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

KABA Opens First Overseas Branch at Korean Go Club in LA

Saturday October 26, 2013

It takes a lot to get the guys at the Korean Go Club in Los Angeles to stop playing. Their moves are fierce and the concentration is total. But on Friday, they put down their stones and looked up from their boards as Dae-won Suh, President of the Asian Go Federation (AGF) and Vice President of the Korean Amateur Baduk Association (KABA) and Dalsoo Kim, Secretary General of the AGF announced that the club — an AGA chapter — will be the first overseas branch of KABA.

The United States was chosen because of the ongoing collaboration between the Korean and American go communities, especially last year’s inauguration of the US pro system through the Tygem-AGA Pro Tournament. “This is just the fifth professional go system in the world,” said an obviously proud Suh, who’s also a former Korean Ambassador. “We very much hope it will prosper.” And Los Angeles was selected because “it has the largest Korean population outside of our country,” he added. Another connection is the Korean Cultural Center, which this weekend is hosting the Cotsen Open for the second year. “We’re very glad that the KCC can host this tournament again this year and hope that it will help discover new talents,” Suh said.

Ambassador Suh also noted that “there were lots of Korean professionals at this year’s U.S. Go Congress,” adding that the Korean Baduk Association (the professional player’s association in Korea) and KABA “have committed to supporting the U.S. go scene,” including training like that offered by Myung-wan Kim 9P, who beamed quietly in the back of the Korean Go Club as the officials made their remarks. “All of this, we hope, will help promote go in the United States,” said Suh.

AGA President Andy Okun welcomed the move and called KGC organizer Gary Choi “a real friend to the go community and the AGA for a very long time,” and thanked the club’s players “for being so welcoming when we come here and for supporting AGA events like the Cotsen.” Okun also extended an enthusiastic welcome and congratulations to KABA’s new branch, saying that “LA is the right place” for this step.

Korean Consul General Yeonsung Shin closed the brief ceremony — which was also attended by Hajin Lee 3p, Chosun Daily reporter Hongryal Lee, Cyberoro reporter Kim Soo Kwang, KABA staffer Jong-geun Lee and 2015 Go Congress organizer Josh Larson — by announcing that he and Ambassador Suh are interested in working with the AGA to organize a Consul’s Cup and Shin, Suh and Okun could later be seen discussing plans. But first Okun was invited to take on Kim Younghwan 9p — the “Younghwan Wizard” — who quickly demonstrated his ability to give more handicap stones to amateur players than any other pro, and still win.
- report/photos by Chris Garlock

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Daniel Puzan Wins First Ivy Moon Tournament in Des Plaines, IL

Thursday October 24, 2013

“I ran a small tournament at my place in Des Plaines (IL) on October 19 with 9 players,” reports Laura Kolb Moon. “We named it the First Ivy Moon Tournament after my baby daughter.” Daniel Puzan 1k took first place with a perfect 4-0 record, and Lisa Scott (1k) and Matt Inwood (5k) took 2nd with 3-1 records. graphic: the tournament’s namesake demonstrates the rare but surprisingly effective “Cheerio tesuji”; photos by Laura Kolb Moon

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Portland Tournament Turnout Way Up

Thursday October 24, 2013

Nearly three dozen players attended the 2013 Portland (Oregon) Go Tournament, held (date) at Lewis & Clark College. “This is an increase of over 25% from last year,” said tournament director Peter Drake. Zipei Feng 7d swept the 10-player open division with five wins, followed by Harry Zhou and Nick Zhirad. In the dan handicap division, the winners were Jim Levenick, Glenn Peters, and Eugene Zhang. For single-digit kyu, Maxwell Chen (also 5-0), Minh Pham (president of the Lewis & Clark College Go Club), and Clark Brooks. For double-digit kyu, Eric Hanscom, Eric Wang, and Ethan Zhuang.

The numbers for youth and female players were also improved from last year, Drake reports. Maxwell Chen took the prize for top youth player. Cynthia Gaty was the top female player.

GoClubsOnline was used for tournament administration. “Thanks to Yellow Mountain Imports for a generous prize discount,” says Drake, who also thanked KGS, SmartGo, and Darrell Malick (via Cynthia Gaty) for prize donations and Glenn Peters for bringing boards, stones, clocks, and snacks.

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A Top Player’s New Obsession

Thursday October 24, 2013

What game has tens of millions of active players, is very popular in Asia, has professional leagues and professional tournaments all over the world and was originally dominated by the North American League? Not go, of course. It’s League of Legends, one of the most popular eSports, or organized video game competitions. We were tipped off to this phenomenon by one of the strongest amateur go players in the United States, who admitted recently that his go playing time has been cut into not only by work and family, but by his fascination with League of Legends. “As a mental and strategy game, it bears a close resemblance to go,” the player — who prefers to remain anonymous — says, although unlike go, League of Legends is a team game, with five players on each team. “Like the go world, China and Korea are dominating League of Legends now,” the player says. “However, because this game has such a big fan base in North America, there is a chance that we can come back.” According a Forbes report in August, “If there needed to be further evidence of the growing enthusiasm in the West for eSports, League of Legends may have just set some sort of unofficial record for most tickets to a live event sold in the shortest amount of time. In about an hour after they went on sale, tickets to October’s World Championship Final event in LA’s Staples Center  were sold out.” And according to a report in the Wall Street Journal, “Top (videogame) players can ultimately take home $18,000 a month or more.”

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Go Author Raising Funds for Graphic Novel Project

Wednesday October 23, 2013

Go author Jonathan Hop is working on a new project about Chinese culture and language. “I am trying to get funds to do a graphic novel,” Hop tells the E-Journal. In “Journey to the Middle Kingdom,” three modern-day kids travel back to ancient Chinese fairy tales. “The main character’s grandfather plays go and owns an antique shop,” Hop, a 4-dan from Ann Arbor MI and author of the “So You Want to Play Go” series says. “Go will make an appearance in the first book and I’m definitely going to have it in several others because the book series is a celebration of Chinese culture. I also may even teach the readers a little bit about go (because that’s what I do) if the series gets underway, but I gotta get the first book going.” With just 14 days to go, Hop’s Kickstarter campaign has raised nearly $1,200 toward the $10,000 goal.

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Online Cotsen Registration Closed; Walk-Ins on Saturday Welcome

Tuesday October 22, 2013

Online registration for the 2013 Cotsen Go Open and 2nd AGA Pro Prelim is now closed. To register on-site in Los Angeles, come early this Saturday, October 26th; registration opens at 8a at the Korean Cultural Center (5505 Wilshire Blvd). “If you are not registered by 9:30, you will not be allowed to play in the first game,” organizers warn. The Cotsen features a number of unique attractions, including paying the AGA “one time rating fee” for all players who do not currently have an AGA membership, prizes for those who can solve certain go problems, one candidate will be selected for the AGA’s next professional certification tournament to be held later this year. Plus, Myung-wan Kim 9P, one of the organizers of the US pro system, will also be on hand to teach and play simultaneous games and local Southern California favorite and renowned US teacher Yi-Lun Yang 7P will also teach and provide game commentary. There will also be a pro game over the internet between Yi-Lun Yang 7P and another pro. Lee Hajin 3p and Kim Minhee 3p will also be there to do game reviews and simuls along with a late addition to the delegation, Kim Younghwan 9p.  Kim (left) became pro in 1987. His nickname is “Younghwan Wizard” because of his ability to give more handicap stones to amateur players than any other pro, and still win. He is currently working as a baduk instructor and a commentator for Baduk TV. The tournament also features free lunch at a food truck (but only for those who pre-register) and two masseuses who will make the rounds “to ease the tensions that arise in your shoulders when you discover that your big group really doesn’t have two eyes.” There are also go club prizes of $1,500, to be awarded to top three clubs that have the most points overall in the tournament. Top-board games will be broadcast live on KGS by the E-Journal. photo: Cotsen with son Lord at the 2012 Cotsen Open; top right photo by Chris Garlock

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Andy Liu Wins Gotham Go Tournament

Tuesday October 22, 2013

Andy Liu won the October 12 Gotham Go Tournament in New York City. Liu Xiaohan was second and in 3rd place was Benjamin Lockhart, who qualified to play in the AGA Pro Select tournament in Los Angeles later this year. “We had a total of 82 players competing for $1500 in cash and prizes from all ranks!” report organizers Peter Armenia and Mathew Hershberger. Click here for full results and a photo album. photo: Benjamin Lockhart (l) plays Zhong Sichen in the final round; photo by Peter Armenia

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Portland School Programs a Hit

Monday October 21, 2013

“In the past few weeks we have started our chess/go clubs at Beverly Clearly, Irvington, and Grant High,” writes Portland, OR, go teacher Peter Freedman. “Fritz [Balwit] and I are teaching at Irvington and we have 33 children.  8 have never played go before, the rest have been in the club in past years.  They range from 2nd to 6th grades. I am also teaching go at Beverly Cleary, where the chess club coach has agreed to change his club to a chess and go club.  We had 13 children at our first meeting and expect more to attend in the future. One child has had some exposure to go previously. The initial response by these chess-playing children is very positive,” adds Freedman. The chess and go program at Grant High, taught with Balwit, is also off to a good start.  “So far there are about 10-12 students coming, some of whom have played go before.  We expect the club to grow, one of the Japanese language teachers has 180 students, and has invited me to present to her classes.”  The busy Portland organizers also have programs or demos scheduled for three other local schools as well, and plan to create go teams and school matches once all the schools get rolling. “We’ve bought t-shirts for all 33 kids in the Irvington program, at a cost of less than $10 per shirt.  Since parents pay $150 a year for the weekly, one hour club, we have raised enough money to support this,” adds Freedman. -Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor.  Photo by Peter Freedman: Ansel Wallace (l), a member of the Irvington Chess and Go club, in his new club t-shirt. 

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AGF College Scholarships due Nov. 20th

Monday October 21, 2013

The deadline for the American Go Foundation’s College Scholarship is just one month away. The program  recognizes high school students who have served as important organizers and promoters for the go community.  Read about last year’s winner here, and former winners here.  For more information, and the application form, visit the AGF Website- Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor. 

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Chris Martin Wins First Louisville Tournament

Sunday October 20, 2013

Ten players showed for the Louisville Go Club’s first annual tournament on October 19 in Louisville, KY, including some players from the Cincinnati Go Club. An undefeated Chris Martin 4k (3-0, on right) took first place with Taylor Perkinson 6k (2-1 on left) in second.
- report by Asha Nagaiya

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