News from the American Go Association

October 10, 2005
Volume 5, #88

In This Issue:

LATEST GO NEWS: Liu Tops In Hoboken; $50K Up For Grabs In N.A. Oza; Go News Debuts On Website; Three-Way Tie In Euro Women's Championship; Macfadyen Takes British Championship Again; Free Software For Challengers; Corrections & Updates
THE TRAVELING BOARD: Report from Kyoto
THE PLAYING LIFE: Accept Your Handicap


LIU TOPS IN HOBOKEN: Andy Liu 7d swept all four games to top the September 25 Hoboken Fall Ratings tournament. "Whatever else you want to say about this tournament, you won't find a playing site with a better view" boasts organizer Larry Ru ss, who reports that 52 players turned out at the Stevens Institute, where the tournament was held in a spacious playing room overlooking the Hudson River and Manhattan skyline. "This tournament was remarkable for the absence of dropouts: every round had 25 tables paired," says Russ. An analysis room provided the younger players with a venue for between-round activities, some of which were go-related. The tournament was directed by Steve Bretherick and Chuck Robbins, "ably assisted by Tiffany Wu who scouted out the status of unfinished games and also tested that Minesweeper was working properly on the TD's laptop," reports Bretherick.
       OPEN SECTION: 1st: Andy Liu, 4-0; 2nd: Zhaonian Chen, 3-1; 3rd: Jason Gu 2-2; SECTION B: 1st: Steven Wu, 4-0; 2nd: Yi Wang 3-1; 3rd: Lionel Zhang 2-2; SECTION C: 1st: Christopher Kiguchi, 3-1; 2nd: Ed Downes 2-2; 3rd: Sal Gionfriddo 2-2; SECTION D: 1st: Clayton Wilkie, 4-0; 2nd: Kevin Shang 3-1; 3rd: Zhongxia "Ricky" Zhao 2-2; SECTION E: 1st: Xiaowei Sun, 4-0; 2nd: Jasmine Yan 3-1; 3rd: Nathan Borggren 3-2; SECTION F: 1st: Sean He, 4-0; 2nd: Thibault Berger 3-1; 3rd: Tiffany Wu 2-2, Eric Wu 2-2.

$50K UP FOR GRABS IN N.A. OZA: High-level players will vie for top prizes of $2,500 at each location when they compete in New York and Las Vegas next January at the Third North American Toyota/Denso Oza Tournament, the highest cash prize in North America, according to AGA President Michael Lash. "This year, Toyota and Denso Corporations have increased their financial support to a total of $50,000, so we have adjusted the top prizes accordingly," Lash tells the E-Journal. He also noted that the runner-up prize of $1,500 is a record as well, and there will be significant cash prizes at all levels. For details go to Players will also win transferable credit toward t he 2006 US Go Congress, and there will be "Fighting Spirit" prizes for everyone who finishes all rounds. Organizers Roy Laird in New York and Ray Kukol in Las Vegas are in the final stage of negotiations with the venues as we go to press. Watch for announcements of final plans soon!

GO NEWS DEBUTS ON WEBSITE: Latest go news from across the country and around the world is now available online at  In addition to the reports in the twice-weekly E-Journal, the site will feature up-to-date go news and photos. "This enables us to post breaking news as it happens between editions," says E-Journal Managing Editor Chris Garlock. "For example, news, photos and games from the upcoming Texas Open (October 29-30) will be posted 'live' on this page, just as we did during the U.S. Go Congress." Send your news, photos and suggestions to

THREE-WAY TIE IN EURO WOMEN'S CHAMPIONSHIP: Twenty-four women participated in the European Women's Goe Championship in Leipzig, Germany September 29th to October 2nd. In an unexpectedly hard-fought contest, three players ended up tied for first. The biggest surprise was Rita Pocsai 4d of Hungary beating the Russian pro Svetlana Shikshina. Pocsai was then defeated by Zhao Pei 6d of Germany, and these three ended up with identical scores of 4-1. Three players were 3-1: Manuela Lindemeyer 3d of Germany, Martina Simunkova 1d of the Czech Republic, and Daniela Trinks 3d of Germany. Also winning four games were Ulrike Schmidt 4k, Annika Wille 9k, and Sophie Baschinski 11k, all of Germany.

MACFADYEN TAKES BRITISH CHAMPIONSHIP AGAIN: Matthew Macfadyen 6d of Leamington has retained the British Championship, defeating challenger Des Cann 5d of Milton Keynes 3-0. This is the twenty-first time that Macfadyen has held this championship. He has played in the championship match every year since 1978, when he f irst won it, except for 1987. 2005 was his ninth victory in a row. Only three other players have been the British Champion since 1978: Terry Stacey in 1985 and 1986, Piers Shepperson in 1987, and Zhang Shutai from 1993 through 1996.

FREE SOFTWARE FOR CHALLENGERS: Want to get stronger? The 2006 Shodan Challenge is here to help! Next month we'll raffle off a free copy of the powerful SmartGo software to participants in the 2006 Challenge! Open to players of all strengths, the Challenge now has five Divisions: the 20-kyu Challenge, for beginners; the 10-kyu Challenge for 11-20k players; the 5-kyu Challenge for 6-10k players, the Shodan Challenge for 5-1k players and the 5d Challenge for 1-4d players. Challengers publicly accept the challenge of trying to achieve a specific goal by next year's U.S. Go Congress August 12-20 in Black Mountain, North Carolina. The E-Journal is tracking the progress of each Challenger and will provide special incentives and assistance, includ ing free game analyses, books and software like SmartGo, a tool to play, record, replay, analyze, annotate, and print go games that includes a collection of over 30,000 professional go games and more. Make a move to improve! For more details on how to qualify for the Challenge, email us today at

CORRECTIONS & UPDATES: "Regarding the increase in limited membership fees, (Beat The Rate Increase, 10/7 EJ) the (new $15) rate went into effect September 1," notes AGA President Mike Lash. "At the same time, the Youth category was expanded to 22 years of age."
       Kim Myeongwan 7P, one of the top Korean pros (Korea Dominates Samsung, 10/3 EJ), attended this year's US Go Congress in Tacoma, WA, where top U.S. amateur Jie Li 9d defeated him in a pro-am demonstration game.

THE TRAVELING BOARD: Report from Kyoto
by Peter Schumer 2k
        While teaching a college course to a group of American students this fall in Kyoto, Japan, I'm also enjoying the go scene here. We have two field trips coming up - one around Kyoto to a Nihon Ki-in associated go club, to the Honnoji Temple where the famous triple ko occurred, and to Jakkoji temple to meet with the Buddhist leader there and learn more about the Honinbo Pavilion and the early members of the Honinbo school. (Chris Garlock's E-Journal reports on some of these places have been very helpful!) Our second trip will be to Nara where the Nara National Museum will have several treasures from the Shoso-in on display next month. Of course the main interest to us will be the famous 8th century lacquer go board and ivory go stones that once belonged to the Emperor. I've seen pictures of this priceless goban in several books, but now I'll finally be able to see it with my own eyes!
       But the real reason f or this report is this: Quentin Dombro (fellow Vermont go player) and I joined 200 Japanese go fans last week at the finals of the Agon-Kiriyama Cup held in a beautiful temple located on the outskirts of Kyoto. The commentary was done by O-Meien 9P. In the game, Kobayashi Satoru 9P was white and Iyama Yuta 4P was black. My two-kyu reading of the game had Kobayashi winning most of the way, but somehow Iyama won by 6 and a half points. The kicker is that Iyama is just 16 years-old and is now the youngest Japanese player to ever win a major national go title. So there was a lot of excitement surrounding his victory. An interesting sidelight is that I had to enter a national lottery just to be admitted into the temple where the game was held, so it was quite exciting for Quentin and I to be just two gaijin among the throngs of serious Japanese go fans.

THE PLAYING LIFE: Accept Your Handicap
By Phil Waldron 6d
       One of my pet peeves in go are handicap games. Don't get me wrong, I feel handicap games are invaluable. They play a vital role in teaching the game to beginners, and one of the great advantages go has over chess is the existence of an effective handicap system.
       My difficulty is with players who refuse to take the correct handicap (or no handicap) when they play. Time and again I get caught playing even games with players three or four stones weaker. My suggestions that they play with a handicap are usually ignored, or dismissed by players who "want a challenge." I don't mind playing an even game with weaker players if, for example, they want some tips on their opening and will adjourn the game when things go bad. But far too often I end up having to play a thirty-point win out to the last hane-and-connect.
       Over my years of play, I have benefited greatly from many handicap games with stronger players, and I look forward to being able to repay that debt in the years to come. But after a few too many of these over-the-table games at the local club, I wonder if I should just stay home and play on the Internet where there are always even games with players of my own strength.
       My suggestion to weaker players is this: play with the correct handicap. If the game is a big win for one side, adjust the handicap immediately. If it is a close game, the traditional three wins in a row system should be used. The handicap system exists to give interesting games to BOTH players. If victory is too easy for one side, the game is no longer interesting.
       Got a different opinion or a go story you'd like to tell? Send it to us at


October 15: Blacks burg, VA
Virginia Tech Go Tournament
Alpha Chen 540.818.3692

October 22: Rochester, NY
The First Annual Greg Lefler Memorial Go Tournament
Christopher Sira 201-230-2383

October 22-23: Portland, OR
Portland Go Tournament
Peter Drake 503-768-7539 (W); 503-245-1239 (H)

October 24-28: Navasota, TX
Pro Workshop with Yilun Yang - in conjunction with the Texas Open
Robert J Cordingley 281-333-1614

October 29: Arlington, VA
Pumpkin Classic
Allan Abramson 703-684-7676

October 29-30: Navasota, TX
2005 Texas Open Go Tournament
Robert J Cordingley 281-333-1614

November 3-6: Lancaster, PA
Yang Workshop
Sam Zimmerman 717-892-1249

November 12: Syracuse, NY
Syracuse Fall Ratings Tournament
Richard Moseson 315-682-7720

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Published by the American Go Association
Managing Editor: Chris Garlock
Assistant Editor: Bill Cobb

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