American Go E-Journal

AGA Board Waives U.S. Youth Go Championship Requirement

Monday February 1, 2010

The AGA Board acted Sunday to waive the 10-game minimum requirement for the annual U.S. Youth Go Championship, converting last year’s one-time exemption into a permanent exemption for this tournament, which leads to the selection of the U.S. representative to the World Youth tournament. Board Chairman Roy Schmidt noted that “This responds to concerns of youth advocates that the AGA should be encouraging maximum participation in this tournament, with reduced requirements.”

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Matthews To Retire As AGA Ratings Coordinator

Monday February 1, 2010

“Our ratings coordinator, Paul Matthews, has informed me of his decision to retire from this position to spend more time pursuing other go related interests,” reports AGA President Allan Abramson. “Paul has been one of our AGA heroes,” Abramson told the E-Journal, “having developed the rating system algorithms 20 years ago, and having maintained ratings with regular updates for all this time.” Adding that “I personally hold him in the highest regard, and respect the care he devoted to the quality of ratings.” Abramson also had a request for AGA members, asking them to “Please join me in extending our thanks to Paul for 20 years of extraordinary service.” Abramson also noted that “We are now in the process of integrating new open source rating system programming with our other data systems and web site. This transition may take several months to complete, but in the interim we expect to do a ratings update as soon as possible. I ask for your understanding and patience.”

Categories: U.S./North America
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World Pair Go Registration Deadline Extended

Monday February 1, 2010

The registration deadline for the World Pair Go Tournament has been extended to this Thursday at  midnight. Recognizing the World Pair Go Tournament as a special one-time celebration of the 20th anniversary of the creation of Pair Go, the AGA Board Sunday night voted to waive both the one-year continuous membership requirement and the 10-game minimum requirement for the qualification tournament, as it had waived some requirements for the World Mind Sports Games last year under similar circumstances. U.S. citizenship and U.S. residency for at least six of the past twelve months still are required. Interested pros and amateurs must contact President@usgo.org with names and AGA ID’s by the deadline

Gu Li Winningest Pro In ’09

Monday February 1, 2010

An important indication of superiority among go professionals is their winning percentage, especially among the most active players. Here is a rundown for 2009. Gu Li 9P of China was the player with the most wins in international events, winning eighteen and losing seven for a winning rate of 72%. Second in number of wins was fellow Chinese Qiu Jun 9P with 17-8 for a 68% rate. Third was Heo Yeongho 6P of Korea whose 16-4 record gave him an amazing 80% win rate. Not surprisingly, the top twenty international event winners are all either Chinese (9) or Korean (12): nine Chinese and twelve Koreans (a six-way tie for 16th makes the total twenty-one).

In 2008, Gu Li was third behind Lee Sedol 9P and Lee Changho 9P of Korea, but Gu’s winning percentage was higher: 82% vs. 75% and 74%.

In Japan in 2009 Iyama Yuta 9P was dominant, not only winning the most games (43-14) but also having the highest winning percentage among the top winners: 75%.

Yuki Satoshi 9P was second in wins, 40-15.

Top title holder Cho U 9P fell to fifth place, winning 35 while losing 19 for a 65% rate. Cho was the top winner in 2008 in Japan.

In Korea, Kim Jisuk 6P, who turned twenty during 2009, was the top winner at 71-20 for a 78% rate. His 78% winning percentage was also top among the thirty players with the most wins.

Choi Cheolhan 9p was second on the winning list with 56-18 for a 76% rate, and Lee Changho 9P was third with 50 wins and a 66% rate.

Lee Changho was second in 2008 behind Lee Sedol 9P (who is currently not playing in professional events).

Kong Jie 9P is the top winner for 2009 in China: 47-20 for a 70% rate.

Only one player among the top thirty winners in China has a higher rate: Tan Xiao 5P in fifteenth place with a 74% rate for 33-12.

The precocious teen Chen Yaoye 9P – who turned twenty at the end of 2009 — was second in China with 46-20, which also gives him a 70% win rate.
- Bill Cobb

Categories: Go News,World
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EUROPEAN GO NEWS: Groenen & Brouwer Tie In Dutch Champs; Groenen Denies Pomstra Bid For 5th Win At Heerlen Open; Pocsai-Palogh Corner Market On Hungarian Title Gold; Kachanovskij Wins First KGS Insei League; Kachanovskiy, Simara, Prokopova To Student Oza; Grabowski Steps Down As Polish Ratings Master

Monday February 1, 2010

GROENEN & BROUWER TIE IN DUTCH CHAMPS: Geert Groenen 6d and Peter Brouwer 5d tied for the Dutch title after the final rounds of the Championship, which were played last weekend at the European Go Center near Amsterdam. The winner will be decided in a best-of-three play-off in the Spring. Last year Groenen lost the play-off, while Brouwer took bronze on his first try for the title. EuroGoTV plans to publish a collection of the Dutch Championship games with commentary by Guo Juan 5P. Four other players shared third place while four more kept their seats in the finals for next year. “I am both proud and happy,” said event co-organizer Herman Hiddema, “I kept my place for next year in my first appearance in the finals.” The Women’s and Youth Championships were also held last weekend and for the fourth year in a row Anne van Leeuwen 1k swept 5-0, besting a 12-player field. This year top-youth Alexander Eerbeek 3d had qualified for the main final, where he won three of his eight games; all his losses were to top-rated players. Yuki de Groot won the kid’s title. The side event was won by Rudi Verhagen 5d, who usually is in the main tournament and was the first reserve player this year. Click here for results in the main and the women’s.
- Peter Dijkema

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GROENEN DENIES POMSTRA BID FOR 5TH WIN AT HEERLEN OPEN: Geert Groenen denied Willem-Koen Pomstra’s bid for a fifth win at the Heerlen Open January 9-10 in Holland. Groenen topped the 20th Open, the traditional opener of the new year, winning the deciding match with Willem-Koen Pomstra, who had won the last four. By tradition, the tournament is held in an old bar, which serves a wide variety of beers in the old center of town. 32 participants from 6 countries attended.

POCSAI-PALOGH CORNER MARKET ON HUNGARIAN TITLE GOLD: Dynamic duo Rita Pocsai 4d and Pál Balogh 6d have added the Hungarian Pair Go title to their collection of titles, winning in Budapest on January 30. Pocsai is the Hungarian Women’s Champion and Balogh is the Hungarian Men’s Champion. The pair seem set to bid for a place on the podium in the next Euro-Championships to challenge the rule of Russians. The Youth and Kid’s titles were at stake at the same event and “Despite very bad snow, still nine showed up” Peter Korossy told the E-Journal. Domonkos Albrecht kept his Hungarian Youth title and Róbert Czismadia – who took 4th at last year’s European Championships (EC) — retained his Children’s title. Both will play in the next EC in Romania in March. Click here for results in the Youth and Children’s tourneys In the Hungarian league, held a day earlier in Budapest, both leaders won in the penultimate 6th round. Teams of three play handicap mini-matches of three games each. Origo easily won 8-1, but MGE1 had a hard match, with double-digit Agro which was third: 5-4. Even on match-points, Origo now leads MGE1 by a win and a jigo, but they face tough Agro, while MGE1 meet Sanrensei. The last round will be played in the next fortnight; click here for complete league results full league table.
- Peter Dijkema, based on reports by Peter Korossy

KACHANOVSKIJ WINS FIRST KGS INSEI LEAGUE: Artem Kachanovskiy (Artem92), a young – barely 17 — player from the Ukraine, won the A-division of the first Insei competition on KGS (KILL), run by Alex Dinerchtein, which ended January 31.  Kachanovskiy defeated early leader ‘j13′ (Finland) 4-0 and was best as well against both teachers: 3-5. His over-all 10-5 (67%) beat j13’s 19-11 (63%), while ‘danigabi’ (Argentina) was 3rd with 9-7 (56%). From France ‘ha’ had entered with the weakest KGS ranking, but he was the first to defeat both trainers and finished fourth. As expected, the teachers did best: Dinerchtein 21-2 and Ilya Shiksin 22-5, despite playing simuls with four or five players at a time. Losses to teachers will no longer count for the winning percentage in the new League, which begins this month. The KILL B-league was won by ‘snowbars’ (Russia) 14-6, despite his 1-3 to ‘feature’ (Germany) 11-5, while “Monestri’ (US) was third with 6-3. Other US-players ‘burrito’ and ‘clossius’ incurred many losses to the teachers, who had perfect scores. ‘lemurov’ (RU) swept the C-league 10-0, ahead of ‘silentfear’ from France and ‘Sinprejic’ (US). US ‘BANKER’ was on even with his concurrence 12-12 but lost 5 to the trainers. ‘Grimalkin’ won only a few games. Despite a loss to US ‘will122166′ 11-10, ‘benwahwah’ won the D league 8-5, and ‘Protronics’ (Norway) won E league, with only a loss less then ímagine’ from Turkey, who scored 13-11, while ‘skyboytkd9′ was 3rd with 4-4. For next month, Dinerchtein also announced the new KIEL, the Entrance League to select for E-division. KIEL costs less, but comes with less lessons. A bonus round after the league caused a sensation when the most active players from each league were invited to a simul against Cho Mikyung 1P. Only ‘j13′ won. Watch the game here.
- Peter Dijkema

KACHANOVSKIY, SIMARA, PROKOPOVA TO STUDENT OZA: Artem Kachanowskiy 6d (Ukraine), Jan Simara 5d and Anna Prokopova 1k (both Czech) qualified for the World Student Oza in Japan, later this year. The qualifiers were held for the first time on KGS.

GRABOWSKI STEPS DOWN AS POLISH RATINGS MASTER: After more than 30 years running the Polish rating list, aka ‘Grabolka’, Krzysztof Grabowski resigned on January 1, although he has retained his place at the EGF rating commission. In addition to three decades of running Polish ratings, Grabowski says he proudest of a Kansai Kiin 3-dan diploma signed by their top three 9-dan professionals, Hashimoto Utaru, Shoji and Sekiyama Toshio in 1990. “Perhaps my greatest joy were the Pair Go tourneys during several Polish summer camps.” Grabowski was named the third honorary member of the Polish Go Association, after Tozawa Akinobu 9p and Janusz Kraszek 6d.
-  Peter Dijkema

Categories: Europe,Go News
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THE TRAVELING BOARD: Go Behind Bars

Monday January 25, 2010

“I am 14 years into a 25 year sentence, and I am interested in starting a go club at the prison,” read the letter from K, forwarded to me at the American Go Foundation by Mark Rubenstein at AGA Member Services. Although our main work at the AGF focuses on children, we also offer full support for institutional settings as well. I sent K an information packet and an application for a class room starter set. Noticing the prison was here in Colorado, I also told him I would be willing to do a demonstration at the prison. Rubenstein also donated two playing sets, and a number of go magazines, but the package was refused by the prison, which had very specific guidelines about what they would accept. As K had mentioned wanting to start a program at the prison, I thought I might try contacting the education coordinator at the prison directly. So began the first of what would ultimately be six months worth of phone calls, letters, and requests to the Federal Correctional Institute in Englewood. I had given up on any chance of a program starting at the prison when I finally received a phone call from one of the education coordinators. He said he had a group of over 20 prisoners who kept asking him when the go teacher was going to come, so he finally decided to let me do a demonstration at the prison. I was also able to arrange for the prison to accept multiple playing sets for the program, and I was finally able to hand-deliver Rubenstein’s package of equipment and magazines as well. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I finally went to the prison. I had briefly worked with youth in a juvenile correctional facility a few years back, but Englewood is an adult prison, and a federal one at that. When I arrived, I was surprised at the size of the place. A guard told me they house 1,000 inmates there. I passed through multiple security screening points, with giant sliding metal grates, and went deep into the heart of the complex, where I was taken to an educational center in the prison and had a few minutes to set up before the 22 prisoners who had signed up for the program arrived. I finally met K in person, who thanked me profusely for arranging the demonstration. He and the other inmates were all polite, friendly, and very attentive. Three of the prisoners knew how to play already, and I was very pleased to see that they had a few volumes of Janice Kim’s Learn to Play series. None of them had ever played a game outside of the prison system though. The other 19 inmates were all first-timers, so I taught them how to play and then had them all play each other on 9×9 boards. I think the Education Coordinator was pleased to see all of the inmates immediately engaged in the game, and laughing as they discovered new things. After they had all played a game or two, I offered to do a simul with any five of them. They were quite excited by this, and everyone else gathered around the table where I was playing. I gave most of them a five stone handicap on the 9×9, and tried to show them some things while we were playing. One of the men, T, had been playing for many years. He told me he had learned from a Japanese prisoner, at another prison. He had tried to show the others how to play, but hadn’t had too much luck. I played him even on the 9×9, and the other inmates all took immense pleasure in finally seeing T lose a game. After the first simul, I did a second one. This time I played both K and T on the 19×19 with a 9 stone handicap, and three newcomers on the 9×9 boards. Knowing that I wouldn’t be able to come back often (or perhaps at all) I wanted very much to see if we could establish a rank for either of them. K thought he might be 17 kyu, T had no idea, but they both knew he was much stronger. T played a good game, and to our mutual delight, was able to force me to resign. Since he was within 9 stones of my rank of 1 kyu, I told him I thought he was about 9 kyu. I explained that each handicap stone was worth roughly ten points, and that from here on out he should try to give handicaps accordingly to the other inmates. If he won a game by 50 points, he should give five stones, and so forth. Hopefully the other players will be able to base their ranks off of his. My experience with many clubs has been that two things are critical for success: first, a group of beginners who are all learning together, and second, a handicap system that allows everyone to play fair games. At the end of my three hours with the inmates, T surprised me by asking if it was possible to make a donation to the AGF. I told him we were funded entirely by donations, and would welcome one if he had the ability to give. I wasn’t expecting the prisoners to have any money, but one of the guards explained that the inmates work in the prison, and receive wages for it. I don’t know what crimes any of these men had committed, but I do know that a person doesn’t stop living once they are behind bars. I can think of no group that might better benefit from the qualities that go brings to our lives than prisoners. Perhaps learning how to play go will give them a non-violent forum to express themselves in, and they will be able to better themselves by learning how to communicate in this way. I also know that whatever a man’s crime, he should be able to play go if he wants to. They have chess and Scrabble in prison, they should have go too.
– Paul Barchilon is Vice President of the AGF; graphic by Mike Samuel

Categories: Traveling Go Board
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GO SPOTTING: “Criminal Minds” TV Series

Monday January 25, 2010

A number of readers recently tipped us off to go showing up in the Criminal Minds television series. A police procedural drama focusing on the criminal rather than the crime itself, Criminal Minds — which premiered in 2005 — featured go in the pilot. Screen grab from the “Extreme Aggressor” episode courtesy James G. McIlhargey.

Categories: Go Spotting
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U.S. GO NEWS: Hu Wins Chi Tourney; Jujo Tourney Report; World Pair Go Deadline Weds; NAMT Qualifier Host Sites Sought

Monday January 25, 2010

HU WINS CHI TOURNEY: Thomas Hu 6d won the January 23 “The White and the Black” tournament in Chicago, IL. “A smallish tournament, but some great games,” reports TD Bob Barber. “A new player was Young Rhee 7d, who will be teaching at the brand new Go Center in nearby Arlington Heights. If we move the tourney, we may double attendance. Heady times in Chicago.” 26 players participated. Results: 1st Place Dan: HU, Thomas, 6d, 4-0; 1st Place High Kyu: RUBENSTEIN, Mark, 4k, 4-0; 1st Place Low Kyu: ZHANG, Chris, 33k, 4-0.

JUJO TOURNEY REPORT: Mingjiu Jiang 7P won the Jujo Jiang Ing Goe Tournament held January 9-10 in San Francisco, CA. Winner’s Report: 1st place: Mingjiu Jiang 7P (5-0); 2nd: Calvin Sun 7d (4-1); 3rd: Lu Wang 7d (3-2); 4th: Song Li 6d (3-2).
- reported by Chris Burg

WORLD PAIR GO DEADLINE WEDS: This Wednesday, January 27 is the deadline for registering for the World Pair Go qualifiers. “This is a high level competition, with airfare, room and board for one pair from North America at the end of March,” reports American Go Association President Allan Abramson. The qualifiers will include Canadian pairs. Abramson’s recent Members Memo included details; contact him at President@usgo.org

NAMT QUALIFIER HOST SITES SOUGHT: Beginning this year, the qualification tournament to select the 2011 Fujitsu Cup candidate will be the North American Masters tournament. The NAMT final is held at the annual U.S. Go Congress (LINK), which will be held in Colorado Spring, CO July 31-August 8. “We are now looking for clubs and people to host the NAMT qualifier tournaments around the country,” says AGA Tournament Coordinator Boris Bernadsky. Two sites are being sought in the west, two in the east and two in the central states; there will be two online tournaments as well. Anyone interested in hosting an NAMT qualifier can email Bernadsky at badukboris@gmail.com

Categories: U.S./North America
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EUROPEAN GO NEWS: Hricova/Silt Czech Pair Champs; Li Ting Kansai Kiin 1-Dan; Diamond Sharp In Maidenhead; Hebsacker Hamburg Leads German League; Artem Tops Kill A-League; Liu 2p To Teach In Zurich; Metta Takes Trofeo

Monday January 25, 2010

HRICOVA/SILT CZECH PAIR CHAMPS: Jana Hricova and Ondrej Silt won the Czech Republic Pair Championship in Prague January 23-24, in which five pairs competed. Anna Prokopova and Jan Simara also finished at 3-1, but lost the mutual game. Ondrej Kruml swept the side event, topping 37 participants. Click here for results. David LeBaDuy won all five in the childrens tourney with 13 kids. - Peter Dijkema

LI TING KANSAI KIIN 1-DAN: In what’s being hailed as “a real sensation for Austria,” Vienna’s Li Ting will begin playing as a professional for the Kansai Kiin on March 1. Li learned go at the age of 6 in Beijing and took a BA there, a MA in Tokyo and has been working on her Ph. D in Vienna — on the spread of Go in Europe – where she’s been living and teaching with her husband Hu Bin. Both were co-organizers of the 2007 European Go Congress, where Li placed 7th, and she’s continued to do well in Europe, sharing the Slovenian Open title in April 2009 with Hwang In-seong 7d. – Peter Dijkema, after http://www.goverband.at/

DIAMOND SHARP IN MAIDENHEAD: British Go Association President Jon Diamond 4d won the 19th Furze Platt tournament in Maidenhead on tie-break, ahead of David Ward 3d and Tim Hunt 3d on January 23 at Hitachi Europe Ltd’s headquarters. Five players won all three games. The team from Central London did best with a 75% overall result. Click here for results. - Peter Dijkema

HEBSACKER HAMBURG LEADS GERMAN LEAGUE: The Hebsacker team defeated Kieloben in Round 5 of the German team leagues, or Bundesliga, on January 14. Led by captain Tobias Berben, editor of the German Go Journal, Hebsacker drew just one match, won the rest and are now two matchpoints clear of ‘eternal’ champs Karlsruhe, while St. Pauli — also from Hamburg — moved into third place after their match with Frankfurt Dragons. Unexciting Elks from Darmstadt drew their fifth match in a row, with Igoist Berlin. With ten teams in a division, four more matches are up. - Peter Dijkema, based on dgob.de

ARTEM TOPS KILL A-LEAGUE: Former European Youth Champ Artem Kochanovskiy (‘artem92′, Ukraine) leads the KGS Insei League (KILL) A-league with a 9-4 (69%) record. Kochanovskiy has only lost to league teachers and has won three crucial games with early leader ‘j13′ (Finland), who is second with 18-10 (64%), including 1-7 to teachers Alex Dinerchtein (16-2) and Ilya Shiksin (17-5). Third is ‘danigabi’ from Argentina with 9-6 (60%); he’s lost once to both leaders and the other losses are to his teachers. In the B-league, ‘feature’ (Germany) 10-5 overtook ‘monestri’ (US) 6-3. Both are at 67%, but ‘feature’ played more games and they have not played each other yet. ‘Snowbars’ (Russia) is close behind with 10-6 (63%). All three have lost all their encounters with the trainers. In C-league ‘lemurov’ (Russia) avoided teaching games and leads 6-0, while US-players ‘Sinprejic’ 6-7 (including 0-4 to teachers) and ‘Banker’ 11-16 (0-5) are 4th and 5th. Leagues end at the end of each month. - Peter Dijkema

LIU 2P TO TEACH IN ZURICH: Liu Yuanbo 2P will be at the Zurich Go Club February 12-14 for simuls and a weekend workshop, reports swissgo.org. Liu is known as PeteLiu 2p, tartaric 9d and MilanMilan 9d on KGS. A week earlier, on Friday, February 5, Li Yue 5d (Madrid) will teach on the theme “attack to benefit”. - Peter Dijkema

METTA TAKES TROFEO: Carlo Metta 1d (Pisa) won the 5th Trofeo Higashitika held January 16-17 in Remanzacco, in the Udine province in northeast Italy. Metta won his first four and drew his last game with Sandro Poldrugo 1k (Triest), who finished second. Radovan Golja 3d (Ljubljana – Slovenia) 3-2 finished 3rd in a field of 22. Only Frederico Forte 16k (Pisa) won all five rounds. Click here for results.

Categories: Europe
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WORLD GO NEWS: Japanese Surge In The Nongshim Cup

Monday January 25, 2010

JAPANESE SURGE IN THE NONGSHIM CUP: The Japanese, who in recent years haven’t survived past the second round of the Nongshim Cup have made it through to the third round this year. Hane Naoki 9P — Japan’s last player — pulled out a win on January 22nd and then defeated Park Yeonghun 9P of Korea. The Nongshim is a win-and-continue team event between five member teams from China, Japan, and Korea. The Japanese and Chinese teams have each won only once in Nonshim’s ten-year history, with Korea winning the other eight titles. The Koreans started out strong as usual, when Kim Jiseok  6P won the first three games, defeating two Japanese: Yamashita Keigo 9P and Takao Shinji 9P. Then Xie He 7P of China took over, winning five games before being stopped by Hane. The Koreans are also down to a single player, Lee Changho 9P, while the Chinese still have three. Hane’s next game will be against Liu Xing 7P of China in early March. The other Chinese players are Chang Hao9P and Gu Li 9P. Sources: Go News, GoGameWorld, Sensei’s Library, JustPlayGo

Categories: World
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