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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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Go Campers Write: Summer Fun

Monday May 19, 2014

What’s a typical day at the AGA Go Camp like? Joe, age 12, writes “I studied everyday with my friends and my teacher, and I had a lot of good times with them. We played games with each other, learned new go problems, joseki, and fuseki, and played in fun tournaments each day. When I left camp, I was sad because I would miss all my new friends, but when I came back home, I was happy because I was beating everyone and showing that I improved.”

Yuga, age 8, writes, “I learned go from morning until evening, and that was my first time studying go for so long. I spent time with a great teacher and lots of new friends, and we played go and talked about go. It made me want to play more and improve more. I learned so much from Mr. Yilun Yang. I learned new josekis. I tried them on KGS, and I feel like my territory is safer than before. I also learned crazy moves that are really good to confuse your opponent. I tried them when I played stronger players, and I won the games!”

Mulan, age 8, sums up everyone’s feelings nicely: “I’m glad I came to the Go Camp because I got to learn new things and learn from players that were stronger than me. It was fun to make new friends and meet up with old friends from the Go Congress and other tournaments.”

Yilun Yang will be joining the Go Camp again this summer as its professional teacher. The camp itself is the week before the Go Congress,  at YMCA Camp Kresge in White Haven, PA, about 2 hours outside of New York City. 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 available. For more information on the latest camp-related news, and to download the registration forms, please visit the camp website at http://www.gocampeast.org/ or e-mail Amanda Miller at agagocampeast@gmail.com. - Story and photo by Amanda Miller, Go Camp Director. Photo: Campers at the Pair Go Tournament.

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Evanston Go Club Celebrates 10th Appearance at ACen Anime Convention

Sunday May 18, 2014

The Evanston Go Club taught go on May 17 and 18 to over a hundred enthusiastic attendees at Anime Central (ACen), the largest annual anime convention in the midwest. “We taught non-stop for 13 hours on Friday, and 11 hours on Saturday,” reported tired but happy club president Mark Rubenstein. The two-day event ended with a 9×9 tournament for beginners, with 20 participants. Everyone who participated received a 9×9 starter set and a copy of The Way To Go.

“This is our favorite event of the year!” said Rubenstein. “This is our 10th year at ACen, and it was a blast! Most people stay for perhaps an hour. We teach them the basics, and they play a few games. There’s a lot to do at ACen, and go is a very small part of it. But some of them can’t get enough go, and spend the better part of the weekend with us!”

“Last year there were 25,000 attendees at ACen, and everyone gets along.” said Rubenstein. “I’ve never seen any kind of tension or altercation in all these years. These kids all accept and enjoy each others’ passions and differences without judgement. The world at large could learn a lot from them.”

Rubenstein extended “special thanks to the tireless Lee Huynh for his enthusiastic help all weekend.” Visit the club’s website for more photos.
- photos courtesy Mark Rubenstein

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Go Quiz: Historic Hosts

Sunday April 27, 2014

Quizmaster Learns Something: Half of you came up with 15, the correct answer, although Steve Burrall insists there are 16, but only listed 13 in his comments. Here’s Grant Kerr’s list, in a rare moment of only almost correctness, in order of their proness.
1: Manfred Wimmer 1978 (Austria/Japan, left)
2: James Kerwin 1978 (USA/Japan, right)
3: Michael Redmond 1981 (USA/Japan)
4: Janice Kim 1987 (USA/Korea)
5: Catalin Taranu 1997 (Romania/Japan)
6: Hans Pietsch 1997 (Germany/Japan)
7: Svetlana Shikshina 2002 (Russia/Korea)
8: Alexandre Dinerstein 2002 (Russia/Korea)
9: Diana Koszegi 2008 (Hungary/Korea)
10: Joanne Missingham 2008 (Australia/Taiwan)
11: Mariya Zakharchenko 2012 (Ukraine/Korea)
12: Andy Liu 2012 (USA)
13: Gangsheng Shi 2012 (USA)
14: Calvin Sun 2013 (USA)
15: Francis Meyer 2014 (USA/Korea, left)
Your quizmaster did not know that Francis Meyer (left) of North Carolina had made pro in February, but sorry Grant, it is with the Kansai Kiin, not Korea. Congrats to this week’s winner, Robert Tirak of The Dalles, OR, chosen at random from among those answering correctly.

This Week’s Quiz: It’s time to make your plans to go to the 2014 U.S. Go Congress, the nation’s biggest go event of the year in its biggest location ever, New York City! Your challenge this week is historical: New York City joins San Francisco, Chicago and Seattle as the fourth US city to hold a Go Congress and what other noteworthy historic event? Click here to submit your best guess; as usual, points will be given for creative answers.
- Keith Arnold, HKA, Quizmaster
Wimmer photo courtesy Helmut Wilschek’s Go Stories blog; Kerwin photo courtesy Nihon Ki-in; Meyer photo from 2010 US Go Congress by Chris Garlock 

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Go Quiz: How Many Western Professionals?

Sunday April 20, 2014

You Know, Like Grover Cleveland*: The fun of last week’s quiz is that there are more Honinbo heads than people. Quiz vet Reinhold Burger explains: “Thanks for this; I learned something. I knew that Shuei had stepped aside for Shuho, resuming the leadership after Shuho’s death. But I had not realized that Shugen had done the same for Shuei. So you have the symmetrical-looking sequence: Shugen, Shuei, Shuho, Shuei, Shugen. Interesting :)” Peter Schumer also cautioned that, while as heir Shusaku is often referred to as Honinbo, he died before he took over the house. So the seven of you who chose 19 different heads, as opposed to the total of 21 were correct. As for the anonymous person who chose 57, that was, of course, the number of “known Communists in the US State Department” according to a classic film. Congrats to Peter Schumer of Middlebury, VT, our randomly selected winner from among those submitting the correct answer.

This Week’s Quiz: The AGA will be qualifying one more new professional this year. This weekend one player will qualify for the AGA Pro Qualifier (to be held later this year) at the first Washington Open Baduk Championship (click here to register) and another next month at the 41st Maryland Open (click here to register). Pictured is your quizmaster congratulating Andy Liu for winning a spot in the first qualifier in 2012, which he went on to win. So our question this week is how many “Western” pros will our new pro be joining? To qualify, in addition to the AGA’s three pros, they must be (or have been) a pro born outside of the traditional Asian go nations, and certified as a pro by a national organization. Is the answer 12, 13, 14 or 15 Western professionals? Click here to submit your answer, and put your list of pros in the comments (in case we missed someone) and feel free to include your response to my bonus quiz “57 communists” movie reference.
photo by Gurujeet Khalsa

* Cleveland served as 22nd and 24th President of the United States, the only president to serve two non-consecutive terms (1885–1889 and 1893–1897).

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Twin Cities Go Participates in “Passage to China”

Thursday April 10, 2014

Members of the Twin Cities Go Club last weekend participated in Passage to China, an annual event celebrating Chinese culture. Held at the Mall of America in Bloomington, MN, and sponsored by the Chinese Heritage Foundation, this event welcomes visitors to experience Chinese dance, music, arts, and crafts.

This is the fourth year the Twin Cities Go Club has participated in the event, hosting a table at which attendees can learn the basics of go, or weiqi, as it is known in China, where the game originated. “Typically, we teach how to surround and capture stones, and then encourage visitors to play a game of capture go,” reports local organizer Aaron Broege. “We also are pleased to play more experienced players in a game of go on the 19×19 board. We have the pleasure of teaching individuals from small children to adults, and most people seem to catch on to the basics quickly. We find that this is great exposure for the game and for the club. Many people seem genuinely interested in finding out more about where to purchase a board and stones, and we have also had people attend our club meetings as a result of seeing us at Passage to China.”

The annual event “has been a great experience for us,” Broege adds, “and opened up some additional outreach opportunities. Last year at this event we connected with the group ‘Families with Children from Asia’ and this past fall we had the opportunity to work with that group at one of their own events near the Twin Cities. This year we met other individuals who would like us to teach go at this year’s Dragon Festival to be held in St. Paul. From exposure through this event, we have found inroads into other outreach opportunities and we are very enthusiastic of the positive effect this will have on the Twin Cities go community.”
photos: (top right): Agnes Rzepecki teaches basic life and death to a particularly curious new student of go. This young individual learned capture go and then insisted on learning the “real game,” and stayed around to play multiple handicap games with us on the 9×9; (bottom left): Yanqing Sun plays a game with a young boy. photos by Aaron Broege

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Go Quiz: Who Pulled Off the “Miraculous Upset”?

Friday April 4, 2014

Last week’s quiz: Before turning to the poll results, here’s my personal all-time favorite go reference. This Camel ad from the late 1970s should have worked.  It was certainly popular, often featured on the back covers of numerous magazines. While not the best board, the bowls are nice, the board position reasonable, the decor splendid and our hero dutifully takes black against the master – top marks.  And for coolness it hits the all-time high. I mean, he has a piercing gaze, cool mustache, is at home in a world few men ever see and women bring him drinks.  Unfortunately, it only got more folks addicted to smoking, and not go.

I found all of your responses interesting, from the mysterious “Love and Go” by Wando Wende (on which I could not find any information) to the intriguing – and new to me — French cartoon “Code: Lyoko”, which certainly looks interesting and features the characters playing the game and discussing it, reports Alison Fotness.  Brian Kirby offers “PopCo”, a novel that features go prominently. Others chose brief references in “Tron: Legacy” and “Da Vinci’s Demons” while I was surprised no one chose “Star Trek” appearances or the cool background ambiance appearance in “24″.  It was great to hear from old friend David Erbach, editor of the early journal “Computer Go,” who suggested Henry Kissinger for featuring go in one of his books.  Ramon Mercado came up with the interesting choice of “ATARI”  the computer game company.  Full marks go to Drew Chuppe for selecting the film “Heaven Knows Mr. Allison”.  This World War II drama features Robert Mitchum as a soldier stranded on a Japanese-occupied island.  While breaking in to a store-room for food, he tensely hides while two soldiers play a couple of games.  A popular film, an accurate depiction as well as a wonderful use of the game as part of a suspenseful part of the plot makes this perhaps the greatest western film reference, but at the time, as an obscure game played by the “enemy”, it failed to gain go much popularity here.  Finally, Michael Goerss intrigued me with his spotting of go in Martin Sheen’s hotel room in “Apocalypse Now” but I must confess, I do not see it.

Tenuki-ing to those chosen by more than one of you, the films “A Beautiful Mind” and “Pi” garnered two votes each.  I must say I was expecting “A Beautiful Mind” to be the winner.  The Best Picture Oscar winner certainly wins the popular honors, and many folks got interested in go as a result, but the go scenes are less than convincing and minor.  Darren Aronofsky’s “Pi” does a better job and go is more central to the plot, thanks no doubt in part to credited guidance by “Go Advisors” including former AGA President Barbara Calhoun, Michael Solomon and the late Don Wiener (misspelled in the credits as “Dan”).  Sadly, this first effort by the director of many critically acclaimed films was not widely seen.  Your quizmaster will have to go along with the choice of 6 of you: “Shibumi” by Trevanian. The thriller features go-related section headings and a marvelous, lengthy section about the main character’s training and playing of the game.  And if a film version ever makes it to the screen the novel’s number one position could be solidified (or destroyed).  Many, many players were intrigued by the game as presented in the book, and learned to play as a result. So, until Steven Spielberg makes “The Tesuji Kid” about an unpopular but cute middle schooler who comes across a small asian garden while hiding from some bullies, meeting three old men playing go who teach him lessons from the game, which become lessons in life, foiling the bully, impressing his/her teachers and getting the boy/girl – Trevanian is number one.   Congrats to Steve Miller of Ramsey, MN, this week’s winner, randomly chosen from those who suggested Shibumi.

This Week’s Quiz: Hearty congratulations to Gu Li for taking game three of the jubango; could this be the start of a comeback? In the Japanese top titles, the matches are best of seven.  Who was the first player to come back from an 0-3 deficit and win a title in what was termed a “miraculous upset”?  Was it Sakata Eio, Rin Kaiho, Kato Masao or Cho Chikun?  Click here to submit your responses and comments.

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Go Spotting: Teen Wolf Takes Sente

Tuesday March 25, 2014

MTV’s Teen Wolf has shattered the Go Spotting record, featuring go four weeks in a row, on a show that’s not about go.  With a viewership of 3.5 million, repeated mentions of the game, and even a summary of the main goals, local clubs could soon be seeing a surge of new players if even a fraction of those viewers become curious about go and learn to play.  This week’s episode, entitled “The Divine Move” both starts and ends with go.  Early in the episode Mrs. Yukimura (Tamlyn Tomita) advises a desperate Stiles (Dylan O’Brien) while the family is seated around a go board “he made a powerful move by splitting the two of you.”   “So what’s our move?” responds  her daughter Kira (Arden Cho), as she places a stone on the board. “The Nogitsune has had sente until this point, what you need is a ‘Divine Move’ in order to turn this game around,” responds her mother.  Stiles does find a divine move, in the story arc at least, and his friends defeat the Nogitsune at last.  Towards the end of the episode, Kira’s parents are seen picking up the pieces from the go board, drawing a conclusion to the story arc (and the season).  Full episodes of Teen Wolf can be streamed on the MTV website here. As an added bonus, in the after show (Wolf Watch) series creator Jeff Davis also talks briefly about go. -Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor.  Photo from the MTV website: Kira places a stone on the board, while Stiles talks to Mrs. Yukimura.

 

 

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Go Spotting: Teen Wolf – Third Week in a Row

Wednesday March 19, 2014

MTV’s Teen Wolf seems to be on a go jag.  This week’s episode featured another conversation about strategy, with Kira (Arden Cho) learning about go from her mother, who even explains what the game is about, and describes territory.  Later in the episode, Kira’s father tells her that go is called Baduk in Korea, and that her mother is a very aggressive player – too aggressive for her own good.  This marks the third week in a row that go has been featured on the show, and next week’s episode is titled “The Divine Move,” which any Hikaru no Go fan will immediately recognize as a key concept in the manga.  My guess is that next weeks episode will revolve around another go match, possibly between Kira and her mother. Check out Teen Wolf on the MTV website here. -Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor.

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Go Quiz: A Fujisawa by Any Other Name

Sunday February 23, 2014

“Go Seigen is my favorite player!” comments Albert Yen on last week’s quiz, which asked who was the only player to defeat Go in a jubango match. Longtime quiz players may recall that your quizmaster considers him the greatest player of all time (though the same group may recall I have a different favorite player). A wonderful 43 of you responded. Six chose the razor-sharp Sakata Eio, perhaps confusing his breaking up the dominance of Takagawa Kaku, whose Honinbo dominance may have confused two of you and a solitary, unidentified responder chose a time-traveling TARDIS possessing Shusaku. An impressive 32 correctly chose Fujisawa Kuranosuke, although several shared Richard Jankowski’s concern that “I hope this person is the same as Fujisawa Hosai.” Putting aside existential questions about whether we really are the same person during different times of our lives, Fujisawa did not adopt the name “Hosai” until much later. However you want to refer to him, Fujisawa beat Go Seigen 6-4 in 1942 (right), although, as many pointed out, he took black in each of the no komi games, and he later lost two jubango to Go, also at handicap. Interestingly, Reinhold Burger suggested that this question would be difficult without special resources, while Roland Crowl felt it was “too easy to find online” While the number of correct responses give the nod to Mr. Crowl, I thought I would take a moment to comment on how we structure quiz question choices. Ideally, we first hope to be interesting and topical. After that, your quizmaster personally believes clever, difficult questions will always be appreciated by those interested in this clever and difficult game. However, even if folks easily get online and find an answer, then your interest has been sparked and hopefully you’ll have learned something. Congratulations to David Rohde of Carpentersville, IL this week’s winner, chosen at random from those answering correctly. photo courtesy Go’s Everywhere website.

THIS WEEK’S QUIZ:
Let’s learn something about China’s Gu Li (left). While Gu benefitted from instruction by several teachers, one teacher nurtured him since he was a youngster. Is it Yang Yi 6P, Yang Yilun 7P, Song Xuelin 9P or Zhang Wendong 9P? Hint: He has attended the U.S. Go Congress several times. Click here to make your guess by close of business on Thursday.
- Keith Arnold, HKA & AGA Quizmaster

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