American Go E-Journal

Evanston Go Club prepares for PechaKucha round 2

Saturday April 28, 2018

Mark Rubenstein and Bob Barber are preparing to do their second presentation about go at PechaKucha. Pecha-wha? 2018.04.28_Evanston Go Club prepares for PechaKucha

PechaKucha was devised in Tokyo in February 2003 as an event for young designers to meet, network, and show their work in public. PK is a simple presentation format where you show 20 images, each for 20 seconds. “PK Nights are informal and fun gatherings where creative people get together and share their ideas, works, thoughts… just about anything, really!” Rubenstein tells the EJ. There are PK events in over 1,000 cities around the world.
“We did a PK presentation in 2011, and it was a blast!” said Rubenstein. “We wanted to give people an interesting and engaging introduction to Go, and in PK you’ve only got 6 minutes and 40 seconds in which to do it. We worked really hard, putting together slides and writing a script. With the recent events around AlphaGo, we thought it would be appropriate for us to do another one focused on that.”
The event that Rubenstein and Barber will be presenting at will be held June 5 at Martyr’s, 3855 N. Lincoln Ave, Chicago. You can click here to download and watch their previous presentation.
“We encourage everyone to find a PK event in their hometown, and consider doing a presentation about Go.” said Rubenstein. “It’s a ton of fun, and a great way to increase the visibility of the game.”
Click here for more information about PK.

Eric Zhang wins NC Spring Tournament (again)

Saturday April 28, 2018

Perennial champion Eric Zhang won the North Carolina Annual Spring tournament on Sunday, April 22nd, topping a field of 38.2018.04.28-NC-sm_2509 “It was a beautiful sunny day on the UNC campus in Chapel Hill,” reports organizer Bob Bacon, “and after four rounds of intense competition the following winners were noted: in the top band, Eric Zhang 2018.04.28-NC-sm_2494won all of his games; second place was a tie between Brian Wu and Suyoung Yoon. Band 2 was won by Tao Ma with another 4-0 record; Paul Celmer placed second. There was a 3 way tie for first place in Band 3, with Eric Tillberg, Harrison Pedigo and Tom Roncoli each achieving a 3-1 record. Raul Crisan won all 4 of his games to lead the pack in Band 4, with Justin Su and Ganning Xu placing second. Band 5 was handily won by Ajay Dheeraj, with another perfect 4-0 record; Annie Yuan and John Schollenberger tied for second, and Sophia Yang was 3rd.

The local go community was encouraged by the many first- and second-time tournament participants. The tournament was attended by many supportive parents “and one special guest, local Professional Ying Shen 2P,” Bacon says. “Ying Shen 2P offered suggestions and encouragement to many of the participants, and her presence was greatly appreciated.” Jeff Kuang was the Tournament Director. Lunch was provided onsite by the Triangle Go Group. The site was arranged by the Cary Go Club.
photos by Bob Bacon

Redmond’s Reviews, Episode 11: Redmond 9p v. Numadate 6p

Saturday April 28, 2018

Michael Redmond 9p, hosted by the AGA E-Journal’s Chris Garlock, for Episode 11 of Redmond’s Reviews. In this game, Michael2018.04.20_RedmondReview11-numadate plays against Numadate Sakiya 6p.

On the line for Redmond in this game was a seat in the C League on the road to challenge for the Kisei title. “Numadate is one of the more prominent of the younger players, thouigh he hasn’t yet had any big successes,” says Redmond. “His games are really interesting, and I was pretty sure I’d be facing a 3-3 invasion, so we’ll see that in this commentary, and I’ll share my current thinking about how to handle such invasions.” The game itself is really exciting, “especially toward the end.”

[link]

The Empty Board: Philosophical Reflections on Go #3

Thursday April 26, 2018

By William Cobb2018.04.26_empty-board-bas relief

In the classical age of go, players would spend several hours or more playing a game. Ever wonder why they did that? What could they have been thinking about? Here’s an experiment for you: Go onto one of the turn based internet go sites, such as DragonGo, and start a game with someone at your level. After the first four moves in the four corners, spend more than a few minutes after each move thinking about the board situation. Print it out and mull it over: where are the biggest plays, are there any weak groups, any ways to start a fight or disrupt the opponent’s plans, what is the balance of territory and potential, etc. Read out (even try out) possible sequences. Spend some time thinking about the game just to see what it’s like. As the game develops notice what it’s like to not be under time pressure trying to figure out what to do. You’ll also discover that there are a lot more possibilities than you had noticed before. You’ll find times when you’re not sure what to do or whether a situation is good or bad and maybe you’ll even see why it might be interesting to read some books and study previous games, especially those of stronger players. Of course, this will also make you more frustrated about playing with only 45 minutes basic time, but at least you’ll get a better idea of what makes go such an interesting game.

photo/art by Phil Straus

“Twitch Plays Go” this Saturday

Wednesday April 25, 2018

This Saturday April 28, The Surrounding Game documentary and Open Study Room are teaming up with Twitch.tv to host what2018.04.24_Twitch_plays_GO_social_v02 Will Lockhart — with some justifiable hyperbole — calls “the biggest introduction to Go in history!” Twitch is the #1 online gaming platform in the world, with an estimated 100 million users per month. Their first special program on go, “Twitch Plays Go,” will be broadcast live on the main channel - twitch.tv/twitch - starting at 11am PSTApril 28. Twitch’s introduction to go for the greater gaming community will feature a tutorial on the rules of the game, a special showing of The Surrounding Game documentary with Q&A, the first-ever massively-multiplayer online go game, and live commentary on the 2018 Creator’s Invitational tournament and College Go League Championship with organizer Stephen Hu and pro player/Go streamer Hajin Lee.

“We’ll be live in the studio to answer questions from the chat during the show and give commentary afterward on the making of the film,” Lockhart tells the E-Journal. “This is sure to be our biggest screening ever, and an opportunity to expose thousands of new players to the game. We hope to see you there!”

YiLin Xu 5D & James Peters 5k top Mass. Go tourney

Wednesday April 25, 2018

Twenty-nine players — including the TD who played two out of four games to maintain parity — participated in the 2018.04.25_YiLin Xu_Micah_Feldman_James_PetersMassachusetts Go Association’s 2018 Don Wiener Memorial Tournament on April 15 at  the Boylston Chess Club in Cambridge MA. Players ranged from eight to octogenarian. Strengths ranged from 20 kyu to 5 dan.  Four women played.  First and second place cash prizes were combined and divided equally between  YiLin Xu 5 dan (left), and James Peters, 5 kyu (right), both of whom went 4-0. Third place was awarded to Micah Feldman, 3 dan (middle),  “by our software which sorts the 3-1 winners by how well their opponents fared,” reports TD Eva Casey.

 

Your Move/Readers Write: Janice Kim and Bill Cobb respond

Wednesday April 25, 2018

Janice on time limits: “More thought-provoking pieces in the E-journal, thank you!” writes Janice Kim. “Many people believe that their Go playing improves given a longer time limit (The Empty Board: Philosophical Reflections on Go #2  4/17 EJ). That’s probably true if the time limits are very short. But beyond familiarity and practice, my thinking is there probably isn’t a discernible difference in quality of the Go playing of most people between having 45 minutes per player of basic time, and doubling that. If people played ‘better’, I’d hypothesize people’s ranks on turn-based servers to be higher than their ranks on real-time servers. Why not try your own experiment?
I’m reminded of one time that I was playing a professional tournament game. At one point, I completely missed an obvious move. I mean I completely missed it in the game, I had to see it in the review to recover from the “blind spot”. I could have sat there for 1 minute or 10 minutes, and I probably wouldn’t have “seen” it, although I was doing plenty of thinking, about other moves. Later this gave me the biggest insight I’ve had into the nature of improving at Go.
To wit: I think the ‘point’ of playing four rounds in the Open, is that it’s a good opportunity for a player to play as much serious Go as comfortably possible, where one is consciously trying to improve in an environment conducive to that. It’s just a side feature that directors can award prizes, and people can win them.
Moving to shorter time limits in the modern professional era is largely about having a broad real-time audience. The players themselves are frequently of the opinion that their best Go is played in about 3.5 hours per person, but I don’t think that most people could tell the difference between those games, and “speed” games on TV, played in an hour.
I know people who are discouraged by the prospect of prizes in tournaments, and I think that’s probably a not-uncommon view, but it’s a difficult one to express. Most directors will see them as an easy essential. I’d probably do something like charge people $20 for every game they lose, to pay for the recorder and the review session.”
Addendum: But seriously. I always liked some tournaments in Korea, where you walked around with a big prize button ribbon on your lapel-region that said how many wins you had, and you self-paired by finding a person with the same ribbon. The prize at the end of the day? Your ribbon. Amazing fun in big venues. It’s also self-selecting if you’re not going to have amazing fun. Not to mention the mysterious smile you could give years later, if you had some colorful ribbon with a big “1″ on it. :)

Bill Cobb on Mott’s comment: “Rick actually supports my point (Your Move/Readers Write: Ratings matter; World ranking data 4/18 EJ),” responds Bill Cobb. “A rating improvement is obviously a kind of prize.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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“More thought-provoking pieces in the E-journal, thank you!” writes Janice Kim. “Many people believe that their go playing improves given a longer time limit (The Empty Board: Philosophical Reflections on Go #2 http://www.usgo.org/news/2018/04/the-empty-board-philosophical-reflections-on-go-2/ 4/17 EJ). That’s probably true if the time limits are very short.

 

But beyond familiarity and practice, my thinking is there probably isn’t a discernible difference in quality of the Go playing of most people between having 45 minutes per player of basic time, and doubling that.

 

If people played “better”, I’d hypothesize people’s ranks on turn-based servers to be higher than their ranks on real-time servers. Why not try your own experiment?

 

I’m reminded of one time that I was playing a professional tournament game. At one point, I completely missed an obvious move. I mean I completely missed it in the game, I had to see it in the review to recover from the “blind spot”. I could have sat there for 1 minute or 10 minutes, and I probably wouldn’t have “seen” it, although I was doing plenty of thinking, about other moves. Later this gave me the biggest insight I’ve had into the nature of improving at Go.

 

To wit: I think the “point” of playing four rounds in the Open, is that it’s a good opportunity for a player to play as much serious Go as comfortably possible, where one is consciously trying to improve in an environment conducive to that. It’s just a side feature that directors can award prizes, and people can win them.

 

Moving to shorter time limits in the modern professional era is largely about having a broad real-time audience. The players themselves are frequently of the opinion that their best Go is played in about 3.5 hours per person, but I don’t think that most people could tell the difference between those games, and “speed” games on TV, played in an hour.

 

I know people who are discouraged by the prospect of prizes in tournaments, and I think that’s probably a not-uncommon view, but it’s a difficult one to express. Most directors will see them as an easy essential. I’d probably do something like charge people $20 for every game they lose, to pay for the recorder and the review session.

 

Rick actually supports my point: a rating improvement is obviously a kind of prize.

Bill

 

New York Institute of Go launches YouTube Channel

Wednesday April 18, 2018

Stephanie Yin and Ryan Li have just launched NYIG_Go, the New York Institute of Go’s YouTube Channel. “The channel will2018.04.15_NYIG-youtube-channel feature videos of the rules of the game, common mistakes, fuseki strategy and more,” says Yin. They also hope to offer daily life and death problems as well. “Over many years teaching at the annual US Go Congress, the most common question Ryan and I received from players at our lectures was ‘How am I able to get to dan level?’” Yin, a professional go player and president/founder of the New York Go Association tells the EJ. “And our answer is always simple: Do two problems every day and I will see you all at the dan-level lecture.”

Your Move/Readers Write: Ratings matter; World ranking data

Wednesday April 18, 2018

Ratings matter: “I disagree with Bill (The Empty Board: Philosophical Reflections on Go #2  4/17 EJ),” writes Rick Mott.2018.04.18_2017GoCongress-IMG_8681 “After running tournaments for almost 30 years, I think 90+% of tournament players are motivated not by prizes, but by ratings.  I don’t know how to get the data, but I’d bet that most go players did well on the standardized tests we all took in school, and start to salivate when offered a test.  Pretty much any kind of test.  We love measuring ourselves.  One of most popular innovations at the New Jersey Open was posting updated ‘tournament ratings’ after every round.  The crowd loved it.” photo: at the 2017 U.S. Open; photo by Chris Garlock

World ranking data: “In a recent EJ article, Bill Saltman expressed his interest in a ‘chart which correlated amateur [ranks] from 30 kyu to 9 dan, country by country, go-server-by go server,’” writes Sebastian Pountney. “I think he will find that the material on this page, the results of a recent survey conducted on OGS, should go some way to satisfying his request. For a simple table of ranks see here specifically.”

The Empty Board: Philosophical Reflections on Go #2

Tuesday April 17, 2018

by William Cobb2018.04.15_empty-board-glowing edges

Except for the 90 minutes basic time of games in the US Open at the Congress, almost all official games in US tournaments have a basic time of 45 minutes. Why? Well, it makes it possible to have four rounds in a day. But why not have three rounds or two? Four rounds make it possible to separate the group for ranking the players for prizes and such. Anyway, most players don’t use the entire 45 minutes, let alone the 90 at the Open. Why? Don’t they have anything to think about in those extra minutes? They’re probably worried about running out of time, but perhaps having a ranking for getting prizes and status seems more important. So the whole idea of modern tournaments is primarily a function of catering to a desire to win prizes rather than to play the best go you are capable of? Yes.

photo/art by Phil Straus