American Go E-Journal » Events/Tournaments

Garlock’s Go Congress quiz challenge

Friday June 21, 2019

by Chris Garlock, Managing Editor, The American Go E-Journal

It’s easy enough to find out that there are 389 people registered for this year’s U.S. Go Congress (just click here for the latest list), but how many different states are represented among the attendees? How many countries? How many kyu players and how many dan players? How many players named Chris? (ok, I just put that one in for fun) Send in your best guesses and you’ll be entered in a drawing for a prize TBD.

With just three weeks to go — the Congress runs July 13-20 in Madison, WI –, there’s still plenty of time to register for the biggest and best go event of the year; 8 days of non-stop go in gorgeous Madison, Wisconsin (go Badgers!). Also, for my fellow tennis-playing go players be sure to pack your racquets, as Director Dave Weimer has assured me that courts are available nearby so we’ll definitely be heading there for some off-board action! And as soon as I hear from soccer-meister Terry Benson, I’ll update you on those plans.

Also, we’re looking for a few good game recorders for join the EJ’s Congress team; if you’re interested, drop us a note at journal@usgo.org.

If anyone else has cool pre-Congress news to report, send it my way at the same email address; see you soon in Madison!

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China’s half-point victory clinches win in 2019 World Amateur Go Championships; U.S. places 4th, Canada 6th

Friday June 7, 2019

Wang Chen, China’s representative to the 2019 World Amateur Go Championship edged out his Korean rival Lee Jaesong in a tense half-point game to take top honors, while the US player, Albert Yen, and Canadian Wu Qi You scored outstanding results at 4th and 6th place respectively. Along with Hungarian Pal Balogh in 5th and Ukrainian Dmytro Bogatskyi in
7th, half of the top eight finishers were from outside Asia. Third place went to Chan Nai San of Hong Kong and 8th to Kawaguchi Tsubasa of Japan.

Full results are here. Wang went undefeated in the eight-round, four-day event in Matsue City, Shimane Prefecture, Japan, securing the win at the end of the day three when he beat Lee. It was Lee’s only defeat.

Both players started the game very steadily, taking few risks, and in fact there was very little fighting at any point in the game. When white played the shoulder hit of 60, black opted to link his stones on the upper side with 61, but then white’s capture of 62–68 gave white a locally favorable result. Following that, white kept the game in his grip, and even with the successful invasion of black 121, etc., white was favored for the win. The decisive fight broke out with black 145. White’s defense was solid and, up to 175, he still held the lead. However, white 180 let black complicate the situation, when a jump at around f10 would have been good enough. White 186 is probably the losing move: black 187 captured six stones in the center, and although white could then return to capture four black stones with 194, black had profited slightly from the whole exchange. The rest of the endgame was played precisely by both sides, and it does not look like there was a way for white to avoid a half-point loss.

Among the players who won six of their eight games, the Hong Kong player benefited from having played the top four starters and defeating two of them, while Albert Yen lost only to China and Korea.

The Asada Shizuo Fighting Spirit special prize, awarded to the player who best shows good manners and sportsmanlike conduct, was given to Singaporean Kwa Jie Hui, who placed ninth. While Kwa’s award may have been given for his generous response to a clock mishap in his game with Japan, discussion at the playing site also noted his patient demeanor in the face of fearsome pairings. Kwa played against all of the top six starters, China, Korea, Taiwan, Japan, a French 7-dan, and a German 6-dan, and still came in 5–3. He also represented Singapore in 2018 and played against China, Korea, Taiwan, and strong players from Russia,
Canada, and Finland, similarly scoring 5–3.
– reported by Andy Okun; commentary by Antti Törmänen

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2019 U.S. Go Congress re-cap

Wednesday May 29, 2019

The 35th annual U.S. Go Congress will be held July 13–20 in Madison, Wisconsin. The playing site, Memorial Union on the UW–2019.03.23 UW-Madison campus, is on the shore of Lake Mendota within walking distance of many restaurants and attractions. Click here for detailed information about the Congress.

Here’s a quick re-cap of our pre-Congress coverage so far:

Registration opens for 2019 U.S. Go Congress
Lake Mendota now ice free; time to register for U.S. Go Congress
Congress to host Teachers’ Workshop
2019 US Go Congress College Scholarship Application Now Open
Nick Sibicky named AGF Teacher of the Year
Professional slate for U.S. Go Congress shaping up


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UCLA Claims Second Collegiate Go League Championship

Wednesday May 29, 2019

UCLA’s CGL Team: Paul Chin (back left); Ying Ngai Yu 7d (front left); Xinyu Liu 7d (front right); Lionel Zhang 6d (back right)

UCLA continued to display the strength of its premier Go club with a triumphant 2-1 victory over University of Chicago in the 2019 Collegiate Go League Championship Finals. UCLA entered the league in 2014, and has made the finals every year except 2017. They won the title in 2016, but have been seeking the winning magic touch to clinch another title ever since.

For University of Chicago, this was its first Finals appearance after joining the CGL in 2016. Leveraging the strength of first board Zirui Song 1p, 2018 US Open Masters champion, University of Chicago managed to defeat UCLA’s first board, Ying Ngai Yu 7d. However, the depth of UCLA’s roster proved overwhelming with decisive victories by Xinyu Liu 7d and Lionel Zhang 6d over Cheuk To Tsui 4d and Henry Li 4d respectively.

Paul Chin, UCLA’s Team Captain and President of the UCLA Go Club expressed gratitude to the Korean Baduk Association and Ahn Dalhoon 9p in particular for visiting the club to play and teach the members. Paul added, “We welcome anyone in the area to come play with us on Friday nights at 6:30 pm in room 6201 of the Mathematical Sciences building while school is in session.”

Meanwhile, University of Maryland defeated Brigham Young University 2-1 in a series of extremely close games to claim the B League title. This is UMD’s first B League title after having won the A League championship in 2015.

The Collegiate Go League is an online league held on KGS for universities in North America. Matches are 3 against 3 and all undergraduate and graduate students of a university are eligible to participate on their respective school’s roster. Season 9 will start in October 2019 with 10 rounds roughly every two weeks (with a winter break in the middle) and will culminate with the championship playoffs in April 2020. There is both an A League for dan-level teams and a B League for kyu-level teams. Registration for Season 9 will close on September 25th. – Justin Teng, AGA Youth Coordinator

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Redmond Cup prelims down to the wire entering final round

Saturday May 25, 2019

The final round of the 26th Redmond Cup Preliminaries has just started, and the race for the finalist spots in both the Junior and Senior divisions are still up for grabs, with no guaranteed finalists yet. In the Senior division, 3rd Redmond Meijin Aaron Ye 7d remains undefeated at 5-0, but will have to overcome 2018 AGA Girls Cup runner-up Melissa Cao 3d (currently 4-1) to guarantee a spot in the finals. Cao has had a fantastic tournament so far, defeating 4-time Junior Redmond Cup Champion Ary Cheng 6d and 2018 US Open Champion Brandon Zhou 5d in the previous two rounds. 2018 Redmond Cup runner-up Jeremy Chiu 6d and Richie Lou 5d also have a 4-1 record as well, and will play each other to move into a likely finalist position.  A victory for Melissa Cao in this round would result in a 3-way tie for first place, so a playoff would determine the two finalists the week following the final round. For both Ye and Chiu, this is the last year that they are eligible to compete in the Redmond Cup as both will turn 18 in 2020. Both of them have participated in the Redmond Cup since 2011 and combined taken 9 of the 16 finalist spots over their 8 years of competing. Should they both qualify for the finals this year, it would be Chiu’s final chance to defeat Ye in this tournament, having lost the two previous encounters in 2014 and 2018. 

The Junior division preliminaries is about as exciting as it can get. After Ary Cheng 6d’s four-year reign over the tournament before graduating to the Senior division, the field has been left wide open for new blood to take the throne. After 5 rounds, no player is undefeated and there is potential for a 6-way tie at a 4-2 score. Currently, Kevin Huang 6d and Ben Gong 3d lead the pack at 4-1, but Yuxin Fu 5d, Frederick Bao 4d (2018 Junior Redmond Cup runner-up), Kosuke Sato 3d, Duc Minh Vo 2d, and Alex Qi 2d are all chasing them at 3-2 records. The final round will pit Huang against Fu and Gong against Bao, and it will be up to Fu and Bao to force a tiebreaker playoff with victories.

When the dust settles, four finalists will be invited to the 2019 US Go Congress in Madison, Wisconsin in July to compete in a best-of-3 Finals. Stay tuned for the exciting conclusion of this year’s preliminary tournament. – Justin Teng, AGA Youth Coordinator

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Nick Sibicky named AGF Teacher of the Year

Thursday May 23, 2019

Seattle go teacher Nick Sibicky has been selected as Teacher of the Year by the American Go Foundation (AGF).  The prize includes a free trip to the US Go Congress in Madison, WI, where Sibicky will be honored at the Awards Banquet.  Sibicky will present a special lesson for his fans at congress also, and it’s a great opportunity for online viewers to meet him in person. “I am most humbled by the AGF with this award,” Sibicky told the Journal. “My go class and YouTube channel feel dwarfed by and indebted to the countless clubs, school programs, and outreach events the AGF is responsible for.”  Sibicky launched his popular online lessons on YouTube seven years ago.  His first lecture featured a game review between two players who were 5 kyu and has been viewed over 140,000 times.  As his channel grew, more and more viewers discovered his lessons.  23,000 viewers now subscribe to his channel, and individual videos can reach up to 8,000 viewers each week.  Sibicky’s lessons are engaging, humorous, and educational. They feature topics like “My Robot Overlord” about AI go programs and “Andrew Jackson Sucks at Go” co-taught with fellow YouTuber Andrew Jackson.  The videos are all well produced with graphics and titles as well as audience participation.  There are 345 videos to choose from, with new ones coming out every week.  Check out Sibicky’s channel here. 

Sibicky shared how he began with the Journal:  “Since moving to Seattle in 2008, I have been an active member of the Seattle Go Center. They regularly had hosted go classes for a variety of skill levels, and around 2011-2012 were looking for new teachers. I volunteered to take the Monday night class while my friend Andrew Jackson picked up the Wednesday night class. At the same time, I had been enjoying Dwyrin’s (aka Bat’s Go Lectures) series on YouTube. His videos indirectly inspired me to bring a video camera to my class. Brian Allen, the Seattle Go Center manager at the time, was particularly supportive of the idea. From 2012, I started regularly posting video recordings of the classes online. 

“There have been two “secrets” responsible for the success behind my channel. The first of which is consistency. By always having a class of live students to prepare for, I have been forced to come up with new ideas, topics, and approaches to the lessons. Stagnation is not possible. Furthermore, I have since learned that the proprietary algorithms working behind the scenes on YouTube heavily promote continuously active channels. The consistency of my posts has taken advantage of that. The second secret is my students. Unlike most of the other go content available, my lessons show interactions with real, present go players. They ask the questions that the viewers at home also want to ask. They interact with the material in ways I didn’t anticipate as their instructor. They struggle. They laugh. They let the viewer know that they are part of a broader community, where we each are working to improve ourselves. And that is something rarer and rarer to find in this digital content era.

“Of course, the one thing fueling this whole endeavor is the joy I find in teaching. My day job is teaching music production and audio engineering at a local college. But teaching go has been even more rewarding. Not having to deal with administration, grading deadlines, nor faculty meetings is a dream environment. I can place all of my spirit into the lesson and the students. I love this game, and I love sharing this game with other people. I have been very fortunate to find an environment that fostered such a love. I hope that everyone has something they love to share with others because I know the joy one gets from doing so. There are dozens if not hundreds of formal and informal teachers in my life. The individual lessons they taught me often are forgotten, but their spirit is remembered. Collectively, they represent one of the most positive continuing forces in my life. I hope the students attending my class and the viewers watching my little internet videos feel their spirit through me.”– Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor.  Photos: Screen captures from Sibicky’s YouTube Channel.

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Pandanet AGA City League Round 7 – This Sunday!

Tuesday May 14, 2019

2017.10.03_PANDANETThe final regular round of the Pandanet AGA City League takes place this Sunday. Starting at 3PM most teams will be seeing who will be winning their leagues. Watch for the two teams in the A league vie for the championship at the US Go Congress in Madison, Wisconsin. Root for your local teams this weekend!

A League – B League – C League

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Professional slate for U.S. Go Congress shaping up

Thursday May 9, 2019

One of the main attractions of the annual U.S. Go Congress is expert coaching from professional players through game analyses,087 PStraus 2018 Yang analyzing copy lectures, simultaneous games, and informal interaction. As in past years, the Chinese, Japanese, and Korean professional associations are all sending representatives to this year’s Congress, set for July 13-20 in Madison, WI. The Chinese Weiqi Association will be sending Tianfeng Fang (8p), Heyang Zhou (9p), and Zhe Li (6p). The Kansai-kiin will be sending Ysuhiro Nakano (9p) “and we expect the Nihon-kiin to send two professionals to lead the Teachers’ Workshop,” says Congress Director Dave Weimer. The Korea Baduk Association is planning on sending two professionals as well.

The AGA expects a number of professional players based in North America to participate, as well. “Renowned teacher Yilun Yang (7p; photo) has already registered, along with our Yoonsung Kim (5p) and Cathy Li (1p) who will be joining us from Canada,” says Weimer.

In-seong Hwang (7d) will again do his four-lecture series. “We also note that the retired but ever popular Hajin Lee (4p) will be attending,” Weimer added.

photo: Yilun Yang at the 2018 US Go Congress; photo by Phil Straus

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Lake Mendota now ice free; time to register for U.S. Go Congress

Saturday May 4, 2019

Spring has arrived in Madison, Wisconsin, and thoughts turn to …go, reports 2019 U.S. Go Congress Director Dave Weimer. 2019.05.04 Madison-springtime“Chairs are out on the lake-side terrace next to the site of the 2019 U.S. Go Congress, ready for go players to relax after their games,” Weimer tells the EJ. “Be sure to register during May to pay the early registration fee and reserve a ticket for the break day excursion to see the Milwaukee Brewers.” Click here for details.

photo by Dave Weimer

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2019 US Go Congress College Scholarship Application Now Open

Friday April 19, 2019

57226489_1325562057596081_3899342546807029760_nUniversity students can apply for a $200 AGF scholarship to the 35th US Go Congress in Wisconsin, Madison held July 13-20. Applicants must be aged 26 or younger and actively enrolled in college (rising students starting in Fall 2019 and recent graduates in Spring 2019 are also eligible). Both undergraduate and graduate students may apply. After filling out the application, applicants should email proof of enrollment to youth@usgo.org and the application will be reviewed within three days. If approved, additional instructions will then be sent on claiming the scholarship. Interested applicants should not register for the US Go Congress until his or her application status has been received. There are a total of 25 scholarships available first-come first-serve with 20 allotted to US students and 5 for Canada/Mexico students, so apply soon to claim one! – Justin Teng, AGA Youth Coordinator.  Photo: University of Maryland Go Club by Jack de la Beaujardiere

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