American Go E-Journal

U.S. Go Congress Registration Passes 100 Mark

Saturday May 4, 2013

Over 100 early birds have registered for the 2013 U.S. Go Congress, which runs August 3-11 in Tacoma, Washington. Registration cost rises $50 after May 31; payment must be made in full to receive the early-bird discount (which is why only 48 show on the “Who’s Coming” page, though some registrants simply may not yet selected room and board plans).

“This Congress has new exciting plans,” says Congress Co-Director Chris Kirschner. “The AGA will issue official rank certificates, a teacher’s workshop will inaugurate an AGA teacher certification program, and The Pentathlon is a new competitive opportunity for the truly dedicated.” Combined scores from the U.S. Open, Self-Paired, 9×9, 13×13 and the Lightning tournaments will determine the Pentathlon winners. photo: Mt. Rainier, nearby the Congress site

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Alexander Dinerchtein 3P’s Perspectives on Shikshin, Studying and the Need for More Europe-U.S. Play

Saturday May 4, 2013

Alexander DinerchteinThough he is a 7-time European Go Champion, the first Russian player to achieve professional rank and currently considered one of Europe’s finest players, Alexandre Dinerchtein 3p (“breakfast” on KGS) keeps his accomplishments in perspective.

Referring to his record against Ilya Shikshin 7d (“roln111″ on KGS), he told the E-Journal in a recent interview that “The official score is 24-8, but we cannot say that I am stronger.” Dinerchtein says he won early games against Shikshin because the distance in strength between them was much greater. For example, in their first match in 2001, Dinerchtein, the European Champion, played Shikshin as a 3-dan amateur. Their score in recent games has been more evenly matched, however, and Dinerchtein says he thinks Shikshin has more talent. “My score is not bad with him only because I know his go style well, his weak and strong points.” Citing strategy as a key Shikshin weakness, Dinerchtein said he forces Shikshin to solve more strategy-oriented problems. Shikshin “plays the same fuseki in every game for exactly the same reason,” says Dinerchtein, “he likes to avoid fuseki and joseki questions and start middlegame fights early.” These middlegame conflicts are Shikshin’s greatest strength and Dinerchtein’s biggest weakness. “I cannot fight as well as Ilya can and I hate any risk on the go board,” Dinerchtein told the E-Journal. Like his favorite professional Kobayashi Koichi 9P, Dinerchtein would rather games be as peaceful and risk-free as possible.

In terms of game study, Dinerchtein said that when he started playing go 25  years ago, “it was hard to find even a single go book, [a] single pro game record.” But now with many go books, game databases, and internet lessons (including his Insei League KGS go school), “it’s easy to find good partners online, so you can improve a lot without even visiting Asian go schools.” Dinerchtein emphasized the importance of studying professional games by using chess as an example. “Every chess grandmaster who wants to win tournaments spends a lot of time preparing new variations using go game databases,” he said, “I am sure soon we will see the same situation in go.”

Insei League KGSThough go resources have expanded, the thing Dinerchtein would like to see most in the future is more “serious” interaction between top European and U.S. players. Except for his game with Michael Redmond 9P in 2001, he has never played any top U.S. players in an official event. As for recent U.S.-European events, he said, “I saw the matches between Lee Sedol and U.S. pros (and European pro Taranu), but I don’t think that they were interesting enough” because they were “novelty” fast games. He’d like to see the European Go Federation (EGF) and American Go Association (AGA) sponsor tournaments with big titles and prize purses, like those organized by the Chinese Weiqi Association, Korean Baduk Association and the Nihon Ki-in in Japan. Find out more about Dinerchtein on his homepage, KGS, OGS, DGS, or sign up for the GOAMA newsletter.
- Annalia Linnan

More on Judge Dee; Huading Correction

Saturday May 4, 2013

For more on Judge Dee (Your Move/Readers Write: Detective Dee Returns  4/29 EJ), check out Peter Shotwell’s 2010 monography on Judge Dee and Go Steganography.

In our April 29 Power Report, we mis-spelled the name of the Huading Tea Industries Cup World Women’s Team Tournament; we apologize for the error.

Categories: U.S./North America
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North American College Players Invited to July Tournament in China, But Must Act Quickly

Thursday May 2, 2013

The Shanghai Ing Foundation has opened its first International Collegiate GO Tournament to US and Canadian college students, according to Michael Fodera of the American Collegiate Go Association. Students who attend the July 7-13 event will play go with players from all over China and the world, travel around Shanghai and Hangzhou and play teaching games with stars Gu Li 9P and Chang Hao 9P. While players must cover their own travel costs to China, their food, accommodation, travel within China, tour costs and sponsored events will be paid for by the Shanghai Ing Foundation. “I was one of the players that attended the [Ing-sponsored] 2011 go summer camp,” Fodera tells the E-Journal, “ and I can honestly say that this is a chance of a lifetime. The Ing Foundation really does not spare any expense when it comes to these events.” The opportunity is open to players who have attended college or will attend college —  undergraduate or graduate — in the 2013 calendar year, and who do not hold a professional certification from a recognized go association.

Act fast, however. The deadline for registration is May 15, and, while there is currently no cap on the number of North American students who can attend, the event includes students from the rest of the world as well and if room runs out, requests will be handled on a first-come first-served basis, Fodera says. Click here for details of the trip, as well as links to the registration form and schedule. Questions may be addressed to Fodera at mdf116@brandeis.edu or to the Shanghai Ing Foundation’s Min Xiao at min_xiao@harvard.edu.
- Andy Okun

Categories: Youth
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Teacher of the Year Deadline Extended

Thursday May 2, 2013

Nominations for the American Go Foundation’s  Teacher of the Year award have been extended until May 30th. The award is presented each year at the U.S. Go Congress and recognizes an outstanding American teacher. The winner  will receive an all expenses paid trip to the congress.  To be eligible, a teacher must be a member of the AGA, have been teaching go to children for at least two hours a week (during the school year) for two years, have started a go club or organization for youth, and have helped their students enter appropriate tournaments, if possible.  If you would like to apply for this award, e-mail mail@agfgo.org.  Nominations are due by May 30th and should include a description of the teacher’s activities,  how long they have been teaching, and how many students attend their program. - Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor.  Photo: 2011 winner Fritz Balwit teaching his son Theo. 

Gilman to Complete Barber’s Term as AGA Central Region Director

Thursday May 2, 2013

In the uncontested race to complete Bob Barber’s term as AGA Director for the Central Region, “Bob Gilman wins with 100% of the vote,” reports Arnold Eudell. Gilman (left), who lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico, is affiliated with the Santa Fe Go Club. A long time AGA member, Gilman has contributed articles to the E-Journal, edited several pages in the recent update of the AGA web site and organized a trip this past February by a group of US players who traveled to Cuba for friendship games at the Academia Cubana de Go in Havana. “I am interested in encouraging greater active involvement by AGA members in forming and executing AGA development plans,” Gilman says. Reach him at BobGilman.AGA@gmail.com

Categories: U.S./North America
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EuroGoTV Updates: Oslo Open 2013, Japan Counsil Cup, & Romanian Youth Championship – U 16 Final

Thursday May 2, 2013

Oystein Vestgaarden 2d bested Paal Sannes 4d and Kim Johansson 1d came in third at the Oslo Open on April 21. In the League A Japan Counsil Cup in Sankt-Peterburg April 13 and 14, Alexander Dinerchtein 7d defeated Ilya Shikshin 7d while Alexander Vashurov 5d placed third. Silvestru State 1d won the Romanian Youth Championship – U 16 final in Bucuresti on April 14 with Denis Dobranis 3k in second and Darius Dobranis 1k in third. For complete result tables and all the latest European go news, visit EuroGoTV.com.
-Annalia Linnan

Fairbairn’s “Life, Games and Commentaries of Honinbo Shuei” One of 3 New Books from SmartGo Books

Thursday May 2, 2013

SmartGo Books has been quietly adding more books over the last months, publisher Anders Kierulf reports. John Fairbairn’s “The Life, Games and Commentaries of Honinbo Shuei” is one of three more books added recently, bringing the total to 61.

“Honinbo Shuei” contains a full biography, detailed commentaries on 79 of his games, and 11 commentaries written by Shuei. “It combines six books that were available for the Kindle (combined price $54) into one $20 masterpiece while vastly improving readability and interactivity,” says Kierulf. “One reason Shuei is so famous is because of his pure but elusive style; he is still esteemed as the best model for even modern professionals to follow.”

“Schwarz am Zug: Das Go-Übungsbuch” by Gunnar Dickfeld is SmartGo Books’ first book in German, containing 131 go problems for beginners. “As with our other multi-lingual books (“Patterns of the Sanrensei” in Japanese and “How NOT to Play Go” in Spanish),” notes Kierulf, “English is always an option.” Click here for more information on books by Brett und Stein Verlag.

“The Workshop Lectures, vol. 5” by Yilun Yang 7P looks at choosing areas in the opening, handling unusual opening moves, and protecting positions. “As always, Mr. Yang emphasizes the importance of understanding general principles rather than memorizing particular patterns,” says Kierulf.

SmartGo Books is a free app for iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch, with books available through in-app purchase.

GoEye for iPhones: Good SGF Reader/Organizer Falls Short

Wednesday May 1, 2013

Reviewed by Roy Laird
GoEye
, the latest go-related app for iOS 5.0+ iPhones, helps you organize, build and enjoy your sgf collection, but offers no content of its own. I’m pretty happy with the sgf readers I’ve written about before, but GoEye does have a couple of unique functions. For commented games, the PDF creator turns the SGF into a PDF file with numbered stones on a series of diagrams, and the accompanying comments at the bottom at the bottom of each page. So for instance, if the first comment appears at move 5, the PDF will show a game record with moves 1-5 and the comment; if the second comment is at move 17, the next record will show move 6-17; etc. Explanatory diagrams also appear, and the pages curl nicely as you “turn” them. There’s an “Alert” function that tells you when you get to the next comment. The game info pops up, pushing the board down, a move that is sure to get your attention; you can swipe it back into place, but I would prefer an alert that doesn’t disturb the status quo.

I was unable to load large files, such as Kogo’s Joseki Dictionary. I told the developer, who then released an update he claims fixed this bug, but I still can’t get such a large file to load. A link with Go4go.net gives you access to recent pro game records, or for €9.99 purchase the entire 33,000 game archive; but at present you can’t search Go4Go while within GoEye. They also plan to integrate seamlessly with others sites such as GoBase, but for now it’s easy enough to collect the files you want directly, then use the reader of your choice to view them.

GoEye also contains an “image recognition” feature meant to read images of go games and transform them into sgfs.  I found it somewhat tricky and picky. You can use it for instance when players post positions on GoDiscussions.com and ask for comments, but it doesn’t work well with photos. GoEye is integrated with Facebook and Sina Weibo, a popular Chinese microblogging site.

GoEye provides users with first-rate graphics and a couple of nice features, but falls short of its self-proclaimed status as “the best iOS app for go.” If you spend a lot of time looking at SGF files, and you’re not happy with any of the readers that are out there, maybe it’s worth $11.99 to give GoEye a try; unfortunately there is no free trial offer. But if you’re shopping for software that helps you study, consider other apps that offer original content and additional features.

More Go — and Pie — in the Big Apple

Wednesday May 1, 2013

“Go is alive and well here in Manhattan!” reports Big Apple organizer Peter Armenia. “We of course have our very regular Gotham Go Group every Tuesday evening at 7 at the Hungarian Pastry Shop. And it looks like there will be Go every Wednesday night at 6 pm at PIE By the Pound (124 4th Ave btw 12th and 13th). Now all we need is a Go Congress in New York City!”

Categories: U.S./North America
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