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

Motchisuki festival attendees learn Go in Portland

Wednesday January 29, 2020

Each year Go players in Portland host a table teaching Go at Portland’s Mochitsuki festival, an annual Japanese and Japanese-American cultural festival and celebration of the Japanese New Year held at Portland State University. Several thousand people attended this year, and volunteers Neal Wright, Patrick Easley, Stewart Towle, Rick Steinfeldt, Olin Wexler, and Peter Freedman were busy all afternoon teaching new Go players of all ages, from 4 to 74.

Teachers at the table ran a Hikaru no Go anime to attract attention and provided Way To Go pamphlets, along with some Go Worlds, Go books, and of course information on Go locally and nationally. “It was a great day, I am hoarse,” reports Peter Freedman, and not for nothing. Their engagement and enthusiasm have gotten them invited to host a table at the Cherry Blossom Festival at Clark College in Vancouver this April by an impressed attendee of Motchitsuki Portland.

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Ninghan Duan 6D wins Midwest Open

Tuesday January 28, 2020

Open winners

In the recent Midwest Open, Ninghan Duan 6D of Florida took first place and was named Tournament Champion, while Eric Yoder 6D on Kentucky was second, and Meng Wang 5D of Michigan was third.

State winners

State Champions: Ohio: Soren Jaffe; Kentucky: Eric Yoder; Tennessee: Joe Kimbal. Alex Lillie was announced as the state champion at the event. However, after further review of the official rules posted one month prior to the event at gohio.org/state-championships it was found that Soren Jaffe is the winner. The issue arose due to the TD’s method of registration where he was not able to see the state of the people who registered at the door instead of online.

In the Low Dan / High Kyu Division (2D-4k): 1st place: Alex Lillie from Ohio; 2nd place: Mitchell Schmeisser from Pennsylvania; 3rd place: Cheng Cheng from Illinois.

In the SDK Division (5k-9k): 1st place: Kari-Ann Lindsay from Indiana; 2nd place: Joe Kimbal from Tennessee; 3rd place: Richard Crawley from Ohio (not pictured).

In the High DDK Division (10k-19k): 1st place: Manny Jauregui; 2nd place: Michael Queener; 3rd place: David Olnhausen.

In the Low DDK Division (20k-30k): 1st place: Anthony Bolaney; 2nd place: James Orr; 3rd place: Anna Heinzman.

Baduk Dungeon Mini-Game WinnersSage Branham, Joe Kimbal, Jake Game, Shawn Ray

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50 years aGO – January 1970

Tuesday January 28, 2020

Keith Arnold, hka with Patrick Bannister

Perhaps the best evidence of time flying appears in an ad in the January issue of Go Review.  A Deluxe Go set  is offered for sale – Cherry bowls, 7.5mm Clamshell and Slate stones and a two inch thick Kaya board for the princely sum of $110, shipping from Japan included.

On January 15, Sekiyama Riichi, the first tournament Honinbo, passed away.  He was the teacher of Kajiwara Takeo 9 dan

We will be seeing a lot of Ishida Yoshio in this series, as he begins his dominance in this period.  But he still had time for fun, as shown in this striking photo.  Below is a photo of the second game of the Nihon Kiin Championship against the champion, Ohira.  This was the only game Ishida lost, securing the title 3-1 on January 20-21.  Game records of the match here. Game 1; Game 2; Game 3; Game 4.

Here in the United States, Takao Matsuda 6 dan of New York, author of the famous Matsuda Go Letters, won the New Jersey Open, defeating Takahiko Ishikawa 5 dan of Philadelphia in an all-Japanese final.  Ishikawa was a judo instructor, and was the All Japan Judo Champion two years in a row.

League matches started with the New Year.  Pictured at right is Kajiwara Takeo taking black against Fujisawa Hosai 9 dan  in the Meijin league on January 21st.  Perhaps you can see Kajiwara’s first move, on tengen.  An expert on the fuseki, Kajiwara played the move to offset Hosai’s penchant for mirror go.  Did it work? Find out in the game record here.

Finally, just to show that we have not come that far, a go computer was demonstrated by Toshio Ikeda of Fujitsu.  The computerized board, 2 meters square, could solve “any problem given to it” but could not play a full game.  A steal at $30,000 dollars.  The article concludes “one day we may yet have a computer become a pro!”  Pictured next to Ikeda is Go Seigen.  Ikeda was an avid go player and rule expert, his “On the Rules of Go” was published posthumously by Fujitsu in 1992.  Here’s a game between Ikeda and Go Seigen.

photos courtesy of Go Review, Igo Club and GoBase.org, game records courtesy of SmartGo/GoGod

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San Diego Go Club expands educational program

Monday January 27, 2020

The San Diego Go Club has expanded its go educational program to include the Sejong School which teaches Korean language, Korean culture, math, coding and Baduk (Go) on Saturdays and Sundays. Three members of the SDGC – Arunas Rudvalis, Les Lanphear III, and Ted Terpstra – have regularly taught Go at the school on Saturday afternoons since last summer. The American Go Foundation has provided some equipment to the Sejong School through its schools’ program providing free classroom starter sets.

The winter session just ended with an in-house Go tournament for the students. A few of the students also played in the 2019 California State Go Championship in December. By next year, hopefully, many more students will be playing in San Diego Go tournaments.

photo by Soo Yoon
report by Ted Terpstra

Students with Arunas Rudvalis, Les Lanphear III, and Ted Terpstra (left-to-right back)
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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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