American Go E-Journal

Go Photo: Phil Straus

Wednesday December 30, 2020

“Bringing light to contacting the large knight’s shimari.”
Board by Bill Saltman; stones from Solomon Smilack
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Go Spotting: Sanjuro

Tuesday December 29, 2020

“The movie Sanjuro has a couple of scenes with a nice go board in view,” reports Daniel R. Grayson. Sanjuro is a 1962 black-and-white Japanese jidaigeki film directed by Akira Kurosawa and starring Toshiro Mifune. It is a sequel to Kurosawa’s 1961 Yojimbo (Wikipedia)

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EJ Mailbag: 2020, Part 2

Tuesday December 29, 2020

‘Quantum go machine’ plays ancient board game using entangled photons
A quantum-mechanical version of the ancient board game go has been demonstrated experimentally by physicists in China, according to a report in PhysicsWorld. “Using entangled photons, the researchers placed go pieces (called stones) in quantum superpositions to vastly increase the complexity of the game. They foresee the technology serving as the ultimate test for machine players that use ever more sophisticated artificial intelligence (AI).” (Robert Cordingley)

Mitchell’s Utopia Avenue
In David Mitchell’s new book Utopia Avenue, the character in his current novel set in the 1960’s England is “remembering” a scene from the novel The Thousand Autumns of Jacob van de Zoet, a novel that takes place in 18th century Japan, reports Ken Parel-Sewell. “It’s a huge spoiler and very complicated to explain why this happens. David Mitchell’s books are fascinating alone, and even more fascinating when you read them all.”

The History of Home
In episode two of The History of Home, narrated by master woodworker Nick Offerman (Parks and Recreation), go is seen at 48:27 in a transition between explaining the historical importance of board games and the modern pastime of playing video games, reports Tyler Keithley, President of the Southwest Missouri Go Club. “Go is then mentioned by Twitch streamer Sonja Reid ‘OMGITSFIREFOXX’ at around 50 minutes and 30 seconds into the show.”

A more-or-less random selection of go-related stuff that somehow we just never got around to publishing this year, but that we don’t want to forget, file or delete. Thanks to everyone who sent us tips and suggestions this year; keep ’em coming to journal@usgo.org!

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EJ Mailbag: 2020, Part 1

Monday December 28, 2020

A more-or-less random selection of go-related stuff that somehow we just never got around to publishing this year, but that we don’t want to forget, file or delete. Thanks to everyone who sent us tips and suggestions this year and we promise to do better in 2021!

The wild and crazy folks at Shut Up & Sit Down tackle go. Thanks to Peter Freedman for the link.

Understanding Chinese Culture via the Board Game Go
Ze-Li Dou tackles ancient Chinese civilization, Confucianism and Daoism through the lens of go, “examining how philosophical attitudes are reflected in Go by literary means, which will also illustrate the interconnectedness of literature, philosophy, history, and art in China.” Or, put another way, “Go is like a little stone found on the bank of our grand metaphoric river; a close inspection of its polish and patina may throw light on the nature and history of the river itself.” Thanks to Roy Laird for passing this along.

Go Seigen vs. Fujisawa Kuranosuke – Breakdown
EJ reader Geoff Pippin found this piece by a small Australian classical ensemble called “Nonsemble” on YouTube, about the famous 1953 game between Go Seigen and Fujisawa Kuranosuke. “The best part is that it is really an excellent piece!” says Pippin.
From the Nonsemble website: “A 30 minute work for chamber septet, using the moves of 1953 championship game of Go as stimulus for harmonic, rhythmic and melodic material. It’s an experiment in extracting musical ideas from abstract patterns and sequences, and allowing these ideas to develop intuitively into a large-scale work.”

Why Do People Love Games?
The Game Maker for The New York Times (Yes! There is a Game Maker) explains. “Although Go’s origin is unclear, many scholars speculate that it was created to teach tactics and strategy. When we enter the magic circle, we give ourselves permission to explore, to fail, to lose. When we stop playing Go, we carry that experience with us.” Thanks (again) to Roy Laird for the link.

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Mok Jin-seok to launch ‘The Best Moves in Go History’ series on NYIG YouTube channel

Saturday December 26, 2020

January 1, 2021 will bring more than New Year’s Day as Korean 9-Dan professional Mok Jin-seok joins the NY Institute of Go YouTube channel , co-host a new series — ‘The Best Moves in Go History’ — for the channel with Ryan Li 1P that launches on New Year’s Day. Mok Jin-seok, who turned pro in 1994 and is currently the head coach of the Korean national team, brings his expertise in the game of go to NYIG_Go, joining an already talented group of instructors that includes Stephanie Yin 1P, Ryan Li 1P and Michael Chen 7D.

50 years aGO December 1970

Saturday December 26, 2020

by Keith L. Arnold, hka with Patrick Bannister

As of December 17th, Fujisawa Hosai 9 dan and Honda Kunihisa 8 dan hold the early lead at 2-0 in the 10th Meijin League.

Only one round has been played in the 26th Honinbo league. As we learned last month, Ishida qualified for the league, but dropped his first game against Kato Masao 6 dan. The victor is shown on the left in this match picture, with their teacher, the great Kitani, looking on. 2020.12.26-Kato defeats Ishida

The big news was the arrival of fellow Kitani disciple, Takemiya Masaki 6 dan 2020.12.26-Takemiya who, at age 19 became the youngest title challenger in history by defeating Fujisawa Meijin on December 1-2, and Sakata on December 16-17 to become the challenger to Ishida Yoshio in the Nihon Kiin Championship. He lost the first game, however, on December 23.

Finally, on December 27, the Nordrhein-Westfalen Championship was won by the strapping young man pictured. Veteran U.S. Go Congress-goers may recognize the German juggernaut Horst Sudhoff, who won the match in Dusseldorf. A regular feature at the Congress, Horst, win or lose, played the most games every year he attended, haunting the playing room and taking on all comers.

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English translation of How to Play Go the AI Way published by BOARD N’STONES

Thursday December 24, 2020

BOARD N’STONES, the English-language branch of primarily German-language Go books publisher Brett und Stein Verlag, has published a translation of Yamada Shinji 6p’s book on AI techniques, which became available in Japan in December 2019 only. “How to Play Go the AI Way!” is intended for amateur players who would like to learn and employ the modern AI style. The style may seem confusing because there are so many tactics that differ from traditional thinking, but the study of the new techniques introduced by AI has already lead to their rapid spread and adoption. Today they are applied by pros almost as a matter of course. This book summarizes the findings from the study of AI techniques and explains them using illustrative diagrams. The new book is available through most online book shops. Credits for translation go to Peter Gebert.

-report by Gunnar Dickfield

Virginia showdown lights up Christmas weekend

Thursday December 24, 2020

The 2020 Virginia State Championship final is set in knock-out format on OGS on Saturday Dec. 26. After the Dec. 5 prelim – click here for results – four strong players have been invited to the final-four. Semi-finals start at 9am ET, and the final at 2:30 pm ET.

Players are welcome to watch and join in the chat on Baduk Club. Prior to the championship tournament, organizers reached out to all Virginia clubs and several language schools of major VA cities, to scout for more Go players who may have liked to compete. Joshua Lee is the defending VA champion from 2019, and though not in the competition this year, 2019 runner-up Qingbo Zhang has made it to the final four for a shot at the 2020 title.

report by Capital Go Club

Tianyi Li and Zixuan Gao win 2020 Young Lions Tournament

Saturday December 19, 2020

Tianyi Li

“On November 22nd and 29th, over 140 youth players from across North America participated in the largest ever Young Lions Tournament, AGHS’ longest-running tournament,” says Promotion Head Jenny Li, “After four competitive rounds, two 4 dan players Tianyi Li and Zixuan Gao tied for first place and emerged as the champions for this year’s Young Lions Tournament.”

Zixuan Gao


Winners report: Open Division 1st place: Tianyi Li, Zixuan Gao; Division A 1st place: Sophie Lin, 2nd place: Chase Lin, Juanshu Lan; Division B 1st place: Albert Tang, 2nd place: David Wu, 3rd place: Steve Zhang; Division C 1st place: Andy Zhou, 2nd place: Stephanie Tan, 3rd place: Jason Liu; Division D 1st place: Mathew Wang, 2nd place: Anna Zhou, 3rd place: Alexander Lo; Divison E 1st place: Joshua Wong, 2nd place: Lucia Moscola, 3rd place: Isaac Zhang; Divison F 1st place: Tianning Li, 2nd place: Tony Li, 3rd place: Amari González; Divison G 1st place: Irene Zhang, 2nd place: Yiting Liu, 3rd place: Ava Gao; Divison H 1st place: Eric Wang, 2nd place: Noah Carrafa, 3rd place: William Xiang; Division I 1st place: Woody Yin, 2nd place: Enzo Moscola, 3rd place: Austin Reyes; Division J 1st place: Kyle Tang, 2nd place: Michelle Wong, 3rd place: Andy Li

Registration Open for AGHS Weekly Go Problems Season

Friday December 18, 2020

“Registration for the American Go Honor Society (AGHS) Weekly Go Problems Season 1 is now open, and all players are welcomed,” says Promotion Head Jenny Li, “Each Sunday, we will provide Go problems with five different levels from the most beginner to the most advanced level. Practicing problems is a great opportunity to enhance your skills and will benefit you tremendously in your games. This year, we will be dividing the program into two seasons, one in the winter and the other in the spring. Each season lasts ten weeks, with prizes being awarded at the end of each one.”

Register here if you would like to participate

The deadline to sign up is January 9, 2021, 11:59 pm PST. Season 1 will begin on January 10th. If you have any questions, please contact aghsregister@gmail.com.