American Go E-Journal

Registration Open for 2021 AGHS School Team Tournament

Monday March 29, 2021

“What words do you think of when you hear ‘school’?” asks Promotion Head Jenny Li, “Homework, tests, Zoom? Nah. This year, AGHS will revamp your word cloud by hosting the annual School Team Tournament on April 25th and May 2nd on OGS via BadukClub. There will be a total of four rounds, starting at 10 PM and 1 PM PST on each of the two days. In order to be eligible, players must be under 19 or currently enrolled in K-12. Each team must consist of at least three players who go to the same school or institution.”

The registration deadline is April 18th 11:59 PM PST.
Click here to register and learn more information about eligibility and rules

50 Years aGo – March 1971

Saturday March 27, 2021

by Keith L. Arnold, hka, with Patrick Bannister

James Davies playing at the Asahi Amateur Best Ten Tournament in March 1971
James Davies

The big story this month was the Hon’inbo Tournament. As you may recall, Ishida Yoshio 7d finished last month 2-1, trailing Fujisawa Hōsai 9d, who was 4-0. Ishida played three games in the league this month, winning all of them. The first one, played on March 3 and 4, was the most important – a half point win against league leader Fujisawa Hōsai made a large lead seem as small as the game’s margin. Two weeks later he defeated Chino Tadahiko 7d, and on the last day of March he defeated Kanō Yoshinori 9d (author of Graded Go Problems for Beginners) to finish the month tied with Hōsai at 5-1 with one game remaining. (Game records: Ishida-Hōsai, Chino-Ishida, Kanō-Ishida.)

On March 14, the first round of the Asahi Amateur Best Ten Tournament took place in Tōkyō. Two Westerners took part, Richard Bozulich – founder of Ishi Press – and James Davies, taking time out from compiling information about the 1971 Hon’inbo Tournament. The study must have put him in good stead, as Davies (pictured) won his first game, although he lost in the second round.

Miyashita Shūyō and Fujisawa Hōsai talking after counting the score of their game at the 3rd Hayago Championship in March 1971
Miyashita (right) and Fujisawa Hōsai

Japan completed two television tournaments this month, with the victors vanquishing the movers and shakers of the Hon’inbo League. On March 21, Miyashita Shūyō 9d (on the right in picture) defeated Fujisawa Hōsai in the final of the 3rd Hayago Championship. Ōtake Hideo defeated Ishida Yoshio on March 24, in the final of the NHK Tournament. (Game records: Miyashita-Hōsai, Ishida-Ōtake.)

Two events occurred in the greater New York area this month. On the March 6 and 7, the 12th New Jersey Open Championship took place. Takao Matsuda 6d defended his title with a victory in the final round over his rival Takahiko Ishikawa 5d of Philadelphia. In the New Jersey Championship, Robert Ryder 5d won over Harry Gonshor 4d. The kyu champion was David Ault. The report in Go Review thanked Jeff Rohlfs for his hospitality during the event – Jeff is still an active tournament go player today.

The following weekend, Matsuda showed he could win giving handicaps as well by winning the New York Okigo Championship with a perfect record.

Photos from Go Review.

Registration Open for AGHS Weekly Go Problems – Spring Season 2021

Sunday March 21, 2021

“Registration for the American Go Honor Society (AGHS) Weekly Go Problems – Spring Season 2021 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. The season lasts ten weeks, with prizes being awarded at the end.”

Register here if you would like to participate

The deadline to sign up is April 8th, 2021, 11:59 pm PDT. If you have any questions, please contact aghsregister@gmail.com.

Go at the Cherry Blossom Festival

Saturday March 20, 2021

by Ted Terpstra

For the tenth year in a row, the San Diego Go Club has taught Go to interested people attending the annual Japanese Friendship Garden’s Cherry Blossom Festival in Balboa Park in San Diego. Thousands streamed through the blossoming Japanese cherry trees, blooming azaleas, and wisteria from Friday morning until Sunday at dusk. Everyone was required to be masked and socially distanced.

All who sat down for a go lesson were given a free copy of “The Way To Go” by Karl Baker. This 50-page booklet, which is provided for free to AGA chapters by the AGF, has everything a person new to Go needs to enjoy the game: Go history, rules of the game, examples, references to online Go sites, a glossary of Go terms, and the path to finding Go clubs in the USA.

The annual Cherry Blossom Festival is one of several community outreach programs the San Diego Go Club participates in. The effort results in new club members and new AGA memberships. Hopefully, by Thanksgiving, the Fourth Annual California Go Championship, sponsored by SDGC, will be held face-to-face.

-photos provided by Ted Terpstra

New Go server for beginners allows players to visualize influence

Tuesday March 16, 2021

Color Go Server, a brand new Go server geared towards beginners, promises to inject a little fun and a lot of learning into beginner play. The programming includes basic Go server features, allowing players to play, watch and review games, and chat. On top of the basics and allowing players to customize their colors and themes, CGS allows players to visualize areas of influence and includes optional aids such as viewing liberty counts, highlighting Ko and Atari, and viewing potential results in real time. “Even if the rules of Go are easy to understand, the final goal, to control a bigger territory than the opponent, remains hard for beginners to visualize. CGS will help new players to learn the game rules in a more intuitive way,” says Max Moussalli, creator of CGS.

The server launched in January and is available in 19 languages. CGS allows players to play real-time or correspondence games in a web browser without requiring downloads. Learn more about CGS by visiting the Color Go Server website.

The Empty Board: What Is Blitz Go? (#18)

Monday March 15, 2021

By William Cobb

I was thinking about taoism the other day (such things are a consequence of studying and teaching Eastern philosophy for many years) and realized that it offers a hint of what I might say to readers who are unhappy about the dismissive way I tend to talk about speed/blitz go. The hint is the notion of “non-action”, which is neither acting nor not acting. So I could say that with regard to go, there is “playing” and “not playing”. Blitz go, it seems to me, is neither of these; it is “non-playing”.

Taoism says that there is a difference between acting with a focus on what you think will be in your own best interest, that is, for clearly selfish reasons, and acting in a way that is simply a response to what you sense should be done. In the latter case, your motivation is not focused on some sort of egotism. Your motivation is based on an understanding of what is appropriate in the situation given the common values that are involved. That is, the values that are based on a recognition of the fact that you are not a self-sufficient ego that can benefit from harming or ignoring the needs of others. We exist as parts of a functioning whole, not as separate entities, so the appropriate way to act is in accordance with that understanding of the situation.

In go, this has to do with understanding both the game and the role of one’s opponent. It is obviously not consistent with the nature of go to play with an inappropriate handicap so that you can enjoy humiliating your opponent. Similarly, it is not playing go to just plop stones down on the board in a heedless way. The essence of blitz go is playing to the limit of your sense of what is going on in the game; it’s a way to discover just what those limits of awareness are. In “normal” play, you take time to analyze situations and possibilities much more deeply. Of course, there are always more layers to explore and time is not unlimited; in blitz go, you push to go as far and fast as you can. It would probably be a total disaster for beginners to try to play that way, given their limited knowledge base. But for experienced players, I suppose, it can be an amusing way to discover the limits of your understanding of various situations.

And, of course, blitz go can be wildly exciting if you enjoy activities in which you have little grasp of what is really happening. (You didn’t really think I would end up being in favor of it did you?)

photo by Phil Straus; photo art by Chris Garlock

Your Move/Readers Write: Tournaments?

Monday March 15, 2021

“I’m writing to ask if there will be any go tournaments in the near future?” writes David. “I recently got back into the game after watching the AlphaGo documentary, and I’d like to participate in a legit tournament before deciding whether to join AGA as a member.”
There haven’t been many in the last year, due to the pandemic, but San Diego is hosting an online tournament starting March 13 and the New York Go League starts up March 15. Keep an eye on our tournament page for updates on future events. Hope this is helpful; click here for details on how to join the AGA.

AGA Board Meeting This Sunday, March 14

Thursday March 11, 2021

The AGA Board of Directors is meeting this Sunday, March 14th at 8pm EDT/5pm PDT, later the same day of the daylight savings time change. The agenda for the meeting can be found here, and agenda and minutes for past meetings can be found here – board meeting minutes are generally approved as the first item of business at the next meeting, so updates to this page will often be a few months behind. If you are interested in attending the meeting this weekend, please contact AGA Board Chair Lisa Scott at lisa.scott@usgo.org.

Interested in learning what the board has been up to lately? Summaries can be found at the beginning of the minutes for each meeting. Following are a few recent updates:

November 2020 AGA Board Meeting
The AGA Board of Directors approved a multiyear strategic plan, and were joined by AGA officers to review and assess interest in each element. The strategic plan falls into four main categories: organizational improvement, promoting Go in the US, improving the Go community, and maintaining progress on existent projects. The board also discussed the ongoing problem of playing Go in the pandemic and the recent appointment of the new AGA Treasurer, Lucas Baker.  

September 2020 AGA Board Meeting
At the September meeting of the AGA board of directors, the board gave the AGA president authorization to rate online tournaments advertised as “AGA-ratable,” pending development of an online rating system. The board also discussed filling the vacant treasurer post, development of formal policy documentation, and long-term priorities. The board received an update on operational concerns related to the AGAGD implementation. 

-report by Lisa Scott

Latin American Go teachers announce pan-American youth team league, registration open until March 20

Sunday March 7, 2021

Diego Albuja of Ecuador, Paola Sarmiento of Colombia, and Sid Avila of México invite players of all the countries of the Americas and the Caribbean to take part in the Liga Panamericana de Go por Equipos Sub 18 “SIRIO” (U18 Pan-American Go Team League Sirio), a Go team league from March to July of 2021 with rounds to be played the last Sunday of each month. Teams of three players under 18 years of age can enter in the following three divisions: Division 19×19 for teams with players from 13 kyu and above; Division 13×13 for teams with players from 19 kyu to 14 kyu; and Division 9×9 for teams with players from 30 kyu to 20 kyu.

The organizers have set up a dedicated group on OGS where games will take place. Registration is open until March 20th. An adult responsible for the players should register the team here.

Schedule
Round 1: March 28, from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm EDT
Round 2: April 25, from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm EDT
Round 3: May 30, from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm EDT
Round 4: June 27, from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm EDT
Round 5: July 25, from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm EDT

The first game on the day of the matches will be played from official pairings. After finishing the paired game, players may play up to two more self-paired games with appropriate handicaps among other players in their division. They can send challenges freely and victories in these games will count as points for their teams.

The full rules and regulations and the tournament website are available in Spanish. Organizers recommend using Google translate or a similar tool to read the rules in English. If any questions remain, contact the organizers at sidd.avd@gmail.com

The Power Report: Sumire’s progress; Takemiya wins 1200 games; Yoshida Mika first woman player to win 700 games

Friday March 5, 2021

by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal

Takemiya wins 1200 games
On Jan. 14, Takemiya Masaki 9P (W) beat Hara Sachiko 4P by resig. in a game in the First Tournament (= preliminary) of the 46th Kisei tournament. This made him the 10th member of the Nihon Ki-in to reach the mark of 1,200 wins. He has 764 losses and two jigo, for a winning percentage of 61%, which is 10th best. It took him 55 years nine months, which is ninth quickest. He is also the ninth oldest (he turned 70 on NY’s day).

Sumire’s progress
As of January 1, Nakamura Sumire 1P switched to the Tokyo branch of the Nihon Ki-in. She has made a superb start there with seven wins to just one loss (as of Feb. 18), as detailed below. She actually started off her go year by being featured in the special go program presented by NHK to celebrate the new year (telecast on the 3rd). Taking black with no komi, she played a game with Shibano Toramaru Oza. Before the game, the program delved into the background of the players, showing photographs of them when younger. That was followed by an entertaining “talk show” between Sumire and Hirata Tomoya 7P. The latter shared commentating duties on the game with Kobayashi Satoru and Ueno Asami. In an aggressive game featuring tenukis in the opening and trades in the middle game, Sumire held her own, but Shibano ratcheted up the pressure by complicating the game and forced a resignation after move 168. In the end, she may have been outplayed by Shibano, but the commentators praised her fighting spirit.
(Jan. 7) Sumire played two games in the 32nd Woman’s Meijin Prelim. A. In the morning, taking white, she beat Tsukuda Akiko 5P by resig. to score her fourth win in a row in this tournament. One more win would give her a place in the league. In the afternoon, Ueno Asami, Senko Cup-holder, (B) beat Sumire by 9.5 points.
(Jan. 18). Sumire (B) beat Sakakibara Fumiko 6P by resig. (8th Women’s Hollyhock prelim.)
(Jan. 21) Sumire (W) beat Minematsu Masaki 6P by resig. (Prelim. C, 60th Judan).
(Jan. 25) Sumire (W) beat Iwata Saeka 1P by 1.5 points (prelim., 40th Women’s Honinbo prelim.).
(Feb. 4) Sumire (W) beat Ha Yon-il 6P by 13.5. (First Tournament, 46th Kisei).
(Feb. 11) Sumire (W) beat Tatsumi Akane 3P by 5.5 (Women’s Hollyhock prelim.).
(Feb. 18) Sumire (W) beat Takao Mari 1P by half a point (Women’s Honinbo).
Sumire now has a winning streak of six. Go Weeklytracks players with winning streaks; when hers reached five, her name was included. With six, she is equal third among the twelve players enjoying winning streaks.

Yoshida Mika first woman player to win 700 games
On February 10, in the final game of the 40th Women’s Honinbo preliminary tournament, Yoshida Mika 8P of the Kansai Ki-in (B) beat Mizuno Hiromi 5P, also of the Kansai Ki-in, by resignation. This was her 700th win in official games. She is the first female Japanese pro to reach this mark. Her record is 700 wins to 550 losses and one jigo (tied game). Yoshida turned 50 on Feb. 12.

Promotions
To 9-dan: Ichiriki Ryo (for winning his second top-seven title, the 46th Tengen title)
To 6-dan: Ms. Tsukuda Akiko (90 wins; as of Jan. 22); Ms. Mukai Chiaki (90 wins; as of Feb. 20)
To 5-dan: Hoshikawa Takumi (70 wins; as of Jan. 28; Hoshikawa is a member of the Kansai Ki-in, together with an older brother and a younger brother); Ms. Izawa Akino (70 wins; as of Feb. 2)
To 4-dan: Inaba Takahiro (50 wins; as of Feb. 19)
To 3-dan: Takagi Junpei (40 wins; as of Feb. 16)
To 2-dan: Takei Taishin (30 wins; as of Feb. 19)