American Go E-Journal

A day of firsts at W Michigan Go 2022 Spring Tournament & Mi State Championship 

Monday May 23, 2022

By Daniel ML

West MI State Championship Final Round

May 21st was a day of firsts for the West Michigan Go Club. It was our first time hosting a tournament. It was my first time as tournament director. It was the first time an AGA Michigan State Champion had ever been declared. Sixteen players gathered at Out Of The Box, a gaming store in the greater Grand Rapids area, to test their skills and have fun playing their best. Five of those players were there to determine who would be the first-ever Michigan State Champion. 

Go brings people together and we were excited to see a diverse group of players from all backgrounds, age groups and skill levels. For the handicap segment of our tournament, cash prizes were rewarded three deep, at $60, $40 and $20 for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place. 

Twenty kyu Johnson He wasn’t sure if he had played more than 100 games in his life, but he managed to take third place in the DDK division. Kalamazoo Go Club’s Claudio Mendoza (12k) took second and undefeated five-year-old Winston Yan (10k) took first place with a game record of 5-0. 

Grand Rapids city bus driver Chad Gessner (3k) took third place in the SDK division. Kalamazoo Go Club’s Zachariah Boumediene (5k) took second place and nine-year-old David Fang (5k) took first place with a game record of 3-1. David is very excited to attend the upcoming US Go Congress. Not only is he looking forward to meeting other go players, but he is excited about riding in an airplane and seeing the Colorado Rocky Mountains. 

The Michigan State Championship was a single-elimination tournament using a seeded bracket based on player strength. West Michigan Go Club had good representation with three of five of the competitors being current or former members of our club. Former W MI Go Club member and Kim Yoonyoung’s student Justin Johnson (3 Dan) took bronze and a cash prize of $60. Current W MI Go Club member Andrew Esther (2 Dan) took silver and a cash prize of $80. His daughter Carolyn Esther (18k) also competed in our DDK division. Lansing resident Mani Sanford (3 Dan) remained undefeated and took home the title of AGA MI State Champion for 2022. He also received a trophy and $120 for his excellent performance. Since Mani met fellow championship competitor and Lansing resident Michael Sullivan at this tournament, he is beginning to plan future go meetups in the Lansing area and to possibly create a new Go Club to build our community!

We are so proud to have brought this day of firsts to our region and are anticipating many great events in the months and years to come. Let’s continue to grow this positive and diverse community of people who have fallen in love with the game of go!