American Go E-Journal » Your Move: Readers Write

YOUR MOVE: Keith Arnold Remembers Yoshi

Sunday March 6, 2011

I like to think I am careful in my judgments, and, therefore, rarely wrong – at least away from the go board. But one of my greatest misjudgments was Yoshi Sawada.

When I ran the US Go Congress in 2001, I was vigilant in keeping costs down and trying to pass those savings on to my guests. I was particularly frugal with comps – fighting the AGA to limit them, and even charging myself for room and board. And so when the powers that be insisted that Yoshi Sawada be comped, I balked. I mean, he was just a translator, and I had several Japanese speaking people on my team; I disagreed strongly with the expense.

Fortunately, this was a battle I lost. By the end of the Congress, I came to realize that Yoshi was so much more than a Japanese translator, he was a tireless worker who spent every waking hour (and I am not quite sure there were any sleeping hours) making sure my Congress was the best that he could make it.

What made him so special? Any of us who attended his lectures know. Note I said his lectures. To call them Nakayama’s, or Maeda’s or Takemiya’s is really unfair. It was the Yoshi Show, and I wish I could watch them in reruns forever.

Quite frankly, I am not sure how strong a go player he was. He was always reaching out to strong players in the room to make sure he was getting things right. I would even jokingly say I am not sure how strong his Japanese was – because clearly the length and breadth of what he said bore little resemblance to the amount of words that seemed to come out of the pro’s mouth – when Yoshi gave them a chance to speak.

No, I would say that Yoshi did not speak go, he did not speak Japanese. Yoshi spoke Pro.

He knew what a pro wanted to say, even if he did not say it. He knew how to take the most reserved pro, and bring him out of himself and make everything so entertaining and accessible – not just to the strong, not just to the weak, but to everyone, spouses and non-players included.

And he took care of them, made sure they were happy and entertained. If a pro had an issue with the way things were being done, we would never know if it were not for Yoshi. He knew, and he let us know. He lived his life like he played poker – he always made sure there was action.

The Congress gets harder every year for many of us, whose eyes glaze over new faces, looking for the old friends who will never return. In 2005, we lost the future in Greg Lefler. In 2009 we lost so much promise in Jin Chen and Landon Brownell. Last year we lost the personification of the soul of the Congress in Nakayama.

And now we have lost the laughter.

winter’s last cruel chill
shadows a most joyous light
august’s laughter dies

- Keith Arnold; this post originally appeared on Life in 19×19; photos by John Pinkerton


YOUR MOVE: READERS WRITE: Accessing Member’s Content I & II

Thursday November 4, 2010

ACCESSING MEMBER’S CONTENT (I): “I became an AGA member yesterday online,” writes Benoît Cordoba. “I think the notice said that I would receive membership credentials in the mail but I was also under the impression that I could browse existing magazine issues online, presumably with a logon credential.  Is there such a logon credential for members.  I am especially interested in reading the article by Michael Redmond that was advertised on the site.” Thanks for your query and thanks also for becoming a member of the American Go Association. We’re currently compiling all our 2010 member content so that it can be easily accessed by our members; currently each week’s material must be separately accessed. The compilation — including the Redmond commentaries — is due to be published soon; we appreciate your patience.
ACCESSING MEMBER’S CONTENT (II) “How do you download the Special Editions?” writes an AGA member. The Yearbook Special Editions are PDFs, so you need to click on the link provided and then when the PDF opens on your computer, you can review it and then save it on your computer for later use.


YOUR MOVE/Readers Write: The Return of the Elegant Hedgehog

Sunday October 24, 2010

The Return of the Elegant Hedgehog: “I suppose that by now, everyone knows that in the recent best selling book The Elegance of the Hedgehog there is a mention of the game go as well as Hikaru No Go and The Girl Who Played Go,” writes None Redmond.
Though we did report this previously (GO SPOTTING: The Elegance of the Hedgehog 5/4/2010), it’s worth noting again. The mention is on pages 112-114 of Muriel Barberry’s captivating, lovely and philosophical novel, and includes this passage: “Any game where the goal is to build territory has to be beautiful. There may be phases of combat, but they are only the means to an end, to allow your territory to survive. One of the most extraordinary aspects of the game of go is that it has been proven that in order to win, you must live, but you must also allow the other player to live. Players who are too greedy will lose; it’s a subtle game of equilibrium, where you have to get ahead without crushing the other player. In the end, life and death are only the consequences of how well or poorly you’ve made your construction. This is what one of Taniguchi’s characters says: you live, you die, these are consequences. It’s a proverb for playing go, and for life.”


YOUR MOVE: Readers Write: New Moves, Not Trick Moves; Slow Games from Germany

Sunday October 10, 2010

New Moves, Not Trick Moves: “In his September 20 New In Print 2010 round-up, Roy Laird suggests that Alexander Dinerchtein’s New Moves (Slate and Shell) is about trick plays,” writes Slate and Shell publisher Bill Cobb. “This is not an accurate description of most of the moves in New Moves. In most cases, Alex and Younggil An agree that the moves are perfectly legitimate, not ‘swindles’. That is, the player of the new move does not think that there is a “refutation” that would make the move a bad one. Just the opposite; they think that most of the moves are good, solid new ideas and that there is a legitimate and even response. The advantage the player may get is that if the opponent is unfamiliar with the move, he may make a mistake. However, if he is familiar with the move, or a strong player, the ‘instigator’ of the move does not suffer a loss. As Sensei’s Library points out, ‘A trick play, or attempted swindle, attempts to entice the opponent into playing an ‘obvious’ response which yields a poor result for her. If answered correctly, the result will typically be worse for the instigator of the trick than if he had played correctly.’”

Slow Games from Germany: Responding to a recent EJ classified looking for slow games on KGS (KGS Slow Games Wanted 9/13 EJ), our old friend Martin Stiassny, President of the European Go Federation, suggests “Ask players in Germany, we play very serious games once a month on KGS in Germany in the ‘Bundesliga’, about 600 players, all ranks, thinking time 60 minutes and 15/5 Canadian byoyomi. Look at ‘Deutsche Ecke’ on KGS; if you enter the chat and ask for players who want serious slow games I’m sure you will get some positive answers. More information at and then ‘”bundesliga’ on the left.”


YOUR MOVE: Readers Write: Game Link Problem

Monday October 4, 2010

Game Link Problem: “Due to the broken Eidogo ‘Download SGF’ link I can’t get any of the commentaries or game records except to view them on the website in the pitifully small Eidogo viewer,” writes Ethan Baldridge. There was a glitch in last week’s EJ with the sgf links, but it’s been fixed now and Member’s Edition readers should be able to either view the sgf files online or download them for review in your sgf reader. REMEMBER that you must click on the word “link” to go to the sgf file.


YOUR MOVE: Readers Write: Missing Game Files?

Monday September 6, 2010

MISSING GAME FILES? “If its not a membership issue (MEMBER’S EDITION? 8/24 EJ),” writes Dennis Wheeler, “then maybe instead of looking for attachments, look for links.” That’s correct: the EJ no longer has attached files for Member’s Edition content; to access the content, either click on “link” and then save the .sgf file to your computer, or click on “read more” and then you can either download the .sgf file or use the online viewer to replay the game.


YOUR MOVE, Readers Write: Dude, Where Are My Classified Ads?

Monday August 30, 2010

DUDE, WHERE ARE MY CLASSIFIED ADS? “Ever since you changed the format of the E-Journal from weekly to daily, I’ve been unable to find the classifieds,” writes Craig Brown. “I’ve even gone back to the weekly newsletter thinking this would help, but I don’t see the classifieds there either.  Have you discontinued this part of the newsletter, or am I maybe just not finding it?” The classified ads run in both the daily and weekly editions of the EJ and the complete list can always be found on our news page in the Go Classified section (click on the Go Classified tab at right). Ads appear in the next daily edition after initial posting and then in the next weekly edition (but not in subsequent weekly editions).


YOUR MOVE: Readers Write: Member’s Edition & Choosing Your Edition

Monday August 23, 2010

MEMBER’S EDITION? “I noticed that my recent E-Journals have not included any attachments,” writes John Russell. “I wanted to make sure I am still getting the full member E-Journal version” The Member’s Edition content only appears in the Tuesday morning edition of the E-Journal, not the other, briefer editions that appear during the rest of the week as news updates are posted. If your Tuesday edition does not include Member’s Edition content — game commentaries and/or problem files — your membership may have lapsed; please email to get it updated.

CHOOSING YOUR EJ EDITION: “An article mentioned being able to change my profile to receive the Journal either weekly or daily,” writes Denis Pelletier. “How do I access my profile?” Just click on “Update your profile” at the bottom of the E-Journal and you can choose either the daily (much shorter updates several times a week) or weekly editions, as well as your preferred format.


YOUR MOVE: Readers Write: IgoLocal Goes Viral

Monday August 2, 2010

IGOLOCAL GOES VIRAL: ”I wanted to take a moment to offer my heartfelt gratitude for your story on Igolocal in the E-Journal,” writes Chuck Thomas. “The result from the story (NEW WAY TO FIND GO PLAYERS DEBUTS 8/1 EJ) was an astounding success, with more than 150 registrations within 10 hours. The great registration flood is over, but the steady stream has begun – Igolocal has gone viral and now the users are the medium.”


YOUR MOVE: Where Are The Classifieds? Liking The New Clean Look & Love The Interactive Game Apps

Monday July 26, 2010

Where Are The Classifieds? “Is there still a classified ad section of the EJ?” writes Roy. “I can’t find it in the new format.” Yes, new classifieds appear in the daily and/or weekly editions of the E-Journal and are posted on the AGA website’s news page as well, under “Go Classified”

Liking The New Clean Look: “Just wanted to send a quick heads up to say that I really like the new clean look of the E-Journal these days,” writes Chris. “Good work!”

Love The Interactive Game Apps: “Just wanted to let you know I really love the way you have implemented the game commentaries as interactive web apps,” says Mark. “They’re great!