American Go E-Journal

Jujo Jiang Ing Cup First 2013 North American Ing Masters Qualifier

Thursday January 17, 2013

At the upcoming January 26 Jujo Ing Cup, sponsored by Ing’s Goe Foundation and organized by the Bay Area Go Players Association, players can not only compete for $3,000 in prizes, but strong players also have the chance to earn points to qualify for this year’s North American Ing Masters (NAIM) tournament. This year’s NAIM will be held at the 2013 US Go Congress, set for August 3-7 in Seattle-Tacoma, WA. The Jujo Jiang Ing Cup will serve as the first Western region qualifier. Register online before the event and receive a $10 discount:  click here to register.

Categories: U.S./North America

Your Move/Readers Write: Android for SmartGo?

Thursday January 17, 2013

“I want an Android app for the smart go books!” writes Lee Frankel-Goldwater.
“I’d like an Android version for SmartGo Books too,” responds SmartGo’s Anders Kierulf. “And I keep getting requests from people for Android versions of SmartGo Books and SmartGo Kifu. However, when looking at the costs of maintaining another platform, both in $$$ and in time that could be spent improving the iOS apps, it’s not so clear. Several articles (The shocking toll of hardware and software fragmentation on Android developmentWhy we’ve decided to stop producing TNW Magazine for Android) highlight some issues with adding Android support. I’m not ruling out possible Android support in the future, but my current plan is to improve iOS support and add a Macintosh version before I consider adding any other platforms. Meanwhile, if you’re desperate for SmartGo Books, an iPad mini may be the ticket.”

Fast Times in Gotham City: A Game Recorder Tries to Keep Up

Wednesday January 16, 2013

By John Pinkerton

I knew I was in trouble as a game recorder when I saw the draw for Board 2 in the final round of the Gotham Go Tournament last Saturday.

On one side of the board — or I should say, “in one corner, with a quick right,” playing white — was Lee Kyoung 7D, whose lightning-fast game had left me in the dust two rounds earlier. In that game, before I had time to enter a well-known joseki in one corner, the players finished josekis in two other corners and started a fight. At the same time, we lost our internet connection, so the live broadcast was dead and catching up became a largely moot point. Hardwired to KGS now, and with another round under our belt, I’d thought I was ready for the final round.  However…

In the other corner is the champion of speed himself, Andy Liu 1P, who often uses his speed as a lethal weapon. In the World Amateur Go Championships a few years back, where each side got an hour and a half of basic time, Andy’s strategy was never to use more than 10 minutes, keeping his opponents under constant time pressure. On top of that, Andy loves to play ko’s. In a ko, every third move is obvious, but the recorder still has to enter it. The ko threat may be in almost any area of the board, so if you miss it, it can be hard to find. Then the response is also obvious—another chance for a quick move.

As expected, the game starts fast and doesn’t let up. At move 47, Chris Garlock, recording on Board 1, says to his audience, “Wow, stones are flying on Board Two…John’s gonna have his hands full keeping up.” An accurate assessment, but things were about to get even more interesting.

Kyoung holds up the clock and says, “You don’t need this, do you?” He starts to explain, adding “I mean, you play fast.” But without a moment’s hesitation, Andy has already shot back “Absolutely not.” In other words, game on.

As Kyoung turns off the clock, I’m mentally groaning, thinking uh-oh, someone’s going to crash and I just hope it isn’t me again. Eighty moves fly by in the blink of an eye before there’s a pause as Kyoung says “Oh my god…I made a reading mistake.” As he and Andy begin their review I breathe a silent sigh of relief as I type in the words “White resigns” and wrap up our KGS game broadcast.

NOTE: Complete Gotham Tournament standings/results have now been posted on the Gotham Go Group’s Facebook page.

Pinkerton is a regular game recorder and photographer for the American Go E-Journal.  Anyone interested in volunteering as a game recorder at AGA tournaments or events can email



An E-Book Author, Publisher and Reader Walk Into a Bar…

Tuesday January 15, 2013

The ongoing development of electronic publishing is often framed as a battle to the death between two formats, hard-copy versus electronic. But the reality may be more complex, as creators and users seek to maximize the advantages of both formats in a rapidly-changing technological landscape.

“The e-book version has the advantages of both printed books and a go file on the computer using a go program,” says Michael Redmond 9P, a top player and author of many hard-copy go books, who has recently released ‘Patterns of the Sanrensei’, written specifically for SmartGo Books. “The greatest advantage of go file on a computer is the ease and speed with which one can view the moves and variations, without having to search for the next move, and no problems with misplaced stones. I think the advantage of a printed book is that it is easier to grasp the overall flow of the game when you can see a number of diagrams on the pages, and can compare diagrams, check the text analysis, with it all there in front of you. With SmartGo Books you can start with the book view, and it looks just like a printed book. Then you just touch a diagram, and you can enlarge it, play out the moves, and do just about anything you might want to do while viewing a file on a pc. You can try adding moves, in case you want to be sure about if that ladder really works. Then you return the diagram to it’s original size, and everything is as it was before, in the book form. Any moves you added will disappear, so you don’t need worry about messing up the diagrams. This combination of the strengths of books and computers allows the author to present more information, and for the reader it is relatively easy to understand. When I first saw what SmartGo could do on an iPad I thought it was perfect already, then I wanted to write a book for it, and that is how the book ‘Patterns of the Sanrensei’ came to be. Since then, (SmartGo Books publisher) Anders Kierulf has actually managed to make it even better, with inline diagrams and links between diagrams that add depth and enrichen the learning experience.”

Kierulf notes that since SmartGo Books — which has now released several dozen e-books, many of them re-issues of classics like the Elementary Go Series or Janice Kim’s Learn to Play Go books — “are currently limited to iOS devices (iPad and iPhone), the impact on printed book sales will necessarily be limited.” In fact, Kierulf (at left showing Eric Cotsen the ‘Invincible’ e-book at the 2012 Cotsen Open) says, “There’s some indication that releasing a book on SmartGo Books actually increased sales of the printed copies, which I’m glad to hear, as we need to keep a healthy ecosystem for go book authors and publishers.” Kierulf adds that “For me personally, being able to carry ‘Invincible’ in my pocket has made the whole SmartGo Books project worth it. So many people (including me) own the printed copy, but have never had the opportunity to study the games properly.”

“In reviewing both the print and SmartGo version of ‘Patterns of the Sanrensei’,” I found that is was very easy to read the SmartGo version because of the virtual go board capability,” said go player Robert Huang, an AGA 6 kyu. “This is much more convenient than the print version and simple eBook version on iBook or Kindle. I was able to start, stop, pick up where I left off, and finish the entire book in a relatively short amount of time. I think being able to actually visualize the move sequence, as opposed to mentally playing the sequence is very helpful.” Huang adds that “I am not sure how much I actually retained at this point, but the proof will be in the pudding as I play more games. Hopefully, I will see my ranking improve.”

What are your thoughts on hard-copy vs. electronic go books? Let us know at! photo by Chris Garlock

Jason Clancy Tops MGA Winter Tourney

Monday January 14, 2013

Jason Clancy 6k (at left, in green sweater) took first place at the January 13 Massachusetts Go Association Winter Tournament, topping a 24-player field that ranged from 4 dan to 20 kyu. “Twenty three players pre-registered,” reports  Tournament Director Eva Casey. “Three of those were no-shows, so twenty players got the pre-registration discount.   The majority of the players joined or renewed membership in the Massachusetts Go Association, thus meriting an additional discount.” Casey thanked the Boylston Chess Club in Somerville for use of their premises.
Winners: First  Place: Jason Clancy 6k; Second Place: Elliot Stern 7k; Third Place: Alex Linden 12k.
photo courtesy Eva Casey: left to right: Clancy-Peters; DaSilva-Linden; Nahabedian-Yamkovoy



Categories: U.S./North America

Zhaonian Chen Wins Gotham Open as Tournament Go Returns to Big Apple

Saturday January 12, 2013

Zhaonian (Michael) Chen 7D (right) won the Gotham Go Tournament January 12, topping a capacity crowd that filled the Soho Room at the historic Hostelling International New York on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. Chen’s 4-0 sweep earned him the $300 top prize and included a convincing win over Andy Liu 1P (left) in the second round. Liu took second place and Kim Dae Yol was third in the open section.  The field included a healthy mix of new players and “old-timers” who were happy to see tournament go returning to the New York go scene after a multi-year drought. The tournament drew from as far away as Washington, with DC organizer Haskell Small 2D making the journey up to play, and as near as 106th Street, as former AGA President Roy Laird 3K walked over to join the festivities. The American Go E-Journal’s Chris Garlock and John Pinkerton  broadcast top-board games (see links below) on KGS with live commentaries by Gansheng Shi 1P — who also did live audio commentary, which was very well-received by nearly 200 players — as well as Hugh Zhang.

Tournament organizer Peter Armenia — who even got a round in himself — pronounced himself “pleasantly surprised and very pleased” at the turnout, which included a half-dozen top-ranked players. “Thanks to everyone for coming out,” Armenia added, “we hope to make this a regular event, so stay tuned!” Matthew Hershberger directed the 4-round tournament.

Other section winners were: 3D-1D: Willis Huang 3D; 1K-4K: Todd Blatt 1K; 5K-9K: Gino Choung 5K; 10K+: Yuga Suzuki 12K. Look for complete results to be posted soon.

Round 1, Board 1: Chen-Kim
Round 1, Board 2: Lee-Hong
Round 2, Board 1: Liu-Chen
Round 3, Board 1: Lee-Chen
Round 3, Board 1 (Lee-Chen) Commentary by Gansheng Shi 1P
Round 3, Board 2: Liu-Creeks
Round 4, Board 1: Chen-Lockhart
Round 4, Board 2: Liu-Lee

 photo by John Pinkerton

Categories: U.S./North America

Tourney/Event Updates: Live From Gotham; Berlekamp Confirmed for ACGA Spring Go Expo; Save $10 on Jujo Ing Cup Registration

Friday January 11, 2013

Live From Gotham: With 64 players — including six 7-dans –registered, this Saturday’s Gotham Go Tournament has maxed out, reports organizer Peter Armenia, “due to space and equipment limitations.” However, you can follow the top-board action live on KGS starting at 10a EST, as the E-Journal broadcasts games with commentary by pros and top players, including Gansheng Shi 1P, Justin Teng and Hugh Zhang. Players will be competing for cash prizes and books from Slate and Shell.

Berlekamp Confirmed for ACGA Spring Go Expo: Dr. Elwyn Berlekamp, co-author of ‘Mathematical Go’, has been confirmed as a featured speaker at the upcoming ACGA Spring Go Expo, which has now officially begun registration. More speakers and the expo schedule will be confirmed in the next couple weeks, reports organizer Cole Pruitt. “Because another event (the Penny Arcade Expo) will be held in Boston at the same time, March 23-24, hotel space is already filling up quickly, so we’re recommending that anyone interested in attending sign up now,” Pruitt urges.

Save $10 on Jujo Ing Cup Registration: Pre-register for the January 26 Jujo Ing Cup on-line for a $10 discount. The one-day, 4-round tournament is sponsored by Ing’s Goe Foundation of California and organized by the Bay Area Go Players Association. Forty players of all levels and ages from the Jiang Zhu Jiu Goe School in Shangahi are expected to attend, led by Yu Bin 9P, former Fujitsu Title holder and Jiang Zhu Jiu 9P, competing for $3000 in prizes.

Categories: U.S./North America

EuroGoTV: January 10th

Thursday January 10, 2013

Bergen Winter Cup: The Bergen Winter Cup played, from 01/05-06 in Bergen, Norway, was won by Antti Tormanen 6d, second was Heming Hanevik 1d, and third was Paal Sannes 4d… Torneo della Befana 2013: The Torneo della Befana 2013, played on 01/05 in Milano, Italy, was won by Francesco Marigo 4d, second was Isamu Oka 3k and third was Paolo Montrasio 1k… 463 Velika Gorica weekend-go-tournament: The 463 Velika Gorica weekend-go-tournament, played on the 01/05 in Velika Gorica, Croatia, was won by Mladen Smud 1k, second was Robert Jovicic 2k and third was Nikola Primetica 4k… La Carboneria: The La Carboneria, played on 12/29 in Sevilla, Spain, was won by Jose-Manuel Vega 2k, second was Fran Garcia 9k and third was Francisco Carretero 6k…
- adapted from EuroGoTV, which includes winner reports, crosstabs, game records and photos. Edited by Taylor Litteral

Categories: Europe

Players Sought for Brunei Friendship Cup Qualifiers

Thursday January 10, 2013

“This February, the American Go Honor Society (AGHS) is looking to renew its relations with Brunei, Malaysia, and Canada in a reinstallment of the Brunei Friendship Cup,” reports event organizer Andrew Huang 6d. “This tournament, aimed at go players in high school and younger, gives all players, regardless of strength, an opportunity to represent the United States in an international and friendly competition.”  A qualification tournament to pick the national team will be held  on February 9-10, with the Brunei Friendship Cup set to take place on February 16. Players of all ranks and pair go participants are needed. For more information and registration, please visit the AGHS site, to register go here.
- Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor.  Photo from

USYGC Deadline Jan. 13

Wednesday January 9, 2013

There are just  a few days left to register for the US Youth Go Championships, which will be held Jan. 19th on KGS.  All AGA members who are under 18, and live in the US are eligible, and there will be prizes awarded every five ranks.  The top winners in the under 12 and under 18 brackets will receive a free trip to the US Go Congress!  Winners in all bands will receive a beautiful etched glass trophy, 2nd place in each bracket gets a Sai plushie.  Everyone who enters will be eligible for AGF scholarships to either the AGA Go Camp or the US Go Congress, first come first served.  The scholarships are worth $400 at camp, or $200 at congress. You may enter at a rank higher than your official AGA rank, but may not enter at a lower one.  The registration deadline is Sunday, January 13th.  To register, e-mail with your name, rank, birthday, AGA ID, KGS ID, and citizenship. - Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor.