American Go E-Journal


Saturday August 7, 2010

Official E-Journal broadcasting partner KGS tattoos were ubiquitous this week at the 2010 U.S. Go Congress. The temporary tats showed up on the most unexpected people — including Cyberoro and Tygem commentator Seong-Yong Kim 9P and in the most unlikely places, including, according to some reports, some nether regions, but we were unable to get to the bottom of this story.
– photos by Chris Garlock & Steve Colburn


Saturday August 7, 2010

Peter Shotwell, author of Go! More Than a Game, stopped by the U.S. Go Congress Friday evening to talk about some of the updates coming in a new revision of the book due in the next few months.  In the seven years since the publication of the first edition in 2003, Shotwell has done additional research in several areas that will appear in the new edition, including a re-examination of the attitude of Confucians toward go, advances in computer go, the combinatorics of go, and the possible spiritualization of Tibetan go.   It was long presumed that the Confucians did not think very much of the game of go, said Shotwell, identifying it with gambling and laziness, but a better dating of some of the source documents has led him to see an evolution in their thinking — including seeing some value in the game by the time of the last mention.  The Confucian writings were from the third century B.C. but the game was not explained at all, which implies that it was very well known and thus quite old at that time.  The earliest go board that has been found was from 141 B.C.E. in the guardhouse of a Han emperor’s tomb and go was alternately praised and damned in the writings of the Han period.  By the Three Kingdoms period in the third century, go was played by many and by 600 it was getting high praise in poetry.   An archeological find along with a game that Shotwell played in Tibet got him thinking about the connection between spirituality and go in Tibet.  He played with a government official while visiting Tibet and found out that there were some very different rules including only being allowed to move up to one space or a knight’s move from an existing stone, being awarded five points for taking the center, and losing twenty points if you lose all of the corners.  The starting position placed five stones of each color in a pattern on the fourth line around the whole board, which made for a kind of “race to the center.”  Shotwell thinks that these rules may have added a spiritual air to the game, which may have been done to “convince the early Buddhists that this new game from China was OK.” Two stone boards from the seventh century have been found in Tibet since the first edition and interestingly, one of the boards had two depressions on each side, which may indicate that Japanese scoring with prisoners may have been used.

There have been huge advances in computer go since 2003 as well. At that time “any kid could beat the computer programs.”  But, since the advent of Monte Carlo simulations and advances in the tree pruning algorithms in 2006 and 2007, “the top programs are at an amateur 1D level.”  Once in a while, those programs can beat professionals when getting seven stones on the 19×19 board.  On the 9×9 board, some programs are at a mid-level professional strength.  Those programs use a lot of computer power, though, with up to 112 cores allowing them to do 100,000 simulations per second.  Shotwell also pointed out some advances in go combinatorics, which is a branch of probability that studies the number of possible go games or positions.  Two of the more interesting results from studies by Dr. John Tromp compared possible chess positions with that of go: for go it is a 171-digit number whereas for chess it is only 46 digits. Even more astonishing, perhaps, is that just the number of digits in the total number of possible go games is larger than the total number of possible chess games.  Much of that information will be reflected in the new edition of his book, but Shotwell has also contributed numerous essays to AGA’s Bob High Memorial Library.
– Report/photo by Jake Edge


Friday August 6, 2010

Huiren Yang 1P won the North American Ing Masters tournament last night, defeating Eric Lui 7D in a thrilling 3-point 4-hour marathon viewed by a rapt crowd of hundreds at the U.S. Go Congress as well as a worldwide audience that watched commentary by Yasumasa Hane 9P, Shigeko Hane 1P and Ryo Maeda 6P broadcast live on KGS as well as a live video feed of both the Board 1 game and the game commentary. After the game, the board used by the two players – a brand-new 2-inch Korean hiba table board – was signed by the players and pros and will be auctioned off at the Congress Banquet tonight to benefit the American Go Foundation. Click here for complete NAIM results and game records, including the Board 1 final (watch for the commented game to be posted on the website Saturday).
– report by Chris Garlock, photo by Steve Colburn

U.S. GO CONGRESS: Thursday Photo Album

Friday August 6, 2010

photos by Gen Zhang & Edward Zhang


Friday August 6, 2010

Congress-going youth have had an exciting week in the Youth Room, with pro simuls, mini tournaments and prizes, prizes, and more prizes.  Thanks to the generosity of Winston Jen, every kid at the Congress has won a free set of all seventeen volumes of the Hikaru no Go manga.  DVD sets of popular series like Hunter x Hunter and Fruits Basket, piles of Hikaru no Go merchandise, Audio Go Lessons from Guo Juan, and donations from Art of Problem and Wolfram Mathematica rounded out the prize pool as well.  Eight-year-old Aaron Ye 2d (center, in photo at left) enjoyed his game review with Yilun Yang 7p, and so did the crowd that gathered round to watch. Youth also got to play six-on-1 and 8-on-1 simuls with top pros from Korea, China, and Japan.  Mini tournaments were held most days, with prizes for 9×9 table winners, 13×13, and Lightning.  Youth Adult Pair Go remains one of the most popular events, with 44 youth and adults playing this year, paired as one youth and one adult of opposite genders, with a few same-gender pairs thrown in for good measure. The Youth Team Tournament, modeled after Hikaru no Go, was also popular, with nine teams competing.  Top honors went to Keiju Takahara, Oliver Wolf and Takashi Hoshi in the dan division, and Anurag Varma, Albert Hu, and Alvin Hu in the Kyu division. Both teams are playing in the photo at right, while Winston Jen (third from left, standing) observes the match. – Paul Barchilon, Youth Editor, photos by Paul Barchilon (top left) and Chris Garlock (bottom right).


Friday August 6, 2010

Wan Yu Chen 4D and Curtis Tang 7D are the 2010 U.S. Pair Go champions and will represent the U.S. at the World Pair Go Championships later this year. Yukino Takehara 4k and Keiju Takehara 2d were second in the popular annual event, held Thursday night at the U.S. Go Congress. Table winners: Table 1: Cathy Li 1P & Bill Tian Yu Lin 7d; Table 2: Yinli Wang 6d & Matt Burrall 7d; Table 3: Shigeko Hane 1P & Shoichi Sugita 1d; Table 4: Roxanne Tam 2d & Tom Xu 4d; Table 5: Rachel Small 8k & Ryo Maeda 6P; Table 6: April Ye 3k & Aaron Ye 2d; Table 7: Ranka Hane 1k & Takashi Hoshi 1k; Table 8: Eileen Hlavka 7k & Dave Weimer 3d; Table 9: Michiyo Yamamori 1k & David Rohde 5k; Table 10: Xiao-Feng Ha 3k & Sathya Anand 7k; Table 11: Chris Hlavka 14k & Jim Hlavka 2d; Table 12: Melanie Arnold 30k & Keith Arnold 4d. Todd Heidenreich took a break from his EJ Team duties to once again serve as Tournament Director. photo by Steve Colburn


Friday August 6, 2010

“Don’t try to fight too much, some people really like to fight, but go is a peaceful game,” Ryo Maeda 6P said in his lecture on Friday at the U.S. Go Congress. Due to popular demand, a fifth lecture was added — four were originally scheduled — and Maeda picked up where he left off on Thursday with techniques for attaching to the 4-4 point. “The simpler you play, the less mistakes you make, and your chances (of winning) increase — simple is better,” he said.  When faced with an invasion from your opponent, he doesn’t recommend “trying to kill”, because “once they live in your territory, your loss is so large — let them live small instead.”  But “you always want to punish someone who overplays.”  One way to do that is to exploit the weakness of a group with only two liberties. “Two liberties is more dangerous than you think,” Maeda said.  A group with two liberties “makes normal moves for nearby groups dangerous.”  He demonstrated several examples and joked that “if you do this against a 5D player, they cry.”  Translator Yoshi Sawada 6D pointed out several times that Maeda used English phrases: “see he speaks English — very soon I will be out of a job,” he joked.  Not only was it a bonus lecture, but it also went on for more than an hour and a half, and Maeda looked ready to keep on going, but — like the Congress itself — all good things must eventually come to an end. Fortunately, there’s always next year.
– Report/photos by Jake Edge

U.S. GO CONGRESS: Pair Go Photo Album

Friday August 6, 2010

At the Pair Go Tournament, Thursday, August 5. Photos by Steve Colburn

U.S. OPEN ROUND 5, BOARD 1: Cathy Li 1P on Unavoidable Fighting

Friday August 6, 2010

Yongfe Ge 7D unsuccessfully tries to avoid fighting with Myung-Wan Kim 9P in this U.S. Open Round 5 game. Cathy Li 1P (r) shows how two of Ge’s moves early on enable Kim to get a three-way attack going that determines the flow of the rest of this exciting game.


2010 US Open Round 5
UCCS, Colorado Springs, CO
W: Myung-Wan Kim 9P
B: Yongfei Ge 7DCommentary by Cathy Li 1P, broadcast on the KGS Go Server
Game recorded by Solomon Smilack; commentary transcribed by Chris Garlock


Thursday August 5, 2010

UNDEFEATED: U.S OPEN 4-0 WINNERS: With two rounds to go, the following players are undefeated thus far in the U.S. Open: Terry Benson, Tucker Burgin, Gordon Castanza, William Gundberg, Albert Guo, Albert Hu, Colin Liu, David Niu, Jesse O’brion, Joel Olson, Jeff Putney, Larry Russ, Roger Schrag, Andrew Shang, Daniel Smith, Myron Souris, Darrell Speck, Myung Wan Kim, April Ye, Peter Zhang. Click here for complete standings/results in the U.S. Open through Round 4.
PHILLIPS & FRANKEL DOMINATING SELF-PAIRED: William Phillips and David Frankel together are leading in four of the Self-Paired tourney events. Phillips is still leading for The Champion, increasing his net wins to 9; Frankel and Phillips are currently tied for The Hurricane, with 10 wins each; Frankel has a firm grip on The Giant Killer (Dan Killer) with 8 wins against dan-level players, while Jeffrey Horn’s 4 wins against kyus is holding onto The Keith Arnold (Kyu Killer); The Straight Shooter: Frankel and Phillips both have 5 consecutive wins; Gordon Castanza’s 17 games gives him a good lead on The Dedicated, while Wayne Nelson’s 10 games against weaker players has him in the lead for The Teacher and he’s also leading for The Philanthropist.
NOTE: Watch for a Pair Go report and photo album on the website Friday!