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

2019 U.S. Go Congress re-cap

Wednesday May 29, 2019

The 35th annual U.S. Go Congress will be held July 13–20 in Madison, Wisconsin. The playing site, Memorial Union on the UW–2019.03.23 UW-Madison campus, is on the shore of Lake Mendota within walking distance of many restaurants and attractions. Click here for detailed information about the Congress.

Here’s a quick re-cap of our pre-Congress coverage so far:

Registration opens for 2019 U.S. Go Congress
Lake Mendota now ice free; time to register for U.S. Go Congress
Congress to host Teachers’ Workshop
2019 US Go Congress College Scholarship Application Now Open
Nick Sibicky named AGF Teacher of the Year
Professional slate for U.S. Go Congress shaping up


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Congress to host Teachers’ Workshop

Monday May 27, 2019

Renowned teachers of teachers Toshifumi Mizuma 7P and Yuto Tajiri 5P will lead the Teachers’ Workshop at the upcoming U.S. Go Congress. The workshop is sponsored by the Iwamoto North American Foundation (INAF) and the Nihon-kiin. Open to all go players who want to become more effective in teaching beginners and high-kyu players, the INAF wishes to encourage those who have not previously participated in a Congress teachers’ workshop by providing them with $200 stipends. Those interested in participating in the Workshop should contact Mark Rubenstein.

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Redmond Cup prelims down to the wire entering final round

Saturday May 25, 2019

The final round of the 26th Redmond Cup Preliminaries has just started, and the race for the finalist spots in both the Junior and Senior divisions are still up for grabs, with no guaranteed finalists yet. In the Senior division, 3rd Redmond Meijin Aaron Ye 7d remains undefeated at 5-0, but will have to overcome 2018 AGA Girls Cup runner-up Melissa Cao 3d (currently 4-1) to guarantee a spot in the finals. Cao has had a fantastic tournament so far, defeating 4-time Junior Redmond Cup Champion Ary Cheng 6d and 2018 US Open Champion Brandon Zhou 5d in the previous two rounds. 2018 Redmond Cup runner-up Jeremy Chiu 6d and Richie Lou 5d also have a 4-1 record as well, and will play each other to move into a likely finalist position.  A victory for Melissa Cao in this round would result in a 3-way tie for first place, so a playoff would determine the two finalists the week following the final round. For both Ye and Chiu, this is the last year that they are eligible to compete in the Redmond Cup as both will turn 18 in 2020. Both of them have participated in the Redmond Cup since 2011 and combined taken 9 of the 16 finalist spots over their 8 years of competing. Should they both qualify for the finals this year, it would be Chiu’s final chance to defeat Ye in this tournament, having lost the two previous encounters in 2014 and 2018. 

The Junior division preliminaries is about as exciting as it can get. After Ary Cheng 6d’s four-year reign over the tournament before graduating to the Senior division, the field has been left wide open for new blood to take the throne. After 5 rounds, no player is undefeated and there is potential for a 6-way tie at a 4-2 score. Currently, Kevin Huang 6d and Ben Gong 3d lead the pack at 4-1, but Yuxin Fu 5d, Frederick Bao 4d (2018 Junior Redmond Cup runner-up), Kosuke Sato 3d, Duc Minh Vo 2d, and Alex Qi 2d are all chasing them at 3-2 records. The final round will pit Huang against Fu and Gong against Bao, and it will be up to Fu and Bao to force a tiebreaker playoff with victories.

When the dust settles, four finalists will be invited to the 2019 US Go Congress in Madison, Wisconsin in July to compete in a best-of-3 Finals. Stay tuned for the exciting conclusion of this year’s preliminary tournament. – Justin Teng, AGA Youth Coordinator

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Nick Sibicky named AGF Teacher of the Year

Thursday May 23, 2019

Seattle go teacher Nick Sibicky has been selected as Teacher of the Year by the American Go Foundation (AGF).  The prize includes a free trip to the US Go Congress in Madison, WI, where Sibicky will be honored at the Awards Banquet.  Sibicky will present a special lesson for his fans at congress also, and it’s a great opportunity for online viewers to meet him in person. “I am most humbled by the AGF with this award,” Sibicky told the Journal. “My go class and YouTube channel feel dwarfed by and indebted to the countless clubs, school programs, and outreach events the AGF is responsible for.”  Sibicky launched his popular online lessons on YouTube seven years ago.  His first lecture featured a game review between two players who were 5 kyu and has been viewed over 140,000 times.  As his channel grew, more and more viewers discovered his lessons.  23,000 viewers now subscribe to his channel, and individual videos can reach up to 8,000 viewers each week.  Sibicky’s lessons are engaging, humorous, and educational. They feature topics like “My Robot Overlord” about AI go programs and “Andrew Jackson Sucks at Go” co-taught with fellow YouTuber Andrew Jackson.  The videos are all well produced with graphics and titles as well as audience participation.  There are 345 videos to choose from, with new ones coming out every week.  Check out Sibicky’s channel here. 

Sibicky shared how he began with the Journal:  “Since moving to Seattle in 2008, I have been an active member of the Seattle Go Center. They regularly had hosted go classes for a variety of skill levels, and around 2011-2012 were looking for new teachers. I volunteered to take the Monday night class while my friend Andrew Jackson picked up the Wednesday night class. At the same time, I had been enjoying Dwyrin’s (aka Bat’s Go Lectures) series on YouTube. His videos indirectly inspired me to bring a video camera to my class. Brian Allen, the Seattle Go Center manager at the time, was particularly supportive of the idea. From 2012, I started regularly posting video recordings of the classes online. 

“There have been two “secrets” responsible for the success behind my channel. The first of which is consistency. By always having a class of live students to prepare for, I have been forced to come up with new ideas, topics, and approaches to the lessons. Stagnation is not possible. Furthermore, I have since learned that the proprietary algorithms working behind the scenes on YouTube heavily promote continuously active channels. The consistency of my posts has taken advantage of that. The second secret is my students. Unlike most of the other go content available, my lessons show interactions with real, present go players. They ask the questions that the viewers at home also want to ask. They interact with the material in ways I didn’t anticipate as their instructor. They struggle. They laugh. They let the viewer know that they are part of a broader community, where we each are working to improve ourselves. And that is something rarer and rarer to find in this digital content era.

“Of course, the one thing fueling this whole endeavor is the joy I find in teaching. My day job is teaching music production and audio engineering at a local college. But teaching go has been even more rewarding. Not having to deal with administration, grading deadlines, nor faculty meetings is a dream environment. I can place all of my spirit into the lesson and the students. I love this game, and I love sharing this game with other people. I have been very fortunate to find an environment that fostered such a love. I hope that everyone has something they love to share with others because I know the joy one gets from doing so. There are dozens if not hundreds of formal and informal teachers in my life. The individual lessons they taught me often are forgotten, but their spirit is remembered. Collectively, they represent one of the most positive continuing forces in my life. I hope the students attending my class and the viewers watching my little internet videos feel their spirit through me.”– Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor.  Photos: Screen captures from Sibicky’s YouTube Channel.

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Professional slate for U.S. Go Congress shaping up

Thursday May 9, 2019

One of the main attractions of the annual U.S. Go Congress is expert coaching from professional players through game analyses,087 PStraus 2018 Yang analyzing copy lectures, simultaneous games, and informal interaction. As in past years, the Chinese, Japanese, and Korean professional associations are all sending representatives to this year’s Congress, set for July 13-20 in Madison, WI. The Chinese Weiqi Association will be sending Tianfeng Fang (8p), Heyang Zhou (9p), and Zhe Li (6p). The Kansai-kiin will be sending Ysuhiro Nakano (9p) “and we expect the Nihon-kiin to send two professionals to lead the Teachers’ Workshop,” says Congress Director Dave Weimer. The Korea Baduk Association is planning on sending two professionals as well.

The AGA expects a number of professional players based in North America to participate, as well. “Renowned teacher Yilun Yang (7p; photo) has already registered, along with our Yoonsung Kim (5p) and Cathy Li (1p) who will be joining us from Canada,” says Weimer.

In-seong Hwang (7d) will again do his four-lecture series. “We also note that the retired but ever popular Hajin Lee (4p) will be attending,” Weimer added.

photo: Yilun Yang at the 2018 US Go Congress; photo by Phil Straus

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Lake Mendota now ice free; time to register for U.S. Go Congress

Saturday May 4, 2019

Spring has arrived in Madison, Wisconsin, and thoughts turn to …go, reports 2019 U.S. Go Congress Director Dave Weimer. 2019.05.04 Madison-springtime“Chairs are out on the lake-side terrace next to the site of the 2019 U.S. Go Congress, ready for go players to relax after their games,” Weimer tells the EJ. “Be sure to register during May to pay the early registration fee and reserve a ticket for the break day excursion to see the Milwaukee Brewers.” Click here for details.

photo by Dave Weimer

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2019 US Go Congress College Scholarship Application Now Open

Friday April 19, 2019

57226489_1325562057596081_3899342546807029760_nUniversity students can apply for a $200 AGF scholarship to the 35th US Go Congress in Wisconsin, Madison held July 13-20. Applicants must be aged 26 or younger and actively enrolled in college (rising students starting in Fall 2019 and recent graduates in Spring 2019 are also eligible). Both undergraduate and graduate students may apply. After filling out the application, applicants should email proof of enrollment to youth@usgo.org and the application will be reviewed within three days. If approved, additional instructions will then be sent on claiming the scholarship. Interested applicants should not register for the US Go Congress until his or her application status has been received. There are a total of 25 scholarships available first-come first-serve with 20 allotted to US students and 5 for Canada/Mexico students, so apply soon to claim one! – Justin Teng, AGA Youth Coordinator.  Photo: University of Maryland Go Club by Jack de la Beaujardiere

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Registration opens for 2019 U.S. Go Congress

Saturday March 23, 2019

The 35th annual U.S. Go Congress will be held July 1320 in Madison, Wisconsin. The playing site, Memorial Union on the UW–2019.03.23 UW MemorialUnionTerrMadison campus, is on the shore of Lake Mendota within walking distance of many restaurants and attractions. Click here for detailed information about the Congress.

2019.03.23 2019 Congress logoThe “Register Here” tab on the Congress website will enable you to register and sign up for lunch and dinner plans, the banquet, and the day-off activity. After registering, you will receive an e-mail with a receipt and a link to sign-up for University housing.

“One of the day-off activities will be an afternoon MLB game between the Milwaukee Brewers and the Atlanta Braves,” says Congress Director Dave Weimer. “Sign up by March 31 to guarantee a ticket!”

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US Go Congress updates: videos uploaded; comedy podcast visits; more Open games posted

Friday August 10, 2018

US Go Congress videos uploaded: All the 2018 U.S. Go Congress videos have now been edited and uploaded to the AGA’s 2018.08.10_congress-video-teamYouTube channel; click here to check them out. “All the intermissions/breaks are edited out so people won’t have to skip around,” says Stephen Hu, who directed this year’s video coverage. The 24 videos – watched live on Twitch by audiences of up to 12,000, include US Masters top board commentaries, the Pandanet-AGA City League and Pair Go finals, Redmond Cup finals, the Facebook ELF Open Go event, as well as an interviews with Chinese pro Ding Wei, 2018 Congress Co-Director Nate Eagle, 2019 Congress Director Dave Weimer, and a 2018 Congress re-cap with Hu and producer Chris Garlock. photo: EJ video team in action: (l-r): Joel Cahalan, guest 2018.08.10_comedy-podcastcommentator Eodeokdung (Leo) Lee 2P, Stephen Hu, Nathan Epstein; photo by Chris Garlock

Comedy podcast visits Go Congress: Action Comedy Nerd Show co-host Jerry Jaffe 1d (right) dropped by the 2018 US Go Congress and produced an episode of the podcast, with interviews with Andy Liu, Yuan Zhou, Nate Eagle, and Josh Lee.  Click here  to check out the podcast (also available through iTunes and Stitcher). In the episode, Jaffe also teaches podcast co-host Dan Brown about the game, “as well as schooling him on which movies Will Smith is or is not in.”

More Open games posted: US Open players continue to send us their 2018 sgf game files and it’s not too late to get your games preserved for posterity on the US Open crosstab; email them to us at journal@usgo.org (be sure to make sure all the player info, including result, is completed).

 

 

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Jump on in, the water’s fine: A first timer takes the Congress plunge       

Tuesday August 7, 2018

by Bethany Nyborg 18 kyu2018.08.06 Bedford Club story page1

I attended my first US Go Congress seven years after I first learned to play, and yet I could count on the fingers of one hand how many times I had played against someone who knew what they were doing. Go came to Bedford, Virginia seven years ago when my brother and I watched Hikaru No Go, joined the AGA, and started a go club at the Bedford Public Library, which garnered us some coverage in the local paper (right). We learned very quickly that no one knew about the game. Our only option was to teach as many people to play as we could. As teenagers, we had more success teaching children than adults. I knew I would not live in that area for long, so my goal was to create a pocket of people who had heard of go. When the next person passionate about go came along, I wanted them to find their work already begun.

Even though my dad’s new job was in Northern Virginia, I realized my obstacles had not decreased: I had just started going to college full time, and I didn’t have a driver’s license or a car. Go was put on the back burner for the next four years, but I always listed it in my top three favorite hobbies. Then I saw that the 2018 Go Congress would be at William and Mary College in nearby Williamsburg. With the support and blessing of my new husband (and a scholarship from the AGF), I decided to make this year’s US Go Congress my first AGA event.

On the way to the Congress my nerves tensed as I wondered what people would think of my inexperienced, self-taught go. I rarely played online because I was afraid p2018.08.06 Bethany Nyborgeople would think I was wasting their time by playing such bad moves. Still, I had positive experiences the three times I had been to an AGA go club, and I had high hopes for the Go Congress.

Starting at registration, I met people who were as excited about go as I am and by the end of the first evening’s 9×9 tournament my fears had evaporated. I found that years of studying go problems on my own had given me important skills, and through the tutelage of good players I was able to improve my game in the areas that had intimidated me before. It did not matter that my game was lopsided going in, I was there to learn and improve. Much to my surprise, I came away with two medals, winning the 9×9 kyu championship and coming in second in my division at the Women’s Tournament. Every day I reveled in being surrounded by people talking about go and playing morning, afternoon, and evening. I achieved all my goals, made new friends and, armed with my AGA teaching certificate, I look forward to jumping back into promoting go in my community and creating new spaces for people to play.

 

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