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Ninghan Duan 6d wins the 9th Virginia Open in tight race, Alexander Qi and Stephanie Tan claim Youth and Women’s titles, Ruoshi Sun leads going into VA State Championship Finals

Monday December 14, 2020

Last weekend the Capital Go Chapter held the 9th Virginia Open on OGS with over 80 participants ranging from 30k to 8d. Players enjoyed the four-round event and many won prizes and certificates. “Nearly half players were youths, U.S. Go’s future couldn’t be brighter,” says tournament director Devin Fraze. With so many players, the pool was broken into six divisions with over $500 cash in prizes, sponsored by Honest401k, going to the winners along with additional prizes for high-performing female and youth players. The tournament also served as the qualifier for the VA State Championship, which is set for 12/26/2020, and will be directed by NOVA club president Gary Smith.

“To lend the tournament a personal and special touch, co-director Qingbo Zhang also tirelessly prepared both award and participation certificates, and emailed them to each player individually,” says organizer Edward Zhang. He also noted the rapid improvement of many players in the tournament. “Some stretching self-promotions were allowed by TD, and many of these players played very well.” Zhang’s team plans to host more tournaments in 2021 using Baduk.Club, which made this OGS tournament simple for players and feasible for the TDs.

The tournament wasn’t all serious business; after one youth player turned him down for a friendly match, next year’s Go Congress Director Steve got his change to go up against her in the next round. Declaring her his arch rival he sadly didn’t stand a chance and resigned with only his honor left. TD Devin Fraze also had fun chatting with players between rounds; he ended up teaching some youngsters how to use ‘bbcode’ – a relic of the programming language PHP – so they could use colors and different sizes in the chat. The event chat on Baduk.Club was active all day. Some of our excited younger players posted to celebrate their 120+ point wins while others were fending off power-outages as ice and snow threatened to disconnect their games.

Winners
Click here to see the full winners report.

Open (Elite) 6-8D: 1st, Ninghan Duan; Tied 2nd, Shuaiheng Tao and Zhengbokang Tang. 
Open: 1st, Ruoshi Sun; 2nd, Alexander Qi.
Women’s: 1st, Stephanie Tan; 2nd, Angel Zhou.
Expert: 1st, Patrick Zhao; 2nd Juanshu Lan. 
Proficient: 1st, Hyunjun Roh; 2nd, Jason Yang. 
Intermediate: 1st, Ragnarr Markssen; 2nd, Anderson Barreal. 
Novice: 1st, Cody Tang; 2nd, Justin Collier.
Youth: 1st, Alexander Qi, 2nd; James Chih-Rong Sun. 

Final standings
Top Divisions (4D+): beta.baduk.club/mac/9thvaopen
Main Section (>3D): beta.baduk.club/mac/9thvaopen-main
(Note: select ‘Games’ at upper-right to view game records of all ‘Boards’.)

report by Capital Go Club

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Lost and found

Monday December 14, 2020

by Mark Rubenstein

I started playing Go in the 1970’s. I only knew one other person who played, a friend whom I had taught. I didn’t know much back then, but I was enthralled by the beauty of the game. My friend had a set of stones; I don’t know where he got them, but I thought they were spectacularly cool. I had a waterbed that he thought was cool. So we swapped.
Years went by, my friend moved away, and I put away my prized stones and stopped playing. I picked it up again in the mid 90’s. At some point I lost track of those stones.

Lately I had begun thinking about them, and started looking around the house for them. But I couldn’t find them. I started wondering if I had mis-remembered the swap all those years ago; did I trade the waterbed for the stones, or the other way around?

Then, while rummaging around in the basement looking for something else, I came across two small cardboard boxes. And there they were!
I washed them carefully and have been playing with them these last few weeks. I’ve never seen any stones quite like them. Each one is unique. I love the way they look and feel.

I remember reading once that Go stones are intentionally made slightly larger than the space allotted them on the board, so that the arrangement of stones will always be slightly irregular, never rigid. These are the only stones I’ve ever used that are like that. They fit perfectly on the long axis of the board, but are slightly too big to fit perfectly on the short axis. The result is a pleasing, if somewhat maddening, organic feeling of being jostled about.

This feeling, this organic, exuberant, messy tapestry is completely absent online. I’ve always thought my game suffers online; maybe it’s because it’s too rigid, too impersonal, too clean.

I’m playing well these days. I’ve rekindled my passion for the beauty of Go. And I’m looking forward to the day when we can all meet again over real boards with real stones… and I’ll bring mine.

photo by Mark Rubenstein
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Go stones found buried at the feet of 5th century princess in Korea

Wednesday December 9, 2020

Natural Go stones excavated from an ancient tomb in Gyeongju, North Gyeongsang Province, 
South Korea [Credit: Gyeongju National Research Institute of Cultural Heritage]

During the excavation of Silla ancient tomb No. 44 at Jjoksaem in Gyeongju, North Gyeongsang Province, ongoing since 2014, archeologists unearthed a variety of treasures including about 200 Go stones buried beneath the feet of the tomb’s occupant. The size and location of the tomb, along with the jewelry and other ornaments found inside, indicate that the tomb belongs to a young woman of very high class, likely a member of a royal family. The find sheds new light on the nature and players of the game around that time.

Under the feet of the buried person, about 200 pieces of small black, white and gray stones, presumed to be used for playing baduk, were excavated. In the past, baduk stones of the Silla era were unearthed in tombs of people belonging to the highest classes. 

In “Samguksagi” (History of the Three Kingdoms) and “Samgukyusa” (Memorabilia of the Three Kingdoms), there are records of King Hyonseong, who reigned from 737 to 742, playing baduk. 

“It has been deduced that baduk was the exclusive property of men. As the tomb occupant at this time is presumed to be female, it is expected to raise new interpretations of and meaning in baduk culture,” the GNRICH official said.
-Kwon, Mee-yoo. “Unearthed ornaments link tomb to 5th century Silla princess.” The Korea Times [Seoul], 07 Dec 2020.

The story was reported in the Korea Times on December 7th, and a following article in the Archeology News Network was reported to the EJournal as a Go Spotting by Richard Neer at the University of Chicago.

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Hong Kong Go club seeks friendly matches with US clubs

Wednesday December 9, 2020

After successful friendship matches between Go clubs in Hong Kong and Taiwan, Hong Kong-based Go club Go Legend has contacted the AGA to seek out friendly matches with US-based Go clubs. “We are Go Legend, a Go club in Hong Kong,” says Sam Ng, “and would like to invite some Go clubs in the US to have friendly matches in order to promote Go and improve players skills!” Interested clubs can contact them via their Facebook page.

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Cao and Zhou named AGHS Presidents for 2020-2021

Tuesday December 1, 2020

Melissa Cao at the Nihon Ki-in

Brandon Zhou at the US Go Congress

Melissa Cao and Brandon Zhou have been voted as the American Go Honor Society (AGHS) presidents for the 2020-2021 year. The AGHS, a youth organization run by primarily high-school students, strives to promote Go and develop the strength of the youth across the nation. The annual Young Lions and School Team Tournament are some of AGHS’ most popular events. Cao and Zhou “are excited to lead AGHS this year, and hope to make Go more accessible throughout the US amid the global pandemic.” Cao and Zhou are proud to announce this year’s AGHS Board Members:

Melissa Cao – Co-President
Brandon Zhou – Co-President
Sophia Wang – Vice President
Jenny Li – Promotion Head
Seowoo Wang – Tournament Director
Andrew Zhang – Tournament Director, Website Manager
Katherine Xie – Treasurer
Frederick Bao – Treasurer, Secretary
Alice Cai – Content Creator

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AGA IVP Thomas Hsiang awarded Japanese Foreign Minister’s Commendation

Tuesday December 1, 2020

Hsiang with former IGF Secretary General Yuki Shigeno.

Thomas Hsiang has been selected to receive a 2020 Japanese Foreign Minister’s Commendation, after being recommended by the Nihon Ki-in for his dedication to the promotion of Go worldwide. The Commendations are awarded to “individuals and groups with outstanding achievements in international fields, in order to acknowledge their contributions to the promotion of friendship between Japan and other countries and areas.” Hsiang is the American Go Association’s longtime International Vice President, as well as the IGF Vice President since 2008. Among his most notable achievements are the organization of a number of international mind-sport events, including the World Mind Sport Games, and the establishment of the Iwamoto North American Foundation.

“I am honored” by the award, Hsiang said, adding that “The culture of Go has enriched the world civilization as a whole since its introduction from Japan to the West over a century ago. In recent years, Go and other mind sports are further shown to benefit the cognitive development of the youth and the cognitive maintenance of the senior citizenry. Promoting Go has thus taken on new significances beyond just being a great pastime.”

Hsiang noted that “My own contribution to this development has focused on promoting collaborations between the international Go organizations and on advancing Go as a member of the mind-sport family. The success that I have enjoyed was made possible with the great help from my friends and colleagues at the Nihon Kiin, to whom I owe a deep gratitude.”

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Pandanet AGA City League Returns Dec 6

Monday November 30, 2020

With the return of other sporting leagues so does the Pandanet AGA City League. Sunday December 6th starts the first round of this long running tournament. Watch some of your favorite and local teams battle their opponents from across the US and Canada. If you’re new to the tournament; our A League has a spattering of professionals and top players from across the continent. The B League is super sized this year with many strong teams, avg 6d+ ratings. They’re all going to be fighting hard for that A league promotion. The C league is a 5d-1d selection of teams which will be home to many interesting games. The D League is our handicap league with many strong kyu players. Don’t discount any leagues, there are strong players abound!

The first game was already played Sunday night between Canwa Vancouver 2 vs Greater Washington. Nick Jin and Yuan Zhou put on an exciting first match. They’ll have another match Saturday night 9pm EST/6pm PST. For the rest of the leagues, most will play LIVE Sunday at 3pm EST/12pm PST.

A LeagueB LeagueC LeagueD League

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50 years aGO – November 1970 Part Two – Keith L. Arnold, hka with Patrick Bannister

Saturday November 28, 2020

This month’s mystery pro question turned out to be much harder than I thought.  I asked you to identify the man in the picture at right, share his importance to Western go and finally, explain why we celebrate him this month.

Well, we only received one correct answer, and that only to the first two parts of the question.  I will let former AGA President, former International Go Federation (IGF) Director and current American Go Foundation (AGF) Treasurer Barbara Calhoun take it away. “I’ll take a stab that it is Yusuke Oeda. Don’t recognize the hair but it could be his face. Oeda was Michael Redmond’s sensei and was a prime mover in establishing the World Amateur Go Championship and the International Go Federation.”

Yusuke Oeda 9 dan, 1935-2010 was a student of Nobuaki Maeda.  In his E-Journal obituary, Barbara further elaborated on her friend’s efforts bringing the Meijin Tournament to New York, remarking “He was an emotional man who could relate to and communicate with people culturally different from him.”  Michael Redmond said that the lessons he learned from Oeda were not just about the game that became his career, adding that “Mr. Oeda was also generous with his knowledge of the fine points of Japanese language and culture, and he gave me a basic understanding of the country I live in” (7/26/2010 EJ).

My fondest memory of Mr. Oeda was watching him play simuls.  If you have had the pleasure of playing a simultaneous game with a professional, you understand the awe of watching their calm strength as they guide the game to a result that tests the amateur player.  They do not resort to strong player tricks but rather slowly wear down each opponent, happily winning or losing based on our performance.

That was not the Oeda way.  He preferred pairing himself with a young female professional, sharing the effort, but also playing moves designed to make his partner laugh, hilarious to watch as the young pro was torn between trying to maintain her professional demeanor and her natural reaction to Oeda’s mischief.

The final answer to this month’s quiz is explained in this picture of Ishida playing Oeda on November 12, 1970.  With his victory in this game, Ishida qualified for the Honinbo League and this game is the first one featured in Iwamoto’s (and Davies’) “The 1971 Honinbo Tournament” book, one of the great early Ishi press masterpieces.  The photo shows the moment where Ishida played move 11 (at the lower right corner of the book) “a new joseki developed at the Kitani Dojo”.  Oeda navigated the surprise move well, but gradually was out-maneuvered in an exciting game. (game record here).

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Ninth Virginia Open welcomes all, features cash prizes and VA State Championship Prelim – register by 11/30

Saturday November 21, 2020

The Capital Go Club is proud to announce the 9th Virginia Open and 2nd VA State Championship Qualifier to be held on OGS and BadukClub on Saturday, December 5th and Sunday, December 6th. Players will compete across four divisions for four rounds: Open (4D+), Expert (1-4D), Intermediate (5-1K), and Novice (6K and below). Prizes will be $100, $50 and $25 for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd in the Open Division respectively, and $20 and $10 for 1st and 2nd in all other divisions. Female and youth winners (aged 17 and below) will be awarded additional $10 (minimal 2 wins). Go books are also available as rewards, sponsored by Hinoki Press. Prizes are sponsored by the Honest401k team. The first three rounds of the Open Division will be held Saturday 12/5 with the 4th round on Sunday 12/6. Other divisions will have all 4 rounds on Saturday 12/5.

The top four finishing Virginia residents will be invited to compete for the VA Champion in January of 2021 in a safe format, details to be announced. Last year Joshua Lee 6D defeated Qingbo Zhang 5D in the final and declared the first Virginia State Champion. “We encourage more youth players and more female players,” says organizer Edward Zhang. “Our perpetual trophy will be awarded to not only the VA State Champion, but also to the VA Youth Champion and VA Women’s Champion if more than three contenders compete in each subdivision.”

Pre-registration is required to participate in the tournament. The deadline for pre-registration is 5pm ET Nov. 30. Click here to sign up. The Registration fee is waived for AGA members, and $10 for non-AGA members. Players may pay by PayPal with reference to the player’s name. All games will be played on OGS, with pairing and results information available here. For questions or inquiries, please email Jeff Zhang at AGATD1@gmail.com. For more details and to register, visit the Washington Go Festival website. Thanks go to Jeff Zhang 5D for gathering tournaments history from AGA E-Journal featured on the website, including an Open Division winners list for tournaments of the Greater Washington metro area for the past 13 years.

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Support American Go during the holiday season and beyond

Monday November 16, 2020

During this holiday season you’re going to do a lot of online shopping. While you’re on Amazon help American Go by donating a portion to the AGF. Amazon Smile helps by donating a portion of purchases through their Smile website. Please set your charity to “US GO FOUNDATION, dba American Go Foundation”. There are browser extensions (Chrome – Firefox) that will help redirect your browser to always support the Smile Program. Most purchases give back to this program and support Go in the US. Sign up today!

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