Welcome to the American Go Association

Registration opens for the sixth New York Go League

Saturday February 27, 2021

Registration is open again for the New York Go League! Now in its sixth iteration, players can expect to play one round robin game per week with players of similar rank over the two-month league. The organizers continue to hope that organized competitive play can endure even during the pandemic and plan to offer small prizes to the winners of each division, which in the past have included discounts for New York Institute of Go lessons and programs. Registration is open to anyone with a stable rank with any association or online go server.

The New York Go League is organized and run by the New York Go Honor Society, with the first iteration beginning in May of 2020 with over 80 players. Registration for the league will be open until March 13th and the league will officially begin the week of March 15th. Interested players can click here to read the rules and regulations, and click here to register.

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Chinese Weiqi Association publishes Chinese-English Dictionary of Weiqi Terms

Friday February 26, 2021

Bob Bacon reports that earlier this month, several Chinese news organizations such as Xinhua Net and SINA English reported that the People’s Publishing House and the Chinese Weiqi Association have jointly published the Chinese-English Dictionary of Weiqi Terms. With 643 definitions over six chapters, the dictionary took seven years to compile and was first used during the World Weiqi Summit in Rizhao, China in 2019. “‘As a spiritual symbol of Chinese culture, as well as an internationally recognized public product with positive effects, Weiqi has special requirements in terms of language. It has its own way of thinking, terminology paradigm and communication mode. An important aspect of the Chinese Weiqi Association’s goal is to promote a unified and standardized Weiqi language,’ said Lin Jianchao, chairman of Chinese Weiqi Association.” Informal sources indicate that while the resource is not yet available publicly, it will be made available soon.

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South Central Go Tournament held online draws 76 players

Friday February 26, 2021

For four years from 2016 to 2020, the South Central Go Tournament was held in Dallas over the weekend preceding Presidents’ Day. In 2021, because the pandemic rendered in person play unsafe, the tournament was held online February 13 and 14. Altogether there were 76 players – 16 in the Open Section ranging in strength from 8d to 3d, and 60 in the Handicap Section, ranging in strength from 3d to 24k. The online format allowed wide participation; 73 players from the USA from 16 different states, two players from Canada, and one from Vietnam. There were 28 players aged 13 and under, and 17 double digit kyu players.

The champion in the Open Section was Alexander Qi, who was also the top player aged 13 and under. Kevin Yang finished second, and Zhixun Zhao took third place overall but captured the title of 2021 Texas State Champion as the highest placing Texas resident. “We were delighted to bring together such a wide range of players from so many places and with such a mix of Go experience,” said tournament organizer Bob Gilman.

-report and photos provided by Bob Gilman

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The Power Report: New restrictions on players; Pro catches virus; Iyama dominates Kisei but Kono survives first kadoban

Thursday February 25, 2021

by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal

New restrictions on players
As of Jan. 1, new rules came in effect at all three branches of the Nihon Ki-in limiting the freedom of players in order to insure no one resorts to help from AI programs. Players engaged in games are not allowed to leave the building even during lunch and dinners breaks. They are not allowed to use smoking corners during the game either. Each playing venue has a rest area. Just for the record, lunchtime is from 11:45 to 12:30, and the dinner break is from 5:30 to 6:15. The Kansai Ki-in has not followed suit because it doesn’t have enough space to provide rest areas.

Kisei: Iyama plays first

Pro catches virus
On Jan. 8, the Nihon Ki-in announced that an unnamed professional had become ill with COVID-19 on Dec. 30. The Ki-in did extensive tracing of possible contacts at the Ki-in and concluded that there were no problems. The Ki-in also took medical advice to strengthen its preventive measures.

Iyama dominates Kisei but Kono survives first kadoban
This year Kono Rin made his second successive challenge to Iyama Yuta for the Kisei title. It is actually his fifth best-of-seven with Iyama, as he also challenged for the 39th Meijin title in 2014, the 41st Kisei title in 2017, and the 74th Honinbo title in 2019. The four matches above, including the 44th Kisei, were all won by Iyama 4-2.

The first game of the 45th Kisei was played at the Hotel Chinzanso Tokyo on January 13 and 14. In the nigiri, Kono drew black. Iyama took the lead, but he made an attempt to capture a black group that threw the position into confusion, giving Kono a chance to take the lead. After a spectacular trade, however, Iyama just managed to hang on to his lead. Kono resigned after White 244.

The second game was played in the Shokoji Temple in Takaoka City, Toyama Prefecture, on January 22 and 23. When the players and officials arrived for the game, they found that the city had just had its heaviest snowfall for 36 years. In some places, the snow was 120 centimeters deep. It was a little cold, but the players praised the refreshing clearness of the air. Playing black, Iyama built a lead in the opening, but Kono struck at a chink in his armor, leading to a large-scale life-and-death struggle. Iyama came out on top in the fighting, so Kono resigned after move 143. Already his challenge was in trouble.

The third game was played at the Olive Bay Hotel in Nishiumi City, Nagasaki Prefecture, on February 5 and 6. In the middle game, Iyama (white) played a fiendish move that none of the players following the game predicted. This move enabled him to take the initiative and secure the lead. Kono resigned after 186 moves. The pressure of his bad performance in this match seemed to be affecting his other games: as of mid-February he had yet to win a game this year and his score was 0-6.

The fourth game, which was a kadoban (a game that could lose a series) for Kono, was played at the Hotel Kagetsuen in the town of Hakone, Kanagawa Prefecture, on Feb. 16 and 17. Taking white, Kono got off to the better start on the first day. Iyama went all out on the second day and seemed to catch up, but his aggressive play left some chinks in his armor that were exploited by Kono. Using the threat of an attack on a thin black group, he built up a large center. Iyama resigned after White 212.

Next: Korea wins Go Legends National Competition; Ing Cup

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A new Winter Olympic sport?

Monday February 22, 2021

According to AI analysis, cooler areas of the board are lower priorities for play, but when Audrey Wang and Milan Mladenović took to the icy waters of Walden Pond for a game last Saturday, it was a real challenge finding hotspots.

“Milan and I played for over 15 minutes and he resigned,” Wang reported on Facebook. “The first few minutes were intense but after that my body settled in and got used to it. It’s really not that bad. Milan and some other people do this every Saturday at Walden Pond, inspired by the Wim Hof breathing technique and his ice training. It’s believed to be really good for the body.”

“This is my first time in ice water,” said Wang, “but I was in cold water before and it was better than previous times because my hands were not in the water and I was really only half in the water this time.”

“I did it this time for art, not for health benefits,” she added. “But my body felt amazing afterwards. Victory also tastes better when it requires extra work.”

NOTE: Wang and Mladenović are in a pandemic pod; observers were socially distanced. The AGA strongly urges masking and social distancing for everyone’s safety.
photos by Ken Lucas

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Problem of the Week

Simply Sweet

Black to play