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

Behind the Scenes at the US Go Congress: An Army of Volunteers

Wednesday August 3, 2016

While the two dozen professional players and the many tournaments, lectures and simuls at the US Go Congress rightfully
2016.08.02_volunteer-IMG_0547claim most of the attention at this popular event, none of it would be possible without the small army of volunteers that keep everything going and on schedule. More than forty volunteers — ubiquitous in their bright orange Congress shirts — are helping out, according to Congress Director Walther Chen. “They’ve put in so many hours,” he says, “and I know they put in even more hours than I know about, so it’s amazing how much work goes into Congress.” In addition to all the pre-Congress work, registering, housing and feeding hundreds of go players, volunteers also re-set the huge main playing area and Strong Players Room each night, so that attendees see a neatly-organized playing area each morning. Chen says he was able to take on directing the Congress thanks to a community of active go players organizing tournaments and club meetings in the Boston area. Andrew Hall, Event Coordinator and Director of the Evening Tournament, helps organize local go club meetings on Thursdays. “One day I heard Andy Okun was getting dinner with Walther Chen to discuss possibly running Congress in Boston,” Hall said. While we’re talking, an attendee comes by to ask about accessing the wifi and Hall answers before continuing his story. “They went to dinner, and I got an email saying I was running the Congress with them.” Youth Director Devin Fraze, a math teacher from Ohio, explains that “when Fritz Balwite and Paul Barchilon were transitioning out of running the Congress Youth events, they asked me if I’d do it, so I stepped up. I love to see some new energy come to the organizing side of Congress and just to (be able to) give back to this wonderful event.”
- report by Samantha Fede, E-Journal special correspondent, reporting from the 2016 U.S. Go Congress; photo by Chris Garlock 


US Go Congress Updates: Ito & Bao Headed for Showdown in US Open Masters Thursday; Pro Game Commentaries; Schedule & Tourney Updates

Tuesday August 2, 2016

Ito & Bao Headed for Showdown in US Open Masters Thursday2016.08.03_bao-kenryo
And then there were two. Kenryo Ito 1P and Yun Bao 7D are the only undefeated players after five rounds in the US Open Masters. Bao (left) defeated Andy Liu by 2.5 points in a hard-fought Round 5 game Tuesday morning in which Liu had an early advantage but lost it when he mistakenly thought a move was sente. Ito beat Zheng Xiangnan in a Round 5 game that was just 114 moves but ran well into the lunch hour. Ito (right) and Bao will go head to head in Round 6 on Thursday. Complete US Open Masters results and top-board game records here. And click here for the US Open crosstab.

US Open Broadcast Schedule: Wednesday is the traditional Day Off, so there will be no live broadcasts. The broadcasts will resume Thursday morning.

2016.08.03_girls-Jessica Wu and Taylor ShuPro Game Commentaries
US Open Round 4 Board 1 Pro Commentary on KGS by Yilun Yang 7p (sgf)
US Open Round 2 Board 3 Pro Commentary on KGS by Feng Yun 9p (sgf)
2016 US Open Masters Round 3 Board 1 Cathy Li and Justin Teng KGS Commentary (sgf)
2016 US Open Masters Round 3 Board 4 Cathy Li and Justin Teng KGS Commentary (sgf)
2016 US Open Masters Round 5, Xiangnan Zheng 7d (W) vs Kenryo Ito 1p (B), w/Stephanie Yin 1p on KGS (YouTube)
2016 US Open Masters Round 5, Tony Tang 7d (W) vs Zirui Song 1p (B), w/Stephanie Yin 1p on KGS (YouTube)
2016 US Open Masters Round 5, Danny Ko 7d (W) vs Ryan Li 1p (B), w/Stephanie Yin 1p on KGS (YouTube)

2016.08.03_girls-Jessica Wu and Taylor ShuUS Go Congress Tournament Schedule: Wednesday 8/3
9:00a: Diehard
7:00p: Evening League, night 4

Senior Cup
Click here for the latest crosstabs from the Senior Cup.

Women’s Tournament
Click here for the latest crosstabs from the Women’s Tournament.

Under 16 Girls Championship
Taylor Shu 6d and Gabriella Su 6d will face off on Thursday 8/4 to decide the Under 16 Girls Champion. Taylor defeated Jessica Wu 2d and Gabriella defeated Melissa Cao 4d on Tuesday afternoon in the semi-final. photo: Jessica Wu and Taylor Shu in the first round Monday

Evening League
In night two on Monday, 66 players showed up to play a total of 60 games between 7pm and midnight. Vo Nhat Minh 2d is the current defending champion at the top of the ladder.

report by Karoline Li, Congress Tournament Liaison; photos by Chris Garlock except for Under 16 Girls Tournament (bottom right) by photo by Ted Terpstra. 


Why We Play: Nqua Xiong 1k, Alister Hake 12k

Tuesday August 2, 2016

Nqua XiongNqua Xiong 1k
Age: 28
Lives in: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Home Club: Twin Cities Go Club
Years playing go: 9
Favorite thing about go: “The adrenaline rush. It’s the whole game… being able to see all the different fighting variations that come out from different people.”

IMG_7754Alister Hake 12k
Age: 29
Lives in: Sedona, AZ, originally from Liverpool, England
Home Club: Started a local one with friends, and the ASU Go Club
Years playing go: 3
Favorite thing about go: “The subtlety to the way it moves.. it’s an amorphous game. It’s just the way it shifts. Things that are all dead come back to life, things that were alive die. That interchange, the way it just spins with the moves. It’s mind-boggling and at the same time enigmatic and intriguing and that’s the best bit about it. Especially when you watch pro games, like Andy [Liu 1P] and Myungwan [Kim 9P], you see the depth of thought and visual imagination and how powerful that is. That level of skill is just mind blowing.” It’s not just about the game for Alister. “It’s really friendly, everyone’s welcome. Everyone can just play and have a good time. It’s an overwhelming characteristic of the US Go Congress.”

- report/photos by Samantha Fede, E-Journal special correspondent, reporting from the 2016 U.S. Go Congress  



Behind the Scenes at the US Go Congress: Andrew Hall

Tuesday August 2, 2016

Andrew Hall doesn’t wear hats, but if he did, he’d be wearing several at this year’s Go Congress. Players may know him best2016.08.02_andrew.hall-clocks as the founder and Tournament Director of the new Evening League, but he is also the Event Coordinator for the Congress, which means he plays backup for just about everyone else on the Congress team. You might spot Hall at the Congress Help Desk one minute, or fixing clocks (right) the next, and then he’s off and running about the playing rooms in his distinctive Congress staff shirt, the only one with the sleeves cut off to show off both arms covered in go-themed tattoos. Hall learned go from his grandfather, and both his father and his uncle — a 1k in Glasgow — also play. In ninth grade he discovered Hikaru No Go and started spending evenings playing go in Davis Square. After college, he got involved in the local go community who met regularly for club play and tournaments. “We ran local tournaments, including ladder tournaments like the Evening League, and then someone let us run a Congress!” Hall laughs. He’s also worked hard on developing the Open Team Relay tournament, another tournament that — like the Evening League — emphasizes making go fun and fostering a sense of community and competitive spirit, Hall’s favorite things about the game.
report by Karoline Li, Congress Tournament Liaison; photo by Chris Garlock


U.S. Go Congress Updates: US Open Masters Round 4 Report (Crosstabs Posted!); Broadcast Schedule; Lightning & 9×9

Monday August 1, 2016

US Open Masters Round 4 Report (Crosstabs Posted!): After four rounds, just three players are 2016.08.02_masters-round1-board1undefeated: Kenryo Ito 1P, Andy Liu 1P and Yun Bao 7D. Bill Lin, Zhaonian Chen, Ryan Li, Xiangnan Zheng and Zirui Song are all 3-1. Crosstabs of results for both the US Open Masters and US Open have now been posted.  Again this year we’re including game records; to include your game record, please email your sgf file to Be sure all game info, including the result, is complete. Watch our websiteFacebook and Twitter feed for updates throughout each day; top-board broadcasts with professional commentary can be found on our YouTube channelTwitch and KGS.

US Go Congress Broadcast Schedule: Tuesday, 8/2: US Open Masters Game 5
9:30a EST: YouTube/Twitch: Hajin Lee 3P, with Stephen Hu 6d
10:30a: KGS: Stephanie Yin 1P, with Daniel Chou 6d2016.08.02_cathy-li-commentary

US Go Congress Tournament Schedule: Tuesday, 8/2
9:00a: US Open, round 3; and US Open Masters, round 5
1:00p: Senior Cup, round 2; and Youth/Adult Pair Go
3:00p: Redmond Cup
7:00p: Evening League, night 3; Crazy Go; and Open Team Relay Go

Lightning Tournament2016.08.02_lightningGo
“This was the year of the undefeated,” said TD Keith Arnold (at right, pointing). “Special thanks to Ryo Maeda 6P for filling out the bottom table to make an even number.”
16 tables, 94 players. Table Winners: Tai yuan Zhang 7 dan (5-0); Changha Kim 6 dan (5-0); Forest Song 5 dan (5-0); Young He 4 dan (5-0); Soren Jaffe 3 dan (5-0); Gilbert Feng 3 dan (5-0); Daniel Puzan 2 dan (5-0); Isaac Wu 1 dan; Cam Wagner 1 dan (5-0); William Gundberg 2 kyu; Jim Fienup 3 kyu; Musa Al-Hassy 5 kyu; Tevis Tsai 7 kyu; Katie Oh 10 kyu; Alice Sedgwick 13 kyu (5-0); Lawrence Pierce 24 kyu.

9×9 Tournament: Dan champion: David Glekel, 3d; Kyu chamion: Eric Hookway, 10k. Click here for our full report.

report by Karoline Li, Congress Tournament Liaison; photos by Chris Garlock except for Lightning Tournament (bottom right) by Karoline Li. 


Longtime Go Congress Attendees Meet Again in Senior Cup

Monday August 1, 2016

“We have tournaments for women and for juniors, why not one for seniors!” exclaimed Bart Jacob after his first Senior Cup 2016.08.02_Mark Rubenstein and friendgame Monday afternoon. The idea for a Senior Cup came from 2016.08.02_Senior Cup2longtime player Wanda Metcalf 5k. With well-established events like the Youth and Women’s tournaments, as well  and now a Girls Championship already at the Go Congress, the Senior Cup fills a noticeable gap for a community of longtime go players, some of whom gather weekly at their local clubs, while others see each other once a year at the annual Go Congress. The Senior Cup is four rounds, and all players must be at least 55 years old. TD James Peters says he’s honored to be running a tournament that involves so many long-time Go Congress attendees. “It’s a natural extension of the sorts of tournaments we already run.”
report/photos by Karoline Li, Congress Tournament Liaison


David Glekel 3d & Eric Hookway 10k Top Restructured 9×9 Tournament

Monday August 1, 2016

David Glekel 3d and Eric Hookway 10k came out on top Sunday night as the dan and kyu champions of the 9×9 tournament 2016.08.02_9x9-glekel-IMG_5971directed by Audrey Wang. As the tournament began, she reviewed the new double elimination structure, faster time settings (5 minutes basic time and 1 period of 10 seconds sudden death byo yomi), and adjusted komi structure. The completely new format — which was designed to complete the tournament in one evening rather than several sessions over the week of the Congress as in past years — caused some confusion for longtime players used to simply being lined up and split into tables, and “could improve in terms of overall efficiency,” said assistant TD Si Chen. “If we do double elimination again, there are definitely some things we could improve on.”  Overall, “it was a really good tournament,” said Dan Champion David Glekel, and players had a good time. The new time settings and komi structure were received well, and the champions were chosen without further playoff games needed during the week.
- report/photo by Karoline Li, Congress Tournament Liaison


Why We Play: Bill Phillips 1k, Jasper Emerton 7k

Monday August 1, 2016

Bill Phillips 1kBill Phillips
Age: 59
Lives in: Ann Arbor, Michigan
Years playing go: 42
Favorite thing about go: Bill learned to play go in 1974, the same year he learned to play Ultimate Frisbee- although he’s a lot more serious about go than Ultimate. That being said, he likes them for the same reasons. “Both are incredibly competitive,” he says, “But there’s also an element of compatibility and cooperation that’s required in both of them. In go, you start with an empty board and you build it up to a point where one person has a little bit more than half and one has a little bit less than half. And you want to be that one with a little bit more than half. It’s intensely competitive but it also requires this [cooperation] and respect of your opponent.” The relationships he’s built in the go community are a large part of his IMG_7704long-term go playing. “I’m also here at the Go Congress because of the people. The other thing I really love about go is that every stone is the same, it’s just the relationship with the other stones that are different. And so, the number of relationships far exceeds the number of stones. So the relationships between stones exceed the number of stones, and the relationships at the go tournaments far exceed the number of games I play.”

Jasper Emerton 7k
Age: 17
Lives in: Nashville, Tennessee
Years playing go: 1
Favorite thing about go: “When you’re playing, there’s trick moves that you can play such as snapbacks. Seeing that move before your opponent does and being able to trick them into it is my favorite thing… being able to see something that my opponent doesn’t see and taking advantage of their lack of reading.”

- report/photos by Samantha Fede, E-Journal special correspondent, reporting from the 2016 U.S. Go Congress  



U.S. Go Congress Updates: US Open/US Masters Highlights; Broadcast/Tournament Schedule

Sunday July 31, 2016

US Open/US Masters Highlights: Tournaments at this year’s Go Congress kicked off with round one of the U.S. 2016.07.31_masters-rd1-bd2-IMG_0360Open and U.S. Open Masters Sunday morning at 9a, pairings posted promptly at 8:45p. In first-round top-board action at the 2016 U.S. Open Masters, Zirui (Tim) Song 1P edged out Man Bowen 7d by 2.5 points in a 4-hour marathon on Board 1; Andy Liu 1P (left) defeated Matthew Burrall 6d (right) on Board 2, Zhaonian (Michael) Chen 7d beat Jeremy Chiu 7d on Board 3, Ryan Li 1P defeated Hugh Zhang 7d on Board 4 and on Board 5 Kenryu Ito 1P beat Lionel Zhang 7d.

In Round 2 of the Masters on Sunday night, Andy Liu 1p defeated Cheng Zhang 7d, Hanchen Zhang 1P defeated Tim Song 1P, Michael Chen 7d defeated Mengxue Luan 7d, Ryan Li 1P defeated Zhongfan Jian 7d, Tony Tang 7d defeated Danny Ko 7d and Xiannan Zheng 7d defeated Calvin Sun 1P. The E-Journal team broadcast five boards live on KGS in Round 1 (Jennie Shen 2P commented on KGS with Andrew Jackson) and six boards in Round 2 (Feng Yun 9P commented on KGS with Solomon Smilack), and Board 1 was streamed on the AGA’s YouTube channel and Twitch in the morning (commentary by Mingjiu Jiang 9P with Stephen Hu) and Board 2 in the evening (commentary by Jennie Shen 2P with Andrew Jackson).

A crosstab of results for the entire field of 346 players will be posted soon; meanwhile click here for results from US Open Round 1 and US Masters Round 1. Again this year we’ll be including game records in the crosstab; to include your game record, please email your sgf file to Be sure all game info, including the result, is complete. Watch our websiteFacebook and Twitter feed for updates throughout each day; top-board broadcasts with professional commentary can be found on our YouTube channelTwitch and KGS.

US Go Congress Broadcast Schedule: Monday, 8/1: US Open Masters Game 32016.07.31_youtube
9:30a EST: YouTube/Twitch: Hajin Lee 3P, with Stephen Hu 6d
10:30a: KGS: Cathy Li 1P, with Justin Teng 6d

US Go Congress Tournament Schedule: Monday, 8/1
9:00a: US Open, round 2; and US Open Masters, round 3
1:00p: Under 16 Girls Championship, round 1; and Senior Cup, round 1
3:00p: Women’s Tournament, round 2; and Youth 9×9 / 13×13
7:00p: US Open Masters, round 4; and Evening League, night 2
7:30p: Lightning Tournament

Here’s a short rundown of the rest of the tournaments on the roster this week:

2016.07.31_Women's tournament game IMG_5920Women’s Tournament: Ladies compete in this four-round annual tournament; begins Sunday 7/31 at 3pm. TD: Lisa Scott2016.07.31_Evening league IMG_5958 (1)

Evening League: Evening League is a week-long ladder tournament in which players face off in serious games, competing for glory at the top of a standings page updated in real time. Players may play at any time during the week, but every night there will be a dedicated area where the standings will be projected and people can find opponents. Evening League is an evolution of the Self Paired Tournament, which it will be replacing; begins Sunday evening 7/31 at 7pm and continues every night of the week. The first night of play drew over 50 players! TD: Andrew Hall

2016.07.31_Dan division, 9x9 tournament IMG_59689×9: The battle of the tiny boards commences! This year’s 9×9 tournament is a paired four round double elimination tournament; Sunday 7/31 at 7:30pm. TD: Audrey Wang

Girl’s Tournament: The four highest rated girls under 16 years of age will face off in a two round no-handicap tournament to find first, second, third, and fourth place; begins Monday 8/1 at 1pm. TD: Gurujeet Khalsa

Senior Cup: A four-round rated tournament for players 55 and older; begins Monday 8/1 at 1pm. TD: James Peters

Lightning: A playing time of 10 minutes sudden death will test participants on their instincts and performance under pressure! Players will split into 6-person tables to play a round robin tournament for table prices. Table winners will play elimination games throughout the week to find the ultimate champion; begins Monday 8/1 at 7:30pm. TD: Keith Arnold

Crazy Go: Play Go on crazy boards, with crazy rules, against crazy people! Games include Blind Go, 3D Go, Four-Color Go, and more; begins Tuesday 8/2 at 7pm.

Amateur Team Relay Go: Players of all strengths can queue up to join one of two teams who will rotate pairs of players against each other in an ultimate pair go game! While waiting to take the place of the pair currently playing for their team, the next pair will be coached on strategy and board position by professional coaches.

Die Hard: Annual four-round tournament for those players who don’t need a Wednesday day off from Go! Wednesday 8/3 at 9am. TD: James Peters

North American Pair Go Championship: Teams of one male and one female will compete against three other teams of similar combined strength in a two-round tournament to determine table winners. At the top table, pairs will compete to win and represent the US at the International Pair Go tournament in Tokyo in the fall! Don’t afraid to get dressy folks, formal or semi-formal dress is encouraged. Thursday 8/4 at 7pm. TD: Todd Heidenreich

Karoline Li, Congress Tournament Liaison, with additional reporting by Chris Garlock; photos by Karoline Li except for top right, by Chris Garlock


Congress Pair Go Sign-Up Opens

Sunday July 31, 2016

Among the most popular events at the US Go Congress now underway in Boston is the annual Pair Go tournament, featuringOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA male and female pairs of players attired in their best outfits. The tournament winners go on to compete in the International Amateur Pair Go Championship in Japan over the first weekend in December. Table winners receive prizes, and there are some souvenirs provided by the Japan Pair Go Association. The tournament is unrated. Sign-up sheets are now available just outside the main playing area at the Congress (16 pairs have already signed up as of presstime). The tournament is Thursday night and TD Todd Heidenreich reminds strong player teams wishing to play for the chance to represent the United States at the tournament in Japan that there will be a play-in round for the top 8 eligible pairs in the Strong Players Room on Wednesday evening at 8pm. Heidenreich, who has been directing the Pair Go tournament for a dozen years, is looking to hand over the reins so anyone interested in finding out more about Pair Go and what’s involved in directing the tournament can contact him at or just stop by the E-Journal office at the Congress. “It’s a lot of fun!” Heidenreich promises.
- photo: at the 2015 Pair Go tournament; photo by Eric Jankowski