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

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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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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Registration opens for 2019 U.S. Go Congress

Saturday March 23, 2019

The 35th annual U.S. Go Congress will be held July 1320 in Madison, Wisconsin. The playing site, Memorial Union on the UW–2019.03.23 UW MemorialUnionTerrMadison campus, is on the shore of Lake Mendota within walking distance of many restaurants and attractions. Click here for detailed information about the Congress.

2019.03.23 2019 Congress logoThe “Register Here” tab on the Congress website will enable you to register and sign up for lunch and dinner plans, the banquet, and the day-off activity. After registering, you will receive an e-mail with a receipt and a link to sign-up for University housing.

“One of the day-off activities will be an afternoon MLB game between the Milwaukee Brewers and the Atlanta Braves,” says Congress Director Dave Weimer. “Sign up by March 31 to guarantee a ticket!”

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US Go Congress updates: videos uploaded; comedy podcast visits; more Open games posted

Friday August 10, 2018

US Go Congress videos uploaded: All the 2018 U.S. Go Congress videos have now been edited and uploaded to the AGA’s 2018.08.10_congress-video-teamYouTube channel; click here to check them out. “All the intermissions/breaks are edited out so people won’t have to skip around,” says Stephen Hu, who directed this year’s video coverage. The 24 videos – watched live on Twitch by audiences of up to 12,000, include US Masters top board commentaries, the Pandanet-AGA City League and Pair Go finals, Redmond Cup finals, the Facebook ELF Open Go event, as well as an interviews with Chinese pro Ding Wei, 2018 Congress Co-Director Nate Eagle, 2019 Congress Director Dave Weimer, and a 2018 Congress re-cap with Hu and producer Chris Garlock. photo: EJ video team in action: (l-r): Joel Cahalan, guest 2018.08.10_comedy-podcastcommentator Eodeokdung (Leo) Lee 2P, Stephen Hu, Nathan Epstein; photo by Chris Garlock

Comedy podcast visits Go Congress: Action Comedy Nerd Show co-host Jerry Jaffe 1d (right) dropped by the 2018 US Go Congress and produced an episode of the podcast, with interviews with Andy Liu, Yuan Zhou, Nate Eagle, and Josh Lee.  Click here  to check out the podcast (also available through iTunes and Stitcher). In the episode, Jaffe also teaches podcast co-host Dan Brown about the game, “as well as schooling him on which movies Will Smith is or is not in.”

More Open games posted: US Open players continue to send us their 2018 sgf game files and it’s not too late to get your games preserved for posterity on the US Open crosstab; email them to us at journal@usgo.org (be sure to make sure all the player info, including result, is completed).

 

 

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Jump on in, the water’s fine: A first timer takes the Congress plunge       

Tuesday August 7, 2018

by Bethany Nyborg 18 kyu2018.08.06 Bedford Club story page1

I attended my first US Go Congress seven years after I first learned to play, and yet I could count on the fingers of one hand how many times I had played against someone who knew what they were doing. Go came to Bedford, Virginia seven years ago when my brother and I watched Hikaru No Go, joined the AGA, and started a go club at the Bedford Public Library, which garnered us some coverage in the local paper (right). We learned very quickly that no one knew about the game. Our only option was to teach as many people to play as we could. As teenagers, we had more success teaching children than adults. I knew I would not live in that area for long, so my goal was to create a pocket of people who had heard of go. When the next person passionate about go came along, I wanted them to find their work already begun.

Even though my dad’s new job was in Northern Virginia, I realized my obstacles had not decreased: I had just started going to college full time, and I didn’t have a driver’s license or a car. Go was put on the back burner for the next four years, but I always listed it in my top three favorite hobbies. Then I saw that the 2018 Go Congress would be at William and Mary College in nearby Williamsburg. With the support and blessing of my new husband (and a scholarship from the AGF), I decided to make this year’s US Go Congress my first AGA event.

On the way to the Congress my nerves tensed as I wondered what people would think of my inexperienced, self-taught go. I rarely played online because I was afraid p2018.08.06 Bethany Nyborgeople would think I was wasting their time by playing such bad moves. Still, I had positive experiences the three times I had been to an AGA go club, and I had high hopes for the Go Congress.

Starting at registration, I met people who were as excited about go as I am and by the end of the first evening’s 9×9 tournament my fears had evaporated. I found that years of studying go problems on my own had given me important skills, and through the tutelage of good players I was able to improve my game in the areas that had intimidated me before. It did not matter that my game was lopsided going in, I was there to learn and improve. Much to my surprise, I came away with two medals, winning the 9×9 kyu championship and coming in second in my division at the Women’s Tournament. Every day I reveled in being surrounded by people talking about go and playing morning, afternoon, and evening. I achieved all my goals, made new friends and, armed with my AGA teaching certificate, I look forward to jumping back into promoting go in my community and creating new spaces for people to play.

 

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2018 EJ Congress team credits

Wednesday August 1, 2018

Coverage of this year’s US Go Congress took a giant leap forward with two innovations. One was the social feed in the new Go2018.07.24 adult-youth-social Congress app, which enabled both Congress attendees and go fans worldwide to follow the action in Williamsburg; big thanks to Gurujeet Khalsa for making this happen and to everyone who posted, especially our two intrepid reporters, Julie and Matt Burrall, who seemed to be everywhere all the time with their updates on all things Congress.
The other was our Twitch broadcasts, which attracted audiences unthinkable just a few years ago, hitting over 12,000 at one point. Stephen Hu, Nathan Epstein, Joel Cahalan and Eli Ferster did amazing work, whether behind or in front of the cameras, supported by Andrew Jackson and Michael Wanek offsite. Big thanks to all of the c2018.07.24_FB_IMG_1532376461324asters who participated this year — Ding Wei 9p, Yilun Yang 7p, Mingjiu Jiang 7p, Ryo Maeda 6p, Yoonyoung Kim 4p, Eodeokdung Lee 2p, Stephanie Yin 1p, Ryan Li 1p, Eric Lui 1p, Andy Liu 1p, Qucheng Gong, Zhaonian Chen, Albert Yen, Stephen Hu, Justin Teng, Edward Zhang, James Pinkerton, Jonathan Hop, Keith Arnold, Chris Garlock, Julie Burrall, Samantha Fede, and Samantha Soo — sometimes recruited at the last moment but all enthusiastic in their support for this tremendous new way to bring go events to a worldwide gaming audience. Special thanks as always to I-han Lui for all his help coordinating the professionals, and to Daniel Chou for translation.
A very special shout-out to our game recorders, without whom these broadcasts couldn’t happen: Dennis Wheeler and Richard Dolen brought us the morning games, while Bart Jacob, David Weimer, Anthony Long, Russell Herman and Dale Blann provided evening coverage. Thanks too to our friends at KGS, led by Akane Negishi and her band of merry 2018.08.01_2018 EJ team 2018admins. This year’s tournament directors not only did their pairing jobs admirably, but got results to the EJ team promptly so that we could keep the crosstabs — US Open Masters and US Open — updated:  Joshua Lee, Justin Teng, Todd Heidenreich, Steve Colburn, Qucheng Gong and James Pinkerton.

Joining the Burralls on our crack EJ reporting team were Samantha Fede, Paul Barchilon, Justin Teng and photographer Phil Straus; check out their reporting here.
Last but never least, this year’s Congress Directors, Nate Eagle and Diego Pierrottet, not only put on a great Congress — with the help of a lot of friends — but they went out of their way to support the EJ team to ensure that both attendees and those who could not be there were able to follow all the action at this major annual American go event. We owe them both official EJ team caps!
Go is a great game, but it’s the amazing people who play it that bring us together year after year. For me, that’s especially true of this phenomenal group of people who assemble each year, taking precious time from family and work obligations — and sacrificing time on the board we all love — to bring go to our community and to the world. For that I thank you all from the bottom of my heart. See you next year in Madison!
– Chris Garlock, Managing Editor/Producer
Team photo by Phil Straus
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2018 U.S. Go Congress volunteer acknowledgements

Tuesday July 31, 2018

By Nate Eagle and Diego Pierrottet2018.07.31-eagle=khalsa-okun-diego

Being co-directors of the 34th annual U.S. Go Congress is the biggest, hardest thing we’ve ever done, and the generosity of attendees in encouraging us has been tremendously meaningful. But the thing we feel, more than anything, is immense gratitude toward the huge team of volunteers, from our core team to all the people who showed up out of nowhere, ready to work, who made the event possible.

Anchoring our core team were Gary Smith, the registrar who made it all possible, Gurujeet Khalsa, whose creation of the first-ever official Go Congress app was such a huge success, Todd Heidenreich, the treasurer who also served as a font of institutional knowledge throughout the week, and I-Han Lui, who managed the pro schedule and was vital with many details of Congress operations.

We are also particularly proud of the National Go Center regulars who played big roles this year: Nathan Epstein, who, working with Xiaocheng (Stephen) Hu on broadcast, took the tech operations of the Congress and the E-Journal team (managed as usual by Chris Garlock; look for his Congress EJ team acknowledgements tomorrow) to new heights, Joel Cahalan, who provided vital Ruby on Rails experience to craft the first-ever SMS pairing notification system, which will now be passed to future Congresses, and Eli Ferster, the assistant registrar who could handle anything.

Daniel Zhao helped in dozens of vital ways throughout the week. Doug Wilkinson (left) poured sweat and, on at least one occasion, blood into the incredibly difficult task of managing the Congress’s substantial equipment needs. It was also Daniel and Doug’s first Congress!

2018.07.31 WilkinsonAndrew Hall performed amazingly in his first year directing the U.S. Open, and his assistant TD, Dan Ritter, was up early every single morning or the last to leave at nights, making sure that players had ready clocks and orderly tables to waiting for them. Josh Lee directed a tremendously exciting U.S. Masters tournament in his first outing. Big thanks to tournament directors Steve Colburn, Keith Arnold, Peter Schumer, Andy Olsen, Lisa Scott, Jim Hlavka, Neil Ritter, Justin Teng, Terry Benson and Todd Heidenreich. And a particular thanks to Greg Kulevich, director of the Seniors Tournament, who worked hard this week, giving up most of his own Congress experience to make one of the biggest tournaments of the Congress a success. Thanks to our excellent translators, Jonathan Hop and Satoru Inoue. Huge thanks to Devin Fraze, who ran the wonderful youth room, and Paul Barchilon, to whom Devin passed the baton at the end.

Thanks to James Pinkerton, Qucheng Gong, and to Facebook, for bringing OpenGo to the American Go community this year: over 66 players got the chance to personally play and learn from the strongest open-source Go AI in the world, and over 10,000 people got to tune in and watch Andy Liu and Ryan Li play Pair Go with OpenGo as a teammate. (It was a particular honor for Nate to get to be one of the hands of OpenGo as Andy’s partner.) And thanks to the volunteers who made the simuls possible by serving as the eyes and hands of OpenGo, which was not an easy job: it required multiple hours of back-straining, brain-draining effort. You did great.

Thanks to the people who showed up early on Friday to help us get everything set up and to help on registration morning, 2018.07.31_josh-lee teachesamong them Chris Kirschner, Marianne Palhamous, Lee Schumacher, John Grenier, Ted Terpstra, Mark Nahabedian, Wayne Nelson, Keith Arnold, Patrick Bannister, Kristal Soo, and so many more. Particular thanks to Neil and Dan Ritter, who assembled the two giant monitors that became the center of the Congress experience, and then disassembled them again so they can travel to next year’s Congress in Madison.

Thanks to Lisa Scott for managing the AGA meetings and for working to bring us the first year with an official Code of Conduct, a hugely valuable tool for making the Congress a welcoming place for everyone.

Thanks to the front-desk staff at William and Mary—all students—who handled the largest group they’d ever had come through with kindness, patience, and helpfulness.

We will have inevitably missed people—please know that no matter what it was, your contribution toward making Congress happen was essential and appreciated. Thank you, and we hope to see everyone next year in Madison!

photos: top right: Nate Eagle (left) and Diego Pierrottet (right) with the National Go Center’s Gurujeet Khalsa (second from left) and AGA president Andy Okun (second from right), photo by Phil Straus; bottom left: Doug Wilkinson, Equipment Manager and first-time Congress attendee, photo by Nate Eagle; bottom right: Masters TD Josh Lee teaching go.

 

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