American Go E-Journal

GO SPOTTING: Mathematician Paul Erdos

Monday November 17, 2008

“Between long walks, loafing in the common room, and endless games of Go, it was hard to imagine when work got done,” wrote Bruce Schechter in “My Brain is Open: The Mathematical Journeys Of Paul Erdos” (Touchstone, 1998) The famed Hungarian mathematician Paul Erdos (right) (pronounced Air-dish) became a go player when he moved to the United States in the 1930′s; this passage describes Erdos’s arrival at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, in 1938. “That Erdos and other mathematicians became addicted to Go at the Institute is easy to understand,” Schecter continues. “The ancient Asian game is deceptively simple, played by alternately placing black and white stones (at the Institute they used thumb tacks) at the intersections of a 19×19 rectangular grid. A game of Go, viewed from the right perspective, is really nothing more than a problem in graph theory. If, as G. H. Hardy wrote, ‘chess problems are the hymn-tunes of mathematics,’ a game of Go is a cantata.” Thanks to H. Vernon Leighton for passing this along. If you’ve seen an interesting reference to go, send it to us at journal@usgo.org

Categories: Go Spotting
Share

GO PHOTO: Go Masters in Gardena

Monday November 17, 2008

“Attendees at the November 8-9 workshop with Tadashi Sasaki 8p of the Nihon Ki-in got a bit of a surprise when Yoshiaki Nagahara 6p (right) and Masaaki Fukui 8p joined in Saturday morning for a few hours of teaching games,” reports Andy Okun. “Nagahara and Fukui accompanied Sasaki to the United States to do some tourism but were not quite ready to start taking in the sights.” The workshop at the South Bay Ki-in in Gardena, CA, was the second this year presented by the South Bay Ki-in and Santa Monica Go Club, and attracted 26 participants. Photo by Andy Okun

Categories: Go Photos
Share

AGA Caps Amateur Ranks At 7D

Monday November 17, 2008

The American Go Association Board of Directors last week approved a policy capping top ranks for amateurs at 7 dan, “with exception for rare honors for a small number of players with outstanding achievement, such as winning the U.S. Open twice.” The new policy also notes that “Exceptions will be granted by the AGA President, under criteria developed through a public process, and approved by the President.” The policy is a response to concerns about top amateur American ranks in relation to other countries at international events. Ranks are distinct from AGA ratings; click here for AGA Ratings Statistician Paul Matthews’ article Inside The AGA Ratings System.

Categories: U.S./North America
Share

Go Quiz: Smoke & Mirrors

Monday November 17, 2008

Last week’s Quiz asked what the cultural phenomenon was in both Shonen Jump’s 2004 English edition of Hikaru no Go, Volume One and The Middle Game of Go. Many of you, knowing the Middle Game of Go is a serious book, and remembering that Sakata held a cigarette in his hand on the cover of your old copy, conjectured that smoking was the only “cultural phenomenon” that was part of the book. A closer look at the cover of the 2007 edition reveals that the cigarette has vanished. Similarly, in Hikaru no Go, as Cordell Newmiller points out – “a particularly rude player extinguishes a cigarette on a go board to arrogantly mark the correct move. The cigarette was changed to chewing gum in the US release.” 5 out of 14 smoked out the correct answer, including Reinhold Burger, this week’s winner, selected at random from those answering correctly. With just a few weeks left, the race at the top tightens: P Waldron 27/29, K Salamony 26/29, S Fawthrop 18/20, G Kerr 17/17, Reinhold Burger 13/13, T Fung 10/12, P Schumer 10/14, J Huber 7/7, T Morris 7/13, B Kirby 6/8, R Mercado 5/5, O Nava 5/5 and D McGlothin 5/9. THIS WEEK’S QUIZ: Takemiya Masaki (left), who attended this year’s U.S. Go Congress, has won 3 of Japan’s top 7 titles and challenged for 6 out of 7. What’s the one title in which he has ironically failed to qualify for the final? Click here to send us your answer.
- Keith Arnold; photo by Chris Garlock

Categories: Go Quiz
Share

World Go News: Cho Takes Third Straight Meijin; Teen Park Jiyeon in Women’s Myeongin Finals To Challenge Rui Naiwei; Chinese-Korean Finals in LG Cup

Monday November 10, 2008

CHO TAKES THIRD STRAIGHT MEIJIN: Cho U (left) has retained his Meijin title after an exciting seesaw battle with Iyama Yuta that went the full 7-game distance. After losing the first two games in his Meijin title defense against teen Iyama 8P, Cho 9P then won three straight games to take a 3-2 lead but then lost Game 6 in less than 100 moves. Cho won the decisive seventh game on November 5-6 and so will hold that title for the third year in a row and the fifth time overall. Cho is now in the midst of a major run at the top seven Japanese titles. He already holds the Meijin and the Gosei, and he’s the challenger for both the Tengen and the Oza (he’s won the first game in the Oza title match), and he is in the finals to be the challenger for the Judan. In the Honinbo League, which has just started, he is 1-0. The only one of the top seven he is out of currently is the Kisei, although he came close to winning his section of that League. Iyama is also compiling an impresssive record. He won his section of the Kisei League, but lost the play-off game to Yoda Norimoto 9P; he is still alive in the Losers’ Bracket of the Judan, lost to Cho in the finals to be the challenger for the Oza, and is playing in the challenger’s tournament for the Gosei. 

TEEN PARK JIYEON IN WOMEN’S MYEONGIN FINALS TO CHALLENGE RUI NAIWEI: Seventeen-year-old Park Jiyeon 1P has won no titles yet, but she now finds herself in the finals of the tournament to determine the challenger for Rui Naiwei (left) 9P’s Korean Women’s Myeongin (Japanese: Meijin) title. This tournament is a double-elimination; after their first loss, the losers play each other in a separate bracket until only one is left. That player then plays the winner of the winners’ bracket to decide who will be the challenger. This year Cho Hyeyeon 8P, who challenged Rui for it five times, winning in 2003 while still a teen herself – and who is also the current Women’s Kuksu – is the winner of the winner’s bracket. She beat Park in the semi-finals of that bracket, but Park won the final game among the losers, so she and Cho will meet again.

CHINESE-KOREAN FINALS IN LG CUP: The best-of-three-game finals of the 13th international LG Cup will be between Lee Sedol 9P of Korea and Gu Li (below right) 9P of China. In the semifinals November 5th, Lee knocked out fellow Korean Park Yeonghun 9P, while Gu eliminated Korea’s Lee Changho 9P by 1.5 points. Lee Sedol won this event last year, as well as in 2003, and Gu won it in 2006. Lee Changho has won it four times. Overall, the Koreans have been victorious seven times, the Chinese and the Japanese twice each, and the Taiwanese once. The finals will occur in late February in Seoul.

Categories: World
Share

US Go News: N.A. Fujitsu Players Finalized

Monday November 10, 2008

Sixteen of the continent’s top players, led by Mingjiu Jiang (right) and Jie Li, have been selected to compete for the right to represent North America at the Fujitsu World Go Championship, reports Tournament Coordinator Philip Waldron. The N.A. Fujitsu will be held on the KGS Go Server on November 22-23; the winner of the four-round elimination event will represent North American at the Fujitsu in Japan. Additional notable names in the tournament include professional Huiren Yang, 2009 WAGC representative Eric Lui, past champion and 2008 KPMC representative Thomas Hsiang and 2008 Redmond Cup champion Gan Sheng Shi of Canada. Click here for a full list of players and tournament information.

Categories: U.S./North America
Share

Go Quiz: ChicaGO

Monday November 10, 2008

“Finally, a question even an idiot like me can respond to,” was the comment from an anonymous Quiz respondent. Indeed, 23 out of 23 of you knew Chicago was the US Go Congress host city that contains the word has “go” – in consecutive order — in it, though Peter Schumer pointed out the site was technically Chicago suburb Oak Park. Steve Fawthrop and Reinhold Burger both noted that “OreGOn” which has hosted two Congresses would qualify as a state. Congrats to Patrick Rogers, this week’s winner, chosen at random from those (everyone!) answering correctly. THIS WEEK’S QUIZ: Fair warning: this is a tough one. Shonen Jump’s 2004 English edition of Hikaru no Go, Volume One and The Middle Game of Go (Ishi Press 2007) have nearly identical examples of an interesting cultural phenomenon. What is it? Pretty vague, and no multiple choice – but trust me, you will know it when, er, IF, you get it. Click here to submit your explanation.
- Keith Arnold

Categories: Go Quiz
Share

Wheeler’s Contributions Recognized

Monday November 10, 2008

Noting that Dennis Wheeler “has served the AGA with distinction in the capacity as online tournament director,” the American Go Association’s Board of Directors issued a special commendation to Wheeler last week, thanking him “on behalf of the nation’s go players.” Wheeler is retiring from his post as the AGA’s main online tournament director after several years on the job. The Board also issued Wheeler complimentary year’s membership in the AGA for his service.

Categories: U.S./North America
Share

iPhone Go Apps

Monday November 10, 2008

“There are now 4 iPhone apps relating to go on the App Store,” reports Berlin-based Chuck Smith. “Your readers might be interested in a quick summary of them,” he says, adding “Full disclosure: I’m the developer of Go Player.”

Stones (free): Play Go with someone next to you. Drag stones from two beautiful Go bowls onto the board. Click here.

Tetsuki (free): Play or watch Go on the Internet Go Server (IGS). Click here.

SmartGo touch ($9.99): A full rich-study experience full of options especially suited to stronger players. Click here.

Go Player ($3.99): Geared more toward casual players, randomly chooses from over a thousand games to show which one can either play at a quick pace or slow down and play through move by move by tapping anywhere on the board. Click here.

Jennie Shen to Teach in Philly

Monday November 10, 2008

There’s still time to sign up for the upcoming Jennie Shen (left) 2P workshop in Philadelphia. The workshop – which includes lectures and game December 12 and runs through the afternoon of December 14. Cost is $100 for the whole session, or $50 for youth or Penn Go Society members. Check out the Penn Go Society website for details; contact Matt Bengtson(matt@mattbengtson.com, 215-704-4600) or Peter Nassar (pnassar@vet.upenn.edu, 215-898-6271) for more info. photo by Glenn Peters of the Portland (OR) Go Club; click here for more of his go photos.

Categories: U.S./North America
Share