American Go E-Journal » U.S./North America

AGA Developer Meetings update

Thursday January 23, 2020

Beginning just after the 2019 US Go Congress in Madison, a group of AGA developers have been meeting to discuss software after the historical slow development of the tech used within the AGA. These developers have begun a renewed effort to enhance and upgrade AGA software for enhanced functionality and user experience. Meeting monthly, the group discusses ongoing progress, upcoming projects, and plans for the future. Examples of current projects include modernization of the Go Congress website, updates for the AGAGD, server updates, and development of useful Go apps. Anyone interested in these developments is encouraged to read the meetings minutes, which can be found on the left navigation bar of usgo.org under About the AGA, and check out the AGA Github repositories. We have been working hard to make our software easier to use and involve more volunteers in the process. If you have experience in development and are interested in being involved, please contact volunteer@usgo.org.

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Xinlei Liu 7d wins Jin Chen Tournament in Seattle

Thursday January 23, 2020

The Seattle Go Center held the annual Jin Chen tournament on January 5, 2020. There were 41 players – 33 in the Handicap section, and eight in the Open. Nick Wilmes, Seattle’s AGA Chapter Representative, directed the tournament and a pizza lunch from Pudge Bros. was provided for all players, thanks to the generosity of Seattle AGA Chapter and the AGA Chapter Rewards program.

Youth players made a strong showing. Overall, 39% (16 out of 41) of the players were youth, two of whom played in the Open section including Xinlei Liu 7d, who walked away with the $300 grand prize.

2020 Seattle Jin Chen Tournament- Round 1 underway

One advantage to having a relatively large field in the Handicap section is that most games were played even or at a low handicap,” says Programs Manager Mike Malveaux. “Out of a total of 88 games played, all but three had a handicap of three stones or less!”

2020 Seattle Jin Chen Tournament – Winners of all 3 of their games

Winners of all three tournament games:
Xinlei Liu, 7d
Chris Scribner, 1d
Alex Hu, 2k
Yulissa Wu Lu, 7k
Brian Allen, 9k and the Seattle Go Center’s Operations Manger
Quincy Costello, 19k

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Erik Hansen 5K wins MGA Winter Tourney

Wednesday January 22, 2020

An undefeated Erik Hansen 5K went 4-0 in the Massachusetts Go Association’s Winter Tournament and took the $50 first prize. Hansen topped 22 players ranging from 14 kyu to 5 dan at the tournament, held January 12, 2020 at the Boylston Chess Club in Cambridge MA.

Hansen (2nd from right) and the 2nd-place winners

Six players tied for second, splitting the remaining $50 in prize money.  Eric Reid pitched in another $10 to the prize pool so that each of the second-place winners got cool $10. Some other kind soul in Eric’s lunch cohort had thoughtfully brought back Chinese takeout for the TD, but since she had already eaten her bag lunch, Eric took the food home and considered he came out even.

Here are the second-place winners, who all went 3-1: David Cho 5D; Eric Osman 1D; Yuancheng “Mike” Luo 1D; John Aspinall 3K; Seth Rothschild 9K; Savanni D’Gerinel 14K.  Click here for complete results and here for photos of everyone who played in the first round.
Eva Casey, Tournament Director

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Empty Sky Go Club celebrates 41st anniversary

Wednesday January 22, 2020

by Steve Colburn
It’s hard to imagine in these days of 24/7 global online go, but back in the late 1970s, if you were one of the few non-Asian Americans interested in go, your playing options were limited to a handful of clubs in places like New York City or San Francisco. A group of go players in upstate New York, hundreds of miles away from the nearest club, decided to organize their own club in Rochester, and formed an official chapter of the American Go Association on January 15, 1979, dubbing it the Empty Sky Go Club, an ironic name coined by organizer William Hewitt in honor of Rochester’s often cloudy sky. Club meetings originally moved from house to house, but from 1980 through 2000 were held regularly at Dave Weimer’s house in the South Wedge.

While the world of go — and indeed the game itself — has transformed dramatically in the 41 years since then, the Empty Sky Go Club is still fundamentally the same, in the sense that it’s a bunch of local players who value getting together every week to play this ancient game. On January 13, the current members of the club gathered to celebrate its 41st birthday.

Like all go clubs, the Empty Sky has gone through both fat and lean years as membership has waxed and waned. Longtime local organizers like Dave Weimer and Chris Garlock have relocated to other communities — where they continue to build the go community — but a steady group of students and locals have kept the game going in The Flower City for nearly half a century. Indeed, Empty Sky hosted two Go Congresses, first in 1991 and then again in 2004. The members that have come through this club are among the most loyal that I have ever seen, moving around the globe and continuing to grow friends through the game.

The Empty Sky Go Club would like to thank all its members, past and present, for coming to club throughout the years. And if you’re ever in Rochester, be sure to drop by (we meet every Monday and Thursday night in Java Wally’s, the RIT coffee shop located in Wallace Library, building 5) and be a part of our future as we look forward to many more years of fun and camaraderie together.

Got a story about your local club? We’d love to hear it! Email us at journal@usgo.org

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Big Gathering for Dennis Wheeler

Sunday January 19, 2020

The Seattle Go Center recently honored Dennis Wheeler for his longtime dedication to teaching and sharing the game of go. Over 50 people came to the Seattle center on Saturday, Jan. 11, to share pizza, have a chat, play a game, and pose for pictures. Program Manager Mike Malveaux noted that Dennis helped Frank Fukuda at the Uwajimaya Wednesday outreach event for many years, and then took the lead in 2013. Dennis has also been teaching at festivals, such as Sakura-con, for over a decade. In addition, he has held the Saturday Manager position at the Seattle Go Center since 2012, where he particularly enjoys teaching children, and making newcomers feel welcome.

Dennis (right) at Sakura-Con 2017

Now, Dennis is dealing with chemotherapy, and needs to reduce his outside activities. He will still be coming to the Seattle Go Center on some Saturdays. He continues to use social media, such as Facebook.

The party included Dennis’s wife Vicki, their three daughters, and their partners, as well as neighbors who learned go from Dennis and many old friends from the Seattle Go Center.

Mike also noted the contributions that Dennis has made to the national go scene. He was one of the organizers of the 2005 Go Congress in Tacoma, and he has been a excellent game recorder for many national AGA tournaments, usually reporting on the first board.

Dennis Wheeler with family and friends at the Seattle Go Center

When he wrote about the party, Mike Malveaux noted: “My emotions are mixed — sadness that Dennis has to go through chemo, plus relief that he had some advance warning about it, and pride at Dennis’ contributions to American go, and pleasure that I’ve known him, because he’s really a great guy to spend time with.” Photos and report by Brian Allen

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AGA Board Meeting report

Sunday January 19, 2020

At its annual retreat on November 11, 2019, the AGA board of directors discussed several initiatives and their long-term priority of making go more mainstream. They passed motions to create a system for the AGA to provide limited financial support to develop/maintain tournaments, and established a scholarship fund to make the US Go Congress more affordable. They also discussed implementing an improved format for the North American Masters Tournament, held at Go Congress each year, based on feedback from strong players. Andy Okun also provided his President’s Report, including an update on work towards a North American Go Federation, which the board approved.

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First Midwest Open draws a crowd; top board to stream on Twitch on Sunday

Saturday January 18, 2020

Seventy players came out for the first day of the first-ever Midwest Open held in Columbus, Ohio. “The open division is sporting a highly competitive field of 14 high-dan players in a show-down for the championship title,” said organizer Devin Fraze, who also serves as Central Region Representative on the AGA Board. Event sponsor BadukClub is streaming the top board with commentary by DanielML on the club’s Twitch channel. Round Three will begin at 9:30a (CST) on Sunday, with commentary by Yoonyoung Kim 8P at 1:30p CST.

The AGA-rated event brought together players from as far away as Texas, Colorado and California, as well as many of the midwestern states. Pairings in the main playing hall are being done with an innovative self-paired system created by Chicago Go organizer Mark Rubenstein, enabling participants to play more games with less waiting between matches.

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Pandanet AGA City League Round 3 this Sunday

Thursday January 16, 2020

Do you have a need to watch high level go? Join us this Sunday January 19th at 3PM EST for the start of the third round. Follow your favorite local teams and players as they battle it out this season. Games can be found using the GoPanda2 client in the AGA City League rooms. Check the schedules for each league for detailed information for each game; A LeagueB LeagueC LeagueD League.

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Registration Open for 2019 Youth Go League

Thursday January 16, 2020

“The AGHS is hosting its Youth Go League which will start in February 2020,” says Promotion Head Sophia Wang, “Because playing games is crucial to improving quickly, the league offers young go players an opportunity to play more serious online games.”

There will be 4-5 rounds each month, paired by divisions using a ladder system such that players face others of similar strength. All youth ages 18 and under from the US, Canada, and Mexico are invited to participate in these friendly yet competitive matches. Prizes will be awarded. The registration deadline is 11:59 PM PST on January 26, 2020.

For rules and regulations, click here.
For registration, click here.

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Registration open for 2020 U.S. Go Congress

Monday January 13, 2020

Registration is now open for the 36th annual U.S. Go Congress, which will be held August 1-9 at the YMCA camp near Estes Park, CO.  Click here for details on registering.

The main playing site is Assembly Hall in the center of camp, which is surrounded by many indoor and outdoor amenities, plus the natural beauty of the Rocky Mountains.  “It’s the perfect setting for both players and non-players alike, an ideal vacation destination for the whole family!” say Congress organizers.

The camp is just outside Estes Park, just under two hours from Denver International Airport (DIA).  You can sign up for the airport shuttle during registration, or rent a car at the airport.  The Congress has plenty of rooms reserved on-site, or you can choose from many off-site locations (but act soon as summer fills up quickly).  Click here for detailed information about the Congress.

The Start Here tab on the Congress website allows you to register and sign up for lodging and meal plans, the banquet, and the day-off activities. 

“There are official tours to please almost everyone, from open-air trollies servicing Rocky Mountain National Park, ghost tours at the historic Stanley Hotel, cable-car rides to the top of Prospect mountain, and horseback riding,” says Congress Co-Director Eric Wainwright. “If any of these don’t fit the bill, there’s an abundance of informal tours and other activities as well.”  Click here to see the full list.

“We hope to make this the best congress yet!”

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