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DAE HYUK KO 7D WINS ’10 COTSEN

Monday September 20, 2010

Dae Hyuk Ko 7d (l) won the Cotsen Open last weekend in Los Angeles, California, besting a very tough Open section in which a lot of hard-fought games were played over the course of the two-day tournament. More than 150 players turned out for the 20th annual competition, one of the biggest and richest on the annual American Go Association tournament calendar. The popular event, founded and run by longtime local go fan and entrepreneur Eric Cotsen, is also a unique tournament, the only one to feature free shoulder massages from roaming masseuses, a free catered lunch on both days, a club competition with a $1,500 prize pool and full refund of registration fees to players who attend both days of the tournament. Another highlight was the online pro-pro game Sunday morning between Yilun Yang 7P and Yigang Hua 8P in China, which Yang then commented on afterward. In addition to being available to review player games, Yang ran a competition to correctly solve life and death problems that had players clustered over boards throughout the playing area working on the problems. This year’s tournament also hosted a planning meeting for the 2011 U.S. Go Congress, which will be held July 30-August 6 in nearby Santa Barbara, California and already has close to 100 pre-registered. The American Go E-Journal once again broadcast top-board games on KGS, some of which were commented by Jennie Shen 2P; EuroGoTV also hosted a live video feed of Board 1.
RESULTS (Open Section): 1st: Dae Hyuk Ko 7d ($1,000); 2nd: Juyong Ko 7d ($500); 3rd: Deuk Je Chang 7d ($250); 4th: Curtis Tang 7d ($125); 5th: Seung Hyun (Kevin) Hong 7d ($75); 6th: Rui (Ray) Wang 7d ($50). A 3d-5d: 1st Haibo Zhou $500; 2nd Brett Kelly $250; 3rd Jack Shih $125. B 1k-2d: 1st Aaron Ye $400; 2nd Ross Wolf $200; 3rd Sammy Zhang $100. C 2k-4k: 1st Clark Brooks $500; 2nd Alex Chau $250; 34d Jay Chan $125. D 5k-8k: 1st Roger Schrag $200; 2nd Alf Mikula $100; 3rd Ezana Berhane $60. E 9k-11k: 1st Daniel Davis Jr. $100; 2nd Jiayue Li $80; 3rd Reese Anschultz $50. F 12k-18k: 1st Gordon Castanza $80; 2nd Scott Nichols $60; 3rd Luis Armendariz $40. G 19k+: 1st Shuai Weng $60; 2nd Bryan Liu $40; 3rd Alex Ledante $30. Club prize: 1st Santa Monica Go Club $1000; 2nd Orange County Go Club $300; 3rd Yu GO Go Club $20.
CREDITS: Eric Cotsen, Sponsor; Casie Rizer, Organizer; Chris Hayashida, TD;  assisted by La Nida Cedeno, Lauren Madison-Jamar & Patricia Wang with special thanks to Alex Ledante; Friday set-up volunteers: Sue Gisser, AJ Laprix, Bobbie Rizer, Samantha Rizer, Sara Bergman. Photography by Tony Lau. E-Journal broadcasting team: Chris Garlock, Managing Editor & lead broadcaster; Chris Burg, Board 2 broadcaster & video stream manager; Nick McNelis, Board 3 broadcaster; Richard Dolen, Board 4 broadcaster; KGS, broadcasting host; EuroGoTV, video stream host. photo: reviewing the final round game between Dae Hyuk Ko 7d and Curtis Tang 7d; photo by Chris Garlock

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Categories: Cotsen Open
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2010 COTSEN OPEN Photo Album: Sunday Morning, September 19

Sunday September 19, 2010

Clockwise from top right: kids work on solving Yang’s life and death problems; Juyong Koh 7d (l) and Seung Hyun Hong 7d review their Round 3 game; group effort on solving the life and death problems; Yilun Yang 7P plays Yigang Hua 8P from China live online; Congress Directors Lisa Scott & Andrew Jackson discuss the 2011 U.S. Go Congress with local players; young players review their game. Photos by Chris Garlock

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THE RETURN OF BADUKBOOKS

Monday September 13, 2010

Alexandra Urban’s Badukbooks is back in business. Badukbooks specializes in a veritable treasure trove of Korean go books, many never seen – or very hard to find – in the West. A wide range of material, from the Baduk Nara book series for beginners to life and death books – choose from the just-published Hye-Yeon’s Creative Life & Death I, the 4-volume Sahwal series or the 20-volume Classic Life & Death collection – to Lee Chang-ho’s 2-volume “Brilliantly Beautiful Endgame,” and the “New Moves, New Shapes” yearbooks from 1999 and 2000. Though many of the books are in Korean, some are in English, and each are clearly marked on the site. After a year-long hiatus, Urban says she’s back in Korea “this time at least for 3 years,” and is willing to try to track down any Korean go book Western players are interested in.

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KISEIDO OFFERS VOLUMES OF PROBLEMS

Monday August 23, 2010

There’s theory and there’s practice. In go, practice means studying problems. Kiseido is five volumes into an ambitious seven-volume series of problem books for dan-level players originally published in Japanese by the Japan Go Association. Now available: Graded Go Problems for Dan Players; 300 Life-and-Death Problems, 5-kyu to 3-dan; 300 Tesuji Problems, 5-kyu to 3-dan; 300 Joseki Problems, 1-dan to 3-dan; 256 Opening and Middle Game Problems, 1-dan to 7-dan. These problems are designed to develop your intuition and to provide exercises for developing your ability to analyze positions deeply and accurately. “These are not problems that you can skim through in a couple of days,” Kiseido warns. “Each problem requires serious thought to obtain the maximum benefit.” Click here for details and to order.

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SHIGEKO HANE 1P ON EXPECTATIONS, MENTAL TOUGHNESS AND ENJOYING GO

Wednesday August 4, 2010

Born into the famous Matsuoka go family, the pressure on Shigeko Hane 1P (r) to succeed as a professional from an early age – she learned when she was 6 years old – was intense. “Winning was the #1 priority,” Hane told the E-Journal in an interview Sunday afternoon in the E-Journal office at the U.S. Go Congress. Now, as the wife of former Kisei, Honinbo and Tengen title holder Naoki Hane 9P and mother of four — Ranka 1k, Rinka 4k, Ayaka 1k and 3-year-old Kazuya, of whom great things are also expected – she says she just wants “to enjoy the game.” As a go teacher at an elementary school in Aichi Prefecture, she says she emphasizes the “positive aspects” of their play to encourage them. “Mental toughness is very important to getting stronger,” she says, “all the top professionals absolutely hated to lose as kids. Many of them are famous for breaking down in tears after losses as young players.” While a person’s true temperament can be difficult to determine in real life “it comes out right away in go,” Hane says, “go reveals your real character immediately. Husband Naoki Hane 9P, for example, is calm and steady, like his father Yasumasa Hane 9P – who she accompanied to the Go Congress – and when he came home after winning the Honinbo in 2008 and 2009, “he was the same as always, not jumping up and down, eating the same meals.” And when he lost the title this year, “he was just the same. So I think he really enjoys go for what it is, instead of worrying about winning and losing.” Hane says she’s been “really impressed with how many players at the Congress are recording their games; in Japan very few people do this.” She was also startled that the roomful of hundreds of players at the U.S. Open was “so quiet I could hear the whirr of my video recorder; in Japan tournaments are much noisier.” One way she judges how effective lectures are is by the audience participation, and she noted that at the Congress, “everyone’s really engaged. You must be doing everything right.”
- report by Chris Garlock: photos: Shigeko Hane 1P watching her daughter Ayaka play in the U.S. Open (upper right, by Garlock); Yasumasa Hane 9P, Shigeko Hane 1P, translator Yoshi Sawada (l) and E-Journal Managing Editor Chris Garlock (r) (left, by Todd Heidenreich)

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HANDLING 3-3 INVASIONS THE MAEDA WAY

Tuesday August 3, 2010

Making how to handle 3-3 invasions “clear for everyone” was the topic of Tuesday’s lecture by Ryo Maeda 6P, the third in his 4-part series at the ongoing U.S. Go Congress.  As he explained in Monday’s edition, the key to living is to make six points of space:  “if you try to make two eyes, chances are you may fail.” The invasion at the 3-3 point must be responded to by attaching on either side, but that’s not just true for 3-3 invasions, “you must do that, no matter where it happens on the board.”  Maeda then went through the standard invasion pattern, showing how it corresponded to the Maeda method for making six points of space in the corner. When there are other friendly stones in the area, choosing the proper direction for the attachment is a matter of protecting the widest space, so that you force the opponent into the narrower space.  But the 3-3 invasion should be “the last option,” don’t invade if you can do something else.  On the other hand, taking the “star point does not mean territory — you think you have closed the front door, but the back door is wide open” to the 3-3 invasion.  Maeda recommended using his method in a game first, “then tell your friend.”  In a display of real world application of his technique, Maeda put up a position from the morning’s U.S. Open game between his student Francis Meyer 7D and Myungwan Kim 8P.  Meyer used one of the formations from Maeda’s Sunday lecture, though it was, unfortunately, not the best move in this case.  But Maeda seemed quite proud of how his student was doing in the Open — 2-1 as of Tuesday — and planned to introduce him at the next lecture, which will be held on Thursday. As usual, the lecture concluded with Maeda’s trademark rock-paper-scissors simul.
- report/photos by Jake Edge

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Categories: U.S. Go Congress
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IGOWIN BRINGS “MANY FACES” TO IPHONE, IPOD & IPAD

Saturday June 5, 2010

The new Igowin Pro brings the features of “The Many Faces of Go” to the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad. Igowin’s apps include Igowin Tutor – a free introduction to go– Igowin — 9×9 play — Igowin 13×13 — 13×13 play — Igowin Life – solve life and death problems — and Igowin Joseki, a joseki dictionary and tutor. “The playing apps adjust to your rank and can play a good even game against anyone from 19 kyu to 1 dan,” says author David Fotland. “The knowledge-based engine allows the program to play human-like moves at the weaker settings, generally with good shape,” while the Monte Carlo engine from the latest Many Faces of Go “gives the program great strength.” $4.99. available in the iTunes App Store.

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5 MINUTES WITH: John Gibson, Ireland

Sunday May 30, 2010

Dubliner John Gibson has an unusual claim to fame, even for a go player. He once played go with Ira Einhorn the infamous “The Unicorn Killer” now serving a life sentence for the 1977 murder of Holly Maddux. In the early ‘80s, Gibson was introduced to “Ben Moore” – a pseudonym of Einhorn’s, while he was on the run — by the Secretary of his Dublin chess club, “and we played a number of games,” says Gibson. “He was about 7 kyu.” Gibson has been playing go for 34 years and participated in the first World Mind Sports Games in 2008. He attends one of the two Dublin go clubs at least once a week and reports that there are ongoing serious efforts to teach go in Ireland, although go is not supported by the Irish government and so they have to supply all their equipment themselves.
- None Redmond, special correspondent for the E-Journal; photo by John Pinkerton

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THE TRAVELING GO BOARD: Shanghai: Counting Liberties at the Tongzhou Go School

Tuesday May 25, 2010

If you have any doubt about whether go is alive and well in the land where it was invented, show up on a Sunday night at the Tongzhou Middle School in Shanghai. Night has fallen and the streets are quiet, but the school is a beehive of activity. More than eighty kids are gathered in four classrooms, excitedly shouting out answers as their teachers lay out go problems on demonstration boards. The youngsters, ranging in age from four to twelve or so, sit — when they’re not leaping up to try their move — at special classroom desks stencilled with go boards; the plastic go bowls swing out from beneath the desktop. The school, which currently has more than 300 students, is run by the Tongzhou Go Association and was founded in 1998 by Qin You Min, a go-loving amateur 5-dan businessman who’s also on Shanghai’s team of strong amateurs. Most of the students at Tongzhou are from local primary schools, and indeed Qin learned to play when he himself was in primary school. “Go is an important part of traditional Chinese culture and once I learned, I just could not give it up,” he said with a smile and a shrug. When the principal of the Tongzhou Middle School asked him to start up the go school there, “I could not say no.” Like many an American school, trophy cases — in this case for go championships — line the wall in Tongzhou’s front lobby. Unlike the privately-run Blue Elephant School, Tongzhou is part of the official China go sports system and its team participates in national go tournaments. “A good teacher is the secret of good training,” Qin. Liu Yi Yi 2P is the team’s main coach, and other pros often come to teach as well as the three full-time teachers and seven part-timers. In just twelve years, the school has already generated four professionals, Qin tells me proudly. The team trains daily, with cultural lessons in the morning and then go lessons in the afternoon and evening. Tonight’s classes are levels 2 through 5. The Level 2 kids — who teacher Bai Yi Ping has to lift onto a chair to reach the demo board — are 8 kyu and are learning to count liberties. In adjoining rooms a Level 3 class of 7 kyus is reviewing capturing races, a Level 4 group of 4 kyus is reviewing their games and a Level 5 class of 1 kyus is studying life and death problems. The energy in the school is vibrant, with the kids both focussed and having fun. In the Level 4 class, for example, the kids are working intently together to replay and record their games, while in the next room the tiny Level 2 students are literally jumping up and down in their seats to be chosen to solve the problem on the board. “Play more games with Chinese players,” Qin says when I ask his advice for how American players can improve.
- Chris Garlock; photos by John Pinkerton

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Categories: Traveling Go Board
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THE TRAVELING GO BOARD: Shanghai: At the Blue Elephant Go School

Saturday May 22, 2010

The Shanghai sky is falling in great wet sheets as our taxi careens down the freeway into town. None of the seatbelts work, not even the driver’s, who’s slaloming through an obstacle course of Saturday morning traffic puttering along at 70 miles an hour. A few white-knuckled minutes later we stagger out of the cab and — after grabbing a quick steaming-hot pork dumpling at a street vendor — meet Du Yufeng 3P, who takes us to the Blue Elephant Go School, just around the corner from the famed Fudan University. Founded in 2002, the Blue Elephant is by far the biggest go school in Shanghai — of some 15 — with 400 students. Founder Lao Jian Qun meets us as we exit the elevator and proudly gives us the grand tour of the school’s nine classrooms. In one room several 4-year-old beginners wave their tiny hands frantically in the air for the chance to solve the go problem projected on the wall. In another, teacher Li Jun Liang deftly draws the crowd of 8-year-old kyu players into today’s lesson on sente with humor and a steely glint in his eyes. “This move kills two birds with one stone!” they all shout together, raising two fingers gleefully. And in a third classroom, half a dozen dan players break away from their lesson to beg us to play. E-Journal photographer John Pinkerton and I oblige as the rain draws a grey curtain over the Shanghai skyline outside. John manages to beat Lin Lin, his 9-year-old 1-dan opponent but my budding 4-dan, 12-year-old Xu Wen, proves to be too tough and I soon resign and thank him for the game. Classes meet daily — though the biggest concentration is on the weekend — taught by a 12-member faculty that is half professionals and half strong amateurs. “Most have extensive teaching experience,” Lao tells me, “some as much as 20 years.” As at the school we went to Friday night, the emphasis is “not just on the mechanics of the game,” Lao says, “but on the traditions and culture of go,” as well on the other three classical arts: drawing, music and calligraphy. One floor down is a separate but related school that offers classes in dance and tae kwon do, while next door is an art school with one whole classroom devoted to calligraphy. “We believe that these arts help children’s focus in their other studies as well as in life,” adds Lao. Teacher Li explains that counting liberties is a way “to slip a little math into the go lesson.” As Lao sees us out, I ask him what inspired him to found the school. “Because go is so deep,” he says, “and has such huge possibilities.” Just like children.
- Chris Garlock; photos by John Pinkerton

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Categories: Traveling Go Board
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