News from the American Go Association

November 28, 2005
Volume 5, #103

YOUR MOVE: READERS WRITE: Retailing Go, Great Games & Sorting Software
GO ONLINE: Moyo Go Sparks Debate

SIX TOURNEYS, TWO DAYS: No less than six tournaments will be held this weekend in the U.S., from Hartford, CT's Winter Tournament (12/3) to Piscataway NJ's Feng Yun Go School monthly AGA rated games (12/3) and the "Heart Transplant of Darkness" tourney (12/3) in Chicago, IL. Denver, CO will hold a Pair Go tournament (the first to be held outside the U.S. Go C ongress) on 12/3 and the Western Mass Fall Go Tournament will be held in Amherst, MA on 12/4, while the Penn Go Society will team up with the Philadelphia Baduk Association to host their first tournament this Sunday, 12/4. "The Philadelphia Baduk Association is a predominantly Korean club that boasts a number of players in the 4 to 7-dan range," reports Penn Go organizer Peter Nassar. "They are looking for a challenge and hope that the strongest players in the area will appear!" See Calendar, below, for event details.
N.A. TOYOTA/DENSO FEATURES $20K IN PRIZES: With more than $20,000 in prizes, the upcoming Third Toyota/Denso North American Oza Tournament could well be the biggest tournament of 2006. Set for January 14-15 in New York and Las Vegas, organizers expect large and strong fields: the highest-placing eligible players in New York and Las Vegas will go on to represent th e US in the World Oza Championship, playing against some of the world's top players in the biggest annual tournament on the international scene, with a top prize of almost $300,000 and a new Lexus. Go to for more information; click on "New York" or "Las Vegas" to download application forms for either event.

2 DAYS LEFT FOR YEARBOOK, CHALLENGER DEALS: Just two days left to take advantage of this month's free Yearbook deal and the 2006 Shodan Challenge! Anyone joining or renewing their AGA membership during the month of November will receive a free copy of the 2004 American Go Yearbook in addition to the forthcoming 2005 Yearbook, featuring the best of the weekly E-Journal: games, reviews, columns, reports, photos and more (including original material produced especially for the Yearbook!). The Yearbook a lso includes a CD with every game and article published in the E-Journal, organized in an easily accessible and searchable format. Join now at  Plus, the deadline for joining the 2006 Shodan Challenge is December 1; for details on how to qualify for the Challenge, email us today at

ON THE RISE IN MILE-HIGH STATE: "The Colorado go scene continues to expand," reports local organizer Paul Barchilon. "The very successful club at the Boulder library has now opened up three new chapters. One of our young students, fourteen-year-old Victor Li, has started his own go club at his high school. One of our teachers, Thomas Strohman, has been teaching a go club at the local Chinese school. And two parents from our club, Tuba and Seyit Tigrek, have begun a club for children at Creekside Element ary, where three of their children are enrolled. Fueling all of this growth has been a generous infusion of grant money. As we have a wide range of kids from different ethnic backgrounds, we decided to apply for a grant from the City of Boulder's Youth Opportunity Action Board. The board actively promotes multi-cultural activities that benefit kids who live in the city. We applied for and received a grant for $1,000 dollars last month. We are also receiving $800 in matching funds from the American Go Foundation. In addition to buying equipment, we have used the funds to purchase go books for both the public library and the various school libraries. Altogether, I think we have donated about fifty books on go. They are all constantly checked out and some of our kids are really serious about studying. Ten-year-old Kellin Pelrine deserves particular notice: in the space of less than three months he has risen from never having played to 7kyu. He has read over twenty books on go in this time as well. We expect 20-40 of our kids to compete in the Rocky Mountain Go Tournament in January, and four sets of pairs are registered for the Pair Go Tournament this coming Saturday as well."

PROGRESS ON UNIFIED GO RULES: Rule questions can often seem arcane or unimportant, especially to amateurs. But, reports AGA Rules Committee Chair Terry Benson, "the philosophy and aesthetics behind them are deep, tradition is strongly defended, and professionals hone their game to work within their accustomed rules. A single point difference in the endgame is often crucial." With sponsorship from the Ing Chang-Ki Goe Educational Foundation, the International Go Rules Committee has been working since last year to try to reach a compromise between the rules used in China, Japan, Korea, and Taiwan. The AGA, the European Go Federation, and the Singapore Go Association have also been included in the four Forum m eetings so far. Rules experts in the U.S. and Europe have been working on these issues for many decades and are seen as neutral parties in the discussion. The hope is to establish - in the next few years - an Olympic style go tournament in concert with other mental sports. This requires a simple, logical, complete, and unified set of international rules which a broad range of players can understand and apply. The next committee meeting is scheduled for February in Korea.

CHO U ONE WIN AWAY FROM OZA DEFENSE: Cho U 9P defeated challenger Yamashita Keigo 9P by resignation in Game Two of the 53rd Japanese Oza and now leads the best-of-5 series 2-0. Cho U is now up 15-10 in the overall record between them; he successfully defended his title last time by beating Yamashita Keigo 3-1. Game 3 will take place on 12/1.
- from

KON O RIN TAKES LEAD IN TENGEN: Kono Rin 7P is just one win from his first title after he scored a powerful win in the third game of the 31st Tengen best-of-five title match, following up on his success in the second game. The third Tengen game was played at the Hita Hot Spring Sanyokan inn, in Hita City, Oita Prefecture, on November 24. In a game marked by fighting from the outset, Yamashita suffered from a hallucination that let Kono capture a large group. The game ended with his resignation on Kono's 165th move. Having lost three title-match games in a row -- two in the Tengen and one in the Oza -- in the last two weeks, Yamashita's in a tough position, facing kadobans (a game that could lose a series) in both title matches. This is hardly the lead-up to his Kisei challenge that he would have been hoping for. Fortunately for Yamashita, there is a bit of a gap before the fourth Tengen game, to be played in Kobe on December 15, but he will have to continue at his h ectic pace of two games a week, including the fourth Oza game on 1 December.
- reported on the Nihon Kiin homepage

GU LI TO MEET IYAMA IN JAPAN-CHINA AGON KIRIYAMA PLAY-OFF: Gu Li 7P beat Qiu Jun 7P by resignation in the final of the 7th Chinese Agon Kiriyama Cup on November22. Gu, who has won this event for the second time, will meet Iyama Yuta 7P in the play-off between the winners of these sister titles in China and Japan; the game will be played early next year in China.
- from reports on the Nihon Kiin homepage and

PARK YUONGHOON WINS 1ST YEONGNAM ILBO CUP: After losing the first game, Park YuongHoon 9P won two games in a row to defeat Jo HanSeung 8P in the best-of-3 final of the 1st Korean Yeongnam Ilbo Cup, becoming the first champion of this event. The time format for this new event is 20 minutes in regular time for each side and 3 times 40 seconds in byo-yomi.
- from

CHOI CHEOLHAN TIES UP LG REFINED OIL CUP: Choi Cheolhan 9P defeated Lee Changho 9P by resignation in Game 4 of the 10th LG Refined Oil Cup, tying the best-of-5 series at 2-2. The LG Refined Oil Cup is one of the highest prize tournaments in Korea. Last time around, Lee Changho 9P defeated Park YoungHoon 9P 3-0 to win the championship.
- from

REDMOND NARROWLY EDGED OUT IN TOYOTA DENSO PRELIM GAME: Michael Redmond 9-dan was edged out by just half a point in a game with Kubo Hideo 5-dan in Preliminary B of the Japanese qualifying tournament for the 3rd Toyota & Denso Cup.
- Nihon Kiin

TOUGH COMPETITION IN SPICY NOODLES CUP: In Game 9 of the 7th Nong Shim Spicy Noodles Cup, Jo HanSeung 8P of Korea ousted Xie He 6P of China. So far each country has three players left; Takao Shinji 8P challenges today in the last game of this phase. The Nong Shim Cup features 5-member teams from three countries -- China, Korea and Japan - and the winner continues playing the next opposing team member until he is defeated. The Koreans have held the Cup since it began in 2000. Sponsored by Nong-shim Sin Lamyeon Bae of Korea, the prize purse for the winning team is about $127,000 US. In previous games of this phase, Xie He 6P of China defeated Yamada Kimio 8P of Japan in Game 8, achieving two consecutive victories. In Game 7, Xie He 6P defeated Won SeongJin 6P of Korea by a half point with 307 moves in a fierce fight. In Game 6, Won SeongJin 6P defeated Mimura Tomoyasu 9P of Japan by resignation with only 169 moves. Mimura Tomoyasu 9P def eated Liu Xing 7P of China by resignation in Game 5.
- reported by

IN MEMORIAM: S.S. HSU: Mr. S.S. Hsu passed away at the age of 97 in Ottawa on October 26, 2005, reports Canadian go organizer Charles Chang. "Mr. Hsu was known to many Eastern Canada go players. He learned the game when he studied in Japan around the age 30. Majoring in Strategic Policy Planning, he returned to China after his study in Japan to serve his home country until his retirement. He immigrated to Canada from Taiwan to join his son's family in 1975. A long-time enthusiastic go player, he never missed any club gathering or local tournaments. Having longevity, a healthy life style and enjoying go for seven decades, he had a happy and content life. Members of the Ottawa go community paid final respects at his funeral. Carrying a beloved pocket-sized go book he brought back from Japan, Mr. S.S. Hsu now sleeps peacefu lly. As a keen go player, he stays with us forever."


RETAILING GO: "Why is it so hard to buy a decent go set?" wonders Anton Ninno in Syracuse, NY. "The game stores in the mall carry only American-made 'toy' go sets (that are) either too small or made in odd sizes, and the stones are plastic. The alternative is to buy from online go vendors, but it means you can't see and touch the products before you pay. Will we ever see real go sets in American retail stores?"

GREAT GAMES: "I just received my first issue of the Games edition of the E-Journal," writes Chris Lamperski. "The commented games are fantastic, especially for a neophyte like me. Thanks so much!"

SORTING SOFTWARE: "I am a beginner looking for software with which to learn/practice go on my Win PC," writes Steve Golin. "Your site has many choices (good - but confusing). Can somebody suggest a package that wil l get me going without costing me an arm and leg?" Look for a series of go software reviews soon in the Friday Member's Edition.

GO ONLINE: Moyo Go Sparks Debate
By Roy Laird
       How did Kitani play against the variation of the san-ren-sei opening you've been studying? Was there ever a game that used the exact same first ten moves as your last match? Who likes the "avalanche" more, Takemiya or Cho Chikun? Thanks to searchable databases, answers to questions like these are now just a mouseclick away with software like GoGoD, GoBase, BiGo, Smart Go, and MasterGo. The latest entry in the expanding go software industry, Frank de Groot's Moyo Go Studio, has reignited the controversy about whether game records can be copyrighted ("A World of Game Records,", an intellectu al property debate that now rages worldwide as Google proposes to put libraries online and cheap Chinese DVD knock-offs show up on American street corners.
       After reportedly paying CyberKiwon $600 for the use of their games, DeGroot, a Norwegian software engineer, is now openly and systematically harvesting game records from the collections of his competitors for his own commercial use, without their permission and against their wishes. On his blog (at, he describes the process of siphoning data from other programs in detail: "As I write this, the games on the latest GoGoD CD are importing into Moyo Go Studio and it looks good - thousands of new games!" And later, "I have calculated that it will take me about three months to export all of (SmartGo's) 30,000 games."
        The creators of thos e collections are outraged at what they consider DeGroot's blatant theft of their work, having invested thousands of hours (and dollars) in the laborious game-by-game manual entry of game records into their collections. While there's a general consensus that no one has exclusive rights to a game record -- many well-known games appear in all the major collections - the question of whether a specific collection can be copyrighted is still being hotly debated. And beyond the legal issues, there's a more fundamental question of the ethics of taking work without permission or compensation.
       De Groot's position on the legal issue is that "There is nothing in a set of SGFs (games recorded in the widely used Smart Go Format) that makes them copyrightable, when there are no added comments." However, according to US law, "A (copyrightable) 'compilation' is a work formed by the selection and assembly of pre-existing materials (e.g. uncopyrig htable facts) or of data that are selected, coordinated or arranged in such a way that the resulting work as a whole constitutes a work of authorship."
       Phone numbers, for instance, cannot be copyrighted, but phone books can be, as long as the collector exercises a "minimal degree of creative judgment," beyond mere "industrious collecting." Other types of legal protection are also available; for instance, some programs contain a so-called "shrink-wrap" contract agreement in which the consumer agrees not to reproduce the compilation. (see for a fuller discussion of the law involved) A directive enacted by the European Union in 1996 also explicitly prohibits "unauthorized extraction of all or a substantial part of the data from a database for commercial purposes" and "unauthorized re-utilization of all or part of the contents of a database for commercial purposes."
       Although the legal issues of the use of game records may be unresolved, there seems to be no disagreement on the ethical question. In a response to criticism of his behavior on, de Groot wrote, "I agree. Still, I am going to do it. It is wrong ethically, I fully agree. But not legally." (To view the entire thread go to
       Interestingly, despite seeming to take an "information must be free" position, de Groot is encrypting the games he has taken, rather than making them freely available in SGF format, as have the creators of more established programs like GoGoD, GoBas e, BiGo, Smart Go, and MasterGo.
       Game collection developers who have invested significant resources over the years to build and maintain their collections are worried that de Groot's actions threaten the usability and existence of such collections. The obvious response to sticky digital fingers is for programs like GoGoD and SmartGo to remove the handy feature that allows the user to export game records as sgf files. And if someone can simply take such work product without permission or cost, the go software market - which is fairly limited to begin with -- is undermined and may well force out developers, an obvious loss for the go consumer.
       Beyond the legal and ethical issues, the reality is that the go community is close-knit and thus far, the general response to de Groot's (who is not a go player) actions has been fairly negative. Major information sources like Sensei's Library and Gobase contain no references to Moyo Go; go software link pages (e.g. don't mention it and distributors don't sell it. The AGA, committed to the free flow of information, does provide a link to MoyoGo on its Computer Go page -- -- along with dozens of other go software programs, and will include the program in an upcoming series of reviews of such software. Any references to Moyo Go will note the controversy; as informed citizens of the world go community, we each must decide how to live in that world.


December 3: Hartford, CT
CCC Winter Tournament
Bill Fung 860-648-1527

December 3: Piscataway NJ
Feng Yun Go School monthly AGA rated game
Feng Yun GoLesson@yahoo. com 973-992-5675

December 3: Chicago, IL
Heart Transplant of Darkness
Bob Barber 773-467-0423

December 3: Denver, CO
Te wo Tsunaide: a Pair Go Tournament
Jasmine Sailing 303-388-4666

December 4: Philadelphia, PA
Philadelphia Fall Open
Peter Nassar 215-898-6271
Matt Bengtson 215-704-4600

December 4: Amherst, MA
Western Mass Fall Go Tournament
Charles Sutton 413-253-9873

December 11: Princeton, NJ
Princeton Fall Self-Paired
Rick Mott 609-466-1602

December 17: Arlington, VA
Holiday Helper
Allan Abramson 703-684-7676

December 17: Davis, CA
Davis/Sacramento Quarterly Tournament
Fred Hopkins 916- 548-8068

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

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