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

Jeff Horn Wins Davis-Sac Fall Tourney

Sunday September 15, 2013

Jeff Horn 1d won the Davis/Sacramento Go Club Fall Quarterly Tournament, held September 7 at the Arden-Dimick library in Sacramento. Horn (right) topped a field of seven players ranging in strength from 1 dan to 14 kyu.
- Willard Haynes
GOT TOURNEY REPORT? Let 14,000 go players worldwide know; get published in the E-Journal by sending us your report and photo(s) at journal@usgo.org

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$1,000 AGF Scholarships Available

Sunday September 15, 2013

Applications are open for the American Go Foundation’s College Scholarship, through November 20th. The program  recognizes high school students who have served as important youth organizers and promoters for the go community.  Applicants who have started clubs and promoted go in areas where there is not a strong go community will be given special consideration, strong players who spend much of their time voluntarily teaching will also be considered.  There are two scholarships available, one for a male student and one for a female.  Last year no women applied, so only one scholarship was awarded.  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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Go Classified: Players Wanted

Sunday September 15, 2013

Fredericksburg, Virginia: I am trying to start a go club in Fredericksburg; if you live in the area and love to play go, this could be your opportunity. A meeting location has not been picked as I am currently trying to find other people who enjoy playing go as much as I do: reach me at 540-846-7955 or jBarlow90@yahoo.com. P.S. I would like to say thank you to everyone at the AGA for their selfless work in trying to make a stronger go community. Your dedication and commitment help to bring us all together as go players and for that I am grateful.

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Streaming Online Games

Monday September 9, 2013

Popular streaming site twitch.tv is pulling in 38 million viewers a month, by streaming video gamers playing and commenting on their games.  The site’s goal is to “connect gamers around the world by allowing them to broadcast, watch, and chat from everywhere they play,” according to their website.  Why not stream online go games as well, asks AGA member Royce Chen? “Streaming go games, with entertaining and informative comments made by the streamers, could potentially attract the interest of young players, especially those who are already familiar with streams of conventional games,” says Chen. “The idea is to make videos like those by TheOddOne, a popular League of Legends player, who is known for providing entertaining commentary.”

The AGA would like to recruit volunteers of any playing strength, who would stream some of their online go games. All that’s needed is a webcam and a twitch.tv account. Live streams would be promoted on the AGA Facebook page, and  archived recordings can also be submitted for uploading to the new Go AGA YouTube channel, which is being managed by Shawn Ray (AKA Clossius on Youtube).  Anyone interested in streaming can email Royce Chen for more details. Ray also plans to promote lessons from several popular online go teachers on the new Youtube channel, with archived videos from both twitch and youtube available.  Subscribe to the new channel to get updates on this content. -Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor

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Only a Passing Matter

Tuesday September 3, 2013

In the recent US Go Congress, there were a lot of exciting half-point games. There was also some confusion over AGA rules and passed stones. On the top two boards of the US Open on the same day, for example, one game finished with black winning by a half-point while on the other, white won by half a point. How could this happen? Here’s an updated explanation of AGA rules, originally published back in 1992 when the rules were new.

In an even game with 7 and ½ komi, if White must make the third pass at the end of the game, that stone does change the score (from the traditional territory count) but does not (except rarely*) change the apparent result. The reason is a matter of parity.

Under AGA rules players alternately fill in any dame and both pass one stone to indicate the end of the game. That’s a design feature of AGA rules to avoid language problems and end game confusion and has no effect on the result.

If Black plays the last stone on the board, White – under AGA rules – also hands over a third pass stone. Why and what is the effect?

When Black plays last on the board, the number of stones played by both players (not including pass stones) must be odd. Since the board is odd (361), the territory after filling in prisoners will be even. (Odd minus odd equals even.) So any difference in the scores of the two players must also be even: 2, 4, 6, 8, etc. (e.g. 33 – 27 or 32 – 26).

If White is behind by 6 points (territory count) and gets 7 ½ komi, White wins by 1½ . The additional pass stone prisoner reduces the victory to ½ point, but White still wins. If White is behind by 8 and gets 7 ½ komi, White loses by ½ point. The additional pass means White is down 1 ½ points – just a bigger loss.

And if White plays last on the board, there is no third pass stone and no issue.

*Note, if there is a seki (or a combination of sekis) with an odd total number of shared liberties, the parity of points on the board changes and the added White pass stone can appear to change the result in a 1 point game. The combination happens very rarely – less than 1/1000. The Congress game between Matthew (Zi Yang) Hu 1p (w) vs Yuhan Zhang 7d (b) (U.S. Go Congress Recap/Preview: Wednesday, August 7 8/6 EJ; click here for the game) is the first reported example since AGA rules were introduced in 1991. But the “change” is an illusion. AGA rules are designed to produce the same result whether counted by territory or area. The last pass stone does that and the 7 1/2 point komi compensates White for Black’s last dame advantage. In addition, if you counted by traditional territory rules with a 6 1/2 point komi, this game would end the same: White loses by half a point.
- Terry Benson, with Dennis Wheeler and Phil Straus; photos of the Hu-Zhang game by Chris Garlock 

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EJ & Ranka Coverage of 34th WAGC To Start 9/1

Thursday August 29, 2013

China and Korea are favorites again this year to win the 34th edition of the World Amateur Go Championships, which will be held on September 1-4 in Sendai, Japan. Beginning September 1st,  Ranka Online and the American Go E-Journal will provide full daily coverage of the championship.

The field of 62 players from as many countries will range in age from 14 to 57 and in official rank from 7 kyu to 8 dan. Yuqing Hu will represent China and Hyunjae Choi is playing for Korea; those two countries have not dropped a single game to any other country in this event since 2006. The players from perennially strong Chinese Taipei, Japan, and Hong Kong (Wei-shin Lin, Kikou Emura, and King-man Kwan) will also bear watching, particularly 14-year-old Lin, who will move on from the World Amateur to a pro career in Taiwan.

These Asians will be challenged, however, by a strong European contingent, led by Slovakian prodigy Pavol Lisy, who finished runner-up to former Chinese pro Fan Hui in this year’s European Championship. Joining Pavol will be four other young finalists from the European Championship: Thomas Debarre (France), Ilya Shikshin (Russia), Artem Kachanovskyi (Ukraine), and Nikola Mitic (Serbia). Also competing will be such established European stars as Ondrej Silt (Czechia), Csaba Mero (Hungary), Cornel Burzo (Romania), Merlijn Kuin (Netherlands), and Franz-Josef Dickhut (Germany).

Challenging the Asians and Europeans will be a pair of North American students: Curtis Tang (US), a UC Berkeley student who trained for a year at a go academy in China, and Bill Lin (Canada), who played in the World Mind Games last December and is coming off a 3-1 defense of his Canadian Dragon title.

The Southern hemisphere will be represented by Hao-Song Sun (Australia, 11th place at the 2008 World Mind Sports Games), Xuqi Wu (New Zealand, 12th place at the 2009 Korea Prime Minister Cup), and a pack of hopeful new players from South America and South Africa.

In the past the World Amateur Go Championship has been held in the spring, but this year the schedule was moved back because of the effects of the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake on March 11, 2011. Thanks to support from all over the world during the past two years, most of the regions hit by the earthquake are now recovering. It is hoped that through the game of go this tournament will give the world proof of the recovery and encourage the local people to press ahead with the long recovery process.
- Ranka Online
NOTE: This report has been updated to reflect Curtis Tang’s status as a college student, not high school.

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Popular Teacher’s Workshop to Return at 2014 Go Congress

Tuesday August 27, 2013

The Teacher’s Workshop will be offered again at the 2014 Go Congress, according to AGA VP Chris Kirschner.  “The howling success of the 2013 Workshop indicates that this will become a regular Go Congress event,” he told the E-Journal.  The Workshop had 21 hours of programming, with some of the sessions repeated.   Certificates for 8 hours of participation were earned by 40 teachers who ranged from 15 kyu to 5 dan.  Go teachers who did not attend the workshop are welcome to join the announcement/discussion list for the Workshop, which is being moderated by Bill Camp.  To join the list, just email BillPhotos: top right: Go Phrase Guessing Game devised by Korean Pro Dahee Lee (at back); bottom left: Chris Kirschner; bottom right: Bill Camp.  Photos/report by Brian Allen

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Phoon Wins AGF Scholarship

Monday August 26, 2013

Joey Phoon 5k is the winner of the American Go Foundation’s College Scholarship. Phoon is off to college on familiar turf this month, as he starts the fall term at George Mason University, site of the 2009 Go Congress, which he attended when he was 14. “Walking through campus brings back memories of running through the rain to get to simuls and occasionally getting lost in the huge campus,” Phoon told the E-Journal. Phoon started a go club at George C. Marshall High, in his junior year. “At first it was only me and a couple of friends that I had taught in preparation for the club,” said Phoon, “but we slowly gained momentum and gained member after member. At the end of the year we had 11 members. Every Wednesday we would play a few games then review life and death problems. From just these sessions, the students learned quickly and got to 20 kyu within a couple weeks. I took two of the members to their first AGA rated go tournament and one of them won first place in the 25 kyu division. The go club carried on the following year and we gained 3 new members.” Phoon says running his club “made me understand that teaching a complete stranger is different from teaching a friend. They may be complete novices when it comes to the game but they show great potential. I hope now that I have graduated they will continue the club, and promote go to other people.”

Phoon says going to the Go Congress as a young man had a big impact on him: “Us Eastern shore kids finally got a chance to participate in one of the largest go events in the Western hemisphere. Naturally, my friends from the Great Falls Go Club and I decided to attend as it was a once in a life time chance for us. The Go Congress gave me a chance to meet children around my age throughout the United States that had an interest in go. Not only that, but I met many famous pros along the way like Ryo Maeda and Feng Yun. Their lectures were not only compelling but also gave me a glimpse into the pro go world. Overall, go has changed the way I look at life and how I treat every situation. Rather than focusing on a particular aspect of life, stepping back sometimes can help you find a better solution, because then you can see life from a broader point of view.”

The AGF College Scholarship is presented annually, usually to one male and one female student. There were no female applicants in this past cycle though, so only one scholarship was awarded. Applications for the AGF Scholarship are open through November 20th, and interested students can find more information on the AGF Website. -Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor. Photo by Joey Phoon.

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Big Turnout for Bay Area Go Summer Tournament

Monday August 26, 2013

Forty six kids and adults came out to San Francisco’s Japantown Center on August 17th for the Summer Go Tournament organized by Bay Area Go Players Association. Players ranged in strength from 7 dan to 21 kyu, and 13 people joined or renewed their AGA memberships in order to play in the event. Naoyuki Kai 7d (in photo at right) led the pack with an impressive 4-0 record.

“Some folks traveled three hours or more to get here, so I’m glad we could offer them a full day of competitive face-to-face go,” said Tournament Director Steve Burrall. Reports event organizer Roger Schrag, “Longtime local go leader and past US Go Congress co-director Ernest Brown took lots of pictures and made a beautiful slide show. I hope people who haven’t yet experienced playing in a go tournament will watch it to get an idea of how rewarding, fun, and social it is to play go over a physical board with dozens of other go players all around you.” Bay Area Go’s Fall Tournament is scheduled for Saturday, November 2 in Berkeley.

Winners report: First Division (7d-2d): 1st: Naoyuki Kai 7d. 2nd: Norman Tsai 5d. 3rd: Marshall Quander 2d. Second Division (1d-4k): 1st: Roger Schrag 4k. 2nd: Peter de Blanc 1d. 3rd: Daniel Yoo 4k. Third Division (5k-21k): Douglas Miller 16k. 2nd: James Lee 10k. 3rd: John Lengyel 8k.

Photos by Ernest Brown. 

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2013 U.S. Go Congress at a Glance: Report/Game Index

Saturday August 24, 2013

From before the Opening Ceremonies to the closing Awards Banquet, the American Go E-Journal once again provided comprehensive coverage of the annual U.S. Go Congress, this year held August 3-11 in Tacoma, WA. In addition to broadcasting and posting dozens of top games, many with commentary by professional go players, the EJ published daily tournament recaps and previews (a new feature this year), interviews, features and scrapbooks of photos from the biggest event on the US go calendar. Here’s a selection of our coverage, organized into a handy overview. All the coverage is available online: click on U.S. Go Congress under Categories or search for specific keywords. Game records are posted on the US Open, NAMT  and Strong Players Open; also see below for clickable links to the professional game commentaries. 

Tournament Reports
U.S. Go Congress Recap: Yuhan Zhang Wins U.S. Open
2013 North American Masters Tournament: Final Results (includes player photos)
2013 Strong Players Open: Final Results (includes player photos)
Los Angeles Tops Inaugural Pandanet-AGA City League
Amy Wang and Justin Ching Win Pair Go Tourney
Andrew Lu Repeats As Die Hard Winner

Daily Recaps/Previews

U.S. Go Congress Preview: Sunday, August 4
U.S. Go Congress Recap/Preview: Monday, August 5
U.S. Go Congress Recap/Preview: Tuesday, August 6
U.S. Go Congress Recap/Preview: Wednesday, August 7
U.S. Go Congress Recap/Preview: Friday, August 9
U.S. Go Congress Recap/Preview: Matthew Hu Repeats as NAMT Champ; Cong Li Wins SPO

Congress Photo Scrapbooks
U.S. Go Congress Scrapbook: Saturday, August 3 
U.S. Go Congress Scrapbook: Sunday, August 4 
U.S. Go Congress Scrapbook: Monday, August 5 
U.S. Go Congress Scrapbook: Tuesday, August 6

Other Reports
Everyone’s A Winner at NAMT Board Auction
Dolen & Fukuda Receive Lasker Awards
Go History Lessons on Display at Congress
Takemiya on Teaching
Korean Leaders visit Seattle Go Center
Auto Exec Turns His Sights on Popularizing Go
Go Quiz: Something In Common

Youth Reports
Defending Champs Hold Onto Redmond Cup Titles
Ching, Huang, and Xu Top Youth Team Tourney
Kurebayashi’s Top Youth-Adult Pair Go
Frisbee Go – Youth Room Style
Gan and Ye Score in Redmond Cup; Lightning Tourney in Youth Room

Game Commentaries: The E-Journal team broadcast 15 professional commentaries during the 2013 U.S. Go Congress. In addition to the U.S. Open, the North American Masters and the Strong Players Open, we also covered the Pandanet-AGA City League A-League final as well as the Samsung Qualifier taking place in Korea.

U.S. Open Round 1, Board 1: Jennie Shen 2P on Zi Yang (Matthew) Hu vs. Tianyu (Bill) Lin
U.S. Open Round 2, Board 1: Cathy Li 1P on Zi Yang Hu vs. Jianing Gan
U.S. Open Round 3, Board 1: Shirley Lin 1P on Zi Yang Hu vs. Yuhan Zhang 7d
U.S. Open Round 3, Board 1: Chujo Chihiro 3P on Zi Yang Hu 1p vs. Yuhan Zhang 7d
U.S. Open Round 3, Board 2: Myungwan Kim 9P on Calvin Sun 7d vs. Peilun Li 7d
U.S. Open Round 4 Board 1: Wei Chen 3P on Yuhan Zhang 7d vs. Calvin Sun 7d
U.S. Open Round 5 Board 1: Mingjiu Jiang 9P on Yuhan Zhang 7d vs. Peilun Li 7d
NAMT Round 1 Board 1: Yang Yi 6P on Matthew Hu 1p vs Jianing Gan 7d
NAMT Round 2, Board 1:  Yilun Yang 7P on Calvin Sun 7d vs. Zi Yang Hu 1P
NAMT Round 4 Board 1: Takemiya Masaki on Stephanie Yin 1p vs. Zi Yang Hu 1P
NAMT Round 4 Board 2: Mingming Yin 1p on Hugh Zhang 7d vs Andy Liu 1P
SPO Round 2 Board 2: BeomGeun (Evan) Cho 7d vs Yuhan Zhang 7d (player commentary)
SPO Round 4 Board 1:  Myungwan Kim on Cong Li 3P vs Yuhan Zhang 7D
SPO Round 4 Board 2:  Huiren Yang 1p on Peilun Li 7d vs Evan Cho 7d
Pandanet-AGA City League A-League final: Myungwan Kim 9P on Beumgeon (Evan) Cho and Jie Li
Samsung Qualifier: Mingjiu Jiang 7P on Eric Lui 7d vs Ben Lockhart

2013 US GO CONGRESS EJ TEAM
Managing Editor: Chris Garlock; Assistant Manager: Todd Heidenreich; Broadcast coordinator: Steve Colburn and Dennis Wheeler; Photography: Phil Straus; KGS admin: Akane Negishi, with Sadaharu Wakisaka; Youth Editor: Paul Barchilon; Myron Souris (off-site support). Simulcast Manager: Solomon Smilack; US Open Game Recorders: Dennis Wheeler, Richard Dolen, Mike Lepore, Frank Lam. NAMT Game Recorders: Dennis Wheeler, Richard Dolen, Andrew Jackson, Solomon Smilack, David Weimer, Logan Lancaster, Brian Leahy, Ethan Frank, Matt Payton, Alex Salazar, Mike Lepore. Professionals: Cathy Li, Myunyan Kim, Yilun Yang, Shirley Lin, Huiren Yang, Mingjiu Jiang, Takemiya Masaki & Pro Coordinator I-Han Lui. photo by Phil Straus

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