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

2019 US Go Congress handbook posted

Saturday July 6, 2019

“Since I first moved to Madison, I have thought that Memorial Union (right), on the shore of Lake Mendota, would be a wonderful venue for a Congress,” says 2019 U.S. Go Congress Director Dave Weimer in the just-released Congress handbook (see link below). “During the Congress, you are a member of the Union. Enjoy typical Wisconsin fare on the Terrace as you relax after your games. Enjoy walks along the many miles of trails along the lakeshore that begin at Memorial Union. Have some ice cream at the Daily Scoop made on campus by our Dairy School.” And of course the annual Go Congress — coming up July 13-20 in Madison, WI — is all about the game of go. “The Congress gives you an opportunity to immerse yourself in the wonderful game that brings us together as a community,” says Weimer. “In addition to the tournaments that test your skills and the professional events that help you improve them, you will have an opportunity see old friends and make new ones.”
If you’re already registered for the Congress, this is a great sneak preview of the exciting week coming up. If not, there’s still time: click here for details on how to sign up.

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Bob High Memorial Song & Poetry Contest planned for U.S. Go Congress

Thursday June 27, 2019

A studious player named Jones
Tried capturing a group of stones
His opponent gave them
He just didn’t save them
And from the observers came groans.

A fearless young player named Joe
Was trying to stir up some woe
He made a big cut
His opponent said “What?!”
As calmly he retook the ko.

They call it Go in Japanese
In China they call it Wei Chi
The Korean books
All call it Baduk
But call it whatever you please.

The limericks above are meant to demonstrate how easy it is to create submissions for the 2019 US Go Congress’ Bob High Memorial Song & Poetry Contest. For those who keenly felt the contest’s absence last year, Frank Brown has picked up the gauntlet and will be herding bards and judges at this year’s gathering in Madison (July 13-20; click here for details).

Rules and entry forms will be available at the Congress beginning Sunday afternoon. “So prepare to pick up your writing devices, plunk down some verses, fill out an official entry form and drop them in the submission box,” says Brown. “You too could be a winner!”
NOTE: AGA members unable to attend this year’s Congress may submit entries in absentia by emailing them to fcnzyo@protonmail.ch — please use ‘2019 Song & Poetry Contest’ in the subject field.”

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Congress to host Teachers’ Workshop

Wednesday June 26, 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 at mark@evanstongoclub.org.

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Garlock’s Go Congress quiz challenge

Friday June 21, 2019

by Chris Garlock, Managing Editor, The American Go E-Journal

It’s easy enough to find out that there are 389 people registered for this year’s U.S. Go Congress (just click here for the latest list), but how many different states are represented among the attendees? How many countries? How many kyu players and how many dan players? How many players named Chris? (ok, I just put that one in for fun) Send in your best guesses and you’ll be entered in a drawing for a prize TBD.

With just three weeks to go — the Congress runs July 13-20 in Madison, WI –, there’s still plenty of time to register for the biggest and best go event of the year; 8 days of non-stop go in gorgeous Madison, Wisconsin (go Badgers!). Also, for my fellow tennis-playing go players be sure to pack your racquets, as Director Dave Weimer has assured me that courts are available nearby so we’ll definitely be heading there for some off-board action! And as soon as I hear from soccer-meister Terry Benson, I’ll update you on those plans.

Also, we’re looking for a few good game recorders for join the EJ’s Congress team; if you’re interested, drop us a note at journal@usgo.org.

If anyone else has cool pre-Congress news to report, send it my way at the same email address; see you soon in Madison!

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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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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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