American Go E-Journal » 2022 » April

Evanston Go Club’s 2022 Chicago Open to be biggest yet 

Tuesday April 26, 2022

The Evanston Go Club’s largest tournament yet, the 2022 Chicago Open, is set for Saturday, May 14. “With three divisions, cash prizes, medals, live streaming, donuts and a day filled with enjoyable go-goodness, there will be something here for everyone to appreciate,” say organizers. 

The tournament, which will be held at the Immanuel Lutheran Church in Evanston, “will be a big upgrade from our previous biennial tournaments,” writes Albert Yen 8-Dan. “Our event will include the familiar Chicago-style handicap divisions and a free beginner section, as well as a new Open championship for high-Dan players.”

The champion of the inaugural Open section will go home with a cash prize and the 2022 Chicago Open Trophy. Those who come out on top in the classic self-paired Main divisions will receive medals and their pick of the prizes provided by the Evanston Go Club and Yellow Mountain Imports. The top boards will be broadcast on the AGA Twitch channel.

For more information about the tournament format and registration details, visit chicagobaduk.com. “We would love to see players from all over come out to visit Chicago to enjoy this event with us,” add organizers. “Be sure to sign up by April 30th for early-bird pricing and commemorative name tags!” 

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AGF Teacher of the Year nominations due May 5

Monday April 25, 2022

Nominations for the American Go Foundation’s  Teacher of the Year award are due by May 5th. The winner will receive an all expenses paid trip to the US Go Congress in Estes Park this summer.  To be eligible a teacher must be a member of the AGA and have been teaching go to children for at least one hour a week for two years. The award is now open to other kinds of teachers as well, including online efforts. Teachers of the Year for 2020 and 2021 are also invited, and all three will be honored at the awards banquet. Click here for more information.  If you would like to nominate someone for this award, including yourself, email mail@agfgo.org.  Nominations should include a description of the teacher’s activities, how long they have been teaching, and how many students attended their program. – Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor.

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Go Congress almost sold out

Sunday April 24, 2022

“Registration is approaching 300 people for the US Go Congress in Estes Park this summer,” reports Co-Director Eric Wainwright. “Just 12 rooms are left at the YMCA. It’s a clear sign that people are ready to put the pandemic in the rearview mirror and get back to playing Go in-person.  If anyone was on the fence about participating, now is the time to register.”

Congress organizers have asked for more rooms from the YMCA, but don’t know yet whether they’ll get any. Off-site lodging is also available, but Estes Park books up early in the prime summer season. Anyone who wants to stay offsite should make a reservation as soon as possible. “This will be a slightly smaller congress than usual,” added Co-Director Howard Landman, “but with 287 people registered so far, we’re definitely not cancelling for lack of attendance!” The Early Bird rates for the congress end on April 30th. After that, a $100 fee will be charged as it becomes more difficult for the congress to hold rooms (offsite lodging is exempt from this fee).

For more information on the congress, and to register, visit gocongress.org

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2022 Board of Directors Election Commencing

Sunday April 24, 2022

Four American Go Association (AGA)  Board of Director seats are in play for the At-Large, Eastern, Western, and Central regions. The current terms of office expire this September. If you know of someone who you believe would offer guidance and service to the AGA, consider making a nomination. Nominations, including self-nominations, may be made by full members for the regional seat in which the member resides. At-Large nominations may be made from any region. All nominations must be received by June 15, 2022. Nominations and questions must be emailed to elections@usgo.org. Click here for complete election information and qualifications.
– Arnold Eudell

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50 Years aGO – April 1972

Saturday April 23, 2022

by Keith L. Arnold, hka, with Patrick Bannister

On April 12th, Ishida Yoshio nosed ahead of his modest challenger Iwata Tatsuaki 9d in the Pro Best Ten tournament. And, on April 24th, he completed his defense of the title. Although the games were all quite close, Iwata calmly remarked, “After all, the weaker player lost.” (Game records: Game 3, Game 4.)

As of April 15, the Hon’inbo League had but one game to play, and a playoff would be required to challenge Ishida Hon’inbo. Sakata Jūdan and Rin Meijin finished tied with 5-2 records. The Meijin League still had a way to go, but Fujisawa Shūkō led with a 4-0 record. Ōtake Hideo trailed at 3-1 and they had yet to play.

Kawabata Yasunari (1899-1972)
Kawabata Yasunari (1899-1972)

But the bulk of this month’s article will be devoted to Kawabata Yasunari, the Nobel Prize winning author of The Master of Go, who died on April 15 1972.

At the outset some important non-go business. It should be noted that Kawabata did not win his Nobel for our favorite work, but rather, for all of his efforts. The Nobel Committee cited three novels: Snow Country, Thousand Cranes, and The Old Capital. Additionally, there are growing theories that his death was accidental, as opposed to by his own hand as traditionally claimed.

Nothing I can say about The Master of Go can compare to simply picking it up and reading it. The book is based on his own newspaper accounts covering the famous retirement game between Hon’inbo Shūsai and Kitani Minoru. Some of the names are changed to protect the victorious, but the game is the same, and Kawabata calmly and deftly not only relates it to us, in wonderful detail, but locates it in history. For Kawabata, looking back in 1951, the Master and the game were the end of the old Japan, and the challenger “Otake” were the first wind of change, soon to be a whirlwind.

Kawabata’s place in the go world is of course grounded in this book, but went far beyond it. He was a 5d amateur player, back in a time when that was quite impressive. He served for many years on the committee that awarded the annual Shūsai prizes. A friend of Sakata, you can see him in the background of many title match photos.

Another lasting contribution, inspiring players today, is his wonderful calligraphy adorning the ceremonial playing room at the Nihon Ki’in – the Yūgen no Ma room, site of many matches and even featured in Hikaru no Go. His scroll means “deep, subtle mysteries.” A perfect, and frightening sight for a challenger to see over the shoulders of a champion, and a completely relatable description of the game for the rest of us.

Kawabata's novel The Master of Go (Meijin)

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Jason He 3D tops San Francisco Go Club Cherry Blossom Tournament

Tuesday April 19, 2022

More than 40 competitors turned out last Saturday for the San Francisco Go Club (SFGC) Cherry Blossom Tournament, held at the club’s recently opened dojo during the Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival in San Francisco’s Japantown. Player skill levels ranged from 30 kyu up to 6 dan and three rounds of games were played, with over $400 awarded in cash prizes across three divisions.

Jason He 3D came in first place of Division 1, taking home a $150 cash prize and a spot against Hajin Lee 4P at the club’s upcoming simul game event on April 23. Chao Xie 6D came in second place and James Lou 4D came in third place.

In Division 2, Lucas Orr 5k came in first place, Jun Wu 1D was second place, and Sharif Naas 6k was third place.

And, in Division 3, Youchen Zhao 8k was first place, Shuoyuan He 18k was second place, and Christine Guo 20k was third place.

Reported by Matthew Barcus, SFGC Vice President

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“How to Play and Teach Go/Weiqi” Saturday in San Diego

Tuesday April 19, 2022

Xinming Guo

A workshop on “How to Play and Teach Go/Weiqi” will be held this Saturday in San Diego, CA. Xinming Guo, an Illinois licensed math teacher and founder of the Go and Math Academy, will lead the workshop (Register here).  Guo and Professor Xiuwen Wu from National Louis University will be visiting San Diego where Professor Wu will present on Go and Math at the American Educational Research Association conference. Guo was named national “Teacher of the Year” by the American Go Foundation in 2015.

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Applications are open for the LGBT+ Go Congress scholarship

Monday April 18, 2022

The AGF is proud to announce the new PrideGo scholarship for students aged 13-22 who openly identify as LGBT+.  Three recipients will receive $500 towards the 2022 Go Congress. Applications are open at https://www.pridego.org/#apply and will close on May 8th.

The PrideGo program is spearheaded by popular Twitch go streamer Eva-Dee M. Beech (better known online as “Gooplet”) who has run two successful fundraising events with the help of several volunteers. She looks forward to meeting the scholarship recipients at this year’s Go Congress. More information about the program can be found at https://PrideGo.org


The next PrideGo fundraising event will be the second annual Pride Month Rengo tournament, during the last weekend of June. Further details will be released in May. Live commentary of the event will be hosted by Gooplet on the official AGA Twitch channel, guest commentators TBA. Previous PrideGo guest commentators included LionGuySai, Dwyrin, Vadim from GoMagic, and In Sente. 
If you are interested in contributing to the PrideGo program with your time or your money,  or if you have questions about the program, check the website or contact Eva-Dee at evadee.beech@usgo.org!

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Go Non-spotting: In Praise of the AGF

Monday April 18, 2022

By Ze-Li Dou

My friend and colleague Scott Nollet is a long-time donor to the American Go Foundation. In our email exchanges in March the topic came up, and below are the relevant passages from Scott.

“Once Covid hit, I stopped getting requests to contribute to the American Go Foundation and wondered if the organization might have folded. But now I got a request in December, and they said that they simply had had lower needs (I imagine because the Go tournaments were done over Zoom). It’s pretty nice that they didn’t ask for money when they didn’t need it! 

“I give quite a bit to charities, and the usual practice is that once $500 is given, immediately $600 is asked for next. So the AGF behavior was a pleasant surprise. I gave them double my usual donation.”

I am fortunate enough to have been supported by the AGF before. It is heartening that it has distinguished itself among the many organizations that depend on donor support—I am glad to add that the honesty is paying off, too! The leaders of AGF deserve praise from all go players. Bravo!

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Music in the stones: Wave Collector releases new go-inspired album

Monday April 18, 2022

It’s unsurprising that music and go found an intersection for Neal Wright. He had been involved with both for years. “I started playing go in middle school at the Boulder Go Club in Colorado,” Wright told the E-Journal. “While I didn’t study the game more seriously until years later, I always looked back fondly on that time. We were all just there to play a game we loved.”

Neal Wright

Music came soon after when Wright started writing songs at 19. Following his time in an indie rock band, he began experimenting with the electronic stylings that would eventually become his current project, Wave Collector. When he attended his first U.S. Go Congress in 2017, the two worlds came together.

“I…really got excited about studying the game. From there I came to appreciate the strategy on a deeper level and started learning about the history of the game. As I dug into some of the notable games in history, I realized it would be a perfect theme for an album.” That album would become Wave Games. Check it out on Spotify

The first song to manifest was inspired by Lee Sedol’s famous ladder game; it appears on the album under the name Broken Ladder. The song is reflective of Wave Collector’s style, which has been called downtempo electronic or even—appropriate for a go-themed album—”intelligent dance music.” The initial arpeggio of Broken Ladder is meant to “mimic the sort of back-and-forth nature of a ladder being played out.”

Then there’s Ghost Moves, named after the 1835 Blood Vomiting Game, one of the most famous games of the Edo period, in which it is said Jowa was given three brilliant moves by ghosts of long-dead players who rivaled the Inoue House. The vocals in the song are affected with a sort of ghostly quality and are meant to represent the spirits speaking to Jowa.

Wave Games cover art

The album was in the works for five years. Though the last of the nine songs were finished in 2020, the pandemic delayed production of the vinyl by more than a year. “I had always wanted to press this album to vinyl. So by the time I finally got (it), it was February of 2022…(and) I released it as soon as I could.”

Over the course of production, some song ideas didn’t make the cut, such as the Mirror Game, a call-and-response melody inspired by Go Seigen’s famous match against Kitani Minoru, and the Self-Atari Game, a melodic reincarnation of Nakano Yasuhiro’s famous game-losing self-atari. Others that did make the album include Bright Pearl Comes Out from the Sea (based on a famous go problem), Game Between Gods (inspired by the mythical Axe Handle Game), The Masterpiece (named after a Dosaku game), Move 78 (based on Lee Sedol’s winning move against AlphaGo), Move 127 (based on the Ear-Reddening Game) and Triple Ko.

Meanwhile, Wright is enjoying the satisfaction of completing a years-long project. “Despite the long delay, I’m really happy with how it turned out.”
– Hailey Renner

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