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

Long Live the King! Final NAMT Qualifier Scheduled for July 6-7

Wednesday June 19, 2013

The final North American Masters Tournament (NAMT) qualifier of the 2013 season is scheduled to be played online the weekend of July 6-7. “This tournament coincides with the rise to power of both Richard the Lionheart  and Elvis Presley,” reports AGA Tournament Coordinator Karoline Burrall. Richard (right) was crowned on July 6, 1189, and Presley’s first single — “That’s All Right” — was broadcast 765 years later on Memphis radio station WHBQ on July 7, 1954. You don’t have to be a king or a rock star to play in the tournament but you do need to be at least 4-dan and you must register by July 3. The 4-round online tournament is open to players rated 4D+ and eligible to compete in this year’s North American Masters Tournament at the Go Congress in Tacoma WA. Eligibility for AGA players is based on citizenship or permanent residency in the US, residency in the US for 6 of the past 12 months, and continuous full or youth AGA membership. Click here for detailed schedule and rules, as well as a link to registration. “Long Live the King!” says Burrall.

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Your Move/Readers Write: A Doodle for Google, Anyway

Tuesday June 18, 2013

“Too bad they don’t do doodles for living persons,” responded David Shope (A Google Doodle for Go Seigen? 6/12 EJ) via the AGA’s Facebook page. That didn’t stop graphic artist Mike Samuel (who’s designed many of the U.S. Go Congress logos) from drafting up a potential go-themed “Google  Doodle” for the internet giant.

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Andy Liu 1P Sweeps YKNOT3

Monday June 17, 2013

In the exciting concluding rounds to the third annual Young Kwon National Online Tournament, new American professional Andy Liu became this year’s champion, winning all five rounds. Liu earned professional status at last year’s

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first AGA professional qualification event, sponsored by TygemGO, which took place just prior to the US Go Congress in North Carolina. Liqun Liu 7D took second in the 2013 YKNOT, winning 4 out of 5. Other band winners include Aaron Ye 5D, Willis Huang 3D, Larry Qu 1K, Matthew Machado 5K, and Yuliang Huang 21K. The tournament took place over the first two weekends in June on KGS. There were a total of about 60 players, some of whom were new AGA members, and for others, this was their very first online tournament. YKNOT3 sponsor Young Kwon was on hand during the rounds to watch the games and comment. TD Karoline Burrall extended thanks to all of the players who participated in the tournament. “Thanks also to our fantastic sponsor Young Kwon,” added Burrall, “as well as the team of TDs including Dennis Wheeler, Todd Heidenreich, Jay Tabaniag, and Julie Burrall.”

Andy Liu’s 5th-round game against Yue Zhang 7D — “Full of fighting and lively viewer commentary!” — is at right.

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Categories: U.S./North America
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Wilson Zhang Wins Happy Cup

Monday June 17, 2013

Seventh-grader Wilson Zhang 1k topped the Sixth Sunflower Happy Cup Youth Go Tournament, with four wins, on June 1 in Cupertino, California. “Forty-one elementary and middle school kids gathered together on a beautiful Saturday afternoon and played four to five rounds of 19×19 games,” reports Wenguang Wang, who organized the event. “To ensure a really fun experience for every kid, players earned prize tickets after each round, and then exchanged their tickets for various fancy prizes. Each participant was also rewarded with a trophy, and at the event’s conclusion all the kids and their parents enjoyed a refreshing ice cream party.” -Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor. Photo by Ming Liao. Wilson Zhang is at left, in the blue shirt

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Local Organizers Oppose Nihon Kiin Plan to Sell New York Go Center

Monday June 17, 2013

The Nihon Kiin has informed Nihon Kiin America (NKA) that it intends to sell the East 52nd St building that formerly housed the New York Go Center. Nihon Ki-in CEO Mr. Hanyu will be in New York this week to discuss the matter further with Terry Benson, NKA President.  “We think it’s a mistake to sell,” Benson says,  “especially with New York real estate values climbing. We presented them with a detailed plan by which the building could be put back in use, pay for the cost to do so in less than three years, and be a permanent source of funds to cover its expenses and produce money to benefit American go. The plan was never given serious consideration.”

In a conference call Mr. Hanyu told NKA board members that the proceeds would be used to benefit American go. However Mr. Hanyu also said that the American community would only be “consulted” in determining how the funds would be used. The Nihon Ki-in would have the final authority. He also would not say whether the building would be offered for competitive bids in a public sale or in a private transaction like the one the Nihon Ki-in tried to close in 2011.  “The Nihon Kiin has a fiduciary responsibility to make the most of Iwamoto sensei’s gift. A private sale to a friendly buyer would raise obvious suspicions. We will insist on transparency in everything to do with the building,” says Benson. “Iwamoto’s endowment to US go must benefit and be controlled by those who know how to promote go in the US. We hope the Nihon Ki-in honors Iwamoto’s intentions.”
- photo: Andy Liu giving a lesson at the NYGC; photo by Roy Laird

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Google Donates $120,000 in Free Ads to AGF

Monday June 17, 2013

Google has agreed to donate up to $120,000 per year to the American Go Foundation (AGF) in free AdWords, those text-based ads you see to the right when you search on Google. The AGF received this benefit by qualifying as a Google Nonprofit, a status available to 501c3 corporations. “This is a great new way to reach out to players, teachers, librarians, organizers and people who ought to be players,” said AGF President Terry Benson. The AGF’s first AdWords campaign attracted almost 200 hits in the first week, with a “Got Best Game?” theme; traffic on the AGF website is up at least 30%. Another benefit of the program is access to One Today, a crowdsourced microfinance fundraising app for 501c3s. The app, currently only available for Android, presents users with one charity every day, and asks for a donation of one dollar, or more if a donor is so inclined.  Multiple charities are displayed each day, and users can pick who they want to donate to. The AGF is working on a One Today profile, and will go live on the app in the near future.  Like Microsoft, Exxon, and other major corporations, Google also matches the contributions of employees who make charitable donations to organizations like the AGF. -Roy Laird

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New AGA Pro To Play in First Korean Tournament

Saturday June 15, 2013

Gansheng Shi 1p, who qualified with Andy Liu 1p as an AGA pro in last year’s certification tournament, is scheduled to play in his first Korean pro tournament, the KT-Olleh Cup, on Monday June 17th.  The young Canadian will play alongside Korean professionals and even receive a small game fee for playing.  Top prize in the tournament is $100,000.  The KT-Olleh is one of five tournaments that the Hankuk Kiwon (KBA) agreed to allow newly certified AGA pros to play in, and the first to start since Shi traveled to Korea last month. The next scheduled of the five is the Samsung Cup in August.  “My goal in tournaments would be to win at least one game but it seems very difficult,” Shi told the EJ.  Shi is studying at the Choong-Am Dojang in Seoul, with travel support from the AGA and tuition support from the KBA.

Shi says he is enjoying Korea, Korean food, and some new friends. He describes the Choong-Am as a “really quiet nice place to focus on go,” although he had difficulty adjusting at first. “I started off in league C … The first 2-3 weeks were really bad and I had a horrible losing record of something like 3-9, then I managed to stabilize in the league and was able to stay in league C without being moved to league D.  The new month just started and I have been doing great so far, winning most of my games and I really hope to move to the next league after this month.”  Shi fills his days with self-study of pro games and life and death until lunch, a game and then review with a teacher in the afternoon, more self-study and some exercise, and then a game after dinner. “I do feel like I’m progressing, because I have been improving in my record and winning a lot of games lately. Perhaps that is just me stabilizing but I do feel that I am learning a lot in the dojang.”  -Andy Okun.  Photo: Shi playing a simul at the Spring Go Expo earlier this year, from The Surrounding Game’s Facebook Page.

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Takemiya Confirmed for U.S. Go Congress; Chinese Weiqi Names Two from Chongqing Go Team

Thursday June 13, 2013

The Nihon Ki-in has just confirmed that the legendary Takemiya Masaki 9P will attend the 2013 U.S. Go Congress, which runs August 3-11 in Tacoma, WA. Famous for his ‘cosmic style‘ of play – focusing on the construction of large moyos and taking territory in the center — Takemiya wowed 2009 Congress attendees with his lectures, game commentaries and demonstrations of ballroom dancing. “We are so thrilled to welcome Takemiya sensei back to the U.S. Go Congress,” said American Go Association President Andy Okun. “We’re sure he’ll be even more illuminating and entertaining this year.” The Chinese Weiqi Association has also just announced that they’re sending two attendees – Yang Yi 6P and Chen Wei 3P — to the Go Congress. Yang (top left) is director of the Chongqing Qiyuan and senior coach of the Chongqing Go Team, while Chen (bottom left), also from the Chongqing Qiyuan, is Coach of the Chongqing Go Team. Chen primarily teaches now, and more than forty of his students have achieved amateur 5-Dan status. “We are deeply grateful to Chinese Weiqi for the help and collegiality in spreading go and building the go community in North America,” said Okun.
- includes reporting by Lee Anne Bowie; Takemiya photo by Phil Straus

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Go Helps Minority Cultures Preserve Their Traditions in U.S.

Wednesday June 12, 2013

How can minority cultures gain acceptance in American society without abandoning their cultural values and traditions? The game of go may be one way.

One Friday last month, Academy of the Americas (AoA) students traveled to Kalamazoo, Michigan with the Go Cultural Ambassador International Program (GCAIP) where Detroit and Ypsilanti youth taught Kalamazoo students how to play go. They related the ancient board game to community building, anti-bullying and peer mentorship in the kindergarten through higher education continuum, influenced by the anti-bullying work of top pro Yasutoshi Yasuda.

GCAIP’s mission is to promote global citizenship and cultural validation with an emphasis on academic excellence in the social sciences and humanities. It uses go to bridge and even transcend cultural differences. Eighty students aged 9-13 attended the daylong event at the Western Michigan University College of Health and Human Services.  Participants analyzed the first Hikaru No Go anime with faculty assistance using the theories of “cultural humility” and “transformative complicity.” The young students “grasped college-level theory leaving Diana Hernandez, WMU’s Director of the Division of Multicultural Affairs,  in shock,” according to WMU Assistant Professor  Dr. Roxanna Duntley-Matos who is also the co-founder of the Asociacion Latina Alcanzando Suenos (ALAS) and GCAIP.

Detroit youth paired up with El Sol Elementary teachers and students and with University of Michigan faculty Dr. Robert M. Ortega (known for his promotion of cultural humility in child welfare) to discuss how their game strategies reflected their personalities (i.e. risk taker, adventurous, aggressive or cautious).   WMU provided university flags and patches to inspire participants to work hard and return in a few years as college students. Live music and a karate demonstration led by Martin Gatlin added to the festival-like atmosphere. “The day ended with students dancing the bachata and merengue giving the entire day a true Latino touch,” Matos said. “All in all, we had people from two universities, three schools and one community program blending elements from Latino, African American, Euro-American and Asian cultures.”

GCAIP has other activities in the works.  It plans to visit groups in Grand Rapids and Wayne State University and hopes to connect with a new program in Puerto Rico. They already have ongoing relationships with programs in Oregon and Mexico. “Go is more than a game of strategy, it is a way of life. It connects people and communities together,” says Oscar Hernandez, one Detroit youth GO Cultural Ambassador;

GCAIP, AoA and ALAS credit Dr. Earlie Washington, Dean of WMU CHHS and Dr. Linwood Cousins, Director of  the WMU School of Social Work for providing invaluable institutional support. They also thank Kelly Alvarez, Terry Gay, Anne Bowman, Jinny Zeigler, Ernestina Iglesias and Jennifer Clements for helping to organize the Kalamazoo event celebrating AoA’s 20th anniversary and honoring GCAIP co-founder and recently deceased AoA Principal Mrs. Denise Fielder. AoA’s GCAIP Director Mark Duffy played a crucial role continuing the instructional work of Siddhartha Avila, GCAIP co-founder from Pipiolo Elementary School in Mexico. Special thanks from ALAS to Portland organizer Peter Freedman and karate instructor Martin Gatlin for weekly go training over the Internet for the past year.
- Roy Laird; photo: El Sol students learn go; photo by Diana Hernandez

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Go Camp Updates: Video Posted; One More Camper Needed

Tuesday June 11, 2013

AGA Go Camp Director Amanda Miller is gearing up for this year’s camp, and has nine students enrolled so far.  ”We need just one more student to break even, so if you have been thinking about camp, now is the time to sign up!” Miller says.

Camp will be held July 20-27 at YMCA Camp T. Frank Soles in Rockwood, Pennsylvania. A promotional video from a previous camp captures the exciting camp experience on film. Check out camp information, pictures and news on the camp’s website.

AGF Scholarships are still available to help defray the cost for kids who need it. AGA President Andy Okun has confirmed the camp will run this year, even if it’s at a small loss, “but breaking even would be much better.”
-Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor. 

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