American Go E-Journal » Go News

Pasadena go club launching in 2018

Thursday December 28, 2017

A new go club is coming to Los Angeles, reports Kevin Hwang. “Located in Pasadena, we are planning on meeting every Sunday from 12pm-4pm at the first floor public area of Whole Foods (465 S Arroyo Pkwy, Pasadena, CA 91105). Parking is free and boards will be provided, although we encourage vistors to bring their own. Meetings will begin in 2018, so 1/7/18 will be our first meeting.”
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Two new women’s world championships announced

Wednesday December 27, 2017

First is the SENKO CUP, organized by the Nihon Kiin, which will be held March 14-16 2018 in Tokyo.  Eight players are invited, including the top four finishers from the Japanese domestic version of the Senko Cup: Hsieh Yimin, Fujisawa Rina, Mukai Chiaki, and Nyu Eiko; Joanne Missingham (Hei Jia-jia) from Taiwan; and one each from South Korea, China, and Europe.
The second event is the Wu Chingyuan Cup (“Go Seigen” in Japanese pronunciation) to be held in Wu’s birth city Fuzhou of Fujian Province in China.  Twenty eight players will be invited for this late-April event, including possibly six from Europe and two from North America.  This event is sponsored by the Fuzhou city government, with support from Go Seigen’s family who donated the naming right.  In parallel, there will be an exhibition match between world champion Ke Jie and “a top AI program”.
- Thomas Hsiang
Categories: Japan,Main Page,World

Ki Young Choi tops Sacramento/Davis Go Club Winter Quarterly

Thursday December 21, 2017

Ki Young Choi topped the Sacramento/Davis Go Club Winter Quarterly tournament on December 16 at the Arden-Dimick 2017.12.21_Ki Young ChoiLibrary in Sacramento. There were eight players including some from the Bay Area and the Grass Valley/Nevada City area. Tai-An Cha, 4k, won the lower division; both won with 3-1 scores.
- Willard Haynes

AGA Board Meeting 12/17/2017 Executive Summary

Thursday December 21, 2017

The board discussed the upcoming state championship system (you can now contact the organizers at and how to ensure that the upcoming US Go Congress is as affordable and accessible as possible. The president’s report included a discussion of developing a policy to ensure inclusion of transgendered individuals in gender-specific tournaments and about rank certifications for 18 kyu players and below. Other business included a status update on the ranking system and code of conduct development.
-Samantha Fede, AGA Secretary

This post has been updated; the email address is


Power Report (2 of 2): Ueno to challenge for Women’s Kisei; Awards for Iyama and Habu; World Go Championship 2018

Tuesday December 19, 2017

by John Power, Japan Correspondent for the E-Journal21fkisei_challenger Ueno

Ueno to challenge for Women’s Kisei:
A fresh face will be challenging Xie Yimin for the 21st Women’s Kisei title early next year. The play-off to decide the challenger was held in the Ryusei TV studio located in the basement of the Nihon Ki-in headquarters in Tokyo on December 11. Ueno Asami 1P (right), 21 fkisei Okudawho is aged 16 and who qualified as a pro last year, beat Okuda Aya 3P (left); Ueno had black and secured a resignation after 199 moves. She will be just 16 years two months when the title match starts on January 19 and will be the youngest challenger ever. She lowered the record of Nyu Eiko, set last year, by about a year.

Awards for Iyama and Habu: A government spokesman announced last week that the Prime Minister, Abe Shinzo, was considering giving People’s Honor Awards to the top go and shogi players Iyama Yuta and Habu Yoshiharu. Going by the timing, it would seem the idea was sparked by a recent achievement of Habu. Earlier this month, he won the Ryuo tournament for the seventh time and so qualified for the title of Eternal Ryuo (also translated as “Lifetime Ryuo”). The wording sounds grander, but this seems to be the equivalent of the “honorary” titles in go. The point was that Habu has qualified for the “eternal” title in all of the top seven shogi titles, an unprecedented feat. The reason for also giving a People’s Honor Award to Iyama was his success in achieving a grand slam of the top seven go titles for the second time.

Iyama (aged 28) and Habu (aged 47) will be the first board-game players (or mind-sport athletes, if you prefer) to win this award. Previously, it has been given to 23 individual athletes in various sports, actors, singers, composers, etc., and to all the members of the women’s soccer team that won the World Cup in 2011. The wording that the government is “considering” making these awards may seem a little funny, but surely the Prime Minister won’t change his mind. An official announcement is expected to follow within the year. The story was the lead-off article on the front page of the December 13 morning Yomiuri Newspaper and also featured on the front page of the afternoon edition. The criterion for the awards is: a person with conspicuous achievements who is widely loved and respected by the people and who have given bright hope to society.(Conditions for the shogi “eternal” title seem slightly easier for some of the titles than for honorary titles in go. They range from five cumulative wins to five wins in a row or ten cumulative wins, the latter being the condition in go. There are actually five variations in the conditions.)

World Go Championship 2018: The Nihon Ki-in has announced that this tournament will be held in March next year. It’s actually the second time: the 1st World Go Championship was held in March last year, but the next one is not being called the “2nd.” Last year, four “players” took part, one of them being the AI program DeepZenGo. First place was taken by Park Junghwan of Korea, 2nd by Mi Yuting of China, 3rd by DeepZenGo, and 4th by Iyama Yuta. Next year, six players will take part: two from Japan, two from Korea, one from China, and one from Chinese Taipei. Note that Korea is not being favored over China. As host country, Japan gets two slots (the host country gets more seats in many international tournaments); Korea gets two because the previous winner, Park, is seeded (as in the TV Asia tournament). The other participants will be: Iyama Yuta and the winner of a qualifying tournament open to the top four place-getters (after Iyama) in the prize-money rankings for Japan; Shin Jinseo 8P for Korea; Ke Jie for China; and Wang Yuanjun 8P for Chinese Taipei. The time allowance will be three hours per player, with the last five minutes being allotted to byo-yomi. Games will start at 10:30 a.m. and there will be no break for lunch. Prizes are: 1st, \20,0000,000 (about $182,000); 2nd, \5,000,000; 3rd & 4th, \2,50,000; 5th & 6th, \1,000,000. Park and Iyama will be seeded into the second round.


Wainwright edges Evenson in Inaugural Danger Monkey Go Club tourney

Monday December 18, 2017

The inaugural Danger Monkey Go Club AGA-rated tournament in Denver was very successful, reports Stu Horowitz. Eleven players were split into two sections. First place in the dan section went to Eric Wainwright, 1 dan, in a tiebreak over Kent Evenson, 1 dan, both with 2-1 records. The winner in the kyu section with a perfect 3-0 record was Mune Ganbaatar, 12kyu. Mune and her older brother, Billy, 3kyu, are  students in the Boulder Kids and Teens program at the Boulder Public Library.


Power Report (1 of 2): Tuo of China wins Agon Kiriyama Cup play-off; Meijin League starts; Honinbo League; Chinese program wins computer go tournament

Monday December 18, 2017

by John Power, Japan Correspondent for the E-Journal2017.12.18_19 Agon leftMutsuura

Tuo of China wins Agon Kiriyama Cup play-off: 
The 19th Agon Kiriyama Cup Japan-China Play-off was held at the Westin Hotel in Beijing on December 6. Tuo Jiaxi 9P (aged 26, below left) of China beat Mutsuura 2017.12.18_19agonn TuoYuta 7P (aged 18, at left in photo at right) of Japan. Tuo had black and secured a resignation after 135 moves. This was China’s 1th win in this series (Japan won the first four and Iyama Yuta won the 17th play-off).

Meijin League starts: The first two games of the 43rd Meijin League were played on December 7 and were won by two former Meijins. Cho U 9P (B) beat Hane Naoki 9P by resig. and Yamashita Keigo 9P beat Yo Seiki 7P, also by resig. Another former Meijin won the third game, played on Dec. 14: Takao Shinji 9P (B) beat Ko Iso 8P by resig.

Honinbo League: The second game in the third round of the 73rd Honinbo League was played on December 7. Ko Iso 8P (W) beat Kobayashi Satoru 9P by half a point. One more game was played on December 14. Ida Atsushi 8P (B) beat Motoki Katsuya 8P by resig. On 3-0 Ida retains the sole lead; Ko is now 2-1, and Motoki and Kobayashi are 1-2.

Chinese program wins computer go tournament: A new tournament for computer go programs, the AI Ryusei Tournament, got off to a start on December 9 and 10. It was held in the UDX Building in front of Akihabara station in Tokyo. Seventeen programs, including four from overseas, took part, with the Igo & Shogi Channel acting as the main sponsor. The tournament is a successor to the UEC Cup, held for ten years by the University of Electro-Communications of Chofu City in Tokyo. FineArt of China, regarded as the favorite as the last winner of the UEC Cup, and DeepZenGo of Japan made the final. Playing white, FineArt won by resignation after 248 moves. It has been developed by the Tencent corporation.

Tomorrow: Ueno to challenge for Women’s Kisei; Awards for Iyama and Habu; World Go Championship 2018


Elite Mind Games wrap-up

Sunday December 17, 2017

The go activities during last two days of the IMSA Elite Mind Games included three medal competitions: pair go, men’s  blitz and2017.12.17_pair go last round - Canada vs EU women’s blitz.  The format for these tournaments were new: the six teams were divided into three tiers, China and Korea, Japan and Taiwan, Europe and America.  Then one team from each tier is drawn to form a group of three teams.  In the first day, each group play within the group to determine the three teams’ position. Then in the second day, the top 2017.12.17_pair-go medalistsfour teams from the two groups play two rounds to determine the top four finishers, while the two third place teams play to decide the 5th and 6th places.  In the end, Ke Jie from China won the men’s blitz, while Korea took the two other gold. Japan won all four bronze medals, a surprisingly good result.  Canadian pair Sarah Yu and Ziyang Hu (at left in photo above right) played hard to narrowly defeat Manja Marz and Mateusz Surma (above right) and took a valuable, lone, 5th place for the American team. Wan Chen lost to Manja Marz of Germany, and Mingjiu Jiang forfeited his game with Ilya Shikshin. For the whole event, Ziyang Hu was the top performer from America’s team, winning two games – one against Surma in team play and one in pair go.
During the closing ceremony, medals were awarded in all five mind sports represented by IMSA. China and Russia were the big winners, followed by Ukraine and Korea.  It was announced that the next chapter of this event will likely be held in mid-November, 2018. It is expected that the final details will be announced in February next year.
- Thomas Hsiang; photo above left: Pair Go finalists

AlphaGo Zero-AlphaGo Master: An early mistake, then things get interesting

Sunday December 17, 2017

“I think Master made a mistake fairly early in this game,” says Michael Redmond 9p in his fourth commentary on the AG Zero2017.12.17_ag-ag-zero-master-4 games. “Then it was supposed to be an easy game for Zero, but Zero made it really interesting, and there are points in the game where I think Master had a chance to win. There’s a big fight toward the end.”

Click here for Redmond’s video commentary, hosted by the AGA E-Journal’s Chris Garlock, and see below for the sgf commentary. To support this content, please consider joining or renewing your membership in the American Go Association; click here for details.

Note: The video commentary team will be taking a break over the holidays to rest up, recharge and work on plans for 2018. Watch for a 2017 recap interview coming soon and more updates and videos in the New Year!

Video produced by Michael Wanek and Andrew Jackson. The sgf files were created by Redmond, with editing and transcription by Garlock and Myron Souris.



Evanston Go Club’s “Rated Games Night” gets underway

Thursday December 14, 2017

The Evanston Go Club had its second Rated Games Night last week. “The first Wednesday of every month will be Rated Games2017.12.14_evanston Night”, said club president Mark Rubenstein. “Some of our members have recently joined the AGA, and they’re highly motivated to improve their rating. It’s also an opportunity for those members who can’t make it to our tournaments to get some rated games in, and push themselves to get stronger.”

Although only one rated game was played last week, Rubenstein is optimistic about the program. “We are purposefully keeping the structure very open. You can play any number of rated or un-rated games; there’s no pressure to play rated games, it’s just an option. We have clocks for those who want to use one, and signs letting onlookers know that a rated game is in progress. It lends a slightly more serious tone to the evening, which is a nice change of pace.”
Last week’s game was between Scott Gerson (5k) and David Rockwell (5k), pictured here; Scott took black and won. Scott has light-heartedly suggested that the second Wednesday of every month should be Trash-Talk night… but Rubenstein needs some convincing.
photo by Mark Rubenstein