American Go E-Journal » Latin America

Mexican Go Congress: Kids 13×13 & Myungwan Kim 9P on Handling Crosscuts

Monday August 31, 2015

The second day of the Mexican Go Congress kicked off on Sunday with a children’s 13 x 13 tournament (right), and Mexican Open rounds 3 and 4 occupied the late morning and early afternoon, followed a lecture by Myungwan Kim 9P on 2015.08.31_Mexico-Congress-KIDS13X132015.08.31_Mexico-Congress-Kimhandling crosscuts (left). Kim showed two recent games of Lee Changho’s in which Lee lost early due to not handling crosscuts as well as his younger opponents.  Kim explained that the new generation of professionals receives much more in-depth training in reading out long and complicated sequences than was the case 15 years ago.  Kim said that this was the most important single lecture topic for two reasons: handling a crosscut correctly may often mean the difference between establishing a superior position or completely collapsing, and learning to handle them requires practice of the reading skills that one should be applying constantly other aspects of the game. The Congress concludes on Monday with a final day of activities.

Report/photos by Steven Burrall; photos: (right) TD’s Emil Garcia and Daphne Rios supervise the children’s 13 x 13 action;  (left) Myungwan Kim 9P lectures on the crosscut. 

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Second Go Congress Underway in Mexico City

Sunday August 30, 2015

Forty two go players signed up for the Mexican Open, a three-day, six-round tournament this weekend which is the main event of the second 2015.08.30_Mexico-Congress-viewColoquio de Go, or Go Congress, in Mexico City.  “Enthusiasm for go is much newer in 2015.08.30_Mexico-Congress-registerMexico than in the United States, but they have a bright future with indefatigable organizer, registrar and TD Emil Garcia,” reports Steve Burrall. Garcia  (seated in blue shirt) is also a very strong player, who placed sixth in the recent Prime Minister’s Cup.  Saturdays’s two rounds were followed by a lecture from Myungwan Kim 9p on a game he played with Lee Sedol that was a watershed event in his go playing career. Kim then played a simultaneous match with 12 local players.  The photo at right, the view from board #8 in the tournament room, shows the ruins of Tlatelolco, a former pyramid transformed into an adjacent church by the Spaniards.
- report/photos by EJ Special Correspondent Steve Burrall

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Mexico Holds 2nd Go Congress; Myungwan Kim 9P as Special Guest

Thursday August 27, 2015

The Mexican Go Association is holding its second Go Congress this weekend, August 29-31 at Centro Cultural Tlatelolco in Mexico City. The main event in the Congress is the second Mexican Go Open Tournament with total cash prizes of 9,000 Mexican pesos.  Go and Origami workshops along with a 13 x13 blitz tournament and Hikaru No Go screening will take place for youngsters and the Myungwan Kim 9p will provide lectures, game reviews and simultaneous games, said MGA President Emil Garcia.  USA and Europe are making great efforts to develop go in their regions, with Congresses and pro qualification, said Garcia. “Mexico and Latin America shouldn’t lag behind.” Click here for the Congress site; during the Mexican Open, players can follow top-board games on KGS through the GoMex1 and GoMex2 accounts.

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Cuban delegation to U.S. Go Congress “bringing back much” to island nation

Saturday August 8, 2015

Rafael Torres Miranda had a problem. The automotive importer had just discovered the game of go in 1990 but had no one to teach him and, worse yet, no one to play with. Twenty five years later, he’s attending the U.S. Go Congress as President of the Cuban Go Federation, the first time a delegation of Cuban go players has ever participated.2015.08.07_cuban-interview

“The high level of play and the variety — as well as sheer quantity — of go activities is very impressive,” Miranda (at right, in white shirt) told the E-Journal. The other member of the delegation is Dr. Lazaro Bueno Perez (far left), a professor of chess and go at the University of Camaguey, and both said that they “will be bringing much back to Cuba from the Go Congress.”

Miranda says that there are some 2,000 go players in Cuba, ranging in strength from 5-dan to double-digit kyu players. “We’ve come a long way in a very short time,” he said. Miranda learned about the game from a Japanese colleague in the automotive business. The game intrigued him immediately. Although his colleague didn’t think he was serious, but he did teach Miranda the rules and they played. “No one in Cuba played go,” he laughs, “everyone played chess.” But as a judo teacher Miranda knew how to study and train and determination did the rest. They have had major support from the Association for International Go Exchange (a group of retired Japanese who love the game) and pros from the Nihon Ki-in. The Cubans make their own go equipment and there are now players in every city in the country.

In addition to the obvious barriers posed by Cuba’s political isolation, perhaps the biggest obstacle to spreading the game and improving Cuban go player’s strength has been one that go players around the world can appreciate: extremely limited internet access. There’s also a real hunger to participate in go tournaments around the world. “Always we want to participate,” Miranda said, chuckling. “We can’t, but we want to.” He hopes that the timing of the Cuban delegation to the U.S. Go Congress as official relations between the United States and Cuba have been established this year may be a harbinger of more opportunities to travel and compete internationally. “We are grateful to the AGA, the American Go Foundation, and to Bob Gilman for making this possible.”

Cuba will host the 17th Iberoamerican Go Championships October 9-11 at the Cuban Go Academy in Havana. Cuba. In addition to the chance for Cuban go players to meet their comrades from other Latin American countries, Miranda said it’s an opportunity for the Cuban Go Federation to be in the spotlight; after all Cuba organized the first four international tournaments in Latin America (1998-2001) before the current Championship series began.
- Chris Garlock; photo by Phil Straus

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Cuba to Host 17th Ibero-American Championship in Havana in October, Welcomes US Players

Thursday June 4, 2015

The Academia Cubana de Go has announced that it will host the 17th Ibero-American Championship tournament in Havana October 9-11. US players are very welcome, organizers say.  “I had a great time,” says Bob Gilman, who was one of four US players at last year’s Ibero-American Championship in Quito, Ecuador in 2014

The relaxation of restrictions on travel to Cuba by US citizens should make it easier for US players to travel to Havana for this tournament, says Gilman, who visited Havana in 2013 with a group of US players. “Travel for a competition is now permissible under a ‘general license.’” While prior government approval is not necessary, travelers must maintain documentation for five years that this travel meets the specifications in the Treasury Department regulations. “I am doubtful whether a trip extending much before or after the tournament would meet the regulatory standards for travel for a competition,” says Gilman. “Another possibility would be a ‘people to people’ group trip such as in 2013.” While this would permit seeing more of Cuba, it “requires more organization and has its own set of regulatory standards to meet,” notes Gilman, who adds “I would be interested in hearing from US players interested in making the trip.” Write Gilman here.

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Mexico Bests Portland in School Match

Tuesday May 26, 2015

DSC_0092Mexico City triumphed over Portland, OR in a friendly children’s tourney held May 16th on KGS, reports organizer Peter Freedman. Each city fielded a team of six children, ranked from 10-21k. They participated in a three-round tournament using 19×19 boards and KGS handicaps. “Luke Helprin’s parents hosted the Portland team at their house, and his dad Ted graciously provided snacks and helped with Spanish,” said Freedman.  Portland got off to a good start in round one by winning 4 out of 6 games.  Round two was a tie with each team winning 3 matches, setting the stage for a decisive showdown.  In the third round, Mexico City came up from behind by winning 5 out of 6 matches. -Austin Freeman with Paul Barchilon.  Photo by Siddhartha Avila: Members of the Mexican team Skyping with Portland.  

Winners Report: Overall Wins: Mexico 10, Portland 8; 3 game winner: Luke Helprin 20k; 2 game winners: Hikaru Saito 10k, Diego Ali Manjarrez 14k, Leonardo Valdovinos 14k, Daniela Luciano 22k, Almudena Espinosa 21k.

 

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Go Tournament in Havana in April Welcomes US Participants

Thursday February 12, 2015

“The Academia Cubana de Go is organizing a tournament in Havana at the beginning of April and is encouraging US players who want to compete to come,” Bob Gilman writes. “Under President Obama’s new Cuba policies, travel restrictions for US citizens going to Cuba have been liberalized.” Write bobgilman.aga@gmail.com if you want more information about this tournament and travel possibilities.

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US-Cuba Thaw Rekindles Hope for Visit

Monday February 2, 2015

The recent resumption of diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba has renewed hope that a Cuban delegation will be able to attend this 2015.01.15_Cuba-visityear’s US Go Congress. An effort last year stalled because of problems getting visas from the US State Department. “We are quite hopeful of better success this year,” says Bob Gilman, AGA Director for the Central Region. “We have learned some things from the 2014 effort, and the recent thaw in US – Cuban relations can only be helpful.”

The AGA has invited three Cuban players to the 2015 Go Congress in St. Paul, MN, including Rafael Torres Miranda 2d, President of the Academia Cubana de Go, Roylan de la Torre Marrero 5d and Orlando Mederos Trujillo 5d.

The invitation builds on 2013 visit by US players to Havana, where a friendly competition between US and Cuban players was a great success. “There are Cuban go players in all provinces of the country, and they were a serious and enthusiastic group,” says Gilman, who organized the visit.

Fundraising is now underway to enable the Cuban delegation to attend the Congress. “Cuba is a poor country, and the Cuban players cannot afford this trip without help from the US go community,” says Gilman. “The US go community has received wonderful support from Japan, Korea, and China and we’re now in a position where we can help the growing go community in Cuba.” While the details are worked out and the costs are finalized, those interested in helping can make a pledge here. As in 2014, if donations cannot be used, they will be returned, e.g., if visa problems should again prevent some invitees from coming. Contributions will be made through the American Go Foundation (AGF), and may be taken as a deduction on the donor’s federal income tax. 

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Mexico Hosts First-Ever Go Congress

Sunday January 18, 2015

The first-ever Mexican Go Congress was held November 15-17, 2014 at the Tlatelolco Cultural Center in Mexico City, Mexico. The 3-day Congress2015.01.15_Mexico-Congress-group hosted several events, including the first Mexican Open Tournament, a 13×13 tournament for kids, and go and origami workshops. Hajin Lee 3P and Kim Sooyong 4P — both sent by the Korean Baduk Association – provided game reviews, lectures and simultaneous game exhibitions.

Organized by the Mexican Go Association and sponsored by UNAM, 2015.01.15_Mexico-Congress-reviewMexico’s main public university and KABA, the inaugural Congress was a watershed momento not only for the development of go in Mexico, but in Latin America as well. With a 45-player field for the Open Tournament and a total of more than 300 attendees, the event turned out to be a huge success.

2015.01.15_Mexico-Congress-kids“This Congress was a multi-purpose event” said Mexican Go Association president Emil García, “The players not only had the chance to play in an official tournament and feel the seriousness of it, but also had the opportunity to gain insight of how professional players think of the game. It was also a great chance for the youngest players to share and learn. I was surprised by the amount of youngsters who participated in the 13×13 tournament and in the workshops. Kids are increasingly becoming a main actor in Mexican go.”

“European and American go are developing really fast, and they are getting a lot of international support; Mexican and Latin American go shouldn’t lag behind,” said Garcia. “That’s why we are working really hard to be catch up.” He added that “2015 will be a year full of surprises for Mexican go, so stay tuned!”
- reporting by Emil Garcia; click here for a Congress photo album.

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