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AGA Go Camp Set for Week Before Congress – Outside San Diego

Thursday March 30, 2017

DSCN3691 copyThe AGA Go Camp is moving west this year, and will be held at Schoepe Scout Camp at Lost Valley, just outside of San Diego, from July 30th to August 5th.  Myungwan Kim 9P will return as the instructor, and Fernando Rivera, Wenguang Wang, and Yanping Zhao will be camp directors.  The location, in the mountains above Anza-Borrego State Park, and surrounded by 1,500 acres of national forest, will give kids a taste of the outdoors. The camp features many activities, including high-wire walking, hiking trails, horse-back riding, two swimming pools, boating, and shooting ranges. “During our drive around the camp, I saw herds of deer wandering about. Birds, and other critters are frequent visitors of the camp also,” reports Congress Director Ted Terpstra. “There are native American artifacts on site including rocks where they ground the grain into flour. This is the flagship camp of the Boy Scouts in southern California. I was impressed with the care that has gone into the maintenance of the facilities. It certainly gives an entirely different feeling compared  to the packed freeways of southern California.” Camp will be the week before the US Go Congress, and a two hour drive from the site.  Youth of all ranks can come and learn from a pro, improve their skills, and then come to compete in the US Open the following week.  Airport pick up is available in San Diego for unaccompanied minors. The AGF is again offering a range of scholarships.  Youth who played in either the Redmond Cup or the NAKC are eligible for $400 scholarships, and the winning teams in the School Teams Tournament will also receive full scholarships to camp. For more info about the location click here, for pricing and registration info, click here. - Paul Barchilon EJ Youth Editor.  Photo by Ted Terpstra.

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Chicago High School Runs First Tourney

Friday March 17, 2017

Screen Shot 2017-03-17 at 4.40.14 PMDisney II Magnet High School, in Chicago, IL, held their first go tournament on Feb 7th, to celebrate the Spring Festival, or Lunar New Year of 2017. More than 30 students from 7th to 12th grade registered for the 4-week single-elimination tournament. The final four winners were Calvin Huang, Edgar Venegas, Isaac Smith and Alejandro Hernandez, from 9th and 11th grade.

“We bring different cultural activities into our world language classrooms,” reports Ming Laoshi, Chinese teacher and tournament organizer at the school. “I chose this game from Go and Math Academy in 2015, and then my students fell in love with it. Nowadays, I even use go as the classroom activity when I need a substitute teacher.”

“Go can be used to support goals in the Chinese curriculum,” adds Xinming Simon Guo, of Go and Math Academy, “particularly to enhance understanding of Chinese culture and to reinforce learning language skills (numbers, colors, shapes, positions and locations, timing, etc). Research shows that nonlinguistic representation can have a powerful effect on students’ vocabulary development. Go has numerous vocabularies that can be visually represented on the board and playing go can be aligned with the five major language learning standards — Communication, Culture, Connections, Comparisons, and Communities.”

“Organizing a tournament in the school setting turned out to be really easy,” reports Laoshi, “it started with a small budget. After setting up, all I needed to do was email students a pairing notice every week and enter the results in a Google spreadsheet.” The school plans to organize another  tournament next year, when every student can have an opportunity to play in every round. -Paul Barchilon EJ Youth Editor. Photo by Xinming Guo:Disney II tournament winners and Chinese language teacher Ming.

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Go Classified: Go Players Wanted in Manassas, Delaware and Tennessee

Wednesday September 7, 2016

Manassas VA players wanted: Beginning player looking for others to learn from and to play with in the Manassas VA area. Please contact Bill at billmcfa@yahoo.com

Delaware Go Players Wanted: Southern Delaware area; email vegagirl.mj@gmail.com

Players Wanted — Northeast Tennessee: I am looking for people to play in person in northeast Tenn. My rank is 5 kyu on KGS, and I live in Johnson City. I might be open to teaching someone new but would prefer someone close to my rank. Please contact Tom at tjroncoli@yahoo.com, and we can play on a weeknight or on weekends at a cafe or restaurant.

 

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Behind the Scenes at the US Go Congress: Lisa Scott

Saturday August 6, 2016

Newly-elected AGA board member Lisa Scott is definitely not new to the AGA scene. She served as a Central Region 2016.08.06_lisa-scottboard member from 2010 to 2013, and has just been appointed US Go Congress Coordinator for the AGA. Scott learned to play go on KGS during her first year of college, and found out about the Go Congress in 2006, when she asked around about why most go players seemed to drop offline during the first week of August. Scott has directed the Women’s Tournament at the Go Congress every year since the Lancaster, PA in 2007, her first Go Congress. The first year, 23 women played in the tournament. Participation has been lower some years, but at the 2015 Go Congress in St. Paul 40 women played, and this year that number grew to 46. “With around 90 rated women registered for the Go Congress this year, including pros,” Scott says with a smile. “That means over 50% of them are playing in the Women’s Tournament!” Scott’s biggest goal of the tournament is to build community and give women a chance to meet other female players outside their own clubs. With the number of female registrants and Women’s Tournament players rising each year, more players are getting the chance to meet and play against new people. “I like finding people good games to play.”
report/photo by Karoline Li, Congress Tournament Liaison

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“Global” Go Teaching Concepts Shared

Wednesday August 3, 2016

Myungwan KimA highlight of the US Go Congress is the teacher training program. At Myungwan Kim 9p’s Tuesday afternoon lecture on teaching opening theory, Kim (right) said that one of the most important things players need to develop is evaluation, both global (whole board) and local (small area) evaluation. “If you are winning globally, or if you are weak locally, how should you play?” he asked the crowd attending the teaching seminar. “Defensive,” he told us after we shouted out a few answers.  He also shared a mathematical approach to deciding between invading a territory or reducing it from the outside, in which the player calculates how many points he or she can let the opponent have and still win. If the opponent will make too many, invade.  Otherwise, play from the outside.  “That’s how you will find exactly how Lee Sedol will play,” explains Kim, “It’s not that difficult. But if you don’t have this type of theory, how can you find what he played? It’s way more difficult.” He also had something to say about losing stones. “The difference between sacrifice and giving up is whether you planned it or not,” he argued, getting a laugh from the crowd. Kim’s next teaching lecture is on Thursday, 8/4, at 1pm.

Antoine FenechAntoine Fenech of Strasbourg, France, came to the US Go Congress specifically to exchange teaching ideas with American go clubs and for the seminars for go teachers. Kim’s Tuesday talk was Fenech’s first teaching lesson. “We don’t have this in Europe,” he said afterwards. Fenech (left) is a middle school math teacher who’s also a 5 dan go player. He runs programs in 10 primary schools in the city and teaches kids from 6-13 years old, a program started by his father in 1982, and responsible for training up many strong players. Fenech himself is a product of that program. “The most important thing is that the kids have fun” so that they come back, he said. Asked whether there’s a secret to teaching go he’d like to share with teachers in America, Fenech said that “We have a method to teach go very fast. In like five minutes, they can learn the real go game. And then after that, we don’t need to talk to them anymore, they can just play with each other. I have some kids who play every week and who just play together and I just taught them for five minutes the first day. If they’re already happy playing a lot with each other, then they don’t need someone to tell them more.” But that doesn’t mean the Strasbourg go program isn’t going to produce strong players. “I have some kids who want to improve, who want to play with me,” Fenech explains. “The new generation, we hope that some of them will become stronger, become the best French players.” The Strasbourg go club also developed a website so that kids can keep playing.

- report/photos by Samantha Fede, E-Journal special correspondent, reporting from the 2016 U.S. Go Congress

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AGA Summer Go Camp: Serious Kids Play

Monday May 30, 2016

Go Camp 2015 (12) (1)The AGA Summer Go Camp includes a week of go learning in a friendly kid’s summer camp setting,” says Co-Director Fernando Rivera. “Campers enjoy morning and evening go lessons with a professional teacher throughout the week, and outside of the daily lessons enjoy more traditional summer camp activities.” Matthew Qiu writes “at go camp [last] year I made a lot of good friends, and played a lot of go. Go camp is a fun way to meet new people, and improve your game.” With a mix of lessons, outdoor activities, tournaments, and other Go related activities, the camp is an ideal place for kids to make friends and have fun while also improving their go skills. “Outside of the go classroom, we did many fun-filled outdoor activities,” writes camper Leon Chang, “we went canoeing in the lake, shot arrows at the archery range, climbed ropes courses, and much more!”

Go Camp 2015 (97)Perhaps 12-year-old Joe does the best job of summing up everyone’s feelings after a great week at camp: “When I left camp I was sad that I will miss all my new friends, but when I came back home I was happy because I was beating everyone and showing that I improved.” Go Camp will take place from July 3-9 at YMCA Camp Campbell Gard in Hamilton, Ohio. The camp will be run by Nano Rivera and Frank Luo. Youth who played in the NAKC or the Redmond Cup are eligible for a $400 scholarship, and need-based scholarships of up to $250 are also available courtesy of the American Go Foundation. For more information on the latest camp-related news, and to download the registration forms, visit the camp website, or e-mail Nano Rivera at agagocampeast@gmail.com. -Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor.  Quotes and photos by Nano Rivera.

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AlphaGo-Lee Sedol Match: Game 5 News Coverage

Friday March 18, 2016

Chris Garlock will discuss the AlphaGo-Lee Sedol match Friday March 18 on the “World’s Finest Show” on WCHE 1520 2016.03.17_AlphaGo-Lee-Sedol-game-5-signed-Go-board-550x368AM, tune in worldwide via the listen live button at the top. Garlock commented the match with Michael Redmond 9P.

In Two Moves, AlphaGo and Lee Sedol Redefined the Future
Wired

AlphaGo seals 4-1 victory over Go grandmaster Lee Sedol
The Guardian

Game over! AlphaGo takes the final victory against Go champion Lee Sedol to finish the $1 million contest 4-1
The Daily Mail

AlphaGo defeats Lee Sedol 4–1 in Google DeepMind Challenge Match
GoGameGuru

What we learned in Seoul with AlphaGo
- Demis Hassabis, CEO and Co-Founder of DeepMind

 

 

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Categories: Computer Go/AI,Korea
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AlphaGo Watching Parties in SF & AZ

Wednesday March 16, 2016

The Arizona Go Club met at Old Chicago Restaurant for pizza and wings “to view the burial of human superiority in go, 2016.03.16_AZ Go Club Viewing party at Old Chicago otherwise known as Game 3 of the AlphaGo v. Lee Sedol match,” reports Martin Lebl. “Viewing was successful, although humanity lost, as many have predicted after game 1 and game 2 of the match.” Having watched the first two games at Denny’s, the viewing party for the deciding game was upgraded to Old Chicago “due to their better tasting food, and availability of appropriate liquid refreshments for a wake,” Lebl adds. “The final burial came at 1:30 local time, when AlphaGo decisively proved not only could it fight complicated ko fight, but would convert it into more complicated and bigger ko fight in the process, if given half a chance. Fun was had by all.”

2016.03.16_SF Go Club viewing party“Here’s a picture of us watching game two of the incredible Alphago vs. Lee Sedol match at Noisebridge hackerspace (left) in San Francisco,” reports Mishal Awadah. The SF Go club is 2016.03.16_Google Mt. Viewoffering a 10 week beginners go class starting on March 20th for anyone interested in learning the game.

And Lee Schumacher sent in this shot of a watch party at the Google Mt. View campus (right). 

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Categories: Computer Go/AI
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New 10-Week Beginner Class at SF Go Club

Tuesday March 15, 2016

The SF Go Club is starting a new 10-week beginner’s course this Sunday, March 20th, club president Mishal Awadah told the EJ. “This is a new approach to teaching and we hope to have a great class of beginners’ learn the basics of the game together.” More information about the course as well as a flyer for distribution can be found at http://sfgoclub.com/go-for-beginners/. Topics include the rules, capturing stones, eyes and living groups, shape, ladders, ko, seki and sente vs. gote. The lessons run from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. each week.

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Categories: U.S./North America
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Chess Players Counsel Calm As Computers Close in on Go

Monday February 29, 2016

by Special Correspondent Andy Okun, with reporting by Natalya Kovaleva

In the run-up to AlphaGo’s challenge match with Lee Sedol 9p in Seoul in a little over a week, go players have been worrying about the new age whose beginning might be marked by an AlphaGo victory.  What will the go world be like when computers are so good?  Will people still want to play go?  What will change?  Taking advantage of the collegiality of the IMSA Elite Mind Games in Huaian, we sought counsel from a community that has been through this before.  We asked chess players how the game was affected by Garry Kasparov’s historic loss to IBM’s Deep Blue in 1997, the steady growth in strength of computer chess since, and how go players should greet the news.  The general view was that go players should not be afraid of the new age, but that things will be different.  There may even be some new and interesting problems to handle, as there have in chess.

“So many cheats!” said KwaiKeong Chan (right), a long time chess player, arbiter and organizer from Hong Kong. Chan is helping run the chess 2016.02.29_Kwai Keong Chansection of the IEMG as deputy chief arbiter.  The software is so strong that it has become very easy to find new ways to cheat, Chan said.  “Hiding in the toilet is primitive,” he said dismissively of a toilet-based chess scandal last year in Dubai, although he refused to detail some of the more subtle methods people use.  Strong computers also are how officials crack down on cheats, he said.  Chess software is so good that given a board position and an ELO rating, you can predict the exact set of moves a player of that strength will likely draw from.  If a player consistently picks better moves than are likely for his or her rating, officials know to pay close attention.  “You cannot play beyond yourself.   It’s not humanly possible,” said Chan, who himself had designed some very early chess-playing software.

Beyond that, chess players don’t really care about computers’ strength and said go players shouldn’t either, he said.  Rather, the advent of strong computer go will bring publicity to the game, as Deep Blue did for chess, Chan said.  “That is always a good thing, publicity, good or bad.  Publicity is what you need.”  Chess is being played more than ever before, and while Deep Blue is not the main reason for that – he cited years of community effort in presenting chess well – it did produce a second surge of new players after the Bobby Fischer surge of the 1970s.

2016.02.29_Alexandra KosteniukThe presence of such strong computers has had other effects on how chess is played and the nature of chess expertise, players suggested.  Since strong computers can provide weak and middling players with solid and accurate analysis, the role of the chess master is different than it was, said Russian player Alexandra Kosteniuk (left), a grandmaster, former Women’s World Chess Champion and author of “Diary of a Chess Queen.”  The strength of players has gone up, but the best players don’t command the same respect they might have in years past because the best critique is available to everyone.  “Maybe in a few years, there will be no go masters,” she said.

Shahriyar Mamedyarov, a 31-year-old Azerbaijani grandmaster and former rapid chess World Champion, said it used to be that when he was in world championship tournaments, he might have seven or eight fellow players with him helping him prepare for the games.  He doesn’t need to do that now, since any questions he has or analysis he needs done can be done by computer. Valentina Evgenyevna Gunina, a three-time Russian women’s champion, said computers had raised the standard of training and that “we need to memorize much more than we did before.”

Kirsan ILyumzhinov, the controversial president of both the Federation Internationale des Echecs and the Russian Republic of Kalmykia, as2016.02.29_ponomariov03 well as the head of IMSA and a long time sponsor of computer go competitions, said in the early days of the computer go project, human players and human programmers would work hard to develop the computer player and make it stronger.  “Now the computer develops and trains the human.”

Perhaps the bluntest argument against fear of computers learning to play our games well came from Ruslan Ponomariov (right), a Ukrainian grandmaster and FIDE World Champion from 2002 to 2004.

“What we can do?” he asked with a shrug.

photos credits: Kirill Merkurev (Chan); chessqueen.com (Kosteniuk); en.chessbase.com (Ponomariov)

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