American Go E-Journal

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

Friday November 26, 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.

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In Memoriam: Peter Freedman

Wednesday January 26, 2022

Longtime go teacher and local organizer Peter Freedman has died. “Peter was a gentle and wonderful man,” said AGA president Andy Okun. “I am grateful for the chances I had to enjoy the game and organizing work with him over the last decade.” Freedman, who was active in the Portland, Oregon go scene for many years, directed the 2008 U.S. Go Congress, and was a key player in organizing the International Go Symposium in 2012.

“He was instrumental in organizing the Portland Go Club back in the 1970s and acted as President for a long time,” says Doug Cable. “Peter was also the main ‘mover and shaker’ for having the annual tournament at the Japanese Garden for several years and recently, in September of 2019, a major tournament there combined with teaching sessions for non-go players and beginners, as well as a display of Japanese woodblock prints with go subject matter. The growth of go in this town has been indelibly imprinted with the fingerprints of Peter Freedman.”

Named Teacher of the Year in 2014 by the American Go Foundation, Freedman ran several AGF programs over the years, “always encouraging kids, teaching new ones, and seeking to find ways to spread the game,” said Paul Barchilon. “He was often calling or emailing me to tell me about a new program (Irvington Elementary Program a Hit, Chess and Go in Portland and Beyond), or a new kid he was proud of. The pandemic of course took a toll on his activities, but he was teaching new kids on Zoom when possible, and even tried to arrange some matches between kids at my club and kids at his. His devotion to the game, and specifically to helping kids learn it, was something so many benefitted from. He will be greatly missed, but we should celebrate him for a life well lived.”

A Tribute to our Go Saint, Peter Freedman

by Fritz Balwit

I first met Peter Freedman in 2007 shortly after I took up the game of go. I had been working for some years teaching chess in afterschool programs when I was forcibly converted to go by an avid player who saw me innocently reading a chess book while we waited for our kids to finish a tumbling class. I was so taken with the beauty of the game that I immediately resolved to teach it instead of chess in all of my classes. Proceeding with more enthusiasm than knowledge, I embarked on this plan with mixed results. It was then that Peter got word of the project and called me up. I was surprised by the cheerful avidity with which he volunteered to assist me: ”Why hadn’t I thought of this–teaching kids in after-school classes,” he said. “This is the way to keep the precious cultural heritage of go alive!” I was glad to have him join me, not least because he had so much to teach me.  

Little did I know that we would collaborate for about eight years and bring go to about 10 different schools in the Portland area, teaching hundreds of kids how to play. This became our mission. I would lose hope time and again, but it would always be restored at the sight of faithful Peter, always there before me with his box of go boards, and a bag of treats for the kids. His love for teaching, his boundless patience with administrative hassles and general good cheer was enough to sustain me in what was not always rewarding work, especially in foul Winter weather when the public schools felt like grubby and pestilential places. Still we trusted the exquisite beauty of our game might counter the chaos of life. And sometimes it did. 

Peter never let the negatives get him down. He was there every week, sometimes 2 or 3 times a week. He showed immense kindness and wisdom in dealing with the kids. He undertook much of the communications with parents, too, diplomatically smoothing away difficulties both inside and outside of the classroom, and Peter refused any form of compensation for his work in all of this time. 

Freedman at the 2008 U.S. Go Congress; photo by Phil Straus

Sometimes Peter and I would sit down and play a game. It was then that I saw why he wanted to teach–for while it is possible to play go or chess out of many motives high and low, his notion of go emphasized the pure joy of communication that the game can entail. He always expressed making a move in terms of asking a question: What do you want and what are you prepared to give me? Winning or losing, for him the anxieties of ego and self judgment remained in the background.  To the kids, he showed that one could learn how to make better moves, devise a more clever plan, but in the end, go always involved sharing, taking responsibility for thinking for yourself,  and above all learning from your opponent. Playing go was fun but it represented a larger form of life wisdom. 

I was always impressed to hear about Peter’s projects outside of the game of go. He was an avid ping-pong player and a very good one. He had a deep appreciation of basketball and traditional folk music and blues. Many of our interests overlapped and we enjoyed sharing our enthusiasm. Peter’s way was always affirmation: What was good in the world? Go learn about it, cheer for it, and become a part of it. 

His last major project involved public advocacy for the Medicare-for-All Bill. He led a group trying to promote this through political means. The movement is still hanging in the balance, and it is sad that he did not get to see his efforts come to fruition. 

In short, the number of people that Peter impacted for good is astounding. He left us too soon, but we have plenty of his work still to accomplish–as well as his style of play and engagement with the world.  He has taught us the importance of cultivating joy in an ever-widening circle of friendships. 

Registration Open for the 2022 North American Kyu Championships

Wednesday January 26, 2022

Young players at the 2018 US Go Congress.

The 9th North American Kyu Championships (NAKC) is now open for registration to start off the annual suite of AGA-run youth tournaments. The tournament will be held online on the KGS Go Server and consist of four rounds over the course of one day. Players must be under the age of 18, reside in North America, and be members of their country’s national Go organization to compete. The top junior (under 13 years old) and senior (13-17 years old) players in each division will win personalized crystal trophies, and the junior and senior champions of the top division will receive an invitation to play in the Redmond Cup, which is traditionally only eligible to dan-level players. Players who complete all rounds of the tournament will also be eligible for a $200 scholarship to the next in-person US Go Congress, courtesy of the American Go Foundation. Last year’s tournament featured nearly 150 players, and the AGA hopes that this year’s tournament will be just as exciting!

Registration for the NAKC will close on February 19th, and interested players can read the rules and additional details for more information.

Stay tuned for information about this year’s Redmond Cup and AGA Girls Cup; both will feature a new tournament format and registration will be opening soon.

Story by Justin Teng, AGA Youth Coordinator, Photo by Paul Barchilon.

Registration Open for 2022 AGHS School Team Tournament

Tuesday January 18, 2022

“Registration for the 2022 AGHS School Team Tournament is now open through February 4th,” says AGHS Co-President Sophia Wang, “Inspired by the popular series Hikaru No Go, students from the same school or educational institution should form teams of 3 to compete for their school and for prizes. A total of four rounds will be held over two Sundays, February 6th and 13th, at 10am and 1pm PST. In order to be eligible, players must attend school in North America and be under 19/currently enrolled in grades K-12. Maximum of 5 teams per institution.”

Click here for rules and regulations

Click here to register (deadline: 2/4/2022)

50 Years aGO – January 1972

Sunday January 16, 2022

by Keith L. Arnold, hka, with Patrick Bannister

Ōhira Shūzō wins the Nihon Ki’in Championship

On January 7th, Kitani Reiko 6d (daughter of the great Kitani Minoru, wife of Kobayashi Kōichi) defeated Honda Sachiko 4d to capture the Ladies Hon’inbo for the sixth time. It should be noted that the Hon’inbo title eluded her father and her husband, but not her daughter, Kobayashi Izumi. (Game record: Ladies Hon’inbo Game 3)

Two events dominated this month, our coverage of them started last. First, two games completed the Nihon Ki’in Championship, which started the new year knotted at 1-1. On January 11-12, Ishida Yoshio lost to Ōhira Shūzō in a game titled by Go Review, “Even Computers Make Mistakes.” Ōhira regained the title with a win in the fourth game on January 18-19. (Game records: Nihon Ki’in Championship Game 3, Game 4)

Sakata Eio wins Jūdan Game 1

Japanese go fans were enthralled by the Jūdan match between two members of the old guard. It should be noted, back in those days, the Jūdan was 4th in prestige amongst the big seven titles. On January 26-27, Sakata Eio defeated the title holder Hashimoto Utarō in the first game. (Game record: Jūdan Game 1)

There were interesting developments in the Meijin and Hon’inbo leagues. As of January 27, both dethroned champions were leading the leagues. Fujisawa Shūkō led the Meijin League, seeking revenge against Rin Meijin, while Rin led the Hon’inbo League looking for a rematch with Ishida Hon’inbo. Ishida was off to a bad start (0-2) in the Meijin League.

Game records thanks to SmartGo, photos from Go Review.

Updates: San Diego postpones championship, Portland suspends meet-ups, NGC postpones Friday nights

Saturday January 15, 2022

As previously reported, the AGA is asking chapters to delay tournaments and to consider not having club meetings at least for the month of January, until the latest wave of Covid-19, the Omicron variant, has passed. Here are some local updates:

San Diego: The San Diego Go Club is postponing, due to Covid19, the 11th Annual San Diego Go Championship, which had been scheduled for the spring of 2022. “The SDGC now hopes to hold the tournament at the San Diego Chess Club in May 2022.” Vaccinated members of the SDGC have voted to continue to meet in person at “At Ease Games” on Miramar Road on Thursday from 7-11 p.m. Masks will be required for all players and spectators. A booster vaccination is recommended.

Portland (OR): Due to the recent surge in Covid cases, and per the recommendations of the American Go Association, PGC is suspending Tuesday night “Learn and Play Go” meet-ups at Alder Commons.  “We hope to restart them again soon.  In the meantime we encourage players to seek games via our Portland Go Discord.” For an invite to the discord email goclubportland@gmail.com.

Washington, DC: The National Go Center in Washington, DC has decided to postpone opening on Friday nights until sometime in February. “There is just too much uncertainty around the Omicron surge right now. We’ll keep you posted on when Fridays will be starting up again.” Wednesday nights will continue for now for masked and fully vaccinated participants. “Stay safe, and we look forward to things getting back to normal.”

Got go news? Post it here!

Redmond AlphaGo livestream Sunday night

Saturday January 15, 2022

Tune in on the AGA’s Twitch channel this Sunday, January 17 at 7p ET for another AlphaGo vs AlphaGo live commentary by Michael Redmond 9P, hosted by E-Journal Managing Editor Chris Garlock. “AlphaGo played the mini-Chinese,” in AG-AG #54, says Redmond, adding “I will talk a bit about the pressing move at the 4-5 point that AIs like so much.” For more Michael Redmond content, check out his YouTube channel.

Korea Go Report: Top News of 2021

Saturday January 15, 2022

By Daniela Trinks, Korea correspondent for the E-Journal. Trinks is a professor in the Department of Baduk (Go) Studies College of Arts & Physical Education at Myongji University in South Korea.

At the end of the year, the Korean Baduk Association (KBA) selects ten top news of the year, without specifying the order. Below is a summary.

Announcement of Korea Go Promotion Plan. In 2021, the Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism announced the “Basic Plan for Go Promotion”. It consists of three main strategies and eight tasks with the goal of making Go a popular creative leisure sport for a healthy 100-year-life span. The three main strategies are creating a sustainable Go ecosystem, expanding Go as a daily leisure sport, and creating an industrialization foundation for Go. Cho Hoon-hyun 9p, a former member of Korea National Assembly, played a leading role in enacting the Go promotion bill in 2018.

Korean team’s Nongshim Cup victory. Shin Jin-seo 9p won five games in a row, bringing the 22nd Nongshim Cup title back home to Korea after losing it to the Chinese team in the previous two years. Shin Jin-seo was the fourth Korean team player to participate out of five. His teammate Park Jeong-hwan was happy to watch the team’s victory from the bench without playing a single game. 

Shin Jin-seo’s excellent performance. Rated #1 in the Korean as well as in the international Go ranking since January 2020, Shin Jin-seo won five national and one international (Chunlan Cup) competition last year. Not surprisingly, he was also the top earner among the Korean Go players, with a total price money of  about 1.06 billion KRW (880,000 USD). 

Park Jeong-hwan’s Samsung Cup victory. By defeating his “arch nemesis”  Shin Jin-seo, Park Jeong-hwan 9p won the 2021 Samsung Cup, his fifth international title. Since becoming a professional in 2006 he has won 32 individual competitions in total.

Shin Min-jun’s LG Cup win. After losing the first game, Shin Min-jun 9p managed to win the next two in  the best-of-three title matches against Ke Jie 9p. With this win he gained his first major international  title. His achievement was especially celebrated because a Korean had not won an individual title match against a Chinese since 2014.

Celltrion wins Korean Baduk League. Celltrion, Shin Jin-seo’s team, won both the regular and post seasons, by defeating the previous winner, the Korea Price Information team. Celltrion team’s second oldest team player, Won Sung-jin 9p (born 1985), surprised everyone with his outstanding 17:0 winning streak. He was named the MVP of the Korean Baduk League Season 2020-2021. 

Choi Jung’s superiority challenged. Choi Jung 9p has dominated the Korean female Go scene for the past eight years, not only by winning almost all the female titles but also by leading the Korean female ranking consecutively for 97 months. However, in 2021, her stronghold was slightly weakened – Oh Yu-jin 9p defeated her twice in the Female Kuksu and Female Kiseong title matches and she was eliminated in the preliminary round of the Samsung Cup by Cho Seung-ah 5p. Nevertheless, Choi Jung 9p still proved her class by winning the prestigious Wu Qingyuan Cup and the Korean IBK Cup, and maintained her #1 spot in the Korean and international women’s ranking. 

Kim In 9p dies at 78. The “eternal Kuksu” Kim In 9p passed away at the age of 78. His 63-year Go career began in 1958 when he became a pro at the age of 15. Kim In was the top Go player in South Korea from the mid-1960s to mid-1970s, which is popularly called the “Kin-In Era”. He won 30 titles, ranking him sixth  in the Korean title-holder list. Some of his other stats include 860 wins, 5 draws, and 703 losses. Most notably, his 40 consecutive-win record set in 1968 was only broken in 1990 by Lee Changho 9p (41 wins). Besides his career highlights, Kim In 9p was also highly respected for his noble personality and great passion and dedication to supporting Go. In his honor, the Kim In Cup has been held in his hometown Gangjin since 2007.   

International Go competitions hosted online. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions, online competitions have become common-place. Major tournaments such as the Korean-sponsored LG Cup, Samsung Cup, Nongshim Cup and Kuksu Mountain Cup, as well as international competitions hosted by Chinese and Japanese organizations such as the Ing Cup, Chunlan Cup, Wu Qingyuan Cup and Senko Cup all took place online in 2021. Unlike 2020, there were no major glitches during the online matches.

Lee Jae-yoon, 7th president of KBF. Lee Jae-yoon, the former vice-president of the Korean Baduk Federation (KBF) was elected as its 7th president. The president of a dental hospital in Daegu City is well known for supporting Korean amateur Go such as the Deokyeong Cup and the Daegu team in the Korean National Amateur Go League. 

Source: KBA (2021); photos courtesy KBA.

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Yilun Yang’s 2022 New Year’s Puzzle — Solution

Friday January 7, 2022

Yilun Yang 7P is one of the most popular go teachers in the U.S. His popular original tsumego problems are a regular feature of the EJ’s Member’s Edition; join the AGA now (or renew your membership) and receive the daily or weekly American Go E-Journal Member’s Edition with members-only extras such as game files and professional commentaries. Plus: participate in local and national tournaments, the national rating system, the annual US Go Congress – the largest go event in North America – at member rates.
You can reach Mr. Yang at yly_go@yahoo.com.

[link]

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AGA urges tourney/club delays due to Omicron; latest updates

Thursday January 6, 2022

The AGA is asking chapters to delay tournaments and to consider not having club meetings at least for the month of January, until the latest wave of Covid-19, the Omicron variant, has passed. “While the danger to any individual is hard to know, the effect on the overall medical system is significant,” says AGA president Andy Okun. Delaying tournaments and club meeting will “keep members safer and do our part to not risk burdening hospitals with extra cases,” says Okun. “Our Covid advice page will be frequently updated and we will keep our eye on rapidly changing information.”

In a related story, the January 22nd Gotham Go Tournament is being rescheduled “due to the very high rates of Covid-19 in New York City and the surrounding area,” reports organizer Peter Armenia.  The new date is March 26th.

The restart of Friday Night Go at the National Go Center in Washington, DC has been postponed until at least January 14, reports Gurujeet Khalsa, although that’s due to the NGC having its heating serviced, with snowy and chilly weather predicted.

Any other chapter/club and/or tournament updates should be reported to journal@usgo.org and we’ll post updates here.

Pandanet AGA City League Begins Sunday

Monday January 3, 2022

Andy Liu, Stephanie Yin, and Ryan Li receive the A League trophy from TD Steve Colburn, Williamsburg 2018

Are you ready to watch the biggest go league in the US? Watch LIVE on Sunday January 9th for the first round of the Pandanet AGA City League! Entering the 10th year there are 36 teams among four leagues. The best players in North America will vie to win for their city and bragging rights for the next year. Join the “AGA City League” and “AGA City League Manual” rooms on Pandanet to watch.