American Go E-Journal

U.S. Go Congress Tournaments Recap: Day Five

Thursday August 10, 2017

IMG_0491US Go Congress Tournament Schedule: Thursday 8/10
9:00a: US Open, round 4; US Open Masters Division, round 6
1:00p: Seniors’ Tournament, round 4; Youth Relay Go
3:00p: Youth Redmond Cup; Women’s Tournament, round 3
7:00p: North American Pair Go Championship; Evening League day 4

Die Hard
While other players relaxed and gave themselves a break from go on Wednesday, over 90 players decided they didn’t need a break and played four rounds in the Die Hard tournament yesterday. Five die hard go players went undefeated: Aaron Ye 7d, James Carrier 3k, James Funk 6k, Darwin Kim 8k, and Zongren Huang 20k.

fullsizeoutput_aabCrazy Go
Tuesday night was abuzz with go activity ranging from slightly nontraditional to downright bizarre. “We’ve got a new variation of Treasure Go this year,” says long-time TD Terry Benson about Tuesday night’s Crazy Go event. The new variation was introduced as an addition to regular favorites including Tessellation Go (photo left), Zen Go, Rengo Kriegspiel, and Galactic Go. Treasure Go is played on a 13×13 board with golden treasures on each of the 4-4 points; a captured treasure is an automatic win. Players must prevent their opponent from capturing any of the treasures and still win on the board. “The upset of the night was when Cole Pruitt and Ben Lockhart – who made a special request to be sure to play – lost to two 24 kyus,” reports Benson. “The crowd was enthralled and then went wild. But as always in Crazy Go, everyone wins!”

-photo (right): Die Hard go players concentrate on their games on Wednesday.
-report/photos by Karoline Li, Tournaments Bureau Chief

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Aaron Ye achieves Redmond Meijin; Ary Cheng and Matthew Cheng tied in Junior Division

Thursday August 10, 2017

2017 Redmond Cup Senior Division15-year old Aaron Ye 7d (at left) defeated Muzhen (Alan) Ai 7d (right) 2-0 to claim his fifth Redmond Cup title, making him the third Redmond Meijin (following Eric Lui 1p in 2001 and Curtis Tang 8d in 2010). Ai put up a good fight throughout the match, having held a large territorial lead for most of Game 1 until a decisive mistake in the endgame gave Ye the opportunity to just barely reverse the game and win by 1.5. Determined to cement his title in Game 2, Ye played a solid game, establishing an early territorial advantage and holding it until Ai was forced to resign after miscalculating the life and death of one of Ye’s groups. Ye has been a dominant force in the Redmond Cup ever since he  started playing in it at the age of 9, winning the Junior Division four times in a row from 2011-2014. While the competition grew tougher once he aged into the Senior Division (13-17), Ye has remained at the top of the North American youth scene.

In the Junior Division, 11-year old Ary Cheng 6d came out swinging against 10-year old Matthew Cheng 5d, slaying a dragon in what would be a swift Game 1 victory that took just over an hour and only 139 moves. However, Matthew was not deterred and came back in Game 2, able to kill a large group himself and bring the series to a tie. Ary is trying to win his third consecutive Junior title, but this year could be the most difficult yet. He won both of his previous titles with clean 2-0 sweeps.  The third and deciding game will take place on Thursday, 8/10 at 3 pm PDT and will be broadcast live on KGS, Youtube, and Twitch, with live video commentary by Michael Chen 8d and Lionel Zhang 7d. Missed any of the games? You can watch recordings of the two Senior Division games with video commentary by former Redmond Cup champions and finalists below: Game 1 (commentary by Eric Lui 1p and Julie Burrall 1d) Game 2 (commentary by Gansheng Shi 1p and Ricky Zhao 7d) - Story and photo by AGA Youth Coordinator Justin Teng.

Behind the Scenes at the US Go Congress: Keith Arnold

Wednesday August 9, 2017

IMG_0363Keith Arnold is one of very few with a perfect* US Go Congress attendance record. The second tournament he played in after learning go in college was the very first US Go Congress at Western Maryland College – now called McDaniel College – his alma mater. He hasn’t just been an attendee; Keith fullsizeoutput_a9edirected the 2001 Go Congress in York, PA, and has directed the Lightning Tournament for about two decades now, he’s not quite sure. “That’s a horribly good question,” he says when asked. “I wish I knew the answer to that, but probably in the realm of 20 years.” What brought this baseball cap-clad player to the game in the first place? “Do you want the truth or the lie?” he asks with a twinkle in his eye. He continues with a lovely story of traveling with his aunt at the age of 12 to visit her friend Helen in Southern California. They stayed with Helen and her father, who happened to play often with Peter Redmond, Michael Redmond’s father, and Michael himself when he was a kid. Turns out that everything about this story is true. Except that there was no go taught or played on this trip; he actually learned to play after after seeing it played during college and becoming interested. “I love playing go, it hasn’t in the slightest lost its attraction or interest for me,” says Keith. , but on attending Go Congress he adds it’s a combination of the game and the people.

-photos: Keith Arnold in his signature baseball cap (right); counting players off to their tables in the Lightning Tournament.
-report/photos by Karoline Li, Tournaments Bureau Chief

Go books go global…and local

Wednesday August 9, 2017

FullSizeRender

by Steve Colburn & Jeremiah Parry-Hill

Even in this new age of e-books, many go players still turn to good old-fashioned hard-copy books about go. Over the years, many players and clubs tend to collect books about go, from the mundane to the rare. Places like the Seattle Go Center — and now the National Go Center in Washington, DC — have shelves full of printed materials  for their members to study and borrow. This is convenient if you have the type of real estate that can house a large number of books. But what if your club doesn’t have a Go Center?

In Rochester NY, at the Empty Sky Go Club, we’ve decided to work with our host university, the Rochester Institute of Technology, to house the club’s books. Over the years, we had collected over five hundred go books —  far too many for anyone’s house. We decided that our new players should have access to those teaching materials when they’re starting out. Empty Sky Go Club’s longtime advisor, Tom Policano, suggested that Empty Sky be known for our expansive library.

We partnered with RIT Libraries to catalog and collect the books that were formerly stored in several club lockers. At present there are 385 books on the shelves of RIT’s walk-up collection (right), with another 170 in the queue to be added by the end of the year.

We were curious to benchmark against the collections of peer institutions. Princeton University’s Asian Library is well-known for its collection of books on go; they currently hold 248 titles. But the Cleveland Public Library system is the current champion, with 434 titles.

Very cool, but what if you don’t live in Cleveland, New Brunswick, Rochester, Washington or Seattle? The true power of putting books in an institutional repository is that most libraries are part of a worldwide system called WorldCat, which catalogs books and other media from all over the world. Which means all of these books are as close as your local library via the Interlibrary Loan system.

So if you’re looking for a go book to study, now is the time to check your local library and borrow something interesting. From Janice Kim’s “Learn to Play Go” series, to many Nakayama titles, to every copy of Go World and a whole lot more, there are many many options for players to study and deepen their enjoyment of the game. Check it out!

photo by Steve Colburn

 

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U.S. Go Congress Tournaments Recap/Preview

Tuesday August 8, 2017

US Go Congress Tournaments Schedule: Wednesday 8/92017.08.08-blind-go
9:00a: Die Hard
7:00p: Evening League

Hao Wu leading US Open Masters Division
Hao Wu 2P of China is leading the US Open Masters Division this year with an undefeated record of five wins, but the North American professionals are making a fine show with Ryan Li 1P, Andy Liu 1P, and Eric Lui 1P all with 3-1 records. Longtime US Open players Yongfei Ge 7d and Michael Chen 7d also have three wins each. They’ll be back at it Thursday morning with Round 6. Check the Masters crosstab for latest results and top-board game records. 

Ryan Li prevails over Bao Yun in Blind Go match: Bao Yun showed off his impressive go skills Tuesday afternoon in a Blind Go match against Ryan Li 1p (right). His eyes covered with a rolled-up bright orange 2017 Go Congress staff shirt, Bao duked it out with Li as E-Journal game recorder Dennis Wheeler called out the coordinates of the moves. A big crowd gathered around the game and this year it was also streamed live on the AGA’s YouTube channel with commentary by Jennie Shen 2p, hosted by Steven Hu 6d. Once again — this was the second year for the Blind Go match — the game was as exciting as it was amazing but in the end Bao Yun ran out of time while trying to break into Ryan Li’s massive moyo.

Youth Lightning, 13×13, and 9×9
Youth Lightning table winners: Hong Yang 6d, Ben Gong 3d, Sangho Wang 2k, Lucas Lu 9k, Stephanie Tan 10k, ZhongRen Huang 20k.
Youth 13×13 table winners: Jeremy Chiu 7D, Tim Cui 5d, Terry Luo 2d, Ben Gong 3d, Andrew Luo 1d, Derek Su 4k, David Volpe 7k, Yulissa Wu 10k, Lujia Chen 21k.
Youth 9×9 table winners: Jeremy Chiu 7d, Seowoo Wang 2d, Darwin Kim 8k, Justin Lee 10k, Vedat Veziroglu 12k, Isabella Leong 22k.

- reported by Tournaments Bureau Chief Karoline Li and Chris Garlock; photo by Garlock

ShinKGS brings KGS to all devices

Tuesday August 8, 2017

FullSizeRender (1)Almost since the day the iPhone came out, people have asked about a KGS client for the popular smartphone. An Android client for KGS was published a few years ago but iPhone users were still out in the cold. No longer: this year ShinKGS was developed by a go player who wanted to solve this problem.

IMG_0117.PNGKGS developers have been working on this client on and off for years. Every once in a while they would post on the KGS Google+ page with a status update. Last year they published the API for developers to create their own clients, and since then two have been developed. ShinKGS has received some support from KGS by having it be part of their website.

ShinKGS has been in beta for a few months and the platform has been very stable. It’s also been good enough that the new ownership of KGS has hosted it on their site. Monday at lunch at the Go Congress Todd Heidenreich (right), was able to watch the Masters Round 4, Board 1 battle between Zi Yang Hu 2p and Zirui Tim Song 1p on his iPhone.

Programmer Justin Kramer has open-sourced this project on GitHub and says that he and KGS are always looking for more programmers to help support the client. ShinKGS works well on a phone (left) of course, and is even easier to use on an iPad.

Ilya Kirillov has also been working on a HTML5 client for KGS called GoUniverse. His app can be found in the Google Chrome App Store.
- Steve Colburn

Exhilaration in both victory and defeat abound at Lightning Tournament

Tuesday August 8, 2017

“Lightning tournament in five minutes!” called TD Keith Arnold outside the main playing room Monday night as players gathered to test IMG_0439themselves against the clock. After subsequent three and one minute warnings, Arnold lined all the fullsizeoutput_a9cplayers up along the wall according to rank and began explaining the rules. Most of them were common rules for a normal tournament with a notable exception: each player only gets 10 minutes on the clock with sudden death, no overtime. “If your opponent forgets to hit their clock, think very carefully about your next move,” Arnold quipped before counting the players off into tables of six players each. In the spirit of his speed tournament, the rules announcement and pairings are done in less than 10 minutes, and games commenced immediately. Choruses of laughter and surprised exclamations resounded as players did their best play as quickly as possible without making foolish mistakes, especially as the clocks ticked inexorably down to zero. “Oh my god, why am I so dumb!” came the plaintive cry from one table, followed by “What am I doing!” from another. Even AGA President Andy Okun (right) got in on the fun, taking a break from his numerous official duties at Go Congress, and hilarity ensued around the room as players explored the limits of their go abilities at ludicrous speed.

-photo (left): a player reacts to his mistake under time pressure
-report/photos by Karoline Li, Tournaments Bureau Chief

U.S. Go Congress Tournaments Recap: Day Three

Tuesday August 8, 2017

US Go Congress Tournament Schedule: Tuesday 8/82019.08.08-lightning-go
9:00a: US Open, round 3; US Open Masters Division, round 5
1:00p: Seniors’ Tournament, round 3; Youth-Adult Pair Go
1:30p: Under-16 Girls’ Tournament, day 1
7:00p: Crazy Go

Lightning Tournament
The main playing area at the Go Congress is usually a scene of quiet concentration. Not Monday night, when it was a cacophony of slammed stones, slapped clocks and raucous laughter as go players tried desperately to play coherent games with only 10 minutes of basic time and sudden death. TD Keith Arnold extended a special thanks to Mark Nahabedian for graciously bowing out of the tournament to make an even number of players. See our full story on this year’s Lightning Tournament and a behind-the-scenes profile of TD Keith Arnold.
Table winners: Yom Nonaka 5d, Tanimiya Yuichi 5d, Zhaoting Han 5d, David Glekel 4d, Konrad Scheffler 2d, Boris Bernadsky 1d, Noah Doss 1k, Jim Fienup 3k, Luke Belyeu 4k, Caleb Johnson 6k, David Baran 8k, Zougren Huang 20k.

-report by Karoline Li, Tournaments Bureau Chief; photo by Chris Garlock

U.S. Go Congress Updates: Andy Liu and Wu Hao undefeated in Masters; Tuesday’s Congress coverage; Congress tournament recap coming; Pro game commentaries, Masters Rounds 1-3

Tuesday August 8, 2017

Andy Liu and Wu Hao undefeated in Masters: And then there were two. After four rounds of spirited play in the 2017 US Open Masters Division, just two players remain undefeated: Andy Liu 1p and Wu Hao 2p. Wu Hao began the day by defeating 2016 Masters champion Bao Yun in a game that looked good for the defending champion until the late endgame, when the margin had narrowed so much that Bao was 2017.08.07_us-open-kid-recordingforced to launch a last ditch — and as it turns out, unwinnable — ko that cost him a large group and the game. In the evening round, Wu Hao forced Ryan Li to resign after just 150 moves. Andy Liu beat Eric Lui 1p in Round 3 and then bested Tim Song 1p in a dramatic game that included a late-game swap of groups. Check the Masters crosstab for latest results and top-board game records. 

2017.08.07_go-players-shadows-psTuesday’s Congress coverage: The E-Journal’s live coverage on Tuesday, August 8 begins with a preview of the day on the AGA’s YouTube and Twitch channels at 8:30a PDT, and broadcast of Round 5 of the U.S. Masters top boards starts at 9a on YouTube/Twitch and KGS, with pro commentary starting around 10a. At 2p we’ll broadcast Bao Yun’s “Blindfold Go” game against Ryan Li on all three platforms.

Congress tournament recap coming: Watch the website Tuesday morning for our updates on the Lightning, Youth Lightning, 13×13 and 9×9 tournaments. Meanwhile, check the US Open crosstab for latest results.

Pro game commentaries, Masters Rounds 1-3: Click here to download the following pro commentaries:
Jennie Shen 2p on the Round 1, Board 2 game between Bao Yun and AaronYe.
Yilun Yang 7p on the Round 2, Board 4 game between Andy Liu and Albert Yen.
Shirley Lin 1p on the Round 3, Board 2 game between Bao Yun and Wu Hao.

- photos (right): US Open Round 2 (by Chris Garlock); (left) Congress main playing area lobby (by Phil Straus); report by Chris Garlock

Redmond AlphaGo commentaries generate big response

Monday August 7, 2017

Response to the four Michael Redmond 9P AlphaGo-AlphaGo commentaries released last week has been overwhelmingly enthusiastic, with nearly 25,000 views so far in just a week.
“I loved the master series, but this is even better,” wrote Alek Erickson7. “I have been waiting for English pro commentary on the self-play 2017.08.07_AlphaGo-Redmond-dawggames for so long.” And oncedidactic1 said the commentaries are “Really really valuable, both entertaining and enlightening, to hear Michael’s perspective on this game, which I’ve seen a lot of commentary on. I feel like Michael has wonderful insights into where alphago is at.” Bla Bla6 added that “This makes me realize that Ke Jie and the players in the Master series didn’t even come close of testing the limits of AlphaGo.”
Then on Sunday, Mr. AlphaGo himself, DeepMind CEO Demis Hassabis tweeted “1st #AlphaGo vs AlphaGo Redmond commentary: https://goo.gl/unK6dy amazing game and analysis: ‘AG has invented a whole new opening theory’!”

Check out the video commentaries here, with links to the sgf commentaries (in italic):
AlphaGo vs. Alphago with Michael Redmond 9p: Game 1
Redmond’s AlphaGo-AlphaGo commentaries launched

AlphaGo vs. Alphago with Michael Redmond 9p: Game 2
AlphaGo-AlphaGo Game 2; Fighting throughout, a surprising sacrifice, a final huge ko 

AlphaGo vs. Alphago with Michael Redmond 9p: Game 3
AlphaGo-AlphaGo Game 3: Three 3-3 invasions, a big moyo and a fight that fills the center of the board 

AlphaGo vs. Alphago with Michael Redmond 9p: Game 4
AlphaGo-AlphaGo Game 4: Reminders of Go Seigen, escalating trades and semeais, and a final ko 

“If only I could ‘like’ a 100,000 times, it would not be enough,” said From Fear to Trust1, while mmKALLL said “I think my head imploded here. Crazy to think of all the 47 games ahead… Thank you!” And Tokenias3 chimed in with “That dog is cute.”

“Guys, slow down!” pleaded trucid22. “1.5 hour review each day is a bit much. I can barely keep up! Spread out the games a bit.” The next set in the series is in pre-production now so trucid22 and the rest of the AlphaGo fans have some time to catch up. We’ll keep you posted on plans for the next release.

E-Journal Managing Editor Chris Garlock hosts the commentaries, which are produced by Michael Wanek and Andrew Jackson (who created the snazzy introduction).