American Go E-Journal » Search Results » learn go week

Children’s Programs Flourishing

Monday April 25, 2011

Elementary school go programs are on the upswing, with organizers across the country launching programs for young kids. Xinming Simon Guo used the Chinese New Year last February to introduce 64 second-graders at Hawthorne Elementary, in Chicago, IL, to the game. “We celebrated a special Chinese Spring Festival. Besides having delicious food for the celebration of the Chinese New Year, the students were treated with ‘delicious’ Chinese culture in the game of weiqi (go).”  Guo reports that some of the kids will soon join his weekly program at the local Chinese school.

In Camp Hill, PA, Mark Lichtenstein started a program at Eisenhower Elementary.  “I received go equipment from the AGF last school year,” reports Lichtenstein, “it got some use at the high school where I was teaching part time but the school closed over the summer, which I had anticipated.  I  brought the equipment with me to my new location, and I am glad I did, because it gave me the opportunity to lead a small go club at Eisenhower.  I had 6 to 8 children in the club plus an assistant from the high school for each meeting.  We met in February and March every other week for about an hour.  Everyone learned some basics.  Due to time constraints and attention spans, we started on 9×9 and moved to 13×13 but never went to 19×19.  A few parents approached me at other school events and told me that their children were having a great time.  The highschooler downloaded a go app for her smart phone.  The parent running the chess club a few tables over was intrigued but I’ve not got him playing yet.”

Programs like these are directly supported by donations to the American Go Foundation (AGF).  The AGF offers free equipment to any go program for kids in the US and Canada (through the CGA).  They also offer free sets of Hikaru no Go to school and public libraries.  For more information, or to make a donation, visit the AGF website. - Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor.  Photo – at Hawthorne Elementary in Chicago, Guo is at far left, in the rear, wearing an orange shirt.  Photo by Xinming Simon Guo.


Park Younghun Wins 12th Maxim Cup

Monday April 11, 2011

On April 7 2011, Park Younghun 9P won the 12th Maxim Cup, beating Lee Changho 9P by half a point in the second match. Park won the first match several weeks ago (March 21), and with two wins he took the best of three title.

Two masters of endgame

Both Lee and Park are famous for their accurate counting and endgame skills. Go fans used to say that if Park and Lee played and the winning margin was half a point, the winner would be Lee. However, now people say that if the winning margin is half a point, the winner will be Park.

In November last year Park also won the Korean Myeongin (Korea’s equivalent of the Japanese Meijin).

The Maxim Cup

The Maxim Cup is a rapid Korean domestic tournament for 9 dan players only. This year, the tournament was held on the beautiful Jeju Island, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is popular with tourists.

Stone Babushkas?

Lee was accompanied by his wife and, prior to the match, revealed that the couple were very happy and plan on having two or three children. Given that Lee’s nickname as a Go player is “Stone Buddha”, perhaps the little ones could be called the “Stone Babushkas”? Before you ask, there was no mention of whether the children would learn Go.

After the match, a reporter asked Lee how he felt about losing his dominance of the baduk world after more than two decades. Lee was non-plussed, and replied that he did not mind as long as he could still play a good and interesting game.

- Jingning; based on her original report at Go Game Guru, which includes more pictures and game records.


Japan Disaster Relief Update (updated 4/3)

Sunday April 3, 2011

(updated with details on the 4/23 NYC tourney and a PayPal account for the Kansai Kiin) “Many go players and clubs have asked where they could send money for disaster relief in Japan,” reports American Go Association President Allan Abramson. “For example, New York City go organizer Boris Bernadsky and other New York players are planning an April 23 Tsunami Relief Tournament to raise funds for relief, and next week’s NOVA Cherry Blossom tournament also will be dedicated to disaster relief.”

“For direct donations, here is what I have learned so far,” Abramson tells the E-Journal:

The Kansai Kiin has a disaster relief fund. Bank name: The Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi UFJ,  Kawaramachi Branch (Branch Code:003); Account No.: Ordinary Account 311018, Account Name: Kansaikiin. You can also now donate via PayPal:

Pandanet also has a disaster relief fund: Bank: Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation; Branch: Marunouchi Branch (Branch Code: 245); Account Number: 1441312; Swift Code:  SMBC JP JT

The Nippon Foundation has two ways to contribute: through the Sasakawa Peace Foundation ( or directly through the Nippon Foundation. It may be necessary to have routing/Swift numbers for the two banks, and these have been requested for U.S. donations and will be posted as soon as they’re available.



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