American Go E-Journal

Go Spotting: Doraemon

Saturday July 13, 2013

Doraemon is seen studying go in an episode of the popular anime.   The series is about a robotic cat who travels back in time from the 22nd century to aid a fifth grade boy, Nobita (seen in the background at right).  Doraemon debuted in 1969, and became one of the longest running anime in Japan, and was also a huge hit in China.  It is regarded as a Japanese cultural icon, and generations of kids have been gently influenced by the charming cat and his wise lessons.  Image from, thanks to Taylor Litteral for the suggestion.

Categories: Go Spotting

Pandanet-AGA City League 10th Round This Sunday

Friday July 12, 2013

The 10th, and for most teams, final round is scheduled for this Sunday, July 14 on Pandanet IGS. At the conclusion of this round, the top two teams in the A League will be invited to play one final playoff round to take place in person at the 2013 US Go Congress on Saturday afternoon, August 2. LA currently has a a slight lead over Boston and Washington, DC in the latest standings. Click here for schedule and results of previous rounds.
- Karoline Burrall 

New Site Features Video Go Lessons

Friday July 12, 2013

Jonathan Hop 3d, author of the “So You Want to Play Go?” series, has opened a new website featuring video lectures for go players of all levels. There are several free lessons for new users to try the service out, and then lessons on various topics can be rented for $1.99.   “Currently the site has about 20 lectures,” says Hop, “but little by little I will put more up.  My goal is to make go more of a game that Americans can relate to, and see as fun and personable.  You’ll find lectures for total beginners, as well as those on more advanced topics like invasions and josekis.”   Hop has given  lectures on KGS, and has been teaching players, from total beginners to single digit kyus, for a number of years.  Check out Hop’s site here.

Your Move/Readers Write: EJ “The way to advertise”

Friday July 12, 2013

“Lawrence Ku is absolutely right,” writes Bob Barber, “the E-Journal is the way to advertise (Go Classifieds Work 7/1 EJ). “I listed my goban, and got five nibbles. And sold it within the week. Sounds like I should list my books here, too.” Send your go classifieds – always free! – to us at

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


Categories: Europe

Oscar Selby “Top Boy” at UK Challenge; Roella Smith “Top Girl”

Thursday July 11, 2013

Oscar Selby was the overall winner at the UK Go Challenge 2013 finals, played Saturday July 6. Selby (right), a  10-kyu from Epsom recently featured in the “Ultimate Child Genius” Competition (UK Youth Champ Oscar Selby In “Ultimate Child Genius” Competition, 6/22 EJ) also won the U10 Boys’ category. Roella Smith 13k of Cambridge was Top Girl, also coming first in the U14 Girls’. David Robson and Melchior Chiu were second and third respectively overall.

The UK Go Challenge is a 13×13 nationwide event mounted by the British Go Association (BGA) since 2004 and modeled on the similar UK Chess Challenge, with the aim of encouraging youngsters to take up the game.  Heats were run in schools through the year culminating in this weekend’s finals, in which children not taking part in the heats could also participate. They were held at Milton Church of England Primary School in Milton, near Cambridge, and were organized by BGA VP Tony Atkins. Click here for full results.

Though Selby was given a good chance of winning the (British) Channel 4 TV Child Genius competition, he lost out in the final to 11-year-old wordmeister and world Scrabble champion Shrinidhi Prakash. Click here for the episode, with playback (total playing time about 45mins with commercials; may not play everywhere), including footage (at about 5:30) of Selby at this year’s British Youth Go Championship.
- Tony Collman, British correspondent for the E-Journal; photo by Tony Atkins; courtesy of British Go Association website  

Categories: Europe,Go News,Youth

Go Dreams Come True at Osaka Camp

Thursday July 11, 2013

Going to Japan to train to play go is a dream for many western go players. It’s a dream come true for 32 players from around the world, who are now attending the 3-week Osaka Go Camp led by by Maeda Ryo 6P and Li Ting 1P. The camp started July 1, and most of the participants are from the United States, followed by Canada, France and Germany; all told, there are ten different nations represented by players ranging from 25-kyu up to 7-dan.

The daily schedule includes one league game and different kinds of professional lectures. Maeda is stressing the importance of endgame reading and gives out homework for that. The winner of the camp league will get the opportunity to play a teaching game against a professional 9-dan. The most promising candidate so far is Lionel Zhang 6D from the US, who has four wins and no losses thus far.

On the weekend there are friendly tournaments against local players visiting the camp. Some of them are regular visitors to the US Go Congress and were happy to be able to play in their hometown against westerners. Wednesday and Thursday are free days that can be used for sightseeing trips. There have already been trips to Kansai Kiin, Osaka Castle and Kyoto. Some people did not want to stop playing go for even a day and used their free time to pay a visit to the Kansai Branch of Nihon Kiin and challenged the people there.

The professionals are not just teaching go; they also take time to show participants around. Especially going out for dinner with local people is very worthwhile. Nakano Yasuhiro 9P even gave an example of traditional Japanese music, giving a performance with a shamisen, a three-stringed, Japanese musical instrument. Click here for additional photos and reports on the camp’s blog.
- Jan Engelhardt, German Correspondent for the E-Journal; photo: a friendly tournament against locals

Wanek Wins Las Vegas Mind Sports Festival Go Tournament

Wednesday July 10, 2013

Although last weekend’s Vegas event was thinly attended, AGA President Andy Okun reports that “it was fun and we taught a dozen or so people to play.” The winner of the dan section of the tournament was Michael Wanek 4d of Las Vegas, with Brandon Zhou 2d as runner up. The kyu section was a three-way tie between James Schaefer, Joe Nemeth and Sootiat Boonchuen. “In the teaching, I noted with pleasure how much easier it is to teach chess players to play go,” Okun tells the E-Journal. “They read automatically, since that’s what you do in a game.” Click here for Okun’s commentary on a live-streamed broadcast of Wanek’s game with Roy Kanamaru.

Categories: U.S./North America

The Power Report: Korea and China Take the Prizes at Asian Indoor & Martial Arts Games; Cho U Stumbles in Meijin League; Kono Rin Makes Good Start in Gosei

Wednesday July 10, 2013

by John Power, Japan Correspondent for the American Go E-Journal

Korea and China Take the Prizes at Asian Indoor & Martial Arts Games: On July 2, the finals of the individual male competition and the Pair Go tournament were held at the 4th Asian Indoor & Martial Arts Games. In the former, Tang Weixing 3P of China took first place, and in the latter victory went to the Chinese team of (Ms.) Gao Xing 1P and Peng Liyao 5P. The following day, the second stage of go competition started, that is, the male and female team championships. In the male team championship, three-player teams from ten countries started out in a four-round Swiss System tournament, which was followed by a knock-out tournament for the top four. The results of the Japanese team are given below (the team consisted of Hirata Tomoya 3P, Tsuruta Kazushi 2P, and Motoki Katsuya 2P), followed by details of the knock-out stage.

Round 1 (July 3). China beat Japan 3-0; Round 2 (July 3). Japan beat Hong Kong 2-1; Round 3 (July 4). Japan beat Mongolia 3-0; Round 4 (July 4). Japan beat Singapore 3-0. Japan qualified for the knock-out.
Knock-out stage: Semifinals (July 5). Korea beat Japan 2-1; China beat Chinese Taipei 3-0.
Final (July 5). Korea beat China 2-1.
Japan did not enter a team in the women’s team tournament. The results in the knock-out round were as follows: Semifinals (July 5). China beat Chinese Taipei 2-1; Korea beat Thailand 3-0; Final (July 5). China beat Korea 2-1.

Cho U Stumbles in Meijin League: Until very recently, Cho U (left) seemed to have victory in the 38th Meijin League more or less sewn up, but he has stumbled at the second-last hurdle and, if he loses in the final round, won’t even make a play-off for first place. Three games were held in the league last week. On July 1, Kono Rin 9P, taking black, beat Murakawa Daisuke 7P by 1.5 points. This game was played on a Monday because Kono had a title-match game scheduled for the following Saturday. On July 4, Hane Naoki 9P (W) beat Sakai Hideyuki 8P by 6.5 points and Takao Shinji 9P (W) beat Cho U 9P by 2.5 points. Cho U keeps the sole lead with a 6-1 score, but the problem for him is that the four players ranked above him in the league, that is, Hane, Iyama Yuta, Kono, and Takao, are all on 5-2. Hane and Iyama are playing each other in the final round, so one of them has to end up with 6-2. If Kono beats Cho in their game, they will both be 6-2. Takao, who is playing Yuki Satoshi, could also end
up on 6-2, making a four-way tie for first. However, the rule in the Meijin League is that only the two highest-ranked players in a multiple tie qualify for the play-off. That would be either Hane or Iyama and Kono. That makes it very simple for Cho: whatever happens, he has to win his final game.

Kono Rin Makes Good Start in Gosei: Kono Rin 9P (right) has got off to an excellent start in his challenge for the 38th Gosei title. Before this match began, his record against the defending champion, Iyama Yuta, was a dismal six wins to 14 losses; moreover, he had lost eight games in a row, including a wipe-out in last year’s Tengen title match. However, when the Gosei match started on July 6, he showed that past results are irrelevant to a title match. Taking black, he forced Iyama to resign after 161 moves. The game was played in Kanazawa City in Ishikawa Prefecture. The venue was in the Hokkoku Newspaper Meeting Hall , an ultra-modern 20-storey building that is the headquarters of one of the sponsors of the title, the Hokkoku (= North Country) Newspaper. The second game is scheduled for July 22.

Categories: Japan,John Power Report

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.