American Go E-Journal

Jasiek Releases “First Fundamentals”

Saturday September 1, 2012

Designed to “help beginners to rise above their current level and become intermediate players as quickly as possible,” First Fundamentals has just been released by author Robert Jasiek. The 212-page book (also available as a PDF) is also intended to help intermediate players “abandon their remaining mistakes,” says Jasiek, who notes that “A lack of awareness and understanding of mistakes is the by far greatest obstacle for improving.” First Fundamentals includes clear and simple principles about the fundamentals of strategy and tactics and illustrates the principles with examples from beginners’ games. “Apply these principles and improve several ranks!” says Jasiek. Click here for sample pages.

 

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Your Move/Readers Write: The Elegant Hedgehog Pops Up Again

Saturday September 1, 2012

“My wife Kathy Kline’s book group recently read The New York Times best-seller The Elegance of the Hedgehog” writes Terry Benson. “Pages 112-114 in Muriel Barbery’s book (translated from the French) have a wonderful go reference.”

“The main character is a precocious 12-year-old girl who comments acerbically about the adults around her and knows more about go than the father of a friend who is making a movie of The Girl Who Played Go. She uses go as a philosophic metaphor, saying that ‘One of the most extraordinary aspects of the game of go is that it has been proven that in order to win, you must live, but you must also allow the other player to live. Players who are too greedy will lose: it is a subtle game of equilibrium, where you have to get ahead without crushing the other player. In the end, life and death are only the consequences of how well or how poorly you have made your construction. This is what one of Taniguchi’s characters says: you live, you die, these are consequences . It’s a proverb for playing go, and for life.’”
(Previously reported in GO SPOTTING: The Elegance of the Hedgehog 5/4/2010 and The Return of the Elegant Hedgehog 10/24/2010. NOTE: The novel was adapted into a film The Hedgehog (Le hérisson) released in the U.S. in 2011, starring Josiane Balasko as Renée Michel, Garance Le Guillermic as Paloma Josse, and Togo Igawa as Kakuro Ozu, with a score by Gabriel Yared. Click here to see a trailer)

 

U.S. Go Congress EJ Team Recognition

Saturday September 1, 2012

The American Go E-Journal’s comprehensive coverage of the recently-concluded annual U.S. Go Congress has become such a part of the fabric of the event that the extraordinary amount of work that goes into broadcasting dozens of top games, commentaries, reports and photos is now routine and taken for granted. Our work is highly visible, while the workers themselves are largely invisible. Which is how we want it: the focus should always be on the players and the game we all love so deeply. Click here for pro game commentaries (scroll down to Game Review) and here for final results in the NAIMUS Open and Strong Player’s Open.

So it’s a real honor and pleasure for me to recognize here those individuals who contributed so much of their time, effort and talent to help bring this year’s U.S. Go Congress – as well as the first-ever Tygem Pro Tournament immediately preceding the Congress – to our global audience.

First and foremost, deepest thanks, gratitude and kudos to the crack core team of Todd Heidenreich (E-Journal/Broadcast Coordinator), Steve Colburn (EJ IT/Website Coordinator/Video Feed) and Dennis Wheeler (EJ Broadcast Room Manager), without whom our coverage could not happen. They’re talented, dedicated, fun to hang out with, and they love bacon, too.

Our lovely and unflappable KGS Admin team of Akane Negishi and Dan Short was joined this year by Mr. KGS himself, the inimitable William Shubert; we enjoyed having Bill on board and look forward to seeing some great new tweaks to the system soon!

Karoline Burrall, the fierce but fun-loving TD for the US Open, NAIM and SPO, was a full partner with the EJ team, this year enabling us to post pairings sometimes as early as the night before, a great service for players as well as for the EJ team. Karoline was ably assisted by Assistant TDs Steve Burrall and Bob Bacon.

Our game recording team was a wonderful mix of experienced hands, including the amazing Richard Dolen, indispensable Gordon Castanza and, doing double-duty, KGS admin Dan Short. Other returning recorders were Andrew Jackson who did wonderful work on Board 1, Myron Souris (moonlighting from his usual job as EJ Games Editor) and Dave Weimer. Newbies Patrick Allen, Calvin Clark, Pete Gousious, Greg Pongracz and Marshall Quander fit right into the team, especially Allen, who handled a couple of extraordinarily long games with aplomb.

Todd Blatt was better than ever as our nimble-fingered Game Commentary Broadcaster, transcribing pro game commentaries live at the speed of light, and EJ photographer Phil Straus always managed to get an even better shot than we asked for.

EJ Youth Editor Paul Barchilon managed our youth coverage while also running numerous youth events at the Congress; aspiring young go journalists should be sure to volunteer to help out next year. Better yet, get started now by emailing Paul c/o journal@usgo.org Paul’s EJ Youth Game Recording team included Justin Teng, Tom Bahun, and Yunxuan Li.

Last but definitely not least are our Honorary EJ Team Members, 2012 Congress Directors Paul Celmer and Peter Armenia, who not only pulled together a memorable and fun Congress, but who made sure that the EJ team had whatever we needed to bring the Congress to you.

Thanks again to each and every one of these terrific volunteers. And if you’re interested in being on the team next year in Seattle, just drop us a note at journal@usgo.org!

- Chris Garlock, EJ/Broadcast Managing Editor
photo by Phil Straus & Lisa Garlock

Meng Tailing Wins 4th Quzhou Lanke Cup

Tuesday August 28, 2012

Meng TailingOn August 28, Meng Tailing 6P and Tuo Jiaxi 3P met in the final of China’s 4th Quzhou Lanke Cup. Despite a higher ranking, Meng probably entered the final as the underdog, because Tuo recently won the CITIC Bank Cup (previously the CCTV Cup – in July 2012). The game featured some unusual mimicry in the opening, where black and white repeatedly played tenuki (didn’t respond locally) and created identical strongholds across the board from one another. In the end, the result hinged on a decisive ko fight. Tuo won the ko, but lost the game after Meng found adequate compensation elsewhere. Meng Tailing takes home his first domestic Chinese title and 500,000 Chinese RMB (about $80,000).

Jingning; the game record and more photos are available in her original article: Meng Tailing’s breakthrough: Winner of the 4th Quzhou Lanke Cup at Go Game Guru. Photo: Meng Tailing 6P in the final of the 4th Quzhou Lanke Cup.

Soo, Ganeva, and Ye Top Children’s Art Contest

Monday August 27, 2012

The second International Children’s Go Art Painting Contest received almost seventy entries,  submitting countries included Japan, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, Pakistan, Bulgaria, Argentina, Mexico and the United States.  The artwork was displayed at the US Go Congress in North Carolina, in the main playing area where everyone could enjoy it.  Chen Yew Soo of Penang, Malaysia, took top honors in the 5-8 year old division; Elitica Ganeva, of Sofia, Bulgaria, won in the 9-12 year old bracket, and  April Ye, of the US won in the 13-16 year old bracket.  Ye is a repeat winner, having taken top honors las year in the 9-12 year old bracket, she  also received an honorable mention for the second piece she submitted this year.  Younger sister of US Jr. Go Champion Aaron Ye 5d, April is proving to be 5 dan when it comes to art. Both of  her entries this year sold at auction at the Go Congress.  Proceeds from the sale were shared with the kids who made the art, with a portion being retained to help cover expenses for the event.  All of the winning entries will receive a magnetic Go board, courtesy of Yellow Mountain Imports, and in Europe by Go-Shop.cz.   The competition was organized by the Comunidad Mexicana de Go Infantil y Juvenal.  Full results, including the top 20 pieces, can be seen online here. -Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor.  Photo: 2nd place winner, Category B: Go, by Shaheer Hassan Khan, of Lahore, Pakistan.

Jan Simara Surprise Winner at Euro Championship; The Red Dress Tesuji; U.S. Women’s Tournament Crosstab

Sunday August 26, 2012

Jan Simara Surprise Winner at Euro Championship: Jan Simara 6D was the surprise winner of this year’s European Championship title when he won the deciding game against Ilya Shikshin (click here for the game) at the recent European Go Congress. Simara lives in Zlin in the Czech Republic and just finished university, where he majored in teaching IT. He learned go in chess camp when he was 14 – he’d been playing chess since the age of six — and about two years later quit chess and started to play go. “I studied seriously only once about six years ago for an year when I was about 1-dan,” Simara said, “Mostly reading the Shusaku book Invincible. otherwise I sometimes replay top pro games and do tsumego when I’m in a train going to a tournament.” In an interview with EuroGoTV, Simara’s advice for new players was “Play mainly for joy, never be stressed about results.” Click here for pairings and game records. Final standings for the 2012 European Championship: 1st: Jan Simara; 2nd: Ilya Shikshin; 3rd: Pavol Lisy; 4th: Thomas Debarre; 5th: Ondrej Silt; 6th: Antti Tormanen; 7th: Mateusz Surma; 8th: Gheorghe Cornel Burzo.
- Alain Cano, special European correspondent for the E-Journal; photo by Olivier Dulac

The Red Dress Tesuji: A very stylish and hip 60-second video promoting the upcoming European Women’s Go Championship has been released. The Women’s Go Championship and a side tournament are being organized as part of the 2012 European Go Cup Brno, which is being held September 7-9 in Brno, South Moravia in the Czech Republic.

U.S. Women’s Tournament Crosstab: Tournament Director Lisa Scott has just sent in the crosstab for the recent Women’s Tournament at the U.S. Open, which was won by Kelsey Dyer 1D.

Ron Paul Using Go Strategy to Advance Agenda at GOP Convention?

Sunday August 26, 2012

Ron Paul, the libertarian politician who ran unsuccessfully for this year’s Republican Presidential nomination, will have a disproportionate influence at the GOP’s convention this week thanks to his employment of shi (pronounced “sure”), “a strategy expounded and employed by Chinese philosophers and military strategists for thousands of years,” according to “The Grand Shi Strategy of Ron Paul,” a guest column in Forbes by Mark Spitznagel. “Throughout history, perhaps the clearest and most pedagogical example of shi at work has been in the Chinese board game weiqi,” writes Spitznagel, who uses the board position here to show that while “White is far ahead in terms of tangible territory right now…black has established a strategic advantage and intangible edge by moving into the center to command the rest of the board.” Spitznagel sees Ron Paul’s shi strategy “in the great patience and nonaggression that favors the slow buildup of influence and strategic advantage over the decisive all-or-nothing clash,” arguing that the strategy’s success is exemplified by “Mitt Romney’s support of Paul’s current ‘Audit The Fed’ bill, as well as his recent position on the inefficacy of further (as well as past) Fed quantitative easing; it remains only a question of degree with Romney, but a position that nonetheless would have been unlikely without the pressure from the Paul campaign—especially given Romney’s otherwise very simplistic Keynesian-leaning views.”
Thanks to Jim Hlavka for passing this along.

Categories: U.S./North America
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Go One of “5 Things Your Brain Does Better Than A Computer”

Sunday August 26, 2012

Go is the first example of “5 things your brain does better than a computer,” a recent post on the Mother Nature Network blog. “There are still a few activities that are too complex for a computer to bash its binary way through,” writes Shea Gunther. “In those realms, humans still reign. But don’t get too comfortable; computers are getting faster and smarter by the year.” Gunther notes that “There are more than 10 times more scenarios in Go than there are atoms in the observable universe. Computers are good at handling big numbers, but that’s just ridiculous. What’s more likely is that humans will get better at designing computer programs that more closely replicate the human brain and its thought processes. But when that happens and the machines take over, I don’t think we’ll be all that concerned about losing a game of Go to a computer.” By the way, the other four things your brain does better than a computer? Solve crossword puzzles, play Starcraft, create art, and write. Thanks to Richard Moseson for passing this article along.
- photo by Marcus Yeagley

 

Categories: World
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KGS Insei League Tweaks Curriculum

Sunday August 26, 2012

Better. Faster. That pretty much sums up the latest version of Alexandr Dinerchtein’s Korean-style insei league on KGS. Dinerchtein is instituting several new concepts and rules changes as of September, including mainly reviewing professional games, rather than insei vs insei league games, as previously. In addition, Dinerchtein says he will “show the way of thinking, while playing,” discussing his moves, the moves of his opponent and his thoughts during the game. Insei vs insei game reviews, which used to take weeks, will now be returned in 24 hours with commentary by Dinerchtein. And beginning in September, “we will have fuseki/joseki lectures and lectures on other subjects, for example: invasions or attacking,” adds Dinerchtein. As before, the league will have simultaneous games with reviews by Dinerchtein and other teachers. Discounts are available for young inseis. New American pro Andy Liu calls the league “the most successful teaching project on KGS, and possibly better than most American and European baduk academies.”

Categories: World
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China Dominates World Youth – Again

Saturday August 25, 2012

China won both divisions of the 29th World Youth Go Championship, repeating their victories in this event from last year.  The week-long tourney wrapped up on August 21, and was sponsored by the Ing Foundation. Twenty-two young players came from all over the world to vie for the top slot in the Junior (under 12) and Senior (under 16) divisions.  The tournament was held in Luoyang, China, a city with more than 3,000 years of history.  The US sent Calvin Sun 7d in the Sr. and Aaron Ye 5d in the Jr. along with Team Leader Mingjiu Jiang 7P. “China, Korea, and Taiwan sent out top youth professional players, all with great expectations of winning the tournament,” reports Calvin Sun, “through the intense competition, a bit of luck, and the guidance of the USA team leader, Mingjiu Jiang 7p, I got into the Semi-Finals with just one more SOS point than Korea’s representative. Everyone was shocked that Korea’s new female professional did not advance into the Semi-Finals. Japan’s representative, however, fiercely fought into the top four, defeating both Korea and Taiwan in the preliminaries and defeating Taiwan again in the Semi-Finals.  We went sightseeing on the third day of the competition, going to places such as the White Horse Temple, which was the first Buddhist temple in China, and the Shaolin Temple, where monks demonstrated their boundless skills of Chinese kungfu.” Winner’s Report: Senior Division: 1st: China, Li Qin Cheng; 2nd:  Japan, Koyama Kuya; 3rd: Taiwan, Cheng-Hsun Chen; 4th: USA, Calvin Sun. Junior Division: 1st: China, Wang Shiyi; 2nd: Korea, I-Hyeon Chae; 3rd: Japan, Ueno Asami; 4th: Taiwan, Huang Shi-Yuan; 6th: USA, Aaron Ye. -Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor.  Photo by Yanchen Sun: Calvin Sun 7d(l) vs. Li Qin Cheng