American Go E-Journal » Search Results » learn go week

Janice Kim Launches New Go Blog

Monday January 2, 2012

Janice is back! American professional Janice Kim 3P (at right), the popular go author, lecturer at many U.S. Go Congresses and former American Go Journal columnist (“Life in B-League”), has just launched a go blog. The idea of the Learn To Play Go blog, hosted by Kim’s  Samarkand.Net website, “is that if AGA members want to have one of their games analyzed and would email it to me in sgf format — along with any questions they have — I will identify it in the grand scheme, incorporate it in a weekly go tutorial blog post, and cast both players as ‘spy vs. spy’ for complete anonymity,” Janice tells the E-Journal. Send your sgf game records – and questions – to jkim@samarkand.net and be sure to put “sgf file” in the subject line and include your AGA membership number.

“Perhaps you are familiar with logic puzzles involving hats,” Janice suggests in the first post, What Hat Are You Wearing?  “No? For example, imagine there are 10 prisoners and 10 hats. Each prisoner is assigned a random hat, either red or blue, but the number of each color hat is not known to the prisoners. The prisoners will be lined up single file where each can see the hats in front of him but not behind. Starting with the prisoner in the back of the line and moving forward, they must each, in turn, say only one word which must be ‘red’ or ‘blue’. If the word matches their hat color they are released, if not, they are killed on the spot. A friendly guard warns them of this test one hour beforehand and tells them that they can formulate a plan together to help them survive within the given parameters. How many prisoners could you guarantee to save? While I was thinking about hats, I thought about how it might relate to go, and outlined in broad strokes my new Hat Theory in the comments of the go game below.”

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Two Weeks at the Lee Sedol Baduk Academy: Van Tran’s Journal (#4)

Monday November 28, 2011

July 16: Today is Saturday, but the dojang is not open today because there is a tournament for the inseis. So Om, Chisu Yun, Cho Sun Ah, Masakito and I went sightseeing. We visited an old Korean palace which was really interesting and then we went biking near the lake even though it was raining really hard. There was also an awesome playground over near the river where we went zip-lining. Afterwards we went to the mall to eat and we spent some time inside a Korean music store listening to K-pop albums. When we got home there was a barbecue dedicated to the kids that went to the tournament. I can’t say Korean barbecue is good, but it was a good experience to be a part of a large gathering of celebration in Korea.

July 19: Today is the day I go back to America. It’s sad that I have to leave just when I had just started to settle in. Before leaving I got to say bye to the handful of kids that are there in the morning. It was sad to leave the dojang and Korea. It would’ve been nice if I had got the chance to stay a bit longer and learn more. I got a lot of Korean Go books as gifts when I left. I got a book each on hangmae, pae (ko), and life and death, and a Korean Baduk magazine (which is not really helpful because I don’t understand it). I left the dojang at 12:30PM on an airport bus heading back to the Incheon Airport reading the Baduk magazine that Mr. Oh had given me. One day I look forward to come back to the dojang where I have found many good friends and teachers.

Sixteen-year-old Van Tran spent two weeks in South Korea at the Lee Sedol Baduk Academy earlier this year and sent the E-Journal his report, which is appeared in the EJ this month (this is the final installment). The high school junior lives in the Houston suburb of Spring, Texas, has been playing for two and a half years and is “about 3 dan.”

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Categories: Youth
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Imayo Matsumoto, Pair Go Tourney’s Oldest Player

Sunday November 27, 2011

Pair Go is proud of its inter-generational appeal. Many young children, elderly players and all ages in-between are drawn to the handicap tournaments staged with the annual  International Pair Go Championships, which recently took place in Tokyo (Koreans Win Pair Go Championships). For a number of years, the oldest player has been Ms. Imayo Matsuyo, who turned 90 this year and hails from Ehime prefecture on the island of Shikoku. Longtime go journalist and E-Journal contributor John Power had a chance to interview her between rounds.
EJ: What age were you when you learned go?
IM: 60.
EJ: How often and where do you usually play? On the Net?
IM: No I can’t get the hang of computers. I play twice a week at a local go club.
EJ: What is your rank now?
IM: The female rankings are a little more generous than the male. I’d be about 3-dan in the male rankings.
EJ: What is the appeal of go to you?
IM: Being able to play with my son once a year. My daughter-in-law doesn’t mind my stealing him for go tournaments. Playing with him, I feel that I’m improving all the time. By the way, my go club team became the Ehime representative in the Nenrinpikku [a festival of a wide range of sports for players 60 and over] and took first place.
    Read more about Ms. Matsumoto’s “Memories of Pair Go” in her essay submitted to last year’s 20th Anniversary  Pair Go Prize Essays competition, available in English translation on the Panda Net HP. Also available online are essays by Thomas Hsiang (U.S.), Tony Atkins (U.K.), Kirsty Healey & Matthew Macfadyen (U.K.) and more.  

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Categories: World
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Two Weeks at the Lee Sedol Baduk Academy: Van Tran’s Journal (#1)

Sunday November 6, 2011

Sixteen-year-old Van Tran spent two weeks in South Korea at the Lee Sedol Baduk Academy earlier this year and sent the E-Journal his report, which will appear over the next few weeks. The high school junior lives in the Houston suburb of Spring, Texas, has been playing for two and a half years and is “about 3 dan.”

July 5: Today is my first day of Go School. This is a very weird experience. I can’t understand anything that other people are saying, but somehow I feel like I have learned a lot about go today. The Koreans are very strong and I like the general Korean style that most people play. They like thickness very much and they like to fight aggressively. It amazes me how dedicated these kids are to go. Every day they have formal go study for 12 hours and then when they get back ome they study until 11PM when they go to sleep. Most of the people here my age are 9-dan and are aspiring professionals. It surprises me the gap in skill between a 9-dan and a 1-dan professional. There are even some 9-dans that aren’t inseis because they are weaker than the other 9-dans. There are many 9-dans who are very strong, but only a few become professional every year. A bit of food for thought is that these kids are able to give their all just for a small chance of becoming a  professional. They seem to live in a closed world of go. If they have free time they study go and they eat while they look at top go player’s statistics for “fun.” I lost all my games today even though I am playing with their very young students.

July 6: I woke up today with a terrible backache from sleeping on the floor. There are about 20 kids who are all exceptional at go staying in the headmaster’s apartment. They are all 3-dan and higher. Though most of them are 9-dans, the lowest-ranked out of the Koreans is a little kid I think about 6 who is a solid 3-dan. I have started to specialize my study in Korean Go to hangmae, a Korean technique which means the flow of stones. I find it to be somewhat similar to tesuji which applies many odd fighting shapes. It really helps with fighting and simplifies reading because hangmae acts as a bookmark leading to a favorable result. Today I lost all my games as well. It‘s a bit frustrating to lose all your games to little kids. To be continued next week…
Photo: Headmaster playing a serious go game with a student.

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Categories: World,Youth
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Go Beats Out Shedd Aquarium for Fourth Grader

Monday July 11, 2011

Five young students, and their teacher, Xinming Simon Guo, took advantage of Chicago’s recent Family Fun Festival to introduce go to a larger audience. The Chinese-American Museum of Chicago prepared an assortment of activities to promote Chinese art and culture for visiting families and day-camp groups.  Guo and his students staffed a booth on June 25 and 26, and taught over 60 visitors how to play. “The highlight of the weekend is no doubt the story of a fourth grader  from Springfield IL who visited the event tent on Saturday,” reports Guo. “He said he was pretty good at chess and won the champion in the tournament for 7th graders. He showed great interest in go and learned how to play it immediately. I gave him a cardboard set as a reward for having played his first complete game. On the second day, everybody was astonished to see this boy again. His mom told me their original plan was to visit Chicago’s  Shedd Aquarium, but this boy was so attracted by this new game that he gave up the aquarium to revisit the weiqi desk to learn more about go. ‘How can a fourth-grader choose a game of go instead of visiting Shedd Aquarium — rated as the number one attraction for kids??’ his mother asked.  That’s the magic of go, I answered with a smile.”  Guo began his class at Xilin North Shore School in 2010, with the  the support of the American Go Foundation. Since then, the project has attracted about 25 kids to learn go. “This weiqi (go) demo event is a great opportunity for kids to use what they have learned during the last year. It’s also a chance for them to learn how to serve the public,” added Guo.  Students who taught in the booth were Hann Diao, Edward Lee, Jiangao Fang, Ray Li, and Jeffrey Tang. -Paul Barchilon, E.J Youth Editor, Photo: Guo is at left, the  fourth grader mentioned is at right.  Photo by Xinming Simon Guo.
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GO SPOTTING: Go: A Novel/George Hoshida’s Go Sketches

Sunday June 5, 2011

Janice Kim’s article about go stones in a Japanese internship camp (GO SPOTTING: ‘The Archaeology of Internment’ 5/9) prompted roving E-Journal contributor Peter Shotwell to send along some excerpts from Holly Uyemoto’s 1995 book Go: A Novel, which focuses on generational differences among Japanese-Americans. The sketches below — which are not part of the novel — are from the George Hoshida Collection on the Japanese American National Museum website.

I used to not like Uncle Mas very much. He bored me… I always found Uncle Mas drab, a frog on a log. It requires no stretch of the imagination to picture his tongue popping out suddenly,  catching a fly or a raindrop. But one day, my grandmother told me a story about Uncle Mas that changed the way I saw him for good…

Before he became a naturalized citizen, [Ojiichan, another uncle] carried a copy of the Constitution in his wallet and took it with him everywhere he went. He quoted from it freely. After Pearl Harbor… Ojiichan brought out his Constitution and cited the Fourth Amendment rights [but they] took him away, the Constitution neatly folded again and put back in his wallet.

Ojiichan was a great go player [but] deemed a Japanese cultural item, the government barred Ojiichan from taking his old go table with him into camp, so he made one… He learned to shape and polish quartz veined with orange borax, and obsidian black and bright, with edges that cut metal and skin. Uncle Mas was fascinated with the go board. He begged Ojiichan to let him play with it. Ojiichan told him not to go near the board… Later, he brought down the go board and the stones, smooth quartz and biting obsidian, and asked my grandmother, ‘Where is he?’ He then set about teaching Uncle Mas how to play—not the five-in-a-row kind of go that children and Westerners play, but the real thing. Uncle Mas learned quickly. He had an aptitude for strategy: in the end, both too much so, and not enough. Ojiichan’s friends would gather around, joke, give Uncle Mas hints, and make friendly wagers about how many moves it would take Ojiichan to win. The nightly face-off between Ojiichan and Uncle Mas became community entertainment.

Uncle Mas winning was never a question, but one day it happened. About six months after he started playing, he beat Ojiichan. And Ojiichan made him swallow one of his own stones. This was Uncle Mas’s victory, and his punishment. Uncle Mas thought Ojiichan was joking, but he wasn’t. He insisted Uncle Mas swallow the stone. Uncle Mas reasoned that as the winner, he should choose whether or not he had to swallow the stone. Ojiichan said it was his ‘tadai no gisei o haratte eta shyori,’ his conquest, having exceeded his master, and his punishment for the same reason—the Japanese equivalent of Pyrrhic victory.

Uncle Mas swallowed the stone, and he stopped playing go…after his big win, he made himself scarce…The next time my grandmother saw him was when she was called to the infirmary after Uncle Mas had been found in the latrine trying to pass a huge fecal boulder. He was rushed to the hospital and operated on. The doctor said he would be fine. There were no fresh fruits and vegetables to speak of in camp. Most meals consisted of mutton and either rice or potatoes. The camp doctor assured Ojiichan and my grandmother that constipation was entirely normal in camp, but it seemed that there had been an inorganic stoppage of Uncle Mas’s bowels: during his operation, the doctor extracted one perfectly round, flat, knife-edged obsidian stone.

‘Remember that story about Uncle Mas?’ I asked my mother one day. ‘The go stone Ochiijan made him swallow?’ ‘Nobody made anybody swallow anything,’ my mother said.  ‘Then why does Uncle Mas have a bad stomach?’  ‘Because he can’t express himself.’ ‘You mean, talk?’

When he was released from the camp infirmary, Uncle Mas was whole again, except that he stopped talking… A week later, he suddenly slumped over. He was rushed back to the infirmary. There were lots of cuts in Uncle Mas’s large intestine; they had ruptured and were bleeding. The doctor removed four feet of Uncle Mas’s large intestine and sewed him up again. ‘Don’t you remember?’ I prodded my mother. ‘Grandma told me.’ ‘I was a baby then. Besides, sometimes she just liked to tell you stories.’

But Uncle Mas still has terrible troubles with his stomach, and he still refuses to play go. I saw him studying Ochiijan’s fancy table once. Uncle Mas ran his hand over the top, touched the carvings, and, pulling back in order to see, squinted at the inlaid grid. He opened the drawers and studied the stones. He held one of the smooth black onyx in his palm, rolling it back and forth. And then he walked away.
- excerpted from Go: A Novel, by Holly Uyemoto

Sketches from the George Hoshida Collection on the Japanese American National Museum website. George Hoshida (1907-1985) was born in Japan and at the age of five, his family settled in Hilo, Hawaii. As an active practitioner of Judo, Hoshida was active at the local dojo. This led directly to his arrest by FBI agents on the day after the bombing of Pearl Harbor as a potential saboteur. Unlike most Japanese Americans living in Hawaii, Hoshida was incarcerated for the duration of the war, first at Kilauea Military Camp and Sand Island in Hawaii and later in mainland Justice Department internment camps at Lordsburg and Santa Fe, New Mexico. Eventually, he was able to rejoin his wife and young daughters, but only when they agreed to leave Hawaii to be incarcerated with him in a War Relocation Authority camp on the mainland. Hoshida began a visual diary of his incarceration from his earliest days in prison. The two notebooks in the collection of the Japanese American National Museum are an extremely rare visual document of the special Justice Department camps and chart his frequent movement from one facility to the next. (Hoshida bio courtesy the Japanese American National Museum, which supports several Japan relief efforts.)
- editing, layout and graphics research by Chris Garlock

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AGA Go Camp Confirmed for Summer Fun

Monday April 18, 2011

The AGA East Coast Go Camp has finalized details for this year’s camp, which will be held at the Madison Suites Hotel in Somerset, New Jersey, July 23-30. Mingjiu Jiang 7p and Yuan Zhou 7d will be the primary teachers.  Jiang, one of the driving forces behind the incredibly successful Bay Area (CA) scene, and organizer of the Zhujo Jiang youth tourney every year, has a proven track record with kids.  He counts some of the strongest youth in the country among his students.  Zhou, one of the most popular teachers on the East Coast, is also well known for his many books on go.  His deep insight into what kyu players are failing to see make his lessons all the more valuable.  “Students aged 8 – 18 are invited to spend a week playing go and making friends,” says camp director John Mangual.  “Double-digit kyus, upper-level dans, and anyone in-between can all participate. At previous camps, beginning players rapidly improved between 5 – 10 kyu levels in just one week, while advanced players improved their fundamentals and learned more about life and death, joseki and midgame fighting.   Our professional staff will make camp worthwhile for even the strongest amateurs.  The camp is an exciting chance to play go face to face, instead of just online,” adds Mangual. For more information, visit the camp page here, or e-mail Mangual at agagocampeast@usgo.org. - Photo: Kids take a break from studying to bury one of their counselors in pillows, photo by Amanda Miller (who is at the bottom of the pillow pile) from last year’s camp. -Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor.

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Amberly Elementary Gets Go

Sunday March 6, 2011

Kids at Amberly Elementary School, in Portage MI,  learned about go this year. “Each year Amberly offers an opportunity for parents and members of the community to teach classes for an after school enrichment program,” writes Jason Preuss, whose daughter attends the school. “I decided it would be a great opportunity to introduce go.  The class met once a week for six weeks and had six students ranging from 1st to 5th grade.  It was enough time to cover the material in the first Level Up book.  The students enjoyed the class and the parents gave positive feedback. For my first time out I was pleased with how the class went. I would like to thank the AGF for their support, in particular the classroom start up kit.”
- EJ Youth Editor Paul Barchilon.  Photo by Jason Preuss
photo (l to r): Jason Preuss, Deidra Preuss, Alyson Koh, Jonathan Koh, Jonathan Ballard, Jacob Ballard. Not pictured: Zyad Wallace.
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THE TRAVELING GO BOARD: A FLOWER BLOOMS IN THE JAIL YARD

Friday November 26, 2010

It has now been almost a year since I first visited the Federal Correctional Institute in Englewood, CO, and I am pleased to report that they now have a weekly go club with regular attendance of 10 to 20 inmates. My first article on this program sparked a tremendous outpouring of support from the go community:  Slate and Shell donated over 20 books for the inmates, Yellow Mountain Imports sent a treasure trove of nice playing sets and books, SmartGo donated free licenses for the full version of their program,  Janice Kim sent more copies of the Learn to Play Go series, and of course the AGF provided free sets and matching funds as well.  All of these resources have been put to good use by the inmates, who are making steady progress.  I have been able to visit the prison every few months, and have had a warm reception every time. Continue reading…)

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U.S. GO NEWS: Qu Sweeps Norcal Tourney; World Youth Qualifier Moved Up To April 3; Northeast Interclub Tourney Invites Teams; School Team Tourney Setting New Records; Agf Accepting Apps For College Scholarships; Aga Ratings Updated; New AGA Database Feature Links Players; Why Host A Pro Workshop?

Monday March 15, 2010

QU SWEEPS NORCAL TOURNEY: Larry Qu 7k topped the Bay Area Go Players Association monthly ratings tournament in Palo Alto, CA on March 6, finishing with a perfect 5-0 record. In the Dan division, Bogdan Dobrescu 5d, Lucas Baker 3d, Samuel Gross 1d, and Sammy Zhang 1d each won three games apiece. The playing field consisted of 33 players, ranging from 7d to 24k, with eight playing in their first AGA-rated tournament ever. The next monthly ratings tournament takes place April 10 in Palo Alto. PHOTOS AT BAY AREA GO

WORLD YOUTH QUALIFIER MOVED UP TO APRIL 3: The selection process for the World Youth Go Championships has just been dramatically accelerated, with an online qualifier to be held April 3 and the finals held on April 10-11. “The Ing Foundation has just notified the AGA that our representatives to the World Youth Go Championships must be selected by April 15th, a sudden change from last year’s policy,” reports AGA Youth Coordinator Paul Barchilon. Since this is before the previously-scheduled USYGC Qualifiers will have chosen winners, a new schedule has been established. Youth players who wish to enter must e-mail youth@usgo.org to register by March 30th. The top sixteen players in each bracket will advance to the finals. The Junior Division is for youth 11 and under, the Senior Division is for youth under 18 as of August 1, 2010. Only US Citizens may enter the qualifier; the winners must be able to travel to Taiwan for the finals (expenses are covered for the youth players, but not for parents). “The previously-scheduled USYGC Qualifiers around the nation will all be held as planned, and the prizes will remain the same, but as those events will no longer select our WYGC representatives, the citizenship requirement will be waived,” says Barchilon.

NORTHEAST INTERCLUB TOURNEY INVITES TEAMS: Go clubs in the Northeast are invited to participate in the upcoming Northeast Inter-club Go Tournament in the Boston area. The team tournament is being organized by the MIT Go Club and the Massachusetts Go Association on March 27 in Somerville MA starting at 9:30a. Teams will have three members and each club may send multiple teams. Clubs must preregister by March 20th with a complete list of participants and their ranks; email mit-mga-tournament@mit.edu

SCHOOL TEAM TOURNEY: A record breaking 92 teams and 307 individuals are competing in the ninth annual American Go Honor Society (AGHS) School Team Tournament, representing 15 states and 3 provinces in Canada. Two schools, Fair Oaks ES (CA) and Saratoga HS (CA), are entering five teams each, matching Clear Lake HS (TX)’s record, back in 2004. Stuyvesant HS (NY) will seek their second consecutive and third national title in the Open Division. However, they will have to overcome JP Stevens HS (NJ), last year’s silver medalists, along with seven California teams, including all three teams from CA’s 2008 medal sweep, who will seek a spot on the podium after being shut out last year. East Meadows HS (NY) fell just short in their bid to become the second team in AGHS history to win both the Rookies Cup and the School Sweepstakes title, awarded to the best new school and best overall school in the tournament, finishing in second place in the final standings. However, two California schools, Morningstar Chinese School and Redwood Shores GC, hope to accomplish this feat after stunning performances in the first round. In addition, fourteen elementary and middle schools will fight for the Junior Cup title this year, including reigning Junior Champions Cary Chinese School (NC). who are expected to put up a stiff fight to retain their title. Yet they were barely able to hold off a surge from Fairs Oaks ES (CA), who will seek to add the Junior title to their long list of achievements under AGHS competitions. Readers can keep track of the teams on the AGHS ” title=”website” target=”_blank”>website http://aghs.c>. All games are played on KGS, in the AGHS Tournament Room (under Tournaments), and observers are welcome.
- Tim Savoie, AGHS Correspondent

AGF ACCEPTING APPS FOR COLLEGE SCHOLARSHIPS: The American Go Foundation is now accepting applications for its College Scholarship, reports AGF board member Matthew Mallory. “The scholarship is intended to reward organizers who create new, or help existing, go programs in their school or community, playing strength is less important than community service,” Mallory says. Applicants must be at least in their junior year of high school; winners will receive $1,000 and will be announced at the US Go Congress. “Last year Lawrence Ku, a model youth organizer, received the scholarship,” Mallory adds. The deadline is May 15: Click here to learn more and download the application form.
- Paul Barchilon, EJ Youth Editor

AGA RATINGS UPDATED; NEW AGA DATABASE FEATURE LINKS PLAYERS: AGA ratings were updated March 12 and include a number of recent tournaments, including the NOVA Chinese Lunar New Year, New Jersey Open, John Groesch, From the Word Go, and Bay Area Tournament. The ratings – which former Tournament Coordinator Phil Waldron did a tremendous amount of work on — are linked to the AGA Go Database, which includes the records of every game and player in all tournaments played in the United States since 1991. A new FindPath feature

AGA Games Database shows how players are linked through opponents. For example, AGA Database creator Jonathan Bresler 14k is just four players from Feng Yun 9P: Bresler played Stephen Leslie 14k in 1994, Leslie played Eric Lui 7k in 1996 and Lui played Feng Yun in 2007. The search can be unlimited across all games in the database, limited by date, or limited to a particular tournament.

WHY HOST A PRO WORKSHOP? The Portland Go Club hosted two pro workshops in the past year, one by Jennie Shen in the fall and one by Yi Lun Yang in the spring. Both were attended by about 20 dan/low kyu players and middle/double kyu players. Jennie’s workshop was short on lectures and long on game review. Most of the weekend was spent with one group playing while the other group reviewed games, and then switching. Jennie’s tone was light and relaxed – she often cracked jokes, asking “You really played that move?” — teasing the players and making them feel at ease. Mr. Yang’s workshop was more balanced between lectures on various aspects of the game – opening, extensions, attacking, defending, life and death – and game review. Many of the kyu players took notes and Mr. Yang was serious and intense, expressing his strong passion for teaching. He also has a well-developed formal methodology for teaching go. As different as the flavor and structure of these workshops were, they were both excellent and well-received by the players. As a double-digit kyu player I had no idea about direction of play in the opening, let alone a systematic way to approach life and death problems. As a dan player, issues about crosscuts and opening strategy were clarified for me. I’d have either of them back in a Portland minute. Based on these two workshops I’d be equally happy bringing new pros in or bringing either of these two pros back.
- Peter Freedman coordinates the Portland Go Club in Portland, Oregon, and co-directed the 2008 U.S. Go Congress.

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