American Go E-Journal

Baoxiang Bai of China Wins World Amateur Go Championship; U.S. Places Third

Monday June 6, 2011

On June 1 2011, China’s Baoxiang Bai (in photo at right) won the 32nd World Amateur Go Championship (WAGC) with a triumphant clean sweep of 8 wins. South Korea’s Woo Soo Choi finished in second place with an impressive 7 wins – losing only to Bai in round 5.  Arguably, Bai’s match with Choi in round 5 determined the winner of the tournament. Eric Lui of the U.S. claimed third place with 6 wins, the best-ever result for the U.S.

Interestingly enough, in last year’s 31st WAGC, China and Korea also met in round 5 to battle it out for the championship. Korea won last year’s championship (the 31st WAGC). Other than Choi, Bai also defeated Hirata of Japan (see below for a just-posted game commentary by An Younggil 8P of Go Game Guru on the game between Baoxiang Bai and Hironori Hirata), Wu of Chinese Taipei, Lui of the US, Rattanasetyut of Thailand, Burzo of Romania, Suponeu of Belarus, and Mezhov of Russia.

The rest of the top 10 are as follows: Thomas Debarre of France, Hironori Hirata of Japan, Jun Fan of Canada, Franz-Josef Dickhut of Germany, Tsung-Han Wu of Chinese Taipei, Gheorghe Cornel Burzo of Romania, and Merlijn Kuin of Netherlands.  The full results are available at EuroGoTV.
- Based on the report from Jingning at Go Game Guru; edited by Jake Edge

[Update: An Younggil 8P of Go Game Guru has commented the game between Baoxiang Bai (China) and Hironori Hirata (Japan) for E-Journal readers. The game record is below.]



Ke Huang 7d Wins 2011 Maryland Open

Monday June 6, 2011

Ke Huang 7d won this year’s Maryland Open, held May 28-29 in Baltimore, MD. E-Journal contributor Yuan Zhou 7d took second place. Sam Zimmerman 5k directed, and took second place in his division.  The NOVA Go Club won the Greg Lefler Award. photo: Keiju Takehara (l) plays Justin Teng; photo by Allan Abramson; click here for his photo album from the event.

Winner’s Report:
Open Section: 1st: Ke Huang 7d; 2nd: Yuan Zhou 7d; 3rd: Rui Zie 7d
Section A:
1st Gikuyu Nderitu 1d; 2nd Justin Teng 4d; 3rd Daniel Short
Section B:
1st Weiyu Yang 1k; 2nd Stephen Tung 1k
Section C:
1st Kelsey Dyer 2k: Kyu Champion; 2nd Mark Scibinico 4k
Section D
: 1st James Pickett 5k; 2nd Sam Zimmerman 5k
Section E:
1st Robert Meyer 7k; 2nd Jaimie Birger 9k; 3rd Blair Chisolm  7k
Section F: 1st Nathaniel Eagle 10k; 2nd Walter Zhao 11k; 3rd Michael Allis 10k
Greg Lefler Award
: NOVA Go Club

Categories: U.S./North America

Go World Offer Deadline Extended!

Monday June 6, 2011

Wouldn’t it be great if, just as your final overtime period was about to expire, you suddenly got another 5 minutes to play? That’s exactly what’s happened with our special Go World offer. Join or renew your AGA membership by June 8 (extended from May 31) and we’ll send you up to 1,700 pages of great stuff! Go World magazine, Kiseido’s quarterly go publication, is the ultimate source of go knowledge in English. Each 64-page issue is packed with extensive review of at least ten major title match games by top professionals as well as problems, instructional articles and series, and coverage of historical, cultural and other aspects of the game. Even if you’re already a member, now’s the time to add more years, and the more you add, the better it gets! Here’s how it breaks down: 1 year ($30) — your choice of any 3 issues (192 pages); 2 years ($50) — your choice of any 7 issues (448 pages); 3 years ($75) — your choice of any 12 issues (768 pages); 4 years ($100) — your choice of any 18 issues (1152 pages); 5 years — ($125) — all 27 issues! (1728 pages). Click here for details and to take advantage of this offer; after June 8, time is up!

NOTE: If you joined the AGA during the recent membership drive, you must download and submit the order form with your selected issues in order to receive your Go World premium (unless you joined for five years, in which case we’re sending all 27 available issues.) Some of our new and renewing members are losing out on the copies of Go World they’re entitled to, because they didn’t tell us which issues they want. Click here if you need to select your issues. Please allow 4-6 weeks for delivery.

Dixon Elementary Going Strong in New Mexico

Monday June 6, 2011

After nine weeks practicing and studying go, students at Dixon Elementary School in Dixon, NM finished up the 2011 Spring Semester with a knock-out tournament. Everyone who participated received a copy of The Way to Go and the top three players — Liam (1st), Brooklyn (2nd) and Emmett (3rd) — received a copy of Peter Shotwell’s Go! More Than a Game. Shotwell’s book was chosen as an excellent tool for building skills as well as providing concise discussions on go history and culture. The awards were presented at the school’s Awards Day, May 29th, attended by students, teachers and parents.

“We are much indebted to the school librarian, Ms. Maggie Durham for championing go in the school’s art program,” said Santa Fe Go Club member Robert Cordingley, who ran the class. Cordingley also extended thanks to the school staff for their support, particularly Head Teacher Ms. Kiva Duckworth-Moulton and the AGF for their help with equipment and materials. – photo by Robert Cordingley

Teuber Sweeps Amsterdam

Monday June 6, 2011

Benjamin Teuber 6d (r) swept the 2011 Amsterdam Go Tournament, held June 2-5. Click here for EuroGoTV’s coverage, which includes round-by-round reports, photos and game records.

Categories: Europe

SmartGo Books Releases Two New Books for iPad/iPhone

Monday June 6, 2011

SmartGo Books has just released two new iPad/iPhone books, including one by Michael Redmond 9P specifically designed to take advantage of the power of the iPad.  In Patterns of the Sanrensei, Redmond reviews six basic plans for the sanrensei opening, and illustrates the strategy and tactics of these patterns in twenty of his own games.  Written for SmartGo Books and only available for the iPad and iPhone, Patterns of the Sanrensei enables readers for the first time to easily replay the moves in the book’s diagrams, peeling the moves back to see how a given diagram developed, as well as the ability to adjust fonts and layout.  “Whether you play the Sanrensei or need to defend against it, this is the book to read before your next tournament,” says SmartGo Books publisher Anders Kierulf. Click here to check out a PDF sample. Also just released is Yuan Zhou 7d’s How Not to Play Go, published by Slate & Shell. The slim 63-page book “will have a revolutionary impact on any kyu player who reads it,” and “clarifies common kyu level misunderstandings that hold kyu players back from reaching dan level.”  SmartGo Books currently offers ten go books for the iPad and iPhone, with more in the works; they’re all available on the App Store.

Openings on AGA Web Team Available

Sunday June 5, 2011

If you’d like to help make the best English-language go website in the world even better, the AGA webmaster team now has a few openings available. The workload is shared so no-one gets overloaded and we’re looking for folks with good skills and fresh ideas on how to improve the AGA’s website. If interested, please email

GO SPOTTING: Go: A Novel/George Hoshida’s Go Sketches

Sunday June 5, 2011

Janice Kim’s article about go stones in a Japanese internship camp (GO SPOTTING: ‘The Archaeology of Internment’ 5/9) prompted roving E-Journal contributor Peter Shotwell to send along some excerpts from Holly Uyemoto’s 1995 book Go: A Novel, which focuses on generational differences among Japanese-Americans. The sketches below — which are not part of the novel — are from the George Hoshida Collection on the Japanese American National Museum website.

I used to not like Uncle Mas very much. He bored me… I always found Uncle Mas drab, a frog on a log. It requires no stretch of the imagination to picture his tongue popping out suddenly,  catching a fly or a raindrop. But one day, my grandmother told me a story about Uncle Mas that changed the way I saw him for good…

Before he became a naturalized citizen, [Ojiichan, another uncle] carried a copy of the Constitution in his wallet and took it with him everywhere he went. He quoted from it freely. After Pearl Harbor… Ojiichan brought out his Constitution and cited the Fourth Amendment rights [but they] took him away, the Constitution neatly folded again and put back in his wallet.

Ojiichan was a great go player [but] deemed a Japanese cultural item, the government barred Ojiichan from taking his old go table with him into camp, so he made one… He learned to shape and polish quartz veined with orange borax, and obsidian black and bright, with edges that cut metal and skin. Uncle Mas was fascinated with the go board. He begged Ojiichan to let him play with it. Ojiichan told him not to go near the board… Later, he brought down the go board and the stones, smooth quartz and biting obsidian, and asked my grandmother, ‘Where is he?’ He then set about teaching Uncle Mas how to play—not the five-in-a-row kind of go that children and Westerners play, but the real thing. Uncle Mas learned quickly. He had an aptitude for strategy: in the end, both too much so, and not enough. Ojiichan’s friends would gather around, joke, give Uncle Mas hints, and make friendly wagers about how many moves it would take Ojiichan to win. The nightly face-off between Ojiichan and Uncle Mas became community entertainment.

Uncle Mas winning was never a question, but one day it happened. About six months after he started playing, he beat Ojiichan. And Ojiichan made him swallow one of his own stones. This was Uncle Mas’s victory, and his punishment. Uncle Mas thought Ojiichan was joking, but he wasn’t. He insisted Uncle Mas swallow the stone. Uncle Mas reasoned that as the winner, he should choose whether or not he had to swallow the stone. Ojiichan said it was his ‘tadai no gisei o haratte eta shyori,’ his conquest, having exceeded his master, and his punishment for the same reason—the Japanese equivalent of Pyrrhic victory.

Uncle Mas swallowed the stone, and he stopped playing go…after his big win, he made himself scarce…The next time my grandmother saw him was when she was called to the infirmary after Uncle Mas had been found in the latrine trying to pass a huge fecal boulder. He was rushed to the hospital and operated on. The doctor said he would be fine. There were no fresh fruits and vegetables to speak of in camp. Most meals consisted of mutton and either rice or potatoes. The camp doctor assured Ojiichan and my grandmother that constipation was entirely normal in camp, but it seemed that there had been an inorganic stoppage of Uncle Mas’s bowels: during his operation, the doctor extracted one perfectly round, flat, knife-edged obsidian stone.

‘Remember that story about Uncle Mas?’ I asked my mother one day. ‘The go stone Ochiijan made him swallow?’ ‘Nobody made anybody swallow anything,’ my mother said.  ‘Then why does Uncle Mas have a bad stomach?’  ‘Because he can’t express himself.’ ‘You mean, talk?’

When he was released from the camp infirmary, Uncle Mas was whole again, except that he stopped talking… A week later, he suddenly slumped over. He was rushed back to the infirmary. There were lots of cuts in Uncle Mas’s large intestine; they had ruptured and were bleeding. The doctor removed four feet of Uncle Mas’s large intestine and sewed him up again. ‘Don’t you remember?’ I prodded my mother. ‘Grandma told me.’ ‘I was a baby then. Besides, sometimes she just liked to tell you stories.’

But Uncle Mas still has terrible troubles with his stomach, and he still refuses to play go. I saw him studying Ochiijan’s fancy table once. Uncle Mas ran his hand over the top, touched the carvings, and, pulling back in order to see, squinted at the inlaid grid. He opened the drawers and studied the stones. He held one of the smooth black onyx in his palm, rolling it back and forth. And then he walked away.
- excerpted from Go: A Novel, by Holly Uyemoto

Sketches from the George Hoshida Collection on the Japanese American National Museum website. George Hoshida (1907-1985) was born in Japan and at the age of five, his family settled in Hilo, Hawaii. As an active practitioner of Judo, Hoshida was active at the local dojo. This led directly to his arrest by FBI agents on the day after the bombing of Pearl Harbor as a potential saboteur. Unlike most Japanese Americans living in Hawaii, Hoshida was incarcerated for the duration of the war, first at Kilauea Military Camp and Sand Island in Hawaii and later in mainland Justice Department internment camps at Lordsburg and Santa Fe, New Mexico. Eventually, he was able to rejoin his wife and young daughters, but only when they agreed to leave Hawaii to be incarcerated with him in a War Relocation Authority camp on the mainland. Hoshida began a visual diary of his incarceration from his earliest days in prison. The two notebooks in the collection of the Japanese American National Museum are an extremely rare visual document of the special Justice Department camps and chart his frequent movement from one facility to the next. (Hoshida bio courtesy the Japanese American National Museum, which supports several Japan relief efforts.)
- editing, layout and graphics research by Chris Garlock

Scot Wins Scottish Open

Sunday June 5, 2011

For the first time in many years, the Scottish Open was won this year by a Scottish-born player. Local native Sandy Taylor 2d (Durham) won all five games to take his first tournament title at the Open, held May 28-29 in Dundee. The closure of long-term sponsor Real Time Worlds and a local wedding anniversary contributed to a drop in attendance, with 23 players participating. A new sponsor, Denki — a locally-based “digital toy factory” — ensured that, as ever, all players took away a jar of Dundee’s famous marmalade. Prizes were also awarded to David Lee 2d (Dundee) and Dieter Daems 9k (Leuven) for four wins out of five, and to Martha McGill 2k (Edinburgh), Boris Mitrovic 2k (Edinburgh), Tom Croonenborghs 1d (Antwerp), Eugene Kee-Onn Wong 4k (Glasgow) and Andrew Thurman 7k (Durham) for three wins. Edwin Brady 1k (St Andrews) and Sandy Taylor 2d (Durham) jointly won the Lightning tournament with three wins out of four.
- Tony Atkins, based on his report on the BGA website

Categories: Europe

“Flawed” Use of Go in Kissinger’s New Book?

Sunday June 5, 2011

Henry Kissinger ‘s understanding of go strategy informs his latest book, On China. However, according to a recent review in The Economist, Kissinger’s book “is marred by three related flaws. The first is Mr Kissinger’s insight that Chinese strategists think like players of wei qi or Go, which means that, in the long term, they wish to avoid encirclement. Westerners are chess-players, tacticians aiming to get rid of their opponents’ pieces ‘in a series of head-on clashes’, he writes. ‘Chess produces single-mindedness; wei qi generates strategic flexibility.’” The review, entitled No go points out that “This conceit has been used by other authors. It appears every few pages here like a nervous tic. Even before Mr Kissinger joins the game, the metaphor is pulled into service to analyse, among other things, Chinese policy in the Korean war, the Taiwan Strait crises of the 1950s (where, of course, “both sides were playing by wei qi rules”), the 1962 war with India (“wei qi in the Himalayas”). Later he describes events in Indochina as ‘a quadripartite game of wei qi,’ just at the time when genocide was under way in Cambodia.” Finally, The Economist reviewers say, “the picture of Chinese foreign policy, as formulated by cool, calculating, master strategists playing wei qi, makes it appear more coherent, consistent and effective than it has been. China’s involvement in the Korean war, for example, led, in Mr Kissinger’s phrase, to ‘two years of war and 20 years of isolation,’ hardly a goal for China—or a wei qi triumph.” In a related story, Leonard Lopate recently interviewed Kissinger on NPR’s WYNC and they briefly discussed the game of go; click here to hear the interview; they talk about go  from approximately 13:50 to about 16:20. Click here for our January 24, 2011 report on Kissinger on Go and Chinese Strategic Thinking.
- thanks to Robert A. McCallister, past president of the AGA and former publisher of The American Go Journal, and to Richard Simon, for spotting these reports

“Flawed” Use of Go in Kissinger’s New Book?