American Go E-Journal

NEW IN PRINT 2010 (PART 1): Classic Games

Saturday August 28, 2010

by Roy Laird
Strolling through the vendor area at this year’s U.S. Go Congress, I realized that it’s time for some updates on what’s happening recently in the small but active world of go publishing. Watch for posts over the next few weeks and feel free to email me with suggestions of 2010 go books I should mention.

The first thing I noticed was that it’s been a busy year for GoGoD co-author John Fairbairn, who has embarked on an ambitious project with his publisher, Slate and Shell: a series of books on the ten-game matches Go Seigen played when he was at the top of the go world. Drawing on multiple original sources, each book provides extensive historical material, and integrates game commentary from a variety of sources.   Kamakura, covering Go’s first matchup during WW II with Kitani Minoru, came out last spring. It was followed by Final Summit, describing the last jubango, against Takagawa Shukaku in 1955-56. Then came 9-Dan Showdown, focusing on two ten-game matches and two shorter encounters with with Fuijisawa Kuranosuke (later Fujisawa Hosai), one of the great players of the 1940’s and 1950’s. In a change of pace, Fairbairn also translated The Go Consultants, in which Kitani and Seigen team up against Segoe Kensaku and Suzuki Tamjiro for a “consultation game.” Inspired by a similar practice among Western chess masters, in a “consultation game” the two-player teams discuss the game while it is in progress.  Stay tuned — more exciting titles are on the way!
Next week: A Beginner’s Bonanza


Friday August 27, 2010

In a true Cinderella story, Sakai Hideyuki 7P has become the new Gosei by defeating Cho U 9P by 2.5 points in the fifth and final round of the 35th Gosei, winning the series 3-2. This is Sakai’s first major title win, which also ended Cho’s four consecutive years of holding the Gosei title. Sakai’s only title win prior to this was the Kansai Ki-in Championship in 2003.  For a long time, he was the strongest amateur go player in Japan, and by winning his first major title at 37, he has defied those that say that only youth can accomplish such things.  When he won the World Amateur Go Championship in 2000, he was awarded professional 5 dan by the Kansai Ki-in (after defeating two 5D and two 7D players). He was also the first player in Japan to be awarded a special amateur 8 dan diploma.

Categories: World


Thursday August 26, 2010

Barely a month after launching, IgoLocal already has more than a thousand users. IgoLocal enables players to find and contact each other, and there are now 1131 users in 62 countries, with 449 of those in North America and 570 in Europe. The network is growing at 35 new members each day, reports founder Chuck Thomas, “and that number is trending upwards.” Users “are still figuring out how to use the system to the best benefit of their communities,” says Thomas. “1,100 users may sound like a lot of go players, but it’s actually an absurdly tiny number when spread throughout the entire planet.” Thomas says he can “easily envision a quarter million users on this system,” and says that “At the current rate, it may be another two months before we begin to reach critical mass.  This is fine – the users who are already on the system are able to go about their business, and one day they’ll receive a PM or even a game challenge from a previously-unknown rival, who is well matched to their rank.” Thomas points out that “Igolocal keeps working for you even if you forget about it for a while,” and admits that “Even I have only the faintest idea what the end result will be. This has never been done before.” Two hundred of the IgoLocal users are dan-level or stronger and two professionals are also registered, Jennie Shen 2p in Santa Barbara, and An Young-gil 8p in Sydney, Australia. The site supports six languages, English, French, German, Dutch, Russian and Japanese, and volunteers are now working on Italian, Polish and Chinese translations.


Monday August 23, 2010

Sakai Hideyuki evens Gosei 2-2 with Cho U. Sakai Hideyuki 7P defeated Cho U 9P by 3.5 points in the fourth round of the 35th Gosei title match. The series is now tied at 2-2, with the final game to be played on August 27th. Lee Changho defeats Lee Sedol in Myeongin league play. In the final regular League A game of the 38th Myeongin, Lee Changho 9P defeated Lee Sedol 9P by resignation. Sedol’s loss eliminates him from the main tournament, finishing with a 2-3 league record. Lee Changho finished with a 3-2 league record but will now enter into a playoff match with An Kukhyun 2P, who also finished at 3-2. The winner will join Kang Dongyun 9P in the main tournament. Agon Cup Second Round Results. Qiu Jun 9P, Chen Yaoye 9P, Chang Hao 9P, and Piao Wenyao 5P each won their respective second round matches in the 12th Agon Cup, putting them in the semifinals. The defending Agon Cup title holder, Sun Tengyu 4P, lost to Jun by resignation. In the other three matches, Wang Xi 9P, Gu Li 9P, and Jiang Weijie 5P each lost their respective games to Yaoye, Hao, and Wenyao. The semifinals will be played on August 30th. Jiang Weijie and Li Zhe tied in Mingren challenger match. In the first game of the 23rd Mingren challenger match, Jiang Weijie 5P defeated Li Zhe 6P by resignation.  In the second game Zhe narrowly defeated Weijie by half a point. Park Yeonghun clinches 1st round spot in Myeongin. Park Yeonghun 9P clinched a first round spot in the 38th Myeongin by defeating Kim Kiyoung 5P by 3.5 points in the last round of League B play for each player. Yeonghun will now advance to the final tournament with a 4-1 record. The last regular game for League B will pit Cho Hanseung 9P against Park Jeonggeun 4P on August 26th. The winner of that match will then play a tie breaker with Won Sungjin 9P, who has a 3-2 record, to determine who among the remaining League B players will join Yeonghun in the tournament finals. Lee Sedol 9P, Choi Cheolhan 9P, and Won Sungjin 9P win in round one of the 54th Kuksu. Each won by resignation. Mok Jinseok 9P will play Ko Geuntae 7P on August 20th and Heo Yeongho 7P will play Lee Chungyu 3P on August 29th to complete the first round (game records).

Categories: World


Monday August 23, 2010

Applications are now being accepted for the 4th Kim-in Cup International Senior Baduk Competition. The tournament is being held November 5-8 in GangJin City, Korea and is open to male go players 50 and older and female players 30 and older. It’s sponsored by the Korea Baduk Association and the Korea Amateur Baduk Association; KBA provides hotel, meals and domestic transportation for all players, who must cover their own travel costs to Korea. email for details and to register.


Monday August 23, 2010

There’s theory and there’s practice. In go, practice means studying problems. Kiseido is five volumes into an ambitious seven-volume series of problem books for dan-level players originally published in Japanese by the Japan Go Association. Now available: Graded Go Problems for Dan Players; 300 Life-and-Death Problems, 5-kyu to 3-dan; 300 Tesuji Problems, 5-kyu to 3-dan; 300 Joseki Problems, 1-dan to 3-dan; 256 Opening and Middle Game Problems, 1-dan to 7-dan. These problems are designed to develop your intuition and to provide exercises for developing your ability to analyze positions deeply and accurately. “These are not problems that you can skim through in a couple of days,” Kiseido warns. “Each problem requires serious thought to obtain the maximum benefit.” Click here for details and to order.


Monday August 23, 2010

Peter Shotwell, author of Go! More Than a Game, has published two articles based on subjects in the upcoming update of his book to the AGA’s Bob High library. The first [PDF] is a look at his re-dating and re-interpretation of early Confucian thoughts on go, and the second article [PDF] covers some research done on the statistical properties of go games by Dr. John Tromp.  Traditionally, the Confucian ideas about go have been thought to be quite negative, but Shotwell took account of the fact they were actually written in a small area in northeastern China over a period of only about 50 years in the late 3rd to early 2nd centuries B.C.E, (instead of the usually-thought “hundreds of years”). When the full contexts were looked at, he found that the writers were clearly using go only to aid their comments on their evolving attitudes about filial piety, and that the only aspect of the game they disapproved of was fanatical play to the detriment of moral duties.  The last Confucian go writing appeared c. 260 B.C.E. and it was only 120 years later, after the Warring States period had ended and peace was restored, that writings with high praise for go (indicating a great increase in skill) appeared and the earliest game board was found. The second article, which includes an interview of Dr. Tromp, notes his incredible figures for the longest possible go game (longer than the universe might last), compares the vast numbers of possible positions for chess and go (like comparing the nucleus of an atom to the size of the universe), and the total number of possible games (for example, there are 386+ billion for 2×2 boards).  Shotwell gave a presentation at the recent U.S. Go Congress looking at both of these topics and some others that will appear in the update to his book.
– Jake Edge

YOUR MOVE: Readers Write: Member’s Edition & Choosing Your Edition

Monday August 23, 2010

MEMBER’S EDITION? “I noticed that my recent E-Journals have not included any attachments,” writes John Russell. “I wanted to make sure I am still getting the full member E-Journal version” The Member’s Edition content only appears in the Tuesday morning edition of the E-Journal, not the other, briefer editions that appear during the rest of the week as news updates are posted. If your Tuesday edition does not include Member’s Edition content — game commentaries and/or problem files — your membership may have lapsed; please email to get it updated.

CHOOSING YOUR EJ EDITION: “An article mentioned being able to change my profile to receive the Journal either weekly or daily,” writes Denis Pelletier. “How do I access my profile?” Just click on “Update your profile” at the bottom of the E-Journal and you can choose either the daily (much shorter updates several times a week) or weekly editions, as well as your preferred format.


Thursday August 19, 2010

The All About Go website is sponsoring a contest to build its collection of go-related art, photography, digital images, stories, and poetry. The new site “is intended to provide a high-quality service to all go enthusiasts, to introduce the game to beginners in the most effective way possible, and to promote the knowledge, culture and beauty of go worldwide” and includes a gallery showcasing go photos and literature.  The winner in each category will receive a free teaching game from Csaba Mero, European 6-dan and ex-insei. Hajin Lee 3P will help judge the contest. There’s no entry fee and no limit on how many pieces you can enter. All submissions should be sent to on or before Monday, September 13. More details and full contest rules are available here. Photo by César Riquelme


Thursday August 19, 2010

Samuel Gross 1d and April Ye 3k each won four games to lead the pack at the Bay Area Go monthly ratings tournament on August 14 in Palo Alto, CA. The playing field consisted of 35 players ranging from 5 dan to 30 kyu. Everyone got to play an average of three rated games, although some managed to fit in as many as five. For many, the monthly tournaments offer an opportunity to come out and play face to face go with players of similar strength. “Face to face go can be so much more social, fun, and rewarding than playing online,” observes tournament organizer Roger Schrag. Next month’s ratings tournament is scheduled for September 11, again in Palo Alto. Click here for more photos.
Photo by Lisa Schrag

Categories: U.S./North America