News from the American Go Association

October 14, 2005
Volume 5, #89

In This Issue:
LATEST GO NEWS: Lefler Memorial Tourney Set; Houston Deadline Extended; How Are We Doing?; Updated Board Pages; Oza Prize Correction; Iyama Makes Go History; Japanese Lead In Nongshim Cup; Melchner Wins Alert Reader; Weekend Go Action
GAME COMMENTARY: Slow Moves and $10 Mistakes
THE TRAVELING BOARD: New Board Discovered in Ancient Tibet
THE PLAYING LIFE: Winning By Resigning
ATTACHED FILES: 2005.10.14 Challenge, Ning-Whiteside, Yang; 2005.10.14 Go Review Problem VII 10 62; 2005.10.14 Kaz Lesson #42


LEFLER MEMORIAL TOURNEY SET: The First Annu al Greg Lefler Memorial Go Tournament has been scheduled for October 22 in Rochester, NY, reports local organizer Christopher Sira. Organized in memory of Rochester go organizer Greg Lefler, who died in August, the 3-round tournament will be held on the campus of the Rochester Institute of Technology. Details at or call 201-230-2383 or email

HOUSTON DEADLINE EXTENDED: The deadline to register for the upcoming Texas Open Go Tournament and Workshop has been extended to Wednesday, October 19, reports organizer Robert Cordingley. The October 24-28 Workshop features Yilun Yang 7P and "is set in the piney woods at Camp Allen Retreat and Conference Center about one hour from Houston," according to Cordingley. The facility boasts 3-star accommodation, trails, sauna, TV room, work out room and much more. The two-day Texas Open Go Tournament will be held Oct 29-30, (also residential at Camp Allen) with a prize purse of over $3,000, including $1,500 to first place in the Open. "Pre-registration is essential for catering and accommodation planning, so there will be no walk-ins," warns Cordingley. Details and registration forms online now at  NOTE: registrations must be RECEIVED by 10/19.

HOW ARE WE DOING? Tell us what you think of the E-Journal: help us improve our efforts to keep you up to date on the fascinating world of go by taking our brief 4-question survey at

UPDATED BOARD PAGES: Readers interested in the organizational and financial aspects of the AGA can visit, where the minutes of the AGA Board of Direc tors meeting for July, August and September have now been posted. In addition, several final financial documents for the year are available at

OZA PRIZE CORRECTION: Sharp-eyed readers of Monday's E-Journal may have noticed that the prizes for the upcoming North American Toyota/Denso North American Oza Tournament, listed at don't add up to the $50,000 we said was "up for grabs" in our October 10 issue. $50,000 is the total support provided by Toyota and Denso, some of which organizers Roy Laird in New York and Ray Kukol in Las Vegas will use to secure exciting locations (more about this next issue!), to provide a nice buffet breakfast on both days, to produce various colorful souvenir items, and for other site-related expenses. Laird and Kukol expect to give awa y over $20,000 -- $10,000K-$12,000K in cash and Congress credits at each location -- depending on attendance, still a record for a North American tournament. In addition, top finishers in each section will receive beautiful awards, and "Fighting Spirit" prizes will be available to everyone who finishes all rounds. (This story originally posted online 10/11 at 7p; check for latest go news updates)

IYAMA MAKES GO HISTORY: Sixteen-year-old Iyama Yuta 4P has become the youngest pro to win a title in Japanese go history, defeating Kobayashi Satoru 9P in the finals of the Agon Cup. Details on Monday.

JAPANESE LEAD IN NONGSHIM CUP: Hane Naoki 9P of Japan has won the first two games in the Nongshim Cup team tournament. Details on Monday.

MELCHNER WINS ALERT READER: Melvin Melchner of Chatham Township, NJ is this week's Alert Reader winner, winning a $10 go vendor gift certifica tes for spotting our most recent Alert hidden in a game commentary. Honorable Mention to Peter N. Nassar who wrote to say "'Thanks for including the commentaries for so many different player levels - they are ever instructive!" Winners are drawn at random from those who correctly report the Alerts. Keep a sharp eye out in ALL our game attachments; you could be a winner too!

- October 15: Blacksburg, VA
Virginia Tech Go Tournament
Alpha Chen 540-818-3692

COMING UP MONDAY: Milton Bradley says Phil Waldron "lacks understanding of the proper role of the stronger player in a club setting" and Jonathan Bresler proposes some handicap alternatives. Plus all the latest go news!

GAME COMMENTARY: Slow Moves and $10 Mistakes
       When is a move solid and when is it just plain slow? Today's game commentary has many examples o f the latter, as Yilun Yang 7P analyzes the US Open Round 2 game between Jeff Ning 13k and 2006 Shodan Challenger David Whiteside 12k.
       PLUS: Kaz Furuyama explores a "ten dollar common mistake" and see if you can find Black's crucial play in a problem from Go Review VII 10 (October 1967).

THE TRAVELING BOARD: New Board Discovered in Ancient Tibet
by Peter Shotwell
       Here in Lhasa, Tibet, the news is that a new ancient go board has turned up. It comes from just north of Lhasa in an area that goes back at least to the 7th century AD, although at the moment the board itself is undateable.
       This latest discovery has considerably increased Tibetan scholars' interest in go and their culture by providing hard evidence on which to base speculations. Prior to this find, aside from sca ttered literary mentions, there was only the knowledge that Princess Wenchong brought a go board with her in the 7th century AD. The previous board, which came from east of Lhasa, was rather crude and scratched out but the new one is magnificent. The lines are carefully incised, which makes the squares "rounded" to better hold the stones. But the amazing thing is that the rock is dark in the middle but flat and coated with quartz-like finish on the surface so that, by drilling down, the "star points" appear dark against the white. This is a standard building stone in Tibet--extremely hard and most likely some type of granite.
       The board is on one side of a flat boulder, and there is a hole next to the board which is either natural or bored to hold one side's stones and, next to it, a second, smaller hole, possibly for the prisoners. It will take some research, but this might be of interest for those who would like to know whether Japanese or Chinese prisoner rules were in effect when go was introduced into Tibet, which could have been before the traditional date in the 7th C. AD. Both boards are standard, modern size, though 17 x17.
       As for the age of the board, the site doesn't provide any clues, just a lot of rocks in a field where once might have stood a house, a fort, a palace, a retreat or a temple. In any case, the location offers a magnificent view overlooking what is now Lhasa for the presumably aristocratic players to enjoy.
       The board itself originally lay next to a small newly-cut ravine and a peasant, for fun, happened to push it down so it landed board-side up next to the stream. It had been lying unknown, board-side down for all those centuries, which would account for its wonderful preservation and also for its lack of discovery. The peasant saw the etched side, reported it and received a reward, so perhaps he and his fellow villagers will be on the outlook for more boards and even stones in the future.
       Longtime go writer Peter Shotwell is traveling in Tibet; future reports will be published in the E-Journal as well as in an appendix in his Go in Tibet paper on the AGA website:

THE PLAYING LIFE: Winning By Resigning
By Howard A. Landman 2d
       At a Go Congress a few years back, I had the privilege of playing a simultaneous handicap game against Abe 9P. The opening went OK, but in the middle game a big battle started that ended with my group managing to live.
       I had survived into the early endgame; time to count the score. I made a quick estimate, and concluded that the gam e was dead even on the board. So, when Abe came back around, I said "Domo arigato gozaimashita, sensei" Thank you very much, sensei. In other words, I resigned.
       Why resign a game when I wasn't behind? My endgame is pretty good: I've studied combinatorial game theory as applied to go in great detail, and have even published a paper on the subject. I can detect fractional-point or even infinitesimal differences between moves easily, and prioritize them. This means I can usually pick up a point here and there in the endgame, so I normally wouldn't worry going into the endgame even, or perhaps a few points behind.
       But against a 9-dan pro? Not a chance. Abe was certain to gain at least 5 or 10 points on me by out-reading me in the few vague undefined areas that were left. I had no chance, so it was the perfect place to resign. Playing simuls is exhausting work, and he was doing all of us a great favor.
       The guy next to me was playing out his 9-stone game to the bitter end. With time on my hands after my resignation, I counted his game and found him nearly 40 points behind. After the last game was finished, Abe wandered back over to my board and spent 15 minutes going over my game with me, one on one. A private lesson with a top pro is quite a prize, and I won it ... by resigning.


WANTED: Go board, new or used, pretty much any condition, with stones and bowls. I'm willing to pay $30-40; I'm only 12 and on a tight budget in Flower Mound, Texas.

FOR SALE: 1) Korean 7mm glass stones & plastic bowls, $15. 2) Japanese 6mm glass stones & plastic bowls, $25. 3) Japanese wood folding board, $25. 4) Japanese dark-brown wood bowls, $30. Buyer pays US Mail or UPS shipping. Contact Anton at:


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