American Go E-Journal

How to Become an Insei

Thursday November 1, 2012

“When I was webmaster I was often asked how to become an insei, or go student in training to be a professional,” writes Steve Colburn (What’s The Best School for Inseis? 10/22 EJ). “I never had a good answer, but recently I found some information on the Nihon Kiin’s site about how to become an insei in Japan for those not of Japanese, Chinese, Korean, or Taiwanese descent. Hajin Lee 3P from the Korean Baduk Association (KBA) also told me that the custom in Korea is that foreign students need to find a private academy first, and become an insei later. Hajin Lee said that the KBA is usually very accommodating to foreign students in order to encourage them to study in Korea longer. For example the age limit is higher so that foreign students can stay several years longer than their Korean counterparts. Foreign students are also permitted a more relaxed schedule than Korean students, who train in the academies every weekday and then play the insei on the weekends, while foreign students are often interested in traveling or exploring Korea on their weekends.” Edward Zhang reports that in mainland China, there are no official “insei” but there are a lot training schools — mostly in Beijing– where the strongest amateur players train 14+ hours a day, 365 days a year for just one reason: taking the annual pro test in the summer, at which only 20 will make it through to turn pro.
Photo: former Japanese B class insei Antti Törmänen of Finland 

Categories: U.S./North America
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Go Spotting: Hidden Treasure

Wednesday October 31, 2012

A go board is one of the treasures available for players to dig up in The Legend of the Golden Robot game on Kongregate. Thanks to EJ reader Corey McQuarters for passing this along!

Categories: Go Art,Go Spotting
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Life and Death and Middle Pair: Go, Poker and the Sublime

Tuesday October 30, 2012

(Gamasutra) There’s little doubt that music, literature, and film can all result in some incredibly meaningful works of art, but for whatever reason, the jury’s still out when it comes to games. Veteran game designer, Area/Code co-founder, and Zynga New York creative director Frank Lantz, however, believes wholeheartedly that games can be just as beautiful and meaningful as any other media, and at the 2011 Game Developers Conference, he explained how some of history’s oldest games demonstrate the real power of the medium.

“Games are something like music, literature, film,” Lantz said. “Games can be meaningful, beautiful in the way these other things are, but their meaning and beauty is actually quite different.”

But rather than looking at video games, Lantz turned his attention to go and poker, two games that have long since stood the test of time and have proven the power games can hold over their players. By examining what makes these games special, Lantz believes video game designers can have a batter grasp of what makes their craft meaningful.

“Understanding this particular kind of beauty is challenging, and it’s important, because if this really is the golden age of games then we, as developers, are its custodians and architects, inventors and guides. And we should understand how these things are beautiful in order to each more people and in order to create deeper, more valuable games,” he said.

Click here to see Lantz’ lucid and fascinating hour-long talk — which includes a terrific Powerpoint presentation, parts of which are useful as an introduction to the game of go.
- from the Gamasutra website; thanks to EJ reader Nick Prince for passing this along.

Categories: U.S./North America
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Daniel Chou 6D Sweeps NOVA Pumpkin Classic

Monday October 29, 2012

Daniel Chou 6D (center, front row) swept the top Dan division at the October 27 NOVA Pumpkin Classic, undefeated at 4-0. The other first place winners in their divisions were: Kelsey Dyer 1D (3-1), Benjamin Hong 8K (4-0), Anderson Barreal 12K (3-1), and Caroline Scheck 14K (3-1). Second place finishers were Zhiyuan (Edward) Zhang 6D (2-2), Julian Erville 3K (3-1), Dan Hiltgen 5K (3-1), Bob Crites 12K (3-1) and Frederick Bao 13K (2-2). “First and second place winners and everyone going 2-2 got to take home a pumpkin!” reports Tournament Director Gurujeet Khalsa.
photo: NOVA Pumpkin Classic winners with their prizes; photo by Gurujeet Khalsa

Categories: U.S./North America
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World Student Oza Registration Open

Monday October 29, 2012

The 11th World Students Go Oza Championship will be held in Tokyo,  from Feb 25 to March 1, 2013. Preliminary rounds will be held on the Pandanet IGS Go Server, and 16 students will be selected to proceed to the championship in Tokyo.  Details are on the website for the event.  “University/College students under the age of 30 can participate in the preliminary rounds,” says Makoto Moriwaki from Pandanet,  “we would like as many students as possible to participate in the internet tournament.”  The application deadline is Nov 25th, any questions can be directed to gakusei15league@gmail.com.  The entry form is here.  -Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor.  Photo courtesy of Student Oza website.

The Spirit of Play: “I’m Stuck”

Monday October 29, 2012

There are countless books, dictionaries and other materials aimed at expanding knowledge in go. But Argentinian champion and teacher Gabriel Benmergui 6D says that “what most of these resources don’t take into account is that there are many things that happen to the players, before, during and after the game that have just as much effect on the result.” In this new column for the E-Journal, Benmergui goes beyond tactics and strategies to look at the player, with a goal of helping develop “an unshakable spirit.” This article is dedicated to Benmergui’s first teacher, Franklin Bassarsky, “the greatest teacher I could ever become,” who recently passed away. “He was Argentina’s greatest go teacher,” says Benmergui, “creating generations and generations of go players here.”

A common situation for go players is the feeling of not moving forward or improving, of being stuck. The reality is that most players go through this phase, and there are actually well-known rank barriers, located around 9k, 5k and 2k, ranks that hold unusually high concentrations of players. In Lessons in the Fundamentals Kageyama 7P said “You can identify when you are stuck when you find yourself playing for fun, with disregard of the outcome. Maybe you even read books but they don’t help you improve. You also rarely review the games you play.”

As a teacher I have seen many go players “plateau” like this. Their common denominator is a fear that they’ve peaked, that they’ve reached their maximum potential and that studying any further will be a waste of time. This usually happens when players are no longer improving naturally, as they tend to do between learning the rules up to around 10k, where just getting advice and playing was enough to steadily improve. The truth is that expecting to go up in rank with little or no effort is like expecting to lose weight without diet and exercise. So when people ask me “I’m stuck, what should I do?” I immediately respond “What are you doing to improve?” And it’s no surprise for me to hear “I watch and play games” as if that alone were an appropriate level of training.

My advice: Just do it! If you want to improve you have to be proactive. You have to set goals and perform a more rigorous training regime. Solve life and death problems, read books with the intention of putting in practice the knowledge gained. Take lessons. Remember that people improve at different speeds, but with effort everyone improves.

Gabriel Benmergui lives in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Argentinian Champion in 2011 and 2012, he has extensive international amateur tournament experience, representing South America twice at the World Student Oza, two-time Prime Minister Cup representative for Argentina, captained his country’s team in KABA’s World Team Championship in 2005 and was Argentina’s representative for the 2005 WAGC. Benmergui studied go in Korea, in Lee Sang-hun’s dojang, at Kim Sung Rae’s KBC and at BIBA (Blackie’s International Baduk Academy) and now runs the Kaya.gs Go Server. Photo graphic by Chris Garlock

Irvington Elementary Program a Hit

Monday October 29, 2012

Longtime Portland organizer Peter Freedman has been devoting his efforts towards school programs recently, with notable success. “The photo is from the Irvington Elementary School Chess and Go Club,” writes Freedman, “it has 30 students, in 2nd through 5th grades.  The students can, play only chess; play only go; or, switch between chess and go each month.  New students must play a month of go before they decide on their option.  Go is played  on KGS, and a self-pair tournament runs for go each month.”  Freedman has also organized live match-ups with Sunstone Montessori, also in Portland, and has his kids competing online with students as far afield as Detroit and Mexico City.  Read Freedman’s tips on running a successful program for children here.  There are many more helpful links on the AGA’s teaching go page here, and the AGF will provide free equipment for K-12 go programs. -Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor.  Photo by Peter Freedman: Jordan (l) and Aden (r) at the Irvington Club.

Tesuji, Maybe

Monday October 29, 2012

One of the hits at this year’s U.S. Go Congress banquet was the performance of “Tesuji, Maybe” by Karoline Li and Samantha Fede. Sung to the tune of Carly Rae Jepsen’s big hit ‘Call Me Maybe’ with new lyrics by Todd Blatt, the song was one of the winners of the 2012 US Go Congress Song and Poetry Competition. The sound is a bit low, so be sure to turn it up. Video shot by Nikolos Gonzales.

 

Go Photo: Terpstra Tykes

Sunday October 28, 2012

Two of the American Go Association’s younger members, Brady (#20162) and Maddie (# 18087) Terpstra battling for ratings. The two are San Diego Go Club President Ted Terpstra (#754)’s grandchildren.
Photo courtesy Ted Terpstra

 

Categories: Go Photos
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Matt Burrall, Yongfei Ge & Sarah Yu Play for N.A. at Two Int’l Tourneys

Saturday October 27, 2012

North America has three representatives at international tournaments this weekend: Matthew Burrall and Yongfei Ge at the 7th Korea Prime Minister Cup International Amateur Baduk Championship, and Sarah Yu at the Women’s Bingshen Cup World Championship.

The Women’s Bingshen Cup World Championship is an international championship for women, now in it’s third year. It’s being held in Suzhou, China this year from October 28-November 4. Jin Yu (Sarah) studied go for 6 years in China, where her coach was Ruan Yunsheng 7P. She immigrated to Canada in 2005 and graduated from Queen’s University this spring and is now looking for work. In 2000, Yu placed second in the children’s group the national competition for girls in China and in 2009, she played for Canada in the International Amateur Pair Go in Japan with John Yu. She took bronze for Canada this summer in the World Mind Sports Game women’s individual.

The 7th Korea Prime Minister Cup International Amateur Baduk Championship is an international amateur championship hosted this year from October 25-October 30. Matthew Burrall’s dad taught him go when he was four years old, along with his siblings. Soon after, he began to take the kids to the local Davis/Sacramento tournaments and Matthew attended his first Go Congress when he was six. “My oldest sister Kristen and I took to it the most and improved steadily together as we continued to play in local and San Francisco tournaments,” says Burrall. For many years the Burrall kids all attended the Go Camp and the Go Congress every year. “I went with our good friend Jon Boley to Korea for three months to study in the Yang Jae-Ho Dojang,” adds Burrall, and the summer after high school he went to Korea again for a few weeks where he stayed with and was taught by Kim Myung Wan. In 2008 he competed in the first World Mind Sports Games in Beijing and Burrall also recently competed in the first AGA-TygemGo Pro Qualifier at this year’s US Go Congress. Yongfei Ge is representing Canada at the KPMC.
- Report by AGA Tournament Coordinator Karoline Burrall

Categories: U.S./North America
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