will draw players from Dallas, Houston, San Antonio and beyond.” On a side note, Jacob also said that “The rumored participation of Lee Seedol 9P and Gu Li 9P was proved incorrect as apparently they could not reschedule their commitment to their first game of their jubango match.” photo: Bart Jacob (left) with John Zhang.

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Portland Chess and Go Programs Booming

Saturday January 25, 2014

In Portland, OR, there are now over 100 children in chess and go programs, spread over five  schools, and organized by Peter Freedman and Fritz Balwit.  Freedman teaches go and Balwit teaches chess in most schools.  “We decided to leverage our long-running chess and go program at Irvington Elementary,” Freedman told the Journal, “I approached several school chess coaches about the idea of morphing their chess clubs into chess and go clubs. The Richmond club got off to a rousing start in November, with 41 children, 1st-5th grades, coming to the first meeting. Limited to 40, we were oversubscribed, with parents coming to the meeting with checks hoping there was still room to enroll their children. It was the best response ever to a new chess and go club, and confirms our view that ‘the way to a new go player’s heart is through chess.’  While Richmond is a  Japanese language magnet school, where go is more familiar than the average school, a great many of these children did play chess, or want to, but had never heard of go,” said Freedman. Parents are enthusiastic too, with one writing in to say:”just wanted to let you know Ben had a great time today. He had said earlier that he didn’t want to learn go, but after one lesson, he is begging me to buy him a go board. I will sign him up for the rest of the year and will put a check in the mail tomorrow.”

For several years Freedman and Balwit had tried to establish go clubs in schools, but they were short-lived and drew minimal numbers. Meanwhile, Irvington chess and go club had run for many years, with upwards of 30 students every term.  ”It is quite clear to me that chess and go clubs have a much better chance to introduce children and teens to go than free-standing go clubs,” says Freedman.  ”John Goon has a similar approach in Maryland.  There is a segment of our culture that knows, appreciates and respects chess, while only a few know of go. Yet, many of us were chess players before we were go players.  It seems like a nice path.  We need a new motto: chess is our friend, not our enemy.”

In addition to the Irvington and Richmond programs, Freedman reports that several other schools are picking up the model. The Grant High School chess club morphed into a chess and go club this year, with about 12 students.  Beverly Cleary elementary school did as well, with Freedman teaching go and  long time chess coach Brad Kerstetter continuing his work.  Freedman also envisions that his model should be economically sustainable, is actively pursuing this: “At Irvington and Richmond we charge $75/term, or $150 for the year, per child, for a one hour/week club meeting.  In Irvington, Beverly Clearly, and Richmond we divide the group in two.  For the first month half of the kids play go, half play chess.  The second month, they switch.  After that they choose: chess only, go only, or, chess and go.  If they choose chess and go, they play one game for 4 weeks, and then switch each four weeks until the end of school,” reports Freedman.

“Needless to say, the starter kits and technical support we get from the AGF are an important part of our success,” notes Freedman, “we order and pay shipping for a Hikaru no Go manga set at each school where we teach as well.”  Freedman and Balwitz have put together curriculum guides and outlines for their method, which can be downloaded on the AGA Teaching Page.  Free equipment, Hikaru no Go, and other resources are available on the AGF website.  -Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor.  Photo from the Irvington Elementary School Yearbook (click on image to view it at full size).

Ari Saito 2014 San Diego Champ

Tuesday January 21, 2014

Ari Saito 7D (right front) topped a field of more than 30 go players gathered on the UC San Diego campus January 18 “on a beautiful 70+ degree southern California day” to contend for the 2014 San Diego Go Championship, reports San Diego Go Club President Ted Terpstra. “The ultimate game pitted Saito against Yixian Zhou 6D (left front),” said Terpstra. Saito’s win win gave him a 3-0 record, the $100 first prize and the title. Jenna Jansen 3k not only won the kyu championship with a 3-0 record but took the dual title of San Diego Women’s Champion. In the title game, she edged long-time AGA stalwart Les Lanphear by 3.5 points. David SU, 26-kyu won the youth prize for his 3-0 finish. The third annual tournament was a combined effort of the UCSD Go Club and the San Diego Go Club. photo by Ted Terpstra

Categories: U.S./North America
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