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.
American Go E-Journal » U.S./North America
Sunday January 26, 2014
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).
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
Monday January 20, 2014
Monday January 20, 2014
A delegation of Cuban go players has been invited to attend this year’s U.S. Go Congress for the first time and AGA board member Robert Gilman is coordinating fundraising efforts to support the visit. “The Cubans have greeted our invitation with ‘immense joy’,” Gilman — who organized the 2013 visit by US players to Cuba (Traveling Board: U.S.-Cuba Friendship Match “A Rare Opportunity”) — reports, “but the key question is money. Cuba is a poor country, the Cuban internal currency is worthless in the U.S. and the AGA does not have the budget to sponsor the delegation, so we’re asking the go community to step up. Cubans have made strong efforts to develop go there, but isolation from the international go community and limited internet have handicapped them. This visit will help them develop and extend bonds with our neighbors to the South.” The invitees are Cuba’s top two players and the president of the Academia Cubana de Go. The video here describes this effort.
Contributions can be made through either the AGA or the American Go Foundation (AGF); contributions to the AGF are tax deductible. In either case, put “CC2014” in the memo field, and mail the check to Gilman at P.O. Box 40020 in Albuquerque, NM 87196-0020. Checks will be acknowledged as they are received but not cashed until its clear the project is a go. If you are contributing, please complete the form here.
Saturday January 18, 2014
Last Saturday, January 11, the Las Vegas Go Club (LVGC) was at full capacity. “New membership to our club is up and we are hoping that it transfers to long-time go players.” reports Mike Wanek. “In the last month or so, we have had four new members who have started to attend the club regularly.” The seven regular members of the LVGC were very surprised when over 15 people showed up for last week’s meeting. “Currently, our main goals for the club are twofold,” says Chris Tettamanti. “First, to generate interest in the great game of go and second, to boost membership to the AGA.” As the club grows, donations are collected to buy much needed club equipment. Sean Jacobson noted that “The latest set of donations will go to purchasing new game clocks. We are very close to having enough in donations to purchase 5 or 6 of them already. This will allow us to create mini-tournaments on days that we have a large turnouts.” Weekly meetings of the Las Vegas Go Club — which welcomes players of all strengths — are on Saturdays from 4pm to 10pm at the IHOP at 7490 S. Las Vegas Blvd. photos courtesy Chris Tettamanti
Thursday January 16, 2014
Alex Panaccione won all four games to win the January 12 MGA Winter Tournament. Twenty eight players turned out for the event, which was directed by Eva Casey with support from Eric Tillberg, whose entry fee was waived as a result. “I hope others will begin to learn the ropes of directing this way too in upcoming tournaments,” says Casey. Tillberg took third place and Graham Higgins was second. Click here for more photos.
photo: Panaccione (right) playing Eric Osman; photo by Eva Casey
Monday January 13, 2014
The AGA is launching a new event for young players, the North American Kyu Championships (NAKC), to be held on KGS, on Saturday Feb. 15. The event will replace the USYGC, which had been tied into the Ing Foundation’s World Youth Goe Cup. The NAKC will welcome kids who live in both Canada and Mexico to compete with their counterparts in the US. 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.
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. Depending on the number of entrants in a given bracket, there will be either 3 or 4 rounds. There will be a trophy for the best Junior player (under 13) and the best Senior (under 18) in each bracket. Jr. and Sr. level youth will compete together. 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. The AGA is no longer involved with the Ing Foundation’s private tournament for youth. AGA members who wish to play in Ing events can find information on the Ing Foundation’s website here. -Story and Photo by Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor. Photo: Kyu players competing at a tournament in Colorado.
Sunday January 12, 2014
More than half a century ago, a small gift changed Terry Benson’s life. His parents bought him a go set at a mall bookstore in 1960. “It was a flimsy, cardboard set with small, flat bottom, plastic stones and a 1949 AGA rule book,” says Benson. “As plain as a game could be. But it was the best gift ever!” Now Benson, President of the American Go Foundation (AGF), is urging go players to also give the gift of go. “Think about what a little go set can do or what the first set or the first experience with go meant to you,” says Benson. Contributions help the AGF work with go organizers to spread the game. “The number of children that the AGF can reach is only limited by the gifts we receive from players who value go,” says Benson. “We need your help to find the next kid who could become an organizer, a champion, the parent of a go fan, or a lifelong player.” AGF projects this year alone include teaching teachers at a dozen schools in LA, where over 300 kids are now learning the game. “Jay Jayaraman in Memphis has started First Capture Go programs through The Confucius Institute at 18 schools with more signing on,” adds Benson. “Peter Freedman and 2011 AGF Teacher of the Year Fritz Balwit have a half-dozen programs in Portland with a chess and go hybrid model,” and the AGF sent more than 100 free Starter Sets to schools and libraries throughout the US that are starting go programs. Another 119 sets of the complete Hikaru no Go manga have been added to libraries and community centers, many of which now sport go clubs or teaching programs run by youth librarians with equipment from the AGF. The AGF also supported the Teacher Workshop at the 2013 Go Congress, provided $3,000 to help the US Go Camp this year in Pennsylvania and another $7,000 for kids coming to the Go Congress, as well as awarded a $1,000 2012 AGF College Scholarship to go organizer Joey Phoon and a $1,500 earmarked donation covered online teaching games for kids who had never experienced professional training. “We’re doing what we can but we need you to keep the game going,” says Benson. “What we can do depends on you.” Click here for details on how to contribute.
Thursday January 9, 2014
The fourth annual Jin Chen Memorial Tournament at the Seattle Go Center brought together 46 players from diverse backgrounds. The 12-person open section was won by Ximeng (Simon) Yu, a 1 dan professional from China who is also a local college student. Second place in the open went to longtime Northwest teacher and player Edward Kim 7d. Edward lost his game to Simon on time, but said he was also behind on points. Third place went to Ran Yan, who traveled to Seattle for the tournament. In the handicapped sections, Go Center teacher Nick Sibicky won the upper dan section, and Ning An, visiting from China, placed second. As is often the case in Seattle, the local Betcher brothers ruled the lower dan section, with Jordon first and Job second. In the upper kyu section, Andrew Mott was first and John Richards was second. In the large lower kyu section Wilhelm Fitzpatrick placed first, young Steven He second, and Rainer Romatka third.
Friends and family of the late Jin Chen came to the tournament from China, including 5 players. They donated a large and beautiful scroll painting of wei-chi players to the Go Center. The trip was organized by Shan Chen, Jin’s father. Their able translator was Xingshuo Liu 7d, a law student at Indiana University. Photo: 1st Round, 1st Board (l-r): Simon Yu, Momoko Tsutsui; 2nd Board: Bert Hallonquist and Edward Kim. Photo/Report Brian Allen