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

Your Move/Readers Write: Questionable Position in Portland

Saturday November 30, 2013

“Someone was listening to Roger Schrag’s comments in his article on Go Spotting: Lan Su Chinese Garden in Portland (9/3 EJ)” writes Bob Joyce. Schrag wondered “Is the position on the go board (at left) viable?” and Joyce says “I visited the garden on Saturday, September 28th and the position of the stones had changed (right); however, even a beginner (like me) knows that go games do not begin in the middle of the board.”


AGA Website Streamlined For Easier Use

Thursday November 28, 2013

The AGA website has undergone some significant changes in the last few months. All the favorites are still there, including news, ratings, youth go, and tournament information, but the main left-side navigation menu has been revised from the top down, focusing on reducing duplication and adding comprehensive titles. “We hope that information is easier to find,” says Greg Smith, AGA Website Volunteer and team leader of the reorganization, on which Roger Schrag, Paul Barchilon and Roy Laird also worked. “We spent a lot of time mapping out the existing content and placing each link into a larger flow of ‘Learn, Play, Outreach, Teach’ ”

The new Outreach section has pages dedicated to presentations and publicity including a dedicated section for handouts. And we created better access to information about the AGA itself: the elections and organizational information each have their own consolidated and categorized page.

In recognition of the AGA’s Professional Certification program, we created a whole new section on AGA-Certified Go Professionals while continuing to honor those go professionals living in the US and certified by other nations.

“The AGA website has an enormous amount of content. We’ve rearranged it a bit in hopes that we can expand with more easy-to-find information,” adds Smith.

Check it out and let us know what you think by emailing your comments to us at



Li Three-Peats in Young Lions

Wednesday November 27, 2013

Yunxuan Li 6d has won the American Go Honor Society’s (AGHS) Young Lion’s tournament, for the third year in a row. “The tournament was very competitive,” writes organizer Calvin Sun, “with many new faces appearing this year. The first board topped the Active Games list, attracting almost 100 observers on KGS.” Competing on Nov. 16th and 17th, Li topped a field of 34 players with a 4-0 record. “The tournament was really great” Li told the E-Journal, “it is amazing to see new players each year. I want to thank the AGHS for giving this opportunity to North American youth, to compete and communicate with each other. All the games I played were so difficult. This was probably the most competitive year for the Young Lion’s yet.” Li graciously agreed to provide commentary on his crucial 2nd round match with Jimmy Yang 5d, and the attached game record is a freebie for all E-J readers.  “I think it is very beneficial for young people to play go, it helps enlarge our imagination, and develops a sense of logic,” says Li. “It is very cool to have go as a friend when you are young, because it really helps you mature a lot.” 11 players 3 dan and up competed in the Open Section, which Li won. In Division 1, from 2d to 3k, Jeremiah Donley 1k took top honors; Division 2, from 5k to 9k was won by Frederick Bao 5k; Matthew Qiu 16k took the prize in Division 3, from 10k to 21k. Stay tuned for AGHS’ next big tournament, the School Team Tournament, which will be held in March. -Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor.  Photo by Wenguang Wu: Li, at left, plays with Fang Tian Feng 8P. The kid with the yellow shirt, who is watching the game is Ding Hao 6d, an insei from Beijing Ge Yu Hong Dojo.



SportAccord World Mind Games North American Player Profiles

Tuesday November 26, 2013

The North American delegation to this year’s SportAccord World Mind Games – coming up December 12-18 in Beijing – includes Daniel Ko and Huiren Yang from the US and Sarah Yu and Yongfei Ge from Canada. The American Go E-Journal will once again team up with Ranka to provide coverage this year, with Michael Redmond 9P and EJ Managing Editor Chris Garlock providing play-by-play game commentary on the SAWMG YouTube channel as well as coverage in the EJ. Here are brief biographical sketches of the players.

Sarah Yu 6d is a 23-year-old graduate student in Toronto who’s been playing go for 17 years. She’s looking forward to “learning go from top professional players” at the SAWMG. Her favorite thing about go is that “The rules are simple, but it’s hard to master.” Her advice to players who want to improve is to “Play each move well, work on the skills, and look at professional games.” Her hobbies include playing table tennis.

Daniel Daehyuk Ko 7d, 37, works in accounting and finance in Los Angeles, CA and has been playing go for 32 years. He’s looking forward to “Playing with top professionals and learning from them” at the SAWMG. His favorite thing about go is meeting people and making friends and his advice on how to get stronger is to “Play with someone 2-3 stones stronger and review your games with strong players.” His hobbies include traveling.

Yongfei Ge 8d is a 44-year-old software architect in Scarborough, Canada who’s been playing go for 30 years. He’s looking forward to “playing with top pro players” at the SAWMG and his favorite thing about go is “Winning after hard fight.” His advice to improving is to “review games after playing” and hobbies include video games, books and ping pong.

Huiren Yang 1P is 60 years old; no further information was available at presstime.


Nihon Kiin & AGA Ink Deal for Iwamoto North America Foundation

Monday November 25, 2013

A new East Coast Go Center tops the list of projects of the new Iwamoto North America Foundation (INAF), the result of a collaborative agreement with the American Go Association (AGA) approved today by the Nihon Kiin (NK) Board of Directors. The Foundation is named in honor of the late Kaoru Iwamoto and will be funded by the sale of the New York Go Center. “This is a tremendously exciting development in the history of American go,” said AGA president Andy Okun. “We look forward to continuing to work closely with the Nihon Kiin to realize Iwamoto sensei’s vision of spreading go worldwide.” The INAF will be an equal partnership between NK and AGA, with each side contributing three Directors, the NK Chairman serving as Foundation President and AGA  contributing an Executive Director to take care of the Foundation’s regular operation. “I greatly welcome the arrival of this new Foundation,” said Thomas Hsiang, the AGA’s Vice President for International Affairs, who originated the concept for the Foundation and led the negotiations for its creation. “The Nihon Kiin has always been a great friend to American go and the INAF will add a new, grand chapter to this illustrious history.” A Request for Proposal (RFP) for establishing an East Coast Go Center is expected to be sent to regional go communities in the next few months.

Photos: top right: AGA president Andy Okun and NK Chairman Norio Wada signing the INAF Letter of Confirmation in Tokyo on November 5; bottom left: the people involved in negotiating the INAF agreement (l-r): Tadaaki Jagawa (NK VP), Thomas Hsiang (AGA VP-International Affairs), Norio Wada (NK Chairman), Andrew Okun (AGA President), Hiroshi Yamashiro (NK VP), and Shiho Yamada (NK Director in charge of overseas affairs). Photos courtesy Tomotaka Urasoe, NK Overseas Department).


Pair Go Tournament at Seattle Go Center Dec. 7

Monday November 25, 2013

The Seattle Go Center plans to present a gala evening of Pair Go on Saturday, December 7, when there will be a two-round Pair Go tournament featuring a dessert buffet sponsored by Bakery Nouveau of Seattle and prizes for the top teams. The tournament will be played by International Pair Go rules, so participants are encouraged to dress in formal or semi-formal attire.

Registration for the tournament will be open between 6p and 6:45p with the first round beginning at 7p. The fee for participants is $5 for annual and lifetime members of the Seattle Go Center, $5 for children under 18 and $10 for non-member adults.  Photo and photo styling by Anne Thompson.


Categories: U.S./North America

8 Young North Americans Want To Be Next AGA Pro

Thursday November 21, 2013

Who will be the next American pro? Eight young North American go players will battle it out for the honor and opportunity early next year in Los Angeles at the second AGA Pro Certification Tournament. The field includes four Americans and four Canadians, all of whom are quite young. 24-year-old Eric Lui, who used to be among the youngest at tournaments is the oldest participant in this tournament. Lui and Jianing Gan (17) are both seeded players from the previous Pro Qualification Tournament; Calvin Sun (16) and Bill Lin (17) qualified at this year’s US Go Open; Ben Lockhart (20) qualified at the Gotham Go Tournament; Daniel Gourdeau (20) qualified at the Canadian Open, Andrew Lu (16) at the Cotsen Open and Ryan Li (19) was the last qualifier, winning last Sunday’s Online Pro Prelim. The AGA Pro Certification Tournament will be held January 2-8 in Los Angeles and all boards will be broadcast live on KGS by the E-Journal. photo: at the 2012 AGA-Tygem Pro Tournament; photo by Nam Chi-Hyung


Architect Go Fan Donates Use of Restored LA Landmark for Pro Qualifiers

Tuesday November 19, 2013

The architect heading up restoration of the historic Hotel Normandie in Los Angeles has donated use of its function rooms for the upcoming second AGA Pro Qualification Tournament January 2-8 in Los Angeles (more details coming soon; meanwhile check out this Online Qualifier game from last Sunday between Jie Liang and Ryan Li which features lots of fighting spirit and really complicated fighting). The donation is courtesy of Jingbo Lou, a Pasadena architect who is leading the $5 million restoration of the 1926 hotel. The Normandie was designed by Albert Walker and Percy Eisen, whose other buildings include the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills and Downtown LA’s Fine Arts Building. The hotel started life as a modest but dignified residence hotel mostly for men, but also serving as a gathering spot for women’s and civic groups; although the hotel kept its name (hailed on a lit steel sign visible for miles from the roof) over the decades, it gradually went downhill, tile and hardwood floors covered with worn carpets, some windows closed off with drywall, stucco concealing brick and hard times hanging over the clientele. In 2010, it almost turned into a hotel for medical marijuana users. For Lou, who grew up in Beijing and came to the US in the early 90s, the hotel was an opportunity to restore a bit of what LA used to be like, to learn something about US society and to show respect for local culture, custom and history. “I was first introduced to go in college back in China, but stopped playing after I came to America,” Lou tells the E-Journal. “I picked up go again twenty years later, this time was with my five-year-old son, who was born in America. We joined a local club, the YuGo Club, and I also participated in teaching go at the Pasadena Public Library’s youth program. I saw there was much positive influence on American youths from go,” he says. “My passion in architecture and development is to build places for people to live, work and enjoy. Promoting go gives me the opportunity to introduce this rich Asian culture to my American friends.” - Andy Okun


Your Move/Reader’s Write: Duplicating Li’s Success?

Tuesday November 19, 2013

“I read the article on Yunxuan Li pulling in 100 teens to his Go club (Yunxuan Li On How His LA School Club Pulled in 100 Teens 11/5 EJ),” writes Sid Kobashigawa of the Honolulu Go Club.  “Can you get a copy of the attractive poster, good flyers and handouts he used to draw these teens.  He mentioned these were key to drawing so many students to his club.  The story was great but if we want to duplicate what Yunxuan is doing let’s share the actual items that he used so that go will spread.” - Editor’s response:  While Li’s club is off to a great start, his materials are fairly specific to his club and won’t be that useful for other locations.  Li’s poster is attached to this story as a pdf here: Li Poster.  It should be noted that part of why his club is so big is because Li himself is 6 dan, very enthusiastic, and very personable.  It doesn’t hurt that he lives in a town with a large percentage of Chinese Americans, who already know about go.

If your club isn’t lucky enough to have a 6 dan to teach,  the AGF and the AGA both have other resources to help.  Thanks to the work of new AGA web team volunteer Greg Smith, this information is easier than ever to find on the AGA site.  Just click on the tab that says “Teach Others” on our left menu bar.  You will find information for classes, handouts, posters, syllabi for teaching, and much more.  The best selection of posters is actually on the AGF’s Tigersmouth Website. The Downloads Section has six different posters, including one in Spanish.  Lastly, the extremely popular 11×17 Saicho Poster, that comes in AGF Starter Sets, can be purchased for just 25 cents a copy (plus shipping) directly from the AGF.   All US based programs that are teaching youth are also eligible for free equipment from the AGF as well. - Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor.


Wisonet Go Club Organizing “Slow-Play” Tourney in NJ

Monday November 18, 2013

The Wisonet Go Club in New Jersey is organizing a slow-game tournament November 28-29 in central New Jersey. Unlike most weekend tournaments, the time limits will be two hours per player, two rounds per day and winners will qualify to advance to rounds that will be played in subsequent months. Organizer Ronghao Chen expects the whole event to last “three or four months” and says it’s intended to give dan players a chance to play higher quality games. Kyu level players can join the tournament by special approval only. The tournament will be held at the Madison Suites Hotel in Somerset, NJ. Contact Chen at or call him at 908-872-6202 for more information.