American Go E-Journal

Reader Survey asks “What’s in a name?”

Monday January 16, 2017

Revival of our annual Reader Survey was sparked by a longtime reader’s suggestion that we drop the “E” from the E-Journal’s title. Since we’re usually focused on more substantive content and design issues, this seemed like a cosmetic change of minor import but it did get us thinking that this is a good time to check in with our readers. Please click here to let us know what you think about the E-Journal, including whether we should change our name.

Deadline to weigh in is Friday, February 27.

A quick history of the Journal and the E-Journal: The American Go Journal made its first appearance in Fall, 2017.01.16_Journal11949, with a 16-page 8 1/2 x 11″ mimeographed edition that featured a game record — of the 1941 Honinbo match — in Korschelt notation, and hand-drawn diagrams.

The Journal, an intermittent “quarterly” that was mailed to members of the AGA, continued in this basic format until the September 1961 edition, after which it went on an extended hiatus, when the American Go Association agreed to distribute Go Review, the Nihon Kiin’s new, monthly magazine, to members.

Revived in January 1974, the Journal kept the same 8 1/2 x 11 format but now 2017.01.16_Journal2featured a cover with a slightly heavier stock and began to include black-and-white photos. The Journal went to a 5×7″ format in the July/August 1976 edition, a format maintained until 1997. In the mid-1980s a separate publication, the American Go Newsletter — also a quarterly — began to be produced, focusing on go tournament schedules, reports and player ratings.

In early 1998, the Newsletter and Journal merged and returned to the 8 1/2 x 11 format, this time with lots of photos as well as the go news and instruction the Journal has 2017.01.16_Journal3always featured. The American Go E-Journal first appeared on April 24, 2000, focusing, as the Newsletter had, on tournament reports and club news. Originally a text-only email publication (which were often referred to as “e-zines” in those days), it has developed over the years into a multimedia publication including photos and easily accessible sgf game records.

By 2003, with the E-Journal’s readership expanded to over 5,500 worldwide, while the Journal was being produced at significant expense soley for the AGA’s 1,700 members, the Journal was suspended and the resources reallocated to the E-Journal and an annual printed American Go Yearbook, which itself was discontinued in 2009.

The E-Journal, which now has nearly 10,000 readers worldwide — making it the 2017.01.16_Journal-EJmost widely-read English-language go publication — integrated with the AGA website some years ago and has been publishing on a often daily basis, especially during major events like the annual US Go Congress, US Pro Qualifiers and Cotsen Open. AGA members continue to receive special content in the weekly Member’s Edition, as well as the annual online American Go Yearbook compilation.

The rationale for changing the name is that since there hasn’t been a print Journal since 2003 the “E” is now an irrelevant distinction; the E-Journal is functionally the Journal and has been been for many years. The counter argument has more to do with sticking with a 17-year tradition and the EJ’s name-recognition.

As the creator of the EJ and the Managing Editor of all the AGA’s publications for many years, I don’t have a strong opinion on the name either way. I have been extremely proud to help carry on the AGA’s now nearly 70-year commitment to publicizing go, especially during a time when our communication tools have changed — and continue to change (check us out on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube) — so dramatically. What we call our publication is far less interesting to me than the question of how we’re meeting your needs as go players. So whichever way you vote on the name, please be sure to take the survey and let us know how we can improve.
- Chris Garlock, Managing Editor
American Go E-Journal and Yearbook

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Peter Nelson Wins Jin Chen Tournament

Sunday January 15, 2017

Peter Nelson 5d beat Edward Kim 7d, the dean of Northwest go players, to win the Open Section of the  Jin Chen Memorial Tournament at the Seattle Go Center on Jan. 8.   The players agreed that Kim played one slack move in the middle of a complicated fight between five unsettled groups, aPeter Nelson at Jin Chennd he said “good job!” Edward Kim Teaching copyto Nelson as he resigned. It was the first time Nelson has beaten Kim in five tournament match-ups. Kim placed second, and Dengda Tang third in the Open Section.

In the Handicapped Sections, John Hogan took first place among the Single Digit Kyu Players.  Hogan was visiting from Arizona, where he now lives.  It was very nice to see the former Seattle Go Center TD get to play three games without any worries about running the tournam
ent.  Michael Fain placed 2nd and Eric Backus 3rd.

In the Double Digit Kyu Player section, Nathan Saritzky placed first, with Carl Anderson 2nd, and Ray Illian 3rd.  The Youth Prize went to Maya Altschuler, who had a 2-1 record.   The tournament had 29 players.

PhotEmma and Yurikoos: (top right) Peter Nelson; (top left) Edward Kim teaching between rounds; (bottom left) Emma playing Yuriko – an even game across an age difference of more than 80 years.  Photos/report by Brian Allen


Categories: U.S./North America
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Cho, Nahabedian & Moore Top MGA Roland Crowl Memorial

Sunday January 15, 2017

David Cho 4D, Mark Nahabedian 12K and Shawn Moore 13K topped the January Massachusetts Go Association’s Roland 2017.01.15_mga-winnersCrowl Memorial Handicap Tournament, with perfect 4-win results. 2017.01.15_mga-gridThey split the $100 prize pool. Twenty three players participated in the tournament, which was held Sunday January 8 at the Boylston Chess Club in Cambridge MA. The TD, James Peters, introduced participants to Fischer Time and the event ended up finishing around 6pm, a half an hour earlier than usual.
- Eva W. Casey

Categories: U.S./North America
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2017 Portland Go Club Championship features unique format

Sunday January 15, 2017

This year, the Portland (OR) Go Club will play its club championship tournament over a period of two months. Each participant plays a minimum of four games against four different opponents, but only one game per day. All games are played at regular meetings of the club (Tuesdays at Powell’s Bookstore and Sundays at the Lucky Lab Pub). It is up to each participant when and where they play their games, subject to agreement with their opponent. An Open section for strong players and handicap sections for all others are available. Non-members of the PGC are welcome to play, but cannot win the championship trophy. Play commences at the end of January and continues to the end of March. More details on the AGA’s calendar.
- Roy Schmidt

Categories: U.S./North America
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Tang Wins Young Lions

Saturday January 14, 2017

15645511_1834287183450264_2043075302_nTony Tang 7d won the Open Division in the Young Lions Tourney with a perfect 4-0 record in a field of 6 high dan players.  Held by the American Go Honor Society, the Young Lions is open to North American youth in high school, or younger. “I would like to thank the AGHS for holding the tournament,” said Tang, “everyone I  played in this tournament was pretty strong, I almost lost some of my games. Fortunately, I came back in the end. It was fun and a good experience.”  Bingyun Wang 5d, who lost only to Tang, took second in the Open Division. “This year’s tournament was a huge success,” adds AGHS Promotion Head Albert Yen.  “The  phenomenal turnout of 52 players, 13 of whom were dan players, yielded an impressive 5 divisions this year.”  Top four finishers in each bracket will be receiving prizes including cash, trophies, and AGHS t-shirts. -Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor.  Photo by Tony Tang. Winner’s Report: Open Division (4d+): Tony Tang; Division A (3k-3d): Eden Chen; Division B (9k-4k): Darwin Kim; Division C (12k-9k): Alana Noehrenberg; Division D (30-13k): Jerry Qui. For full results click here.

Seattle Go Center prepares for Jin Chen Tournament this Sunday

Friday January 6, 2017

The seventh annual Jin Chen Memorial Tournament will be this Sunday, Jan. 8. at the Seattle Go Center.  Registration is on the day of the tournament from 1Relined Boards0 – 10:45 am.  This is their biggest tournament of the year, a fun challenge for players at all levels, with 3 rounds.   The total prize purse is $1050, with $300 for the winner of the Open Section.  The fees are $15 general admission/$10 for youth and voting members of the Seattle Go Center.  More info is on the Go Center Calendar.

The Go Center will have much improved go boards to play on this year.  Nine of their well-used 2 inch table boards have been refinished and relined in Japan.  In addition, three excellent table boards, and two gobans have been recently donated.  Photo: Unpacking boards refinished in Japan with the help of the Nihon/Ki-in.  Photo/Report by Brian Allen.

 

 

Categories: U.S./North America
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New Mexican Go Program for Kids

Thursday January 5, 2017

DSC_0333“Now there are two elementary schools in México City where go is part of the curriculum,” reports Siddhartha Avila, Mexican Youth Go Coordinator. “Pipiolo elementary has had an active go program since 2008 when  Principal Marcela Zepeda first envisioned the educational benefits that go offers at early ages. All the top youth players in México have studied or study at her private K-6 school.” Now Colegio Serapio Rendón, is adding a program too. “I was contacted by Principals Gloria Pimentel and Dulce Pimentel,” says Avila,  “they were looking for an instructor to implement a serious go program at their K-6 private school.  We started with one hour a week for all grades, back in September. We ran a successful 13×13 tournament for 3rd to 6th graders on December 6th. The 1st Torneo Escolar de Go drew 34 students, playing 5 rounds. There was excellent coordination between the directors, teachers and staff; the schedule ran promptly, the students behaved well and played with great concentration.”   The school tournament ended with prizes for the top 7 places, as well as a fighting spirit prize. Everybody recieved  participation diplomas. “I’m glad we’ve found an activity where we can transmit love for knowledge, this helps kids’ development and critical thinking, their response to the game surpassed our expectations” says Gloria Pimentel.

“I want to thank Thomas Hsiang and the Nihon Kiin directors, pros and staff for their support so that I could take part at The North American Go Instructors’ Workshop last October in Tokyo,” says Avila. “The workshop encouraged us to fully implement go as a part of a school curriculum with a long term perspective at Colegio Serapio Rendón. With the connection between the Mexican Go Association, the Iwamoto North American Go Foundation, and the Nihon Kiin,  there is a perfect opportunity to build valuable networks and develop further go education projects. Winner’s report Torneo Escolar: 1st place: Saúl Alejo; 2nd place: Valeria González; 3rd place: Alejandro Vera; 4th place: Rodrigo García; 5th place: César Gael Muñoz; 6th place: Shapdi Bernal; 7th place: Ximena Mora; Fighting spirit: Ana Castro. – Paul Barchilon, EJ Youth Editor.  Photo by Siddhartha Avila

 

AlphaGo confirmed as Master/Magister

Wednesday January 4, 2017

DeepMind on Thursday afternoon confirmed that a “new prototype version” of AlphaGo has been the mystery player playing2017.01.04_alphaGo as Master and Magister on the Tygem and FoxGo servers, defeating more than 50 of the top go players in the world.

“We’ve been hard at work improving AlphaGo,” DeepMind’s Demis Hassabis tweeted, “and over the last few days we’ve played some unofficial online games at fast time controls with our new prototype version, to check that it’s working as well as we hoped.” Hassabis went on to say that “We’re excited by the results and also by what we and the Go community can learn from some of the innovative and successful moves played by the new version of AlphaGo.”

“Having played with AlphaGo, the great grandmaster Gu Li posted that ‘Together, humans and AI will soon uncover the deeper mysteries of Go”. Now that our unofficial testing is complete, we’re looking forward to playing some official full-length games later this year in collaboration with Go organisations and experts, to explore the profound mysteries of the game further in this spirit of mutual enlightenment. We hope to make further announcements soon!”

In addition to the Top 5 placing in the poll of Science (American Association for the Advancement of Science) magazine’s readers, AlphaGo was listed as the 10th most important scientific event in 2016 by Science News Magazine (Society for Science and the Public).

Note: Tobias Berben has posted 41 of the game records here.

Categories: Computer Go/AI
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Is AlphaGo the Master? Mystery Player Sweeps Top Pros

Wednesday January 4, 2017

Is AlphaGo the Master? A mysterious online player has been making huge waves by defeating dozens of top professionals2017.01.04_alphaGo-Master on go sites in Asia in recent days. “Master” first appeared on December 30, 2016 (Beijing time), registering from Korea. Achieving 30 consecutive wins against many former and current world go champions, Master defeated Park Junghwan four times and Ke Jie twice. After that, Master appeared on a different go site and logged another 20 consecutive wins. That made it 50 games in a row with no losses.

While the essentially universal consensus is that this is another AI player, it’s hotly debated whether this is a new edition of AlphaGo or not. More and more seem to believe it is. There’s been no official statement from the AlphaGo team thus far, and Aja Huang cryptically responded “interesting” to speculation that AlphaGo is Master. Adding fuel to the rumors, ScienceNews tweeted “AlphaGo: Now I am the master” promoting it’s Year in review: AlphaGo scores a win for artificial intelligence story on December 29, just before Master first appeared.

On January 4 (local time), the sina.com news site was ready when Master resurfaced. It broadcast the games live, accompanied with anonymous commentaries. The Taiwanese player Zhou Junxun 9p tried first with a strategy of playing “Symmetry Go” or “Imitation Go.” But Master’s superb opening (Zhou’s own impression after the game) thwarted that effort, notching win #51.

The Chinese player Chen Yaoye 9p was the next challenger. But his computer disconnected and Chen was not able to continue. There were sarcastic comments among viewers that Chen had inadvertently broken Master’s win streak, since a game dropped after only a very few moves was technically ruled a draw.

The next two games, against Fan Tingyu 9p and Huang Yunsong 6p, resulted in Master’s 52nd and 53rd consecutive wins and are posted below. Master’s 59th and 60th (and last) games against Zhou Ruiyang 9p and Gu Li 9p also appear below.
- Ze-Li Dou, with additional reporting by Zhiyuan “Edward” Zhang

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Categories: Computer Go/AI,World
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Review: “The Tengu’s Game of Go”

Tuesday January 3, 2017

by David Bogie
2017.01.01_tengu-game

“The Tengu’s Game of Go” is the last in a four-volume fantasy by Lian Hearn, set in medieval Japan. Magic beasts with enchanted weapons, convoluted plots with betrayals and double-crosses galore. Go? Not so much.

The author is well-versed in Japanese lore and history and has based many of her books on ancient and traditional folk stories. She knows the equipment used to play go but I don’t think she has any real concept of the game’s territorial objective.

During the game mentioned in the title, the tengu (a magical being) tricks a human into stealing an enchanted bow from his opponent. This theft somehow shifts the game in his favor, implying the author thinks of go as a series of contests with tangible goals. Go actually appears in only three or four short passages that will not interest go players in the least.