With a week to go, nearly three dozen players have already registered for the January 12 Gotham Go Group Tournament in New York City. Zhaonian Chen 7D, Jimmy Guo 7D and Xiliang Liu 7D top the field, and the E-Journal will broadcast top-board games live on KGS for those who cannot attend. Registration is still open for the 4-round AGA-rated tournament, which features prizes for all sections “and surprises for everyone!” promises organizer Peter Armenia. photo: playing site, the Hostelling International New York, at 891 Amsterdam Ave (btw 103rd & 104th).
American Go E-Journal
Friday January 4, 2013
Thursday January 3, 2013
European Youth Go Championship: The 18th European Youth Go Championship, organized by the Hungarian Go Association in Budapest, Hungary, will take place 3/7-10… London Open: The London Open, played from 12/28-31 in London, United Kingdom, was won by Lukas Kraemer 5d (left), second was Matthew Cocke 5d and third was Volkmar Liebscher 3d… Austrian Championship 2012 Playoff: The Austrian Championship 2012 Playoff, played from 12/16-30 in Vienna, Austria, was won by Schayan Hamrah 4d (right), second was Viktor Lin 5d… Hungary New Year’s Tournament: Dominik Boviz 3d won Group A; second was Renato Tolgyesi 1k and third was Mate Matolcsi 6k; Barnabas Kollner 9k won Group B; second was Viktor Toth 14k and third was Judit Bovizne Detre 17k; Szilvia Toth 18k won Group C; second was Aniko Tothne Temesvari 18k and third was Nikoletta toth 18k…SM-finaali: The SM-finaali played 12/29 in Oulu, Finland, was won by Antti Tormanen 6d (left), second was Juri Kuronen 5d… Sociable Go Tournament: The Sociable Go Tournament, played on 12/29 in Bratislava, Slovakia, was won by Viktor Lin 5d (right), second was Miroslav Smid 1k and third was Jakub Berka 4k… Velika Gorica Tournament: The 462nd Velika Gorica weekend go tournament, played on 12/29 in Velika Gorica, Croatia, was won by Mladen Smud 1k, second was Robert Jovicic 2k and third was Drazen Odobasic 17k….Peter Gaspari Memorial: The Peter Gaspari Memorial, played on 12/22 in Ljubljana, Slovenia, was won by Marjan Drobez 2d, second was Dalibor Cotar 5k and third was Miran Gorenec 1k… GO7 Rapid: The GO7 Rapid 2012, played on 12/22 in Vienna, Austria, was won by Monika Cernikova 6k, second was Lothar Spiegal 4d and third was Ivan Oravec 5k…
Adapted from EuroGoTV, which includes winner reports, crosstabs, game records and photos. Edited by Taylor Litteral
Wednesday January 2, 2013
Although I agree with most of the article on how to improve (The Spirit of Play: “What can I do to improve?” 12/31 EJ), I must — tongue firmly in cheek — object to the statement that solving go problems is ‘boring’.
When I was a student at the Korean Baduk Association, the protocol for solving a problem was that you had to be willing to stake your life that your answer was complete and correct. ‘Complete’ is key, as you definitely didn’t want to scramble for a reply if an alternate move in some sequence was suggested; the executioner may have itchy fingers. Solving problems to this day remains a high-octane, nail-biting affair for me, especially if it’s not much of a reading challenge, so tempting then to omit steadying the nerves and triple-checking. You can hold yourself to a higher standard when practicing, and everybody loses sometimes so the pressure is off when playing, so you might think it’s the actual competition that is the tedious part of go…”
Last (well, not really) thoughts. They don’t call the experts ‘practitioners’ for nothing. Janice’s brain cross-references with two suggested reads: The Little Book of Talent, questions-answered-from-real-world-not-author-agenda-practical-really-works tips for improvement in any endeavor, and the science fiction novel Ender’s Game, almost required reading on the American Cultural Experience syllabus. Spoiler alert the entire premise is this idea of thing-itself-is-a small detail or afterthought, the lead-up to the game, not during the game, is where the winner is decided.
- Janice Kim 3P; photo: Kim playing primary schoochildren at the Shuang Huayuan campus of the Beijing Chaoyang Fangcaodi International school on December 17; photo by Chris Garlock
Wednesday January 2, 2013
In a December 29 NPR story about differences between the way that the West and the East think about the process of intellectual struggle, Planet Money correspondent Robert Smith (r) notes that “I learned how to play the board game Go…And one of the things they tell you right at the beginning is to lose your first 50 games quickly; that the whole notion of learning this game is to start by losing a lot. And it reminds me a little bit of this, this theory that it’s going to happen, so you need to embrace that. That is the important part.” Click here to hear the story: NPR Reporters On The Stories That Stuck In 2012; the story — by science correspondent Alix Spiegel – begins at 1:05 and Smith’s comment is at 2:45. Thanks to Eric Osman for passing this along.
Monday December 31, 2012
by Gabriel Benmergui
From time to time students ask me “What can I do to improve?” This is a funny question because I suspect what they really want to know is “What can I do to improve that doesn’t involve solving problems?”
When this subject comes up, someone invariably says something like “I know at 5-dan who never picked up a problem book.” I know a few of these cases, too, and understand that the comment is not really about recognizing that player’s natural skill but as proof that solving problems is not required to improve at go.
There are many factors that contribute to a player’s skill. Unless you’re one of those rare cases of raw natural talent, trying to convince yourself that solving problems is not one of those factors is simply laziness.
An informal poll I once conducted revealed that over 50% of players don’t do any problems at all on a weekly basis. And of those that do, only 10% do enough to reasonably expect any improvement. The good news is that this means that solving problems gives you an absolute edge over the vast majority of players.
Let’s not ignore the elephant in the room: solving problems can be terribly boring. It doesn’t have the excitement of a game and there is no companion or rival. Also, the benefits are hard to measure with precision in the short run, and no matter how diligent we are and how many problems we solve correctly no-one will praise us.
Solving problems, more than any other training activity, requires effort. But you can be assured that when you do put in the effort, you will reap the benefits. How much you want to work is up to your personal ambition, and nothing else.
My Advice: Ignore whoever or whatever tells you that solving problems is a waste of effort. Effort equals results.
Gabriel Benmergui lives in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Argentinian Champion in 2011 and 2012, he has studied go in Korea and now runs the Kaya.gs Go Server. photo by Ivan Vigano
Sunday December 30, 2012
The Myeongin, the Korean equivalent of the Japanese Meijin title, is a best-of-5 match. After losing the first two games to Baek on December 17 and 18, Lee came back to sweep the remaining three games and capture the 41st title of his career.
Many consider Baek to be Lee’s natural enemy, because Baek’s powerful fighting style usually works well against Lee’s, as shown by their 6-4 record in Baek’s favor before the tournament.
This is the second time Baek has placed second in the Myeongin, losing last year to Park Yonghun 9P. Baek will be off the go scene for nearly two years, due to compulsory military service beginning on January 7th, 201. His departure comes at the end of a strong year following wins in the BC Card Cup and the Asian TV Cup.
- Adapted from GoGameGuru’s report; edited by Ben Williams
Sunday December 30, 2012
“Go was just featured on a U.S. TV series!” writes Alicia Seifrid. The game was featured in the ABC series “Last Resort,” episode 10 (“Blue Water”), which aired last Thursday, December 13. “The series is about a renegade U.S. submarine crew on an island in the Indian Ocean,” explains Seifrid. “In this episode, a Chinese diplomat named Zheng visits the crew offering humanitarian aid. He meets with Captain Chaplin, who is wary of what strings might come attached with the aid. Zheng offers Chaplin his grandfather’s go board as a gift. When Chaplin says he prefers chess, Zheng says ‘In chess, the victor is the one who annihilates his opponent’s armies. In weiqi or go, victory goes to the one who can control the most territory with the fewest armies.’” Later in the episode, they play a game against each other, and Zheng catches Chaplin in a trap, “exactly what Chaplin fears might be the real-life situation if he accepts Zheng’s aid,” says Seifrid. She sent along this screencap of the board during their game, noting that “Chaplin is black and Zheng is white.”
Saturday December 29, 2012
There is still time to register for the US Youth Go Championships, which will be held Jan. 19th on KGS. All AGA members who are under 18 are eligible, and there will be prizes awarded every five ranks. Think you might be the best 22 kyu out there? Try your hand in the 21-25 kyu bracket. All games will be even within rank brackets of roughly five stones. All dan level games will be further subdivided by age – under 18 and under 12. Winners 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 firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, rank, birthday, AGA ID, KGS ID, and citizenship. -Story and Photo by Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor. Photo: Young players at the 2010 Go Congress.
Saturday December 29, 2012
During the Edo period a go club, like a tea ceremony room or a kyoka poetry meeting, was a place where rank, station and sex were irrelevant: what mattered most was the skill of the participants. Such people came as close to forming a genuine meritocracy as was possible in class-conscious Japan in those days, and this must have been a large part of go’s appeal to new players.
The fact that go requires deep concentration over relatively long periods of time naturally leads to absent-mindedness in everything unrelated to the game at hand. The absent-minded go player is a stock joke in Japan like the absent-minded professor in the West. A fine example of this is the old story called Go Doro, ‘the Go Burglar,’ several versions of which are preserved in the public story-telling tradition of the Edo and Meiji periods.
Two friends who were addicted to go and were pretty evenly matched used to play every night until very late, so wrapped up in their games that they were oblivious to everything around them. This was a great nuisance to their families, but the worst part of it was their habit of smoking, for they were always spilling hot ash and making holes in the tatami as they lit their pipes from the burning coal in the tobacco tray.
Their wives kept scolding them about this until they had to quit playing altogether. But they couldn’t keep from thinking about go and wishing they could play again. One evening they hit upon a plan. “Let’s just stop smoking while we play! Instead, we”ll go out and have a pipe after each game!”
It’s a splendid idea, but of course they forget about it as soon as they get into their first game and start fiddling with their pipes. After a while one of them notices something. “Oy!” he calls out. “There’s no coal in the tobacco tray!” The wife thinks to herself “If I put a coal in the tray they’ll start burning holes in the tatami all over again. I’ll find something red and bring that instead.”
So from the kitchen she brings in a small red vegetable called a snake gourd and carefully pokes it down into the ashes of the tobacco tray, where it looks just like a bit of burning coal. The men don’t notice a thing, and after a while the wife goes to bed, satisfied that she has nothing more to worry about. On and on the two friends play, frowning and muttering at the go board, sucking away at their pipes and having a great old time.
Later that night a burglar sneaks into the back of the house. He stealthily fills his bag with everything he can get his hands on and hoists it over his shoulder. Just as he is about the take off he hears the click of a go stone. The burglar plays go too, so when that sound comes his curiosity is aroused. With the bag still slung over his shoulder he tiptoes toward the room where the two friends are playing and peeks through the door.
At first he just stands there, watching, but then moves close, bit by bit, until he’s right beside them. One player is about to make a move. the burglar simply can’t control himself. “That’s no good!” he exclaims, putting down the bag. “You ought to play on the other side!” A typical kibitzer’s remark.
Both men are studying the board. “Hey, onlookers are supposed to keep quiet,” says one. “This happens to be a crucial moment in the game.” He glances up briefly. “Who might you be, anyway?” he asks. Click goes a stone onto the board.
All three study the move. It’s a tense moment.
“I’m a burglar,” comes the reply.
“Hmmm…” Click goes another stone. “I see…” Click. “Well, make yourself at home…”
Originally published in Go World #45 (Autumn 1986); click here to find out more about Go World. graphic: cover of GW#95; a surinomo by Utamaro entitled Gods Playing Go. Date unknown. Recalling the Ranka theme, Utamaro depicts (from left to right) Juroujin (the god of Longevity), Benzaiten (the Goddess of Good Fortune), and Bishamonten (the God of Riches) engaged in a game of go (from the collection of Erwin Gerstorfer).
Friday December 28, 2012
The SmartGo Books app has just added four more e-books for a total of 52 books in English. The latest titles include both volumes of Cho Hun-hyeon’s Lectures on Go Techniques, Yilun Yang’s Tricks in Joseki and In the Beginning from the Elementary Go Series. And for those who prefer Japanese or Spanish, Michael Redmond 9P has translated his Patterns of the Sanrensei into Japanese, and the Spanish version of Yuan Zhou’s How Not to Play Go, translated by Brian J. Olive, has just been added. Readers can switch between English and the other language, or see both languages, “perfect for brushing up on your Spanish or Japanese,” says SmartGo’s Anders Kierulf. 38 Basic Joseki and The Endgame are also in the works, Kierulf adds.