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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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New AGA Pro To Play in First Korean Tournament

Saturday June 15, 2013

Gansheng Shi 1p, who qualified with Andy Liu 1p as an AGA pro in last year’s certification tournament, is scheduled to play in his first Korean pro tournament, the KT-Olleh Cup, on Monday June 17th.  The young Canadian will play alongside Korean professionals and even receive a small game fee for playing.  Top prize in the tournament is $100,000.  The KT-Olleh is one of five tournaments that the Hankuk Kiwon (KBA) agreed to allow newly certified AGA pros to play in, and the first to start since Shi traveled to Korea last month. The next scheduled of the five is the Samsung Cup in August.  “My goal in tournaments would be to win at least one game but it seems very difficult,” Shi told the EJ.  Shi is studying at the Choong-Am Dojang in Seoul, with travel support from the AGA and tuition support from the KBA.

Shi says he is enjoying Korea, Korean food, and some new friends. He describes the Choong-Am as a “really quiet nice place to focus on go,” although he had difficulty adjusting at first. “I started off in league C … The first 2-3 weeks were really bad and I had a horrible losing record of something like 3-9, then I managed to stabilize in the league and was able to stay in league C without being moved to league D.  The new month just started and I have been doing great so far, winning most of my games and I really hope to move to the next league after this month.”  Shi fills his days with self-study of pro games and life and death until lunch, a game and then review with a teacher in the afternoon, more self-study and some exercise, and then a game after dinner. “I do feel like I’m progressing, because I have been improving in my record and winning a lot of games lately. Perhaps that is just me stabilizing but I do feel that I am learning a lot in the dojang.”  -Andy Okun.  Photo: Shi playing a simul at the Spring Go Expo earlier this year, from The Surrounding Game’s Facebook Page.

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UK Taps Shodan Challenger Chris Bryant to Reverse Team Fortunes

Thursday June 6, 2013

A new captain has been appointed to head up the British team for the online Pandanet Go European Team Championship 2013 following the UK’s demotion to the C League, after they failed to win a single game last season (A League Finalists Set in European Team Championship 5/10 EJ).

Chris Bryant 1d (pictured), a 23-year-old software engineer from Bury, who plays at St Albans Go Club, has been charged with reversing the team’s fortunes and his personal go history speaks of a man with the resolve to achieve his goals. Bryant learned go in February 2011 and early on made a commitment to try and reach dan grade within a year, signing up for the British Go Association (BGA)’s Shodan Challenge, where ambitious players are supported in a formal attempt to reach a specified higher grade within one year.

The puzzle-loving Bryant attributes his go success to solving an estimated 10,000 tsumego problems in a year — including about 1,000 in the first week alone, bringing him to 13-kyu — and in fact has only played about 300 actual games.

Bryant not only took the Challenge and met it, but also displayed his organizational flair by running the Shodan Challenge in 2011 – 2012 for the BGA. At that time there was an individual mentoring system, but this was difficult logistically and as Bryant explains, “The way [it] works at the moment is that there is a forum/Google group where people can post up games to be reviewed”. The BGA has also held closed teaching events for stronger players to improve. Bryant has already identified and made contact with more than the maximum pool of twelve (minimum six) strong players from which four will be selected for each round .

Outgoing captain Andrew Simons 4d continues to play a part in strengthening British go talent by giving lectures most Thursdays at 8pm in the British Room on the KGS go server. Bryant said of the lectures,  “These have helped a lot of people; it’s the kind of thing that I’d love to see more of. I give lectures myself, though mostly on Second Life – we have a go playing location there called Kido Province

As for future ambitions, Bryant said, “I’d like to become British Champion one day – going to need lots more tsumego for that though ;). I’ve never had a dedicated teacher but there have been a few people who I’ve got advice from and I’m really appreciative of that. One of the things I like most about go is that strong people seem eager to teach others, and so the trend continues as those players themselves become stronger!”

This year’s Championship starts in September.

- Tony Collman

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Categories: Europe,Go News
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KBA Donates Free Beginner’s Book to AGA

Thursday May 23, 2013

With the publication of Falling in Love with Baduk: Play a Game in One Week, The Korea Baduk Association has taken yet another important step to support Western go.  Written in both Korean and English by Dahye Lee and Jihee Baek, two young Korean pros, this is a book aimed at beginners, and especially Westerners. “People with different skin colors and different languages can understand one another when seated across the Baduk board,” they write.  “It thrills us to imagine a view of Easterners and Westerners playing the game together.” This is a valuable book for serious newcomers of any age. Basic principles are broken down into seven simple lessons, presumably one per day, with dozens of problems illustrating each day’s lesson. Ms. Lee will attend this year’s US Go Congress and will participate in the AGA’s first teacher training program. The book is ideal for classroom situations too, and can be used as a manual for non-players who find themselves running go programs at libraries or schools.   The book is available as a free download from the AGF website here, it is 86 mb, so expect it to take a little time.

The text in Falling in Love with Baduk appears side by side in Korean and English, following a style developed by Korean publisher Oromedia. Perhaps Oromedia had an uncredited role in developing this book. Oromedia’s Speed Baduk series (9 volumes) has been all-English, but their other books feature side-by-side presentation of the same material in English and Korean. Examples include Korean Style of Baduk, the Think Like a Pro series ( 2 volumes), the 100 Tips for Amateur Players series (3 volumes ), Inspiration of Pro and Creative Life and Death (2 volumes), all available from Yutopian. Here, as in the other bilingual books, it’s fun to see what the authors have to say in both languages on the same page, especially for language learners. The English text uses Korean terminology for concepts lacking an English equivalent, rather than the terms of Japanese origin that Western players learned from the first generation of English go books. For instance, the position known as “atari” is called “dansoo.” The emergence of Korean-based synonyms may further bewilder newcomers who are already struggling to grasp the vast, abstract nature of the game itself. But in the end, it all adds to the ineffable richness of the game. The worldwide community of players has been unable to agree on a single set of rules. There is not even agreement on what the game should be called; we are unlikely to produce a universal lexicon any time soon. Confused readers can always consult Prof. Chi-hyung Nam’s Contemporary Go Terms, if they have one handy, but the question remains – if you want to tell your opponent that their stone is about to be captured, what should you say? -Roy Laird

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Deadline May 31 for China Collegiate Trip

Monday May 20, 2013

Two years ago, the Shanghai Ing Chang-Ki Wei-Chi Education Foundation hosted a group of 11 American college students to participate in a week long go summer camp in China.  This year, they are hosting a new event in Shanghai, July 7-13, and inviting college students from America to compete in an international tournament.  Students from 50 different colleges will be invited, and  attendees will also have a chance to explore Shanghai and Hangzhou, while  learning a bit more about a culture that is on the opposite side of the world.  Organizer Michael Fodera reports that  “housing, food, travel within China, and Ing sponsored tourist trips are all free.  All ranks are welcome, even beginners as week as 20kyu.  The tournament is not just limited to college students; college or university faculty members are also eligible. Though they will have to compete in the open section, which will be full of  top amateur players.”  To register for the event, visit the American Collegiate Go Association website. Photo by Will Lockhart: American students vs Fudan and Jiaotong University students, from the 2011 trip to China.
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Korean Pro Moonyong Choi 6P Visits Bay Area

Sunday April 7, 2013

 

Moonyong Choi 6P spent a week visiting school and youth go clubs in the California Bay area, March 18-24. The Korean Baduk Association (KBA) sent Choi to see first-hand what go programs in America are like, and he is currently in the Los Angeles area visiting programs there as well. “It was really fun,” reports Patrick Wang, of Hyde Park Middle School in Cupertino, “the pro introduced himself, told us how he started playing, why he played, and how he went pro. After that, we asked him questions like how many tournaments he had won or how to improve. Then he played four people at once with nine handicaps on 19×19 and five handicaps on 13×13. Our school teacher even let us stay after lunch to finish the games! To end it off everyone asked him for his autograph.” Choi also visited Meyerholtz Elementary, Valley Christian High, and Berryissa Chinese School, all in San Jose, before finishing up his trip with a visit to the Santa Clara Youth Go Club. At all of the locations, Choi spoke to the children about his challenges in becoming a pro. “I studied for five years at the go school and became an insei which is a preliminary professional. During the course I lost a lot of times, especially games that I was ahead but lost in the end game. Sometimes I cried a lot and felt depressed,” said Choi, “Did you ever lose a game that you thought you had won? Did you hate your opponent for that? However, you don’t have to hate the person. Because you’re the one that made the mistake . We are all in the learning process. Correcting the mistakes and playing better the next time is what is important.”

Choi’s top tips for new players are “First of all, don’t be afraid of losing the game. I myself have played more than 20,000 games and lost half of them. There is a saying that ‘losing means learning’. It’s ok if you lose but knowing the reason and correcting it is how you take your skills to the next level. That’s why having a good teacher is essential. Second, being modest or having a humble attitude is good. There are lots of people that play better than you. You are in the learning process. Learning from your weaker opponent’s mistakes and from your stronger opponent’s good moves will make you a better person the next day. Third, enjoy the game. When you’re playing you always have to do the best you can. Think as much as possible. This is a war game. But once it’s over admit the results and try hard to find better moves. The more you love the game and dedicate yourself to it, the better player you will be.” His advice was well received, and Yanping Zhao of the Santa Clara Youth Go Club reported “It was a wonderful visit to our club. Mr. Choi, and our club members all had a very good time! About 15 kids came to the club to meet the pro. Mr. Choi was very kind to play a teaching game with almost every one of the them. He played several rounds, each round with four or five kids at the same time. During the breaks between the rounds, we had pizza and the pro chatted with kids. At the end, the kids signed a thank you card to express their appreciation. The kids all hope to meet Mr. Choi again and more pros in the future!” The visit was part of a larger outreach to support new programs in America, and was arranged by Myungwan Kim 9P. More pros will be visiting soon, and future trips will be scheduled in other areas of the country if all goes well.
-Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor. Photo by Yanping Zhao: Moonyong Choi 6P plays a simul at the Santa Clara Youth Go Club, in California.

 

 


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