News from the American Go Association

March 7, 2005

In This Issue:

U.S. GO NEWS: Fischer Time Tried At NJO; Kerwin Beginner Redux; Zhou Wins Board Seat; Sobolowski Tops Gates Of Go; DC hosts "The Art of Contest"; E-Journal Updates; Coming Up In Friday's Member's Edition; This Week's New Classified Highlights
WORLD GO NEWS: Jie Wen Tops Student Oza; Chang Takes Lead In Ing Cup Finals; Wang Lei Wins Chinese Xinan Wang; Finals Set In Women's Kuksu; Koyama Evens It Up In Women's Meijin
YOUR MOVE: Readers Write
Konane, Daiqi, Amazons and More


FISCHER TIME TRIED AT NJO:  Disproving the saying about old dogs and new tricks, the venerable New Jersey Open tried out a different timing system at its 46th annual tournament February 26-27 in Princeton, NJ. Organizers Rick Mott and Paul Matthews decided to run the entire tournament on Fischer time, invented by Bobby Fischer for chess. Fischer time starts with a given amount -- 40 minutes in the NJ Open -- and adds seconds for every move you make (20 seconds per move at the NJO). With about 125 moves in a typical game, this added up to about 80 minutes total time at the NJO. "The big difference is that you are not confronted with a fast byoyomi time at the end of your basic time as in traditional timing systems," says Mott. Since go involves a pattern of periods of thinking followed by periods of fairly rapid play throughout the game, Fischer timing "fits the rhythm of go more naturally" than a set basic time with forced rapid play at the end, notes Mott. "Of course, you can still lose on time, but the end of the game is not usually so stressful as in more familiar systems." As with other systems, Fischer timing allows the tournament director to control the length of rounds by adjusting the original time and the number of added seconds. Fischer time requires a properly programmed digital clock, which are widely available from chess suppliers. The clocks used in the NJ Open are $25 each in bulk purchases of ten or more from Excalibur:

KERWIN BEGINNER REDUX: After a successful first outing, James Kerwin 1P is again offering a short course of four 75-minute lessons for complete beginners. Aimed at English speakers who know the rules but are just starting to play go, Kerwin's course will be offered on KGS using the voice-over-internet capabilities recently added to the server. Class size is limited to 20; the fee is $30. To sign up, email Kerwin at

ZHOU WINS BOARD SEAT: Yuan Zhou 7d, one of the top U.S. amateur players, has been appointed Eastern Region Vice-President for the American Go Association, reports AGA Board Chair Alan Abramson. "The Board is looking forward to the energy and perspective he will bring to this position," said Abramson. Zhou, who won election by a 3-1 margin over the next highest candidate, will fill out the remainder of former Eastern VP Bill Cobb's term on the AGA's Board of Directors. (See "Jie Wen Tops Student Oza" below for Zhou's report on the recent World Student Oza)

SOBOLOWSKI TOPS GATES OF GO: Chris Sobolowski topped our Gates of Go photo contest, with five original and creative entries inspired by Christo and Jean-Claude's recent public art installation "The Gates, Central Park, New York, 1979-2005." Runners-up David Saunders, Justin Carmical and Max Rubenacker also came up with some very clever go-themed photos based on the glowing river of 7,500 bright orange vinyl gates hung with saffron curtains that wound through 23 miles of park paths for two weeks in February. Sobolowski wins a $25 go vendor gift certificate and the runners-up will each receive a $10 go certificate. You can see all the entries at

DC HOSTS "THE ART OF CONTEST": The Smithsonian Institution's Arthur M. Sackler Gallery in Washington, DC is now hosting the exhibit "Asian Games: The Art of Contest," through May 15. Using both the paraphernalia of games and paintings, prints, and decorative arts that depict people playing games, the exhibition explores the role of games as social and cultural activities in the diverse societies of pre-modern Asia. The exhibition includes an interactive component consisting of sets of the major board games (chess, weiqi/go, and chaupur) along with newly invented games with Asian themes. Games players can participate in the "hands on play zone" part of the exhibition, open daily from March 19 through April 17 during the exhibition hours (11-4) inside the exhibition area in the Sackler, 1050 Independence Ave. SW.

E-JOURNAL UPDATES: The Empty Board, by E-Journal assistant editor and columnist Bill Cobb, is being translated into Turkish by Mehmet Dardeniz, a Turkish go player, who is making the columns available to the go community in Turkey. They can be found at  Some of Cobb's columns have also been translated into German and were published in the German Go Association's magazine, Deutsche Go Zeitung, in 1999.
      With the boom in the American go tournaments, workshops and other go events, EJ contributor Robert Barber is moving on from compiling the weekly Event C alendar for the E-Journal and taking on a new project assembling and maintaining a new Annual Go Event Calendar, which will be posted and updated on the AGA's website soon.

COMING UP IN FRIDAY'S MEMBER'S EDITION: Hot-off-the-presses game commentary by Guo Juan on this week's Ing tournament in Amsterdam, Chris Garlock's Go Player's Guide to Amsterdam, Philip Waldron reviews "Nie Weiping on Go" plus latest news updates! Non-members can sign up now at

THIS WEEK'S NEW CLASSIFIED HIGHLIGHTS: Go stone machinery ("Not for the faint-hearted or weak-kneed"); go players wanted in Houston, TX and El Cajon, CA; Romanian go champ seeks online students. Check these out in Go Classified below!


JIE WEN TOPS STUDENT OZA: "For the third year in a row, the Chinese team dominated the World Student Oza," reports Yuan Zhou 7d. Z hou 7d, winner of the 2004 ING Redmond Cup, represented the U.S. at the Student Oza in Tokyo, Japan February 26-27 at the invitation of the Nihon Ki-in. "It was another all Chinese final: Yuqing Hu 7d vs. Jie Wen 6d," says Zhou. "Jie Wen won the final and the Student Oza, although Yuqing Hu, the current hottest and most famous amateur player in China, was expected to win the tournament." Yuqing Hu, who beat Zhou in the first round, won three Chinese amateur titles in the last year and took second place in the All China amateur tournament this past January. "Yuqing has also beaten 9-dan professionals in professional tournaments," adds Zhou. On the way to the final showdown, Yuqing Hu beat the U.S., Japan and Korean reps, while Jie Wen beat Brazil, Germany, and Taiwan. Zhou hopes to have some game commentaries from this tournament soon.

CHANG TAKES LEAD IN ING CUP FINALS: Chang Hao 9P of China took a 2-1 lead over Choe Cheolhan in the finals of the 5th Ing Cup last Thur sday, and on Saturday won again, with Black by 3.5 points, to take the title. Choe was only able to win the first game in the best-of-five-games title match. You can download the game records at  The first game was quite exciting: Choe began with an unusual opening but then made some mistakes that allowed Chang to get what seemed an overwhelming lead. However, Choe responded with the kinds of attack that have earned him the nickname "poisonous snake", and Chang ended up having to resign. Choe is a top Korean player, recently winning the Kuksu title in three straight games against Lee Changho, and last year defeating Lee Changho to win the Kisung title, which he is defending this year against Park Yeonghun 9P. This is a great victory for the accomplished Chang, who is almost ten years older than Choe, and has an enviable record in international tournaments . Chang was in the finals of the World Oza and the semi-finals of the Chunlan Cup in 2002 and came in second in the Samsung Cup the year before that. At $400,000 US the winner's prize in the Ing Cup is by far the highest of any tournament.

WANG LEI WINS CHINESE XINAN WANG: Wang Lei 8P defeated Zhu Yuanhao 2P to take the title in the 4th Xinan Wang (Southwest King) tournament in China. This is a fast play tournament with 30 seconds per move made up of sixteen players from national go teams in southwestern China. Zhu was something of a dark horse, defeating Shao Weigang 9P, Zhou Heyang 9P, and Wang Yuhui 7P to reach the finals. For pictures and career highlights of Wang Lei see

FINALS SET IN WOMEN'S KUKSU: The final match-up for the Women's Kuksu title in Korea is now set. The current Women's Kuksu is Cho Hyeyeon 4P, who defeated Rui Naiwei 9P to tak e the title last year, after losing to her in the finals each of the previous two years. In this tournament, the previous title winner is required to win her way back into the finals, which Cho did by defeating Rui Naiwei in the semi-finals. Cho's opponent will be Yun Yeongsun 4P, who won the loser's division of the tournament after losing in the second round to Rui Naiwei. Yun managed to defeat Rui by 1.5 points in the finals of the losers division, winning a shot at the title against Cho. You can download the game records at  The title match will be a best-of-three-games contest.

KOYAMA EVENS IT UP IN WOMEN'S MEIJIN: In Japan, Koyama Terumi 5P defeated current Women's Meijin Kobayashi Izumi 6P to even up the title match at one game each. Koyama won by 13.5 points with White.You can download the game records at . The third game, on March 9th at the Nihon Kiin in Tokyo, will be decisive. Kobayashi has held this title for three of the last four years, losing only in 2002 to Aoki Kikyuo 8P.

YOUR MOVE: Readers Write

"Has the Yearbook come out for 2004?  Just curious.  (I liked and read through most of last year's edition.)
- Gus Garcia
The 100-page 2004 American Go Yearbook was mailed out last Tuesday, so members should have begun receiving it by now.

"The professional reviews of amateur games are always enlightening - thanks for having these!"
- Peter N. Nassar

"It's nice to see commented games between lower ranked players.  I can see many things I am doing wrong (which is why I'm still ranked around 20k.)"
- James Heiney

"These beginner commentaries are very useful!  Thanks alot."
- Jeremy Martin

"I am just a beginner, looking to play go, attend an existing go club, or start a go club in NYC," writes Sean DeWitt in  Astoria, NY. "Any information would be greatly appreciated!"
Go to for a complete listing.

"Thanks for the great reviews!"
- Juan Aristy

"Thank you for reporting the Shodan Challenger games, they are helpful for aspiring players!"
- William P. Jennings

By John Irving, 16k
      I must begin by expressing my appreciation to Mr. Yilun Yang 7P for his review of my KGS game (Shodan Challenge Yang Commentary 2/11/05 EJ). His comments were wonderfully instructive, and really opened my eyes to how much I was missing during play.  It is quite amazing to see one of my own games from a pro's perspective, and realize how learning even a few basic concepts could improve my play substantially.  I am now studying his book "The Fundamental Principles of Go" which I recommend highly. 
      After entering the Challenge, I played at the Jujo Jiang Goe Tournament, entering at my AGA rank of 15k. Although I played my best and had some close games, I went 0-5, and my AGA rank slipped to about 16k. This motivated me to find a teacher, and after trying several, I found a truly great one (Lance Kemper, "shygost" on KGS) locally. Through these lessons I am beginning to appreciate how deep a game go is, and how much I have to learn!  I am now re-learning go from first principles, and although my rank on KGS hasn't changed much in the past month (I'm still ~17k) I now have an entirely new perspective on the game. I plan on entering at least one more tournament before the Congress, and I am confident my play will show a significant improvement. After t his experience, I would recommend that anyone who wants to improve find a teacher or mentor, either locally or on-line.  It will make a huge difference in their appreciation of this beautiful game. And a final thanks to all those involved in the Shodan Challenge program; I don't know whether I'll make Shodan this year or not, but the reward is in the journey, and I'm having a wonderful time trying!  
      NOTE: Shodan Challengers are kyu-level players who have publicly accepted the challenge of trying to achieve 1-dan by this year's U.S. Go Congress in Tacoma, Washington. The E-Journal is following the progress of each Shodan Challenger (18 thus far!) and has arranged for professional game analysis to help the Shodan Challengers improve their games. See photos of some of the Challengers at   Want to take the Shodan Challe nge? Email us today at

ONLINE GO: Konane, Daiqi, Amazons and More
by Roy Laird
      So there we were on the "Big Island", Ernest Brown and I, exploring the "Place of Refuge" --an ancient, sacred Polynesian site for conscientious objectors, when came upon a rough-hewn stone game board filled with black and white stones.  If you saw the photo on the AGA's web site last week, you may think we're playing go, but it's actually konane, a unique Hawaiian game that was already an old tradition when James Cook discovered the "Sandwich Islands" and wrote about it.  The board in the picture is more than 1000 years old.  Konane is sometimes called "Hawaiian checkers", but it also has something in common with Chinese checkers and peg jumping games.  To learn more go to, w here you can even find a curriculum for your school! And you can download and play a free version for your Palm Pilot at
      Konane isn't the only item we've added to the "Related Links" section of our "Links" page lately.  There's also daiqi, or "boundless energy".  Have you ever wondered what it would be like to play go without borders?  Guoliang Cao has figured it out and you can learn how he did it at  Download software you can use to play another human, locally or over the Internet, but it won't play against you. 
      Other games are more marginally related, but still worth a glance.  For instance, there's Amazons, created in 1988 by Walter Zamkauskas, and notably played by P2P mogul Bram Cohen in a recent interview in Wired magazine. In this chess variant, players build defenses to protect several "queens" strewn about the board.  Cohen says it's cross between chess and Go.  For more about Amazons, go to, where you can purchase a shareware program for $10.
      If you're interested in weird go variants, you'll find plenty more at  Don't miss "Hex" from the "beautiful mind" of John Nash; "Pits", a lively five-handed card game often played at Congresses in America and Europe; and links to four different Asian chess variants.


GO PLAYERS WANTED: TX: Houston: 20+ kyu players seek others for weekly rated matched pair games.

FOR SALE: Specialized and very heavy machines for production of shell and slate go stones.  Imported from Japan to the USA years ago by Shinji Dote. Not for the faint-hearted or weak-kneed. Raw materials can be found in remote areas of Baja California. You'll need to move there. Serious inquiries only. Michael Bull:

GO PLAYERS WANTED: CA: El Cajon: Seeking players for go club;

STUDENTS WANTED: Romanian go champion Cornel Burzo 6d EGF offers online tutoring on IGS and KGS using skype internet telephony as well, for more info check

BUY, SELL, OR TRADE equipment, books and go materials, find a go teacher, find someone to play go with! COMPLETE GO CLASSIFIEDS NOW ONLINE at


March 19:  Raleigh, NC
Spring Fuseki
Troy Hurteau 919-515-3318

March 19:  Ann Arbor, MI
Spring Tournament
Eric Jankowski 734-417-5547

March 19:  Edmonton, Alberta, CANADA
Grant MacEwan Open
Jason Morris 780-497-5479

March 20:  Sunnyvale, CA
9th. Jujo Jiang Cup Youth Goe Tournament
Mingjiu Jiang 650-969-2857

March 26:  Baltimore, MD
3rd Annual Hopkins GO Tournament
Robert Ferguson

March 26:  Denton, TX
Yet Another Go Tournament
Paisa Seeluangsawat 940-367-2537

April 2:  Arlington, VA
Cherry Blossom
Allan Abramson 703-684-7676

April 2:  Syracuse, NY
Syracuse Spring Ratings Tournament
Anton Ninno 315-479-9073

April 2-3: San Francisco, CA 
San Francisco Go Club 2005 Spring Tournament
Steve Burrall 916-688-2858

April 3:  Seattle, WA
Monthly Ratings Tournament
Jon Boley 206-545-1424

June 25-28:  Hackensack, NJ
2005 NJ Yang Yi-lun 7p Go Workshop
John Stephenson 201-612-0852

August 6-14:  Tacoma, WA
21st US Go Congress
Steve Stringfellow 253-761-9466

This is a digest of events for the next month only; for a complete listing see the Tournament Calendar on the AGA website:
For the European Go Calendar see

GET LISTED & BOOST TURN OUT! Got an upcoming event? Reach over 7,000 readers every week! List your Go event/news In the E Journal: email details to us at

Published by the American Go Associati on

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Editor: Chris Garlock

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