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The Janice Kim Files: Email Bankruptcy & The Parking Lot Incident

Monday September 14, 2015

by Janice Kim 3P

Despite my well-known penchant for pompous, florid, and illiterate writing for comedic effect, it is literally true that I declared email bankruptcy several years ago. For the most part I let the bulk of all communication go by, reserving only ever-changing email addresses and phone numbers for specific day-to-day purposes, like I think I’m Tom Cruise who thinks he’s a super spy.

Even with filtering out spam and junk mail, I had just a hair under 28,000 emails in my inbox when I screwed my courage to the sticking point and went through them all in one blur of a Labor Day weekend. Doubtless some were overlooked, but I was touched by the emails I’ve received from people I’ve met in the go community, and it fills me with regret that many people wrote me more than once, and some wrote me only once, and all were doubtless confused why I did not answer. Perhaps I should also have been moved by the numerous overlooked opportunities for self-help, gainful employment or contribution to society in these emails, but that’s one of the beauties of go. One learns not to value oneself based on short-term specific results in a shifting, highly complex landscape involving other players.

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Go teaches us that excuses are merely tools we use to remain at a plateau, but in sifting back through years of thoughtful emails from wonderful people that went unanswered, I noted that the date of the declaration of email bankruptcy appears to be somewhat co-related to the date in which I lost the connection, could not escape, and appeared to not be able to live except by repeatedly playing elsewhere through ko, when I was severely beaten up in a parking lot. It was not fatal, as I am fine now, but I can speak to the Asian truth of nearly dying of shame and embarrassment, why that’s not as peculiar and ridiculous as it may sound, even if meant literally. As you may have gleaned by reading previous entries of the Janice Kim files, it may also have something to do with constantly tripping over a super-selective eidetic memory. I will disavow any knowledge of this message, and it will self-destruct in five seconds. Meanwhile, here’s my long-promised actual piece with go diagrams, incorporating my parking lot incident in the way I was thinking about it.

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Categories: The Janice Kim Files
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Clossius in the Land of Baduk: Live at the Samsung Cup

Wednesday November 12, 2014

By Shawn Ray, Special Correspondent to the E-Journal2014.11.12_BIBA-samsung-semis

So last week the BIBA students went to watch the semi-finals of the Samsung Cup being played in Korea. It was a lot of fun and the students, including myself, got to study with the national Korean baduk team. These players are the top young professional players here in Korea, and we were able to make new friends and learn new strategies with them. Check out this photo of the national team, BIBA students and Kim Ji-Seok who joined in the review after finishing his game. We also had a lot of fun playing Ping Pong and Choku (Foot-VollyBall) with our teachers and other professional players.

It was definitely an amazing experience to be able to study with young Korean professionals and play some sports with them. It was also exciting to see the Samsung Cup semi-finals being played and explained to you by half a dozen other pros. I think the funniest thing I heard was when I asked who was winning in a certain game, and a pro friend of mine said “White, by a lot.” When I asked how much exactly she paused and replied, “3 or 4 points.” Once again goes to show how every point matters to a professional player when an amateur likely loses at least that many points in the endgame alone.

Anyway, it was a fun trip and all the students enjoyed it. To see more pictures and follow BIBA activity, you can like their page on Facebook.

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Categories: Korea
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BadukTV Hires Shawn Ray

Monday July 21, 2014

BadukTV has hired Shawn Ray 4d, better known as Clossius to his YouTube and KGS fans, to do a series of lessons in English for the network. “Thanks to the success of my YouTube channeI, I was offered a job at BadukTV – on the condition that I relocate to Korea,” Ray told the E-Journal. “I took this opportunity to move to Seoul and study baduk  (go in Korean) seriously. I am planning to stay until I become 9D and then I want to come back to America to become a Pro player in the AGA.” Ray’s first video for BadukTV, which includes a fun animated opening, is available here.

“I chose Blackie’s International Baduk Academy (BIBA), as it was the only baduk school that I knew of that spoke English,” said Ray. “Since arriving, I have learned how to truly study baduk, and how many hours you really have to put into this game to become strong. I am sure many are interested in my training schedule so I will break it down.  We wake up and get to BIBA around 11 or noon, and stay until 9 pm. Once we arrive it is self-study until about 2pm, then we play league games with players stronger and weaker than ourselves. In between games we do more self-study, until about 5 or 6 pm and then go eat dinner. We get back around 7 pm and Blackie (9p) reviews our games, or goes over pro games with us and helps us understand them. It is nice when a 9P helps you review pro games, because then you can see that they are human too and also make mistakes. Just mistakes you would never notice being an amateur!  Once 9 pm hits, we all go home together. Once we get home, some of us do more studying, or we can relax until we go to sleep.”

“Our self-study consists of reviewing at least 4 pro games a day, doing at least 1 hour, or more, of life and death problems. Problems at your level can take anywhere from 1-5 min. Usually we go through nearly 100 problems per week. We also study Baduk books and analyze positions and new openings or joseki. It is a very intensive schedule to maintain and can mentally exhaust you very quickly. It took me a whole week before I was fully able to deal with the training regimen,” said Ray.

“My dream is to become a Pro player and start a go school in the U.S. and find a way to make a living teaching go. It is my hope that I can help raise the level in the U.S. so that one day we can compete internationally with the top Asian players. I have to thank all my friends and followers for their support, otherwise I would have never made it this far. In addition I would like to thank Jennie Shen 2P, who has been my teacher ever since I started playing go. Lastly, the inspiration to think I can still become pro is due to Andy Liu 1P, who is around the same age as me, yet is one of the top players in our country. It is my hope to rise to his level, and he showed me it was possible even at my age,” said Ray. Interested readers can join Clossius’s Go Group on Facebook, where he will be posting about his adventures, and even offering discounts on go books. -Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor. Image courtesy of BadukTV.

 

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The Power Report (Part 3): Cho U Advances in Chunlan Cup; Ida Becomes Honinbo Challenger; Meijin League Update; Promotions; Obituary: Yoshida Yoichi

Thursday April 10, 2014

by John Power, EJ Japan Correspondent

Cho U Advances in Chunlan Cup: The opening rounds of the 10th Chunlan Cup, another Chinese-sponsored international tournament, were held in the city of Taizhou in China on March 26 and 28. Japan had five players seeded in the first round, of whom four won their games, but only Cho U (right) survived the second round. Full results for the opening rounds are given below (note that individual seeds, as opposed to country seeds, join the tournament in the second round).
Round 1 (March 26). Iyama (W) beat Wang Yuanjun 7P (Chinese Taipei) by half a point; Tang Weixing 9P (China) (B) beat Yamashita Keigo by resig.; Cho U 9P (B) beat Fan Hui 2P (Europe) by resig.; Kono Rin 9P (B) beat Fan Tingyu 9P (China) by resig.; Murakawa Daisuke 7P (B) beat Lian Xiao 7P by resig.; Gu Li 9P (China) (B) beat Kim 4P (Korea) by resig.; Tuo Jiaxi 9P (China) (B) beat Jiang Mingjiu 7P (North America) by resig; Mi Yuting 9P (China) (B) beat Mok Chin-seok 9P (Korea) by resig. (Black won seven out of eight games.)
Round 2 (March 28). Zhou Ruiyang 9P (China) (B) beat Iyama by resig.; Cho U (W) beat Jiang Weijie 9P (China) by resig.; Chen Yaoye 9P (China) (W) beat Kono by resig.; Shi Yue 9P (China) b. Murakawa by resig.; Gu Li 9P (China) (B) beat Yi Se-tol 9P (Korea) by resig.; Pak Cheong-hwan 9P (Korea) (W) beat Tang Weixing 9P (China) by resig.; Mi (B) beat Ch’oe Ch’eol-han 9P (Korea) by resig.; Kim Chi-seok 9P (Korea) (W) beat Tuo by resig.
There are five Chinese, two Koreans and one Japanese representative in the quarterfinals. Pairings are: Cho vs. Gu, Shi vs. Zhou, Pak vs. Chen, and Kim vs. Mi.

Ida Becomes Honinbo Challenger: There was a big upset at the end of the 69th Honinbo League. Going into the final round, held on April 3, only two players were in the running: Yamashita Keigo, on 6-0, and Ida Atsushi (left), on 5-1. To become the challenger, Ida would have to beat Yamashita twice in a row. Surprising many go fans, who had expected to see the third big match between Iyama and Yamashita in less than a year (after the 2013 Meijin and 2014 Kisei matches), he managed to do this, winning the play-off held on April 7. This win also earned him an automatic promotion to 8-dan for becoming a big-three challenger, following his jump from 4-dan to 7-dan when he entered the league last year. Ida just turned 20 on March 15. The title match starts on May 14. Below are league results since my last report.
(24 March) Yuki Satoshi 9P (W) beat Yo Seiki 7P by resig.
Final round (April 3) Ida Atsushi 7P (W) beat Yamashita Keigo 9P by half a point; Yo Seiki 7P (W) beat Takao Shinji 9P by 4.5 points; Kono Rin 9P (B) Sakai Hideyuki 8P by 3.5 points; Yuki Satoshi Judan beat Cho U 9P by forfeit. (Cho thought the game was at the Nihon Ki-in in Tokyo, but when he turned up there learned that it was in Osaka. He published an apology in the current Go Weekly.)
Play-off (April 7) Ida (W) won by 5.5 points.
Placings in the league are as follows: 2nd, Yamashita; 3rd, Cho U (4-3); 4th, Kono Rin (4-3). Losing their places are Yuki Satoshi (3-4), Yo Seiki (3-4), Takao Shinji (1-6), and Sakai Hideyuki (1-6).

Meijin League Update: Ryu Shikun 9-dan (right), a strong player who has been lying low over the last decade, is doing well in the 39th Meijin League. With three wins, Yamashita Keigo is still in the lead, but Ryu, on 3-1, is following hard on his heels, along with Kono Rin 9P (3-1) and Cho U 9P (2-1).
Recent results:
(March 27) Ryu Shikun 9P (W) beat Ko Iso 8P by resig.
(April 3) Murakawa Daisuke 7P (W) beat Hane Naoki 9P by resig.

Promotions: To 2-dan: Kyo Kagen (30 wins)

Obituary: Yoshida Yoichi
Yoshida Yoichi 9-dan, a member of the Kansai branch of the Nihon Ki-in, died on March 26. Born on October 7, 1935, he became a disciple of Hosokawa Chihiro (Senjin). He made 1-dan in 195, reached 9-dan in 1977 and retired in 1997. 

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Categories: Japan,John Power Report
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Japanese Professionals Minematsu & Kobayashi Tour UK

Sunday March 16, 2014

The recent European Youth Go Championship (EYGC) and British Go Congress held in Bognor Regis, England saw Japanese professionals Minematsu Masaki 6p and Kobayashi Chizu 5p visiting the UK under the auspices of the Nihon Ki-in. As previously reported (Podpera Takes Top Prize at European Youth Go Championships, 3/9 EJ), they gave teaching sessions  and reviewed games throughout the long weekend, finishing off on Monday March 4 with a full teaching day for adults as the European youth battled out the final rounds.

Additionally they both paid a visit on Thursday February 27, the evening before the start of the EYGC, to the Oxford City Go Club where Harry Fearnley had assembled 13 players from 20 kyu to 5 dan. They initially divided into two teams to play one against the other, each member of a team taking two consecutive turns before handing the baton to the next, and the pros used the moves in this game to make teaching points. After that, each pro took on 6 participants in a simul (right). Click here for Harry Fearnley’s full report of the Oxford visit, including more photos and the record of Fearnley’s game against Minematsu.

After the EYGC, Kobayashi alone went on to visit two more UK clubs: North London Go Club in Hampstead on Tuesday March 4 and Edinburgh University Thursday March 6.

I caught up with her at the North London venue, where 11 attended, from beginner to 6d. Club Secretary Michael Webster was our host. Proceedings started with a similar exercise to that at Oxford, but with only about eight present initially, we formed one team to play by turn –two moves each — against the pro while she made observations about our moves (left). This gave time for a couple of latecomers to find the Parish Church tucked away in the back streets of Hampstead, and we all then went on to look at some joseki, before most of us took on Kobayashi individually in a simul. During the simul she helpfully suggested better moves and at close of play made general suggestions about how I could play more effectively.

Between times I got the chance to ask Kobayashi her impressions of UK go and the EYGC in particular. She has long had a mission to spread the game and Japanese go culture in the western world, especially Europe, and particularly focusing on the young. In 2007 she lived in Vienna  and has also spent time in Berlin and Paris, where she was heading after the UK tour. In 2008 she was appointed Special Advisor for Cultural Exchange for the Japanese Government’s Agency for Cultural Affairs and later also became a director of the Nihon Ki-in. Talking about her work, she likened the promotion of go culture to the cultivation of a garden. She mentioned points of go etiquette during the evening too, such as opening an even game as black with a play to the top right corner and not rattling the stones in the bowl whilst thinking. She told me she saw much promise amongst the young players at the EYGC – some of whom, such as new Under-20  European Champion Lukas Podpera, she had already met – but emphasised that those aspiring especially to pro status should take professional go tuition at the earliest age possible. She related how her father, a strong amateur, had applied for insei at age 19 but was told, “too late.” For that reason he sent his children to learn young, with Kobayashi Chizu herself starting at age 6. She studied under Kitani Minoru and she and two of her brothers, Satoru and Kenji all became professionals. Of Oscar Vazquez 2d, Under-12 European Champion, she said he was “very calm” and had a reputation for “never making mistakes”.

The next day, Kobayashi took the long train ride north to Edinburgh in Scotland, where she appeared on the evening of Thursday March 7 at the Appleton Tower of the University. Boris Mitrovic, a postgraduate research student at the University’s School of Informatics and a challenger for the British Go Championship last year, hosted. There 15 sat around a single board (right), starting off with the same two-moves-each against Kobayashi exercise as at N. London, as she commented with instructive criticism. They then solved a few tsumego together, after which three or four pairs of the attendees each played the first few moves of games which became the subject of the pro’s comments. At the end of the evening – and the tour – Kobayashi was taken for a meal at the Favorit restaurant.

Click here for Kobayashi’s own photo album of her UK visit.

Report by Tony Collman, British correspondent for the E-Journal. Photos: Minematsu considers his next move against Harry Fearnley, by Oxford club member; Francisco Divers contemplates the position as Michael Webster looks on, while Kobayashi smiles at a comment by another onlooker, by Tony Collman; Katherine Power makes one of two consecutive moves for Kobayashi’s consideration at Edinburgh University, by Boris Mitrovic.

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Categories: Europe,Go News
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Your Move/Readers Write: What’s In A Name?

Saturday October 26, 2013

“I am wondering if there is a typographical error in  last week’s ‘Capture Go’ story, when Mr. Jayaraman says, ‘We call the game we teach go, not Capture Go,” writes  veteran organizer Jean DeMaiffe, a graduate of Yasuda Sensei’s International Go Teacher Certification Program. “Surely the organizers are going to call their game ‘Capture Go’ or better still, as Yasuda-sensei calls it, ‘The Capture Game’.  I have taught ‘The Capture Game’ as part of my Go curriculum for years and can readily attest to the importance of clearly differentiating between the goals of the two games.  After learning to play capture, most of my students consistently need to be refocused on capturing territory, rather than just stones. Thanks for your help in setting one or more of us straight on this issue.”
“Our curriculum is meant to serve less as an introduction to regulation go than as an in-depth introduction to the underlying principles of the game,” responds Jayaraman. “These include the basic rules of stone placement, liberties  and capturing, as well as the traditions of the game like etiquette, problem study, and history. Our use of the term ‘go’ is also rooted in some practical considerations. Our program is primarily focused on equipping teachers with no prior knowledge of go with the skills, supplies, and support to be able to introduce their students to the game. In many cases these classes may be the only time they ever hear of the game. For those whose interest in regular go is sparked, however, they and their families will be familiar enough with the game to seek out more information about it, and hopefully utilize the existing resources in our community, like the Memphis Go Club or the introductory regulation go workshops the Confucius Institute at the University of Memphis offers.  For these students who pursue it, the precise name of the specific rule variation that first set them on the path of go will probably be inconsequential.”

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WAGC Round 1 Games & An Interview with Alexandr Bukh of Kazakhstan

Sunday September 1, 2013

In these first-round games, very strong players make short work of their

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 weaker opponents. Curtis Tang 6D (US) needed just 100 moves to force a resignation from 4-kyu John Erickson Javier (Phillipines), while Alexandr Bukh 5k (Kazakhstan) didn’t last much longer against Bill Tianyu Lin 7D (Canada), resigning after 103 moves (click here for Michael Redmond’s game commentary). In his game commentaries, Michael Redmond 9P shows how the games were actually over much earlier. We’re also including the uncommented records for the Serbia-Nepal and India-Australia games.
Alexandr Bukh, Kazakhstan’s representative, has only been playing for about five years, and this is his country’s first appearance in the WAGC. “For as long as I can remember I have been captivated by Japanese culture,” he says, “both the new and the old, and this led me to discover the game of go. I spent some time working in a company importing used vehicles from Japan, and through this I had the chance to learn some Japanese.” His visit to Sendai for the WAGC is his first time in Japan. Back home, Bukh travels each week to the city of Karaganda to play at its go club, “which has roughly ten regular players,” and he’s met another twenty or so other players across the country. “Recently there has been a surge in interest in go,” Bukh said, which lead to Kazakhstan’s invitation to play in this year’s WAGC. “The most popular sports in Kazakhstan are ice hockey, soccer and martial arts,” said Bukh, “I hope go will soon become one of them.”
- Bukh interview by John Richardson; game commentary by Michael Redmond; edited by Chris Garlock

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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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Maths Arcade: Games and Puzzles Promote Logical Thinking

Friday July 12, 2013

Go has special advantages as a freestanding activity, but it also has a place among classic games and puzzles. We found it listed recently among the activities British universities are using to “support struggling learners, stretch confident learners, and encourage staff-student interaction in a social and mathematical context,” according to the recently published Maths Arcade: Stretching and Supporting Logical Thinking. The original Maths Arcade was set up by Noel-Ann Bradshaw at the University of Greenwich in September 2010, not to start another “chess club” but to increase interaction between students and to get them talking about the games and the strategies involved rather than just playing competitively. Math students are often shy; at Maths Arcade they could form friendships in a safe environment. The report cites a study indicating that students with autistic spectrum disorders (ASD) including Asperger syndrome could also benefit from an activity based on shared interest and enthusiasm for games, puzzles and problem solving.

According to this report, students can play a wide variety of strategy games and puzzles with each other and staff in weekly drop-in sessions. Sessions often take place in the Student Union to attract a wider range of students. Staff also offers math tutorial support. Simply playing games and puzzles creates a logic-based social environment; strategies and modifications to the rules might also be analyzed. Students could explicitly analyze these games to work out whether the person who moves first is more likely to win, examine how to force a winning position, see what happens when the rules are modified slightly, and even design their own strategy games.

Students particularly liked the opportunity to spend time and play these games with staff outside the classroom environment. Some even brought their own puzzles and games along as the Café offered the unique opportunity to play with other like-minded people. Individuals and groups often spent the entire session attempting to understand best gaming strategies and puzzle solutions. As a result, discussions focused on problem-solving strategies, developing proofs and algorithms, and learning and thinking styles arose spontaneously. One student noted that “by choosing games that no one had seen before, it meant that everyone was learning the games and developing their strategy at the same time which resulted in lecturers and students learning from each other and neither having a distinct advantage.” A teacher “thoroughly enjoyed playing against the students where they had as much chance of winning as I did. It allowed for us to interact in a more relaxed but equally intellectual way.”
- Roy Laird

 

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Categories: Europe
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Canada vs. US in Redmond Cup Finals

Monday July 8, 2013

Both divisions of the Redmond Cup will come down to a showdown between the US and Canada at  the Go Congress this year, with Jianing Gan 7d and David Lu 6d leading their age divisions, while Americans Andrew Lu 6d and Aaron Ye 5d placed second.  In the Jr. Division, 11 year old David Lu, from Vancouver is new on the scene, and proved to be a force to be reckoned with, scoring a perfect record in the online finals.  Lu’s skillful play left last year’s Redmond Champ, Aaron Ye, and this year’s current US Youth Go Champion Jeremy Chiu 5d to duke it out for second.  Ye prevailed and will face Lu in a best two-out-of-three final live at the Go Congress in Tacoma.  For an exciting match between Lu and Ye in the qualifiers, check out Guo Juan 5P’s insightful commentary on the members only game record included with this weeks E-J.  Ye gets off to an early lead, but Lu stays the course and makes a big comeback in the end.  Youth members can join the AGA for only $10, and receive free commentary like this every week.

“David started learning go when he was six, and loved the game immediately,” says Lu’s mother Jessie Fan.  “Almost every summer, he goes to Beijing for go camp, where he has studied with Tian Feng Fang 9P for the last two summers. Currently, he doesn’t have much time for studying go, except for participating in the CGA (Canadian Go Association) Dragon League, as well as the City League. He just came back from the Canadian Open, where he was ranked 12th, and is the only one in the open division (6 – 7 Dan) who is under 15 years old.”  

In the Senior Division, defending champion Jianing Gan is intent on holding his title.  His showdown last year, with Calvin Sun 7d, resulted in two consecutive losses for Sun.  Gan also fought superbly in the Tygem AGA pro certification test at the same time, and came within a match of going pro.  Gan again has a perfect record going into the finals, having already faced and defeated his two biggest rivals: Calvin Sun and Andrew Lu 6d.  Lu is having a good year, having finally overcome his longtime rival Calvin Sun, to take this year’s US Youth Go Championship title, and now also finishing second in the Redmond qualifier.  Lu will get his chance against Gan again at congress, with a live broadcast on KGS, at 3 pm PST on August  4th, 5th and 8th in the AGA Tournaments Room.  The Jr. Division matches will also be broadcast.  The Redmond Cup is now in its 20th year, and was directed by Michael Bull.  Twenty-three players competed in the Senior Division (12-17) with another ten competing in the Junior (under 12).  -Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor.  Photos: Upper Left, David Lu, by Jessie Fan; Lower Right Jianing Gan cementing his Redmond win at last year’s finals, by Paul Barchilon.

 

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