American Go E-Journal

Burned-out Mr. Go Welcomes Helping Hands

Monday July 18, 2011

Multi-talented go promoter Blake Haber (aka Mr. Go) recently lost everything in a house fire at his home in Santa Barbara, California.  Haber was the cartoonist for the American Go Journal (at right), has made go videos (including this one), as well as created go blogs and websites.  In addition to all his other belongings, he lost his go library and equipment including several handmade boards.  Any contributions of go books or equipment, or money to help him get back on his feet, would be much appreciated.  He can be reached at the following email address: .
- From an article at EuroGoTV, which includes links to reports on the fire.

Categories: U.S./North America
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Hane Naoki Stages Comeback in 66th Honinbo

Monday July 18, 2011

Hane Naoki 9P has staged a dramatic comeback against Yamashita Keigo 9P in the 66th Honinbo, taking the title match to a 7th game. Yamashita appeared to be on track to defend the title, which he took from Hane last year. He won the first three games of the best-of-seven Honinbo final, needing only one more win to clinch it. However, Hane fought on to win the next three games, leaving the series tied at 3-3 on July 14, 2011. Hane would now appear to be the favorite to win the tournament. Typically players who come back from three down in a title match go on to win the title. Hane himself did this against Takao Shinji in the 63rd Honinbo (2008). One notable exception to this trend is the 28th Kisei in 2004, where Yamashita’s attempted comeback was derailed by none other than Hane Naoki. With the history between these two players, the final match promises to be exciting regardless of the outcome. The decisive 7th game starts at 8:00pm July 19, US Eastern Time and will likely be completed the following day.

- David Ormerod; based on his original report: Hane Naoki fights back in 66th Japanese Honinbo at Go Game Guru. Photo: Yamashita Keigo 9P (left), Hane Naoki 9P (right), Ishida Yoshio 9P watches (standing back-center).

Categories: World
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71 Turn Out at Mexican Youth Go Championships

Sunday July 17, 2011

Mexico City drew 71 kids to it’s recent youth tournament, held June 4th.  ”The children were from different schools and clubs, and ranged in rank from 30k to 10k,” reports organizer Siddhartha Avila,  ”this was a great opportunity to round up the majority of young players in the same place, and to make new friends. After this we’re looking forward to  consolidating the existing go clubs, and to eventually create more go programs for youth in México.  The event wouldn’t have been possible without the collaboration of go teachers, players, and volunteers who offered their efforts to run the tournament.  We want to thank them as well as the AGF for their donation of 20 sets of  stones, which we needed to make this possible.” Winners Report: 1st: Fernando Álvarez 13k, 2nd: Vicente A. Cortez 17k, 3rd: Adam S. George 13k. Full results here. A retro style photo album from the event, by Alma Juárez is here.  -Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor, photo by Alma Juárez.

US Youth to Play Japanese Insei

Sunday July 17, 2011

Ten of America’s youth players will compete in the first ever friendship matches with Japanese insei this coming Thursday, July 21st.  The insei are youth that are studying to become professionals in Japan, their lifestyle has been portrayed in the Hikaru no Go manga and anime, inspiring countless American kids to reach for the stars themselves.  Insei in classes B through D will compete, as will the top four high school players in Japan, according to Nihon Ki-in Overseas Coordinator Tom Urasoe.  The match has been organized by AGA Youth Coordinator Paul Barchilon, who chose the ten member US team based on both playing strength and dedication to the go community.  The matches will be held on the Japanese Yugen no Ma Go Server.  An English language version of the client is available at Wbaduk.com games will be held in the Japanese Go Room.  The US team, and a list of their opponents, can be found on Tigersmouth.org.  To observe the matches, download the client and create an id.  Matches will be held Thursday, July 21, at 5 pm PDT. -Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor.  Image: insei characters from Hikaru no Go

New GoGoD Released, Coming to Congress

Sunday July 17, 2011

This year’s U.S. Go Congress attendees will be able to meet GoGoD authors T Mark Hall and John Fairbairn when the two bring copies of the brand-new Summer 2011 edition of the GoGoD database and encyclopaedia to the States.

“The crop of new games for various top players has been unusually large this year,” Hall tells the E-Journal. “We have new games for Kitani Minoru, Takagawa Kaku,  Hashimoto Utaro and Sakata Eio.” Hall also says that “with much eye-rubbing,” they’ve found Honinbo Jowa’s earliest known game.

Additions to the latest CD also include a number of New Fuseki games from Autumn 1933, “a key period in this movement, and these will illuminate the period especially for those who have our latest book: Old Fuseki vs. New Fuseki.” Another sidelight on that period is provided by the very large number of games by Segoe Kensaku just added.

”Of course, routine games have not been neglected,” Hall promises. “The latest games are there en masse and Fujisawa Hideyuki has now become a milligod, as we have at least 1,000 of his games. The entire GoGoD game collection now comprises some 68,127 games.

The cost for GoGoD – which in addition to the games includes the extensive encyclopaedia – is $30 for a single copy or $40 for a copy plus one update.

Balwit Named Teacher of the Year

Sunday July 17, 2011

Portland go teacher Fritz Balwit has been selected as the American Go Foundation’s Teacher of the Year. “My selection is a great honor,” says Balwit, “it has been a unique privilege to introduce go to children. They immediately recognize its magical properties, and are receptive to its aesthetic allure at an intuitive level. I have found that it brings people together in friendly collaboration based on respect and shared appreciation. I hope to continue working with kids in schools and to create a space at our local go salon where kids can discover the beauty of the game.  I teach go daily at Portland English Language Academy where I also teach English as a second language. We have a very lively group that plays for fun. Many of the Korean, Japanese and Taiwanese students are newly introduced to their traditional game. These are mostly younger adults and a few teenage kids. One kid- Shohei Jinno- came forward in a class and shyly mentioned his rating was 6 dan; he subsequently rolled over all Oregon players at the AGA tournament in Salem.”
Balwit started showing up on the radar in 2008, according to longtime organizer Peter Freedman: “For a number of years he had taught chess in the public schools, but about the time I met him he had recently fallen in love…with go.  He morphed his chess clubs into ‘chess/go clubs’, but in fact all his chess clubs became go clubs.  During 2008 he had clubs in seven schools.  As a result of his efforts over 125  children and youth were exposed to go, and 90 played in one of the school go clubs.  Fritz also ran several go camps during school breaks.”  Many of the programs Balwit launched in 2008 continued in the following years, and he is running five programs now.  ”I’ve assisted Fritz teach at many of these schools,” adds Freedman, ”I call him ‘the pied piper of go’ in Portland.  He has a magical way with children. He is gentle, funny, articulate, gives out tons of positive reinforcement, and continually amazes me with the way he explains go to children, making it more than a game.  He talks about how in go you must share, just as in life. When talking about building a wall, he remarked, ‘If you don’t play here there will be a little hole for a ferret to crawl through.  You don’t want a ferret running around in your house, do you?”  Actually, Fritz has two ferrets running around his real life house, along with three children ranging from elementary to middle school age, all of whom play go. One of them was his assistant in the go club he organized at her school.” Balwit has won an all expenses paid trip to the US Go Congress in Santa Barbara, where he will be honored at the awards banquet.  He will be speaking at the congress as well, in a special round table for teachers, and anyone who wants to work with kids, on Tuesday, Aug. 2, at 5:00 pm.  -Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor.  Photo by Fritz Balwit: Balwit (r) teaching his son Theo (l).

GO PHOTO: Go In Old Japan

Sunday July 17, 2011

Some fascinating photos of go in old Japan have been posted on Flickr, including two geishas playing go, children learning the game, a Shinto priest and an actor playing, a master teaching two geisha and two samurai playing. The photos were posted by Okinawa Soba, a permanent resident of Japan. “I really can’t stand the captions and descriptions on this guy’s Flickr stream (many are insensitive at best, racist at worst, and a lot of sleazy sexual speculation),” notes Xeni Jardin on boingboing “but the images are rare and fantastic.”

Categories: Go Photos
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“Study Go,” Organizer & Consultant Urges Big Pharma

Sunday July 17, 2011

Mind Go Club organizer Shavit Fragman recommends that Big Pharma executives study go in his recently published article Pharma Business avalanche, Modeling Through the strategy game of Go. Shavit is President and CEO of MindPharma, a healthcare consulting firm.

With $100 billion in Big Pharma revenues set to evaporate in the coming years due to patent expirations and generic substitutes, Fragman uses the Avalanche joseki (or nadare) as a metaphor for the potential impact of patent expiration on big pharma revenues and profits. Noting that an avalanche is a risk when climbing Everest, Fragman says that “Experienced climbers know how critical every step” is and how “One small mistake may lead to” disaster. “High skill is a must for high mountain climbers,” he notes, “Similarly in the game of go.”

Fragman’s paper develops his thesis by demonstrating and discussing near future trends in the pharmaceuticals market and analyzes several other pharmaceutical companies strategy using the avalanche joseki, leading to his recommendation that pharma executives “study the game of go, its finesse and benefit from the strategic tools and whole board (universal/cosmic) view and thinking.”

Categories: World
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GO PHOTO: Go Gnomes

Sunday July 17, 2011

E-Journal reader Eric Moakley recently spotted these go playing lawn gnomes in a Rite-Aid in Boulder CO. “Though no one in the store knew the game, I was happy to see go out of a normal context, says Moakley.

Categories: Go Photos
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Dango: A Go-based Card Game

Saturday July 16, 2011

A new game called Dango combines the rules of go with the mechanics of a card game.  Players use two kinds of cards, representing either go shapes or “actions”.  The go shapes are used to play stones on a goban, while the actions allow (or require) players to do various things, like remove opponent’s stones, lose their turn, or block a move that an opponent wants to make.  Cards can be downloaded and printed out or sets can be purchased from Alexander Dinerchtein.