American Go E-Journal

AGF TEACHER OF THE YEAR REVEALS SECRETS OF TEACHING GO

Monday August 2, 2010

“It took begging on my knees to get into schools,” said Marjorie “Su Co” Hey 19k (l), the American Go Foundation’s Teacher of the Year, in a Monday afternoon presentation about her methods of teaching go.  Once she did get into schools, though, teachers “found that the kids that were playing go were behaving better in classes — suddenly I was very popular.”  Double-digit kyus make better teachers, she said, because they don’t complicate things. “If you give the students too much information, they’ll get confused, and they probably won’t come back.”  She is not a fan of “capture go” as a teaching method, because “by the time you get around to showing them all the rules, they’ve lost interest,” so she teaches the full rules of go. Hey said that she ensures that new players win their first game, no matter what, because they won’t come back if they don’t enjoy it, and “worse yet they won’t tell anyone.”   David Weiss 2D agreed that capture go is not a good tool because “kids in general only want to capture — it’s like throwing gasoline on a fire.”  But John Greiner 6k pointed out that the biggest advantage of capture go “is that they know when the game is over.” Hey doesn’t like 9×9 boards — they’re too crowded and players don’t get room to experiment — so she moves people up to 13×13 after two or three games.  In addition to the traditional names for the fourth line (“influence line”) and third line (“territory line”), she added names for the second (“losing line”) and first (“dead line”) to help her students avoid them.  For new students, it’s important not to “let them leave empty-handed,” so she gives out The Way to Go, paper boards, and various other handouts so that they have something to read as well as a way to play before  the next meeting.  It is important to recognize that different kinds of students have different needs, Hey said.  Adults “need to be assured that they are learning something worthwhile,” while kids want to start playing “before they know where the stones go.”  Presenting some go history and the names of famous players is useful when introducing adults, but not for kids.  In addition to her presentation, Hey also brought a lot of her teaching materials (r) to show to the other teachers.
- report/photos by Jake Edge

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U.S. GO CONGRESS: Monday Photo Album

Monday August 2, 2010

photo by Chris Garlock

U.S. OPEN ROUND 2, BOARD 2: Ryo Maeda 6P on “Mysterious and interesting moves”

Monday August 2, 2010

“This is a really interesting and exciting game,” says Ryo Maeda 6P in his U.S. Open Round 2 game commentary, “with many mysterious and interesting moves.” The game features a non-joseki variation that winds up being an even trade and then a ladder plays a critical role in the fighting that follows, with an attack on Black’s central group, more ladders and finishing with a nailbiting semeai with just one period of overtime left. (NOTE: this is not the complete game record, which will be published on the Congress Crosstabs page) Game recorded by Chris Burg; published in the American Go E-Journal.

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LIFE AND DEATH WITH RYO MAEDA 6P

Monday August 2, 2010

The key to making a living shape is “not two eyes, but six points,” Ryo Maeda 6P said in the second of his four-part U.S. Go Congress lecture series.  He went through various sizes of eyes, saying that most players need to “reset” their thinking.  For example a group with a three-space eye “is not dead, it just has one eye.”  He showed the four-space “mountain” eye, as well as the four-space square eye, which he called “baka” (‘stupid’ in Japanese).  He then went on to the bulky five shape (stupid eye plus one) and the rectangular six, which is alive.  Only the “flower six” (or rabbity six) is dead, but Maeda said not to worry about that shape as it has never come up in one of his games: “before you get in flower six, you do something else.”  Someone from the audience suggested “stupid four plus two ears” for that shape, which was well received.  He also described how to avoid studying joseki by making the rectangular six shape in the corner. Sometimes that shape can “turn into ko, but you don’t die.” Instead of studying and remembering joseki, “which is complicated — you can make one mistake and mess it all up,” just remember the rectangular six.

If you are trying to kill a group, first see if it can be turned into a five-point shape, then look to reduce it from the outside.  Playing from the outside is less risky, than playing the “fancy stuff” on the inside that a professional might use, because if it fails “you can lose.”  Most life and death problem books are geared toward a single answer, but in the Maeda method, “there are many right answers.” Players should “erase everything they know and start with the Maeda method — it’s not too late.”  Translator Yoshi Sawada 6D said that the method is simple, “that’s why his book is only six pages” to much laughter.  As he did in his first lecture on Sunday, Maeda finished Monday’s lecture with two rounds of simul rock-paper-scissors with the audience, with a prize for the last one standing.
- report/photos by Jake Edge

U.S. GO CONGRESS BIDS NAKAYAMA A JOYFUL FAREWELL

Monday August 2, 2010

There was a lot of laughter at the Nakayama Noriyuki 7P memorial service Sunday. Just as sensei would have wanted. Nakayama, who was a popular visitor at both the European and U.S. Go Congresses for over two decades, died on February 16. The service began with a solemn kenseki ceremony, in which Nakayama – whose portrait overlooked the gathering at the U.S. Go Congress in Colorado Springs, CO — took white and mourners each placed a black stone on the go board, slowly filling it up. Then the mourners took turns remembering Nakayama and it quickly became clear that Nakayama’s legacy is as much in the hearts of the many go players he touched over the years as it was on the go board. Master of ceremonies Haskell Small 3D – the only other winner (besides Nakayama himself) of the Nakayama Award (given for exceptional service to the Go Congress; he organized the first U.S. Go Congress in 1985) – admired the “precise and definitive fashion with which Nakayama would place each move, pressing it firmly down into the board.” Yasumasa Hane 9P said he hoped “the memory of Mr Nakayama remains long in your hearts.” And, describing Nakayama’s many interests – from go to food, adventures and Japanese literature — Richard Dolen 5D celebrated Nakayama’s “wonderful curiosity,” adding “he was such a sweet man,” a sentiment shared by many of those present. AGA President Allan Abramson 3D took note of Nakayama’s “irrepressible delight” in the game, while former AGA President Roy Laird 3k said that his greatest lesson was “to take go seriously but also to have fun with it.” There were many tales of Nakayama’s jokes and gleeful approach to the game, including Ken Koester’s story about Nakayama’s “stone-color-changing tesuji.” Shunichi Hyodo 6D, who has led Japanese tour groups to the Go Congress for years, laughed about how he would only see Nakayama each year at the Congress. Former AGA Board Chair Dave Weimer 3D reminded attendees that Nakayama’s lectures “were always the highlight of the Congress for many of us.” Betsy Small 11k surely spoke for all when she said that “The delight and joy that he took in go was infectious and inspiring. Goodbye and thank you.”
- report/photos by Chris Garlock

YOUR MOVE: Readers Write: IgoLocal Goes Viral

Monday August 2, 2010

IGOLOCAL GOES VIRAL: ”I wanted to take a moment to offer my heartfelt gratitude for your story on Igolocal in the E-Journal,” writes Chuck Thomas. “The result from the story (NEW WAY TO FIND GO PLAYERS DEBUTS 8/1 EJ) was an astounding success, with more than 150 registrations within 10 hours. The great registration flood is over, but the steady stream has begun – Igolocal has gone viral and now the users are the medium.”

WORLD GO NEWS ROUND-UP: July 26-August 1

Monday August 2, 2010

GU LI IS THE NEW SUPER MEIJIN: In a close and well-battled final round, Gu Li (l) came out on top defeating Lee Changho by 1.5 points in the first Super Meijin Tournament on July 26. Gu Li had lost to Lee Changho in the first round, defeated Iyama Yuta in the second, and came back in the final round to win (click here for an interview with all three players). LEE CHANGHO ADVANCES TO PRICE INFORMATION CUP FINALS: Lee Changho 9P defeated Choi Cheolhan 9P by 2.5 points in the semifinal match of the 6th Price Information Cup on Saturday. The other semifinal match between Lee Sedol 9P and Won Sungjin 9P will be played on August 8th. The Price Information Cup title match is a best-of-three series. The winner of this tournament will challenge current title holder Kim Jiseok for the 2010 Price Information Cup title. KUKSU UNDERWAY: The 54th Kuksu is now underway. Two of the eight first-round matches were played on July 26th and 28th. The first tournament match was close, with Hong Kipyo 4D defeating Yeom Junghoon 7D by just half a point. In the second match, An Hyungjun 2P defeated Park Jinsol 4D by resignation in a very short game of only 94 moves. The remaining six first-round matches will be played in August. The winner of this tournament will challenge Lee Changho, the current Kuksu title holder. The Kuksu — the longest running competition in South Korea — is held by the Hanguk Kiwon and sponsored by The Dong-a Ilbo. Even though it is no longer the largest tournament in terms of prize money, many people still consider the Kuksu title (Kuksu literally means “hand of the nation” or the best player in the country) to be the most prestigious of all Korean titles, especially given its long tradition. The winner’s prize is 40 million KRW.
- JustPlayGo for full reports, photos and game records; Kuksu report includes reporting from Wikipedia

Categories: World
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POGO’S PROBLEMS: White To Move

Monday August 2, 2010

“I told Pogo (yes, that’s his real name) that I’m going to the 2010 Go Congress,” says Weekly Go Problem Editor Myron Souris. “After doing his happy dance over being rid of me for a week, he gave us a couple of his favorite tsumego problems as exercises. By the way, Pogo is the one on the left.” Adds Souris, “You might be impressed with Pogo’s go playing ability, but he’s not that good. With three stones, I can beat him more than half the time. Even worse, a rabbit in the yard interrupts a game for 5 minutes.” See below for this week’s problems. Be the first kyu-rated, active AGA member to submit correct solutions to both problems and win the prize of a back issue of Go World magazine. Plus: another Go World will is available to the first kyu-rated 2010 Go Congress attendee to submit solutions. Email solutions to potw@usgo.org; the Problem Editor’s judgment is final. “And no fair asking your dog for help!” says Souris.

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ONLINE SOFTWARE FOR MANAGING YOUR CLUB

Sunday August 1, 2010

“Who wants to be spending time organizing your go club when you could be playing go?” asked Santa Fe go club organizer Robert Cordingley Monday evening. Cordingley conducted a presentation on his online software GoClubsOnline, which simplifies the process of registering players for tournaments, sending email to club members, uploading data to the AGA, tracking a club library, and more.  Clubs can register with GoClubsOnline for $95/year for up to 30 members, though Cordingley is offering a discount for the duration of the Congress to $80/year for attendees.
- Report by Jake Edge

U.S. OPEN ROUND 1, BOARD 1: Jennie Shen 2P on why “I hate this opening”

Sunday August 1, 2010

“This opening has been going on and on for over 15 years,” says Jennie Shen 2P in her U.S. Open Round 1 game commentary, “I think they should do something else.” Youngster Tianyu (Bill) Lin 7d (r) comes up with an unusual move in a common joseki and dukes it out with Myung Wan Kim 9P (l) in the Board 1 game from the first round of the 2010 U.S. Open on Sunday morning. There are two versions of the game below: a partial game record with commentary by Shen and the complete game record including KGS kibitzes. Game recorded by Solomon Smilack; published in the American Go E-Journal.

US Open Round 1, Board 1, WITH JENNIE SHEN COMMENTARY

US Open Round 1, Board 1: uncommented full game record