American Go E-Journal

Atlanta School Using Go to Develop Critical Thinking

Monday May 28, 2012

An Atlanta school is hoping that go will help its low-income students develop their critical thinking skills. At the Dekalb PATH Academy, in Atlanta GA, “our students are 76% Hispanic, 20% African-American and 87% are classified as low-income by federal government standards,” reports Assistant Principal Graham Balch, who launched the project. Balch says that at Dekalb “we have helped our children overcome the disadvantage of poverty,” noting that the school outperforms every other non-selective middle school in the local school system. “However, while we have done a good job of teaching them content, in my opinion, they still are behind on developing their analytical critical thinking.” Balch is hoping to change that by working with a group of teachers to teach the game of go. “Our students learned and played go for 70 minutes a day in class for three weeks,” he reports. “Our kids have loved playing go. They come in the morning and get out boards right away, we teach them how to play and technique in class, and they play, and play, in tutorial after school. It has been incredible hearing them tell us at first that ‘It’s easy’ and then a couple days later that ‘Man, this game is really getting hard.’” Balch, who says that “We look forward to seeing the impact go has on students’ critical thinking and global perspective,” adds that “I am so grateful for the American Go Foundation and None Redmond for making this possible,” and is hopeful that go may spread in Georgia schools next year. The project wrapped up the school year with a single-elimination tournament that drew 80 students. “Malcolm Ramey 30k, the boy in the middle of the picture, with a light blue shirt on, won the tournament,” said a proud Balch.
- Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor. Photo by Graham Balch.

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Andy Liu Sweeps Maryland Open, Qualifies for Tygem Pro Tourney

Sunday May 27, 2012

Andy Liu 7D convincingly defeated Jie Li 7D in the last round to complete his sweep of the 39th Maryland Open and AGA Tygem Pro Prelim, winning all five games at the May 26-27 event in Baltimore, MD.  ZhaoNian Chen 7D was second and Yixian Zhou 6D was third. Liu’s win qualifies him to compete in the AGA Tygem Pro tournament this August in Black Mountain, NC. Other qualifiers thus far include Edward Kim (Seattle) and Calvin Sun and Curtis Tang (Cotsen). Two more will qualify in the AGA TygemGo Online Pro Qualifier, which starts in early June.

Round 5 top results: Andy Liu d. Jie Li; ZhaoNian Chen d. Rui Xie; Kevin Huang d. Eric Lui; Yixian Zhou d. Yuan Zhou; Lin Lu d. Daniel Chou; Phil Waldron d. Jimmy Yang; I-Han Lui d.  Rongrong Zhang; Kevin Wang d. Justin Teng; Andrew Jackson d. Zhenying Gu.

Round 4 top results: Andy Liu d. Rui Xie; Jie Li d. Kevin Huang; ZhaoNian Chen d. Eric Lui; Yuan Zhou d. Lin Lu; Yixian Zhou d. Phil Waldron; Daniel Chou d. I-Han Lui; Jimmy Yang d. Andrew Jackson; Rongrong Zhang d. Justin Teng; Zhenying Gu d. Kevin Wang.

Round 3 top results: Andy Liu d. ZhaoNian Chen; Jie Li d. Eric Lui; Kevin Huang d. Yuan Zhou; Rui Xie d. Yixian Zhou d. Daniel Chou; Phil Waldron d. Edward Zhang; Jimmy Yang d. Kevin Wang.

Round 2 top results: ZhaoNian Chen d. Jie Li; Andy Liu d. Kevin Huang; Eric Lui d. Lin Lu; Rui Xie d. I-Han Lui; Yuan Zhou d. Daniel Chou; Dae Yol Kim d. Edward Zhang; Yixian Zhou d. Kevin Wang; Phil Wadron d. Zhenying Gu.

Round 1 top results: Jie Li d. Lin Lu; Andy Liu d. I-Han Lui; Eric Lui d. Yuan Zhou; ZhaoNian Chen d. Dae Yol Kim; Rui Xie d. Jie Liang; Kevin Huang d. Yixian Zhou; Daniel Chao d. Philip Waldron.

The tournament was played in Catonsville, Maryland, just outside Baltimore, and was organized by the Baltimore Go Club, and sponsored by the American Go Association, Tygem, Yellow Mountain Imports and the Baltimore County Department of Recreation and Parks.
photos: top left: Andy Liu (r) plays Rui Xie in Round 4; middle right: Andy Liu (r) plays ZhaoNian Chen on Board 1 in Round 3; bottom left: Zhaonian Chen (r) plays Jie Li on Board 1; photos by Chris Garlock 

Your Move/Readers Write: The Girl Who Played Go

Sunday May 27, 2012

“I saw this book today and thought the go community would be interested,” writes E-Journal reader Tina Zhang about Shan Sa’s 2003 novel The Girl Who Played Go. That sent us deep into the American Go EJournal Archive where we retrieved Roy Laird’s 7/15/2003 review:

GO REVIEW: The Girl Who Played Go
by Shan Sa; translated from the French by Adriana Hunter
280 pp.

In The Square of The Thousand Winds, a Chinese girl plays go. Serious go, toppling opponent after opponent. The time is the early 1930‘s and the Japanese are invading. Hearing that “terrorists” from the Chinese Resistance meet at the Square to plot their next moves, a Japanese soldier visits the square in disguise, to spy on them. Instead he falls into a game with the girl who plays go. They meet at the square day after day to continue this strangely compelling game. Meanwhile, we watch their lives converge toward a startling climax.

The award-winning author (at left) seems to know her Asian history and literature, and even fills us in with footnotes when the characters participate in major historical events, or discuss history. Attention to detail is so “granular” that the Chinese girl depicted on the cover is even holding authentic Chinese stones! (Chinese stones are flat on one side.) The writing is sprinkled with thoughtful little gems, but seems mostly halting and disjointed, and the occasional intrusion in the translation of Britishisms like “chivvying” is a bit jarring. Most of the chapters are only a few paragraphs long — just when we‘re beginning to immerse ourselves in a scene, it‘s over. Nonetheless, as often happens with good books, I am left with vivid memories and images, and thoughtful questions about the meaning of war. You have to admire the author‘s ambition. Through these gradually intertwining lives, one Chinese, one Japanese, she seeks to illuminate a dark era of occupation, torture and violent death, and to some degree she succeeds.

As a go player, I was happy to see the game presented as in a compelling, dramatic way. The Japanese lieutenant goes to the Square on a mission for his country and the Emperor, but finds himself hopelessly seduced by go. He confesses to his Captain, who shows his understanding by quoting the Chinese philosopher Zhuang Zi: “When you lose a horse, you never know whether it is a good thing or a bad thing.” In the end, the game becomes the means by which two minds meet in a profound, life-altering way.

This novel takes its place in a growing lexicon of “go stories”. The ongoing, periodically adjourned game that progresses through most of the book invites comparison with Kawabata‘s The Master of Go, which won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1968. After the degrading portrayal of women in Sung-hwa Hong‘s tough, dark First Kyu, it‘s nice to see a woman who is not just the central character, but clearly the master of a her fate — and a strong go player to boot!

Most of all, The Girl Who Played Go brings to mind the classic film The Go Masters, a historic Chinese-Japanese film that has been called “an Asian ‘Gone With the Wind.’ ”
- review by Roy Laird

Maryland Open Kicks Off Saturday

Friday May 25, 2012

Registration runs from 9-10:30a at the 39th annual Maryland Open Saturday morning, with the first round scheduled for 11a. “Pre-registered or not, all are welcome!” says organizer Keith Arnold. The tournament in Catonsville, MD (just outside Baltimore), is also an AGA-Tygem Pro Prelim event for the AGA-Tygem Pro Final in North Carolina, which will be from July 28th to August 4th. The only other prelim is the AGA-Tygem Pro Online Prelim, also open to all, but sign up by Sunday, May 27. Top contenders this year include Yuan Zhou (who recently competed in the World Amateur Go Championships in China), Eric Lui, and Lin Lu; sources tell the EJ that Andy Liu and Michael Chen will be competing as well, so look for some exciting games on the top boards. The 2-day, 5-round tournament offers prizes at all levels, and top boards will be broadcast live on KGS by the E-Journal, starting around 11a (EST) Saturday.

EuroGoTV Updates: May 4-20

Friday May 25, 2012

Rhone-Alpes Challenge (5/24): The Rhone-Alpes Challenge, played on 5/20 in Valence, France, was won by Moran Guennou 1d…Turniej Majowy (5/24): The Turniej Majowy, played on 5/20 in Warszawa, Poland, was won by Pawel Koziol 7K…Scottish Open (5/24): The Scottish Open, played 5/19-20 in Dundee, United Kingdom, was won by Matthew Crosby 3d…Nevers Spring Tournament (5/24): The Nevers Spring Tournament, played on 5/12 in Nevers, France, was won by Augustin Avenel 2k…Bracknell (5/22): The Bracknell, played on 5/20 in Wokingham, United Kingdom, was won by Andrew ‘the Great Destroyer’ Kay 4d…Deutsche Damen-Go Meisterschaft: The Deutsche Damen-Go Meisterschaft, played 5/19-20 in Giessen, Germany, was won by Barbara Knauf 3d…ATARI Cup Braila-Junior (5/22): The ATARI Cup Braila-Junior, played on 5/19 in Braila, Romania, was won by Theodor Toma 2d (photo at right)…Vetruse Cup (5/22): The Vetruse Cup, played 5/19-20 in Usti nad Labem, Czech Republic, was won by Ondrej Silt 6d (photo at left)…ATARI Cup Braila- Catholic School (5/17): The ATARI Cup Braila- Catholic School, played on 5/15 in Braila, Romania, was won by Dan Andrei Staicu 16k…Cambridge Barlow (5/17): The Cambridge Barlow, played on 5/6 in Cambridge, United Kingdom, was won by Florian Borchers 3k…Paluba Club Handicap (5/16): The Paluba Club Handicap, played on 5/13 in CZ Praha, Czech Republic, was won by Lukas Kucera 17k…Youth Week Tournament (5/16): The Youth Week Tournament, played on 5/12 in Kranj, Slovenia, was won by Sreco Camernik 2k…21st Slovak Championship (5/16): The 21st Slovak Championship, played 5/4-8 in Stakcin, Slovakia, was won by Pavol Lisy 5d…
- excerpted from EuroGoTV, which includes complete winner reports, crosstabs and photos.

Categories: Europe
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Go Photo: Top of the World

Friday May 25, 2012

Dr. Frank Krause and Chul Wha Kim, M.D. played go at the North Pole in July 2006. Krause is a 66-year-old 1-dan who lives in Munich, Germany, and Kim is a lawyer in Washington, DC.
- photo courtesy Dr. Krause

 

Categories: Go Photos
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Maryland Open Field “Shaping Up Nicely”

Thursday May 24, 2012

With pre-registrations already running ahead of last year’s – 47 as of Wednesday night – “the field is shaping up quite nicely” at the Maryland Open and AGA-Tygem Pro Prelim this weekend, reports organizer Keith Arnold. In addition the expected turnout of top amateurs, the low- and mid-dan ranks are well-represented, as are kyu players of all levels. The 39th annual Open will be held again in the Catonsville Senior Center in Catonsville, MD and this year includes the first AGA-Tygem Pro Prelim, in which the top finishing player with qualifying citizenship earns the right to compete for pro certification this summer in North Carolina. The 2-day, 5-round tournament offers prizes at all levels, and top boards will be broadcast live on KGS by the E-Journal. Click here to register, see who’s coming, and for more information.

Liu and Malcolm Top Bay Area Go May Tournament

Thursday May 24, 2012

Twenty six players ranging from 26 kyu to 5 dan came out to San Francisco’s Japantown Center on May 12 to play in this month’s Bay Area Go tournament. Qiangang Liu 4d and Richard Malcolm 3d led the dan division with undefeated records, while Martin Field 5k and Sybil Fu 14k led the kyu division. “Only three young children played in this tournament and less than one third of the players were under the age of 23,” reports organizer Roger Schrag. “This is very unusual for the monthly Bay Area Go tournaments.” Next month’s tournament will be held in Palo Alto, CA, on June 9. “Bay Area Go’s tournaments held in the Palo Alto / Menlo Park area usually have closer to 50% players under the age of 23,” Schrag adds.

Categories: U.S./North America
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Commemorative Pin for AGA TygemGo Online Pro Qualifier Participants

Wednesday May 23, 2012

All participants in the AGA TygemGo Online Pro Qualifier will receive a pin commemorating this first-ever Pro Qualifier competition. “The design is pretty neat,” said President Allan Abramson. “Thanks to the Pro Committee for the idea, and the design.” Register here “and be sure to practice on Tygem for the June Qualifier!” adds Abramson. The pro qualifier is the American Go Association’s pioneering effort to establish AGA pros in the international scene, supported by the Korea Baduk Association and Tygem. “Our joint view is a long one, creating the pros and opportunities for international competition and training, which will ultimately improve all US players,” says AGA President Allan Abramson. “The goal is people who will be able to win internationally, in major tournaments. This may take years to achieve, but 2012 is the beginning.”

Spring Crop of Go Books: 300 Tesuji Problems, Modern Master Games, Punishing and Correcting Joseki Mistakes, Five Hundred and One Tesuji Problems, Joseki Dictionary Vol. 3 & Life of Honinbo Shuei

Wednesday May 23, 2012

Spring has brought an early crop of go books, some brand new and others re-issued in new formats. Here are  six that have just been released, two each on joseki and tesuji, a historical look at tournament go in Japan and a bio of “Meijin of Meijins” Honinbo Shuei.

Don’t let the “4-dan to 7-dan” subtitle of Kiseido’ s 300 Tesuji Problems scare you off. Though the problems in this book, Volume 5 of the Graded Go Problems for Dan Players series, are quite challenging, “even if you are unable to solve them, contemplating the problems, then studying the solutions will broaden your tactical horizons by revealing new possibilities in fighting techniques,” says go publisher Richard Bozulich. Also new from Kiseido is Modern Master Games, Volume One, The Dawn of Tournament Go by Rob van Zeijst and Richard Bozulich with historical notes by John Power. A survey of Japanese go from the founding of the Honinbo tournament in the 1940s to the Meijin and Judan tournaments in the 1960s, Modern Master Games contains eleven exciting games with detailed commentaries that chronicle the Japanese go scene during the Second World War, including the “Atomic Bomb Game” between Iwamoto and Hashimoto, and the rise of Sakata and Takagawa’s dominance of the Honinbo title in the post-war era. Kiseido notes that many of their books “are now available on the iPad and iPhone through Smart Go.” Available books  can be purchased by downloading the free SmartGo Books app from the App Store, then use in-app purchase. New titles are being added regularly.

SmartGo Books has been updated with two new books, and the added feature of being able to play arbitrary moves in diagrams, which is especially valuable for problem books. The new books are Punishing and Correcting Joseki Mistakes by Mingjiu Jiang 7 dan and Adam Miller, a popular Slate & Shell book that has been out of print, and Five Hundred and One Tesuji Problems by Richard Bozulich, featuring a large variety of tesuji problems. SmartGo Books for the iPad and iPhone has always allowed users to replay moves in diagrams. “In version 1.5, you can also play your own moves directly in the diagram,” says author Anders Kierulf. “This is especially helpful for problem diagrams, where SmartGo Books will provide feedback on whether your move is right or wrong.” For problem books like 501 Opening Problems or the newly added Five Hundred and One Tesuji Problems, Kierulf says, “this is a game changer.”

Volume 3 of Robert Jasiek’s Joseki Dictionary completes the German 5-dan author’s joseki series. Jasiek’s intent is to make learning joseki easier with a method of evaluation that enables players to “distinguish equal from one-sided results correctly” and emphasizes understanding strategy and judgment. His dictionary explains the strategic choices in each joseki, evaluating the territory and influence of each sequence, identifying types of josekis, from “finished thick settling” to “lean and attack.” Using databases of professional games, Volume 3 includes modern josekis and 130 mostly professional game examples. Click here for a sample and Jasiek’s overview.

GoGoD is releasing a new e-book for the Kindle, The Life of Honinbo Shuei, Volume 1 of a trilogy, The Life, Games and Commentaries of Honinbo Shuei, by John Fairbairn. A famous go player in Japan at the end of the 19th century, Shuei was known as the “Meijin of Meijins” and is still revered by many modern professionals. Overcoming a life full of hardship and controversy, Shuei rose to dominate the go world in his forties, a classic example of “great talents mature late.” This first volume covers Shuei’s biography, with forthcoming volumes to provide detailed commentaries on about eighty of his games and commentaries by Shuei himself on games by other players. Volume 1 covers Shuei’s own life in detail, and sets it firmly in the context of the go scene and the social and political scene at the time, especially the long-running spat between the Honinbos and the Hoensha. Included are juicy tidbits like the tragic end of Honinbo Shuwa, Shuetsu’s breakdown, the fate of the Driftwood Board, the sordid truth about Shusaku’s Castle Games and why Shuei disappeared from the go scene for years at a time.