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Inaugural Latin American Go Congress sparkles in Cancun

Wednesday October 25, 2017

Known worldwide for sparkling beaches and water, these attractions were but a pretty side element at the first Latin American Go Congress in Cancun, Mexico from October 13th to 15th. Sixty-four players from 15 countries played in the six-round 19th Ibero American Go 2017.10.25_Latin American Go CongressChampionship (CIG). After a slightly delayed start on the first day (familiar to many U.S. Go Congress participants), TD Milosh Trnka Rodriguez kept the McMahon event moving smoothly. Time limits were short to fit two rounds each day before lunch – generally 35 minutes per player plus 5 x 30 overtime. The overall winner was Kim Hyuneoo of Korea. The Ibero Championship (limited to citizens of the Ibero-American member states) was won by Fernando Aguilar 7d (below left) of Argentina, the perennial top player from the region.

The first Latin American Youth Go Championship was run by Siddhartha Avila of Mexico and had 16 players from six countries divided in two categories. Division A was won by Soomin Oh 2d from Korea and in Division B Shanti Ramírez 12 kyu from Mexico came out on top. In the first Pandanet Go Latin American Team Championship (PGLATC) Mexico bested guest Argentina in a 3-board match with a 2-1 score.

With generous international support, six pros attended: Enda Hideki 9P and Komatsu Daiki 2P from Japan; Cho Hye-yeon 9P and Youngshin Lee 5P from Korea; Mateusz Surma 1P from the European Go Federation; and Eric Lui 1P from the AGA with funding provided by the American Go Foundation. After the main games, the pros provided quick game analysis and each afternoon half of the players took on the pros in simuls. Few of the amateurs won!

aguilar_DSC0186There were lectures on pros games (including an especially lively one analyzing a victory over a fellow 9P by Cho Hye-yeon, 9P) and sessions on teaching go by a leading Korean expert from KIBA, Mr. Kwon Kapyong 8P. And, of course, there was lots of casual play and discussion of games whenever players sat around a board.

The evening events included Crazy Go (with 19 variants) on Friday night run by AGF President Terry Benson. Rengo Kriegspiel was run for the first time in Spanish. As usual, everybody won. On Saturday evening, The Surrounding Game film was screened.
Each of the three evenings included a round of the second Ibero-American Pair Go Championship – with many of the pros and the Congress Director playing – won by Samy Suastegui, 8k of Mexico and Youngshin Lee, 9P of Korea.
The Emporio hotel provided a classy setting for the event. There was an included opening dinner at the hotel, box lunches each day, and plenty of coffee and water. The closing dinner at Porfirios had a classic Mexican atmosphere – good food and mariachi music. There was even a little impromptu singing of Go songs. And a new one – in Spanish – written by Benson and Ester Monroy added to the canon.
Funding for the event came from the International Go Federation, Pandanet, Nihon Ki-in, Korean Baduk Association, American Go Association, American Go Foundation, and Mexico’s National University UNAM.

The Mexican Go Association Congress team led by Emil Garcia and including Marco Hernandez, Temilotzin Ibarra, Ester Monroy, Dafne Rios, with additional support from UNAM students staff and media team gave a good start to the tradition of Latin American Go Congresses.
The site of the 2018 event will be announced before the end of the year with Bogota, Colombia and Buenos Aires, Argentina the likely candidates. For those who like an international Congress diet, there is a new hearty entrée on the menu.
- report/photos by Terry Benson

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Categories: Latin America
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2017 Cincy/Tristate Go Tournament held in Mason, OH

Tuesday September 5, 2017

On August 26, go players gathered in Mason, Ohio, for the 3rd annual Cincy/Tri-state go tournament. The tournament, generously sponsored 2017.09.05-CincyGoTournamentby the Asian Pacific American Forum of General Electric and the Confucius institute of Miami University attracted about 40 players from major cities of Ohio and neighboring states including Indiana, Kentucky, and Michigan. Also on hand was a graduate student from George Washington University who traveled all the way from DC to southwest Ohio just to enjoy meeting new friends while playing go.

Eight-year-old Stephanie Tan from Indiana swept with an impressive four wins and was placed top youth in Division C. College student Soren Jaffe of Cleveland Ohio, defeated University of Cincinnati exchange student Feifan Jia (5D) of China in the fourth round (de facto the final game). Other winners of the tournament include: Haoze Zou (5D, youth division A) from Mason, Ohio; Chris Martin (4K, adult Division B) from Louisville, Kentucky; Jonathan Luo (8K, youth Division B) from Mason, Ohio; and Dave Olnhausen (15K, adult Division C) from Toledo, Ohio.

Mason is located in the northeast corner of greater Cincinnati area. Mason was named one of the best places to live in the United States several times by Money magazine and CNN. Mason is home to Kings Island amusement park and home of the Western & Southern Open, one of the world’s top tennis tournaments. It’s the third year the go tournament was hosted here by Mason Go Club and Huaxia Chinese School at Mason.
- report/photos by Frank Luo

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Categories: U.S./North America
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Cho, Coplon and Cornett tie to top Skip Ascheim Memorial Go Tournament

Friday July 14, 2017

What do a 5-dan, a 5-kyu and a 12-kyu have in common? They all tied for first at the recent Skip Ascheim Memorial Go Tournament in Boston.2017.07.14_Benjamin_Coplon_David_Cho_Howard_Cornett_all_4-0 David Cho 5D, Benjamin Coplon 5k and Howard Cornett 12k were all 4-0 at the July 9 tournament, organized as usual by the Massachusetts Go Association. “Charles Chapple, the English Teacher from Franklin High School in Franklin NH, who had come with five students to the MGA’s Spring Tournament, was back with student Miriam Fallahi, despite it being summer vacation,” reports TD Eva Casey.
photo (l-r): Coplon, Cho and Cornett. Click here for more photos.

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Categories: U.S./North America
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Go Spotting: Misaeng (An Incomplete Life)

Sunday June 4, 2017

by Daniel Acheson2017.06.03_Misaeng
“Misaeng,” which means “an incomplete life,” is a 2014 South Korean television drama about 26-year old Jang Geu-rae and his struggles adapting to corporate life after failing to qualify as a professional go player.
Starting with the show’s title, which refers to the life and death status of a group of stones, “Misaeng” is suffused with go imagery and references. Flashbacks to Geu-rae’s go career pepper the storyline, and there are many scenes where the game is used to make analogous connections to his internship. In one episode, for example, Geu-rae adapts his go study system to completely reorganize his section’s shared files, which are a hopeless mess. While this may not sound like much, this early assignment, and the drama that surrounds it, becomes a pivotal moment in the story’s development.
Geu-rae’s corporate environment also mimics life on the goban: Among the interns and staff there is fierce competition for survival and promotion. Like the middle game, opening moves – education, internships, career choices – have determined certain relationships, and the characters must find opportunities to advance within (or in spite of) the constraints imposed by their past actions. In this respect Geu-rae is at a distinct disadvantage.
Due to the hermetic years spent studying go, Geu-rae possesses none of the educational or social advantages of his peers. He is armed onlyÀ±ÅÂÈ£ ÀÛ°¡ ÀÎÅͺä. ÀÌ»ó¼· ±âÀÚ. babtong@heraldcorp.com 2013.03.07 with a high-school equivalency exam certificate and an aptitude for undertaking difficult, thankless work. Nothing about his start with One International is auspicious. Geu-rae’s manager, Oh Sang-shik, regards this new intern as an unqualified burden and openly voices hopes that Geu-rae will fail. Among peers Geu-rae is known as a “bomb,” meaning someone who will explode under the pressures of the internship and thus fail. Yet Geu-rae surprises everyone with his fortitude.
In a similar way, I think “Misaeng” will also pleasantly surprise its viewers. Although the show starts slowly, each episode builds momentum and invests viewers more and more in the characters and their storylines. The data confirms this: Average ratings for “Misaeng” jumped fivefold from its premier in October 2014 to its conclusion in December of that year.
One reason for this popularity, I think, is that it is relatable. In 2012, when “Misaeng” started as a webtoon, its creator, Yoon Tae-ho, began with “countless interviews with real-life people who work for corporations.” “Explain it to me as if you were explaining it to a middle school student,” he would say to his interviewees. “If you really want to know about something, you have to have the courage to look like an idiot, the courage to say you don’t know anything about what they know.” As a result Geu-rae’s world, and with that of his contemporaries, feels real and lived in precisely because it is the world inhabited by so many in their personal and professional lives.
The struggle for complete life is as present on the goban as it is in the office or home, even if it is less evident. It’s also something that each player must face on their own despite being in the company of others. This is the essence of “Misaeng.”
“Misaeng” is available on Hulu Plus. Quotes from The Korea Herald and Korea Joongang Daily
photo (bottom left): Webtoon writer Yoon Tae-ho poses in his office prior to an interview with The Korea Herald on March 7. (Lee Sang-sub/The Korea Herald)
Edited by Howard Wong
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Categories: Go Art,Korea
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Tourney Updates: Michael Chen wins Philly Open; Yen-Ta Huang tops in Bay Area tourney; Diverse turn-out for CIRU tourney; NH high-schoolers trek to Boston tourney

Saturday April 15, 2017

Michael Chen wins Philly Open: Michael Chen 8d won the 2017 Philadelphia Spring Open, held March 12th at theOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA University of Pennsylvania. More than 50 players participated. Click here for a full report.

2017.04.15-bay-area-tourneyYen-Ta Huang tops in Bay Area tourney: Yen-Ta Huang 3d topped the 28-player field at the Bay Area Go Spring Tournament held April 1st, in Berkeley, CA. Winner Report: 3d-6d 1st Yen-Ta Huang 3d, 2nd Youfei chen 6d; 1k-2d 1st Chao Zhang 2d, 2nd Daniel Jeppson 1k; 5k-2k 1st Yunyen Lee 2k, 2nd Xiaofei Long 2k; 24k-6k 1st Nathan Bouscal 6k, 2nd Shanthanu Bhardwaj 6k.

Diverse turn-out for CIRU tourney: Seventy six players participated in the April 1 tournament hosted by the Confucius Institute of Rutgers University (CIRU) and the Feng Yun Go School. The players represented “a wide spectrum 2017.04.15_feng-yun-DSCN2569of ages, strengths, and ethnic heritage, girls and boys, men and women,” reports TD Paul Matthews. Feng Yun 9P reviewed players games and signed performance rank certificates for players who won all three of their games: Alan Huang 7d, Amy Su 5d, David Glekel 4d, Andrew McGowan 1k, Ted Lin 2k, Katherine Xie 3k, Seth Liang 5k, Sarah Crites 6k, Micah Murphy 10k, Kaden Li 21k, and John Crossman 25k. Complete tournament data, including all performance ratings and pairings, are available online at Go Tourney Ratings and there’s also a tournament photo gallery. Complete report here.

2017.04.15_4_of_the_5_High_School_girls_who_came_all_the_way_from_Franklin_NH_to_play_in_their_first_Go_tournamentNH high-schoolers trek to Boston tourney: This year’s Don Wiener Memorial Tournament included five high school students who were participated in their first go tournament. The students are members of the Franklin High School in Franklin, NH, and were brought to the April 9 tournament in Cambridge, MA by club advisor Charles Chapple, an English teacher at Franklin High. “Mr. Chapple, 7 kyu, plans to enter the next MGA tournament himself,” reports TD Eva Casey. Winner Report: Matthew Clarke 3k (4-0); Mark Nahabedian 12k (4-0); David Cho 4d ( 3-1); Runner up: Wayne Yee Mon 15k (3-1); Second Runner up: Wanda Metcalf 4k (3-1). photo: four of the Franklin High students. More photos here.

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Chicago High School Runs First Tourney

Friday March 17, 2017

Screen Shot 2017-03-17 at 4.40.14 PMDisney II Magnet High School, in Chicago, IL, held their first go tournament on Feb 7th, to celebrate the Spring Festival, or Lunar New Year of 2017. More than 30 students from 7th to 12th grade registered for the 4-week single-elimination tournament. The final four winners were Calvin Huang, Edgar Venegas, Isaac Smith and Alejandro Hernandez, from 9th and 11th grade.

“We bring different cultural activities into our world language classrooms,” reports Ming Laoshi, Chinese teacher and tournament organizer at the school. “I chose this game from Go and Math Academy in 2015, and then my students fell in love with it. Nowadays, I even use go as the classroom activity when I need a substitute teacher.”

“Go can be used to support goals in the Chinese curriculum,” adds Xinming Simon Guo, of Go and Math Academy, “particularly to enhance understanding of Chinese culture and to reinforce learning language skills (numbers, colors, shapes, positions and locations, timing, etc). Research shows that nonlinguistic representation can have a powerful effect on students’ vocabulary development. Go has numerous vocabularies that can be visually represented on the board and playing go can be aligned with the five major language learning standards — Communication, Culture, Connections, Comparisons, and Communities.”

“Organizing a tournament in the school setting turned out to be really easy,” reports Laoshi, “it started with a small budget. After setting up, all I needed to do was email students a pairing notice every week and enter the results in a Google spreadsheet.” The school plans to organize another  tournament next year, when every student can have an opportunity to play in every round. -Paul Barchilon EJ Youth Editor. Photo by Xinming Guo:Disney II tournament winners and Chinese language teacher Ming.

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Northwestern University Exploring Go and Math

Tuesday January 31, 2017

Screen Shot 2017-01-31 at 4.56.26 PMNorthwestern University in Illinois offered a new course on go last semester. The course was designed to help students build number sense, understand math concepts, and practice mathematical thinking, and was offered through the Center for Talent Development. The course evolved from a joint research project set up in November, 2015, by Xinming Guo, founder of Go and Math Academy, and David Uttal, a professor of Psychology and Education at Northwestern University. Guo has been advocating go for years, integrating the game as a math manipulative in the classroom. Each year thousands of students in Chicago and its suburbs have opportunities to make their first contact with go. After a demonstration of go and its connections to math education, Professor Uttal suggested Guo develop a course on go and math for the CTD program at Northwestern University. The new course was offered to students for the first time this past fall.

Professor Uttal leads a research laboratory of undergraduate, graduate students, and post-docs investigating spatial cognition and STEM (Science Technology, Engineering and Math) education. With the help of Professor Uttal and his lab, the research now focuses not only on go and elementary math education, but also on go and spatial thinking. The project team is comprised of Professor Uttal, his doctoral student Yanning Yu, and Guo. “Once we have more research results, we are hopeful that a link can be established between go and fundamental cognitive skills of human beings,” says Guo.

“The course and research have generated rich data so far. Doctoral student Yu and another research assistant, who recorded the entire 8-week course, have made many surprising discoveries after just a preliminary analysis,” says Guo. Deeper analysis is continuing and will provide more supporting materials for the 2nd phase of the research. “Go is a gold mine for future researches, no, a diamond mine,” said Professor Uttal.

Guo shared his vision of bringing go to every school in his keynote speech at the US Go Congress in 2015. He continues to develop elementary go and math curricula to help students build solid math foundations, and also runs professional development seminars for teachers. “I hope that our research on the relationship between go and math can also make contributions to the history of go in the whole world,” said Guo. -Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor.  Photo by Xinming Guo: Professor Uttal (l) and Xinming Guo (r) with the Northwestern CTD Catalog, fall 2016, which lists their go course under the math category.

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Seminar on Strategy Games at Cambridge Not Child’s Play

Wednesday October 19, 2016

 

IMG_20161002_113336An international seminar on strategy games was held at Cambridge University, England, on October 1st and 2nd. Organized by ChessPlus, and co-sponsored by Google’s Deepmind, the event drew about 40 teachers from 15 countries, who shared their expertise on teaching go, chess and other games in schools. The first day began with a compelling presentation from Dr. Barry Hymer, Professor of Psychology in Education at the University of Cumbria, in Lancaster. Hymer provided a brief introduction to mindset theory, and what it does and doesn’t say about achievement as it relates to strategy games. He contrasted two different mindsets: fixed vs. growth. Those with the former believe intelligence is a fixed trait that can’t be changed, while those with the latter believe intelligence is cultivated through learning. Dr. Hymer’s chart (below, at right) shows how these mindsets play out. All of us exhibit some of both types of mindsets at times, and in different areas.

Hymer also expounded on some mindset myths, which included the belief that natural ability and talent don’t exist, or that they don’t matter, and that hard work guarantees ultimate success. Instead, multiple factors come into play to create success, including what Hymer calls metacognitive strategies (how we think about thinking). Hymer noted Gary Kasparov, from the chess world, felt the same way: “It’s not enough to work hard and study late into the night. You must also become intimately aware of the methods you use to reach your decisions.” In a later presentation, Hymer discussed some educational studies with a few surprising results, including that praising students does not lead to any greater level of excellence or even motivation. Negative feedback also does not help.Screen Shot 2016-10-19 at 3.31.47 PM Instead, Hymer advocates engaged, attentive, and non-judgmental feedback, which he said helps create self-motivated students who then cultivate the love of learning for themselves. These types of students outperform all other categories by as much as 30%, said Hymer. An example of this from the go community would be the kinds of questions one asks in a teaching game: “What were you hoping to achieve when you went here? How do you think your opponent might respond? Were there other places you thought of playing, and why?” Getting a student to think about how they reached their decisions is key to creating autonomous learners in Hymer’s approach.

Hymer’s presentation was followed by an equally engaging one from Jorge Nuno Silva, of the University of Lisbon (Portugal). Professor Silva gave a lecture on the intellectual history of games in education. Drawing on games from across the centuries (most now completely forgotten) Silva illustrated how and why games are important to learning. Along the way he fascinated the audience with stories of strange and interesting games, including Rythmomachia: ”Invented as a pedagogical game, to help the teaching of Arithmetic, in the 11th century. Even the setup of the pieces on the board was an important experience. It was popular everywhere where Boethius’ Arithmetic was taught. It vanished, naturally, in the 17th century, as mathematics developed in a different way. Chess then took over.”jorge

The seminar continued with presentations from teachers and specialists from all over the world. Daniela Trinks of Myongji University in Korea spoke on the didactics of go, and Stefan Löffler spoke on the didactics of chess. Mads Jacobsen, from Denmark, spoke about the extraordinary success of chess programs in his country, where 30% of all schools have chess as a scheduled activity. Toby Manning of the British Go Association, and Paul Barchilon of the American Go Foundation both spoke on efforts to introduce go to more schools in their respective countries. “The beautiful rooms of Cambridge University provided a wonderful environment for these two days of learning, teaching, discussing, inspiration and forming cooperations,” said Daniela Trinks. “The success of this seminar proves once more that chess and go teachers shouldn’t see each other as rivals but as colleagues who have a lot in common. By sharing our experiences we can learn from each other, improve teaching praxis and develop more successful educational programs at schools in the future.”

The main organizers were John Foley, Stefan Löffler, Rita Atkins and John Upham from Chessplus. The seminar was sponsored by DeepMind, and supported by the British Go Association, the European Go Federation, the European Go Cultural Centre, the American Go Foundation and the UK Backgammon Federation. An online documentation of the seminar, including videos, photos and presentation files is planned. Interested readers can see the program, and associated slideshows, for all segments highlighted in blue on this page. -Story and photos by Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor. Top: Seminar participants take a break on the lawn at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge;  Lower right: Slide from Dr. Barry Hymer’s presentation; Lower left: Professor Jorge Nuno Silva shows the board for Rythmomachia.

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Chicago Schools Learn Art of Go

Thursday September 22, 2016

12742712_913577522095202_7328750880063231338_n“About 3000 students in the Chicago Public Schools, and another 2,500 students from suburban districts,  learned weiqi (go) during the last school year,” reports Xinming Simon Guo, 2015 AGF Teacher of the Year and founder of Go and Math Academy in Illinois. “Weiqi is not only an educational manipulative in the math classroom, but also a new way to extend the horizon of students in the language classroom,” adds Guo. September 17th was an Artist In Residence workshop day for Chinese language teachers in the Chicago schools.  “We organize this annual workshop at the beginning of every new school year, to bring culture into Chinese language classrooms, and enhance language teaching and learning, ” says Jane Lu, director of the Confucius Institute in Chicago and the coordinator of the CPS Chinese World Language Program. Local artists are invited to present and demonstrate different types of Chinese cultural activities, including Kung Fu, Chinese folk dancing, Chinese painting, paper cutting, and weiqi. Teachers in the workshop can apply to introduce these cultural and art activities to their classrooms if they want to. “Weiqi has been the most popular project among Chinese teachers in Chicago Public Schools since its debut in 2013,” says Guo, “during the last three years, about half of the Chinese teachers have chosen weiqi for their students. After the latest workshop, several new teachers also showed great interest and planned to apply for more classroom instruction.” -Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor Photo by Xinming Simon Guo: students in Arlington Heights learn go.

 

 

 

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The Traveling Board: Pete Schumer on the Nihon Kiin Summer Go Camp

Sunday September 18, 2016

The Nihon Kiin Summer Go Camp, an intensive training program targeted at non-Japanese go players, was held from 2016.09.18_schumer-nhk-redmond-IMG_5148August 21st through September 3rd at the Nihon Kiin in Tokyo. Vermont go player Peter Schumer was among those attending; here’s his report.

The 2016 Nihon Ki-in Summer Go Camp was attended by around 20 go enthusiasts from all over the world, all of whom were warmly welcomed and got to participate fully in all activities. World renowned professionals including Kobayashi Koichi 9d, Ishida Yoshio 9d, O Meien 9d, and Michael Redmond 9d gave regular lectures, went over famous games, and played several simultaneous games with the attendees. Sometimes you really had to pinch yourself that you were actually there hanging out with these stars of the go world. In addition to pro instruction, the daily routine was packed with go activities, including games, problems, tournaments, social events, and sightseeing to Kamakura, Asakusa, and Yokohama.

2016.09.18_schumer-nhk-tourney-IMG_5239Camp attendees had ample opportunity to play many games throughout the two weeks, participating in goodwill matches with college students, insei, and go clubs from around the city. Notably, attendees were given the unique chance to play in the Takara Shuzo Cup, the most popular amateur go tournament in Japan, which featured over 1,400 people this year.

The night before the first game of the Meijin title match, camp participants joined go legends including Cho Chikun 9d, Cho U 9d, Takemiya Masaki 9d (at right, with Schumer), Otake Hideo 9d, Iyama Yuta 9d, and Takao Shinji 9d to enjoy a lavish reception at the 5-star rated Hotel Chinzanso. The following day they were allowed to sit in the same room as the players for a few minutes during the match itself, which was 2016.09.18_schumer-nhk-takemiya-IMG_5350truly a special honor and very exciting.

The camp featured its own league system with participants playing against one another in a double-elimination tournament. The winner, a 4-dan from Europe, was given the honor to play a 3-stone handicap game against none other than O Meien 9d, with Michael Redmond providing live commentary.

All in all the go camp was enjoyable, highly educational, and well worth it; the price of the camp was very reasonable. The camp was a first-rate experience where you can improve your go, meet wonderful people from around the world, and get to enjoy some Japanese sites and culture.
- Edited by Brian Kirby

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