American Go E-Journal

First IMSA Elite Mind Games Announced; 4 North American Players Needed

Saturday September 19, 2015

The first International Mind Sports Association Elite Mind Games (IEMG) will be held January 5-12, 2016 in Huai-An City, Jiangsu Province, China. The North American team will comprise three male players and one female player. All participants will have travel, accommodation, and visa application expenses paid for. Players will all receive prize money, a minimum of €1,000, which, after IGF surcharge, will be around $1,000.

Online playoffs will be held on the weekend of October 3-4 with tie-breakers on Oct. 10-11 (if needed). Players will need to budget the entire weekend as the online selections will likely begin at 9:00am PST / 12:00pm EST and end in the late afternoon/evening.

Eligibility: US/Canadian Citizenship. US players must have had continuous AGA membership for a year and have been resident in the US for six of the last 12 months. Interested players must email by Sunday, September 27th.

According the International Go Federation, the format will be the same as the fourth Sport Accord World Mind Games (men’s team event, women’s individual event, pair go). The Men’s team competition is a round-robin, the women’s is a double-elimination with extra games to determine all places, and pair go is a straight knockout.



Third Haylee Match Set for Saturday; 1-1 Against AGA Pros

Friday September 18, 2015

2015.09.02_Haylee The third of Haylee’s (Hajin Lee 3p) live stream demonstration matches with AGA pros is set for this Saturday evening at 7 p.m. Eastern time on YouTube. Haylee is 1-1 so far, having won against Calvin Sun 1p but lost against Gansheng (William) Shi 1p. In each episode, Haylee does a short interview about the life and go career of the player, plays a game online while thinking out loud, and then reviews the game with the player. Tomorrow night’s game is against Ryan Li 1p.

Categories: U.S./North America

Go Spotting: “The Broken Seal” and the Mystery of Yamamoto’s Missing Go

Thursday September 17, 2015

“Quite unexpectedly I found an interesting reference to go in a non-fiction book that I am currently reading, ‘The Broken Seal,’ by Ladislas 2015.09.13_TheBrokenSealFargo,” writes Erwin Gerstorfer.

2015.09.13_Isoroku Yamamoto“This book, first published in 1967, deals with the hidden war between American and Japanese code breakers from WW1 to Pearl Harbour. In discussing Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto (left), the “brain” behind the attack on Pearl Harbour, Fargo mentions that Yamamoto was considered one of the strongest go players in the Japanese Navy (he enjoyed other games too, like Shōgi, Bridge and Poker).

For me it was not too surprising that Yamamoto played go, as many members of the Japanese Navy were fond of it (see e.g. Ukiyo-e below right), but I did not know that he was such a strong player. However, when I checked the curriculum vitae of Admiral Yamamoto in Wikipedia I got another surprise. While go is listed on the German Wiki among other games that Yamamoto enjoyed, in his English Wiki entry go is not mentioned at all. This is quite a contrast to the fact that he was an expert go player.2015.09.13_JapaneseNavyGoPlayers

Yamamoto was killed when American codebreakers identified his flight plans and his plane was shot down.


Categories: Go Spotting

Why We Play: Devin Fraze 3K

Wednesday September 16, 2015

Years playing go: 3
Lives in: Columbus, Ohio
Home club: Columbus Igo Club

“I love to travel. In the past, I always sought out swing dancing events as I traveled. Now, I often search for local go clubs or tournaments. Thanks to go, I’ve made friends all over the world. I’ve trained in the mountains of Costa Rica, played in the back alleys of Korea, competed in China and Ecuador, and hitch-hiked and cycled from New York to California visiting every club along the way. My opponent and I may not always speak the same language, but when I sit down across a board from them our hands begin to talk. Through grunts, sighs, and bursts of laughter we engage in a deep and meaningful conversation and by the end, I’ve made a new friend.”

Why do you play? Tell us in 100 words or less your favorite thing about the game of go, include your name, age, how long you’ve played go, where you live and your home go club, and email to Be sure to include a current photo!

Categories: Why We Play

Your Move/Readers Write: Honinbo Sansa’s deathbed poem

Wednesday September 16, 2015

“Here is an example of another kind of verse, a famous kyoka (mad poem) attributed to Sansa, the first Honinbo and founder of that line,” 2015.09.16_Honinbo_Sansawrites Keith Arnold in response to Paul Celmer’s recent query (Searching for a literary go reference 9/9 EJ). “He is said to have composed it on his deathbed, which would date it at 1623. As a demonstration, perhaps, of mu-shin, and not without a touch of grim humor, he makes his own imminent death the subject.”

Go narabaya
ko ni mo tatete
iku beki wo
shinuru michi ni wa
te hitotsu mo nashi

If this were go
I’d start a ko fight
and surely live,
but on the road to death
there’s no move left at all.

This is from an article, Some Senryu about Go by William Pinckard who often contributed to Go World.  I found it on the Kiseido site, but I suspect it was originally published in Go World 15 and in the second edition of the Go Almanac.”
(Thanks also to Peter Schumer, who also sent in this poem)

Myungwan Kim 9p Visits Mexico City Go Class

Wednesday September 16, 2015

Myungwan Kim 9p fields questions on September 2 from students at Pippiolo in Mexico City, where instructor Siddhartha Avila (to his left) teaches as part of a very successful curriculum for preschool and elementary school children. One asked Kim who his strongest three opponents have been, and when he answered Lee Changho, Lee Sedol and Cho Hoon Hyun, the kid immediately said “Have you played Gu Li?!”
- report/photo by Steven Burrall

Categories: Latin America,Youth

Burrall Father-Son Team Tops Davis-Sacramento Fall Tourney

Monday September 14, 2015

Matthew Burrall 7d and Steve Burrall 3d topped the Davis/Sacramento Go Club Fall Tournament, tying for first place after tie-breakers. The tournament was held September 5th at the Arden-Dimick library in Sacramento. “We had 16 players, our largest number in a few years,” reports organizer Willard Haynes. “It was also the strongest field that we have ever had.” There were five dan level players ranging from 1 dan to 7 dan. “One player, Jeremy Cook 9k, came all the way from Los Angeles,” Haynes adds. The lower division was won by Cordell Newmiller, 8k by tie breaker. Laura Holeman 12k, played in her first AGA tournament.

Categories: U.S./North America

WMSG Qualification tournaments start this month in Boston

Monday September 14, 2015

The selection process for the 2016 World Mind Sports Games (WMSG) will begin at the upcoming American Chang Qi Cup in Cambridge, MA, on September 26 – 28, says AGA President Andy Okun.   Although plans have not been formally announced, it is expected that the 2016 WMSG will be held in Macau, China. Prior WMSG competitions (2008 in Beijing, and 2012 in Lille France) invited large teams for both women and men. “That means that some players will have a chance to make the team with lower ratings than usual for our international events,” said Okun. “The existing qualification points system is being modified to include the lower ranks, and will be used for selection of both the men’s and women’s teams.” Other tournaments intended to be used as qualifiers include the Cotsen in Los Angeles, the New Jersey Open, The Maryland Open and at least two online tournaments; other tournaments that meet certain criteria may also be designated as qualifiers. The points system will also select for invitations to the North American Masters and may be used for other invitations that come up from time to time, Okun said.

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.


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.

Categories: The Janice Kim Files

Guo Juan 5P’s Online Group Class Starts This Week

Sunday September 13, 2015

There’s still time to sign up for Guo Juan 5P’s online group class, which starts on September 19. The 135 euro fee cover eight 90-minute classes and seven weeks of full access to Guo’s pro lecture site and training system. “Meet friends, have fun and learn from pro teachers,” says Guo. In addition to Guo, teachers include YoungSun Yoon 8P, Jennie Shen 2P and Mingjiu Jiang 7P.