News from the American Go Association

July 25, 2005
Volume 5, #62

In This Issue:
US GO NEWS: US Invited To Join Team Go Events; Youth Go Camp West Goes "Inside The Fence"
WORLD GO NEWS: Lee Changho Takes Tenth Straight Wangwi Title; Gu Li Threepeats In China-Korea Tengen; Dinerchtein Wins In Saint Petersburg
WHY WE PLAY: Still Spellbound


US INVITED TO JOIN TEAM GO EVENTS: The AGA has received invitations to participate in international Team Go events in Korea and China, reports AGA President Michael Lash. "These invitations present us with an unprecedented opportunity to demo nstrate the strength of the AGA's strongest amateur players," says Lash. Both events are in late October, one in Korea involving one team of three players, the other in China, for one or two teams of three players each, plus any individual player who wishes to compete on their own. The Korean Amateur Baduk Association (KABA) is holding its 1st International Team Baduk Championship in Seoul, Korea from October 24-28, and have invited teams from 16 countries. Transportation and accommodation expenses will be provided by the KABA, though airfares for the US players are limited to $1,000 per person. The China tournament is organized by the Chinese Go Association and the HongZhou Qi-Yuan from October 25-58 in HongZhou, China and is by invitation only. Players must pay their own way to China, plus a $50/day fee for room and board. However, the players in this event will compete for prize money; the team can win about $3,000 US and individuals can win about $2,500 US. The AGA will apply a fair, open and transparent policy for selecting players for these international competitions, Lash says. AGA qualifications include: players must be full paid members of the AGA, US citizens or permanent residents; and have been resident in the USA for at least six of the last twelve months by the time of the events. "There is no minimum age or rating requirement and the intention is to field teams that contain our strongest available amateur players from across the nation," says Lash. All interested players should send their expression of interest to the AGA President at by the end of the US Congress in Tacoma. Please include the following information: name of tournament you wish to play in; ability to pay expenses if you choose the China event; AGA number and most recent rating; birthday; and place of residence. When all this information is received, the AGA will determine and announce the most appropriate method of selecting the players.

YOUTH GO CAMP WEST GOES "INSIDE THE FENCE": A week of intensive go instruction at this year's Youth Go Camp West in Oakland, CA wound down late last week with a trip to Muir Woods and Stinson Beach "which included a barbecue and go lecture at the beach by Maeda sensei," reports camp organizer Steve Burrall. Friday afternoon about half the campers became only the second group of children in the last 25 years permitted to tour the experimental magnetic nuclear fusion reactor at the Lawrence Livermore National Lab, thanks to the efforts of theoretical physicist Linda Lodestro of the LLNL Go club, who spent many hours obtaining security clearance for the campers to go "inside the fence" at LLNL.


LEE CHANGHO TAKES TENTH STRAIGHT WANGWI TITLE: After losing the first game in the title match to Ok Teukjin 2P, Lee Changho 9P came back to take three in a row and capture the Korean Wangwi title for the tenth cons ecutive year, setting a new record by eclipsing the record of nine times in a row set by Cho Hunhyun 9P back in the 1980s. The last two games were both 2.5 pointers. This was the 39th Wangwi title match, making it second only to the Kuksu in terms of longevity among current Korean titles.

GU LI THREEPEATS IN CHINA-KOREA TENGEN: For the third year in a row Gu Li 9P of China has won the match between the national Tengen winners of China and Korea. Choi Cheolhan 9P of Korea was the runner-up this year and last. Choi got off to a good start, snapping his recent losing streak by winning the first game, but Gu came back to take the second and third games, both by a margin of a point and a half. This makes three title matches so far this year in which Choi has failed to come out on top. He lost previously to Lee Sedol 9P in the international Fujitsu and to Lee Changho in the Korean King of Kings. Gu also won the New Star China-Korea match at the end of May, and he currently holds three Chinese national titles. Choi currently holds the Korean Kuksu and Chunwon titles. You can download all the game records from the web site.

DINERCHTEIN WINS IN SAINT PETERSBURG: Alexandre Dinerchtein 1P won the latest event in the Toyota-Pandanet European Go Tour in Saint Petersburg, Russia, earlier this month. Dinerchtein had a perfect record of six wins in six games. The competition was unusually stiff because the event was preceded by the European Team Championships, which matched eighteen four-member teams, including teams from Israel and Azerbaijan for the first time. The champion team was one of the Russian ones, composed of Dmitri Surin, Alexei Lazarev, Rustan Sakhabutdinov, and Timur Sankin. In the Toyota-Pandanet tournament, the second through the eighth place was decided by tie break among a group with four wins each. Svetlana Shikshina 1P of Russia and Jan Hora 5k of Russia shared second place. You can see the complete tournament resu lts at . There were 82 participants.

WHY WE PLAY: Still Spellbound
by Jesse Chao 2d
       My attraction to go began during childhood. The seemingly simple game of black and white stones laid over a grid seemed conquerable, even to a small child. Today, I find myself as spellbound over the endless strategies of the deceptively unadorned game as I was ten years ago. During that time, go has become not just a pastime, but also a form of art and meditation. The game expects nothing more or less than a capacious imagination. Just as I love to explore the tangible realm of the sciences, go requires the precision of a chemist and reasoning of a mathematician. Just as I am split between the humanities and the sciences, the game demands the essence of both.
       Artificial intelligence fascinates me, and the technical game play of go is much like a computer's binary system. Yet, despite the millions in prizes offered for a computer program that can match a professional player's strength, the strongest computer go program in the world is still at the mercy of a novice go player. Why can Deep Blue outplay chess grandmaster Gary Kasparov, while a go program with similar processing capacity falls so much shorter against a weak go player? One possibility is that the plays in go are more open-ended; although moves must be accompanied by solid logic there is often no definitive answer. This seems to pose a paradox, especially since logic is supposed to be able to solve a problem with a straight, unquestionable answer. I can easily see how go's complexity contributed to John Nash's inspiration for in formulating his "Nash Equilibrium" branch of Game Theory. Nash's theorem has led me to exp lore the perfect logic that governs so many aspects of life that I once thought were unsystematic.
       However, while the Equilibrium Theory has taken an emotionally exclusive, mathematical view towards life and game, I believe that there may well be an illogic that governs all logic. In my own play, I have often felt compelled by pure emotion to play a move, against all rationality. Only later would it turn out to be a good play, unexplainable in its efficacy, yet eerily appropriate.
       Go is just a game. However, the nature of the game allows it to provide a window into everyday situations. The choices made in a simple game turn out to be deeply representative of one's true character. When I play go, I am offered a window into another's complete spirit, and my own nature becomes transparent. The game offers deep meditation, and the emotional expression unites with rational analysis to ru b my mind like a genie's lamp, releasing my thinking from the world about me. It is why I play go.
       19-year old Jesse Chao was the 1997 Redmond Cup Champion and is now a sophomore at Stanford University, where he's majoring in Human Biology.

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Through August 6: Pr ague, Czech Republic
European Go Congress

August 2-22: Hoi-An, Vietnam
Vietnam Go Camp

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

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