American Go E-Journal

Help Build the Future of Go in the US

Friday December 21, 2012

The American Go Foundation‘s annual fund-drive is under way. “Every dollar you give is matched by the hundreds of hours AGF board members, mentors and volunteers spend on helping our programs and encouraging others to teach go,” says AGF President Terry Benson. The AGF and AGA worked “more closely than ever to promote go” in 2012, Benson says, and “Now the AGF needs to rebuild our treasury.”

The AGF Store, previously available only to approved AGF programs, is now open to college clubs and AGA chapters, while continuing to serve schoolslibraries and community programs. The AGA has renewed its matching grant program for college clubs to help them purchase playing equipment from the AGF Store for club use.  The AGF had a booth at the American Library Association convention again this year to encourage libraries to order the Hikaru no Go manga for only $20.  “These sets are the seeds for the future of go which we’ve planted in hundreds of communities around the country,” says Benson, “often with the assistance of local volunteers working with their community’s youth librarians. The library clubs are nurtured with the equipment made possible by generous go players.”

The AGF provided most of the funding to broadcast and archive the sessions at the 2012 International Go Symposium and the AGF also provided $11,000 in scholarships for kids to attend this year’s US Go Congress and US Go Camp, as well as $1,000 for new go comics on the TigersMouth website. The $1,000 AGF College Scholarships reward college bound organizers and “We just received a shipment of $15,000 worth of boards, stones, and bowls to replenish our supplies for youth programs.”

“If you have helped the AGF before,” urges Benson, “please renew your support. If you haven’t, please start now.”

 

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Myung-wan Kim to Broadcast Live Commentary on Park-Pan Ing Cup Showdown Starting Friday Night

Friday December 21, 2012

The first two games of the Ing Cup Final between Park Jung-hwan 9P and Fan Ting-yu 3P will be featured in the next installment of Myung-wan Kim 9P’s AGA/Tygem live commentary tonight, Friday, December 21, at 8:30p EST, and then Sunday, 12/23, at the same time. Many pros give a slight edge in the match to the 19-year-old Park (left), currently number two in Korea, but expect the match-up with the Chinese 16-year-old Fan (right) to be very difficult for both players. Park, once called “the future emperor,” has started to be called “the current emperor,” says Kim, adding that “Park has completed the perfect Korean style. He has assembled every good part of a strong Korean go player’s game. Lee Sedol’s fighting spirit, Lee Chang-ho’s endgame, Cho Hun-hyun’s haengma.” Fan, meanwhile, has been called the future of China by many experts including the legendary Nie Weiping 9P. Fan started playing at age four, and in his short career — including 2,000 games as a Tygem 9d in the last five years — has put together an impressive record against professionals of all levels and a very stable game style. “He doesn’t readily collapse in any situation,” Kim said. Fan worships Lee Chang-ho. Click here for GoGameGuru’s report on the two young contenders earlier this year: Prodigies prevail at the 7th Ing Cup.

The live commentary will be set up in Tygem’s World server, which is not expected to have the problems observers experienced during the recent Samsung final. Each player gets three hours and 30 minutes to play, along with up to three overtime periods of 35 minutes each costing a two-point penalty. In theory, along with the lunch hour, a game could last 11 hours. A second phase of the best-of-five final in Singapore will take place in January and will decide who gets the $400,000 first prize and the $100,000 runner-up prize.

Categories: World
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Luo Tops Boulder Go Tourney

Thursday December 20, 2012

Thirty players attended the Rocky Mtn. Winter Go Tourney, held Dec. 15 in Boulder, CO.  Ten of the players were youth, and prizes were given in three brackets.  Xian Wu Luo 2d topped the dan division with four wins, while Laurie Linz 8k was undefeated in the Single Digit Kyu Bracket, and Dave Thomas 14k won the double digit kyu bracket with three wins.  Alex Tsalyuk 26k won the newcomers section, for players in the 20-30kyu range, which included both 19×19 and 13×13 games; Tsalyuk won a free go set as his prize.  Winners Report: Dan Division: 1st place: Xian Wu Luo 2d; 2nd place: Yi Yun-Bo 6d; SDK Division: 1st place: Laurie Linz 8k, 2nd place: Kent Evenson 1k; DDK Division: 1st place: Dave Thomas 14k, 2nd place: Akrom Amanov 16k; Newcomers: 1st place Alex Tsalyuk 26k, 2nd place Jimmy Mason 30k.  The TDs were Eric Moakley and Paul Barchilon -Story and photo by Paul Barchilon E-J Youth editor.

2012 SportAccord World Mind Games: Korea Tops China to Win World Mind Games Pair Go Championship

Wednesday December 19, 2012

Korea Tops China to Win World Mind Games Pair Go Championship: Korea’s Choi Jeong and Choi Chulhan are the 2012 Pair Go champs at the SportAccord World Mind Games, defeating the Chinese team of Li He and Jiang Weijie in a nearly 3-hour marathon game on December 19 in Beijing, China.

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“This is another high-level pair go match that’s virtually indistinguishable from a regular one-on-one game,” says Michael Redmond 9P in his detailed commentary (right) on the game. “As in the second-round game between China and Japan, the outcome of the game is determined by the fight in the center, and, also as in that game, there’s a late-stage turn of fortune that’s decisive.” The Round 3 Russia-Canada game “is a good example of the players consciously using Pair Go tactics and techniques,” says Redmond in his commentary, “such as setting each other up or the use of forcing moves to allow one’s partner to make a strategic choice.” Click here for Ranka’s complete final report on the Pair Go tournament, including Round 2 action and a collage of photos of other mind sports. And check out the SAWMG YouTube Channel for Michael Redmond’s live game commentary with E-Journal Managing Editor Chris Garlock and a special appearance by Janice Kim.

Tournament Go Returns to New York City

Tuesday December 18, 2012

Barely a year old, the Gotham Go Club of Manhattan is hosting its first AGA-rated tournament January 12th. “The go scene when I moved here in 2011 was moribund,” says Club founder and two time Congress Director Peter Armenia. “For a city this big, diverse, talented and wealthy it was almost embarrassing.“ “People are always telling me ‘you can’t do this in NYC, or you can’t have a congress here in the city because it is too expensive,’ Armenia added. “Baloney. Both our weekly Gotham Go Group and our upcoming tournament are in venues that offer the space for free!” The 4-round tournament will be held in Hostelling International New York’s historic building (891 Amsterdam Ave between 103rd & 104th), which offers a “beautiful, clean, quiet space on New York’s Upper West Side.” The hostel offers a range of affordable options for those who need lodging for the tournament. There will be an open section for strong dan players and prizes for all sections; $30 entrance fee (AGA membership required). Click here to register or email Peter Armenia at peter@peterarmenia.com

Categories: U.S./North America
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Newmiller & Louderback Double Winners in Davis/Sacramento

Tuesday December 18, 2012

Jeff Newmiller 1k Allen Louderback 3k topped their divisions in the Davis/Sacramento Go Club Winter Quarterly Tournament on December 15 at the Arden-Dimick library in Sacramento. There was a field of eleven players, including two new AGA members. Newmiller (right) won the upper division, and Louderback (left) the lower, both with three wins. They were also the winners in their divisions of the annual club championship for having the most wins in the four tournaments this year.
- Willard Haynes

Categories: U.S./North America
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Justin Ching Tops NOVA Slate and Shell Open

Tuesday December 18, 2012

The malls in Northern Virginia were a little less crowded on Saturday, December 15th, as 22 go players competed in the NOVA Slate and Shell Open for go books donated by Slate and Shell. The four-round tournament was topped by Justin Ching 3D with a 3-1 record. Other division winners were Julian Erville 3K (4-0), Dan Hiltgen 5K (2-2), Gurujeet Khulsa 6K (4-0), and Bob Crites 12K (3-1). Second place winners were Willis Huang 3D (3-1), Yukino Takehara 2k (2-2), Mohan Sud 6k (2-1), and Anderson Barreal 12K (2-0). All first and second place finishers received books.
- report/photo by Gary Smith, TD/Organizer

 

Categories: U.S./North America
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2012 SportAccord World Mind Games: Pair Go Final Features China-Korea Showdown; School Visit; Redmond Exhibition Game

Tuesday December 18, 2012

Pair Go Tourney Final Features China-Korea Showdown: It’s China vs. Korea in the Pair-Go final at the 2012 Beijing SportAccord World Mind Games, which will be held on Wednesday, December 19, beginning at 9:30A local time. The Chinese team of Jiang Weijie 9 and Li He 3P will face Choi Chulhan 9P and Choi Jeong 2P of Korea; watch for live broadcast on Cyberoro and Michael Redmond’s game commentary on the SAWMG Channel. The semi-final rounds on Tuesday afternoon featured some tremendously exciting games, including the China-Japan match (click here for Michael Redmond 9P’s commentary), which was shaping up as an upset by Japan before a momentary lapse handed the win to China in the late endgame. Click here for Ranka’s first-round and second-round reports; photo of the round 1 Hungary (l)-China (r) game by Ivan Vigano.

School Visit:
December 17 dawned clear and cold in Beijing, excellent weather for a group of World Mind Games go players and officials from China,

Chinese Taipei, Japan, Korea, and North America to pay an afternoon visit to the Shuang Huayuan campus of the Beijing Chaoyang Fangcaodi International school to take on thirty-three primary schoolchildren in simultaneous games. Click here for Ranka’s full report. photos by Ivan Vigano

Su Sheng-fang: The Ranka Interview 
Su Sheng-fang, the 16-year-old pro from Chinese Taipei, was one of the eight unseeded players in the women’s division at the World Mind Games. She started playing go at the age of eight; “I was a noisy child and I wasn’t good at arithmetic, so Mother started sending me to a go club. She thought it would do me good,” said Su (left). She was the amateur women’s champion in Chinese Taipei three years in a row and last year made professional shodan. Click here for Ranka’s complete report; photo by Ivan Vigano

Game Commentary: Redmond Exhibition Game
W: Michael Redmond 9P

[link]

B: Naijing Sun 6D
Commentary: Michael Redmond 9P
Edited by Chris Garlock

Sun, an amateur 6-dan, played very strongly in this limited-time exhibition game on Sunday, December 16; his play in the opening was professional level and he showed great fighting spirit.  Sun was the winner of the Pandanet-SportAccord Online Go Tournament and an official guest at the World Mind Games in Beijing.

Scientists at the 2012 International Go Symposium

Tuesday December 18, 2012

The 2012 International Go Symposium in Black Mountain, North Carolina attracted leading scholars and researchers from around the world for two days of presentations and discussions on the many aspects of the game of go. Hours of footage have now been edited down and posted online to accompany the conference papers. This 3-part series covers highlights of Symposium presentations by teachers, scientists, historians and anthropologists. 

In addition to the teachers and social scientists whose presentations have been described previously in this series, several computer scientists and mathematicians brought their colleagues up to date on recent advances in those areas at the 2012 Symposium. Programmers have been trying to create strong go programs since the creation of the first computers in the 1950’s, but their efforts were so ineffective that go was dubbed “the fruit fly of artificial intelligence.” Top-level play is still an exclusive human domain, but these days computers are closing in, thanks largely to the so-called “Monte Carlo Tree Search” (MCTS) technique, which selects each move by playing out hundreds of thousands of games and choosing the move that seems to win the most games. ZenGo, an MCTS-based program, recently defeated the legendary Takemiya – twice! And in October, playing as “Zen19″, ZenGo finished nearly 200 games over a four-day period on KGS, ending with a ranking of 5D.  Jacques Basaldúa, the author of GoKnot, reviews the basics of the MCTS algorithm and explains how a new filtering mechanism known as “CLOP optimization” is making programs stronger than ever (right)Francois van Niekerk also looks at MCTS, focusing on its unique ability to make use of parallelization and supercomputers.

In the world of mathematics, Prof. Elwyn Berlekamp and others have been exploring how to calculate the “temperature” of endgame moves, for instance in Berlekamp’s Chilling Gets The Last Point. Bill Spight, who wrote a chapter about Berlekamp’s “Coupon Go” in More Games of No Chance, presents some further thoughts on Berlekamp’s concept of “thermographic” analysis, and discovers surprisingly deep questions of life and death on the 3×3 board. Kyle Blocher uses combinatorial game theory in a different way, to develop a method for assessing the value of moves that he calls “miai counting”. Another aspect of the game that seems to yield to mathematical analysis is seki, as we learn from Thomas Wolf, the author of Mastering Ladders. Wolf explores how to recognize a seki when it appears, differentiating among “basic”, “linear” and “circular” types and developing a way to express seki in mathematical terms (left).

The AGA and the 2012 US Go Congress are extremely grateful to The International Go Federation for financial support that made this event possible, and to The American Go Foundation for supporting the video recording.  NOTE: Links to all the videos and to associated papers, links and contact information be found at the Symposium website.

Categories: U.S. Go Congress
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2012 SportAccord World Mind Games Day 6: Round 7 Report; Sun Naijing: The Ranka Interview

Sunday December 16, 2012

Round 7 Report
The four players took their seats in the playing room at the Beijing International Conference Center ten minutes before the starting time of round 7. Choi Chulhan and Kang Dongyoon, playing for the men’s individual gold medal and $100,000 sat facing each other in stony Korean silence. Li He and Rui Naiwei, playing for the women’s individual gold medal and $40,000, chatted cheerily in Chinese. The silver medals come with awards of $40,000 (men) and $20,000 (women). Click here for the full reportwinner’s photos by Ivan Vigano

Up Next: Pair Go
This is not the end of the go competition at the World Mind Games in Beijing. Starting on December 18th, Li, Lin, and the two Choi’s will contend for further medals in the pair go competition, where Choi Chulhan is partnered with Choi Jeong, Li He with Jiang Weijie, and Lin Chi-han with Joanne Missingham.

Sun Naijing: The Ranka Interview
Only one game took place in the playing room at the Beijing International Convention Center on the morning of December 16. Sun Naijing (right), winner of the Pandanet-SportAccord Online Go Tournament and official guest at the World Mind Games, took on Michael Redmond (left) in a regulation game with clocks, broadcast live on the Internet by Sina.com. ” I tried my best, but I was playing a professional 9-dan, and he was much stronger,” Sun said. Though Sun spent most of the game rescuing a large black group, he says that “As an amateur player, I play more for fun than to win.” Click here for the full interview and Michael Redmond’s game commentaryphoto by Ivan Vigano