American Go E-Journal » Events/Tournaments

Han Han 5P: “Harder than I expected”

Tuesday August 23, 2022

The competition at this year’s North American Masters Tournament was “harder than I expected,” Chinese professional Han Han 5P told the E-Journal earlier this month after closing out his 7-0 sweep of the field. “In a few of the games, I was actually behind and had to fight hard to get back in the game.” Han’s 4th-round game against Michael Chen 8D was especially tough, he said. While American professionals are improving in strength, they don’t get enough opportunities to play in high-level competitions with other professionals to develop and hone their skills, Han said.

Born in Beijing in 1989, Han Han became a professional go player at the age of 14 and achieved 5 dan in 2009. He used to play in the National Go League A and defeated more than a dozen world champions in tournaments. He has been teaching go for more than 15 years and helped many kids become professionals. He’s also lectured on go many times at Tsinghua and Peking University since 2015, and is currently a columnist for the most popular go magazine in China. Outside of go, he loves art and is zealous about classical music. He now lives in California, near San Diego.

Han’s advice to amateur players looking to improve their game is to “practice life and death problems, that’s a basic reading skill.” AI analysis is of limited use for all but the most advanced players, Han said. “The basics – life and death, tesuji – are so, so important.”

Han, who several times during the NAMT raised concerns about the possibility of cheating through use of AI go programs, said that steps need to be taken to reduce that possibility, including metal detectors at tournaments (these were used at the recent U.S. pro qualifier), having observers or referees, and either delaying live broadcasts (as is done in poker tournaments) or not permitting commentary during the broadcast.
– report/photo by Chris Garlock; thanks to NAMT TD Kevin Chao for translation assistance.

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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.  

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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
Fourth: New Jersey

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

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

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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

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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

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2022 U.S. Go Congress Tournament Winners

Monday August 8, 2022

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

N.A. Masters Tournament: 1st: Alan Huang; 2nd: Jeremy Chiu: 3rd: Andy Liu.
TD: Kevin Chao

US Open             
6d+: 1st: Tony Yang; 2nd: Haoze Liu; 3rd: Boyang Kang
5d: 1st: Forrest Song; 2nd: Kosuke Sato; 3rd: Will Lockhart
4d: 1st: Xinqun Lu (Sin Chun); 2nd: Juanshu Lan; 3rd: Joel Kenny
3d: 1st: Wanqi Zhu;  2nd: Nick Sibicky; 3rd: Jerry Ju.
2d: 1st: Xiaoyu Wang; 2nd: David Weimer; 3rd: Robert Hessburg    
1d: 1st: Luis Jorge Palacios Vela;  2nd: Mark Wong; 3rd: Andy Zhou
1k: 1st: Max Fuller;  2nd: Benjamin Gunby; 3rd Jun Wu
2k: 1st Liya Luck; 2nd: Daniel Luo; 3rd: Wilson Lu
3k: 1st Valeriia Smirnova;  2nd Jamie Tang; 3rd Shreya Bhattarai
4k: 1st Luke Belyeu; 2nd Jonathan Chen; 3rd Austin Robinson
5k: 1st Sarah Crites; 2nd Giovanni Ventura; 3rd Abigail Chen
6k: 1st Hunter Tidwell; 2nd Jack Zhang; 3rd Ursa Woodring
7k: 1st Mario Espinoza; 2nd Collin Baker; 3rd Steve Kopp
8k: 1st Hector Lampert-Bates; 2nd Aldric Giacomoni; 3rd Mika Blandy
9k: 1st Nytha Ramanathan; 2nd Richard Newman; 3rd George Schmitten
10k: 1st Joel Chapman; 2nd Bowen Yan; 3rd Regina Kim
DDK 11-15k: 1st Noah Carrafa (11k); 2nd Elizabeth Small (13k); 3rd Lee Belyeu (13k)
DDK 16-30: 1st Xiatiao Wang (16k); 2nd Kyle Huang (16k); 3rd Miles Henry (16k)
TD: Andrew Hall

Die Hard: Dan Division: 1st: David Frankel (Most wins and most games); Kyu Division: 1st: Kacey Saff 5-2; 2nd: Eva Dee Beech (Most games)
TD: Jae Donley

2021 AGA Girls Cup: 1st Tina Li; 2nd: Julia Zhang
TD: Justin Teng

2021 Redmond Cup: Senior Division: 1st Alex Qi; 2nd Kevin Huang
TD: Justin Teng

2022 AGA Girls Cup: 1st Stephanie Tan; 2nd: Samantha Soo
TD: Justin Teng

2022 Redmond Cup: Senior Division: 1st Alex Qi; 2nd King Bi; Junior Division: 1st    Evan Tan; 2nd Eric Yang
TD: Justin Teng

Senior Cup: Dan Division 1st XinQun Lu; Kyu Division: 1st Bob Crites
TD: Mark Rubenstein

Pair Go: 1st Xiaodi Huang, Kevin Chao; 1st – Japan: Tianyi Li, Albert Yen
TD: Lionel Zhang

Women’s: 1st Yunyen Lee; Band A (4k and above) 2nd Samantha Soo Liya Luk (Tie); Band B (5k and below): 1st Laurie Linz; 2nd Regina Kim
TD: Vanessa Sabino

Evening League Prizes    
Champion: most wins minus losses: Bo Luan – all wins
Hurricane: greatest number of wins: Mario Espinoza (12)
Dedicated: most games played   Mario Espinoza (15)
Dan Slayer: most wins against dan players by kyu player  Steve Uhl (1)
Kyu Killer: most wins against kyu players by dan player: Bo Luan, Robert Hessburg & Luis Palacios
Philanthropist: most losses: Ateshi Shellorne (8)
TD: Rich Newman

Baum Prizes       
Badger: most older players (11 & younger): Della Tang & Sarah Zhang (5 each)
Elder Slayer: most wins against adults: Della Tang (2 wins)
Old Hand: adult who plays the most games: Andreas Boerner (11 games)
Encourager: adult who loses the most games: Andreas Boerner (5 games)
Across the age: 1st place adult: Terry Benson (71 years); 2nd place adult Terry Benson  (69 years);
3rd place adult: Betsy Small; Don Karns (twice; 67 years)
1st place child: Kaitlyn Guo; 2nd place child: Jason Li; 3rd place child: Maria Li, Jamie Ma & Della Tang
5 Game Winner: Don Karns

9×9: Kyu Division: Mario Espinoza; Dan Division:                Trevor Morris
TD: Peter Schumer

13×13: Kyu Division: Benjamin Gunby; Dan Division: 3-way tie: Robert Frohardt, Jason Li, Stephanie Tan
TD: Jim Hlavka

Lightning: Dan Division: Llambert Li; Kyu Division: Regina Kim
TD: Keith Arnold

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’22 U.S. Go Congress Updates: Han Han 5P wins Masters; King Bi’s $4K bid wins AGF board auction

Sunday August 7, 2022

NOTE: Here are a couple quick updates from the 2022 U.S. Go Congress Awards Banquet Saturday night. Stay tuned for more Congress reports, including complete tournament winners reports, top winner photos, and an exclusive EJ interview with NAMT winner Han Han.

Han Han 5P completed his 7-0 sweep of the 2022 North American Masters on Saturday morning by defeating Andy Liu 1P. In the photo at right, Han Han excitedly showed off his trophy and $5k check at Saturday night’s awards banquet.

The banquet kicked off with a longtime tradition, the auction of a go board — in this case a high quality kaya floor goban from the vintage team at Store.Baduk.Club — the benefit the American Go Foundation, which has long invested in young go players, many of whom were in attendance at the Go Congress. A fierce bidding war broke out for the goban, which had been signed by NAMT players, including newly-minted U.S. pro Alex Qi, and both outgoing AGA president Andy Okun and incoming president Gurujeet Khalsa. In the end, 2022 Redmond finalist King Bi (2nd from right), was the winner with a record $4,000 bid. “My family just wanted to give something back to the organization that has done so much for young go players,” Bi said.

– report by Chris Garlock; photos by Garlock (right) and Phil Straus (left)
In photo at left (l-r): AGA president Andy Okun, AGF VP Paul Barchilon, AGF president Terry Benson, King Bi, E-Journal Managing Editor (and auctioneer) Chris Garlock, auction organizer Solomon Smilack.

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’22 U.S. Go Congress Updates: Li/Yen win U.S. Pair Go Championships; Han Han continues Masters sweep

Friday August 5, 2022

(l-r): Tina Li 5d/Albert Yen 8d & Lliya Yuk 1K/Edward Zhang 7D (photo by Chris Garlock)

Tianyi Li 3d/Albert Yen 7d won the 2022 U.S. Pair Go Championships Thursday night at the U.S. Go Congress, defeating Liya Luk 1d/Edward Zhang 7d, who took second place. In 3rd were Paige Kimball 1d/Jasper Emerton 5d and in 4th were Samantha Soo 3d/Jerry Ju 3d. Li/Yen will represent the US in the IAPGC in Tokyo, Japan on December 10-11, 2022.

Fifty two pairs competed in the main Pair Go Tournament. Winning first place were Xiaodi Huang 6d/Kevin Chao 5d and in second place were Yingzhi Qian 5d/Will Lockhart 5d. Table Winners: Yujie Liu 3d/Wanqi Zhu 3d; Jino Choung 1d/Joel Kenny 4d; Yuki He 1d/Benjamin Gunby 1k; Jonathan Green 1k/Jun Wu 1k; Angel Zhou 2k/Daniel Luo 2k; Kacey Saff 5k/Peter Schumer 2k; Laura Wu 8k/Howard Wong 1d; Sarah Crites 5k/Bob Crites 5k; Maya Boerner 6k/Andreas Boerner 6k; Vivienne Blandy 6k/Mark Fraser 7k; Terri Schurter 9k/Gurujeet Khalsa 6k; Giovanni Ventura 5k/Simon Zhang 13k.

In the North American Masters Tournament, Han Han 5P on Friday morning continued his sweep through the field, defeating Alex Qi 1P for a 5-0 record. In an unexpected bit of offboard drama, Han Han asked TD Kevin Chao mid-game to check Qi’s glasses to make sure the newly-minted young professional was not receiving outside assistance. Play continued after Chao found no such evidence.

Han Han vs Alex Qi in Round 5 of the NAMT (photo by Chris Garlock)

Update: Han Han notched his sixth win Friday night, beating Albert Yen. Round 6 of the NAMT was broadcast on Twitch, with EJ Managing Editor Chris Garlock hosting Michael Redmond 9P for commentary on the top boards. Check out the stream — which includes a discussion on handling allegations of cheating in go — here.

CLICK HERE for the NAMT crosstab.
CLICK HERE for the U.S. Open crosstab.

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Frankel, Saff and Beech prizewinners in Die Hard

Thursday August 4, 2022

While most Go Congress attendees were off taking advantage of local attractions in the Rocky Mountains, seventy nine players played 138 games in the Die Hard Tournament on Wednesday. With eight games played and four wins, David Frankel 1D won the prize for most games and most wins in the Dan division, while Kacey Saff 5K took the prize for most wins in the kyu division with a 5-2 record and EJ Congress Team producer EvaDee Beech 4K’s SOS record for her seven games clinched the most games prize in the kyu division. Jae Donley was the TD.
For the first time, Die Hard Board 1 games were streamed live on the AGA’s Twitch channel; check out the video here (the last one — Yoder-Yi — is especially exciting, with massive attacks and counter-attacks as both players are in byo-yomi).

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’22 U.S. Go Congress Updates: NAMT/US Open crosstabs; Die Hard to be streamed

Tuesday August 2, 2022

After three rounds in the North American Masters Tournament (NAMT) – and four more still to go — just two players are undefeated: Han Han 5P and Zhaonian Chen 7D. Click here for the NAMT crosstab.
Meanwhile, in the U.S. Open, two of the five rounds have been completed; click here for the U.S. Open crosstab.

On Tuesday, in addition to commenting on the top boards in the NAMT, Eric Lui 2P and host Eric Lee 3D reviewed two kyu games from the U.S. Open (check out the streams here). Open players interested in having their games included in the Twitch commentary on Thursday can email their OGS username to journal@usgo.org. Note that you must record your Round 3 games on OGS in a demo board and be sure to name the game “US Open Round 3” and include both player’s actual names.

BREAKING NEWS: On Wednesday, the top board at the Die Hard tournament will be broadcast live — for the first time ever! — on OGS and Twitch by the EJ team, starting at 9a MT. The Die Hard’s format is Arena Style: win the most points by winning the most games. Players are re-paired immediately after their games conclude. See Die Hard under Tournaments in the YAPP app for complete details.

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