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Registration Open for 2022 AGHS School Team Tournament

Tuesday January 18, 2022

“Registration for the 2022 AGHS School Team Tournament is now open through February 4th,” says AGHS Co-President Sophia Wang, “Inspired by the popular series Hikaru No Go, students from the same school or educational institution should form teams of 3 to compete for their school and for prizes. A total of four rounds will be held over two Sundays, February 6th and 13th, at 10am and 1pm PST. In order to be eligible, players must attend school in North America and be under 19/currently enrolled in grades K-12. Maximum of 5 teams per institution.”

Click here for rules and regulations

Click here to register (deadline: 2/4/2022)

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50 Years aGO – January 1972

Sunday January 16, 2022

by Keith L. Arnold, hka, with Patrick Bannister

Ōhira Shūzō wins the Nihon Ki’in Championship

On January 7th, Kitani Reiko 6d (daughter of the great Kitani Minoru, wife of Kobayashi Kōichi) defeated Honda Sachiko 4d to capture the Ladies Hon’inbo for the sixth time. It should be noted that the Hon’inbo title eluded her father and her husband, but not her daughter, Kobayashi Izumi. (Game record: Ladies Hon’inbo Game 3)

Two events dominated this month, our coverage of them started last. First, two games completed the Nihon Ki’in Championship, which started the new year knotted at 1-1. On January 11-12, Ishida Yoshio lost to Ōhira Shūzō in a game titled by Go Review, “Even Computers Make Mistakes.” Ōhira regained the title with a win in the fourth game on January 18-19. (Game records: Nihon Ki’in Championship Game 3, Game 4)

Sakata Eio wins Jūdan Game 1

Japanese go fans were enthralled by the Jūdan match between two members of the old guard. It should be noted, back in those days, the Jūdan was 4th in prestige amongst the big seven titles. On January 26-27, Sakata Eio defeated the title holder Hashimoto Utarō in the first game. (Game record: Jūdan Game 1)

There were interesting developments in the Meijin and Hon’inbo leagues. As of January 27, both dethroned champions were leading the leagues. Fujisawa Shūkō led the Meijin League, seeking revenge against Rin Meijin, while Rin led the Hon’inbo League looking for a rematch with Ishida Hon’inbo. Ishida was off to a bad start (0-2) in the Meijin League.

Game records thanks to SmartGo, photos from Go Review.

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Updates: San Diego postpones championship, Portland suspends meet-ups, NGC postpones Friday nights

Saturday January 15, 2022

As previously reported, the AGA is asking chapters to delay tournaments and to consider not having club meetings at least for the month of January, until the latest wave of Covid-19, the Omicron variant, has passed. Here are some local updates:

San Diego: The San Diego Go Club is postponing, due to Covid19, the 11th Annual San Diego Go Championship, which had been scheduled for the spring of 2022. “The SDGC now hopes to hold the tournament at the San Diego Chess Club in May 2022.” Vaccinated members of the SDGC have voted to continue to meet in person at “At Ease Games” on Miramar Road on Thursday from 7-11 p.m. Masks will be required for all players and spectators. A booster vaccination is recommended.

Portland (OR): Due to the recent surge in Covid cases, and per the recommendations of the American Go Association, PGC is suspending Tuesday night “Learn and Play Go” meet-ups at Alder Commons.  “We hope to restart them again soon.  In the meantime we encourage players to seek games via our Portland Go Discord.” For an invite to the discord email goclubportland@gmail.com.

Washington, DC: The National Go Center in Washington, DC has decided to postpone opening on Friday nights until sometime in February. “There is just too much uncertainty around the Omicron surge right now. We’ll keep you posted on when Fridays will be starting up again.” Wednesday nights will continue for now for masked and fully vaccinated participants. “Stay safe, and we look forward to things getting back to normal.”

Got go news? Post it here!

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Korea Go Report: Top News of 2021

Saturday January 15, 2022

By Daniela Trinks, Korea correspondent for the E-Journal. Trinks is a professor in the Department of Baduk (Go) Studies College of Arts & Physical Education at Myongji University in South Korea.

At the end of the year, the Korean Baduk Association (KBA) selects ten top news of the year, without specifying the order. Below is a summary.

Announcement of Korea Go Promotion Plan. In 2021, the Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism announced the “Basic Plan for Go Promotion”. It consists of three main strategies and eight tasks with the goal of making Go a popular creative leisure sport for a healthy 100-year-life span. The three main strategies are creating a sustainable Go ecosystem, expanding Go as a daily leisure sport, and creating an industrialization foundation for Go. Cho Hoon-hyun 9p, a former member of Korea National Assembly, played a leading role in enacting the Go promotion bill in 2018.

Korean team’s Nongshim Cup victory. Shin Jin-seo 9p won five games in a row, bringing the 22nd Nongshim Cup title back home to Korea after losing it to the Chinese team in the previous two years. Shin Jin-seo was the fourth Korean team player to participate out of five. His teammate Park Jeong-hwan was happy to watch the team’s victory from the bench without playing a single game. 

Shin Jin-seo’s excellent performance. Rated #1 in the Korean as well as in the international Go ranking since January 2020, Shin Jin-seo won five national and one international (Chunlan Cup) competition last year. Not surprisingly, he was also the top earner among the Korean Go players, with a total price money of  about 1.06 billion KRW (880,000 USD). 

Park Jeong-hwan’s Samsung Cup victory. By defeating his “arch nemesis”  Shin Jin-seo, Park Jeong-hwan 9p won the 2021 Samsung Cup, his fifth international title. Since becoming a professional in 2006 he has won 32 individual competitions in total.

Shin Min-jun’s LG Cup win. After losing the first game, Shin Min-jun 9p managed to win the next two in  the best-of-three title matches against Ke Jie 9p. With this win he gained his first major international  title. His achievement was especially celebrated because a Korean had not won an individual title match against a Chinese since 2014.

Celltrion wins Korean Baduk League. Celltrion, Shin Jin-seo’s team, won both the regular and post seasons, by defeating the previous winner, the Korea Price Information team. Celltrion team’s second oldest team player, Won Sung-jin 9p (born 1985), surprised everyone with his outstanding 17:0 winning streak. He was named the MVP of the Korean Baduk League Season 2020-2021. 

Choi Jung’s superiority challenged. Choi Jung 9p has dominated the Korean female Go scene for the past eight years, not only by winning almost all the female titles but also by leading the Korean female ranking consecutively for 97 months. However, in 2021, her stronghold was slightly weakened – Oh Yu-jin 9p defeated her twice in the Female Kuksu and Female Kiseong title matches and she was eliminated in the preliminary round of the Samsung Cup by Cho Seung-ah 5p. Nevertheless, Choi Jung 9p still proved her class by winning the prestigious Wu Qingyuan Cup and the Korean IBK Cup, and maintained her #1 spot in the Korean and international women’s ranking. 

Kim In 9p dies at 78. The “eternal Kuksu” Kim In 9p passed away at the age of 78. His 63-year Go career began in 1958 when he became a pro at the age of 15. Kim In was the top Go player in South Korea from the mid-1960s to mid-1970s, which is popularly called the “Kin-In Era”. He won 30 titles, ranking him sixth  in the Korean title-holder list. Some of his other stats include 860 wins, 5 draws, and 703 losses. Most notably, his 40 consecutive-win record set in 1968 was only broken in 1990 by Lee Changho 9p (41 wins). Besides his career highlights, Kim In 9p was also highly respected for his noble personality and great passion and dedication to supporting Go. In his honor, the Kim In Cup has been held in his hometown Gangjin since 2007.   

International Go competitions hosted online. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions, online competitions have become common-place. Major tournaments such as the Korean-sponsored LG Cup, Samsung Cup, Nongshim Cup and Kuksu Mountain Cup, as well as international competitions hosted by Chinese and Japanese organizations such as the Ing Cup, Chunlan Cup, Wu Qingyuan Cup and Senko Cup all took place online in 2021. Unlike 2020, there were no major glitches during the online matches.

Lee Jae-yoon, 7th president of KBF. Lee Jae-yoon, the former vice-president of the Korean Baduk Federation (KBF) was elected as its 7th president. The president of a dental hospital in Daegu City is well known for supporting Korean amateur Go such as the Deokyeong Cup and the Daegu team in the Korean National Amateur Go League. 

Source: KBA (2021); photos courtesy KBA.

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AGA urges tourney/club delays due to Omicron; latest updates

Thursday January 6, 2022

The AGA is asking chapters to delay tournaments and to consider not having club meetings at least for the month of January, until the latest wave of Covid-19, the Omicron variant, has passed. “While the danger to any individual is hard to know, the effect on the overall medical system is significant,” says AGA president Andy Okun. Delaying tournaments and club meeting will “keep members safer and do our part to not risk burdening hospitals with extra cases,” says Okun. “Our Covid advice page will be frequently updated and we will keep our eye on rapidly changing information.”

In a related story, the January 22nd Gotham Go Tournament is being rescheduled “due to the very high rates of Covid-19 in New York City and the surrounding area,” reports organizer Peter Armenia.  The new date is March 26th.

The restart of Friday Night Go at the National Go Center in Washington, DC has been postponed until at least January 14, reports Gurujeet Khalsa, although that’s due to the NGC having its heating serviced, with snowy and chilly weather predicted.

Any other chapter/club and/or tournament updates should be reported to journal@usgo.org and we’ll post updates here.

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50 Years aGO – December 1971

Friday December 31, 2021

By Keith L. Arnold, hka, with Patrick Bannister

Nihon Ki'in Championship match between Ishida Yoshio and Ōhira Shūzō
Nihon Ki’in Championship match between Ishida Yoshio and Ōhira Shūzō

European amateur Manfred Wimmer played taisha expert Yamabe Toshirō 9d in a three stone game. Wimmer, studying go in Japan, played quite creditably, in a game featured in Go Review, losing by three points.

On December 16, Sakata Eio defeated Rin Kaihō for the right to challenge Hashimoto Utarō for the Jūdan title. (Game record attached here.)

Ōhira Shūzō began his bid to regain the Nihon Ki’in Championship from title holder Ishida Yoshio. Ishida won the first game on December 21st, but Ōhira evened the series on December 27. (Game records: Game 1, Game 2.)

Sakata Eio wins again Rin Kaihō in the Jūdan Tournament
Sakata Eio wins again Rin Kaihō in the Jūdan Tournament

Finally in this holiday season while many are out purchasing presents and facing a bit of inflation, we thought we would feature the prices of yesteryear, as stated in a Go Review ad. For those of you with a nice real kaya table board, slate and shell stones and cherry bowls on your wish list, the price was a “hefty” $110, shipping included. Happy Holidays!

Photos courtesy of Go Review, game records from SmartGo

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Registration Open for AGHS Weekly Go Problems – Winter Season 2021

Thursday December 23, 2021

“Are you looking for an opportunity to sharpen your Go skills? Why not give the AGHS weekly go problems a try!” says AGHS Secretary Henry Chen, “We will be posting a short Google form every week with life and death problems of varying difficulty starting January 3rd, 2022. You may earn points by submitting your answers to each week’s questions through our Google form. We will keep track of everyone’s points on a leaderboard and prizes will be distributed based on final standings.”

If you have any questions, feel free to email aghsregister@gmail.com.

To register, fill out this Google form by January 2, 2022 11:59 PT

Image credit: Tina Li, AGHS Promotion Head

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Go students get lessons on another battlefield

Thursday December 23, 2021

If a battlefield seems like an appropriate place to play go, the students from the Atlanta Contemporary Chinese Academy and Ruby Bridge Chinese Academy were certainly in the right place on December 19, when teacher Feijun (Frank) Luo 7d gathered them at the Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park to celebrate Christmas and New Year.

Despite what Luo described as “a ruthless cold wind,” the intrepid students played go in the park’s Visitor Center’s pavilion and seemed energized rather than intimidated by the chilly weather, as they focused on midgame battles fueled by “a great variety of foods.”

After their games, the students went on to hike Kennesaw Mountain. According to the National Park Service, “the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain was some of the heaviest fighting throughout the entire Atlanta Campaign…The strategy and tactics used there…led to the final outcome of the Civil War.” The go students supported each other during their hike to the summit, where Luo congratulated them as “fearless” students for turning out to play go and to hike the mountain in the chilly weather and encouraged them to stay physically and mentally active during the pandemic.

The students are Leo Huang, Ryan Huang, Melody Lian, Tegan Lian, Patrick Lv, Gavin Situ, Austin Situ, Amy Tierolf, Andrea Wang, Israel Wang, Lucas Wang, Orianna Wang, Jiayue Wu, Aaron Xie, Jiaming Zou, and Jiayi Zou.

photos courtesy Feijun (Frank) Luo

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Gotham Go to hold tournament January 22nd

Monday December 20, 2021

The Gotham Go Group is sponsoring a 4-round AGA-rated tournament in Flushing, New York on Saturday January 22nd, 2022. “Due to the ongoing COVID pandemic, this will be a VACCINATED ONLY event with masks optional,” says organizer Peter Armenia. “You MUST show proof of vaccination to enter and play. Space is limited to 90 players so register early.”  

There will be cash prizes in all sections and an open section for strong dan-level players. AGA membership is required to register and play; to join or renew your membership click here. To register for the tournament and pay the $35 application fee, click here. Full refunds are available should you need to cancel. To see who’s already registered, click here.

Joel Kenny (4D) is the Tournament Director; Assistant TD is Jino (Steven) Choung (1k).

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43rd Australian Championship Concludes

Saturday December 11, 2021

The 43rd Australian Championship, which was also the 6th Australian Digital Tournament, came to a close on December 9. The tournament consisted of seven rounds played across seven week-long sessions.  

The overall winner—and 2021 Australian Open Champion—was Daniel Li 6d of Sydney. After defeating Chahine Koleejan in the final round, Daniel won the Championship with a clean sweep of seven victories. 

Laris Du Qing 6d of Sydney placed second in the open division, losing only to Daniel Li.

Steven Cheng 5d of the Gold Coast Go Club placed third in the open division, having lost only to Daniel and Laris. 

The handicap division was divided into two sections, consisting of the strongest 24 players in the upper handicap division (2d to 7k), and 15 players in the lower handicap division (7k to 15k). The upper handicap division started with an extra point to their score. (In a McMahon draw, though, it is possible for an upper division player to face a skilled lower division player.) 

The 2021 Australian Handicap Champion is Peter Simpson 1k of the Perth Go Club, beaten only by Brendan Hennessy 2k out of the Gore Street Irregulars in Melbourne. (“The only Australian club I know of that meets in a pub,” noted Horatio Davis. “Must be something in the beer.”) 

Patrick Liang 1k of the Melbourne Go Club placed second in the upper handicap division, also taken down only by Brendan. 

And the aforementioned Brendan Hennessy 2k of Melbourne placed third in the upper handicap division. 

Victor Phan 9k of Australia won the lower handicap division. Sorn Nawapanich 12k of Melbourne placed second, and Christopher Riding 8k of “just write down New Zealand” placed third.

The full tournament results can be found here.

“With luck, next year’s Australian Championship will be an old-fashioned physical tournament somewhere on the east coast (I think Canberra’s turn?),” said organizer Horatio Davis, General Secretary of the Queensland Go Society. “Whether or not that works out, there will definitely be another Australian Digital, just like this one, and a New Zealand Digital.”

-based on a report by Horatio Davis, editing by Hailey Renner

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