American Go E-Journal

In Memoriam: Leonard Baum

Tuesday June 19, 2018

Note: We just recently learned of the passing of Lenny Baum last year, hence the belated obit below. Please send us any and all go-related news at

Leonard Baum (Lenny, fondly known to many as Opa, and a regular at the annual U.S. Go Congress), died unexpectedly at the2018.06.19_LeonardBaum age of 86 on August 14, 2017 at his home in Princeton, NJ. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa, summa cum laude in mathematics, from Harvard University in 1953 and received a PhD in Mathematics from Harvard in 1958. He worked for a couple of years at the University of Chicago before moving to Princeton, NJ to work at the Institute for Defense Analysis – a Defense Department think tank which specialized in cryptography. Lenny’s affiliation with IDA in Princeton spanned 1959 through 1978. He wrote over 100 internal papers there and is responsible for what has become the motto of IDA: “No idea is bad. A bad idea is good. A good idea is terrific.” Lenny’s public scientific legacy includes the Baum-Welch algorithm, which directly enabled the first effective speech recognition systems. Today, 50 years later, this work remains at the center of these systems – while its mathematical and algorithmic descendants and other relatives, have impacted many fields from genomics to weather prediction to finance. After leaving IDA, Lenny teamed up with Jim Simons to apply his mathematical modeling to the financial markets. He retired early, legally blind, seeing with only his rods, having lost all his cones to a dystrophy, but that didn’t stop him from travelling the world over, visiting many exotic places. He continued to trade for himself very successfully, often taking very contrarian positions. An avid go player, deep lover of science and seeker of truth, he continued working on math literally up until his death, spending the night before he died reading new math papers on prime numbers. “His greatest pleasure came from facing an opponent many decades younger – often losing but – like the kindly grandfather he was – enjoying every moment of the encounter,” says Terry Benson. The Leonard Baum Prizes are being established in his memory to encourage inter-generational play. “Lenny became part of the mid-Jersey go scene that flourished in the heady world around Princeton’s Institute for Defense Analysis and Institute for Advanced Study,” Benson added. “His visual affliction forced him to track his head inches over the board but was at least partially suited to go. With only rods and no cones he could see what you need to in go: black and white.”

-  Includes reporting originally published in The New York Times on Aug. 18, 2017. photo by Phil Straus

N.A. players wanted for 4th Bailing Cup

Tuesday June 19, 2018

The Chinese Weiqi Association invites two men (professional or amateur) from North America to participate in the 4th Bailing Cup Championship. The first three rounds of the tournament will be held between July 24-27 in Beijing, China. (Note that this is during the US Go Congress and it will not be possible to attend both events.) The final will be held sometime in 2019. Full airfare, meals, and accommodations will be provided to participants. If you have any questions, or to apply to participate, please contact no later than June 30th.

Categories: China,Main Page

Go Spotting: “The Row” film

Monday June 18, 2018

“The Row,” a brand-new short film about life and death, prominently features go. The 16-minute film stars Vondie Curtis-Hall as2018.06.19_TheRow-film a prison warden who plays a final game of go with death row inmate Demetrius Grosse. The film is directed by Philiane Phang. “The filmmakers had chosen a game they thought reflected the situation, but wanted help with some equipment, showing the actors how to play the stones and such,” reports AGA president Andy Okun, who is acknowledged in the film credits.  The game depicted was the famous Honinbo Sansa Kashio Rigen triple ko game from 1582, with its suggestion of stalemate and ill fortune. 

Categories: Go Spotting,Main Page

Upcoming Go Events: Evanston and Sacramento

Monday June 18, 2018

June 23: Evanston, IL
Summer Solstice Tournament
Mark Rubenstein 847-869-6020

June 30: Sacramento, CA
Davis/Sacraento Summer Quarterly Tournament
Willard Haynes 916-929-6112

Get the latest go events information.

Categories: Calendar,Main Page

Fu, Xu and Ou top first Boston Youth Go Tournament

Monday June 18, 2018

Sixteen kids participated the first Boston Youth Go Tournament at the Neo Millennium Go Club on May 28th.
The top three players of the senior division were Chase (Bin) Fu, Andrew (Hancheng) Xu and Hanchi Ou. Top four players of junior division were Hantong Li, Yuheng Xue, Jin Greene and Jate Greene.
- Ke Lu

Janice Kim on big and small moves in Albuquerque

Monday June 18, 2018

In a recent game review session for Albuquerque players, Janice Kim 3P emphasized ideas about judging big moves and big areas, 2018.06.18_janice-albuquerqueand, looking at that from the reverse side, not making small moves to respond to your opponent’s last play. “Why should you have to know where your opponent’s last move was?” she asked. ” You should be looking at the whole board to find the best place to play.”
- report/photo by Bob Gilman

Candidates chosen for 2018 AGA election

Sunday June 17, 2018

Candidates for the 2018 board election are in. Central candidate: Lisa Scott; Eastern candidate: Gurujeet Khalsa; Western candidate: Christopher Saenz; At-Large candidate: Paul Celmer. Members and chapters should check their expiration dates and email addresses with the AGA to ensure they receive their ballots.

Baduk bodybuilder on staying sharp and fit

Sunday June 17, 2018

Kim Yeo-won, a commentator for baduk, also known as go, is living a double life as a fitness queen, reports the Korea JoongAngDonald Trump,Kim Jong Un Daily.

The 31-year-old commentator, best known for reporting on the 2016 match between Korean grandmaster Lee Se-dol and computer program AlphaGo, has begun competing on the bodybuilding stage. Last month, she won second place in the bikini competition at the Olympia Amateur Asia Grand Prix, one of the world’s biggest bodybuilding competitions.

“Baduk and exercising are similar in that they both make you push yourself beyond your limits,” Kim said during an interview with the JoongAng Ilbo, where she spoke about fitness and baduk. Click here for her interview with the Korea JoongAng Daily.

Categories: Korea,Main Page

3rd International Baduk Chunhyang Tournament

Sunday June 17, 2018

The Jeollabuk-do Baduc Association (affiliated with the Korea Baduk Federation) is inviting amateur baduk players to participate in this event, to be held July 20-24, 2018 in the Republic of Korea. The main event is for women only, who will not only receive room and board but also 50% reimbursement for international airfare. Chun Hyang is a female character in a famous story that’s been told for thousands of years in the city of Namwon; she represents intelligence, and the tournament is being held to find brilliant female Baduk players. There is a limited division for men, but without the airfare reimbursement. Please note that these dates overlap the U.S. Go Congress and it will not be possible to attend both.
The deadline to apply is June 23. For more information, or to apply to participate, please contact
Categories: Korea,Main Page

PechaKucha go presentation in Chicago

Sunday June 17, 2018

Mark Rubenstein and Bob Barber gave their second presentation about go at PechaKucha last week at Martyr’s in Chicago. Their first presentation in 2011 was about go in general; this one focused on AlphaGo. “It had been 7 years since we did our first one,2018.06.17_PPK presentation and we thought the time was right for version 2.0” said Rubenstein.

PechaKucha is a Japanese word that, roughly translated, means chit-chat. PK was devised in Tokyo in February 2003 as an event for young designers to meet, network, and show their work in public. PK is a simple presentation format where you show 20 images, each for 20 seconds. “PK Nights are informal and fun gatherings where creative people get together and share their ideas, works, thoughts… just about anything, really!” Rubenstein tells the EJ.
PK presentations are usually done by one person. But in the first presentation Bob and Mark broke with tradition and presented together, alternating with each slide. “We wanted to do the same thing this time, but the information was too dense in this one”, said Rubenstein. “It was too complicated to keep alternating, so we agreed that I would present solo.”
You can watch the presentation hereThe 2011 presentation from 2011 is here. For more information about Pecha Kucha, click here. “We encourage everyone to check out PK and consider doing a presentation”, said Rubenstein. “It’s lots of fun, and a great way to spread the word about Go!”