News from the American Go Association

December 5, 2005
Volume 5, #105


YOUR MOVE: READERS WRITE: Moyo Go Controversy Flares; A Question Of Balance; Of Ethics, Law And Code; Silence The Best Policy; Defining "added value"; Tips For Handicap Players; Free Placement
THE TRAVELING BOARD: Philadelphia Story
ATTACHED FILE: 2005.12.05 Pro Game, Park-Ko, Chunwon.sgf

CHO U THREE-PEATS IN OZA: In a convincing defense of his Oza title in Japan, Cho U 9P whiffed Yamashita Keigo 9P 3-0 in the best-of-five title match to hold on to the title for the third straight year. Cho won the first two games by resignation and the third by 9.5 points playing Bl ack. Cho also holds the Meijin title, which he held for a second year only by taking the seventh game in the best-of-seven match after losing three in a row to Kobayashi Satoru 9P. So Cho continues to hold two of the top five titles in Japan, along with the fast-play NHK and NEC Cups, enabling him to maintain his claim to be the top player in Japan.

CHOI DEFEATS LEE CHANGHO IN CALTEX: In a rare upset, Choi Cheolhan 9P came from behind to take the Korean Caltex Cup from Lee Changho 9P. The victory in the Caltex (formerly the LG Refined Oil Cup) is a significant achievement for Choi. After losing the first two games of the best-of-five match, he came back to defeat Lee three games in a row. Choi, who along with Lee and Park Yeonghun 9P make up the top three Korean players at the moment, is the first of the younger Korean pros to pull off that feat. All five games in this match were won by resignation.

KOREANS EDGE AHEAD IN SPICY NOODLE: The second stage of the 7th Nong Shim (Spicy Noodle) Cup was completed last week in Pusan, Korea, with the Korean team gaining the advantage in this contest between five-player teams from Korea, Japan, and China. The Chinese are down to only one player now, but he is the formidable Chang Hao 9P so all hope is not lost. The Japanese are also down to a single player, Yoda Norimoto 9P, who is also a formidable competitor. However, the Koreans still have two players, Cho Hanseung 8P, who won the last two games in the second round, and Lee Changho 9P, who has never been defeated in the Nong Shim. The final stage will be held in February in Shanghai, China, and the first match will put Cho Hanseung against Chang Hao in a four-game round.

PARK JEONGGEUN LEADING IN CHUNWON: Two more of the younger Korean pla yers, Park Jeonggeun 1P and Ko Geuntae 3P, are fighting it out for the Chunwon title (Tengen in Japanese). There were seven 9P players among the original sixteen in the tournament, but they were all eliminated. Park and Ko are still in their teens and neither has ever won a title. Ko has taken the first two games in the best-of-five finals, winning both times by only a half point, first with Black and then with White, so he only needs one more win in the remaining three games to take the title. We have attached the first game (courtesy of as an example of the style of play popular among the young Koreans today.

BIG JUMP FOR MEMBERSHIP: Fueled by the free Yearbook offer, membership took a big jump in November, finishing out the month at 2,086 members, up 53 from the previous month and closing in on July '05 record high of 2,093. New or renewing members received a free copy of the 2004 American Go Yearboo k and will receive a copy of the 2005 edition, now in production and expected out early next year. Chapters also increased, hitting 134, a new record.

SHONEN JUMP PREVIEW: In the next issue of SHONEN JUMP, "Getting Go" columnist Janice Kim 3P discusses some of the greatest modern go players, including Kato Masao, Kobayashi Koichi and Rin Kaiho. "The latest issue (January 2006) hits newsstands on Tuesday, December 6 and includes two chapters of the serialized Hikaru no Go manga," SJ Managing Editor Marc Weidenbaum tells the E-Journal in an exclusive preview. "First up, 'Game 51: A Place to Return,' in which young Hikaru adapts to life as an insei with continued assistance from Fujiwara-no-Sai, the ghost who has entered his consciousness." Plus there's a special bonus chapter, "The Haze Middle School Actors present 'Assassination at Honnoji Temple,'" in which the Hikaru no Go characters act out a period drama set in Ja pan's Warring States period (1467-1567). Packed with 392 pages of content, "America's most popular manga magazine" retails for $4.99. More information at

HORACE MANN H.S. HEADS TO NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS: Horace Mann High School upset local town rivals Stuyvesant High School to earn a berth in the 2005 K-12 National Championships. The Horace Mann HS (New York, NY) team defeated last year's semifinalist team Stuyvesant HS (New York, NY) team 4-1 to earn a berth in its first-ever appearance in the championship round. They will move on to face three-time defending national champions Clear Lake HS (Houston, TX), who defeated Monta Vista HS (Cupertino, CA) with a perfect 5-0 score. Whatever the outcome of the U.S. championship, Horace Mann will be the U.S. representative for the 2006 RSC Champions League, since Clear Lake has already represented the U.S. The national champions in youth team go play for the United States, Canada, and France gather together to compete for the youth title crown for the best high school in the western go world. This year features three newcomers to the international scene including Canada's Mater Dei HS and France's Lycee Toulouse-Lautrec. Canada's Mater Dei upset two-time Canadian national champion St. Joseph's HS to gain the Canadian berth. 2006 League play will begin in March 2006. Horace Mann HS will gain its first appearance ever as the highest finishing team in the US national championships that did not already have a bid.
- reported by Christopher Vu

ALL-IOWA TOURNEY SET: The first-ever All-Iowa Go Tournament is set for December 18 in Iowa City, reports organizer Duncan Brown. "Since this tournament includes all four AGA go clubs in Iowa," says Brown, "this tournament will award the 'All-Iowa Go Tournament Cup' to the go club with the most points in the tournament." AGA President Mike Lash hailed the new event "for breaking the ice on an idea kicking around for years: a 'US States Championship' where one player from every state plays in a national competition for annual state bragging rights." Lash expressed hope that the Iowa tournament will spark similar state-wide competitions between chapters. "In states with many chapters, they can organize regional events to whittle the numbers down a bit." The Iowa Cup "is a rotating trophy," says Brown, "and will come back to each All-Iowa Go Tournament, to be awarded to the club with the highest number of points."

YOUTH TOURNEY REGISTRATION OPENS: Registration is underway for two tournaments for young go players: the Redmond Cup Tournament and the ING-Redmond tournament. Both events are sponsored by Michael Redmond 9P and his family, th e American Go Association, the Ing Wei-Ch'i Foundation and the IGS. The 13th Redmond Cup is for players 18 and under and has two divisions: the Junior League for those under 12 and the Senior League for 12 and older (but younger than 18 on 8/1/2006). Competitors in the Senior League must be playing at dan strength, in the Junior 5 kyu or stronger and must be members of the AGA and either residents of the U.S., Canada or Mexico or citizens of the United States of America living anywhere in the world. Preliminary games will be played on IGS and the four finalists will be invited to the 2006 Congress, where the three final games will be played. The ING-Redmond Tournament is open to players of at least 5d strength who are 30 or under. Similar citizenship and resident rules as the Redmond Cup above apply. A player may register to play in the Ing Redmond but he or she may not play in both the Redmond Cup and the Ing Redmond Tournament. The two ING-Redmond finalists will play their final games just prior to the U.S. Go Congress and the winner is guaranteed a place in the Ing Invitational Tournament at the 2006 Congress. To register, send the following registration form to None Redmond at before 1/15/2006: name, address, phone #, date of birth, email address, AGA rating, citizenship, go club. Be sure to indicate which tournament registering for.

NYU CLUB OFF & RUNNING: "The NYU Go Club, also known as the Village Go Club, met for the first time at NYU last week," reports long-time Brooklyn Go Club organizer JC Chetrit. The new club meets "in a great space, the 7th floor of a big NYU building in the middle of Washington Square Park South" and had good attendance last week, including five players from the Brooklyn Go Club "and six or seven NYU students and their organizer, Kerry. They are determined to meet every Wednesday."

CARY SWEEPS MIAMI IN CLUB TOURNEY: The Cary, NC Go Club swept the Miami Go Club 3-0 in the ongoing AGA Chapter Team League. Cary team captain Bradley Jones 3d defeated Paul Bensen 4k on 11/20, Changlong Wu 6d beat Joel Sanet 2d on 11/21 and Feng Ye 4d won against Kevin Purvis 1k on 11/27. More details at

SHODAN CHALLENGERS SET RECORD: A record 51 go players have qualified for the 2006 Shodan Challenge, now in its second year. Applications came in right up to the midnight December 1 sign-up deadline. Ranging in strength from beginner to 5d, 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. The Challengers have publicly accepted 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, which is providing special incentives and assistance, including free game analyses, books, software and more (Heber Nelson 24k just won a free copy of SmartGo software in the November drawing for 2006 Shodan Challengers) will introduce EJ readers to the Challengers and track their progress in the coming months.

THE WRITE STUFF: The E-Journal has several openings for columnists and reporters. We're looking for unique points of view on the world and game of go. We're especially interested in expanding our coverage of both domestic and foreign go events. For details on qualifications, please email us at

CORRECTIONS: Moyo Go Studio creator Frank de Groot is Dutch, not Norwegian, as we repo rted last week (Moyo Go Sparks Debate, 11/28 EJ); he resides in Norway. And while, as reported, de Groot has encoded the game files in Moyo Go Studio, he does make them available online. We apologize for the errors.


MOYO GO CONTROVERSY FLARES: Our report on the Moyo Go controversy last week -- Moyo Go Sparks Debate, 11/28 EJ - sparked quite a few responses, and some interesting developments. Within 24 hours, a lengthy MoyoGo page appeared on Sensei's Library, noting the controversy and linking to the article as well as to Mr. de Groot's blog. As of 12/4, more than 160 new messages on the subject had appeared on and a lively discussion has arisen on Sensei's Library. Late in the week, Mr de Groot's web hosting service took down his site, apparently due to concern about possible copyright violations, but it was up again by the end of the week. Here's a sampling of our mail on this issue.

A QUESTION OF BALANCE: "Is Moyo Go's creator stealing, or building freely on other's ideas, constitutionally protected?" wonders a lawyer reader. "Will such action discourage the creation of databases, or encourage the creation of more creative programs to use them? Will it, on balance, retard or advance the science and art of go? These are not easy ethical questions. In its Feist copyright decision, where the US Supreme Court allowed the free wholesale copying of telephone white pages, the Court addressed the ethics and fairness issue, noting that 'assuming the absence of original written expression, only the compiler's selection and arrangement may be protected; the raw facts may be copied at will. This result is neither unfair nor unfortunate. It is the means by which copyright advances the progress of science and art.' If the creators of electronic collections are outraged by Moyo Go, should the publishers of annual yearbooks, o f the games of Go Seigen or Shusaku, etc., be equally outraged by the electronic collections? Sure, I'd like to see Moyo Go's creator pay for the databases he's copying, and acknowledge the hard work of their creators. I wouldn't mind seeing the database creators pay publishers for the games they use from books. And I'm willing to pay a little more for the programs to cover these costs. But what if the deals can't be worked out? In that case, I'm not so willing to condemn the copying, and I'm glad the law doesn't either."

OF ETHICS, LAW AND CODE: "Mr. de Groot's personal views on ethics and legality -- "It is wrong ethically, I fully agree. But not legally." -make me highly distrustful of running any of his code on my computer," writes Andrew Jackson. "If he has no problems doing unethical things that are legal, who knows what else his code might do?"

SILENCE THE BEST POLICY: "Bad press can be just as good as good press," writes another reader. "I think it would have been best to do like everyone else and just keep mum on the issue."

DEFINING "ADDED VALUE": Noting our statement that "Games were taken from other sources without permission," Shawn McHorse writes: "Weren't most of the go game databases created in exactly that fashion? Game records were originally transcribed from various textual sources such as Kido Yearbooks. I highly doubt that anyone obtained specific permission to do this. Is the issue with Moyo Go Studio specifically because the games were collected in electronic format rather than transcribed by hand from paper sources?"
      According to reliable sources, the prevailing view is, in a word, Yes. It's OK to compile original data, for example by transcribing the paper-and-ink version of a non-copyrightable game diagram into an electronic format such as sgf. Doing this work adds value to the game record, since it is now available in a new format, which game collect ors believe earns them a copyright on that data set, and/or on their particular collection of games. Mr de Groot argues that he also does work and adds value; on 12/2 on RGG, he wrote that he is "100% within the law . . . BECAUSE I stripped stuff, changed the way ranks were annotated, merged missing fields, added and removed stuff, etc." The debate continues.

TIPS FOR HANDICAP PLAYERS: "Recent articles in the E-Journal described the annoyance inadvertently caused by players who refuse to play with the appropriate handicaps," writes beginner Barry Pasicznyk. "Here are a few helpful etiquette tips for weaker players: 1) Take a long time to make your moves. Are you really-really sure that you want to move there? Think it over. In fact, do you even really want to move? Think it over some more. 2) Be indecisive with your moves. When you finally decide to move, start to place your stone and then pull away to reconsider (see #1, above). 3) When it's your opponent's tu rn, look at your watch or strum your fingers impatiently." Tongue firmly in cheek, Pasicznyk adds "Regular use of these hints should guarantee plenty of games with your club's strongest players."

FREE PLACEMENT: "One of the best ways to make handicaps both more interesting for the stronger player and more instructive for the weaker is to use free handicap placement," writes go rules maven Terry Benson, "an often overlooked feature of AGA Rules that we got from the Ing Rules. Try playing against an 8 stone handicap with four corner enclosures or a 4-stone handicap all at 3-3s. Suddenly handicap games become a whole new challenge."

THE TRAVELING BOARD: Philadelphia Story
By Quentin Dombro 1k
     It was a dark and dreary morning on the 4th of December. By six a.m. I was checked out of my hotel and chipping away at the block of ice encasing the rental car. Excited about visi ting the Philadelphia Fall Open, co-sponsored by the Philadelphia Baduk Association and the Penn Go Society, I drove carefully through the Alfred Hitchcock-like fog.
     A few years ago I spent twelve months teaching in New Zealand, and found a Korean go club in the south island's city of Christchurch, where I lived. During a year of on-again off-again club play, I never actually won a game. I remember my opponents explaining the primary reason for my losses: "you have no house." Well, I tried to build houses, but those pesky Koreans had a habit of erasing eye-space quicker than ten-second byo-yomi periods disappear. For years, I had been under the impression that go was a peaceful, compromising endeavor, but the Koreans played to annihilate their opponents. Only one player could survive, only one would walk away from the board on his own two feet.
     So I wound my way to Philadelphia with some trepidation, which may have had less to do with the Koreans and more to do with organizer Peter Nassar's murky directions. At one point, the directions said to "make a left turn and proceed to the 18th traffic signal". Like Clint Eastwood's Dirty Harry, I found myself wondering "Was that signal #7 or #8?" I didn't feel lucky. Eventually, though, as though in some personal Twilight Zone episode, I found the small shop with the little sign indicating the presence of a go center on the second floor, the kind of place that disappears, never to be found again. I don't know about you, but I am always impressed by a permanent location to play go. I walked in and introduced myself to Peter; behind him was Tournament Director Chuck Robbins, who'd driven down from Hartford, CT's tournament the night before, after driving up from Lancaster, PA. How does he manage to show up everywhere? In short order, the place was really clicking with lots of practice games.
     We played four rounds, with lunch at a local Korean restaurant between the third and fourth rounds. I got the vegetarian bibimguksu, a bowl of unknown but delicious ingredients sandwiched between an egg on top and a generous helping of rice on the bottom. Yeah I know, you want details on the tournament itself and I keep telling you about all of this peripheral stuff. Hey, whose story is this anyhow? If you must know, I ended the day 2-2, continuing to barely hold onto my 1-kyu rating. After thirty years of struggle, I wonder if I will ever reach shodan. A common theme that ran through my games was my amazing ability to create picture-perfect Korean dumplings. Ok, so that credit also goes to my opponents who simply refused to allow my groups to develop more gracefully. I'm sure I only won my last game because I put on my lucky red socks. I had brought my green ones as well, but I only resort to those in cases of genuine emergencies.


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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