American Go E-Journal » U.S. Pro Tournament

Kevin Yang and Alexander Qi top 2022 NAGF professional tournament

Friday July 1, 2022

Kevin Yang and Alexander Qi

A pair of precocious 14-year-olds are North America’s newest professional go players.

Kevin Yang and Alexander Qi topped a competitive field at the North American Go Federation’s (NAGF) 2022 Pro Qualification tournament this week. Click here for final standings, game records and links to video commentaries.

Held at the National Go Center in Washington D.C., the pro qualifier featured eleven top North American amateurs facing off in two rounds a day over five grueling days starting last Monday. Yang swept Group A, defeating Eric Yoder, Qiyou Wu, Eric Lee, Yuan Zhou and Val Lewis. Qi was also undefeated in Group B, beating Remi Campagnie, Edward Zhang, Nate Morse and Tyler Oyakawa.

Yang and Qi then faced off in a best-of-three match, splitting the first two games, with Yang winning the third game on Thursday morning to clinch the first pro spot. Qi then took on Eric Yoder for the second pro slot, going 2-0.

American Go Association president Andy Okun congratulated all the players for their “extremely high level of play,” and said that it was a “special pleasure” to award Yang and Qi the 2022 NAGF professional certificates after their impressive performances this week. Okun thanked the NAGF for organizing the qualification tournament, I-Han Lui for directing, and the National Go Center for hosting. The qualification tournament was partly sponsored by the Iwamoto North American Foundation for Go (INAF).

Yang, who hails from California, started playing go when he was nine years old and in addition to his mother, who got him started, credits professional instruction for improving his game. His favorite part of the game, he told the EJ, “is probably the fighting in the middle game. It really gets your adrenaline flowing, you know?” His advice to amateurs who want to improve is “study life and death and don’t get too caught up in AI game analysis” because the AI moves are so high level they can be confusing “until you get up around 6-dan.”

Qi, who’s from New Jersey, started playing go when he was eight years old, learning from his father. He credits studying life and death with helping improve his game, along with reviewing pro games. Although he says he doesn’t have a lot of time for other hobbies, he does enjoy playing table tennis.

Special thanks to all the game recorders at the NGC this week, and to the amazing team at Baduk Club – led by Devin Fraze – who provided the online game commentary for the NAGF Pro Qualification tournament.
– report by Chris Garlock
NOTE: (7/6) Post updated to reflect INAF’s sponsorship.

Clockwise from top left: Postgame analysis of the final Qi-Yoder game; Rene Campagnie ponders Yoder’s broken ladder magic; postgame analysis of the final Yang-Qi game; Yang (standing in yellow) and Qi at the 2018 Cotsen Open; Yang-Qi final round game; AGA president Andy Okun, TD I-Han Lui, Yang and Qi with their pro certificates and winner’s checks. photos by Chris Garlock except the 2018 Yang-Qi photo by Robert Qi.
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Yang v. Qi in decisive Game 3 Thursday morning for next NAGF Pro

Wednesday June 29, 2022

Yang (left) and Qi; photo by I-Han Lui

The next NAGF professional will be decided at Thursday morning’s final between Kevin Yang and Alex Qi, who split games on Wednesday. Yang — the top player in Group A — prevailed in their head-to-head match Wednesday morning, but Qi — the top player in Group B — bounced back to take Game Two on Wednesday afternoon, setting up the exciting finale on Thursday.

Eric Yoder and Remi Campagnie, who had both placed second in their groups and lost their semifinal placement games, mirrored the top-board battle, with Yoder taking the Wednesday morning game and Campagnie returning the favor that afternoon. The winner of their next match on Thursday morning will play the loser in Group A, and the winner of that final best of three showdown will become the second North American professional.

Campagnie (left) vs Yoder; photo by I-Han Lui

Complete standings here, and follow the NAGF Pro Qualifier’s live streaming coverage at 9:30am ET and 2:30pm ET, click here for live pairings and game files. Click here for photos, follow on Twitter, tournament details and player profiles here.

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Kevin Yang & Alexander Qi lead in NAGF Pro Qualifier

Tuesday June 28, 2022

With a 4-0 record, Kevin Yang leads Group A in the NAGF Pro Qualifier taking place at the National Go Center in Washington, DC, while Alexander Qi is 3-0 in Group B. Complete standings here, and follow the NAGF Pro Qualifier’s live streaming coverage daily at 9:30am ET and 2:30pm ET, click here for live pairings and game files. Click here for photos, follow on Twitter, tournament details and player profiles here.

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NAGF pro qualies kick off in NGC; early round results

Monday June 27, 2022

The 2022 North American Go Federation pro qualifiers kicked off today. Players are split into two groups, and from each group two will make it to a playoff round. Eleven players are competing, after one late withdrawal. After two preliminary rounds, Kevin Yang and Eric Lee are 2-0 in Group A, while Edward Zhang, Remi Coulon and Alexander Qi are 1-0 in Group B.
Click here for informal standings (stay tuned for a formal version with SGF links) and here for photos. Tournament details and player profiles here.

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NAGF Pro Qualification Tournament: Player Profiles

Thursday June 23, 2022

The 2022 Pro Qualification Tournament, organized by the North American Go Federation (NAGF) will be held next week, from June 26 to July 1 at the National Go Center in Washington, DC (read more here).
Here are profiles of some of the players.

photos: top row (l-r): Alexander Qi, Qiyou Wu, Kevin Yang; bottom row: Eric Yoder, Edward Zhang, Yuan Zhou.

Alexander Qi
Alex is 14 years old and lives in New Jersey.  He started playing go six years ago.  His teachers include Feng Yun, Zhongfan Jian, and Ryan Li.  Some of his recent accomplishments include first place in the 2022 Stone Brook Sakura Matsuri Go Tournament, and second place in the 2021 Canadian Open in 2021. Representing the US he took second place in the 2021 CCTV World Youth Amateur Online Go Tournament (13 and under group). He also represented the US in the 36th World Youth Goe Championship Junior Division in 2019.

Qiyou Wu

I first started playing go at the age of 7 back in China, achieving the rank of 5D at the age of 10, when I came to Canada. I took a detour into chess before realizing that go is my true passion. The evolution of AI in the game was fascinating, as I now find joy in watching Ai games and studying with it. The thing I love the most about go is the endless possibilities for remarkable moves. I hope to play some good games this tournament and learn from the best amateurs in North America.

Kevin Yang
I was born in Rhode Island in the United States and now live in Los Angeles, California. I am 15 years old. I began to learn Go at the age of 9 and developed a strong interest in it. I have studied with Yilun Yang 7P and Han Han 5P. I like playing basketball and piano. I have two younger brothers and one sister. They all like to play go.

Eric Yoder

I learned about go from a friend in 2009, and played a few games online before giving up.  Then, in 2011 I read the manga Hikaru no Go, and this time something clicked, as I climbed up the ranks.  With not many people nearby who played go, I learned and played almost entirely online, before going to my first tournament in 2016, the Go Congress that year. I’ve gone to congress most years since, and enjoyed making new friends and getting better and better at go over the years.

Edward Zhang

Edward Zhang learned go in 1986. Major past titles include the US Pair Go Championship, NOVA Cherry Blossom, Virginia State Champion, Minnesota Open, Carolina Spring Tournament and the Maryland Open. Edward has served the AGA as tournament director, National Tournament Coordinator, Volunteer Coordinator and Board Director. He lives in Fairfax Virginia and is the father of two children. He was educated at Peking University, University of Minnesota. Recent records: 2021 Canadian Open: 4W-2L; 2022 Midwest Open: 3-1; 2022 Pandanet-AGA City League: 7-0. Instructors include Yoonyoung Kim 8P (金仑映),Niu Yutian 7P(牛雨田) and Cao Hengting 5P (曹恒珽).

Yuan Zhou

Yuan Zhou (AGA 7 dan) joined AGA in 1989.  Zhou was the president of the University of Maryland Go club, winning 34 go tournaments in the US.  Zhou was also elected to the AGA board of directors in 2005.  He’s represented the US in international tournaments many times (WAGC, Korea Prime Minister Cup, World Pair Go Championship, etc).  In addition to his competitive successes, Zhou is a popular go teacher and lecturer, frequently giving lectures and teaching lessons at various Go clubs in the US. He has also published many books and lives in Maryland.

Other players: Rémi Campagnie; Eric Lee; Val Lewis; Nate Morse; Tyler Oyakawa.

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2022 NAGF Pro Qualification Tournament set for June 26-July 1 in DC

Monday April 4, 2022

The North American Go Federation (NAGF) will hold the 2022 Pro Qualification Tournament at the National Go Center in Washington, D.C. from June 26 to July 1, 2022.

Because last year’s tournament was canceled due to covid, the NAGF will certify the top two players from this tournament as new professional players. For more information on the tournament, including eligibility requirements, please click here. The details of the competition rules and the selected contestants will be announced in May.

Any player who is eligible and interested in participating in the tournament must submit the application form by the end of April 24 to be considered for entrance.

For questions regarding this tournament, please contact the NAGF at contact@nagofed.org

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NAGF Pro Qualification Tournament postponed

Tuesday August 17, 2021

Due to growing concerns about the COVID outbreak across North America, the NAGF has postponed the Pro Qualification Tournament scheduled for this week. 

Ryan Hunter and Justin Teng putting up the banner at the National Go Center in preparation for the now-postponed NAGF Pro Qualification Tournament

Organizers carefully considered the rapid increase in the rate of new cases particularly in Washington DC, where the tournament was to be held. The tournament would have taken place indoors at the National Go Center over many hours — which is a serious concern for viral spreading — and the Delta variant is known to make even some fully vaccinated people sick.

“I recognize this is a bitter disappointment, most especially for the players,” said AGA president/NAGF chair Andy Okun. “But the safety of the players and their families back home, as well as the tournament staff, had to our highest priority.”

The new dates of the tournament are yet to be announced.

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2021 NAGF Pro Qualification Tournament finalized

Thursday August 5, 2021

The North American Go Federation (NAGF) has finalized the format of the 2021 NAGF Pro Qualification Tournament, which will take place in person at the National Go Center in Washington DC over six days – from August 16 to 21. A total of 10 players will play a preliminary round in two round-robin groups, followed by a best-of-three semi-final round and a concluding best-of-three final. The winner of the tournament will receive the title of NAGF Professional 1 Dan, plus a $2,000 USD prize. The runner-up will receive a $1,000 USD prize.

All players will have 75 minutes main time with 60 seconds/5 times byo-yomi for each game. All games will be broadcast live on KGS by the AGA broadcast team. There will be a live Twitch streaming event on August 21, starting at 10 AM US Eastern Time, details TBA. All players and staff who are eligible and able to receive COVID vaccines are asked to come to the competition fully vaccinated, and everyone will be asked to wear a mask inside the venue. “It’s been a difficult journey preparing for this tournament during the pandemic, but we are thrilled to be certifying a new professional player in this competition,” says NAGF Executive Director Hajin Lee. “For the players who couldn’t attend this year due to various circumstances, we’d like to note that we will continue to organize annual Pro Qualification Tournaments going forward.”

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Looking for a few good game recorders

Wednesday August 4, 2021

The EJ broadcast team – which will be bringing you the upcoming 2021 NAGF Pro Qualifier Tournament – still has a few game recorder slots available.

“This tournament will feature some of North America’s top players competing at an extremely high level,” says EJ Managing Editor Chris Garlock. “It’s a great opportunity to immerse yourself in top-level games and help bring them to a wider audience.”

Some experience game recording is preferred and recorders must have their own laptops. The tournament runs August 16-21 at the National Go Center in Washington, DC. The rounds are at 9:30 and 2:30 daily, so game recorders must be available during those times (be sure to specify which days/times you’re available).

Email journal@usgo.org if interested.

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2021 Pro Qualification Plans Announced

Friday March 5, 2021

The North American Go Federation (NAGF) has announced its intention to certify one new professional player through a Pro Qualification tournament this Summer at the National Go Center in Washington D.C.

Any player who is eligible and interested in participating in the tournament must submit this application form by April 1, 2021 to be considered for entrance. For more information on the tournament, including eligibility requirements, please click here. Final details of the competition, along with the selected contestants, will be announced in May.

-report by Hajin Lee

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