American Go E-Journal

Go Spotting: Park Hoon-jung’s “New World”

Thursday March 14, 2013

A go board shows up in New World, the 2013 South Korean noir film written and directed by Park Hoon-jung. Starring Lee Jung-jae, Choi Min-shik and Hwang Jung-min, the film — released just last month — shows the conflict between the police and the mob through the eyes of an undercover cop. Click here to see a trailer.
Thanks to Vincent DiMattia for the tip. 

Categories: Go Art,Go Spotting

Your Move/Readers Write: Folding Board Found

Thursday March 14, 2013

That (Folding Board Query 3/8 EJ) looks a lot like the folding Agathis boards — B101, B102 & B104 — currently available from Kiseido,” writes Paul Barchilon. “Samarkand used to sell them too. I had one that lasted fairly well, though it did have metal hinges. I made it sit flat by putting little felt circles on the four corners. The lines eventually came off around the center, but that was after several years of frequent use. They used to sell the same model with a fabric backing, which is probably the one Ramon saw. One could inquire from Kiseido about this, and show them a copy of the photo.”

“That board looks like one that I’ve seen for sale at Uwajimaya, a Japanese grocery and market in downtown Seattle,” adds Dennis Wheeler. “Or it’s also possible that its from Shiga’s imports in the University District (near the Seattle Go Center). I’ll try to remember to stop in to see what they each currently have to offer the next time I’m nearby and report back again.”

Kazan Players Dominate Polymetal Rapid Cup, Russia’s First Fast Go Tournament

Wednesday March 13, 2013

Players from Kazan dominated the first Polymetal Rapid Cup, held in Saint Petersburg, Russia on March 8-10. Ilya Shikshin 7d (far left in photo) of Kazan won the individual event, while the Kazan team (photo at right) swept the team event. Kazan is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Tatarstan in Russia. The first official Russian fast go tournament, the Cup was sponsored by Polymetal plc, a leading precious metals producer in Russia and Kazakhstan.

Despite many Russian players being away at the European Youth Go Championship in Budapest, 39 players and 9 teams took part in the Polymetal Rapid Cup competitions. The Russian Go Federation and local go supporters ensured a friendly atmosphere for newcomers with public go classes for beginners, a tea ceremony and relaxing facilities.

Organizers hope the Polymetal Rapid Cup launches a new era of fast go events, including rapid, blitz and lightning. While these formats are very popular in the Russian chess world, they’ve not previously been tried out in general go competitions, where players are expecting to face more new and exciting go events.

Results: Individual: 1st: Ilya Shikshin 7d, 2nd: Dmitriy Surin 6d, 3rd: Alexander Dinerchtein 3P. Team tournament: 1st: Kazan team; Ilya Shikshin, Alexander Dinerchtein, Svetlana Shikshina and Igor Nemliy. 2nd: Moscow City; 3rd: Republic of Karelia. Click here for individual results and tournament photos.
- Daria Koshkina, EJ Russia Correspondent; photo by Michail Krylov/ Russian Go Federation


Categories: Europe

Haskell Small on Don Wiener’s Magic, Music and Snoring

Wednesday March 13, 2013

A number of years ago, our family made a habit of renting a cabin in New England during the summer, and part of the ritual was having Don Wiener come to visit us. Needless to say, the days Don was there became a total immersion in go (and second-hand smoke). I got used to being punished repeatedly at any number of handicap stones, but I learned so much from watching his magic at work. It was only after Don drummed into my head that it wasn’t magic, but my own stubbornness that resulted in total collapse time and time again, that I began to appreciate the value of defending weak groups, an essential ingredient  to begin to become stronger. I am grateful for those lessons.

Don and I shared another common interest – a love of music. Besides his speed-typing talent alluded to in a previous article, Don was a very capable pianist. One of the few other people I know who had a goban under their Steinway, he had won several national awards in the Piano Guild, and could blaze through a Chopin Etude.

And a word about Don’s attitude about go and life. Don was the ultimate go hippie who believed in the power of go to reflect one’s personal choices. While some people like to say that go is a metaphor for life, Don preferred to say that “life is like go!”

Finally, you haven’t heard snoring unless you experienced a night with Don in the guest room. On one of these occasions, my daughters came into our room in the middle of the night fearful the cabin was about to crumble. I mean, the joint was rocking! Imagine the 6:00 Express rumbling through the station during an earthquake and you have some idea of the magnitude of Don’s snoring.

So a final fond farewell to Don-san san-dan, as he was known when a mere 3-dan. I am grateful for having known him. We had whole lot of good times together, and… I still believe it was magic.
- Haskell Small; photo by Phil Straus

Go Review:

Tuesday March 12, 2013

reviewed by James Acres is a cool service from Nate Lee, a very strong amateur player living in Shanghai. His work is kind of like Yuan Zhou’s “Deep Thought” books, except that what Nate does is create a video in which he narrates a professional game while he plays out the moves and some key variations for you.

At first I felt like there would be something lazy about just watching a video of a game. After all, if you aren’t even putting stones on the board yourself, how can you possibly be doing any learning?

But the thing I’ve found about Nate’s commentaries is that they help me appreciate some of the strategic and tactical subtleties of a great professional game, without my having to do much work. And since he provides the game record, you can review the game yourself as many times as you like before or after watching the commentary.

The first thing that Nate does is name most every move. So he’ll say something like “white star point, black keima approach, white jump, black side extension…” which is very helpful in getting into the flow of the game. But at the same time, Nate will choose some specific strategic point on which to hang his narrative of the game, which particularly highlights the difference between the professional and the amateur.

For example, in his commentary on Game Six of the jubango between Go Seigen and Fujisawa Kuranosuke, Nate is careful to explain how Go sacrifices a group simply to build a a four-stone wall in the middle of the board, and how that thickness was decisive to the game. In other games he’s focused on how professionals think about ko, and prepare themselves for ko by not just creating ko threats for themselves, but even deciding to make the ko itself worth more so as to obviate some of their opponent’s threats.

Finally, Nate throws a little John Fairbairn-style historical commentary into the mix, which adds to the fun. To be clear though, where with John the historical context can be seen as the main course, with Nate it is added purely as spice.

All in all, Nate’s videos are the only thing I’ve found in English that let me just be a spectator of a professional game. And that’s a fine thing for those evenings when the kids are in bed, I’m too tired to play or do problems, but still want to spend some time with go. I very much recommend them, both his free sample videos and his subscription service. The subscription service is $5/month, and he makes two commentaries per month, which seem to average about 45min each.

Finally, I do believe Nate’s commentaries have helped me gain a little strength. I was able to push myself firmly into dan territory on Dragon Go when I started watching his videos. I’m not saying that Nate’s videos are anywhere near as valuable as doing problems for getting stronger. But if you follow his habit of naming all your moves, then it does give you a useful structure on which to hang your thoughts while you’re playing.

AGA Website Team Welcomes New members; EJ Seeks News Editors

Tuesday March 12, 2013

Yuqiao Shen, Yinli Wang, Chris Roose and Devin Flake have joined the AGA’s webmaster team, which manages the AGA’s website and online communications. They join Steve Colburn, who leads the team, Rachel Small, the new Pair Go Coordinator, who’s managing the new Pair Go Facebook page, Bart Jacobs, who’s coordinating our new Facebook page, and Jonathan Bresler, Andrew Jackson and Anna Wiggins, who are working on bringing the AGA Database back online. “We’re really fortunate to have such a terrific team of dedicated folks,” says Colburn.

The E-Journal team has openings for two news editors, as Ben Williams – who’s been editing world go news reports – and Taylor Litteral – who’s been editing European go news reports – move on to other projects. Anyone interested should email; no experience necessary but enthusiasm and a good sense of humor helpful. “We owe Ben and Taylor a huge round of thanks,” said EJ Managing Editor Chris Garlock. “They took time from their own personal go boards to bring E-Journal readers go news from around the world, and we really appreciate all their great work.”

Categories: U.S./North America

Jack Cary 6k Tops Vermont Moyo Madness

Sunday March 10, 2013

Sixteen enthusiastic go players turned out for the Vermont Moyo Madness tournament held Saturday, March 9th. Players from 14 kyu to 2 dan participated. The winner was Jack Cary 6k, with a perfect 4 – 0 record. Second place went to John Elder 5k with a 3 –1 record. Third place was taken by Andrew Daudelin 14k also on 3 – 1. Trophies, books, and souvenirs were given out to the top four places plus the venerable “fighting spirit” award to the player who demonstrated a great attitude with or without a winning record. “The Vermont Go Club will be well-represented at St. Michael College’s Spring Matsuri 2013 being held on Sunday, April 7th,” adds tournament organizer Peter Schumer. “We hope to attract lots of new players!”

Categories: U.S./North America

Janice Kim 3P Workshop Announced in Northern California

Sunday March 10, 2013

Janice Kim, the popular 3-dan professional, will conduct a two-day go workshop in Berkeley, CA on Saturday and Sunday, May 4-5.  She will focus on how research into what it takes to become an expert translates into reaching one’s potential in go. “I’ve adapted activities for the workshop from research and practice — not my own, thankfully — in fields as apparently diverse as competitive tennis, to body-building, to law school, to baking,” says Kim. “I find a common thread, in my own observations in go as well, in concepts behind these activities. People appear to excel, without spending unrealistic amounts of time, when what they do follows these concepts.”

Janice Kim 3P is co-author of the award-winning book series Learn to Play Go, and her lectures at the San Francisco Go Club and past workshops have been very popular. Last year she provided commentary at the Cotsen Open in Los Angeles, and this past December she teamed up with Michael Redmond 9P and the American Go E-Journal to provide commentary at the SportAccord World Mind Games in China.

“To sum up what we’ll cover,” Janice continues, “I’ll show you how maybe surprisingly, you may have to do less to get better, and then we’ll translate that into specifically what to do in a way you can replicate after the workshop. I’ll be presenting go material a little differently, but hopefully in a way that you’ll find interesting and useful. I promise not to go full Karate Kid and tell you to wax the floor if you want to get better at go.”

This workshop is organized by Bay Area Go Players Association. More information is available on this web page, and you can pay your entry fee with PayPal, credit card, or by putting a check in the mail. Register and submit payment before April 8 to get the best price.
photos by Chris Garlock (left) and Brian Allen (right).

Categories: U.S./North America

Pourkavoos tops Simsbury Tourney

Saturday March 9, 2013

Aresh Pourkavoos took first place at the 1st Simsbury Open Scholastic Go Tournament, at the Simsbury Library, in  Connecticut,  on March 2nd.  The tournament was held in conjunction with the Simsbury Scholastic Chess Tournament. “We had 6 fierce go competitors enter the tournament,” reports Mike Spaner.  “This was the first go tournament for all of the entrants.  Our young players not only battled for 5  rounds, but they also took  the time to teach many curious onlookers from the chess side of the playing hall  (there were roughly 90 chess players). Although outnumbered, our young go ambassadors  (all new AGA members) did a wonderful job promoting the game of go.  The kids were all very excited to meet  others who share  their love for the game. Between rounds, there were some great hallway discussions on suggested playing strategies and tactics. One of the chess player’s parents had not played go for many years and was excited to get in a game between rounds.  As an observer, I was very happy to see how energized the kids were during and after the tournament. A small, friendly, but competitive tournament for our our youth really helps spark a deeper interest in the game that we love. The Central Connecticut Go Club would like to  extend a special thank you to Gert Hilhorst for organizing the overall Chess and  Go  tournament. The entire event was flawlessly executed by Gert and his team with the helpful assistance of the library staff. We also would like to  thank Mike Scudder for  serving  as  our Tournament Director.  Kiseido publishing graciously provided a discount on gift certificates for our prize winners, and the kids were thrilled with their prizes,”  adds Spaner.  Winners Report: 1st place: Aresh Pourkavoos; 2nd place: Sophie Spaner; 3rd place: Matt Miller. -Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor.  Story and photo by Mike Spaner.

Going to Extremes

Saturday March 9, 2013

If regular go is getting too easy, you may want to check out the eXtreme Mindgame Challenge, which proposes to expand play to a staggering 57 x 57 board.

“The goal of this project is to make this 4000 year old game really extreme,” say the project’s organizers, who say they’re planning to recruit two teams to eight players each to play on the biggest board in the world. “Players will be quite strong so that they can focus on the whole game,” they add.

It’s not clear who’s behind the grandiose effort, which is trying to raise $5,000 for the summer 2013 project but has only attracted two supporters for a grand total of $60 thus far.

With 3,249 intersections in a 57×57 board, project organizers calculate the number of possible game positions at 10 to the 2,000 power.

- Thanks to Paul Barchilon for passing this along

Categories: Go Spotting,World