American Go E-Journal

Kevin Huang Tops Revived PA Open

Monday November 7, 2011

The Lancaster Go Club hosted the Pennsylvania Open last weekend for the first time in almost a decade. The venue, the Summit Grove Camp and Retreat Center, “was a hit,” reports organizer Michael Rhone II.  “It was the best value for a go tournament ever,” Keith Arnold said, “five games … two meals.  It was a total bargain.” Players came from as far away as North Carolina, Delaware, and New Jersey, and there were over twenty players in attendance, with handicaps given in some instances, but many even games were played. There were plenty of choices for dinner locations at night, and rooms were right down the hall from the playing area. “Some of us stayed up to play casual games both Friday and Saturday night,” Rhone tells the E-Journal. “A great time was had by all.”

Open Section: First place: Kevin Huang; Second place: Keith Arnold
2d-3d Section: First place: Sudhir Vel
1K-5K Section: First Place: Kelsy Dyer; Second Place: Willis Huang
6K-8K Section: First Place: Terri Schurter; Second Place: Gurujeet Khalsa
9-13k Section: First Place: Bob Crites

Categories: U.S./North America

Ben Hakala Wins Portland Tourney

Monday November 7, 2011

Ben Hakala took top honors in the October 29-30 Portland Go Tournament. Twenty six players — including three 6-dans and a 7-dan — participated in the tournament, held on the campus of Lewis & Clark College. While organizer Peter Drake laments that “the award for top female player was not awarded, as all 26 players were male,” he reports that Akane Negishi did stop by long enough to offer KGS Plus memberships to the top single- and double-digit kyu players.” Other prizes — books, boards, etc.– were supplied by Yellow Mountain Imports and Slate & Shell, both of whom offered generous discounts. David Fotland also donated a copy of The Many Faces of Go. “Plans are already forming for next year’s tournament,” Drake adds. “The strong players inquired about the possibility of an open division. There is also the possibility of increasing the number of rounds from five to seven — more than the US Open, crammed into two days. That would be a brutal feat of mental endurance, but why not?” Drake also notes that “The tournament tools at were enormously useful, especially in reporting results quickly to the AGA.”
photo by Weitian Liu

Dan division (first to third): Ben Hakala, Nicholas Jhirad, Vincent Zhuang
Single-digit kyu division: Louie Liu, Trey Cundall, James Moore
Double-digit kyu division: Roger LaMarche, Johnny Sajo, Cooper Stevenson
Youth: Louie Liu

Categories: U.S./North America

Gu Li and Won Seongjin Reach 16th Samsung Cup Final

Sunday November 6, 2011

The finalists for the 16th Samsung Cup were set on November 3. Won Seongjin 9P defeated Chen Yaoye 9P and Gu Li 9P eliminated Na Hyun 1P (a day earlier) in the quarter finals. The Samsung Cup quarter finals are played as a best of three match, rather than a straight knockout. Gu Li taught young talent Na Hyun a thing or two, defeating him in two straight games. Meanwhile, Won Seongjin and Chen Yaoye fought it out to the bitter end. Their third game was a 355 move epic, featuring numerous interesting moves and ko fights. This sets the stage for a China vs Korea final, which will surely be please the sponsor. The final will start on December 6, 2011. Check the Pro Go Calendar for details on the Samsung Cup and other tournaments as they’re added.

- David Ormerod; based on his original article: Gu Li to face Won Seongjin in 16th Samsung Cup final (which includes game records and more photos).

Photo: Won Seongjin 9P (left) counts the second game with Chen Yaoye 9P.

New Mississippi Club Already Expanding

Sunday November 6, 2011

The recently-launched Central Mississippi Go Club (CMGO) is expanding to the Madison/Ridgeland area, reports organizer Greg Smith. “We’ve been requested to make a location convenient to a core group of go players in the (Ridgeland) area,” Smith tells the E-Journal. “We’re happy to comply!” Every fourth Tuesday, the club will meet at the Barnes & Noble off I55. “We had a great turnout” for the club’s first meeting November 1 at The Froghead Grill (off Springridge Road in Clinton), Smith adds. “We played a few games face-to-face, taught a new person how to play go, and we all planned to do it again next week. I couldn’t ask for more.” The AGA’s “help really allowed me to assemble an easy-to-transport ‘Go Box,’  making it very easy to host a meeting with a professional feel,” said Smith. “The resources at have been invaluable, and (the AGA’s) personal assistance made it much easier to get the specific help I needed…I’m confident CMGO will be a hub for teaching and playing go in Central Mississippi for quite a while.”
Photo: Future CMGO members Doss and Kirk play the first ever CMGO game.


Categories: U.S./North America

Mini Goban Located

Sunday November 6, 2011

The mini 9×9 goban (Cute Board? 10/31 EJ) has been tracked down. It’s available from Schaak en Go Winkel in Amsterdam, Scandinavia’s Mohsart (both offer 13×13 versions as well) and Jeu de in France. On the other hand, reader Dwight Anderson says the miniature goban “Would be easy to make. Just get someone to cut and plane a 2 x 10 board, draw the lines on with a permanent marker and finish with some varathane. You can buy the little legs at a local building supply.”




Two Weeks at the Lee Sedol Baduk Academy: Van Tran’s Journal (#1)

Sunday November 6, 2011

Sixteen-year-old Van Tran spent two weeks in South Korea at the Lee Sedol Baduk Academy earlier this year and sent the E-Journal his report, which will appear over the next few weeks. The high school junior lives in the Houston suburb of Spring, Texas, has been playing for two and a half years and is “about 3 dan.”

July 5: Today is my first day of Go School. This is a very weird experience. I can’t understand anything that other people are saying, but somehow I feel like I have learned a lot about go today. The Koreans are very strong and I like the general Korean style that most people play. They like thickness very much and they like to fight aggressively. It amazes me how dedicated these kids are to go. Every day they have formal go study for 12 hours and then when they get back ome they study until 11PM when they go to sleep. Most of the people here my age are 9-dan and are aspiring professionals. It surprises me the gap in skill between a 9-dan and a 1-dan professional. There are even some 9-dans that aren’t inseis because they are weaker than the other 9-dans. There are many 9-dans who are very strong, but only a few become professional every year. A bit of food for thought is that these kids are able to give their all just for a small chance of becoming a  professional. They seem to live in a closed world of go. If they have free time they study go and they eat while they look at top go player’s statistics for “fun.” I lost all my games today even though I am playing with their very young students.

July 6: I woke up today with a terrible backache from sleeping on the floor. There are about 20 kids who are all exceptional at go staying in the headmaster’s apartment. They are all 3-dan and higher. Though most of them are 9-dans, the lowest-ranked out of the Koreans is a little kid I think about 6 who is a solid 3-dan. I have started to specialize my study in Korean Go to hangmae, a Korean technique which means the flow of stones. I find it to be somewhat similar to tesuji which applies many odd fighting shapes. It really helps with fighting and simplifies reading because hangmae acts as a bookmark leading to a favorable result. Today I lost all my games as well. It‘s a bit frustrating to lose all your games to little kids. To be continued next week…
Photo: Headmaster playing a serious go game with a student.

Categories: World,Youth

Temporary Volunteers Wanted for New AGA Website Project

Monday October 31, 2011

If you enjoy researching go facts and are good with words, consider being on the AGA Website Transition Team! The AGA is revamping its website, and part of this project involves going through each existing web page and updating information to make it as current and useful as possible. We’ve already got a great team of volunteers working together on this exciting project, and could use a few more folks to finish up the project and get the new site launched. For example, our current World Amateur Go Championship page shows stats through 2010, so we need to track down who represented the U.S. at the 2011 WAGC and list how they did. No technical skills are required, and we expect this phase of the project to wrap up by the end of November. If you can help — even with a limited time commitment — contact Roger Schrag at


Categories: Go Classified

Your Move: Cute Board?

Monday October 31, 2011

“I just saw this 9×9 set shown in SPIEl 2011, Europe’s largest board game conference,” writes Ramon A. Mercado. “I was wondering if someone in the AGA would know where a set like this may be found in the U.S. This set would look great in the living room coffee table, or even in a desk at work. Imagine what a nice conversational item.”
email with suggestions


Yamashita Keigo Wins Meijin 4-2, Becomes 7th Honinbo Meijin

Sunday October 30, 2011

Challenger Yamashita Keigo 9P (at right) won the Meijin title match last Friday, taking the title from defending Meijin Iyama Yuta 9P in six games. After Yamashita went up 3-1 in the seven-game match, Iyama was in a tight position. He successfully defended a kadoban (match-deciding game) in Game 5 to bring the score back to 3-2, but faced another one in Game 6. Iyama Yuta’s fans hoped that he’d be able to stage a fight-back and defend the title but their hope was short-lived after Yamashita neatly wrapped up the series with a 3.5 point win as white on October 28. The final score for the series was 4-2. Yamashita Keigo now holds the Japanese Honinbo and Meijin titles simultaneously. Just the seventh player to do so, he joins Sakata Eio, Rin Kaiho, Ishida Yoshio, Cho Chikun, Cho U and Takao Shinji in the history books.
- Jingning; based on her original article: Yamashita Keigo wins 36th Meijin at Go Game Guru.

Photo: Yamashita Keigo, Honinbo Meijin.

Categories: World

Jonathan Hop to Launch Go Video Site; Seeks Contributors

Sunday October 30, 2011

Go author Jonathan Hop is starting a video lecture website aimed at popularizing go and providing more resources for people who want to learn more. The website, Sunday Go Lessons “will eventually grow to have hundreds of lectures on various topics, from joseki to the middle game, and will present go in a fun and exciting way,” Hop tells the E-Journal. “Perfect for getting friends and colleagues acquainted with the game.” Looking for financial contributions from the go community to help get his dream off the ground, Hop is offering prizes for contributors, including free lectures and signed copies of his books. Jonathan Hop is a 4 dan amateur and studied at the Yu Changhyuk Baduk Dojo in Migeum, S. Korea and is also the author of the So You Want to Play Go?series, a primer for players of all skill levels. Click here for details on the new site.