American Go E-Journal

Go Spotting: Heathers, The Economist, Hunter X Hunter

Friday November 22, 2013

“In the movie Heathers (1989, at right), in Veronica’s room, before the hanging scene.
- Michael Wall

“In the October 26 issue of The Economist, on page 8, there is a photo of a couple of old-timers playing Baduk. Underneath is the rather dispiriting label: ‘Not much else to do.’”
- Bob Barber

“The latest episode (102) of Hunter X Hunter featured go. When describing the game, one character says, ‘It may look simple at first, but it is a complex game.’ They play a game, and discuss the general strategy of disrupting your opponents rhythm.”
- Nick Prince

Categories: Go Spotting

8 Young North Americans Want To Be Next AGA Pro

Thursday November 21, 2013

Who will be the next American pro? Eight young North American go players will battle it out for the honor and opportunity early next year in Los Angeles at the second AGA Pro Certification Tournament. The field includes four Americans and four Canadians, all of whom are quite young. 24-year-old Eric Lui, who used to be among the youngest at tournaments is the oldest participant in this tournament. Lui and Jianing Gan (17) are both seeded players from the previous Pro Qualification Tournament; Calvin Sun (16) and Bill Lin (17) qualified at this year’s US Go Open; Ben Lockhart (20) qualified at the Gotham Go Tournament; Daniel Gourdeau (20) qualified at the Canadian Open, Andrew Lu (16) at the Cotsen Open and Ryan Li (19) was the last qualifier, winning last Sunday’s Online Pro Prelim. The AGA Pro Certification Tournament will be held January 2-8 in Los Angeles and all boards will be broadcast live on KGS by the E-Journal. photo: at the 2012 AGA-Tygem Pro Tournament; photo by Nam Chi-Hyung

Go Spotting: Bleach & Star Trek: Enterprise

Thursday November 21, 2013

“I recently spotted go in the anime ‘Bleach’” reports Tyler Keithley. “Unfortunately I haven’t been able to find a screenshot, but it is shown briefly about midway through Episode 258, titled ‘Stray Snake, Tortured Monkey’”.

Matthew Clark spotted go in Star Trek: Enterprise. “In Season 2, Episode 22 at 29:45, there is a scene with commander Tucker and an alien he is trying to teach to think for herself,” Clark reports. “After showing the alien the film ‘The Day the Earth Stood Still’, they are playing go on a floor board in the Commander’s quarters. Tucker says that after just one day of instruction, the alien is able to beat him,” which had taken others months to achieve.


Categories: Go Spotting

EuroGoTV Update: Hungary, Italy, Poland

Wednesday November 20, 2013

Hungary: The European Baduk Competition finished November 17 in Budapest with Pal Balogh 6d in first, Csaba Mero 6d in second, and Ondrej Silt 6d in third. Italy: Also on November 17,  2k bested Andrea Mori 3k at the Gladiatore 2013 in Rome. Mika Straka 6k placed third. Poland: Bartlomiej Zuchowski 2k took the title at the Pierwszy Turniej Go Ozarowa Mazowieckiego on November 17. In second and third place were Kamil Konieczny 5k and Piotr Kucharski 11k.
– Annalia Linnan,  based on reports from EuroGoTV, which include complete result tables and all the latest European go news; photo courtesy of EuroGoTV

Your Move/Readers Write: Advice on College Go

Wednesday November 20, 2013

“I am a high school student who is also a 5 Duan go player from Shanghai, China,” writes Liwei (David) Xu. “Although I continue my study, I have never given up my hobby. And I am preparing for the application of the US univeristies and I have already achieved my SAT and TOEFL scores. I hope to keep on my hobby in the university. I want to study in a university with the background of go in the US; can you give me some advice?”
“We are always delighted to hear about strong young players who are coming here!” responded EJ Youth Editor Paul Barchilon “To learn more about which colleges have a strong go playing community, visit the ACGA website.” He also suggested the Xu plan to attend the annual US Go Congress, and reach out to some of the strong players here in America, “many of whom are involved in organizing go activities in various schools.” Justin Teng, a strong player and freshman undergraduate at the University of Maryland-College Park (and now Assistant Youth Coordinator for the AGA) adds that “Many of the top universities in the country all have go clubs (Princeton, Yale, Harvard, MIT, etc). I would say University of Toronto has some of the strongest players (although it’s in Canada), along with University of Michigan-Ann Arbor and Princeton University. I can’t speak for how active all of the other university go clubs are, but I think maybe it’s best to pick a university that has a strong program for whatever major you are interested in pursuing, and then see if any of them have go clubs. I suspect you will be applying to some of the top universities, and most of them will have a go club.”


Architect Go Fan Donates Use of Restored LA Landmark for Pro Qualifiers

Tuesday November 19, 2013

The architect heading up restoration of the historic Hotel Normandie in Los Angeles has donated use of its function rooms for the upcoming second AGA Pro Qualification Tournament January 2-8 in Los Angeles (more details coming soon; meanwhile check out this Online Qualifier game from last Sunday between Jie Liang and Ryan Li which features lots of fighting spirit and really complicated fighting). The donation is courtesy of Jingbo Lou, a Pasadena architect who is leading the $5 million restoration of the 1926 hotel. The Normandie was designed by Albert Walker and Percy Eisen, whose other buildings include the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills and Downtown LA’s Fine Arts Building. The hotel started life as a modest but dignified residence hotel mostly for men, but also serving as a gathering spot for women’s and civic groups; although the hotel kept its name (hailed on a lit steel sign visible for miles from the roof) over the decades, it gradually went downhill, tile and hardwood floors covered with worn carpets, some windows closed off with drywall, stucco concealing brick and hard times hanging over the clientele. In 2010, it almost turned into a hotel for medical marijuana users. For Lou, who grew up in Beijing and came to the US in the early 90s, the hotel was an opportunity to restore a bit of what LA used to be like, to learn something about US society and to show respect for local culture, custom and history. “I was first introduced to go in college back in China, but stopped playing after I came to America,” Lou tells the E-Journal. “I picked up go again twenty years later, this time was with my five-year-old son, who was born in America. We joined a local club, the YuGo Club, and I also participated in teaching go at the Pasadena Public Library’s youth program. I saw there was much positive influence on American youths from go,” he says. “My passion in architecture and development is to build places for people to live, work and enjoy. Promoting go gives me the opportunity to introduce this rich Asian culture to my American friends.” - Andy Okun

Your Move/Reader’s Write: Duplicating Li’s Success?

Tuesday November 19, 2013

“I read the article on Yunxuan Li pulling in 100 teens to his Go club (Yunxuan Li On How His LA School Club Pulled in 100 Teens 11/5 EJ),” writes Sid Kobashigawa of the Honolulu Go Club.  “Can you get a copy of the attractive poster, good flyers and handouts he used to draw these teens.  He mentioned these were key to drawing so many students to his club.  The story was great but if we want to duplicate what Yunxuan is doing let’s share the actual items that he used so that go will spread.” - Editor’s response:  While Li’s club is off to a great start, his materials are fairly specific to his club and won’t be that useful for other locations.  Li’s poster is attached to this story as a pdf here: Li Poster.  It should be noted that part of why his club is so big is because Li himself is 6 dan, very enthusiastic, and very personable.  It doesn’t hurt that he lives in a town with a large percentage of Chinese Americans, who already know about go.

If your club isn’t lucky enough to have a 6 dan to teach,  the AGF and the AGA both have other resources to help.  Thanks to the work of new AGA web team volunteer Greg Smith, this information is easier than ever to find on the AGA site.  Just click on the tab that says “Teach Others” on our left menu bar.  You will find information for classes, handouts, posters, syllabi for teaching, and much more.  The best selection of posters is actually on the AGF’s Tigersmouth Website. The Downloads Section has six different posters, including one in Spanish.  Lastly, the extremely popular 11×17 Saicho Poster, that comes in AGF Starter Sets, can be purchased for just 25 cents a copy (plus shipping) directly from the AGF.   All US based programs that are teaching youth are also eligible for free equipment from the AGF as well. - Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor.

Spain to Host 38th Kisei Final Opener and Side Tournament

Monday November 18, 2013

The first game of the 38th Kisei title match will be hosted in Alcalá de Henares by the Nam Ban Madrid Go Club on January 11-12, in accordance with the tradition that this title’s first game is played outside Japan.

Iyama Yuta 9P (left), current holder of six of the seven major Japanese titles including this most prestigious of them all (see the Power Report (Part 1): Iyama’s New Records, EJ 10/3), will be challenged by  Yamashita Keigo 9P. Yamashita, who won this year’s Kisei A-league, beat B-league winner Murakawa Daisuke 7P on November 14 in a decider for the Kisei challenger.. The game in Spain will be played over two days, with eight hours main time each, and is the first of a best-of-seven series to decide the title.

In addition, there will be a 4-round amateur open side tournament, scheduled so that participants can easily keep up with developments in the Kisei. The top prize, amongst many others, is €1200 and scholarships (not including travel to Madrid) are available for under-20s.

The events will take place in the conference rooms of the Parador de Alcalá de Henares (right), a renovated C17th building which is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Click here for full details and application form. US citizens can visit Spain for up to three months without a visa; click here for further info.

Report by Tony Collman. Photos: Iyama Yuta from his Nihon Ki-in player card; Parador courtesy of their website.

Wisonet Go Club Organizing “Slow-Play” Tourney in NJ

Monday November 18, 2013

The Wisonet Go Club in New Jersey is organizing a slow-game tournament November 28-29 in central New Jersey. Unlike most weekend tournaments, the time limits will be two hours per player, two rounds per day and winners will qualify to advance to rounds that will be played in subsequent months. Organizer Ronghao Chen expects the whole event to last “three or four months” and says it’s intended to give dan players a chance to play higher quality games. Kyu level players can join the tournament by special approval only. The tournament will be held at the Madison Suites Hotel in Somerset, NJ. Contact Chen at or call him at 908-872-6202 for more information.

Lee Sedol’s Commented Games, Volume II: Another Triumph

Sunday November 17, 2013

Book Review of Lee Sedol’s Commented Games:  Volume II (Baduktopia)

by Fritz Balwit

The arrival of the English version of Lee Sedol’s Commented Games Volume I in 2011 fulfilled a dream of our go study group: a high-quality, detailed view into the highest levels of the art of go as practiced by the Korean super-talents.  We had worked our way through stacks of old Go Worlds, graduated Slate and Shell’s magnificent Fairbairn volumes on Go Seigen’s famous Jubangos. But here was something new and different: Lee Sedol, the world’s number one player famed for games of staggering complexity, uncompromising fighting spirit, quadruple ko and half-point wins. I was immediately struck by the superb quality of the books. Everything from the paper to the layout and its large diagrams made for a most enjoyable reading experience. There are just three games in each volume, but the depth of the commentary more than compensates.

Lee actually wrote three books during a six-month hiatus in his tournament schedule while he worked out some kinks in his relationship with the Korea Baduk Association. Volume Two,  now available from GoGameGuru, begins with Lee’s fantastic triumph in Game 3 of the LG Cup against Lee Changho 9P. Lee devotes 100 pages to this game alone. Large diagrams head the chapters and typically include a general point of strategic advice or an insight into the psychology of the game. Indeed, the book abounds in the latter sorts of reflections, both in Lee’s own words and those of the writer, his sister, Lee Sena, who glowingly covers aspects of Sedol’s personal development and the ups and downs of his career. Game Two, against Chang Hao 9P, similarly runs to more than 100 pages and includes commentary and annotated variations at a depth I have never seen before. However, the last game is the best of all. Again, the opponent is the Lee Changho 9P. This time, the occasion is the World Oza 2006. Whereas the first two games will surely repay careful study and help players of all levels to improve their understanding of whole-board vision, deep reading, modern joseki and the like, the last game is best approached as a lesson in humility. I suggest you play through this game with a 6-dan, as we did at our club. He was utterly flummoxed by it and unable to predict the moves or discern the flow of the game.  Lee’s avowed dislike of being “coerced” by his opponent manifests itself in a taut duel of nerves in which each player defiantly shifts the location of the battle in what appears, even to strong amateurs, to be chaotic mayhem. The strangeness of this game has its own beauty and excitement, but don’t expect to pick up any tips.

Baduktopia deserves high praise for putting out these splendid books on one of the most exciting players of our generation. (Click here for a review of Volume 1.) The editorial decision to include few but thoroughly commented games with a limited number of moves per diagram results in a book that you can read anywhere, even without a board.  The biographical materials add a nice dimension to our appreciation of the life of a professional Go player. All in all, I recommend Lee Sedol’s Commented Games: Volumes I and II without reservation. We await with eagerness the arrival of the promised third volume.

Balwit (in cap at right in photo above) was The American Go Foundation’s 2011 teacher of the Year