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Hikaru Author Hotta Yumi Interviewed

Monday September 3, 2012

Hikaru no Go author Hotta Yumi was interviewed on film at the International Go Symposium on August 5th, 2012. For those who missed the live stream,  the Tiger’s Mouth website has printed the entire text of the interview.  The AGF is currently editing the videos from the symposium, all of which will be available online at a later date.  A few choice highlights from the Hotta interview are below, you can read the full article here.

On how the series began, Hotta says “I wanted to learn go, so I paid a go school and started to attend classes once a week with a pro. He was mean, and never let the students win the teaching games. This was frustrating to me, because I was thinking ‘Why am I paying to lose all the time?’ I wished that I had a guardian angel or a ghost that could help me beat him really bad. It was at that moment that Hikaru no Go was born.”  When asked about how go has affected her life, Hotta replied: “Honestly, I had no idea that so many kids would want to learn how to play go. Not just in Japan, but all over the world. Especially kids in other countries where there aren’t many teachers or resources for playing go. Nowadays many more kids can play go thanks to the efforts of teachers, professionals, and groups that are helping to bring go to kids around the world. For my own life, Hikaru has made it very hard for me to attend go tournaments. So many people will watch over my shoulder during my games, and I’m not a very strong player so it is very embarrassing!” – Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor. Translation by Akane Negishi and Solomon Smilack.  Photo: Hotta Yumi, by Paul Barchilon.

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Go Teaching Project Takes Root in Brazil

Monday June 18, 2012

The Caroline Campelo Cruz e Silva School in Palmas City, Brazil, has launched a full go program for kids, reports teacher Luciano Sanches Teixeira. Recent changes in organization and curricula at the school opened up space for new teaching activities, including a room equipped for teaching chess and checkers. “The first contact with go came about through research about (chess and checkers) on the Internet,” that led to the discovery that “there was another game, an oriental game played with glass spheres on a wooden board,” says Teixeira.

The school received its first go board in 2010, and while the initial interest was sparked by curiosity about an ancient game, Teixeira says that go “gained our attention thanks to its relationship with mathematics.” In addition to the calculations required for playing go, “We also think that looking at the different shapes built on the board and dealing with the delicate stones could also help develop motor coordination and laterality,” which are both important in the literacy process. This year the school launched a project to teach go to all students, for two months the students had go lessons, and “We also offered workshops after the regular classes, where students had access to the game of go throughout the school year.”

Continue reading…)

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Categories: World,Youth
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San Francisco Go Workshop with Janice Kim 3P Announced

Sunday May 20, 2012

Janice Kim, 3 Dan professional, will teach a two-day go workshop the weekend of June 23 and 24 in Berkeley, California. Berkeley is home to two go clubs and Bay Area Go Players Association, and is just across the bay from San Francisco.

The workshop is open to go players of all strengths (players below 10 kyu may want at least a year’s go experience to benefit from this workshop), and advanced registration is required. Each student will have the opportunity to submit game records before the workshop, and Janice will use them to tailor discussions to the specific interests and needs of the students. Each student will receive a workshop manual containing the records to be discussed, and files will be available for download as well.

“I enjoy seeing the clever moves played in finely-tuned games between world-class players,” Kim says, descriibing the main idea of the content of this workshop is, “but what I really need to know is what to do with the messed-up positions, wacky moves, and mistakes that come up in my games.”

Janice Kim co-authored the award-winning Learn to Play Go book series and also writes a go blog. Her recent workshop in Portland, Oregon and lectures at the Cotsen Go Tournament in Los Angeles were very popular. Learn more about the workshop and sign up on the Bay Area Go Players Association website.

photo: Janice Kim at the 2012 Cotsen Open; photo by Chris Garlock

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Categories: U.S./North America
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WAGC Go Players on Destiny, Predicting the Weather and Managing a Disco Bar

Tuesday May 15, 2012

One of just two women players at this year’s World Amateur Go Championship, Chile’s Leslie Perez (top left) says it was “destiny” that she learned to play go, taught by a classmate at university in Valparaiso where she was studying for her bachelor’s degree in computer science. She’s playing at 4k at the WAGC but had reached 1k on KGS a few years ago before her studies cut back her playing time. She’s now studying for a Ph.D in Belgium, “but I’m still playing go” she tells James Davies in a Ranka Online interview. In other interviews, Norway’s Pal Sannes (bottom right) reveals that he works for the Norwegian Meteorological Institute, predicting the weather…Yuan Zhou (US, top middle) talks about being “quite pleased” about losing to his student Josh Lee…Malaysia’s Zaid Waqi (bottom left) discusses developments in Malaysian go…Kerem Karaerkek (Turkey, top right) talks about his work as a mountain guide, guitarist and disco bar manager…Japan’s Nakazono Seizo (bottom middle) says that his go salon’s 6-point komi, permitting drawn games, “works fine.”
- adapted from James Davies’ report on Ranka Online; photos/collage by John Pinkerton

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Sempais Leading the Way in WV

Sunday November 13, 2011

“In Glen Dale, West Virginia, an unlikely new program has attained a huge following at John Marshall High School: Go Club.  With a membership of nearly 100 students, the club has grown by massive leaps and bounds in a way that no one thought possible. Go Club started two years ago with a handful of students in my study hall,” writes school teacher David Will.  “I had brought a board and a book of go problems with me to study hall one day to give me something to do while my students worked on homework.  Three students approached my desk and inquired about the game, something that they had never seen before.  Two of those students would go on to important roles in the club. In years past, I have always taken two or three days to teach the basics of go to my World History classes to close the chapter on ancient Chinese history.  For the rest of the year, many of the students would play the game, but it had not gone beyond a diversion for after the completion of worksheets and tests.  Now, I had an interesting opportunity.  These students and I played go daily for months, honing their skills to where they were competition for me, and one even finally defeated me. Continue reading…)

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Two Weeks at the Lee Sedol Baduk Academy: Van Tran’s Journal (#1)

Sunday November 6, 2011

Sixteen-year-old Van Tran spent two weeks in South Korea at the Lee Sedol Baduk Academy earlier this year and sent the E-Journal his report, which will appear over the next few weeks. The high school junior lives in the Houston suburb of Spring, Texas, has been playing for two and a half years and is “about 3 dan.”

July 5: Today is my first day of Go School. This is a very weird experience. I can’t understand anything that other people are saying, but somehow I feel like I have learned a lot about go today. The Koreans are very strong and I like the general Korean style that most people play. They like thickness very much and they like to fight aggressively. It amazes me how dedicated these kids are to go. Every day they have formal go study for 12 hours and then when they get back ome they study until 11PM when they go to sleep. Most of the people here my age are 9-dan and are aspiring professionals. It surprises me the gap in skill between a 9-dan and a 1-dan professional. There are even some 9-dans that aren’t inseis because they are weaker than the other 9-dans. There are many 9-dans who are very strong, but only a few become professional every year. A bit of food for thought is that these kids are able to give their all just for a small chance of becoming a  professional. They seem to live in a closed world of go. If they have free time they study go and they eat while they look at top go player’s statistics for “fun.” I lost all my games today even though I am playing with their very young students.

July 6: I woke up today with a terrible backache from sleeping on the floor. There are about 20 kids who are all exceptional at go staying in the headmaster’s apartment. They are all 3-dan and higher. Though most of them are 9-dans, the lowest-ranked out of the Koreans is a little kid I think about 6 who is a solid 3-dan. I have started to specialize my study in Korean Go to hangmae, a Korean technique which means the flow of stones. I find it to be somewhat similar to tesuji which applies many odd fighting shapes. It really helps with fighting and simplifies reading because hangmae acts as a bookmark leading to a favorable result. Today I lost all my games as well. It‘s a bit frustrating to lose all your games to little kids. To be continued next week…
Photo: Headmaster playing a serious go game with a student.

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Categories: World,Youth
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News from the Shanghai Go Camp

Monday July 11, 2011

Antonio Egea has reported back from the Shanghai Go Camp, which is currently underway in China. After two weeks of daily go training, at Shanghai International Studies University, the participants are ready for their next challenge. “It looks like the tough part will start now,” says Egea, “we are going to Hangzhou to receive training with the local go students.” Participants have also had time for some sight-seeing. They’ve visited The Bund – a world famous section of Zhongshan Road in Shanghai – and also  Zhou Zhuang, which Egea describes as “a Venice-like city”.

Based on Antonio’s report, direct from Shanghai Go Camp at Go Game Guru. Photo: Go Camp participants enjoy dinner together at a hot pot restaurant.

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Categories: World
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Zhirui Yang 6D Wins 15th Jujo Jiang Youth Goe Cup

Monday March 28, 2011

More than 120 young players turned out for the 15th annual Jujo Jiang Cup Youth Goe tournament last Sunday at the Chinese Culture Center in Sunnyvale, California. The players were all under the age of 21 and ranged in strength from 6 dan to 29 kyu. Zhirui Yang 6 dan, a visitor student from Jilin province, China, led the A division by winning all his games, while local player Aaron Ye 3 dan took 2nd, losing only to Yang.  With a growing go population in the Bay Area, the event also drew local news media, including KTSF26, the World Journal, and SingTao Daily, for onsite reporting. In the 19×19 division, players were divided into nine different groups from Group A (6-3 dan) to Group I (26 – 29 kyu) according to players’ strength. With the goal of prompting interest in go among little children, the tourney also had special 13 x13  board division which attracted 50 beginners around age of 5 or 6.  Trophies were awarded to 1 to 4th place winners for each group and the first six winners of each group could choose their prize a selection of offerings.
Winner’s Report: 19 x 19 Board: Group A (6D-3D): Zhirui Yang, Aaron Ye, Justin Shieh Group B (3D – 2D) Henry Zhang, Daniel Liu, Jeremy Chiu Group C (1D – 5k): Larry Qu, April Ye, Albert Chao Group D(6k-12k): Alan Hwang, Jonathan Ta, Peiken Tien Group E(13k – 16k): Patrick Wang, Eric Liu, Benson Lin Group F(17k-23k): Dyson Ye, Bryan Tan, Ryan Tang Group G(24k-25k): Allison Hwang, Jason Chu, Raymond Chen Group H(26k-29k): Jonathan Mi, Victor Chen, Samantha Meng Group I(26k-29k): David Huang, Jeffrey Mi, Brandan Chu  13 x 13 Board: first place winner for each group: Lilian Zhang,  Timmy Chen, Felix Liu, Catherine Tan. Click here for complete results.

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Categories: U.S./North America
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GO PLAYING TEEN WINS SIEMEN’S PRIZE

Monday November 15, 2010

A striking advance in mathematical game theory earned top honors for the team of James Pinkerton 1d (l), and Rafael Setra (r) in the recent Region Five Finals of the 2010-11 Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology, a premier science research competition for high school students. Pinkerton, an avid go player, and Setra are seniors at Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring, Maryland.  Their win in the team category has scored them a $6,000 scholarship for their mathematics project, The Duplicator-Spoiler Game for an Ordinal Number of Turns.  Their math research might be analogized to mirror go–the players, a spoiler and a duplicator alternate turns, choosing elements from two sets until the duplicator is unable to mirror the spoiler’s move.

In the math, the number of turns for the spoiler to win tells you about the complexity of statements in mathematical logic needed to differentiate the sets.  Traditionally the games have a finite number of turns and their research extended the games to arbitrary lengths over various infinite structures. “This team has made a striking extension of a game-theoretic interpretation of descriptive logic that dates back to the 1960s. Using it, they can distinguish between mathematical structures not separable by simple queries,” said competition judge Haynes Miller, Professor of Mathematics at MIT. “Their work has potential applications to resource allocation in designing search algorithms. What impressed me about these students was their clarity of thought. It’s a very confusing subject to work in and they found their way through it to a new frontier.”

Pinkerton is president of the Chess Club and a member of the National Honors Society and French Honors Society. Fluent in French, he single sculls on the Potomac and plays chess and go competitively. Pinkerton teaches chess as a volunteer in several programs in his county and in inner-city Washington, DC. He also teaches mathematics to underclassmen. He credits his father (E-J staff photographer John Pinkerton) who taught him “fun mathematics, not the dreary algebra of secondary school,” with nurturing his love for the subject.  Pinkerton would like to study mathematics in college and to become a university professor. Setra was born in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and moved to the US when he was eight years old. He speaks Portuguese and Spanish and is part of Operation Fly, National Honors Society and the Martial Arts Club. A volunteer at Viers Mill Elementary School, Setra plays Starcraft 2, non-competitive football and has just learned how to play go from Pinkerton. He would like to study mathematics, engineering and computer science and to become a college professor.

“Each year, the Siemens Foundation invites America’s high school students to make their mark in the world of science,” said Jeniffer Harper-Taylor, President of the Siemens Foundation. “We commend these students on rising to the challenge and pushing the envelope of scientific thought.” The students presented their research to a panel of judges from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), host of the Region Five Finals, on November 6th.  Pinkerton and Setra will also be invited to compete at the National Finals in Washington, DC, December 3–6, 2010, where the winners of six regional competitions will vie for the $100,000 Grand Prize and national acclaim for extraordinary scientific achievement at the high school level.
-EJ Youth Editor Paul Barchilon, photo: James Pinkerton (l) and Rafael Setra (r), courtesy of the Siemens Foundation

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HANDLING 3-3 INVASIONS THE MAEDA WAY

Tuesday August 3, 2010

Making how to handle 3-3 invasions “clear for everyone” was the topic of Tuesday’s lecture by Ryo Maeda 6P, the third in his 4-part series at the ongoing U.S. Go Congress.  As he explained in Monday’s edition, the key to living is to make six points of space:  “if you try to make two eyes, chances are you may fail.” The invasion at the 3-3 point must be responded to by attaching on either side, but that’s not just true for 3-3 invasions, “you must do that, no matter where it happens on the board.”  Maeda then went through the standard invasion pattern, showing how it corresponded to the Maeda method for making six points of space in the corner. When there are other friendly stones in the area, choosing the proper direction for the attachment is a matter of protecting the widest space, so that you force the opponent into the narrower space.  But the 3-3 invasion should be “the last option,” don’t invade if you can do something else.  On the other hand, taking the “star point does not mean territory — you think you have closed the front door, but the back door is wide open” to the 3-3 invasion.  Maeda recommended using his method in a game first, “then tell your friend.”  In a display of real world application of his technique, Maeda put up a position from the morning’s U.S. Open game between his student Francis Meyer 7D and Myungwan Kim 8P.  Meyer used one of the formations from Maeda’s Sunday lecture, though it was, unfortunately, not the best move in this case.  But Maeda seemed quite proud of how his student was doing in the Open — 2-1 as of Tuesday — and planned to introduce him at the next lecture, which will be held on Thursday. As usual, the lecture concluded with Maeda’s trademark rock-paper-scissors simul.
- report/photos by Jake Edge

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Categories: U.S. Go Congress
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