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Sunday October 31, 2010

Sunday October 31st is the last day to register the N.A. BC Card Cup. The Cup winner will be fully sponsored to go to Korea and represent the U.S. in the main qualifier event in January 2011. The qualifier tournament will be on KGS during the weekend of Nov. 13-14. BC Card is one of the largest credit card companies in Korea. Click here for more about BC Card Cup World Baduk Champhionship. Thus far a strong group of 17 players has registered, including several former U.S. champions. Click hereto register. The AGA Tournament Coordinator Team has openings for online tournament assistance and tournaments reporting, a great
opportunity to serve the AGA and learn how to run tournaments. If interested, contact National Tournament Coordinator Zhiyuan Zhang at

Categories: U.S./North America

NEW IN PRINT 2010 (PART III): Six More Important New Works

Monday September 20, 2010

First off,  Slate and Shell added three more important titles to their catalog this year. Magic On The First Line is a compendium of eponymous oddities that only the great Nakayama could have come up with. In Understanding Dan Level Play, Yuan Zhou 7d continues his popular “Understanding . . . ” series by analyzing his own games as the US representative in the 2009 Korea Prime Minister’s Cup. And with New Moves, Slate and Shell adds an important new author to its roster — Alexander Dinerchtein, a 3P in the Korean system, better known as “breakfast” on KGS. By “new moves”, the author seems to mean trick plays. Dinerchtein charges $3-$5 per trick on his site — by that measure, 25 plays for $18 is quite a bargain.

The burgeoning Korean English-language publishing industry has produced a full thirty titles titles in the past few years, all of which are available from Yutopian.  Now comes the first extended attempt to discuss haengma, a Korean construct that is difficult to translate, but has something to do with the natural flow of the game. Janice Kim called it “The Way of The Moving Horse.” This Is Haengma by Sung-rae Kim and Sung Ki-Chang, and Master of Haengma Sung-ho Beck, try to explain this elusive way of understanding the game. And the Korean titles keep on coming.

I’m on Yutopian’s “send-me-everything-as-soon-as-the-ink-dries” list, so a few weeks after the Congress, I got my copy of 21st Century New Openings, Volume 2, also by Sung-rae Kim. It’s so new it’s not even listed on the Yutopian site  yet, but it looks good. Kim continues his discussion of modern changes in opening strategy, with extensive discussion of the mini-Chinese opening and others.  Now that komi is 7.5 points, some pros feel that Black has to play more aggressively, making many of the established openings obsolete. This series is some of the fruit of that thinking. Possibly a must for the serious competitor.  To see a comprehensive annotated list of go books in English click here.
- Roy Laird


NEW IN PRINT 2010 (PART II): A Beginner’s Bonanza

Monday September 6, 2010

by Roy Laird
The past year has produced a notable bumper crop of books for beginners and newer players — the so-called DDK (double-digit kyu) range. Jonathan Hop, a 3D amateur, published So You Want To Play Go?, a three-volume series that aims to give the reader the knowledge to improve ten ranks per book; if it works, at the end you’ll be ready to aim at shodan. Click Volume One, Volume Two and Volume Three to learn more about each book. 21st Century Baduk for Beginners is the latest offering from Sung-rae Kim, the author of several other works in the growing number of English-language works from Korean publishers. Some of these early efforts suffered somewhat from clumsy English, but Diana Koszegi 3P helped with this translation, suiting it more fully to the idioms of the English language. Finally, we note the publication of Go Made Easy by Sam Sloan. Sloan, better known as the last non-lawyer to argue before the Supreme Court, and for suing the US Chess Federation, has also written beginner’s books and DVDs on chess, shogi, Chinese chess and poker, while also delving into more, um, unusual subjects. Visit his home page for more information. All the new beginner books are available from Yutopian.
Next week: Six More Important New Works



Friday July 30, 2010

Janice Kim 3PProfessional player Janice Kim 3P addressed “stone capturing disease” and other go problems at a weekend go workshop in San Francisco, CA  July 24-25. Students provided game records in advance so that Kim could prepare material geared to the specific needs of the students. Based on the records, Kim discussed blunders (such as losing the game when you are ahead), self-defeating moves (sente moves with obvious responses that don’t provide significant benefit), and “stone capturing disease”. Kim co-authored the popular book series Learn to Play Go, and is one of only a few western women to be recognized as a professional by the Korea Baduk Association. The workshop was organized by Bay Area Go Players Association, which puts on monthly rated tournaments and periodic pro workshops in Northern California.
- Roger Schrag


5 MINUTES WITH: Carlos Joels, Peru

Sunday May 30, 2010

Stuck at home sick a few years ago, Carlos Joels 1k of Peru was channel surfing when he came across a strangely fascinating game being played on Japanese TV. He had been a chess player, but was bored with it because of the constant repetition of the moves and, seeing the go board he realized that this offered more scope for innovative play and decided to learn the game. The 25-year-old — who has just graduated with a degree in economics — has now been playing go for a year and a half, playing every day and going to the go club in Lima every week where there are about 10 players. Next year, he plans to go to Taiwan to learn Chinese. “Of course,” he says with great excitement, “there is a go club there where I hope I will improve very fast.”
- None Redmond, special correspondent to the E-Journal; photo by John Pinkerton


5 MINUTES WITH: Vesa Laatikainen, Finland

Saturday May 29, 2010

When Vesa Laatikainen was a high school student he bought a book about different games and decided to learn go because it looked attractive.  He enjoyed the different patterns the stones made on the board. He’s now been making those patterns for 27 years.  He studies every day — mostly professional games — and when he is at home he goes to the go club in Helsinki twice a week, where there are between 10 and 20 players of varying strengths. He’s also enjoying passing along his love for the game to his 10-year-old daughter.
- None Redmond, special correspondent for the E-Journal; photo by John Pinkerton



Friday April 23, 2010

The Strong Players Online Tournament (SPOT1) launches tonight, April 23, at 7P on KGS, with three matches between U.S. players, as well as six Canadian players battling for three slots in the Top 32. The first major online open tournament in recent years has attracted a lot of interest from players and fans alike. Among the thirty-five strong players from Canada, the United States and Mexico are Korean 9-dan professional — and two-time US Open Champion — Myung Wan Kim, Canadian Yongfei Ge 7D, also a two-time US Open winner, and 2006 NAIM Champion Zhaonian “Michael” Chen 7D from New Jersey. “Every team is tough,” said Yixian Zhou 7D from Los Angeles, better-known as “missbear” on KGS. “But I will have fun to learn from the strong players.” Changlong Wu 7D from North Carolina encourages fans to “Come and watch, and join the AGA today.”  The tournament continues over the weekend. Click here for the pairings. schedule and results.
– Zhiyuan “Edward” Zhang, SPOT1 Tournament Director

Categories: U.S./North America

Nakayama Noriyuki 6P Dies

Friday February 19, 2010

Nakayama Noriyuki 6P died on February 16. The prolific author, reporter and go writer was well-known to American go players who met him during his many trips to the United States over the last three decades. “Nakayama’s deep and abiding love for the game of go and his irrepressible sense of humor endeared him to everyone who was fortunate enough to cross his path over the years,” said American Go Association President Allan Abramson. “He’ll be missed by his many friends around the world.” Said Ji Li 7D, one of the top American amateur players, “Nakayama made significant impacts and contributions to the American go community.” One of Nakayama’s most popular books in the West, The Treasure Chest Enigma, was re-issued in 2005; he ghost wrote books for many top professionals and authored several for himself. Well known as one of the professionals who most toured the West to spread and teach go, Nakayama – born September 3, 1932 — loved to play amateurs and – a twinkle in his eye – would respond to their questionable moves by saying, with a quizzically cocked head, “Ah! New Joseki, neh?!”, or “Oohh! Strong move! But maybe… this (playing his move…) better!!!” Although Nakayama never won a title, “He was funny and approachable,” said longtime fan Keith Arnold 5d. “There was an unmistakable quiet dignity that did not ask for, yet clearly demanded respect. Respect for a dedication to the game, to teaching, and to spreading its joys, winning players with a smile.”
- Chris Garlock, includes reporting on Sensei’s Library; photo by Phil Straus; click here for his album of Nakayama photos


NAKAYAMA’S LAST LECTURE: Longtime Congress favorite Noriyuki Nakayama 6P announced at the 2006 US Go Congress that it would be the last year he’d be attending the U.S Go Congress. His wife had been ill recently and it was a great hardship for him to be away for the month it took to attend both the U.S. and European Congresses. At a standing-room only lecture at the Congress, the irrepressible Nakayama said that “I’m afraid the answer might be ‘jigo’ if my wife asks me which is more important, my American go friends or her.” Much-loved for his cherubic delight in teaching go to players of all strengths, Nakayama said “The best thing about go is that you make many friends.” At the lecture, he set up two life and death problems and invited members of the audience to come up and try to solve them, gleefully refuting the wrong moves until somebody solved the problem correctly. For the game section of the lecture, he showed part of the game he won to get promoted to 2P.
- Chris Garlock; Photo by Jian Zhang


LETTER FROM JAPAN: Goodbye, The Congress I Love

By Noriyuki Nakayama 6P

I participated in the US Go Congress this year (2006) as I have for last 21 years. The US Go Congress, which started in 1985, could just as well be described as “the US Open Go Festival.” Participants include players from European countries, Japan and many other countries who love this “Festival” as well as go enthusiasts and go maniacs from every corner of the United States. For many participants, these events are a vacation involving spouses and other members of the family. Many wives and children learn go and participate in events like Pair Go, the 9×9 tournament and Kid’s Go.

I have been engaged in activities to introduce and popularize the game of go in the USA before the US Go Congress was organized, but unfortunately, this year’s visit will be the last one due to my wife’s health problems. I know that I will miss the Go Congress and my friends there very much since I started this journey when I was 49 and it has lasted a full quarter-century since then.

On August 19, 2006, my last lecture started after all the Congress events were finished. It had become a kind of Congress custom for me to present a lecture as the final event but this year’s — literally “the last lecture” – attracted most of the approximately 250 people at the Congress. In the standing ovation which lasted long after I finished, overwhelmed by the emotion, I could not find the words to say Goodbye Go Congress, Goodbye America, Goodbye my dear American go friends!
- A longer version of this letter appeared in the October 9, 2006 edition of the Nihon Ki-in’s weekly Go magazine. Translated by Frank Fukuda and edited by Chris Garlock. This letter also appears in the 2006 American Go Yearbook.

As it turned out, Nakayama was able to attend one last U.S. Go Congress, in 2007…



“There are three steps to get better,” Noriyuki Nakayama 6P said at a lecture at the 2007 U.S. Go Congress. “Step 1: buy a book. Step 2: read it! Step 3: practice!” As entertaining as always, Nakyama kept the attentive crowd laughing appreciatively as he mixed game analysis of Takemiya’s games with fascinating and amusing anecdotes from the go world. “Replay professional games,” Nakyama advised. “Eventually you will start playing better moves because your fingers will know where to play. Not your mind, your fingers.”

“Ah, The Clam Shells Are Heavy”

Excerpted from The Treasure Chest Enigma; A Go Miscellany, by Nakayama Noriyuki

A little before six in the evening, Kajiwara, who had been glaring at the board hard enough to bore a hole in it, suddenly raised his head and glanced at the scenery outside in the gathering dusk. Not surprisingly, he bore signs of considerable fatigue.

The game recorder’s voice rang out. “Time is up. Kajiwara Sensei, please seal the next move.”

Kajiwara gave a deep nod of assent, then shifted his gaze back to the board. Some five minutes passed by. Suddenly he called out in a flurried tone, “What? The next move’s the sealed move.” His eyes were riveted on the board.

With his whole being concentrated on the go board, Kajiwara had only half taken in the game recorder’s words when he first spoke.

“Yes. The next move – is – the sealed move.” The game recorder replied slowly and carefully, enunciating each syllable clearly.

Kajiwara finally seemed to have grasped that the next move was the sealed move. He let out a long sigh. “Oh? The sealed move?” After a little while he sighed again. “I’m tired out,” he muttered. Preoccupied though he was with his own game, Tainaka happened to overhear these words. Glancing over at the neighboring board, he commented sarcastically: “Why? You’ve only played four stones.”

Kajiwara’s reply to this was a masterpiece. Glaring at the board with a look of complete exhaustion on his face, he muttered: “The clam shells are heavy today.”

The essays in Treasure Chest were translated from a collection titled Jitsuroku Igo Kodan. Gokyo Monogatari (Tales of a man crazy about go), reports Bob McGuigan

Photo: Nakayama and Yoshiaki Nagahara 6P watch a casual game at the 2007 Congress; photo by Roy Laird


IN MEMORY OF NAKAYAMA SENSEI: A number of Nakayama appreciations, tributes and memories has been posted on , including a record of a game between Nakayama and Kojima Takaho, which made the Kido yearbook’s section on noteworthy games, posted by John Fairbairn.


Published by the American Go Association
Managing Editor: Chris Garlock
Assistant Editor: Bill Cobb
Website Editor: Gurujeet Khalsa
Games Editor: Myron Souris
Professionals: Yilun Yang 7P; Alexandr Dinerchtein 3P; Fan Hui 2P
Contributors: Paul Barchilon (Youth Editor); Lawrence Ku (U.S. West Coast Reporter); Brian Allen (U.S. West Coast Photographer); Keith Arnold (Go Quiz); Peter Dijkema (Dutch/European Correspondent); Marilena Bara (Romania/European Correspondent); Ian Davis (Ireland Correspondent); Jens Henker (Korea Correspondent); Nicholas Roussos (Cyprus Correspondent); Horatio Davis (Australia/New Zealand Correspondent).
Columnists: James Kerwin 1P; Kazunari Furuyama; Rob van Zeijst; Roy Laird; Peter Shotwell
Translations: Bob McGuigan (Japan)
Formatting: Adam Wright

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