American Go E-Journal » U.S. Go Congress

Hai Li 5P plans to spend more time teaching US amateurs after a successful US Go Congress experience

Tuesday March 20, 2018

4.pic_hdImpressed with the dedication and focus of amateur players at the US Go Congress, Hai Li 5P is planning on coming back to the US to teach in the LA area. Attendees at the 2017 US Go Congress in San Diego will recognize him as one of the pro teachers, and the leader of a large delegation of his students and their families from China. Fourteen students aged seven to eleven and ranging from 2d to 5d came with Mr. Li (photo at right) to the Go Congress and participated in many of the tournaments and youth events, including the US Open. According to Mr. Li, they had a wonderful experience and felt challenged by their tournament games, which Mr. Li hopes will motivate them to study even harder after their return to China. All fourteen students expressed the desire to return for the next Go Congress, and Mr. Li hopes that he can bring an even larger group of students to this year’s Go Congress in Williamsburg, VA.

While observing tournament games at the Go Congress in San Diego, Mr. Li was struck with the focus and attention given to the games by the amateur players, particularly the kyu-level players. As a teacher, Mr. Li has trained many top players, including Shi Yue 9P, but now focuses most of his teaching on his go school in Tianjin, China that he built from just three students. JinHai Go School now employs nine other professional teachers – seven full time, two on contract – who train over 200 students in the main campus and satellite campuses around Tianjin. The focus of the go school is young amateurs, based on the belief that training in go is beneficial for the formation of good habits – focus, manners, intelligence, and improved academic performance. 20180101_084503The students also train to improve their ranking, of course, which they can do at a large annual tournament around the turn of the new year. This past January, Mr. Li’s Bohai Rim Tianyuan Go Tournament (photo at left) concluded successfully, with nearly 800 players from Tianjin and five surrounding provinces participating – and even a few players from the US – participating. Mr. Li hopes that more go lovers from the US will attend the tournament in the future.

Mr. Li was moved by the importance with which the amateur players at the Go Congress treated the one-on-one playing experience, particularly the adult kyu-level players. This inspired him to return to the US to promote Go to these players and more generally, and he is hoping to help grow the American go player base more actively by starting a branch of his go school here in the US this year, beginning in the LA area. Stay tuned!

-photos provided by Hai Li 5P
-report by Karoline Li, Tournaments Bureau Chief


2018 U.S. Go Congress website launched

Sunday March 4, 2018

Organizers of this year’s US Go Congress recently launched a new design for the Congress website, where you can subscribe to2018.03.03-2018-congress-website the Congress mailing list to stay up to date on Congress news and be among 2018.03.03_2018-congress-sitethe first to know when registration opens. The 2018 Congress runs July 21 – 28 at The College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, VA. “If you’ve never been to Williamsburg, you’re in for a treat,” reports Congress Co-Director Nate Eagle. “The beautiful, tree-lined campus of William & Mary is directly next to Colonial Williamsburg, where you can step directly into a recreation of 18th-century American life. I spent a couple weekends down there in the Fall and am looking forward immensely to seeing some of those beautiful grass lawns filled with go boards and sprawling go players, locked in combat.” Registration is expected to open later this month.

photo (l-r): Congress directors Diego Pierrottet and Nate Eagle “duking it out while Lord Bortetourt suppresses his urge to kibitz.”


Go Quiz: Running go players

Saturday February 24, 2018

E-Journal photographer Phil Straus recently found this photo in his archives. If you can name the go players and the year and location of 2018.02.24_running-go-playersthe U.S. Congress, click here.


Silver Anniversary of the Redmond Cup – Registration Now Open

Sunday February 18, 2018

20771547_1491980427527052_1440893765_o-600x3372018 marks the 25th anniversary of the Redmond Cup, which began in 1994. Named after Michael Redmond, the only player of non-Asian descent to ever achieve the rank of professional 9 dan, the Redmond Cup has represented the highest-level of competition for youth players in North America. Four of the five current AGA pros are former Redmond Cup champions, and many former champions have represented the US or Canada in international competition.

Preliminaries will be played on KGS, with the top two players in each the Junior (12 and under) and Senior (13-17) division receiving invitations to the finals, which will be held in July at the 2018 US Go Congress in Williamsburg, Virginia. Courtesy of the American Go Association and the American Go Foundation, finalists will also have all basic expenses covered to attend the 2018 US Go Congress, and any participant who completes all rounds of the preliminary tournament will be eligible for a $400 scholarship to the AGA Go Camp (details TBD) or a $200 scholarship to the 2018 US Go Congress.

Players must have an accredited rank of 1 dan or higher, be residents of the US, Canada, or Mexico, and have an active membership with any of aforementioned countries’ Go association to register for the Redmond Cup. Please consult the Rules and Regulations for more information about the tournament. Registration is now open and will close on March 7th. - Story and photo by AGA Youth Coordinator Justin Teng. Photo: 2017 finalists Aaron Ye (l) and Muzhen Ai (r). 


“Give Me Liberties, or Give Me Death!” New site launched for 2018 Go Congress in Williamsburg, Virginia

Thursday September 14, 2017

The organizers of the upcoming 2018 Go Congress, which will be held in Williamsburg, Virginia at the College of William and Mary from July 212017.09.13_congress-site-launched – 28, have launched the updated Go Congress site for 2018. “There’s one very important thing everyone should do: go to the site now and make sure you’re signed up for the Go Congress newsletter,” says Nate Eagle, co-director of the 2018 Go Congress with Diego Pierrottet. “And check back often: we’re going to be updating the site frequently with new information and features.”

“When the idea of the National Go Center hosting a Congress was suggested, I was quite dubious, because I was worried about keeping focus on the newly opened National Go Center.” says Eagle. “But when Diego showed me the research he’d done into William & Mary as a venue, I changed my mind. William & Mary is a gorgeous location, with brick-lined sidewalks and luxurious shade, and it’s close to Colonial Williamsburg, Busch Gardens, and a lot of other great attractions. And the excitement of preparing to host Congress has been infectious around the NGC: a ton of people have volunteered to staff important positions and help make the event outstanding.”

Williamsburg, Virginia is convenient to three major airports in Newport News, Norfolk, and Richmond, and is also accessible via Amtrak’s Northeast Regional train. If you have any questions or are interested in volunteering, please contact either Diego Pierrottet or Nate Eagle.


Record number of game records posted from 2017 Congress tourneys

Monday August 28, 2017

More than 80 game records from the 2017 U.S. Masters tournament earlier this month have now been posted on the Masters crosstab, 2017.08.27_congress-arnold-analysis-IMG_8713including an extra bonus treat with the games by Sorin Gherman, who got them all commented by pros, including Yamashiro Hiroshi 9p, Tsuruta Kazushi 4p, Li Yuankun 1p, Myungwan Kim 9p and Matthew Hu 2p (his opponent in round 8 on board 9).

Meanwhile, 126 game records from the 2017 U.S. Open have been posted on the crosstab. Thanks to everyone who submitted records, with special thanks to those who sent in all their games: Keith L. Arnold, Soren Jaffe, Edward Lee, Dave Whipp, and those sent in almost all of their games: Ashish Varma, Eric Wainwright, Andrew Zhang, Eugene Zhang, Steve Zhang. Extra special thanks to Dennis Wheeler for uploading the game records.

Note: if you missed the deadline for submitting game records, you can still send them to us at and we’ll do our best to get them added. Be sure to complete the game information with both player’s names and the game result.

photo: Yilun Yang 7P (left) analyzes one of Keith Arnold’s (right, in cap) U.S. Open games; photo by Chris Garlock


Categories: U.S. Go Congress

U.S. Go Congress 2017 EJ Team Recognition

Tuesday August 22, 2017

The American Go E-Journal’s comprehensive coverage of the annual U.S. Go Congress would not have been possible without the following team of dedicated volunteers who arrived early, stayed late and worked hard every single day to bring this major U.S. go event to the world. Our coverage included broadcasting — on our YouTube and Twitch channels and KGS — top-board games from every round of the US Masters and US Open, the City League and Redmond Cup finals, the Pair Go tournament and the Bao Yun Blindfold game. Reports appeared daily on our website and in the E-Journal, as well as on our Twitter feeds and Facebook page.2017.08.16_PS- EJ group looking at camera composite

Steve Colburn and Todd Heidenreich anchored the EJ Congress team as usual, helping coordinate the E-Journal’s editorial and game recording teams. Dennis Wheeler led the game recording team and was our liaison for KGS support, aided by Lee Schumacher and Akane Negishi. Tournament reporting was once again coordinated by Tournaments Bureau Chief Karoline Li, who served as a broadcast host as well. Phil Straus was our lead photographer (check out his Congress photo album here)

Michael Wanek headed up the video broadcasting team, taking the coverage to a whole new level with an impressive studio that featured a 2017.08.16-coffee-babsgreen-screen skybox overlooking the main playing area. (Sorry about the coffee crisis, Babs; steps2017.08.16-commentary have been taken to deal with those responsible!) Also on the core team were Alaina Wanek, Alex Weavers and Andrew Jackson, who originated this effort just a few years ago. Video broadcast hosts included Andrew Jackson, Chris Garlock, Stephen Xhu, Matt Burrall, Julie Burrall, Justin Teng, Karoline Li, Ricky Zhao and Lionel Zhang.

Game recorders included Lionel Zhang, Meng Cai, Richard Dolen, Nate Eagle (who won the 1-dan division in the U.S. Open), David Weimer and Diego Pierrottet. Many thanks to them, especially Zhang, Cai and Dolen, who recorded the morning rounds.

Special thanks as always to our professional commentators, who bring such depth and understanding to our coverage: Myungwan Kim 9p, Feng Yun 9p, Mingjiu Jiang 7p, Yilun Yang 7p, Jennie Shen 2p, Michael Chen 7d, Cathy Li 1p, Shirley Lin 1p, Eric Lui 1p, William Shi 1p, Stephanie Yin 1p.

Finally, huge thanks and appreciation to the entire 2017 U.S. Go Congress team, led by co-directors Ted Terpstra and Les Lanphear, for organizing this amazing week of go and providing such terrific content for us to cover.

- Chris Garlock
Managing Editor, American Go E-Journal








A seat at the board: a game recorder’s view

Tuesday August 22, 2017

by Nate Eagle2017.08.19-wu-hao-eagle

Move 110 of Wu Hao’s game against Ryan Li in this year’s U.S. Masters is remarkable: two seemingly dead white stones reach out a toe to the first line, creating a connection to the outside that turns out to be unbreakable due to an invisible sente, one that ends up swallowing up black’s four outside stones and becoming a game-winning fortress of territory. You can check out that move now and relive it—the timelessness of game records is one of the magical things about go, better even than baseball’s much-loved box scores—but I got to actually be there.

I sat next to Ryan Li, across the table from Wu Hao (right), my hand perched in readiness near the trackpad on my laptop, and traveled with two amazing players for several hours. I did my best to be as easy for them to forget as an extra chair at the table, trying not to stretch or fidget or distract from the game. How did I spend those hours? As well as I could, I tried to understand the game and think about white and black’s choices. If you had a magical view into the brain activity of the three humans at that table, of course, you would see two brains afire with electrical tempests of analysis and one brain with a single red LED blinking fitfully. But I was there with them, waiting while they thought, ready to ink their moves into electronic permanence before the 2017.08.19-nate-eagle-IMG_8652stones stopped vibrating.

That waiting, those long stretches of silence, is the difference between being forced to watch a match in its entirety and viewing a record afterward. It’s what gives one’s mind the time to ask questions, and those questions are what make watching a game edifying. It’s exciting when I anticipate a move correctly; even more so when—far more commonly—I’m wrong, and I get to spend the next few minutes learning about why the move actually played was stronger, sharper, bigger, or better-timed. The Socratic principle holds true in go as it does in all things: no teacher can give us knowledge, they can only help us answer our own questions.

Getting to be a recorder during this year’s Go Congress was a privilege and a pleasure: if you’re interested in volunteering to record at a future AGA event, please email

Eagle, who recorded evening Masters games (as well as the City League final), went 6-0 to win the shodan division of the 2017 U.S. Open
photo (top right): Eagle’s view of Wu Hao; (bottom left): Eagle recording a game between Matthew Hu and Tim song during the Pandanet AGA City League finals on August 5; photo by Chris Garlock

Categories: U.S. Go Congress

Last chance to add your U.S. Open games to the crosstab

Saturday August 19, 2017

With nearly 100 game records already added to this year’s U.S. Open crosstab, we’re extending the deadline for submitting games. The new2017.08.19_recording-IMG_8751 deadline is 11:59pm next Sunday, August 27. Email your sgf files to us at and be sure to complete the game information with both player’s names and the game result.  


U.S. Go Congress tournaments rated in record time

Friday August 18, 2017

Less than a week after the conclusion of the 33rd US Go Congress last Saturday, the US Open, US Open Masters Division, Redmond Cup, and the Die Hard 2017.08.18_us-open-IMG_8746tournaments have all been rated, in what Ratings Coordinator Jonathan Bresler believes to be record time. “Mmmm,” said AGA president Andrew Okun, contentedly, adding “On behalf of the Congress attendees and the entire go community, my thanks and compliments to TDs Matthew Hershberger, Andy Olsen, and Justin Teng, along with Jonathan Bresler, Treasurer Roy Schmidt, Membership Coordinator Charles Alden, the Congress directors and staff, for their diligence.” Players can see their results reflected in the AGA Games Database.
- photo by Chris Garlock