American Go E-Journal

North American professionals wanted for first Tianfu Cup World Professional Weiqi Championship

Monday August 6, 2018

The first Tianfu Cup World Professional Weiqi Championship has requested participation by two North American professionals. The first round will be held September 20-27 in Beijing with a second session from December 20-27 in Tianfu, Sichuan. Airfare, accommodation, and meals will be covered by the event organizers. Prizes start at 30,000 RMB (~4300 USD) for losing the first round. If interested, or for more details, please contact tournaments@usgo.org no later than Sunday, August 12. Depending on the number of responses, there will be a preliminary tournament to select representatives.
- Jeff Shaevel, AGA National Tournament Coordinator

Havana to host international go tournament in September

Monday August 6, 2018

The Academia Cubana de Go will host an international go tournament in Havana September 14-16 and are encouraging US2018.08.06_cuba-tourney players to attend. Click here for details. I–Dared Travels, a provider of US to Cuba trip arrangements, has put together a travel package for this trip, which includes three days of mental challenge and cameraderie, as well as exploring Havana and its outskirts, including a visit to Finca Vijia, home of Ernest Hemingway. Participants will take part in five rounds of WGAC regulation games, and lodging will be provided by the Hotel Palco, an extension of the Convention Center of Havana.  Registration closes August 31. Those interested should be sure to review US regulations governing travel to Cuba; Federal regulations are at 31 CFR 515.567.

“I have now played go in Cuba three times since 2013 and have enjoyed each trip,” says Bob Gilman. “Cubans have put a lot of energy into developing the game there and are very happy to have visitors from other countries. If anyone has questions about my experience traveling to Cuba, you may write me at bobgilman.aga@gmail.com.”

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Cotsen tourney registration opens

Wednesday August 1, 2018

With the annual US Go Congress just wrapped up, go fans looking for their next big go event can mark their calendars for the 2018.08.01-cotsen-open2018 Cotsen Open, set for Oct 13-14 in Los Angeles. Registration has just opened; click here to sign up. As always, pre-registration ($20) will allow attendees to get their money back on Sunday after competing in ALL five matches, AND a free food voucher for Saturday and Sunday. Otherwise pay $25 at the door and get no refund.  Organizers encourage using the PayPal system “to allow us to have a more accurate count of who is competing this year, which helps cut down the pairing time delay and speeds up the tournament starting on time.” If you have any questions please feel free to email Tournament Organizer Christopher Saenz cotsenopen@gmail.com. “We look forward to seeing you all again in October,” say Cotsen organizers.

2018 EJ Congress team credits

Wednesday August 1, 2018

Coverage of this year’s US Go Congress took a giant leap forward with two innovations. One was the social feed in the new Go2018.07.24 adult-youth-social Congress app, which enabled both Congress attendees and go fans worldwide to follow the action in Williamsburg; big thanks to Gurujeet Khalsa for making this happen and to everyone who posted, especially our two intrepid reporters, Julie and Matt Burrall, who seemed to be everywhere all the time with their updates on all things Congress.
The other was our Twitch broadcasts, which attracted audiences unthinkable just a few years ago, hitting over 12,000 at one point. Stephen Hu, Nathan Epstein, Joel Cahalan and Eli Ferster did amazing work, whether behind or in front of the cameras, supported by Andrew Jackson and Michael Wanek offsite. Big thanks to all of the c2018.07.24_FB_IMG_1532376461324asters who participated this year — Ding Wei 9p, Yilun Yang 7p, Mingjiu Jiang 7p, Ryo Maeda 6p, Yoonyoung Kim 4p, Eodeokdung Lee 2p, Stephanie Yin 1p, Ryan Li 1p, Eric Lui 1p, Andy Liu 1p, Qucheng Gong, Zhaonian Chen, Albert Yen, Stephen Hu, Justin Teng, Edward Zhang, James Pinkerton, Jonathan Hop, Keith Arnold, Chris Garlock, Julie Burrall, Samantha Fede, and Samantha Soo — sometimes recruited at the last moment but all enthusiastic in their support for this tremendous new way to bring go events to a worldwide gaming audience. Special thanks as always to I-han Lui for all his help coordinating the professionals, and to Daniel Chou for translation.
A very special shout-out to our game recorders, without whom these broadcasts couldn’t happen: Dennis Wheeler and Richard Dolen brought us the morning games, while Bart Jacob, David Weimer, Anthony Long, Russell Herman and Dale Blann provided evening coverage. Thanks too to our friends at KGS, led by Akane Negishi and her band of merry 2018.08.01_2018 EJ team 2018admins. This year’s tournament directors not only did their pairing jobs admirably, but got results to the EJ team promptly so that we could keep the crosstabs — US Open Masters and US Open — updated:  Joshua Lee, Justin Teng, Todd Heidenreich, Steve Colburn, Qucheng Gong and James Pinkerton.

Joining the Burralls on our crack EJ reporting team were Samantha Fede, Paul Barchilon, Justin Teng and photographer Phil Straus; check out their reporting here.
Last but never least, this year’s Congress Directors, Nate Eagle and Diego Pierrottet, not only put on a great Congress — with the help of a lot of friends — but they went out of their way to support the EJ team to ensure that both attendees and those who could not be there were able to follow all the action at this major annual American go event. We owe them both official EJ team caps!
Go is a great game, but it’s the amazing people who play it that bring us together year after year. For me, that’s especially true of this phenomenal group of people who assemble each year, taking precious time from family and work obligations — and sacrificing time on the board we all love — to bring go to our community and to the world. For that I thank you all from the bottom of my heart. See you next year in Madison!
- Chris Garlock, Managing Editor/Producer
Team photo by Phil Straus

Go Spotting: Awkwafina’s “Pockiez”

Wednesday August 1, 2018

American rappertelevision personality, and actress (Crazy Rich Asians and Ocean’s 8) Awkwafina’s new2018.07.11 Awkwafina Pockiez video “Pockiez” features go fairly prominently. NOTE: the video also contains explicit lyrics.

Thanks to Adam VanderHook for passing this along.

Categories: Go Spotting,Main Page
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2018 U.S. Go Congress volunteer acknowledgements

Tuesday July 31, 2018

By Nate Eagle and Diego Pierrottet2018.07.31-eagle=khalsa-okun-diego

Being co-directors of the 34th annual U.S. Go Congress is the biggest, hardest thing we’ve ever done, and the generosity of attendees in encouraging us has been tremendously meaningful. But the thing we feel, more than anything, is immense gratitude toward the huge team of volunteers, from our core team to all the people who showed up out of nowhere, ready to work, who made the event possible.

Anchoring our core team were Gary Smith, the registrar who made it all possible, Gurujeet Khalsa, whose creation of the first-ever official Go Congress app was such a huge success, Todd Heidenreich, the treasurer who also served as a font of institutional knowledge throughout the week, and I-Han Lui, who managed the pro schedule and was vital with many details of Congress operations.

We are also particularly proud of the National Go Center regulars who played big roles this year: Nathan Epstein, who, working with Xiaocheng (Stephen) Hu on broadcast, took the tech operations of the Congress and the E-Journal team (managed as usual by Chris Garlock; look for his Congress EJ team acknowledgements tomorrow) to new heights, Joel Cahalan, who provided vital Ruby on Rails experience to craft the first-ever SMS pairing notification system, which will now be passed to future Congresses, and Eli Ferster, the assistant registrar who could handle anything.

Daniel Zhao helped in dozens of vital ways throughout the week. Doug Wilkinson (left) poured sweat and, on at least one occasion, blood into the incredibly difficult task of managing the Congress’s substantial equipment needs. It was also Daniel and Doug’s first Congress!

2018.07.31 WilkinsonAndrew Hall performed amazingly in his first year directing the U.S. Open, and his assistant TD, Dan Ritter, was up early every single morning or the last to leave at nights, making sure that players had ready clocks and orderly tables to waiting for them. Josh Lee directed a tremendously exciting U.S. Masters tournament in his first outing. Big thanks to tournament directors Steve Colburn, Keith Arnold, Peter Schumer, Andy Olsen, Lisa Scott, Jim Hlavka, Neil Ritter, Justin Teng, Terry Benson and Todd Heidenreich. And a particular thanks to Greg Kulevich, director of the Seniors Tournament, who worked hard this week, giving up most of his own Congress experience to make one of the biggest tournaments of the Congress a success. Thanks to our excellent translators, Jonathan Hop and Satoru Inoue. Huge thanks to Devin Fraze, who ran the wonderful youth room, and Paul Barchilon, to whom Devin passed the baton at the end.

Thanks to James Pinkerton, Qucheng Gong, and to Facebook, for bringing OpenGo to the American Go community this year: over 66 players got the chance to personally play and learn from the strongest open-source Go AI in the world, and over 10,000 people got to tune in and watch Andy Liu and Ryan Li play Pair Go with OpenGo as a teammate. (It was a particular honor for Nate to get to be one of the hands of OpenGo as Andy’s partner.) And thanks to the volunteers who made the simuls possible by serving as the eyes and hands of OpenGo, which was not an easy job: it required multiple hours of back-straining, brain-draining effort. You did great.

Thanks to the people who showed up early on Friday to help us get everything set up and to help on registration morning, 2018.07.31_josh-lee teachesamong them Chris Kirschner, Marianne Palhamous, Lee Schumacher, John Grenier, Ted Terpstra, Mark Nahabedian, Wayne Nelson, Keith Arnold, Patrick Bannister, Kristal Soo, and so many more. Particular thanks to Neil and Dan Ritter, who assembled the two giant monitors that became the center of the Congress experience, and then disassembled them again so they can travel to next year’s Congress in Madison.

Thanks to Lisa Scott for managing the AGA meetings and for working to bring us the first year with an official Code of Conduct, a hugely valuable tool for making the Congress a welcoming place for everyone.

Thanks to the front-desk staff at William and Mary—all students—who handled the largest group they’d ever had come through with kindness, patience, and helpfulness.

We will have inevitably missed people—please know that no matter what it was, your contribution toward making Congress happen was essential and appreciated. Thank you, and we hope to see everyone next year in Madison!

photos: top right: Nate Eagle (left) and Diego Pierrottet (right) with the National Go Center’s Gurujeet Khalsa (second from left) and AGA president Andy Okun (second from right), photo by Phil Straus; bottom left: Doug Wilkinson, Equipment Manager and first-time Congress attendee, photo by Nate Eagle; bottom right: Masters TD Josh Lee teaching go.

 

US Go Congress social feed photos posted to AGA Facebook page

Tuesday July 31, 2018

The photos posted to the 2018 US Go Congress app’s social feed — one of the app’s most popular features — have now been2018.07.30 Congress social album posted to the AGA’s Facebook page. E-Journal reporter Julie Burrall will also be transferring the photo captions over the next few days; help spread the word by tagging folks you know. EJ photographer Phil Straus is adding more photos to his 2018 Go Congress album, and we’ve posted an album of photos from the 2018 Pandanet City League finals, where you can also tag folks.

Tim Song upsets Ahn Dalhoon to win 2018 US Open Masters; Tianyi Chen wins top section of US Open

Saturday July 28, 2018

Tim Song 1P snatched the US Open Masters title from Ahn Dalhoon 9P, defeating the Korean professional in the ninth and 2018.07.28_brandon-zhoufinal2018.07.28-Song-Zirui(Tim) round by resignation in a thrilling game watched by hundreds on Twitch and KGS. Tianyi Chen won the top section of the US Open (click here for the official final standings), and in an interesting wrinkle, 15-year-old Brandon Zhou 5d (right) went 6-0 to top the 5-dan division, defeating three 6-dans, including 6-dan division winner Tianyi Chen.
Commentator Yilun Yang 7P’s assessment in the Masters final was that Ahn had a good position until he ran into time trouble in the late middle game, but AI analysis indicated that Song had an advantage from fairly early in the game. Either way, Song (left), a young Chinese pro who now lives in the US, relentlessly pressured Ahn until, with the last few seconds ticking away in his final byo yomi – and with two weak groups at stake, he turned off the clock in acknowledgement of his defeat. “I’m really impressed with way 2018.07.28-Ahn-Song-Cupthe field has developed in recent years,” said AGA president Andy Okun. “It bodes very well for the future of American go.” The upset was not the only one of the day. On board 2, Chinese pro Ding Wei 9P fell to Michael Chen 7d, also losing by resignation. The losses by the two top professionals threw the results into tiebreaks; both Ahn and Song were 7-2, but Song prevailed by a single SOS point. Song is the title winner, but because they had the same win/loss records, they’ll split the $7,500 first and second place prize money evenly. Four players had 6-3 records, and Ding Wei won the third place trophy on SOS; Andy Liu, Ryan Li and Michael Chen are the runners-up. Latest Masters crosstab here.
- report by Chris Garlock and Dennis Wheeler; photos by Garlock
7/29: updated with link to official final US Open standings

US Open Masters comes down to final round

Friday July 27, 2018

Dalhoon Ahn has a firm but not quite final grip on this year’s US Open Masters trophy, after winning both rounds on Friday and2018.07.28 US Open division leaders-updated 2018.07.27 Round 7 mastersimproving his record to 7-1. With two players with 6-2 records nipping at his heels — Wei Ding, Zirui Song — and one final round to go, the outcome is still to be determined Saturday morning in Round 9. Check the latest results on the US Open Masters crosstab. See the chart at right for the division leaders in the US Open, which also has one more round to go Saturday morning; click here for the US Open crosstab. Watch top boards in the Masters live on KGS and Twitch (Friday night’s coverage attracted more than 12,000 viewers) starting at 9a EDT and check out this week’s videos on YouTube.
- report/photo by Chris Garlock; Wei Ding (left) playing Dalhoon Ahn in Round 7 Friday morning. Chart by Matthew Burrall

Who Run the World?

Friday July 27, 2018

The AGA Girls Cup and Women’s Tournament provide space at the annual US Go Congress for female go players to meet one2018.07.28_womens-cup another and to further develop and maintain a larger community of go players. In a historically male-majority event, it is motivating to see how women can inspire other women to attend the Go Congress and Congress events through friendly competition. By promoting the U.S. Go Congress as a place for women to study go and compete, the hope is that there will continue to be an 2018.07.28_girls-cupincrease in the number of women attendees and strong female competitors.

There was an interesting start to the tie-break game between Melissa Cao and Tina Li in the Girls Cup (left). Knowing that a perilous game was in the offing, both players were reluctant to hit the clock and begin the festivities. So Justin Teng did it for them, and they were off on the game that would determine the Girls Cup Champion. After black (Melissa) settled a group in white’s developing moyo, it looked to be a tough game for Tina. Both players had dangerously weak groups at different points in the game, but they all lived and at the end, Tina Li edged out a victory to claim the 2018 AGA Girls Cup Championship.

The fourth and final round (right) of the 12th annual Women’s Tournament left just one player with a perfect record. Annie Wang 2d swept all her games to emerge as the top division winner. Other division winners* were Yoko Ohashi 6k, Maya Boerner 11k and Bethany Nyborg 18k. Lisa Scott and Laura Sparks directed.
- Report/photos by Julie Burrall
* subject to final verification