American Go E-Journal » AGA Chapters

AGA Encourages Players to Stay Home

Saturday March 14, 2020

The following statement has been released by the American Go Association’s Board of Directors.

“Generally, the AGA considers promoting face-to-face go to be one of it’s biggest priorities. As COVID-19 has progressed, however, it has become clear that practicing social distancing is something that everyone needs to do for their health and the health of those around them.

With that in mind, the AGA is encouraging folks to cancel or postpone all planned club and tournament events in March and April. This is a developing situation that is changing weekly (and lately daily), and we hope that we will be able to resume in-person play soon – once the pandemic has subsided.

The Seattle Go Center in Seattle and the National Go Center in Washington, DC have both suspended tournaments and face-to-face play and are closely monitoring the situation. Updates are at seattlego.org and nationalgocenter.org.

At this time, the AGA is making no recommendations about events in May or any time after that. Preparations for the US Go Congress in Estes Park at the beginning of August are continuing, even as we develop contingency plans in case the effects of the pandemic continue into the summer. Congress staff are working closely with the YMCA and monitoring recommendations from public officials. Colorado has declared a state of emergency and recommended postponing gatherings of 250 or more for the time being.

Stay safe – and maybe take this opportunity to rediscover online go playing, read some go books, and watch some of the many videos available on Twitch and YouTube!”

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Why does it take so long to get a tournament rated?

Monday February 17, 2020

At the 2019 US Open; photo by Chris Garlock

by Steve Colburn
During last year’s U.S. Go Congress I heard the same question more than a few times. “Why does it take so long to get the tournament I last played in rated?” We’re always trying to get ratings updated more quickly but here’s why that’s often a challenge.

At the end of the tournament the Tournament Director (TD) sends a results file to the AGA, which processes the data. Two of the key things are active membership and game result probability.
An active AGA membership gives you many benefits, among the largest of which is being rated in our system. So the first major check is to see if all player’s AGA memberships are up to date, and expired memberships are the largest reason ratings are delayed. The AGA Membership Manager has been working very well since it was fixed in May 2019, and TDs are no longer able to submit tournament results without all players being AGA members.
The second check, which occurs less frequently but can also slow down updated ratings, is when game result probabilities are suspect, like when it’s reported that a significantly lower-ranked player defeated a stronger player. In such a case, we’ll check in with the TD to see if it’s an error, if someone just had a good — or a bad — day.

Once these two hurdles are cleared, the rest of the process moves fairly quickly and the updated ratings can be posted. Our ultimate goal is for every TD to be able to run tournaments with no issues so that we can process and post updated that same weekend.

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Upcoming AGA Board meeting Feb. 23

Thursday February 13, 2020

The AGA Board is meeting on Sunday, February 23rd at 8pm EST.  Topics of discussion include: updates on several on-going projects as well as new domestic and international tournaments, the creation of two new commissions, U.S. Go Congress, staff re-appointments, teaching, the accessibility of board meetings, and access to go clubs.  For more information, you can find the detailed agenda here.
Are you an AGA member interested in listening in to the meeting?  Please contact the Chairperson at lisa.scott@usgo.org for call-in information.
Are you interested in commenting on past board meeting minutes?  You can submit your comments here, and they’ll be available to entire board and relevant officers. Past minutes are available here.

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Empty Sky Go Club celebrates 41st anniversary

Wednesday January 22, 2020

by Steve Colburn
It’s hard to imagine in these days of 24/7 global online go, but back in the late 1970s, if you were one of the few non-Asian Americans interested in go, your playing options were limited to a handful of clubs in places like New York City or San Francisco. A group of go players in upstate New York, hundreds of miles away from the nearest club, decided to organize their own club in Rochester, and formed an official chapter of the American Go Association on January 15, 1979, dubbing it the Empty Sky Go Club, an ironic name coined by organizer William Hewitt in honor of Rochester’s often cloudy sky. Club meetings originally moved from house to house, but from 1980 through 2000 were held regularly at Dave Weimer’s house in the South Wedge.

While the world of go — and indeed the game itself — has transformed dramatically in the 41 years since then, the Empty Sky Go Club is still fundamentally the same, in the sense that it’s a bunch of local players who value getting together every week to play this ancient game. On January 13, the current members of the club gathered to celebrate its 41st birthday.

Like all go clubs, the Empty Sky has gone through both fat and lean years as membership has waxed and waned. Longtime local organizers like Dave Weimer and Chris Garlock have relocated to other communities — where they continue to build the go community — but a steady group of students and locals have kept the game going in The Flower City for nearly half a century. Indeed, Empty Sky hosted two Go Congresses, first in 1991 and then again in 2004. The members that have come through this club are among the most loyal that I have ever seen, moving around the globe and continuing to grow friends through the game.

The Empty Sky Go Club would like to thank all its members, past and present, for coming to club throughout the years. And if you’re ever in Rochester, be sure to drop by (we meet every Monday and Thursday night in Java Wally’s, the RIT coffee shop located in Wallace Library, building 5) and be a part of our future as we look forward to many more years of fun and camaraderie together.

Got a story about your local club? We’d love to hear it! Email us at journal@usgo.org

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New AGA Tournament Director Support mailing list is live

Friday January 10, 2020

The AGA has been working to help those who run our tournaments across the country. A new mailing list has been created to help both veteran and new directors with the goal of creating a sounding board for issues and questions that might arise throughout the year. If you are or would like to become a tournament director, please consider joining the TD Support mailing list. Discussions will be most useful with a good blend of both veteran tournament directors and fresh perspectives from new TDs. The mailing list will also be a great place for TDs to ask questions and share experiences.

We have updated our information to help you join these lists to connect with TDs and Chapter leaders. Full Mailing List information can be found on the left menu bar of the USGO website.

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Go Clubs: Bloomington, Indiana

Monday January 6, 2020

The American Go Association’s newest chapter is The Stone Cutters Go Club in Bloomington, Indiana. “We welcome anyone with an interest in Go to come and visit, new players included!” says the club on its website. “Our goal is to help provide a network for Go players and bring awareness of Go to the community.” Club founder Vera Flocke especially encourages local or visiting AGA members to drop by. “It would be great to see our club grow,” she says. The club meets Thursday evenings at 7p at the Runcible Spoon, 412 E 6th Street, Bloomington, IN 47408.
Got club news? Email us at journal@usgo.org

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New AGA Chapters for December 2019

Monday January 6, 2020

The AGA is regularly asked for new chapters around the country. These are the newly registered chapters from December 2019:

Stonecutters Go Club Bloomington – We meet at the Runcible Spoon (412 E 6th St, Bloomington, IN 47408) on Thursday evenings at 7pm. – Contact Vera Flocke

High School North Go Association – We meet every Thursday, 3-4 pm at High School North. The address is 90 Grovers Mill Rd, Plainsboro Township, NJ 08536. For any students or staff of West Windsor-Plainsboro school district, you are free to come, just email us beforehand. Anyone who is not under these categories can email us at hsnchineseclub@gmail.com to work it out. – Contact Seth Liang (The High School North Go Association is a subsidiary of the High School North Chinese Club.)

Members should check their information when logging in. If you are not receiving the EJ make sure your email is up to date. Chapters can always update their current chapter through the AGA Membership Manager if they have changed.

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Do you have what it takes?

Friday November 15, 2019

To put the time in and help this great organization? The AGA is continually looking for new talented leaders to help with our programs. We are a small core group that wears many hats. Our listing of open positions is always growing.

If you are interested please email volunteer@usgo.org for more information

Here are a few of the folks that are on the top of our search list:

AGA Treasurer
Looking for someone with a minimum 2-3 years Accounting/CPA experience. Will assist the organization in day-to-day operations with members and chapters for payment issues. Person will help run reports for various administrators for operations activities. Person will work on tax documents yearly. This position has a two year commitment.

AGA Ratings Officer
Assist current Ratings Officer. Knowledge of how ratings works is advantageous. This person will be communicating with membership and other AGA officers to answer member issues relating to tournaments. Required: programming ability including perl, mysql, version control, and linux. This person will work with our current Ratings Officer and potentially take over the position.

Drupal Developer
Looking for someone to help with our drupal upgrade. Looking to take our install to v9 and make it more efficient. Help drive the look of the AGA’s web presence. Knowledge of Drupal 7/8 needed, Helpful to have include PHP, WordPress, Drupal 8 front end development.

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New AGA Chapters for September 2019

Tuesday October 1, 2019

The AGA is regularly asked for new chapters around the country. These are the newly registered chapters from September 2019:

Grande Ronde Go Club – Le Bebe Cakes, 1103 Washington Avenue, La Grande, Oregon – 5:00pm – 8:00pm on Thursday – Contact Steve Tanner

Members should check their information when logging in. If you are not receiving the EJ make sure your email is up to date. Chapters can always update their current chapter through the AGA Membership Manager if they have changed.

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New US Go Congress room on KGS

Wednesday August 28, 2019

“Can’t wait for the next Go Congress?” asks Terri Schurter, founder of the Wings Go Club. “Perhaps you want slow games with people you know. Experience the fun and fellowship of a Congress all year long on KGS. Chat and play with people you know from previous years, and with people who hope to attend a Congress in the future. Make online go less hurried and impersonal by hanging out with friends. Join us in the “US Go Congress” room on KGS, under Social in the room list, and consider adding your AGAID# to your info.”

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