American Go E-Journal

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Friday May 15, 2020

The American go community is always eager for reports of local tournaments, mentions of go for our Go Spotting column, new tools or study resources, and any go-related news. Please submit all your stories to our new E-Journal Article Submission form. With a growing team, our new submission method will allow us to better manage your article submissions, improve our workflow and publishing turn-around time. You can still get in touch with us by email for any inquiries related to the E-Journal or your subscription at journal@usgo.org!
Letters to the editor can also be sent to journal@usgo.org; please include “Letter to the editor” in the subject line. Letters are subject to editing for length and clarity.

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Get in on the e-Go Congress fun with Go songs, game reviews, and the AGF board auction

Friday August 7, 2020

This year’s e-Go Congress is providing hundreds of players with opportunities for competition, fun games, and connection with friends while streaming live on Twitch, proving that even a pandemic can not stop Go players from getting together – albeit virtually – in summer for the Go Congress. Even if you haven’t registered for the event or played in one of the many tournaments that have started so far, there are still ways you can participate in this year’s e-Go Congress!

If you have been thinking about upgrading your playing equipment and want to support youth and Go education, consider bidding on the AGF auction board. This year’s board is an antique floor board and stones generously donated by Solomon Smilack, who has spend a considerable amount of time tracking down and collecting vintage Go equipment from Japan.

There have been several creative submissions to this year’s Bob High Memorial Song and Poetry Contest, and voting is open! Vote on your favorite go-themed song and poem here.

Want to get your game reviewed or play against a professional? There are still spots open for the final three 2020 e-Go Congress Pro Small Group Sessions on Friday 8/7 and Saturday 8/8. See details and sign up here!  

AGF board auction goes virtual

Thursday August 6, 2020

A vintage Goban is being auctioned online as a fundraiser for the AGF, in lieu of the traditional auction held at the final banquet at the Go Congress. “I’ve spent the last several months of the quarantine tracking down vintage go equipment from Japan with the hope of bringing it to US players at affordable prices. To that end, I have opened an Etsy shop called DangerMonkeyGoStones where I have listed a number of pieces of Go Equipment,” writes Solomon Smilack.

The auction is live on ebay and will close on Sunday Aug. 9 at 12:30 pm. The board and stones were donated by Smilack, and 100% of the proceeds will benefit the AGF. Click here to visit the auction. -Paul Barchilon, AGF VP

The Power Report: Iyama defends Honinbo; Ichiriki makes good start in Gosei; League updates; Sumire’s winning streak ends; More tournaments rescheduled

Tuesday August 4, 2020

by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal

Iyama defends Honinbo, matches Takagawa: The fifth game of the 75th Honinbo title match was held at the Todaya hotel in Toba City, Mie Prefecture, on July 8 and 9. Taking white, Honinbo Monyu, aka Iyama Yuta, won by 4.5 points after 243 moves. Shibano did not seem to make any big mistakes, but Iyama took the lead in territory. With move 116, Iyama went for more territory instead of strengthening his only weak group. He staked the game on being able to look after it and was successful. Iyama defended his title with four wins to one loss. This is his ninth successive Honinbo title, so he has matched the record of 22nd Honinbo Shukaku (Takagawa Kaku), who held the title from 1952 to 1960. Next year he will have a chance to draw even with 25th Honinbo Chikun (Cho Chikun), who won the title for ten years in a row. 

45th Meijin League: Ichiriki Ryo, now on 6-1, has maintained the pressure on Iyama Yuta by winning his July game. Iyama is on 6-0 and faces Cho U in this round. Results since my last report follow.
(July 6) Ichiriki Ryo 8P (W) beat Hane Naoki Gosei by resig.
(July 9) Kono Rin 9P (W) beat Yamashita Keigo 9P by 1.5 points.

S League: With two out of three second-round games played in the 45th Kisei S League, Kyo Kagen 8P has the provisional lead on 2-0. Cho U, on 0-2, is in trouble. Just one game has been played since my last report. On July 13, Kyo Kagen (W) beat Cho U by resig.

Sumire’s winning streak ends: “Streak” is perhaps an exaggeration. Nakamura Sumire 1P won her first three games after the resumption of professional go last month, with one of the wins earning her one of the 16 seats in the main tournament of the 5th Senko Cup. Unfortunately, the luck of the draw pitted her against Ueno Asami, holder of the Women’s Honinbo title, who is one of the top two women players in Japan at present. Taking white, Ueno won by resignation after 164 moves. This was Sumire’s first game with a current titleholder. Her record for the year is now 10-11. As there was no title-match game last week, this game adorned the front page of Go Weekly.     The Korean server Cyber Oro, which runs the Nihon Ki-in’s server, has organized a series of Net games, called “Sumire’s Oro Challenge,” among Sumire and four Korean players. She plays each player three times, so it’s quite a large-scale project. The games are fast games, with a time allowance of 10 minutes per player plus byo-yomi of 40 seconds x 3. The first opponent was Korea’s number two woman player Kim Chaeyoung 6P; the first game was played on July 10 and the next two the following day. Not surprisingly, Kim won 3-0. The second opponent was Seo Neung-uk 9P; the games were played on July 17 and 18, but I don’t have the results yet. The third opponent is the legendary Suh Bongsu 9P, with the games to be played on July 24 and 25. The fourth player is Jeong Yujin 1P, and the games are scheduled for July 31 and August 1. I would have chosen four Korean female 1-dans for a series like this, but you could say that Sumire has been lucky to get to play so many top players. We know from the invitational games organized last year that losses to top-level opposition doesn’t discourage her.

Ichiriki makes good start in 45th Gosei challenge: Ichiriki Ryo 8P is making his fourth challenge for a top-seven title, after three failures against Iyama Yuta. In the case of the Gosei title, he has the added incentive that his family’s newspaper, the Hokkoku (North Country) Newspaper, which is based in Sendai, is a member of the Newspaper Igo League that sponsors the tournament. Since graduating from university, he has been working in the Tokyo office of the newspaper, so conceivably he could also report on his own performance. The defending titleholder is Hane Naoki 9P, who beat Ichiriki in the play-off to decide the challenger last year. He beat Kyo Kagen in the title match, winning his first title since winning the Gosei title in 2011. He is aged 43 to Ichiriki’s 23. The first game was played at the Hokkoku Newspaper Hall in Kanazawa City, Ishikawa Prefecture, on July 18. Taking white, Ichiriki won by 1.5 points after 261 moves. The second game will be played on August 3.

More tournaments rescheduled: The 7th Hollyhock Cup title match, in which Suzuki Ayumi, Women’s Kisei, is challenging Fujisawa Rina, will be played at the Nihon Ki-in on July 27, 29, and, if necessary, 31.
The 7th Globis Cup was originally scheduled for May 8 to 10 this year, but it was another of the victims of Covid-19. It is now scheduled to be played on the Net on August 1 and 2.
The opening rounds of the 13th Chunlan Cup were supposed to be played in February, but this Chinese-sponsored international tournament was one of the first casualties of Covid-19. It has finally been decided to play the games on the Net, with Round 1 slated for July 29 and Round 2 July 31. Both Iyama and Shibano will play in this tournament.

Promotion: To 9-dan: Arimura Hiroshi (200 wins, as of July 7)

Retirement: Ms. Furusho Katsuko 2P has retired as of July 8, which is her birthday. Born in Tokyo in 1943, she became a disciple of Nakaoka Jiro 9P. She became 1-dan in 1969 and was promoted to 2-dan in 2005. She was promoted to 3-dan after her retirement.

Your Move/Readers Write: Still stumped

Tuesday August 4, 2020

“Is the photo a very young Ishida Yoshio?” wonders Shai Simonson, in response to our recent 50 years aGO stumper: Who’s pictured in the photo at left? Hints were that he attended a U.S. Go Congress and wrote an Ishi Press book. “(Ishida) wrote ‘All About Thickness’ for Ishi Press, and attended the (first?) Go Congress in 1985 in Maryland,” adds Simonson.
“It looks like it could be a young Takemiya Masaki, who later wrote ‘Enclosure Josekis’ and attended the 29th US Go Congress,” writes Michael Kyriakakis.
Nope and nope, says Keith Arnold. If you think you know the answer, send it to us c/o journal@usgo.org.

Your Move/Readers Write: Chumley’s ID’s; The real goal of improving

Monday August 3, 2020

Chumley’s ID’s: All these IDs are ‘probably'” writes Terry Benson in response to a request for photo ID’s in our July 28 report on the closing of Chumley’s, the former West Village speakeasy where the American Go Association was founded in 1935. “Playing Dr. Lasker (back left) is Elizabeth Morris (back right), an early AGA organizer and, with her husband Lester, author of an early introduction to go pamphlet. Watching them (back middle) is – I believe – Lasker’s good friend George Chernowitz – 25 at the time – or (possibly) Lester Morris. The other woman (front right) is likely Edith Chernowitz. The navy officer (front right) is perhaps Lieutenant Ingersoll, a math teacher at the Naval Academy, who – along with Lasker – presented Emmanuel Lasker’s go board and stones to the Academy that same year (1942) as the photo.
photo: New York Post, LIFE Images Collection via Getty Images

The real goal of improving: “Maybe my winning percentage will go up’” (The Empty Board: Philosophical Reflections on Go #16 7/25 EJ). “When we were taking lessons from Janice Kim,” writes Michael Ryan, “one of our number said something about hoping that person’s winning percentage would go up. Janice replied, ‘The purpose of improving your game is not to win more games. It is to be able to play stronger players.’ The implication is that you will have more interesting games that way. Just so.”

Winner, winner, chicken dinner

Monday August 3, 2020

This year’s AGA Board of Directors election winners by region are:
Eastern – Stephanie Yin
Central – Lisa Scott
At-Large – Ted Terpstra
Western, by write-in vote –  Lester C. Lanphear III 
Thanks to all the candidates and voters for participating in this year’s elections. And condolences to write-in candidates Donald Duck and Alphago.
– Arnold Eudell

e-Go Congress Blitz Tournament begins today

Monday August 3, 2020

“I’m looking forward to seeing some spirited Go this week,” says TD Jon Boley of the start of the e-GoCongress answer to any players missing the Go Congress’ beloved Lightning Tournament. With mini-tournaments of three rounds each on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday on KGS beginning at 1pm EDT, registered players will have plenty of opportunities to put themselves into atari and otherwise participate in time-honored blitz and lightning go mistakes. Any players with questions about the tournament or any issues should contact the TD at blitz@gocongress.org.

Pandanet AGA City League Finals this week!

Saturday August 1, 2020

The start of the 2020 e-Go Congress brings a week of exciting tournaments this year. This will end the eighth year of the Pandanet AGA City League. This tournament comes down to the top two teams from the A League: New York City vs Bay Area. A showdown for coastal supremacy between this years teams.

Starting in November we have had four leagues and 31 teams from across the US and Canada. They’ve played once a month since then to find the top teams. The leagues range in ranks from 10 kyu to more than a few professional players. Full list of the rules from this season can be found on the Pandanet page.

This week we will watch the A League Finalists. Each game will take place on the AGA Twitch Channel at 8PM EDT/5PM PDT/9AM JST (Next Morning). The lineup for the three nights of games are:

Monday August 3rd – Board 3 – Zhongfan Jian 7d (NYC) vs Jeremy Chiu 7d (Bay Area)
Wednesday August 5th – Board 2 – Hanchen Zhang 1p (NYC) vs Hajin Lee 4p (Bay Area)
Friday August 7th – Board 1 – Ryan Li 1p (NYC) vs Mingjiu Jiang 7p (Bay Area)

The games will take place in the AGA City League room on Pandanet. Board 3 will nigiri for colors and the other games will alternate colors based on that.

For each of our leagues the winners will be promoted to the next league next year. We look forward to seeing how they will shake up their new leagues next year.
A League:
3rd Place: Greater Washington
4th Place: Canwa Vancouver 1
5th Place: Waterloo 1
B League:
1st Place: Chicago
2nd Place: Waterloo 2
3rd Place: Canwa Vancouver 2
C League:
1st Place: Los Angeles
2nd Place: Montreal
3rd Place: Atlanta
D League:
1st Place: Seattle 2
2nd Place: New Mexico
3rd Place: NY City 2

There will be an informational meeting the second week of congress for the City League. This will be one of the meeting on Saturday August 15th. Full meeting schedules for the week can be found on the Chapters Email list.

Frank Luo named AGF Teacher of the Year

Thursday July 30, 2020

Frank and his daughter Alice promoting go at a local school.

Frank Luo has been chosen as the AGF Teacher of the Year. The traditional prize, of a free trip to congress, will have to be delayed until next year but the AGF wanted to celebrate Luo’s accomplishments now. Luo will give a talk on the AGA’s Twitch channel on Sunday, Aug. 2 at 4 pm EDT.

“I am so honored to receive the 2020 AGF Teacher of the Year Award,” writes Luo. “Thank you all, especially our parents for supporting their kids playing this educational board game.

“Just like many other go teachers, I started teaching with a desire to connect with my own kids by playing go. Over time, it became a way to share this fascinating game with other families in the local community of Mason, Ohio. In the winter of 2007, I took over an enrichment activity that a few kids, including my own son, had enjoyed greatly. Time flies, it has been more than 12 years now and our go program has had dozens of students since then. With the help of other parents, volunteers, and Huaxia Chinese school in Mason, Ohio, our program has expanded from one class with four students to two classes in the winter of 2019. Now, we have several different levels of groups of young go players active all year round. 2020 has been a year with much uncertainty, so we moved all classes online. We not only have one hour of instruction time, but we also have three playing times each week using Zoom where kids play games and can also socialize with each other. Playing time also serves as a reminder to play go regularly. We teach, we learn, we play with each other, and we play with friends from other parts of the country and other parts of the world.

“We have had all kinds of go activities in the past, including meetups at the libraries, go pizza parties, online team challenge matches, and annual local tournaments that attract players from other cities in Ohio and neighboring states. We organize our students to participate in all AGA/AGHS activities including the School Team Tournament (we always have more than one team), NAKC, Young Lion’s Cup and AGA Youth Go Camp. Our students have performed very well in these activities and received many medals and trophies. We compete with players across the United State and it is fun.

“Several years ago, with the help of my friend and go parent, Tong, we started publishing stories in our community’s newsletter and we started to gain recognition in locally. We also began introducing go to local elementary schools and universities with game nights and many other activities. Many local kids have gotten to know this fascinating board game as a result.

“I try to integrate independent thinking, math concepts, sport spirit, culture, and language elements into my lessons. I hope playing go becomes part of our young kids’ life when they grow up, enjoying the ebb and flow of the game and life. Teaching go has also enriched my own life. Every teaching moment and every event challenges me to do better so our kids can do better as well. We have been thinking about creating a grade level online tournament for double digit kyu players and we are looking for other go teachers who are interested in this idea.

“I appreciate the AGF and the AGA’s commitment to go and look forward to working together to promote go in the future,” said Luo. -Paul Barchilon, EJ Youth Editor. Photo by Frank Luo.

2020 e-Go Congress registration closes; store announced

Thursday July 30, 2020

The 2020 e-Go Congress closed registration the evening of July 29, with 941 people from 52 countries officially registered to attend. Congress organizers urge all registrants to fill out the check-in form as soon as possible, and at least by 8pm on 7/31 or risk having their registration cancelled.

Anyone who missed registration but still hopes to participate can join the waitlist here. Individual TDs may be able to let people from the waitlist join their tournament. There are still many events that will be open for public viewing for those who are not able to play in the 2020 e-Go Congress tournaments.

Whether or not you plan to participate in the events, everyone is welcome to peruse the official 2020 e-Go Congress store: https://usgo-stuff.org/.  At the store, you can find t-shirts (men’s, women’s, and children’s styles), mugs, lapel pins, canvas grocery bags, and masks, all with the 2020 e-Go Congress logo!

For more information, check out the congress website: https://www.gocongress.org/2020.