American Go E-Journal » U.S. Go Congress

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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Registration open for 2020 U.S. Go Congress

Monday January 13, 2020

Registration is now open for the 36th annual U.S. Go Congress, which will be held August 1-9 at the YMCA camp near Estes Park, CO.  Click here for details on registering.

The main playing site is Assembly Hall in the center of camp, which is surrounded by many indoor and outdoor amenities, plus the natural beauty of the Rocky Mountains.  “It’s the perfect setting for both players and non-players alike, an ideal vacation destination for the whole family!” say Congress organizers.

The camp is just outside Estes Park, just under two hours from Denver International Airport (DIA).  You can sign up for the airport shuttle during registration, or rent a car at the airport.  The Congress has plenty of rooms reserved on-site, or you can choose from many off-site locations (but act soon as summer fills up quickly).  Click here for detailed information about the Congress.

The Start Here tab on the Congress website allows you to register and sign up for lodging and meal plans, the banquet, and the day-off activities. 

“There are official tours to please almost everyone, from open-air trollies servicing Rocky Mountain National Park, ghost tours at the historic Stanley Hotel, cable-car rides to the top of Prospect mountain, and horseback riding,” says Congress Co-Director Eric Wainwright. “If any of these don’t fit the bill, there’s an abundance of informal tours and other activities as well.”  Click here to see the full list.

“We hope to make this the best congress yet!”

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U.S. Go Congress Survey Closing Soon

Friday November 15, 2019

U.S. Go Congress organizers would love to thank everyone who has filled out the Congress Survey – nearly 200 responses already.  The feedback they’ve received has been extremely valuable, especially since over half of the responses came from people who couldn’t attend the 2019 Congress, and nearly a quarter of respondents have never been able to attend a Congress. 

Ryan Li 1p playing simul at the 2019 US Go Congress; photo by Chris Garlock

Among the responses so far were two from people who haven’t attended since the late 1990s, as well as four from people who have attended 26 or more Congresses. Over half of respondents rate playing in tournaments as their favorite thing about Congress, while 28% of attendees say their favorite part is learning from pros, and 27% say their favorite part is spending time with friends (people seem to have multiple favorites).

Interestingly, 36% of respondents would like to attend the European Go Congress and 34.5 say they’d maybe like to, but only 8.5% actually have attended.

Feedback from everyone – longtime attendees, new players, and everyone in between – will help the AGA make the next U.S. Go Congress in Estes Park (August 1-9, 2020) a better event for everyone!  Click here now to complete the survey if you haven’t already.

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Appreciation you can wear

Monday November 4, 2019

Towards the end of the 2019 US Go Congress, Greg Steltenpohl had the idea to ask volunteers, E-Journal staff, local club members, professionals, long-time attendees, and online go content creators to sign a t-shirt to give to 2019 Congress Director Dave Weimer, as a surprise at the closing ceremonies.  Since then, Greg tells the EJ, “I had the shirt professionally framed, and presented it to Dave at our local club meetup which is at the same location as the 2019 Congress. We did this in recognition of his long-standing support and service to the go community, and so that he could have a physical representation of our appreciation for all of his service.”

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2019 Congress broadcasts posted to AGA’s YouTube channel

Friday October 11, 2019

The broadcasts from the 2019 US Go Congress in Madison, WI have now been published on the Official AGA YouTube channel – check out the playlist to access pro commentaries on the Pandanet-AGA City League Finals and all seven rounds of the US Masters, featuring Yoonyoung Kim 8p, Yilun Yang 7p, Mingjiu Jiang 7p, Jennie Shen 2p, Ryan Li 1p and Stephanie Yin 1p, as well as various special interviews. If you want to jump to a particular segment, just head to the comments section and choose the corresponding timestamp. These videos were originally broadcast live on Twitch; if you want to support more future broadcasts, please subscribe and become an AGA member. Thanks again to the E-Journal’s 2019 broadcast team and special thanks to Stephen Hu for producing the videos for our YouTube channel.

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U.S. Go Congress survey

Wednesday October 9, 2019

The single biggest Go event in North America each year, the U.S. Go Congress draws hundreds of Go players from across the country for a week of events, and attracts thousands of viewers to broadcasts of the top boards. Whether you’ve ever attended a Congress or not, organizers would like your opinions on a few basic questions so that they can make next year’s Congress – set for August 1-9 in Estes Park, Colorado — an even better event. Click here now to complete the survey.

2019 U.S. Go Congress; photo by Chris Garlock
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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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Go Spotting: Chazen Museum of Art

Wednesday August 14, 2019

“During Go Congress, I visited the Chazen Museum of Art at UW and found this Japanese print,” writes Li Ping. “It is a Samurai standing on top of a Go set.”

The woodcut is by Katsukawa Shunshô, who was known for “his widely influential nise-e (“likeness painting”) or nigao (“likenesses”), which were stylized but otherwise accurate facial likenesses of actors. These introduced a greater measure of realism and individuation into ukiyo-e actor portraits.” (Source.)

The Actor Ichikawa Danjuro V as a Samurai in a Wrestling Arena
Katsukawa Shunsho (Japanese, 1726 – 1792) "The Actor Ichikawa Danjuro V as a Samurai in a Wrestling Arena" ca. 1780 Color woodcut Bequest of John H. Van Vleck
Katsukawa Shunsho (Japanese, 1726 – 1792) “The Actor Ichikawa Danjuro V as a Samurai in a Wrestling Arena” ca. 1780 Color woodcut Bequest of John H. Van Vleck

-edited by Nate Eagle

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Action Comedy Nerd Show at the 2019 US Go Congress

Tuesday August 6, 2019

Show co-host Dr. Jerry Jaffe 1d was so inspired by his short visit to the 2018 US Go Congress in Williamsburg that this year he registered as a player and participated in the entire week. An episode of his podcast also resulted, of course. During the week he interviewed Congress Director Dave Weimer on the Congress, Myungwan Kim 9P on his project teaching people with autism, and Ryan Li 1P on the New York Institute of GO.

Listen to the full podcast here (also available through iTunes and Stitcher) if you want to learn the answer to Dave Weimer’s favorite go joke: How many go players does it take to change a lightbulb?

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