American Go E-Journal

Submit stories to the AGA E-Journal

Monday February 8, 2021

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 E-Journal Article Submission form, which allows 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.

Categories: Main Page
Share

50 Years aGO – July 1971

Saturday July 31, 2021

by Keith L. Arnold, hka, with Patrick Bannister

On July 11, the 4th Pro-Amateur Go Congress took place, between ten pros and ten top amateurs. Our source is silent on the handicap, but the score was a tie, with each team winning 4 games and two games ending in jigo, There was quite a sensation when 13 year old M. Kanazawa defeated Hashimoto Utarō 9d.

The Meijin League entered its final phases. On July 8, Rin Kaihō’s perfect 5-0 start was ended by veteran Takagawa Kaku, keeping suspense alive as to the challenger for another round. But on July 22, Rin defeated Ōtake Hideo and secured the right to challenge Fujisawa Shūkō. (Game record: Rin-Takagawa.)

On July 26 (televised on August 1) Kojima Takaho 6d won the 3rd Shin’ei TV event by a half a point over Cho Hunhyun 5d. (Game record: Kojima-Cho.)

Two amateur players visited Japan to study go this month. The more famous, at the time, was Manfred Wimmer, amateur 5d and former European Champion. His plan was to stay for two years. With a plan to stay for two months, James Kerwin arrived to study as well. He is pictured on the left facing Takenaka 4d at the Nihon Ki’in.

Rin Kaihō wins the Meijin League
Rin Kaihō wins the Meijin League
Kojima Takaho and Cho Hunhyun in the final game of the 3rd Shin'ei Tournament
Kojima Takaho and Cho Hunhyun in the final game of the 3rd Shin’ei Tournament
James Kerwin at Nihon Ki'in
James Kerwin at Nihon Ki’in

Photos courtesy of Go Review.

Amateur Pair Go Championship postponed due to COVID

Friday July 30, 2021

The 32nd International Amateur Pair Go Championship has been postponed to next year. It had been scheduled to be held on December 11 and 12 this year, but due to the fact that the COVID-19 situation in Japan is not improving, organizers decided that “it’s just too difficult to safely invite players from overseas.” The Championship is expected to be held in late November or December of 2022.

Categories: Japan,Main Page,World
Share

Upcoming Go Events: Evanston

Monday July 26, 2021

July 31: Evanston, IL
Evanston Go Club Go Tournament
Mark Rubenstein mark@evanstongoclub.org 847-869-6020

Get the latest go events information.

Categories: Calendar,Main Page
Share

Go Spotting: Go and Polyominoes

Sunday July 25, 2021

by Xinming Simon Guo

My former math instructor, professor George Litman from National Louis University, recently invited me to visit his personal library. There, I found a mathematics book he purchased in 1995: Polyominoes: Puzzles, Patterns, Problems, and Packings. In the preface, the author, Professor Solomon Golomb, mentioned that polyominoes were first observed in patterns formed by 5 connected stones/markers on a Go game board in 1907.

Coincidentally, I also discovered these patterns in 2011 on the Go board, but I didn’t know they were polyominoes. In a Go game forum, I posted a puzzle about the possible shapes formed by 8 connected stones, which proved to be too challenging at the time. So I changed the difficulty level to 6 stones (Hexomino), and found all 35 shapes.

The unexpected discovery about polyominoes has led to the formal integration of these shapes into my Go and Math curriculum. The photo below captures all the shapes of pentominoes (5-stone string):

Photo by Jane online summer camp student Jane, 2020

By the way, there are 363 shapes of octominoes (8-stone string), a number arrived at by adding an extra stone based on 7-stone strings, removing duplicates, and counting the distinct shapes. No formula has been found yet to calculate the number of shapes.

Categories: Go Spotting,Main Page
Share

AGA releases updated COVID guidelines for local play

Saturday July 24, 2021

With an increasing percentage of the American public vaccinated and many localities easing or lifting COVID restrictions, the American Go Association – which last year urged all chapters and clubs to avoid face-to-face play – has released recommendations[CK1]  for resumption of local play and tournaments.

“We are being very conservative in our recommendations,” said Andy Okun, AGA President, “but we do want to acknowledge people’s desire to get competing again. With a little inconvenience and some patience, it should be possible for most people to play with reasonable safety.”

Basic FAQ:

It is now safe to play go face-to-face?
Everyone, and every club, has to take responsibility for the safety of their own activities. That said, with basic safety precautions (see below), it should be possible for most people to play with reasonable safety.

Can I re-open my local AGA chapter for face-to-face play?
Chapters may decide on their own whether to re-open; AGA can’t decide for you. We recommend you only re-open if you follow basic safety precautions (see below).

Can a local chapter require proof of vaccination for players?
That’s a local decision to made in consultation with members of your chapter. AGA has no objection to such a requirement.

Do we have to wear a mask if playing outside?
That is your choice and may depend on local conditions.  Follow local guidelines on masking but be aware that according to the CDC, there’s still risk of transmission and the safety of a chapter attendees is the responsibility of local organizers so erring on the side of extra caution is well-advised.

Do we need to wash stones and/or boards and bowls?
We don’t think so. Touch transmission has been assessed by the CDC as a very low risk.
HOWEVER: The AGA strongly recommends that sanitizer, gloves and spare masks be made readily available to all; supplemental funding is available to AGA chapters to offset the costs of providing these supplies; email planning@usgo.org.

Why so strict on being masked at all times?
Two people sitting across from each other for an hour in a closed room is the exact situation in which COVID is most readily transmitted.

Can my local chapter hold a tournament?
YES; providing you follow basic safety precautions (see below).

Are there more detailed organizer’s resources available?
Yes: see AGA recommendations, tournament announcement templates for Low  and Moderate level risk categories, best practices, and Basic Characteristics of COVID-19 Relevant to Board Game Play. Any further questions — email planning@usgo.org.
These documents are intended to assist organizers get us back to competing again, not quite like the good old days, but as safely as we can be in these trying  times.

RECOMMENDED BASIC PRECAUTIONS

Wear masks: All attending should be required to be masked or shielded [CK3] at all times (unless eating). Refusal to comply may result in expulsion from the event.
– Be vaccinated: We recommend that  organizers ask unvaccinated people (except kids too young) stay at home. Organizers wishing to check vaccine status are free to do so.
Sanitizer, gloves and spare masks to be provided: Frequent hand washing or sanitizing will be encouraged, particularly after touching one’s face, particularly nose, eyes and mouth. Sanitize after you do. Supplemental funding is available to AGA chapters to offset the costs of providing these supplies; email planning@usgo.org
– Post Signage in highly visible locations (e.g., at entrances, in restrooms, on televisions) that promote everyday protective measures and describe how to stop the spread of germs, such as by properly sanitizing and/or washing hands, and properly wearing a mask. Provide signs and messages in multiple languages as needed. Prominently post copies of the AGA Guidelines for Safe Board Game Play (below).
Urge players to stay home if they are in doubt: Encourage all potential participants to stay home if they have any symptoms that resemble those of Covid-19. People also should not participate if they have been recently exposed to someone with COVID. Consult current CDC and or local criteria regarding when a person may return to group activities after having had, or been exposed to someone with Covid-19, and with respect to vaccination status.
If possible, play outside, but if you play inside, try to have the room as well ventilated as possible.
Post tournament pairings online or on a large wall screen: to prevent crowding, do not use wall charts.
Observe standard social distancing guidelines: Spectators should observe normal social distancing practice. A brief look at a game is OK, but extended kibitzing in close proximity to the players is discouraged.

Updated July 24, 2021

Final day to bid on items AGF auction

Saturday July 24, 2021

Today is the final day to bid in the auction to benefit the AGF. Participants can bid on Go lessons from online teachers, dojo membership, Go equipment, Go books, old Go periodicals, and more! Players can also donate directly to the AGF to help support the amazing projects they do every year. Funds donated to the AGF support the following programs, and more:

  • Send free Go equipment to hundreds of schools across the nation
  • Help teachers to purchase additional equipment on a matching basis
  • Provide matching startup funds for new Go programs for children
  • Publish The Way to Go, the most widely read Go book in English
  • Distribute free copies of Go As Communication, a book about teaching Go
  • Purchase specialized equipment for Go instructors in schools
  • Cover thousands of dollars of scholarships for kids and youth players at the Go Congress
  • Bring the AGF Teacher of the Year to the Go Congress
  • Grant annual college scholarships to players who promote go in their communities
  • Provide youth scholarships to attend the AGA Summer Go Camps
  • Maintain the KGS server as a go owned and operated community
Categories: Main Page,Other
Share

Go Spotting: Tokyo Olympics Google Doodle

Saturday July 24, 2021

Reader Michael H. reports that the current Google Doodle celebrating the summer olympics in Tokyo is a playable RPG that includes scenes of Go. “Google’s webpage recently updated to celebrate the Tokyo Olympics with the Doodle Champion Island Games. Visitors can play an in-browser old-school Japanese RPG complete with minigames and sidequests. While exploring the game I noticed one room with a floor goban, bowls, and stones – a game of Go! Continuing, I found another room featuring three more gobans – perhaps the meeting place of the local go club. There are two game being played, but although the protagonist remarks that the game looks fun, there is, unfortunately, no one available to play. I was glad to see go included as one of the many references to Japanese culture featured in this Google Doodle.” Visit Google.com to see the doodle and play the game.

Categories: Go Spotting,Main Page
Share

NYGHS Summer Open concludes, Tony Tang 7D finishes as Dan Division Champion

Saturday July 24, 2021

The NYGHS is proud to announce the conclusion of our first official tournament. The tournament ran smoothly despite the unconventional format. Participants spent their first competition day, June 27th, competing for a seed in the second day. On the second competition day, which took place on July 3rd, players were placed into brackets based on their seeds and competed for first, second, and third place in their respective divisions. All tournament participants were given a chance to play on the second competition day regardless of how they had initially performed. 

Totaling 32 players, participants were split into three divisions with each division featuring a $75 prize for first and a $50 prize for second. Top three players in each division will also receive a one month silver subscription to the NYIG YouTube channel. The tournament concluded with a first place finish from Tony Tang 7d in the Dan Division after his win against runner-up Eric Yoder 6d. 

Full Results:
Division A:
1st place – Tony Tang 7D
2nd place – Eric Yoder 6D
3rd place – Jate Greene 3D 

Division B:
1st place – Albert Tang 1K
2nd place – Michael Sherman 2K
3rd place – Jamie Tang 5K

Division C:
1st place – Della Tang 12K
2nd place – Benjamin Lo 9K
3rd place – Ajay Dheeraj 14k

“Thank you so much to all our engaged participants who were able to make the tournament possible,” says Patrick Zhao. “We will do our best to provide and improve upon events such as these in the future. After other summer Go events, namely the e-Go Congress, stay on the lookout for the return of the NY GO League. We hope to see you soon!”

-report by Patrick Zhao

Still time to bid on the goban. And the lessons, the dojo, books, periodicals…

Friday July 23, 2021

The closing ceremonies of the annual US Go Congress are just hours away and the Congress won’t be complete without the auction of a goban to benefit the American Go Foundation. And this year you can bid on so much more. “Help raise much-needed funds and get yourself some prizes along the way!” says Solomon Smilack. Click here and then use the buttons to register, so that you can bid on the auction items. Click Auction to review the current offerings, select Donate to give financial support to the AGF directly, or Donate Item to add something to the auction. “There are go lessons from online teachers, dojo membership, go equipment, go books, old go periodicals, and more!” says Smilack.

Pete Schumer named AGF Teacher of the Year

Friday July 23, 2021

“I’m quite overwhelmed and deeply humbled to be chosen as this year’s AGF Teacher of the Year,” said Schumer. “It’s quite an honor to join all the past recipients who have done so much towards the teaching, promotion, and dissemination of go.” Ordinarily a Teacher of the Year wins a free trip to the US Go Congress. As that is online this year, Schumer will be invited to the 2022 Go Congress in Estes Park as a guest of the AGF.

Schumer has been teaching a course on go at Middlebury College in Vermont since 1987.   “The course is more about introducing and promoting the history, spirit, and cultural aspects surrounding go as much as it is about improving one’s measurable ranking,” says Schumer.  “Self awareness and self-improvement is a large part of the course’s intent, but developing a deeper appreciation of the game and a humble respect for its great practitioners is even more important.   The course is also a writing course where students write and revise papers on the rules of go, on the theme of ‘Go as a Metaphor’, on the concept of ‘Collaboration versus Competition’.  The students also research a related East Asian art or tradition and give a presentation on their findings.  The ‘aha’ moment for many of them is when they discover the powerful connections and interdependencies between the spirit of go and that of the art they have been studying.”

Schumer has also created and run the Vermont Go Club, which has been active for over 30 years.  “The best way to promote go is through friendships and through such rich, joyful, meaningful get togethers.  In addition, I add one weekend meeting a month devoted to teaching new players about the game.   Again I am more interested in simply making them aware of this wonderful game, teaching them the basics, making sure they have a fun and positive experience (say beating me on a 9×9 board with a five stone handicap), and leaving it at that.  The analogy I like to give is that more people take art appreciation courses in college than become studio art majors.  Museums rely on an educated public that appreciates beautiful art whether or not most people can produce beautiful art.  Similarly, the American public seems to support and love football (based on the number of people who watch the Super Bowl, say), yet very few of us reach the level of even playing at the college level – or even care to.  We should continue to strive to educate the public about the game and foster a deep appreciation of it.  Our commitment and affection for the game can truly inspire others.”

“I want to thank the selection committee for their warm support and confidence in me.  I promise to redouble my effort to ‘pay it forward’ by continuing to pass along my knowledge and enthusiasm of the game to the younger generation,” adds Schumer. -Paul Barchilon, EJ Youth Editor. Photo: Schumer with a young opponent at the Osaka Go Camp in 2018