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Guo Juan 5P’s Online Group Class Starts This Week

Sunday September 13, 2015

There’s still time to sign up for Guo Juan 5P’s online group class, which starts on September 19. The 135 euro fee cover eight 90-minute classes and seven weeks of full access to Guo’s pro lecture site and training system. “Meet friends, have fun and learn from pro teachers,” says Guo. In addition to Guo, teachers include YoungSun Yoon 8P, Jennie Shen 2P and Mingjiu Jiang 7P.

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The Janice Kim Files: Everything You Wanted to Know About Go But I Was Afraid Was True

Tuesday August 18, 2015

by Janice Kim 3P2012.02.21-janiceKim

Let me start off by alienating the half of the audience that may not be alienated after reading this, by giving away the title of my next installment, Why Go Is Better Than Chess, Really (From the Non-Chess-Playing Perspective).

For those of you who aren’t having a bad day and easily saw past that ruse, may I offer some unvarnished truths, in the form of the real answers to questions that I cavalierly and annoyingly dismissed when asked earnestly by those to whom I was only too happy to present myself as knowledgeable in the past. This is in opposition to talking around the subject, which I never do despite the difficulty in following my convoluted English, which I’ve used to actually talk myself out of traffic tickets, thanks very much. I’m never not honed in like a hawk eyeing a field mouse when I’m answering a question someone asked me five years ago. I’ve either missed it entirely, or am dead on.

Q. How much is the ability to memorize involved in go-playing?

A. Let me tell you a story about my father. My father once memorized a 50-page poem when he was in high school. In English. Which he didn’t speak. It’s not clear to us whose memory is better, because he remembers things I don’t and vice versa. This has something to do with whether he or I was there or paying attention, I believe.

No one cares or truly believes this wild talent, except perhaps exes who are literally rendered speechless and apoplectic when I quote what they said verbatim years ago by way of reply to questions posed as to how I’m doing, etc. now. It really only comes in handy these days when my son asks me what lithium is and I send him running out the door with a tour of the periodic table sung to the tune of “Beautiful Dreamer,” which my father did for me when we went for a walk when I was eight.

My dad taught me how to play go by spending about ten hours a week on it with me for a long time. So that’s the answer to the other question, how did I make progress so quickly. Because I was young and it was easier to learn when I was young and I’m very smart and talented, yes, yes, that must be it. Spending ten hours a week on Netflix now has nothing to do with stalled progress. If only he’d spent ten hours a week on video games with me for a long time, I’d be a Silicon Valley venture capitalist.

Which is not to say that I think memorization of moves plays a big part in go playing. I barely remember any specific actual moves, or generally even where my opponent played last. Which is not to say I didn’t write a whole go book entitled The Palace of Memory. Which enervated many people that there were many typos. And apparently enervated no one that I said I remembered like ten things, but had a lot of jingles and off-topic anecdotes and references that actually constitute what I know about go that you may secretly suspect is true.

But seriously, folks. How many of you read Lee Sedol 9 dan’s book of commented games? When I heard about it I thought that was the holy grail and almost flew to Korea. I could not contain myself. Lee Sedol 9 dan became the world champion because he spent a lot of time on go, and that time had emotional content, because his father spent a lot of time teaching him and his father wanted him to be world champion and then his father died. Remember, Bruce Lee said emotional content, not anger. The point isn’t to get angry at ourselves or our opponents, but to find what is meaningful to us in the conversation with our hands that we are having. If we spend even a few minutes trying to extract what we and our opponents were trying to say as we played, with respect for our words, surely we can find something, if we are looking for it, that we can remember to take away with us. So I knew it would be the holy grail, before I even read it.

I actually don’t remember the moves of the games I read (I can only recreate games if I paid attention throughout and remember the first few moves and how I was thinking about them at the time and exactly who the players are, then, it all follows logically), but Lee Sedol (who means a lot to me because his brother was a good friend long ago who said he would sacrifice his own career to make sure Lee Sedol would be world champion) made one comment in a matter-of-fact, off-hand way that entirely changed my perspective on go and made me realize what I had been doing that had been frustrating me and causing me to lose most of the time even the few times when I was way ahead. It was because I was ahead. I could only knock out my opponent because I had no idea how to pull a punch and wait, and stronger opponents don’t get knocked out easily. That will be the actual subject of my next installment.
Continue reading…)

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Remembering John Goodell, American Go Pioneer

Friday August 7, 2015

Curious to see how go might be played without a center point, John Goodell didn’t just theorize about it; he produced 3,000 go sets sans center 2015.08.07_goodellpoint. They didn’t catch on, but Goodell’s lifetime of promoting the game earned him the American Go Association’s first Edward Lasker Distinguished Service Award in 2002; he died in 2004 at the age of 94. A longtime St Paul resident, he’s been honored this week at the US Go Congress with a prominent display of memorabilia celebrating his life as a go player and promoter.

Goodell (second from right) learned the game in the mid-1950′s while doing customer research for a department store. His idea was to see if board games would help elicit more reliable information from customers. Although that didn’t work, he became deeply involved with go, leading the US team to the second World Amateur Go Championships in Japan in 1964, as well as serving as president of the AGA from 1962 to 1964. Perhaps most famously, he once imported two tons of go stones and distributed them across the country.

John Goodell said that go is “almost like meditation. When you play go, the world goes away.” And though he played the game for more than half a century, he never entered a tournament, where “You play to win; but winning and losing is of almost no consequence.”

A St Paul documentary filmmaker, Goodell was nominated for an Academy Award in 1974 for “Always a New Beginning.”

Click here for more information about the history of the American Go Association.

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21 Pros to Attend Congress; Unrivalled Chance for High Quality Go Instruction

Wednesday July 15, 2015

With the 2015 US Go Congress less than a month away, it is on track to be a great event with over 350 attendees, says Congress Director Josh Larson. For players of all levels a major draw to attend the Congress is the chance to meet, play and learn from professional players from all over the world. So far, 21 pros are expected at this year’s Congress!

The pros are involved in many activities through the week. You can attend professional lectures during the afternoon and evening, play against a professional during one of the many simultaneous games in the afternoon after the US Open rounds, have your game reviewed in a small group session or hang around and chat with pros at mealtime. A few have been known to turn up at late night card games. Pros will also be involved in special events, like commenting on a key final game or, new this year, playing a demonstration game against an amateur.

A highlight for players of all levels is the review of your tournament games by a professional. These reviews are divided up by rank, so if you are a dan player, the professionals will focus on advanced topics while for kyu players, they will target the basics. You can watch and learn from another reviewee’s pride or pain before going up to the demo board yourself and finding out what actually happened to your stones during your own game. Larson encourages attendees to not be shy about approaching pros. “If you have a question, and see a professional player, ask! They often will just grab a board and give you an answer.” While some attendees will pay for group or individual lessons, all of the above activities are included in the cost of your registration. The US Go Congress is one of a very few events in the go world with so much pro training opportunity.

Below is a list of the professionals who have currently confirmed to attend the 2015 Us Go Congress.

Among pros currently based in the US we have:

Former women’s world champion and leading teacher, Feng Yun 9P.

The Korea Baduk Association’s Go Ambassador to the US, Myungwan Kim 9P.

Mingjiu Jiang 7P, who has been the North American representative in multiple international tournaments and teacher in the Bay Area for more than 25 years.

Yilun Yang 7P, author of many books, including “Fundamental Principles of Go,” and a revered teacher who does annual workshops across the country.

Jennie Shen 2P from Santa Barbara, gives individual lectures, group lessons, and audio lectures on KGS.

Stephanie Yin 1P studied under Nie Weiping 9P and Yu Bing 9P and has placed first in multiple tournaments.

Andy Liu 1P is one of the first AGA professionals.

Shirley Lin 1P taught Go at Nanjing University and is a previous US Open Champion.

Cathy Li 1P coached the Canadian team in the 1st World Mind Sports Games.

Professional delegates from foreign go organizations include:

Wang Qun 8P (China)

Wang Yuanjyun 7P (Taiwan)

Na Jonghoon 7P (Korea)

Maeda Ryo 6P (Japan)has been a popular lecturer at previous US Go Congresses.

Hajin Lee 3P (Korea) well-known for her go videos on YouTube and currently secretary general of the International Go Federation.

Murakami Akihide 3P (Japan)

Koyo Hoshikawa 3P (Japan)

Cao Youyin 3P (China) 

A handful of professionals with also be participating in the 2015 US Open and other tournaments, including: 2014.08.14_FengYun-DSC_0027Calvin Sun 1P, Ryan Li 1P, YuLin Tong 4P, and Zirui Song 1P.

Feng Yun 9p teaching at the 2014 Go Congress

Update: Wang Qun 8P ‘s name has been corrected (our original post had it as Wan Qun 8P).

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AGA Go Camp a Favorite with Kids

Saturday May 16, 2015

Go Camp 2014 (75) “When people ask me, ‘how was your summer,’ I tell them it was wonderful, because of the AGA Go Camp,” writes 14-year-old Elan, “I had an amazing time playing go and hanging out with other kids, learning from our teacher, and enjoying fun summer camp activities.” Go Camp strives to provide young go players a unique experience, allowing them to foster their love of the game in a traditional summer camp setting. “Camp does involve a lot of go,” says Director Amanda Miller, “and campers spend both their mornings, and part of their afternoons, studying, but these lessons include a creative mix of lectures, life and death problems, games, and game reviews to kep things interesting.”

Many campers love the opportunity, and as 8-year-old Yuga remembers, “I learned go from morning to evening and that was my first time studying go so long. I spent time with a great teacher and lots of friends and played go and talked about go with them. It makes me want to play more and want to improve more.”

“Camp is about more than just go, however, “says Miller, “it’s about giving kids the chance to meet and make friends with other kids who love the game just as much as they do. Part of the magic of camp is the wide variety of campers who attend, and in the past few years, the camp has welcomed kids from as far away as Hawaii and Canada.The camp has been growing every year, and we’re always trying to make it better. Last year was one of our best summers yet, because we got to try so many different activities. The kids had a great time with hiking, archery, boating, swimming, and rock climbing in addition to playing go.” Boating was a general favorite, and as Elan remembers, “A mega splashing competition ensued and everyone was soaked wet!Go Camp 2014 (112)

With a mix of lessons, outdoor activities, tournaments, and other go-related activities, the camp is an ideal place for kids to make friends and have fun while also improving their go skills. Perhaps 12-year-old Joe does the best job of summing up everyone’s feelings after a great week at camp: “When I left camp I was sad that I will miss all my new friends, but when I came back home I was happy because I was beating everyone and showing that I improved.”

Go Camp will be held July 18-25, at YMCA Camp Kern in Oregonia, OH, with Myungwan Kim 9P as this summer’s professional teacher. Camp directors Amanda Miller and Nano Rivera invite campers of all skill levels, between the ages of 8 and 18 to join them for a week of go-playing and fun. Youth who played in the NAKC or the Redmond Cup are eligible for a $400 scholarship, and need-based scholarships of up to $250 are also available courtesy of the American Go Foundation.

For more information on the latest camp-related news, and to download the registration forms, visit the camp website at  or e-mail Amanda Miller at agagocampeast@gmail.com. -Paul Barchilon with Amanda Miller. 

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Twin Cities Go Club (1): Helping Connect Kids to their Culture

Saturday October 25, 2014

For the past few years, the Twin Cities Go Club has been involved at an annual Chinese culture event in April hosted at the Mall of America. 2014.10.25 TCGO little girl DSC_0749Three years ago at this event we met the organization, Families with Children from Asia-Midwest, a group dedicated to bringing together families with children adopted from Asia. “Part of their goal is to educate the children on various aspects of Chinese culture, to help 2014.10.25 TCGO family weekend DSC_0743them feel more connected to their cultural heritage,” says TCGO’s Aaron Broege.

For the past two years, TCGO has been a part of a retreat weekend at a local hotel that brings together families from the Midwest region. Earlier this month, TCGO’s Xiaoyu Wang, Yanqing Sun and Aaron Broege attended the event to teach the children the basics of capture go.

“Like last year, many of the children were eager to learn and picked up the rules very quickly,” says Broege. “To my delight, some of them even remembered us from the previous year and still remembered the basic rules of the game!” Some of the children picked up the rules quickly, and played game after game of capture go. Others, even if they didn’t completely understand the rules, still loved the feel of placing the stones on the board. “It was just great to see them playing with the game and trying to figure out how to win.”
Part 1 of 2: tomorrow: TCGO hosts a pizza and rated games party!

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Categories: U.S./North America
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AGA Chapter Offer: Play Go, Get Free Pizza!

Friday October 3, 2014

To encourage chapters of the American Go Association to keep the momentum from “Learn Go” week going, the AGA is offering a special deal 2014.10.03_pizzaduring the month of October. Chapters that meet in October, play at least one rated game, order pizza and send in a photo of the festivities — and the receipt– and you’ll have the cost of the pizza reimbursed. “We appreciate the great work our chapters are doing and this is a fun way for them to reach their members” says Andrew Jackson, AGA VP of Operations. This offer only valid for AGA chapters; if your club is not a chapter, click here to sign up as a chapter today. Send your receipts to operations@usgo.org.

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Tacoma Go Club “Back in Business”

Thursday October 2, 2014

The Tacoma Go Club is getting back into the go business after “a little hiatus, reports club president Gordon Castanza. The TGC sponsored three2014.09.22_TGC's Learn Go Week at Bluebeards events during Learn Go Week” last week and is meeting at the Asia Pacific Cultural Center, 4851 S. Tacoma Way, Tacoma, WA 98409 every Monday from 3 – 6p. The club also meets at Bluebeard’s Café, 2201 6th Ave., Tacoma, WA 98403 (by prior arrangement. Call or e-mail Gordon or Tom), and Starbuck’s, 34024 Hoyt Rd. SW (340th and Hoyt next to Walgreen’s), Federal Way, WA 98023 (by prior arrangement. Call or e-mail Gordon or Tom).  During the Tacoma Go Club’s third “Learn Go Week” event last Saturday, “two new players appeared at the Bluebeard Coffee Shop in Tacoma to learn the fine points of both high handicap games and the subtleties of the territory-destroying ‘monkey jump,’” says Castanza. Players from left to right were Mike Malveaux, Tom Cruver, and Mark Mattson, who was playing Castanza, who doubled as official photographer.

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Go Takes Over Seoul Streets

Sunday September 21, 2014

Hundreds of people gathered to play Go in Korea’s Gwanghwamun Square, on September 21. The event was part of Seoul’s Street Without Cars 2014.09.21_Simultaneous-Go-Games-Seoul-550x367Festival and Learn Go Week. Go fans got autographs from players like Lee Changho, Lee 2014.09.20_Simultaneous-Go-Games2Sedol and Kim Hyojeong, president of the Korean Baduk Professionals’ Union. One hundred professional go players played simultaneous games with attendees, including international visitors from the 51 countries participating in the 9th Korean Prime Minister’s Cup. Over 1,000 people attended, including many families with children. However, because not everyone played games, the goal of 1,004 simultaneous games was not achieved, and the Guinness World Record – 1,000 players at Take-machi-dohri and Chuo-cho Shopping Streets, Oita, Japan on June 6, 1999 — remained unbroken this year.
- Younggil An, Go Game Guru; right: 100 professional Go players play simultaneous games in Seoul, Korea; left: Seo Neungwuk plays international visitors, including AGA president Andy Okun (3rd from right) and Andrew Jackson (far right). 

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US Go Congress Player Profiles: Sun, Ko, Koh, Lin, Teng & Ye

Tuesday August 5, 2014

The American Go E-Journal will be broadcasting top-board US Go Congress games live on KGS beginning this Sunday, August 10. This week we’re profiling some of the top players who will be competing at the Congress.

Calvin Sun 1P (right) is a 17-year-old student in Cerritos, CA. He learned go when he was 6 and won the 2012 Cotsen and 2014 Pro Qualifier. His favorite thing about go is that it “forces me to concentrate” and his favorite hobby is “sleep.”

Dae Hyuk “Danny” Ko 7D (left) is 38 and works in finance in Southern California. He’s been playing since the age of 6 and won the 2009 Samsung Qualifier, 2010 Cotsen Cup, 2013 World Mind Sports Qualifier, and is a 4-time Santa Monica Coffee Cup winner (2008, 2011, 2013, 2014). His favorite thing about the game is making friends.

Juyong Koh 7D (right) is a 34-year-old insurance broker from Vancouver, BC. He’s been playing since the age of 10, winning the 2002 and 2008 Canadian Open, as well as many local tournaments. His favorite thing about go is “The game is exciting and you can try anything you like on the board unlike real life. I love to express my imagination on the go board.” Hobbies include weight training and choir practice.

Bill Lin 7D (left) is a 17-year-old university student in Vancouver, BC who’s been playing go for 11 years. He was the 2013 Canadian Open Champion, took 5th place in the 2013 US Open, 3rd in the 2013 NA Masters, 3rd in the 2013 Prime Minister Cup World Amateur and 2nd in the 2014 Canadian Open. His favorite thing about go is “The complexity, the countless number of variations, and the serenity I feel when I play the game.” Hobbies include swimming, running, triathlons, and movies.

Justin Teng 7D (right) is an 18-year-old undergraduate student at the University of Maryland–College Park. He started playing go at 12 and played in the 2012 AGA-Tygem pro finals qualifier and 2012 WMSG. His favorite thing about the game of go is “meeting and making all kinds of diverse friends, and challenging myself to become stronger.” Hobbies include “piano and chatting with friends.”

Aaron Ye 6D (left) is a 12-year-old student in Cupertino, CA. He’s been playing since the age of 5, and was the US Redmond Cup Junior division Champion three straight years (2011-2013), the US Youth Go Junior division Champion 2010, 2011 & 2012, and US representative for World Youth Go Junior division in 2011 and 2012. His favorite thing about go is “The challenges you constantly face.” Ye is on the School Math Count team, representing his middle school competing in the Silicon Valley Chapter for math count. His hobbies include tennis and programming robots.

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