American Go E-Journal

Alexander Qi wins first NYGA Monthly Tournament

Monday October 14, 2019

Alexander Qi 4 dan, with a 3-1 record, won the dan-division championship at the New York Go Association’s first NYGA Monthly Tournament, held on October 12 in Little Neck, NY. Twenty-eight players ranked from 21 kyu to 4 dan competed in a 4-round, handicapped AGA-rated tournament.

Niel Li and Toranosuke Ozawa also finished 3-1 in the dan division, but tied for second place with lower SOS scores. Su Jiayang 1 kyu,won the higher kyu division, while Lucas Yang 15 kyu won the lower kyu division.

Starting next year, the NYGA Monthly Tournaments will become the qualifying competitions for the NYGA Grand Final, a season-ending championship featuring the top eight players of the NYGA Monthly Tournaments This annual event will feature live broadcasting and professional commentary. Further details will be released on the NYGA’s website and social media.

The NYGA Grand Final will have a single-elimination format, played by the top eight players with the highest NMT rankings at the end of the season. Players earn NMT ranking points by competing in the 12 NYGA Monthly Tournaments starting January 2020. The Grand Final is expected to take place in the third week of December 2020.

The grand prize for the champion is $500+, subjected to increase from sponsorships and donations.

Felipo (Zhongfan) Jian, Tournament Director

Hobnobbing — and studying — at the Nihon Ki-in Summer Go Camp

Sunday October 13, 2019

By Peter Schumer

The Nihon Ki-in Summer Go Camp was held from August 20 – 29 at the Nihon Ki-in headquarters in Ichigaya, Tokyo.  Twelve nations were represented by some thirty participants of all playing levels, with almost a third hailing from the United States and Sweden with four or five players each.  The camp was a great success and each year the organizers pack in more activities and events to add to its appeal.  There are daily league games for both kyu and dan-level players, informative lectures from top pros, pro simuls, and some friendship matches with local amateurs, as well as evening outings to various go salons.  Some of the guest lecturers included Ishida Yoshio, Takemiya Masaki, Antii Tormanen, Kobayashi Chizu, Xie Yimin, and the always popular Michael Redmond. 

One outstanding highlight was watching the finals of the World Pair Go Championships held at a hotel in the lively Shinjuku district of Tokyo where several of us got to rub shoulders with the likes of Iyama Yuta and Cho Chikun.  Another special event was spending a few minutes sitting close to the players in the first game of the Meijin Championship at the stylish Chinzanso Hotel.  The players this year were the defending champion Cho U and the young challenger Shibano Toramaru. 

I should add that the base price for the camp is extremely modest (about $150), but you can pay extra (silver and gold level) which includes some perks such as a special banquet and several additional simuls and lessons.  And despite all the go events, there is actually plenty of time for leisure activities and sightseeing.  The camp has a warm and friendly atmosphere and you can’t help but improve your play at least a little bit.  I highly recommend it.

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2019 Congress broadcasts posted to AGA’s YouTube channel

Friday October 11, 2019

The broadcasts from the 2019 US Go Congress in Madison, WI have now been published on the Official AGA YouTube channel – check out the playlist to access pro commentaries on the Pandanet-AGA City League Finals and all seven rounds of the US Masters, featuring Yoonyoung Kim 8p, Yilun Yang 7p, Mingjiu Jiang 7p, Jennie Shen 2p, Ryan Li 1p and Stephanie Yin 1p, as well as various special interviews. If you want to jump to a particular segment, just head to the comments section and choose the corresponding timestamp. These videos were originally broadcast live on Twitch; if you want to support more future broadcasts, please subscribe and become an AGA member. Thanks again to the E-Journal’s 2019 broadcast team and special thanks to Stephen Hu for producing the videos for our YouTube channel.

Rare triple ko at MGA Fall Tournament

Friday October 11, 2019

Twenty three players participated in the Massachusetts Go Association’s Fall Tournament held October 6 at the Boyleston Chess Club in Cambridge. Chi-Hse Teng 5k (pictured at right) swept with a 4-0 record.

In round three a triple ko developed in a game between Pei Guo 4d and Benjamin Gunby 1k. The tournament was played under Japanese rules, Tournament Director Eva Casey explained to the E-Journal. After some hasty internet research which suggested that under Japanese rules this game is a draw, Casey elected to award half a victory to each player. This allowed Gunby to take second place in the tournament with a most unusual 3.5-0 record.

Assistant Tournament Director Milan Mladenovic later pointed out that under AGA rules the players would have had to continue making outside ko threats which would have eventually resolved the situation.
– Roger Schrag

Categories: U.S./North America
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U.S. Go Congress survey

Wednesday October 9, 2019

The single biggest Go event in North America each year, the U.S. Go Congress draws hundreds of Go players from across the country for a week of events, and attracts thousands of viewers to broadcasts of the top boards. Whether you’ve ever attended a Congress or not, organizers would like your opinions on a few basic questions so that they can make next year’s Congress – set for August 1-9 in Estes Park, Colorado — an even better event. Click here now to complete the survey.

2019 U.S. Go Congress; photo by Chris Garlock

Still time to register for Cotsen Open

Tuesday October 8, 2019

Over 100 are already registered for the 2019 Cotsen Open, coming up October 26-27, 2019 at MG Studio in downtown Los Angeles. The Cotsen Open features thousands of dollars in prizes, an extremely competitive Open Division, live commentary on top board games, masseuses to massage players during their games, free food truck lunches to all those who pre-register on both Saturday and Sunday of the tournament. And, as always, everyone who pre-registers and plays in all 5 of their matches has their full entry fee refunded. Pre-registration closes on Tuesday, October 22nd; register here.
NOTE: The E-Journal still has a couple game recorder slots available; game recorders — who must have their own laptops — receive EJ caps, $25 per game and the chance to observe top-board games at close range. Email journal@usgo.org if interested.

Eric Lui 1p crowned champion of 8th Virginia Open; Finalists set for Virginia State Championship

Tuesday October 8, 2019

8th Virginia Open Champion Eric Lui 1p

The 8th Virginia Open took place in Vienna, Virginia on September 28th and featured a 26-player field, including nine 5-dan and stronger players in the 10-person Open section. Eric Lui 1p emerged victorious in all three of his games to become the overall champion. Justin Teng 6d took second place after losing to Lui in the final round, while Qingbo Zhang 5d and Joshua Lee 6d took third and fourth place respectively. Among Virginia residents, Qingbo Zhang 5d, Joshua Lee 6d, Yaming Wang 7d, and Ran Zhao 5d qualified for the Finals of the Virginia State Championship, which will take place at a later time. In the Handicap division, Xuhui Zhang 3d, Derek Zhou 7k, and Adam King 15k won first place in their respective sections. All participants received a free Go Book courtesy of Hinoki Press and the Capital Go Club.

Players face off in Round 1 of the 8th Virginia Open
Group photo of attendees

The venue also hosted the Jinghua Cup, which was a three vs. three team match between alumni of Peking University and Tsinghua University. Liang Yu 6d and Sihao Li 3d were able to score crucial wins for Peking University to clinch victory with a 2-1 score. Fairfax County Cable TV came to the event mid-day to record some of the action as well as a presentation by Edward Zhang about the cultural aspects of Go in both the West and the East. Virginia House of Delegates member Mark Keam also visited the event to give a brief talk about how he sees Go as a metaphor for global society and a bridge to connect Asian and American culture. More photos from the event can be found in this album compiled by Liang Yu, Hejun Kang, and Anna Liu.

– report by Justin Teng

Upcoming Go Events: New York, Rochester, Seattle

Monday October 7, 2019

October 12: New York, NY
NYGA Monthly Tournament
Zhongfan Jian tournaments@ny-go.org 617-921-4105
Stephanie Yin nygo.nyga@gmail.com

October 12: Rochester, NY
15th Annual Greg Lefler Memorial Tournament
Steve Colburn steve@emptysky.org 585-703-3977
Tim Geary president@emptysky.org

October 12: Seattle, WA
24th Anniversary Party
Mike Malveaux programs@seattlego.org 206-545-1424

Get the latest go events information.

Categories: Calendar,Main Page
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Go Spotting: The inscrutability of artificial intelligence in go… and nuclear warfare

Sunday October 6, 2019

In a September 7th article titled “Battle algorithm,” The Economist writes of a “paradox” that may be familiar to readers who analyze their games using Leela Zero and other AIs. “AI might at once penetrate and thicken the fog of war, allowing it to be waged with a speed and complexity that renders it essentially opaque to humans.” The article notes that in AlphaGo’s March 2016 victory over Lee Sedol, the AI “played several highly creative moves that confounded experts,” and this led a workshop at the Chinese Academy of Military Science to conclude that, in the words of one source, “an AI could create tactics and stratagems superior to those of a human player in a game that can be compared to a war-game.”

While the article in The Economist focuses on conventional warfare, the strengths and weaknesses of go-playing AIs also appear in recent publications on nuclear warfare.

In 2017, the American think tank RAND Corporation held a series of workshops on AI and nuclear war, which noted that AlphaGo’s victory “astonished even AI and strategy experts.” “[T]he decisionmaking in Go is far simpler to address than in nuclear war…. but by the year 2040, it does not seem unreasonable to expect that an AI system might be able to play aspects or stages of military wargames or exercises at superhuman levels.” It is “likely that humans making command decisions will treat the AI system’s suggestions as on par with or better than those of human advisers. This potentially unjustified trust presents new risks that must be considered.”

This year, an August 16 commentary by two American researchers also cites AlphaGo. The commentary notes that AlphaGo Zero “learned through an iterative process”; “in nuclear conflict there is no iterative learning process.” “The laws of war require a series of judgments…. Software that cannot explain why a target was chosen probably cannot abide by those laws. Even if it can, humans might mistrust a decision aid that could outwardly resemble a Magic 8-Ball.” Nonetheless, the commentary argues for having AI take more control over US nuclear weapons.

Thanks to Fred Baldwin for once again spotting go, this time in “Battle algorithm.”

-edited by Joe Cua

Players win cash and pumpkins at San Diego Go Club Back-to-School tournaments

Saturday October 5, 2019

The San Diego Go Club scheduled on Sunday, September 29, at the San Diego Chess Club in Beautiful Balboa Park, two Back-to-School tournaments – one 19×19 and a 13×13 for youth players – plus a pizza party, and professional instruction by Yilun Yang 7P. Over 50 players competed for pumpkins, vintage Go Worlds, and cash.

In the Open, Tyler Oyakawa 6d went 3-0 to win a giant pumpkin and an envelope of money. Taking second, with a 2-1 record, was Michael Zhou 6d. In the handicap section, the top three finishers were James Acres 1k, 3-0 and the brothers Yang, Tony and Kevin, both 1 dan with 2-1 records. In the 5k-19k section, Arunas Rudvalis 6k, Addison Lee 19k, and Aaron Jones 10k, all went 3-0 with Arunas winning the pumpkin after tiebreakers. In the 20k-35k section, Chloe Li 23k, 3-0, George Spellman 22k, 2-1, and Aenaelle Acres 23k (daughter of James), 2-1, beat the rest of the field.

Concurrently, Hai Li 5P ran a 13×13 youth tournament for 16 kids. He was the tournament director, adjudicator, and teacher for the 4-round competition. The boy and girl winners in the 13×13 Open competition were Johnny Wu 35k, and Jolina Jian 24k respectively. Several of Hai Li’s 13×13 students graduated to the 19×19 tournament this Sunday and did well.

A free pizza break took place after the two tournaments and then Yilun Yang entertained a standing room only group for 2.5 hours with a clear and concise lecture. Matching funds from the American Go Foundation made it possible to have professional go expertise at this event.

-photos by Henry You
-report by Ted Terpstra