American Go E-Journal

U.S. Congress app has international appeal

Thursday May 17, 2018

很荣幸能在这里欢迎各位来到第 34 届围棋大会。第34回USコングレスへようこそ。This is the opening line in US Go Congress Co-Director Diego Pierrottet’s welcome message, which, for those who don’t read Chinese or Japanese, is “It’s my pleasure to 2018.05.17_congress-app-multi-languagewelcome you to the 34th Annual US Go Congress.” The wealth of information available each year in the Congress attendee booklet has been a challenge for those who do not read English, but with the new Congress mobile app — available on both iOS and Android devices — not only will more information be available, it’s now being provided in multiple languages.

“As more textual material is added, the intent is to translate that as well,” adds app developer Gurujeet Khalsa. “This is our first effort at internationalization using volunteer translators. We think this will make it a more inviting experience for our overseas visitors, and would welcome volunteers who can translate into other Asian and European languages. We would like to thank translators Chiemi Mori, Shigeru Takehara, Daniel Chou, and Yanqing Sun for getting this effort started.”

The Congress app can be downloaded here. Congress registration  is ongoing and still available at the Early Bird Discount price. The 2018 Congress will be held in historic Williamsburg, VA from July 21-28.

The Empty Board: Philosophical Reflections on Go #6

Monday May 14, 2018

by William Cobb2018.05.14_empty-go-board-polar-coordinates

As go players, we cannot say whether playing the game is itself good or bad. We can only say whether particular moves in particular games are good or bad.  To make judgments of what’s “good” or “bad” you have to have a context which provides criteria for making such judgments. Sports in general are a good analogy for making this point clear. Not just any toss of the ball can be called good in baseball. So what about human actions in general? To make such judgments you must have a set of rules and in particular a clearly specified overall goal in which the rules are determined. Unfortunately, there is no general agreement about the ultimate goal of life. Insofar as that is the case some suggest we would be better off not judging good and bad. Of course, people often set certain goals and are then able to determine what’s good and bad in relation to those goals. But how can they be sure those goals are in fact “good”? In order to say a particular move in a go game is good you have to assume a view of the nature of the game. But to justify playing the game as a good thing you have to appeal to something outside the game. So a question is how to deal with people who show no interest in playing go. Just saying they should play because it’s fun or interesting doesn’t seem adequate somehow. We can try to find some value we do share with them and to convince them that playing go will promote that value. Japanese efforts to show that playing go can diminish the effects of dementia are an interesting example of this. The Japanese go community also believes that playing go can promote world peace; hard not to approve of that.  Another interesting example is some of the claims that are made about the value of teaching groups of children to play. Go is certainly a very special game. We’d like to say it makes you a better person.

photo by Phil Straus; photo art by Chris Garlock

 

Sarah Yu: Memories of the Go Seigen tournament and his dreams of peace

Monday May 14, 2018

by Sarah Yu 6D2018.05.13_NA team photo with Lin Haifeng in front of Go Seigen's statue at the cemetery

Recently I was lucky to attend the first Wu Qingyuan (Go Seigen) Women’s Tournament in Fuzhou, China. It was like a dream come true. I was one of four North American representatives; the other three were Feng Yun 9P, Stephanie Yin 1P, Gaby Su 6D. A qualifier game was held for the eight North American and European players to determine which four would proceed to the main tournament. After the draw, each North American player would play against a European. Feng Yun, Stephanie Yin, and I won the qualifier (click here for details). Then at the main, we respectively lost to Qu Yin, Yu Zhiying, and Ueno Asami.

I enjoyed playing with Ueno Asami very much and had a good game, and it was a pleasure to be participating in this memorable event with Feng Yun, Stephanie and Gabby. I especially appreciated those who worked so hard to make this tournament happen, and to acknowledge Go Seigen’s milestone contributions to go. Thanks to the tournament, I was able to meet players who had known Go Seigen, and to get a glimpse of his passion for go and peace.

I remember that during the opening ceremony, I felt strongly that Go Seigen had “sacrificed” his life for go. That moment was when children singing “coming towards home,” while photographs of Go Seigen were playing on the screen behind them. We also had the chance to visit the cemetery where Go is buried (photo), where Chang Hao 9P, the Vice Chairman of the Chinese Go Association, gave an inspiring speech. As the children sang and danced, I saw that the future belongs to the next generation. Go Seigen said that the 21st century will be about the harmony of go — North, South, East, West, Heaven and Earth — he dreamed of promoting peace through go, and I hope that with the help of AlphaGo, we will further comprehend both.

photo (l-r): Feng Yun 9P, Rin Kaihō (Lin Haifeng 9P – Go Seigen’s disciple), Sarah Yu 6D, Stephanie Yin 1P, Gabby Su 6D

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U.S. Go Congress meal plan offers “Variety and value”

Monday May 14, 2018

In searching for a venue for the 2018 US Go Congress Co-Director Diego Pierrottet reports that “We really wanted to offer a great plan with multiple options at a reasonable price. One of the very top concerns we heard from past Congress attendees was the meal plan. At William & Mary we are glad to be able to offer a tremendous variety of high quality meals. We also negotiated cost savings up to 20% off per meal over regular door prices for our Congress attendees who sign up for a meal plan.”

The website for Center Court at Sadler Center gives an idea of the numerous options, including:2018.05.13_wm-mary-dining_pizza_station

  • The Chop House, offering made-to-order salads
  • Maize, featuring vegan and vegetarian options
  • Natural, serving a menu tailored to guests with special dietary needs like celiac, gluten and dairy intolerances
  • Taliaferro’s, offering handmade pasta and pizza
  • Tidewater Grill, featuring handmade burgers and hot sandwiches as well as seafood options
  • Reves Global, presenting authentic recipes from around the world from Asian-inspired dishes to West Coast cuisine and Latin dishes
  • Simple Servings, serving minimally processed food prepared without gluten or seven of the eight most common food allergens: milk, eggs, soy, tree nuts, peanuts, shellfish and wheat

“If you haven’t yet registered, or registered and didn’t select a meal plan yet, try one of the flexible combinations on the Congress website,” Pierrottet suggests, “We heard your concerns.”

Registration is still available for Congress at the Early Bird discount price. You can also keep up with Congress goings on by downloading the free mobile app for iOS and Android devices.

AGF Increases Congress Scholarships – Includes College Students

Monday May 14, 2018

AGF-logo-smallThe American Go Foundation (AGF) is increasing funding for young people attending the US Go Congress, and is also creating a new set of scholarships for college students. Traditional amounts for kids and teens under 18 were $200 for participating in any of the main AGA online youth events (Redmond Cup, National Kyu Championship, Girls Tournament), and an additional $200 for writing an essay.  This year, as there is no Go Camp, the board decided to increase the essay scholarship to $300.  To apply for the  scholarship, read the information here, and then send your essay in by email. If you played in the youth events, and want your participation scholarship, email your request to youth@usgo.org.  For the new college scholarships, participants must be 26 or younger, and actively enrolled in college.  Graduate and under graduate students are both eligible, click here to apply.  All scholarships are first come first serve, with 20 allotted for the US, and 5 allotted to be split between Canada and Mexico. – Paul Barchilon, EJ Youth Editor.

Strong Open Section at Seattle Spring Tournament

Sunday May 13, 2018

Three previous winners of Seattle Go Center tournaments competed in the Spring Tournament, held May 6.  They were Sorin Gherman 6d, who won the 2018 Jin Chen tournament, Kai Fugami 6d, winner of the 2017 Anniversary Tournament, and Yue Zhang 7d, who won the 2016 Anniversary Tournament.  Yue Zhang won the eight person Open Section with a 3-0 record, while the other two players had 2-1 records, along with Zhixiang Lou 5d.

Spring Tournament Yue Zhang 2nd game

The Handicapped Section had 20 players.  In a change from previous tournaments, there were no bands in the Handicapped Section.  Book and equipment prizes were given to all players who won three games.  They were Zihong Yao 2d, Frank Brown 6k, Xiangnan Chen 7k, and Lucas Lu 9k, who also won the youth prize.Spring Tournament - game recording

Your reporter also noticed a wide range of game recording techniques.  Some of the strongest players just relied on memory, while other players used paper kifu, laptops, tablets, and video recording with a cell phone.  First photo: Yue Zhang in center of photo.  Photos/report by Brian AllenSpring Tournament more game recording

 

Discounts on Day Off activities at U.S. Go Congress

Saturday May 12, 2018

With many activities to choose from in the Williamsburg area, the organizers of this year’s US Go Congress have negotiated2018.05.12 colonial-wmsburg discount rates for two of the most popular: Colonial Williamsburg and Busch Gardens. These group rates are available for July 25, the traditional Wednesday ‘Day Off’ at the mid-point of the Congress. Colonial Williamsburg is next to the William & Mary campus, and shuttles are being arranged for Busch Gardens.

Colonial Williamsburg is the world’s largest living history museum. Step back in time to the 18th century to the dawn of America. With historic trades and sites, two art museums, and interpreters recreating real historic figures, it is a great experience. Enjoy relaxing carriage rides or a sojourn to one of the four taverns.

Busch Gardens is a 383 acre theme park with rides, roller coasters, animals, shows, and 2018.05.12 busch gardensspecial events. Experience family-friendly performances on outdoor stages or even enter a world of virtual reality with the Battle for Eire ride.

The group discounted tickets are available only through the Congress website . You can select them when registering, or if already registered, go to the “My Account” page in the navigation menu,and add the tickets by clicking on an attendee’s name. Tickets are found in the “Activities” section of an account. The discount rates are:

Colonial Williamsburg – $34 (ages 13+) and $17 (ages 6-12) – regular rates $40/$20
Busch Gardens – $59 (ages 10+) and $47 (ages 3-9) regular rates $90 at gate or $70 online.

“These are great venues to relax and enjoy for a day between all the other great events at Congress,” says Congress event organizer Yuan Zhou reports. “Come and enjoy all Williamsburg has to offer!” You can sign up now when you register and also learn more about events on the “Videos” page of the Congress mobile app . By registering for Congress now you can get the additional “early bird” Congress discount in addition to saving on event tickets.

45th Maryland Open coming up Memorial Day weekend

Wednesday May 9, 2018

Registration is now open for the 45th annual Maryland Open, coming up May 26-27 in Baltimore, MD. The long-running AGA-2018.05.09 Balto Memorial Day Tourneyrated tournament attracts a large and strong field, with prizes in all sections. Five rounds are held over two days, three on Saturday and two on Sunday. First round starts at 11a on Saturday, May 26.

Players sought for Samsung World Division

Tuesday May 8, 2018

The AGA and CGA have received an invitation to select three North American players to participate in the 16-player World Division of the 2018 Samsung Cup.  The tournament will take place July 3-6 in Korea, selecting a player by single elimination to play in the Samsung Cup’s main tournament round of 32 in early September.  The other players will include four from Europe, one from South America, three from Asia excluding Japan, China, Korea, and Taiwan, and four selected from foreign students enrolled in Korean go schools.  The selected players will receive a $1,000 travel subsidy but will be responsible for all their travel costs. Eligibility is limited to amateurs and AGA-certified professionals who also meet the applicable standards of either AGA or CGA.  The players must also be able to stay until the July 6 closing ceremony and, if selected, be willing and able to play in the September main tournament.  Please send your name and details to Andy Okun at president@usgo.org by May 15. 

The Empty Board: Philosophical Reflections on Go #5

Monday May 7, 2018

by William Cobb2018.04.07_empty-board-heat map-red

I hope at least some of my readers felt at least a slight twinge at the statement in the last Empty Board (#4): “the player’s ultimate goal, which is of course to win.” If you are talking about the making of decisions about good and bad moves, the criterion is how the move relates to the goal of winning (except in teaching games), but for many players, it is misleading to suggest that they play the game in order to win. Certainly there is a sense in which you are trying to win, but I don’t think I’m the only player who would say that some of my most enjoyable games have been losses. I like to play the game, not just win the game. If we are talking about why we play, it seems more accurate to say that we play to enjoy the amazing challenges of trying to find the best strategy and plays, which may or may not result in our winning. So there are two somewhat different senses in which good and bad come up in go:  1) does this play contribute to victory? and (2) am I enjoying playing this game? This distinction surely applies in life as well. In life, as in go, it’s fairly easy to answer the second question. In life, however, the first question is very difficult to answer with confidence. You decide to play go, so you have some sense of what you are doing and why, but you don’t decide to be born. Maybe if we had a chance to play the game of life more than once, we could figure out what it is all about. In the meantime I recommend trying to play go more often.

photo by Phil Straus; photo art by Chris Garlock