American Go E-Journal

YOUR MOVE: Keith Arnold Remembers Yoshi

Sunday March 6, 2011

I like to think I am careful in my judgments, and, therefore, rarely wrong – at least away from the go board. But one of my greatest misjudgments was Yoshi Sawada.

When I ran the US Go Congress in 2001, I was vigilant in keeping costs down and trying to pass those savings on to my guests. I was particularly frugal with comps – fighting the AGA to limit them, and even charging myself for room and board. And so when the powers that be insisted that Yoshi Sawada be comped, I balked. I mean, he was just a translator, and I had several Japanese speaking people on my team; I disagreed strongly with the expense.

Fortunately, this was a battle I lost. By the end of the Congress, I came to realize that Yoshi was so much more than a Japanese translator, he was a tireless worker who spent every waking hour (and I am not quite sure there were any sleeping hours) making sure my Congress was the best that he could make it.

What made him so special? Any of us who attended his lectures know. Note I said his lectures. To call them Nakayama’s, or Maeda’s or Takemiya’s is really unfair. It was the Yoshi Show, and I wish I could watch them in reruns forever.

Quite frankly, I am not sure how strong a go player he was. He was always reaching out to strong players in the room to make sure he was getting things right. I would even jokingly say I am not sure how strong his Japanese was – because clearly the length and breadth of what he said bore little resemblance to the amount of words that seemed to come out of the pro’s mouth – when Yoshi gave them a chance to speak.

No, I would say that Yoshi did not speak go, he did not speak Japanese. Yoshi spoke Pro.

He knew what a pro wanted to say, even if he did not say it. He knew how to take the most reserved pro, and bring him out of himself and make everything so entertaining and accessible – not just to the strong, not just to the weak, but to everyone, spouses and non-players included.

And he took care of them, made sure they were happy and entertained. If a pro had an issue with the way things were being done, we would never know if it were not for Yoshi. He knew, and he let us know. He lived his life like he played poker – he always made sure there was action.

The Congress gets harder every year for many of us, whose eyes glaze over new faces, looking for the old friends who will never return. In 2005, we lost the future in Greg Lefler. In 2009 we lost so much promise in Jin Chen and Landon Brownell. Last year we lost the personification of the soul of the Congress in Nakayama.

And now we have lost the laughter.

winter’s last cruel chill
shadows a most joyous light
august’s laughter dies

- Keith Arnold; this post originally appeared on Life in 19×19; photos by John Pinkerton


2011 N.A. Ing Masters Qualifiers Start on March 5-6

Sunday March 6, 2011

Two early qualifiers for the 2011 North America Ing Masters Qualifiers (NAIM) are being held in Boston, MA and Alhambra, CA this weekend, March 5-6. Click here for the southern California event and contact Ben Lerner at for the MIT tournament.

Every year, top players from Canada, Mexico and United States are invited to the NAIM, which is getting more competitive each year, as recent NAIM champions are either professional players, or have had to defeat a few pros to win.

“Except for professionals and seeded players, US players must accumulate points through a series of qualifier events throughout the US and/or two online qualifiers.” Says National Tournament Coordinator Zhiyuan ‘Edward’ Zhang.  “Clear (untied) winners of qualifiers though, are guaranteed a place in the NAIM main event in the 2011 US Congress at Santa Barbara, CA July 30 to August 7,” Adds Zhang. Click here for details. Contact if your chapter club wishes to hold a sanctioned NAIM qualifier.

Categories: U.S./North America

Tiger Cubs Storm into Ricoh Cup Final

Sunday March 6, 2011

The march of the Chinese “tiger cubs” continues in China as Tan Xiao 4P and Li Zhe 6P stormed into the final of the 11th Ricoh Cup last week. Li Zhe 6P (l) defeated Wang Lei 6P in the semi-finals to reach the final, while Tan Xiao 4P (r) – a student of Nie Weiping 9P (playing Tan Xiao, at right) – defeated Hu Yaoyu 8P in the other semi-final. This is the first Ricoh Cup final where the tiger cubs have reached the final and yet another milestone for the group of rising young go professionals that the Chinese media has affectionately dubbed “the tiger cubs generation.” Earlier last month, Zhou Hexi 4P, another tiger cub, became the challenger for the 25th Tianyuan title. The Ricoh Cup final will be held in late April in China; the Ricoh Cup is a Chinese domestic tournament, not to be confused with Ricoh Pair Go, which is a Japanese tournament.
- Jing Ning; adapted from her original report on Go Game Guru, which includes game records of both semi-finals.

Categories: World

Amberly Elementary Gets Go

Sunday March 6, 2011

Kids at Amberly Elementary School, in Portage MI,  learned about go this year. “Each year Amberly offers an opportunity for parents and members of the community to teach classes for an after school enrichment program,” writes Jason Preuss, whose daughter attends the school. “I decided it would be a great opportunity to introduce go.  The class met once a week for six weeks and had six students ranging from 1st to 5th grade.  It was enough time to cover the material in the first Level Up book.  The students enjoyed the class and the parents gave positive feedback. For my first time out I was pleased with how the class went. I would like to thank the AGF for their support, in particular the classroom start up kit.”
- EJ Youth Editor Paul Barchilon.  Photo by Jason Preuss
photo (l to r): Jason Preuss, Deidra Preuss, Alyson Koh, Jonathan Koh, Jonathan Ballard, Jacob Ballard. Not pictured: Zyad Wallace.

USYGC and World Youth Updates

Sunday March 6, 2011

The United States Youth Go Championships will be held March 26, with finals on the first weekend in April. The tournament will be held online, and will select the US representatives to the World Youth Goe Championships, in Bucharest, Romania.  The Ing Foundation has just announced that the Senior Division will be limited to under 16, not under 18, as has been the case in the past.  The USYGC will still allow youth under 18 to compete for the US titles, and will determine National Dan, Single Digit Kyu (SDK), and Double Digit Kyu (DDK) Champions. The winners will receive trophies, and prizes will be awarded in the following brackets: 5-7 dan 1-4 dan, 1-4 kyu, 5-9 kyu, 10-15 kyu, 16-20 kyu, 21-25 kyu, 26 and up kyu.  Contestants will be entered into a pool to receive $400 scholarships to  this year’s AGA Summer Youth Go Camp, courtesy of the AGF, 16 Scholarships will be awarded. The Junior Division is for youth 11 and under, the Senior Division is for youth under 16 as of August 17, 2011. Only US Citizens may enter the finals, residents may compete in the qualifier; the winners must be able to travel to Romania for the finals, August 12-19 (expenses are covered for the youth players, but not for parents).  To register, e-mail with your name, AGA #, date of birth, AGA rating, KGS ID, and citizenship.
- Paul Barchilon, EJ Youth Editor

AGF College Scholarship Apps Being Accepted

Sunday March 6, 2011

Applications are now being accepted for the American Go Foundation(AGF) college scholarship. The program  recognizes high school students who have served as important youth organizers and promoters for the go community . To apply, download and complete the application form here. Applicants should describe their accomplishments and volunteer work in a short essay. Letters of recommendation may also be included. Applicants whose enthusiasm and ambition have helped spread go in under-served areas will be given special consideration. Strong players who spend much of their time voluntarily teaching will also be considered, although the award focuses on promoters and organizers who have made substantial contributions during their go career.  To read about former winners, check out Sensei #6.
- EJ Youth Editor Paul Barchilon.  Photo: 2010 scholarship recipient Cherry Shen.

New Go Camp Offers Chance to Study in Shanghai

Sunday March 6, 2011

If three weeks of studying go in China sounds good to you, check out the new Shanghai Go Camp. The intensive program runs June 24 to July 18 at the Shanghai International Studies University and is being organized by a 20-person team including Chinese professionals and 6-dan and 5-dan Chinese amateurs, including Zhao Fan 5d (r). “These guys really know their go and can really help you improve quickly,” writes Antonio Egea in a guest post on Go Game Guru. Egea was the Spanish representative to the 2010 World Amateur Go Championships in Hangzhou, China. The planned schedule includes focused study and play as well as visits to local go clubs, traveling and sightseeing. And with over 300 restaurants near the camp venue, there will plenty of opportunities to explore Chinese cuisine. Click here to download the registration form with full details.

Categories: World

UK TOURNAMENT REPORTS: December 28 – February 12

Saturday March 5, 2011

OXFORD TOURNAMENT: On February 12, after a two year gap, the Oxford Tournament returned, on the same day as the Cheshire, and attracted 51 players. Andrew Simons beat three London players to win the event. Others winning three games were Sue Paterson 4k, Brook Roberts 6k, Peter Harold-Barry 6k, Richard Wheeldon 9k, Julia Woewodskaya 9k, and Kieran Smith 24k.
: Also on February 12, the Cheshire tournament was rather small this year, thanks to a clash with the Manchester football derby and other factors, but much enjoyed by those who attended. In the top group Alex Rix (3D London) was the winner, beating Tony Atkins (2D Reading) in the final. In the Handicap Section, the winner, with a 4-1 record, was Matt Marsh (7k Sheffield). Going 3-2 were Brian and Kathleen Timmins (9k/14k Shrewsbury) and Reg Sayer (13k Stafford). 14 players took part.
: The postponed Edinburgh Christmas Open, which was held February 5, saw a slightly reduced turnout at 33 players.  Having earlier been presented with the 2010 Scottish Championship trophy, David Lee (2D Dundee) also triumphed on the day. Runners up with 3-1 records were Andrew Kay (4D Durham) and Matthew Scott (2D Newcastle). Also receiving prizes for 3 wins were Jenny Radcliffe (4k Durham), Eevi Korhonen (7k Tampere), Rob Payne (9k Edinburgh), Andrew Bate (10k Durham), and William Grayson (12k Edinburgh), who was 3/3 as a ghost.  The Scottish championship 2011 semi-finals were decided to be David Lee v Martha McGill and Piotr Wisthal v Glynn Forsythe.
: On January 22,  Andrew Simons 3D from Cambridge won the tie-break that separated the top players at the 56-player Maidenhead-Hitachi Tournament. Second was Tom Brand 3D from Reading and third was Nick Krempel 3D from London. Winning all three games were David Ward 2D, Baron Allday 1k, David Hall 8k, Pat Ridley 11k, and Jan Poslusny 9k from Prague. The DAGG team from Cambridge won the team prize, but nobody won the 13×13 prize.
:  On Sunday January 16, Matthew Macfadyen beat Vanessa Wong in the fourth game of the 2010 British Championship match. This put Matthew 3-1 ahead in the 5-game match. Matthew is therefore the 2010 British Champion.
: The London Open was again sponsored by Pandanet and WintonCapital Management and was held at the International Student House in London December 28-31,but attendance was a little down this year, no doubt due to the extremely cold weather and snow-related travel difficulties that immediately preceded Christmas. Luckily this had disappeared by the time the London Open started and 99 players turned up to play in this, by now traditional 4 day event, finishing on New Year’s Eve. Wang Wei 6D, who had just moved from Cork to London (but is originally from China) was thought to be the favourite for the Open being the previous year’s runner up. Indeed after four rounds only Wang Wei and Antti Tormanen 6D from Oulu in Finland were unbeaten at the top – they played in round 5; Antti won after an epic battle. Annti then won his last two games to be unbeaten and take first place. Wei Wang also won the rest of his games to end with 6 wins and take second place. Guo Juan from Amsterdam was the resident professional, providing game commentaries and lectures throughout the time, but not playing in the Open. However, she played in the Pair Go Tournament and won, partnered by Ian Davis from Belfast. Guo has also kindly provided €100 sponsorship for this year’s London Open on her audio site. Certificates are given to 5 young deserving players, each worth 20 audio lectures. The Lightning was won by Jukka Jylanki (9k Finland), who beat Andrew Kay (4D UK) in the final. The prizes were presented by Emma Watkins from Winton, with thanks extended to all those involved, especially Geoff Kaniuk and Jenny Radcliffe as main organisers, ably supported by chief referee Nick Wedd, Tony Atkins and many others. In parallel with the London Open was the Man-Machine Challenge, sponsored by the British Go Association, which ended in a comprehensive 4-0 victory for the Man – John Tromp, 2D, who went away $1000 richer courtesy of Darren Cook, who was using Many Faces of Go on his laptop. John said that he wasn’t going to repeat his bet, as he expected to probably lose in a couple of years time if the computer was going to continue improving at the current rate. He felt that the result didn’t reflect the closeness of the games. The final Go event was a casual Rengo event after the tournament proper had been closed, and before the New Year party, which was won by Frenchmen Arnaud Knippel and Michael White; they attribute their success to brand new hats worn throughout! This was Geoff Kaniuk’s last year as London Open Tournament Director, after many years of extraordinarily dedicated service and hard work. Congratulations to him on his retirement.
- as reported in the February of the British Go Association newsletter; E-Journal article edited by Jake Edge

Categories: Europe

IN MEMORIAM: Yoshi Sawada

Monday February 28, 2011

Yoshi Sawada (l) passed away last Friday after a brief and unexpected illness. “Many Go Congress participants will remember Yoshi best for the extremely popular lecture series he gave every year with Maeda Ryo 6P (r),” says Steve Burrall. “The lectures were on ‘The Maeda Method,’ and the term ‘translator’ does not begin to describe the way in which Yoshi brought the concepts to life for the audience. Those of us who were blessed to have him as a close part our lives know that his constant desire was to help people and make them happy, and he was amazing at it.” American Go Association President Allan Abramson called Sawada an “invaluable asset, working behind the scenes to avoid and to smooth over many problems. His honesty was unparalleled. His willingness to help unexcelled. His laughter a delight. This is both a personal loss and a great loss for the go community.” Sawada is survived here by his wife Keiko, two sisters and nieces and nephews back in Japan. “Bring your favorite pictures of and stories about Yoshi to the Santa Barbara Congress,” adds Burrall, “and we will have a time and place to share them.”
- photo by Jake Edge

Categories: U.S./North America

Minshan Shou 7d Wins NJ Open

Monday February 28, 2011

Minshan Shou 7d is this year’s New Jersey Open champion, topping a field of 109 players competing for $1,600 in prizes last weekend in Princeton, New Jersey. Xiruo Liu 7d took second place and Andy Liu 7d was third. Click here for the complete list of winners.
photo: Xiruo Liu (l) and Minshan Shou (r) were the only players with 4-1 records going in to the last round.  Zhaonian (Michael) Chen has white on Board 2 (center), playing Kevin Huang (not visible, at right, behind Minshan Shou). Both are former New Jersey State champions, as is Andy Liu on board 3 (to Chen’s right, behind water jug). Photo courtesy Rick Mott

Categories: U.S./North America