American Go E-Journal

Redmond’s Reviews, Episode 10: Redmond 9p v. Mizokami 9p

Friday April 13, 2018

Join Chris Garlock and Michael Redmond 9p for Episode 10 of Redmond’s Reviews. In this game, Michael plays against 2018.04.07_redmond-mizokamiMizokami 9p in the Kisei – First Tournament. “Mizokami is a very tenacious, steady player who I’ve had no success against in the past,” says Redmond, “but my new style works better this time.” Viewer Dontbtme calls it a “very interesting and inspiring game, showing (once again) how go is a game so deep it’s got room enough for even pros to make many mistakes and then recover.”

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Cupertino Kids Learn Go

Friday April 13, 2018

Screen Shot 2018-04-12 at 2.15.53 PM2017 AGF Teacher of the Year Wenguang Wang hosted a “Learn to Play Go” event for over 120 kids at Sedgwick Elementary’s annual Discovery Day, on March 27th,  in Cupertino, CA. “Like previous years, the school invited many presenters to teach kids various kind of fun activities, such as fencing, YoYo, robots, and yoga,” reports Wang. ” Yi Luo, from The VMware Go Club, and myself were the presenters, and we worked with the third grade. Students learned the rules of go and played a few games on 9×9 boards. They enjoyed the session, especially those who won!” -Paul Barchilon, EJ Youth Editor.  Photo by Wenguang Wang

Kids and Teens Invited to Japanese Go Congress

Thursday April 12, 2018

0720152216-600x405Three youth from North America are being invited to Japan, for international friendship matches and the Japanese Go Congress. The sponsors of the trip, Life Sports, are paying all expenses while in Japan, with a small stipend for airfare. Fifty-four players under the age of 16, and at least ten kyu, are being invited from ten countries: Japan, China, Korea, France, Germany, Russia, Mexico, Thailand, Canada, and the US. The kids will participate in the Takarazuka Go Congress, and will have opportunities for cultural exchanges as well as for playing go. The AGA will select three players, two from the US and one from Canada, based on participation points earned from attending various AGA events. The Congress will be July 13-16th and AGA Go Camp Director Fernando Rivera will lead the team and act as chaperone for the children. Japanese expenses are paid for the kids, but parents who wish to come will need to pay their own travel and lodging expenses. If you are interested in attending, please fill out the form here. More information on the congress and the event can be found here. Any questions should be addressed to youth@usgo.org-Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor. Photo: Participants at a Life International Go Meeting. The event is sponsored by Life Sports Foundation, and NPO Life Kids Go Club, with the cooperation of the Nihon Ki-in and the Kansai Ki-in.

First-ever U.S. Go Congress mobile app released

Tuesday April 10, 2018

With registration for the 2018 US Go Congress in Williamsburg, VA now open, the Congress team has just released a companion 2018.04.10_congress-appscreenapp for either iOS or Android devices. The app complements the information found on the Congress website with pages for scheduling, travel information, staff contacts, social and much more. Click here now to download.

The app will be continually updated with new pages such as pro biographies and information between now and the Congress, and will be a source of live information at the Congress. You can see what the overall 2018 Congress schedule looks like in the app today with placeholders for events and lectures that will be filled in as they are confirmed. Once the schedule is finalized, a My Schedule feature will be turned on that allows each attendee to build their personal Congress schedule of events.

“This is a step we are taking towards a paperless, digitally enabled Congress,” says Congress Co-Director Diego Pierottet. “We are also planning large display screens to be prominently located to post the latest news and information. We are looking to enhance the Congress experience for everyone and would appreciate suggestions on the app and what other sorts of information we should add.”

Please download the app, especially if you are considering coming to the US Go Congress this year. Your feedback can be sent to Gurujeet Khalsa (gurujeet.khalsa@nationalgocenter.org) “and is greatly appreciated.”

 

The Janice Kim Files: On Ranks

Monday April 9, 2018

by Janice Kim 3P2018.04.08-janiceKim

When I was a student at the Korean Baduk Academy, I was firmly ensconced in the “B League” at 6 “gup”, or “kyu”. The way the ranking system worked is that a 6 kyu would give a 5 kyu only three points of komi for White, rather than 5.5 or 6.5 points. It then went no komi, 3 points reverse komi, then 6 points, then 9 points reverse komi. The two-stone handicap gap was considered so big, you didn’t get there until a 6 kyu was playing against a 1 dan (that’s 1 dan pro). Clearly one rank did not equal one stone.

The general go-playing population, even in Korea, didn’t know or use this kind of system. At best, you’d see the strongest players say something about being “1 gup.” There was whispering that there was such a thing as an amateur dan, but it was hard to confirm the rumor, unless you met someone who had “Amateur 4 Dan” or something like that printed on a business card. This was a signal that this person might do something completely bizarre in Korean society, like sit in a seat of honor at a banquet. Also that this person had no intention of ever exceeding this rank. Or else his family owned the banquet hall, and was paying for the whole shebang.

That’s why “gup” doesn’t exactly translate to “kyu.” Basically, strap in to your seat if the person says he or she is any “gup”. This is reminding me of when I was introduced as a “Korean 3 dan pro” to Yoda 9 dan at a banquet. He looked mildly interested, perhaps concerned, until someone whispered, “Not one of those Korean 3 dan pros.” Note that being female had nothing to do with it, it just had to be established I was not Lee Sedol, who was also 3 dan pro at the time.

On my visa renewal application, there’s a question in English, “What is your purpose for being in Korea?” I painstakingly write out “Professional Baduk researcher” in my childish Korean script. My aunt sees this, scowls, and crosses it out. Then, in her easy way, she fits in a neat sentence that I’m learning how to play. I’m almost incapable of saying or writing anything in Korean now. This is an utter disaster when anyone, naturally, assumes that I can communicate or translate from Korean to English or vice-versa. Imagine translating this into Korean. You’d have to cross the whole thing out, and say “She’s struggling to explain an existential crisis.”

It was so hard, during the peak of the AlphaGo phenomenon, to talk about things. For example, one did not want to tearfully start screaming, “You don’t understand how big a two-stone handicap gap is, that’s not even something we ever did!” when somebody started suggesting handicaps for pros against AlphaGo. Don’t get me started on winning percentages, like people of a certain skill level couldn’t just be relied on to calculate their reverse komi or whatever in a game, and play sub-optimally to win. Or like AlphaGo had invented something novel in not caring about the size of the win, or altering the strategy depending on the situation.

So there I am on the bus, which could preface a significant chunk of my entire waking life in Korea. Somebody is looking at me with my nose in my life and death book, and announces, “That’s easy.” I’m startled. Is it possible that I’m missing something obvious? I thought it was really hard. “Black lives”, my seat mate says. Well, yes. It says that right on the problem. But how?

Sensing my confusion, my seat mate starts turning pages. “Black lives. Black lives. White lives.” Then he hits one of my game records stuck in the pages of the book, where I’ve dutifully recorded my rank as “6 gup”. He smiles, looking at the shape of the finished game, which now suddenly looks pretty silly, with large territories like empty continents on a flat earth. “Black loses.”

I’m suddenly furious. When we get to my stop, I insist, practically pulling on the man’s sleeves, that he get off at the same stop, and accompany me to the Korean Baduk Association building. There I crush him in a game, in the most stupid and mindless way possible. He apologies profusely, and runs, literally runs, for the door.

The 6 gup, full of ego and self-doubt, crushes this nice man, guilty of nothing more than trying to be helpful to the young girl looking at a go book on the bus. The 3 dan teaches this man how to play go, but he already knows how. There is a game-changing difference between them. Like a 2-stone handicap.

Here’s a link to the Blue Oyster Cult song “Shooting Shark.” The lyrics are funny, especially if viewed entirely in a go context. I picked a video that didn’t have inappropriate content, although G-d knows anyone can write anything in the comments.

Categories: The Janice Kim Files
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Teacher of the Year Nominations Due May 13

Sunday April 8, 2018

IMG_4772Nominations for the American Go Foundation’s  Teacher of the Year award are due by May 13th. Presented each year at the U.S. Go Congress, the award  recognizes an outstanding American teacher. The winner  will receive an all expenses paid trip to the US Go Congress.  To be eligible, a teacher must be a member of the AGA, have been teaching go to children for at least two hours a week (during the school year) for two years, have started a go club or organization for youth, and have helped their students enter appropriate tournaments, if possible.  If you would like to nominate someone for this award, including yourself, e-mail mail@agfgo.org.  Nominations are due by May 13th and should include a description of the teacher’s activities,  how long they have been teaching, and how many students attend their program. - Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor. Photo:  2017 AGF Teacher of the Year Wenguang Wang playing with one of his students in Santa Clara, CA.

Calling go-playing Rotarians

Saturday April 7, 2018

Are you a member of the Rotary Club in US or Canada?  If so, would you be interested in playing go with other Rotarians for 2018.04.08_rotaryinternational friendship?  A new group, Go Playing Friendship of Rotarians or GPFR, has been formed and officially recognized by Rotary International to encourage using go as a vehicle of friendship.  It has held annual meets in Japan, Korea, and Taiwan.  GPFR’s president, Takuhei Kanazawa, welcomes US and Canadian Go-playing Rotarians to join in to make his group an intercontinental one.  Irrespective of your playing strength, if you are interested, contact AGA VP-International Thomas Hsiang at igf@usgo.org.

Your Move/Readers Write: Tehran go club?

Saturday April 7, 2018

Tehran go club? Does anyone know of any go club activity in Tehran, Iran? Email Phil@Strausphoto.com

The Empty Board: Philosophical Reflections on Go

Tuesday April 3, 2018

by William Cobb2018.04.03_P1230835-tri-tone

“Go is like life.” It’s a common claim—and true. But go is also like death. Every game comes to an end and every player eventually plays their last game. Is that a bad thing? With individual games, even if you lost, you always made some good moves and there’s always next time. But what about that final game? Does the fact that it’s inevitable mean that playing is a waste of time? Of course not. Each game is an end in itself. You don’t have to play forever for them to be one of the best parts of life. The same goes for all of life’s games. The fact that they come to an end and there is no continuation does not undermine the enjoyment or the significance of life. A lot of people seem to be confused about that.

photo by Phil Straus

2018 US Go Congress registration opens

Monday April 2, 2018

Registration for the 2018 US Go Congress has officially been launched. “Everyone has a lot of questions in planning for the 2018.04.02_go-congress-sign-insummer, and we’ve got answers for (some of those) questions,” says Congress Co-Director Nate Eagle. 

  • Costs! How much coin of the realm this year will involve?
  • Transportation. What are the best ways to get to Williamsburg?
  • Who can I ask about…? Find out which volunteer is best suited to answer other questions you might have.

The Congress will be held in Williamsburg, Virginia, on the campus of William & Mary, July 21-28. At the site, click on “Start Here” to sign up. Once you’ve signed up or signed in, under the “My Account” page,  you can add attendees, as needed. The Go Congress site uses new accounts every year, so even if you’ve registered for previous Congresses, you’ll need to sign up for this year. “Stay tuned for more updates to the site,” adds Eagle, who’s co-directing with Diego Pierrottet. “We’ll have lots more information to come. We can’t wait to see you this July!”