American Go E-Journal

NEW IN PRINT 2011: A Mixed Bag

Wednesday August 24, 2011

by Roy Laird
During this year’s annual visit to the vendor room at the U.S. Go Congress, I added four new titles to my collection. I’m interested in pretty much anything John Fairbairn has to say, so I was excited to see that his ongoing partnership with Slate and Shell has produced two in which he focuses on a single important game played by Shusai , the last hereditary head of the Honinbo school. Old Fuseki vs. New Fuseki describes Shusai’s 1933 encounter with Go Seigen , while The Meijin’s Retirement Game covers the 1938 contest immortalized in Kawabata’s The Master of Go. Shusai’s opponent in that game was of course Kitani Minoru, who along with Go is credited with the creation of the revolutionary “New Fuseki.”  Fairbairn goes far beyond mere game analysis to tell the story of how these games came to be so important, placing them fully in the social and historical context of the time. There are “Timelines” outlining the lives of all three principals, and Old v. New contains an extended essay on the birth of “Hypermodern Openings.” Like Fairbairn’s other works, these books strengthen our appreciation for the deep sociocultural well we dip into each time we reach for a stone.

Another productive collaboration is that between S&S and Yuan Zhou. In addition to instructional material – my personal favorite is his small but powerful booklet, “How Not To Play Go” – he shares insights gained from a lifetime of studying the games of important players in his “Master Play” series. In five previous books, he has analyzed the style of seven top players through detailed discussion of two exemplary games – Go Seigen, Takemiya , Cho Chikun, Kitani, Kato, Lee Chang-ho  and Seo Bong-soo. In this year’s Master Play: The Playing Styles of Seven Top Pros, he takes a similar look at Sakata, Takagawa, Fujisawa Shuko, Rin Kaiho, Nei Wei-ping, Ma Xiao-chun and Cho hun-hyun. They say the best way to improve is to study pro games, and here we have a collection of games by some of the strongest players of our time.

Michael Redmond is also working with S&S to produce a new series of books for Western players on the opening. I saw a preliminary proof of Volume One, which will focus on the san-ren-sei opening. In the introduction, Michael says he intends this as “a textbook as well as a game collection.” Considering the Opening: San-Ren-Sei should appear in print before the end of the year.

On a more practical level, I found that I had somehow missed Volume 7 of Kiseido’s “Mastering the Basics” series, Attacking and Defending Moyos. This is the third book in English on the subject. Keshi and Uchikomi (2002; out of print) is organized as a dictionary, showing twenty standard reduction patterns and eighteen common invasion techniques. Reducing Territorial Frameworks (1986) focuses mostly on the “keshi” side of things.  Invading and Reducing Moyos co-authors Richard Bozulich and Rob Van Ziejst take a unique look at the subject by spelling out thirteen general principles, then illustrating these points through extended analysis of six carefully chosen games. The book ends with 151 problems.

Two problem-oriented series continued to grow this year, each serving a different purpose. Korean pro Cho hye-hyon was the youngest female, at eleven, to ever earn Korea professional credentials. In 2010 she became the world’s fourth female 9P. Her blog of challenging problems became so popular that last year she turned it into a book, Creative Life and Death; now she followed up with Volume Two. These books feature extended analysis of dan-level problems. At the other extreme, Oromedia’s Speed Baduk workbook series is now up to twelve volumes. Each book contains hundreds of problems breaking go down to its most basic elements, such as “hane at the 1-2 point.” Dozens of problems illustrate each point.  The workbooks themselves contain no answers – answer books are available separately for each three-volume unit. I also decided to pass up the 21st Century Dictionary of Basic Joseki,Takao Shinji’s update/rewrite of Ishida’s Joseki Dictionary, although I’m sure it contains valuable new material. I have Ishida, much of which is unchanged in the new edition, as well as Kiseido’s Dictionary of Modern Fuseki: The Korean Style. I also subscribe to Go World, where I see more discussion of modern openings than I can ever understand. If I didn’t have a joseki dictionary, though, this is the one I would get. Volume Two, completing the series, will appear early next year.

The long- rumored and anticipated Kiseido art book featuring ukiyo-e with go themes from the Pinckard collection, Japanese Prints and the World of Go, has finally appeared – and I’m sorry to report that it is a big disappointment. Unlike the rich, glossy covers of Go World, the prints seem faded and blurry. William Pinckard’s accompanying commentary in English and Japanese, on the other hand, is richly enlightening. Pinckard was a great scholar of go – click here to read his remarkable essay comparing go to the other ancient classic games, chess and backgammon. If you ever visited the Kiseido website’s “Art Gallery”, from which much of this material was drawn, you know how thoroughly Pinckard researched his acquisitions. I was looking forward to a beautiful book that could live on our coffee table – and I still am.

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YOUR MOVE: Congress Ratings?

Tuesday August 23, 2011

“When will the ratings be updated?” wonders Andreas. “Looks like the first two rounds of the main Congress tournament are in there, but nothing after Wednesday, none of the Self-Paired.”
In general, tournaments are rated within a week of our receiving the tournament results report from the tournament director.  From time to time there are delays as we have to clarify some of the results with the tournament directors…its very easy to transpose a number in a players AGA ID, for instance.  Please rest assured that we will rate the tournaments as quickly as possible.
– Jonathan M Bresler, AGA Ratings Coordinator
photo: at the 2011 U.S. Open in Santa Barbara, CA; photo by Chris Garlock

Go Game Guru Marks 1st Anniversary

Tuesday August 23, 2011

Go Game Guru — a frequent contributor to the E-Journal — celebrated its first anniversary on August 22. A collaboration between two go players, Younggil An and David Ormerod – with regular contributions by Jingning – Go Game Guru provides reliable and well-produced international go news, as well as tips for how to improve at go, including lessons for beginners, study techniques, go problems and commentaries. Younggil An is an 8-dan professional go player with the Korean Baduk Association who won the ‘Prize of Victory of the Year’ in 1998. After completing compulsory military service, Younggil left Korea to teach and promote go around the world. He now runs Young Go Academy  in Sydney, Australia and writes for Go Game Guru. Ormerod is a go enthusiast who has been playing the game for nearly ten years. In 2010, he represented Australia at the 31st World Amateur Go Championship in Hangzhou, China.

Categories: World
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Laughter Goes Hand-in-Hand with Learning at Guo Juan Workshop

Monday August 22, 2011

 Fifteen go players attended the Fifth Annual NC Guo Juan Workshop, held August 12-14, in Raleigh, North Carolina.  Almost half of the attendees were young players, and three were new local players, reports local organizer Bob Bacon. “The registration fees for the first six young players were generously paid by an anonymous Triangle Go Group member,” Bacon adds. Guo “gave a number of interesting and helpful lectures and reviewed games,” co-organizer Thomas McCarthy tells the E-Journal. “She also provided us with the opportunity to play against her in a simultaneous format, and treated us to the joys of Survivor Go.” Workshop participant strength ranged from beginner to 3-dan, “and Guo Juan’s instruction and assistance was perfectly adjusted to each person’s strength.  Laughter went hand in hand with learning, and everyone came away with a stronger appreciation of this wonderful game,” said Bacon.
photo courtesy Bob Bacon

Categories: U.S./North America
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Ting Li 1P Visits the Schaumburg Go Club

Monday August 22, 2011

Ting Li 1P visited the Chicago area after the recent U.S. Go Congress and paid a visit to the Schaumburg Go Club. “She wanted to see ‘American go’ played in a coffee shop,” said Lee Hunyh 1d, a club member and Chicago native whom Ting happened to ask at Congress about the local sights. Ting graciously played two simuls — winning all her games, of course — gave a game review, and signed a board. “She speaks Chinese, Japanese, and English, and hence was able to review each simul game in the native language of the club member,” says local organizer Daniel Smith. Many club members had never met a professional player before, and “everyone greatly appreciated the time Ting spent with us,”
Smith added.

Categories: U.S./North America
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Park Younghun Wins World Meijin Tournament

Sunday August 21, 2011

Park Younghun 9P took the World Meijin title for Korea on Saturday (August 20), defeating China’s Jiang Weijie 5P and Japan’s Iyama Yuta 9P. The 2nd World Meijin tournament – officially called the China Changde Cup, World Mingren Championship – was a contest between the domestic Meijin title holders in China, Japan and Korea. In China and Korea the titles are called Mingren and Myeongin respectively. The format of the tournament was similar to the recent Bosai Cup. There were three rounds and two wins were required to take the title. In the first round, Park defeated Iyama, securing a place in the final. Jiang, who drew a bye in round 1, eliminated Iyama in round 2. Park won the final in 132 moves, after successfully fending off Jiang’s last ditch attempt to kill one of his groups. Congratulations Park Younghun!

Correction: While we’re on topic of Park Younghun, in last week’s article: Park Junghwan Wins Fujitsu Cup, Breaks Record we incorrectly reported that Park Junghwan 9P had broken Lee Sedol 9P’s record as the youngest ever winner of the Fujitsu Cup. While it’s true that Park Junghwan now holds that record, one sharp-eyed E-Journal reader pointed out that it was in fact Park Younghun’s record that was broken. Park Younghun broke Lee’s record by almost two months when he won the Fujitsu Cup in 2004. The original article has been updated.

- Jingning; based on her original article: Park Younghun wins 2nd World Meijin at Go Game Guru. Photo: Park Younghun 9P.

Updating Your E-Journal Profile

Sunday August 21, 2011

Top tourney results…opportunities to participate in international events…upcoming events…to keep you up-to-date on world go news, the E-Journal now publishes whenever go news breaks. If that works for you, you don’t need to do anything. However, if you prefer the once-a-week compilation of the previous week’s posts, simply click on the “Update Your Profile” link at the bottom of each EJ and click on “Weekly.” In that same screen, you can update your email address, renew your AGA membership, check your rating or start receiving the Members’ Edition of the AGA E-Journal. NOTE: be careful to click on the “Update Profile” button when you’re finished and NOT the “Unsubscribe” button (unless that’s what you want)!

Categories: U.S./North America
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U.S. Players Invited to Join Hangzhou Tourney

Sunday August 21, 2011

American go players are being invited to participate in the 2011 Hangzhou Commercial Cup City Invitational Go Tournament, which will be held in Hangzhou October 28-November 1. One of the biggest annual amateur go tournaments in China, the Hangzhou Commercial Cup City Invitational features top competitors from all over the world, with the top prize of about $4,000. Spots are limited; if you’re interested, please contact Xingshuo Liu 7d at liuxingshuo@gmail.com. Players must pay for their own transportation and accommodation.

Categories: World
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Go Classified: Stones/Bowls for Sale

Sunday August 21, 2011

FOR SALE:  Three sets of slate & shell stones:  Jitsuyo 9.2 mm (irregular grain) $220, Tsuki 8.0 mm (curved grain) $160, and Yuki 7.5 mm (straight grain) $160.  Molded red & black bowls (hold up to 10 mm stones):  one with carved dragons on side, one with carved flowers  $40/pair.   Lovely marble bowls (hold up to 9.5 mm stones) one pair colored brown & tan, one pair colored white & tan  $135/pair.  All items never used.  Email me at gerratt5@aol.com and I’ll send you photos.  All prices plus shipping and insurance.

Categories: Go Classified
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Never Too Much Go in Bay Area

Saturday August 20, 2011

A diverse playing field ranging from 7 dan to 26 kyu gathered in Palo Alto, CA on August 13 for the Bay Area Go Players Association monthly AGA ratings tournament. “I was worried that most of our regular players would still be recovering from the US Go Congress and wouldn’t make it,” admits tournament organizer Roger Schrag. But 29 kids and adults played in the tournament, more than half of them having just returned from the US Go Congress less than a week earlier. “Perhaps the Congress energized these players and reminded them how rewarding face to face go play can be,” Schrag suggests. Tony Xie 5d (playing White on the middle board in the photo) swept the dan division with an impressive 4-0 record. In the kyu division, Raymond Feng 6k and Bryan Tan 13k led with four wins and one loss each. The next monthly AGA ratings tournament in the San Francisco Bay Area will be held September 10 in Palo Alto. Photo by Lisa Schrag; click here for more photos.

Categories: U.S./North America
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