American Go E-Journal

FAQ: How to submit stories to the AGA E-Journal

Monday March 21, 2022

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 to us at journal@usgo.org. We try to acknowledge submissions within 24 hours; if you haven’t heard back from us in that time, feel free to re-send or ping us again.

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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Phil’s Photos: 2022 U.S. Go Congress

Friday August 19, 2022

Phil Straus, for many years the E-Journal’s official photographer, though mostly retired from those duties, still takes the U.S. Go Congress and EJ staff photos as well as his own snapshots and portraits; here’s a selection from this year’s Congress.  

New, faster ratings beta interface launched

Thursday August 18, 2022

Tournament players may have noticed in recent weeks that the Ratings listings from the AGAGD database have sometimes been very slow or generating error messages. With support from incoming AGA President Gurujeet Khalsa and incoming AGA Board Member Brad Rose, a beta version of a new interface has just been added to the website. Additional features are still being added, but given the urgency of the problems, the new version is being rolled out now. The existing ratings interface is still live for the time being.

“Developing and maintaining software applications is a classic problem for small non-profits such as the AGA,” Khalsa told the E-Journal. “Hiring even one qualified software developer would cost more than the AGA’s entire annual budget.” The AGA has relied on volunteer support for IT projects “and have received a lot of support over the years from talented and selfless individuals, for which we are hugely appreciative.”

As Khalsa takes over the leadership reins at the AGA in the months ahead, he says that a top priority is “how we can maintain critical services and offer new services to our individual members and chapters.” To that end, he said, “We will still need volunteers of all stripes – developers, project managers, designers, AI experts, business people and more, but we have to use them smartly and assure that our critical services are supported.” One approach, he says, is to use more low code no/code tools such as was done with the beta. “Another is to procure commercially supported software for services that are readily available in the IT marketplace. This will be a priority and one that will be taken up with the new Board at our first meeting in September.”

“This is an exciting time for the AGA and I’m happily seeing some fresh faces stepping forward and volunteering,” said Khalsa. “We need more of you.” For example, “there are important projects on using AI as a learning tool, and for detecting AI cheating that are very challenging and for which there are limited commercial options. I welcome feedback from our members on our direction here.” You can find Khalsa on the AGA Discord channel (user name: gurujeet) or email gurujeet.khalsa@usgo.org.

Pandanet AGA City League Finals and Winners

Thursday August 18, 2022

This year marks the 10th season of the Pandanet AGA City League. Through the years we have seen the best players in the country and many upcoming strong players. This year was so tough that there is a need for a second set of finals! Thats right, we’re having two sets of finals. These games will be broadcast on Pandanet over the next two weekends.

The A League will see four time winner New York City face off against Chicago. Chicago, new to the A League this season, has faced down almost every team and come out victorius. During the fifth round they faced off against New York City and came out ahead 2-1. Watch their playoff on Sunday August 28th at 3pm EST/12 PST.
Board 1: Tim Song 1p (B) vs Ryan Li 3p (W)
Board 2: Calvin Sun 1p vs Stephanie Yin 1p
Board 3: Albert Yen 8d vs Michael Chen 8d

The most competitive league has been the B League over the last few years. This has been expanded to a larger number of teams over the years to accomodate the number of strong players. This year see’s newcomer Ithaca face off against Canwa Vancouver 2. Vancouver 2 has bounced between the A and B leagues over time. Both teams never faced each other during the season. Ending with the same number of points a playoff had to take place. This will be a tough fight to see who the new challenger to the A League will be next season. These teams will face off Sunday August 21st at 7pm EST/4pm PST.
Board 1: Alan Huang 7d (B) vs Leo Tian 6d (W)
Board 2: Hongkui Zheng 7d vs Nick Jin 5d
Board 3: Aaron Ye 7d vs Kevin Wang 5d

Our other leagues and winners have played really exciting games this season. If you have not checked your cities record see how they did at the Pandanet site. Congratulations to all who played this season!

A League:
Third: Canwa Vancouver 1
Fourth: Toronto
Fifth: Los Angeles

B League:
Third: Raleigh
Fourth: Denver

C League:
Winner: Washington DC 2
Second: Atlanta 1
Third: Los Angeles 4

D League:
Winner: New York City 4
Second: Los Angeles 2

2022 U.S. Go Congress EJ Team credits

Wednesday August 17, 2022

Front row, l-r: Kevin Chao, Chris Garlock, Devin Fraze, Eva Dee Beech, Keith Arnold; 2nd row Joanna Li, Shawn Ray and Ginger Persolus; back row: Sol Smilack and Jenny Ding. Photo by Phil Straus.

It takes a lot of dedicated, hard-working people, most of them volunteers, to enable the American Go E-Journal to stream U.S. Go Congress coverage to the world. Our deepest thanks and appreciation to every one of them, especially after all the challenges of the pandemic hiatus; here are the folks who did such amazing work this year.

Professional Streaming Commentators:
Michael Redmond 9P, Ryan Li 3P, Eric Lui 2P, Stephanie Yin 1P, Inseong Hwang 8D. Pro Coordinator: Audrey Wang.
Stream Hosts-Local: Devin Fraze, Michael Fodera, Solomon Smilack.
Stream Hosts-Remote: Stephen Hu, Eric Lee, Sathya Singh, TheLovingSun.
Game Recorders-local: Keith Arnold, Ginger Persolus, Joanna Li, Jenny Ding, Solomon Smilack, Dave Weimer.
Game Recorders-remote: Angelo Di Lorenzo, Jamin Kochman, Nikolai Norona.
Producers: EvaDee Beech & Devin Fraze.

Special thanks to Shawn Ray for his help with the Friday night stream and for re-tweeting all our posts; Phil Straus for taking our team photo, and for teaching me go back in 1984 and bringing me into this wonderful community.

Masters TD Kevin Chao, US Open TD Andrew Hall, Die Hard TD Jae Donley, and of course all the 2022 Go Congress organizers and staff: THANK YOU! 

Chris Garlock
Managing Editor, American Go E-Journal & Yearbook

Upcoming Go Events: San Francisco and Cape Elizabeth

Monday August 15, 2022

August 20: San Francisco, CA
Mountain Day Go Tournament
Matthew Barcus matt@sfgo.club 415-316-2953

August 27: Cape Elizabeth, ME
Maine State Championship and Open
Jonathan Green jonathan.green.dyonn@gmail.com 207-274-4753

Get the latest go events information.

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’22 Go Congress team thanks

Saturday August 13, 2022

The 2022 Go Congress team wishes to thank attendees for coming to this year’s congress in Estes Park, CO.  Your presence has reinvigorated the go community and helped reestablish the yearly tradition of the congress.  For old and new timers alike, we hope that your week was rewarding and memorable.

In particular, we’d like to thank all the hard-working volunteers who made it possible:

Front row, L-R:  Emil Meng (Registrar), Ursa Woodring (A/V), Chris Garlock (E-Journal), Devin Fraze (A/V & E-Journal), Solomon Smilack (Treasurer), Cat Mai (TD Coordinator), Brad Cable (Registration), Matt Murray (Equipment Manager)

Back row, L-R: Keith Arnold (Lightning TD), Neil Ritter (Asst. Open TD), Dave Weimer (Congress advisor), Ginger Persolus (E-Journal), Eric Wainwright (Director), Howard Landman (Director), Laurie Linz (Deputy Registrar), Paul Barchilon (Director), Jordan Hagen (Tours & Transportation), Andrew Hall (Open TD), Chris Kirchner (Congress advisor), Rich Newman (Registration & Self-Pair TD)

Further mention: Ragnarr Marksen (Registration), Terry Benson (Registration), Eva Dee Beech (E-Journal).

UPDATE (8/17): We inadvertently left Audrey Wang (Pro Coordinator) off our mention list, but she played a big part. Thank you, Audrey! The two movies that appeared in the Welcome Ceremony, Game of Stones and Congresses of Yesteryear, are now posted on YouTube.  Enjoy!

Lost and Found: a congress attendee left behind an Apple Pencil.  If you wish to have it returned, please email Paul Barchilon.

photo by Phil Straus

The Power Report: Early August updates

Thursday August 11, 2022

by John Power, Japan Correspondent for the E-Journal

Photos (l-r): 9th Hollyhock, Ueno (left Rina); 7th Senko Cup Rina, Sumire, Ueno & Nyu at venue; 7th Senko: Nyu wins; 7th Senko Ueno (left) beat Sumire; 47 Gosei Iyama (l) & Ichiriki review; 47 Meijin challenger Shibano; 47 Meijin: last round Shibano (left) vs Hane

Ueno wins first Women’s Hollyhock Cup

In the 9th Aizu Central Hospital Women’s Hollyhock Cup title, Ueno Asami, holder of the Women’s Kisei title, became the challenger to Fujisawa Rina, who had held this title for five years in a row. In the best-of-three title match, Ueno made a good start, winning the opening game, but Fujisawa made a comeback in the second game. Both of these games were played at the Konjakutei inn in Aizu Wakamatsu City. In the deciding game, held at the Nihon Ki-in in Tokyo, a large ko started early. Fujisawa made a misjudgment in ignoring a strong ko threat by Ueno and ending the ko. That gave Ueno the lead and she hung on to it to the end, so the title changed hands. Details of the games follow.

Game 1 (June 18). Ueno (W) by resig. (218 moves).

Game 2 (June 20). Fujisawa (W) by resig. (146 moves).

Game 3 (June 24). Ueno (W) by resig. (150 moves).

With a first prize of 7,000,000 yen (about $53,000 at $1 = ¥132), the Hollyhock is the second richest of the women’s titles. To review its history, Fujisawa won the first title, O Keii the second, Xie Yimin the third, then Fujisawa the 4th to 8th.

Nyu wins Senko Cup

The number one and number two women players were missing from the final of the 7th Senko Cup, played at the Geihinkan Akekure (Guesthouse Dawn and Dusk) in Omi City, Shiga Prefecture, on July 17. Nakamura Sumire beat Fujisawa Rina in one semifinal and Nyu Eiko beat Ueno Asami in the other (details given below). Neither of the finalists had won this title before. For Sumire, it was a second chance to set a new record for the youngest title winner. Taking black, she played well in the final and set up an overwhelming lead over Nyu, but then she began to play negatively. Nyu fought fiercely and little by little whittled down her lead. In the end, Nyu won by 2.5 points. This is her first title. First prize is ¥8,000,000 (about $60,600).

Semifinals (July 15, same venue as above). Nakamura Sumire 2-dan (W) beat Fujisawa Rina Senko Cup by 1.5 points; Nyu Eiko 4-dan (B) beat Ueno Asami Women’s Hollyhock Cup by resig.

Iyama defends Gosei title

Iyama Yuta’s devastating form against Ichiriki Ryo continues. After rebuffing his challenge 4-0 in the Honinbo title match (see my report of June 22), he has now beaten him 3-0 in the 47th Gosei title match.

The first game was played on the titleholder’s home ground, the Kansai Headquarters of the Nihon Ki-in in Kita Ward, Osaka City, on June 24. Iyama (W) continued the momentum of the Honinbo match, seizing the initiative through positive play in the opening and maintaining the pressure throughout. Ichiriki resigned after 176 moves. Iyama played a move not predicted by AI, but after he played it the AI rating of White’s position went up. This is quite rare—you could argue that Iyama surpassed AI.

There was a gap of three weeks before the second game (presumably, one or two of the Honinbo games that turned out to be unneeded would have been played in this interval). It was played at the North Country Newspaper Hall in Kanazawa City, Ishikawa Prefecture, on July 16. Iyama (B) staged a carefully calculated sacrifice strategy that led to a whole-board fight. Late in the game, he was subjected to a fierce attack by Ichiriki, but he answered with precision and wrapped up another win. Ichiriki resigned after 201 moves.

The third game was played at the Miyajima Hotel Makoto in the town on Hatsukaichi in Hiroshima Prefecture on July 27. Iyama (W) took the lead in the fighting in the opening and held on to it without slackening. Ichiriki resigned after White 154. Iyama won the title for the second year in a row and the 8th time overall. First prize is ¥8,000,000 (about $60,600). He also maintained his quadruple crown, with the Honinbo, Meijin, and Oza. At the age of 33, he’s still the top player in Japan, though the Kisei gives Ichiriki the top rank.

Ichiriki was quite disappointed. “All three games ended without my being able to exert my strength,” he commented. “This is my worst performance in a title match.” For Ichiriki, the alternative explanation doesn’t bear thinking about: Iyama may have taken his measure. 

Shibano wins Meijin League

In the final round of the 47th Meijin League, only two players were still in the running: Shibano Toramaru on 6-1 and Ichiriki Ryo on 5-2. The final round was labeled the “August” round in the Japanese league chart, but it was actually played on July 21. Ichiriki did all he could, winning his game, but Shibano also won his final game, so he won the league outright. Actually his game finished first of all the games. An opening sequence that he had researched only the day before appeared in his game with Hane Naoki, so he took the lead immediately. He will reappear in the Meijin title match after a gap of a term (he won the 44th title from Cho U, but lost it to Iyama the following term; Iyama then defended it against Ichiriki last year). League results since my last report follow.

(June 13) Motoki Katsuya 8-dan (W) beat Kyo Kagen Judan by 1.5 points.

(June 16) Shibano Toramaru 9-dan (B) beat Ida Atsushi 8-dan by resig.

(June 20) Ichiriki Ryo Kisei (B) beat Shida Tatsuya 8-dan by 4.5 points.

(June 30) Yamashita Keigo 9-dan (B) beat Motoki Katsuya 8-dan by 1.5 points.

(July 7) Hane Naoki 9-dan (W) beat Ida Atsushi 8-dan by resig.

(July 11) Shibano (B) beat Kyo Kagen Judan by resig.

(July 21) Ichiriki (B) beat Kyo by resig.; Yo Seiki 8-dan (W) beat Yamashita by resig.; Shibano (W) beat Hane by resig.; Ida (B) beat Shida by 1.5 points.

Hane, Motoki, and Ida lost their seats. Hane had held his seat for 12 years in a row.

Shibano leads Kisei S League

A key game in the 47th Kisei S League was played on August 4. Shibano beat the previous Kisei, Iyama Yuta, so he kept the sole lead on 3-0. Although he has the advantage of being ranked number one in a league with no play-offs, suffering his second loss makes it very hard for Iyama to recover, though he can still aim at second place, which also secures a seat in the final knock-out. This win will also give Shibano some momentum for his Meijin challenge, which starts at the end of this month. With all players having completed three rounds in the S League, Shibano’s main rival is Kyo Kagen Judan, the only player with just one loss. Recent results are given below.

(June 16) Iyama Yuta Meijin (W) beat Yo Seiki 8-dan by 1.5 points.

(July 4) Kyo Kagen Judan (W) beat Takao Shinji 9-dan by resig.

(July 7) Yo Seiki 8-dan (W) beat Murakawa Daisuke 8-dan by resig. 

(August 4) Shibano (W) beat Iyama Yuta by resig.

Yamashita wins Kisei A League

The seventh and final round of the 47th Kisei A League has yet to be played, but Yamashita Keigo 9-dan has already secured victory. He is on 5-1, and his nearest rival is Son Makoto 7-dan on 4-2. Son plays Yamashita in the final round, but even if he wins, there is no play-off in the league: the higher-ranked player – Yamashita is #2 and Son is #5 – prevails.

The winners of the B1 and B2 Leagues have likewise been decided in the penultimate rounds. Fujita Akihiko 7-dan, who is on 6-0, has won the B1 League. B2 was won by Suzuki Shinji 7-dan, who was also on 6-0. Both these players are two wins ahead of their rivals. Suzuki ended up with 7-0.

Ida to challenge for Tengen

The play-off to decide the challenger for the 48th Tengen title was held at the Nihon Ki-in on August 4. Taking white, Ida Atsushi 9-dan (aged 28) defeated Ichiriki Ryo Kisei (aged 25) by resig. Ida will make his first challenge for the Tengen title. The titleholder is Seki Kotaro (aged 20). The match will start on October 3.

Sumire’s progress

(June 13) Sumire (W) beat Yo Kaei 8-dan by resig. (Prelimin. B, 48th Meijin).

(June 16) Sumire (W) beat Osawa Narumi by resig. (7th Senko Cup, main section).

(June 20) Sumire (B) lost to Nakamura Hidehito 9-dan by resig.(Prelim. C, 49th Tengen).

(June 23) Sumire (W) beat Takeshita Ryoya 1-dan by 6.5 points (Prelim. C, 71st Oza).

(June 27) Sumire (B) beat Jo Bunen 1-dan by resig.i(Prelim. C, 48th Gosei).

(July 4) Sumire (B) lost to Koyama Kuya 5-dan by 8.5 points (Prelim. B, 48th Meijin).

(July 15) Sumire (W) beat Fujisawa Rina by 1.5 points (7th Senko Cup).

(July 17) Sumire (B) lost to Nyu Eiko 4-dan by 2.5 points (Senko Cup final)

(July 21) Sumire (B) beat Ito Masashi 5-dan by 4.5 points (Prelim. C, 48th Gosei).

(July 25) Sumire (B) beat Ueno Risa 2-dan by resig. (3rd round, main section, 41st Women’s Honinbo).

(July 28) Sumire (W) beat Koda Akiko 4-dan by 1.5 points (Prelim. C, 71st Oza).

(July 30) Sumire lost to Li 2-dan (5th Go Seigen Cup). Sumire’s record for the year was 27-15.

Yamada Kimio wins 1,000 games

When Yamada Kimio 9-dan (W) beat Takahashi Masumi 4-dan by resig. in Prelim. B of the 48th Meijin tournament on June 30, he became the 30th player to reach the benchmark of 1,000 wins. He had 487 losses, for an excellent winning percentage of 67.2%. It took him 33 years two months and his age was 49 years nine months. However, after reaching 999 wins, he lost four games in a row.

Most wins 

1. Ueno Asami, Women’s Hollyhock Cup: 36-10

2. Ichiriki Ryo Kisei: 32-16

3. Nakamura Sumire: 27-15

4. Ida Atsushi 8-dan, Fujisawa Rina, Women’s Honinbo: 25-11  

6. Nyu Eiko, Senko Cup: 24-13

7. Koike Yoshihiro 7-dan: 23-8

8. Kato Chie 2-dan: 20-9; Suzuki Ayumi 7-dan: 20-17

10. Otake Yu 6-dan: 19-5; Ueno Risa 2-dan: 19-9; Shibano Toramaru 9-dan: 19-10

13. Hirata Tomoya 7-dan: 18-3; Rin Kanketsu 8-dan, Fukuoka Kotaro 3-dan, Ikemoto Ryota 2-dan: 18-7; Kyo Kagen Judan: 18-10

Winning streaks

8: Fukuoka Kotaro 3-dan, Sakai Yuki 3-dan

6:  Suzuki Shinji 7-dan, Mito Shuhei 1-dan

5: Tsuruyama Atsushi 8-dan 

Streaks ended since my last report

9: Sakai Takashi 2-dan, Iyama Yuta Meijin, Hirata Tomoya 7-dan 

7: Inaba Takahiro 4-dan, Mito Shuhei 1-dan

6: Ko Iso 9-dan, Ogata Masaki 9-dan, Suzuki Shinji 7-dan

5: Kuwabara Yoko 6-dan, Otake Yu 6-dan, Mitani Tetsuya 8-dan, Fujii Koki 2-dan, Hoshiai Shiho 3-dan

Promotions

To 9-dan (200 wins): Izumitani Hideo (as of July 1); Ida Atsushi (as of July 26). It’s rare to see two promotions by the cumulative-wins system in the same month. There are now 82 9-dans at the Nihon Ki-in. Izumitani is the son of the late Izumitani Masanori 9-dan. Born in 1969, he came second in the 14th King of the New Stars in 1988. Ida, born in 1994, was promoted to 8-dan when he won the 69th Honinbo League in 2014; he lost the title match 1-4 to Iyama Yuta. In 2015, he won the 53rd Judan title and the 62nd NHK Cup (at 20 years 11 months, he’s still the youngest player to win this title). He has also won the Crown title six years in a row. His win-loss record to date is 346-183. He is married to Mannami Nao 4-dan. 

To 8-dan: Takei Takashi (150 wins, as of July 1)

To 5-dan (70 wins): Ueda Takashi (as of June 21), Furuya Masao (as of June 24)

To 4-dan: Osawa Kenro (50 wins, as of July 5)

To 3-dan: Kibe Natsuki (40 wins, as of July 8)

To 2-dan: Ueno Risa (30 wins, as of June 21)

Marriage between professionals

On July 15, Son Makoto 7-dan (aged 26) and Hoshiai Shiho 3-dan (aged 25) announced that they had registered their marriage on July 7.

Obituaries 

Iwata Tatsuaki

Iwata Tatsuaki 9-dan died of aspiration pheumonia on June 30. He was born in Aichi Prefecture on January 2, 1926. He became a disciple of Kitani Minoru 9-dan and made 1-dan in 1943. He was a member of the Central Japan (Nagoya) branch of the Nihon Ki-in. He reached 9-dan in 1964 and retired in 2011. He won the Crown title nine times and won the top section of the rating tournament in 1963. He won the Central Japan Top Position tournament three times in a row. He played in the Meijin League twice and the Honinbo League seven times. His lifetime record was. 881 wins to 618 losses, with 9 jigo (winning percentage 58.4).

Oto Shozo

Oto Shozo died of cirrhosis of the liver on July 26. He was born in Tokyo on Sept. 4, 1948. He became a disciple of Kitani Minoru 9-dan and qualified as 1-dan in 1971. He reached 5-dan in 1981; after retiring in 2013, he was promoted to 6-dan. He was posthumously promoted to 7-dan. 

New England Open set for Labor Day Weekend

Thursday August 11, 2022

Registration for the first New England Open is now open; the new event is scheduled for this coming Labor Day weekend Saturday Sept 3 through Sunday Sept 4 – in Westford, MA. The total prize pool expected to exceed $1,000 in cash and prizes, says organizer Trevor Morris. Nearly a dozen go vendors have contributed to the prize pool, which includes a full year of OGS membership at the highest level.

Organizers throughout the 6-state region are collaborating to bring the first 2-day go tournament in recent memory to New England. Additional funding is being provided by the AGA by combining catchment area funds for all of New England for this special tournament.

The tournament will be taking place at the Westford Regency; book online for the best rate. “This may expire at any time,” say organizers, “so act fast to lock in this rate.”
Stay tuned for more details soon.

This Weekend: In-Seong Hwang Workshop in DC

Thursday August 11, 2022

There is still space in this weekend workshop with In-Seong Hwang. Many already know In-Seong from participation in his AYD teaching league. The event will be Friday evening and Saturday and Sunday during the day. There will be three lectures. Players will be paired off for games followed by group reviews. Games will be AGA rated if both players are AGA members.

This is a special event in the U.S. before In-Seong returns to Paris. You can register here: In-Seong Hwang Weekend Workshop – 8/12/2022

2022 N.A. Masters Tournament players

Tuesday August 9, 2022

Top row: BI, King; BURRALL, Matthew; CHEN, ZhaoNian; CHIU, Jeremy; DONLEY, Jae
Second row: GE, Yongfei; HAN, Han; HUANG, Alan; HUANG, Xiaodi; LIU, Andy
Third row: QI, Alexander; SAGNER, Chris; SEDGWICK, James; SUN, Harrison; TU, Xinyu 
Bottom row: YEN, Abert; YODER, Eric; ZHANG, Edward; ZHANG, Hugh; ZHOU, Yixian

2022 US Open Masters winners:
1st Han Han; 2nd: Alan Huang; 3rd: Jeremy Chiu; 4th: Harrison Sun; 5th: Andy Liu; 6th: Michael Zhaonian Chen
TD: Kevin Chao; Photos/collage: Chris Garlock

2022 NAMT Crosstab