News from the American Go Association

February 20, 2006
Volume 7, #16

Inside The Chinese Team Tournament Scene
BEGINNER'S MIND: Senior Year Blues
ATTACHED FILE(S): 2006.02.20 Chinese Tianyuan Kong-Zhou, go4go.sgf

LEPORE-VO & TAKEHARA- TAKEHARA WIN VALENTINE'S AU PAIR TOURNEY: The Pair Go teams of Mike LePore 2d and Quynh Vo 17k and Keiju Takehara 12k and Yukino Takehara 26k won the first NOVA Valentine's Au Pair Pair Go Tournament on Saturday, February 18, at the George Mason Law School in Arlington VA. Eleven pairs participated, "exceeding the wildest expectations" of Director Allan Abramson. "Every team which won one game received a second place prize," reports Abramson. "We agreed to hold our second pair tournament in July, as part of our Congress Tune-Up Tournament." Eric Lui 8d topped the simultaneous Valentine's Lonely Hearts Handicap Tournament.
      Winner's Reports:
      Pair Go: 2-0 winners: Mike LePore 2d/Quynh Vo 17k (playing as a 7k team), and Keiju Takehara 12k/Yukino Takehara 26k (playing as an 18 K team). Other teams: Ed Kao 6d/Fonda Chan 16k (playing as a 4k team); Hal Small 3d/Betsy Small 13k (playing as a 4k team); Jim Pickett 5k/Louise Ingram 8k (playing as a 5k team); Scott Waldron 1d/Jennifer Lin 19k (playing as an 8k team); Trevor Morris 6d/Abby Morris 35k (playing as a 14k team); Keith Arnold 5d/Melanie Arnold 35k (playing as a 14k team); Todd Blatt 5k/Melanie Blatt 26k (playing as a 14k team); Eric Hittinger 12k/Rachel Hittinger 28k (playing as a 19k team); and Todd Sprang 18k/Stephanie Xu 28k (playing as a 22k team).
       Lonely Hearts (19 players, later joined by four of the Pair Go players): First-place winners: Eric Lui 8d (4-0); John Porvaznik 23k (4-0); Seong-Min Lee 28k (4-0); Bob Ehrlich 7k (3-0); Second place winners: Ken Koester 2d (2-1), Melody Chao 35k (2-1); John Lancaster 5k (2-2); Raymond Yeh 6k (2-2); Paul Blackburn 7k (2-2); and Tienren Tan 12k (2-2).

LARGE FIELD EXPECTED IN NEW JERSEY: The largest - and strongest -- East Coast field since the Oza is expected this weekend at the New Jersey Open in Princeton, NJ. Organizer Rick Mott urges players "to please pre-register by email if you think you are coming" to help speed things up on Saturday morning. Registration starts at 9:15A and ends at 10:30A, "if you are not there, you will not be paired in the first round," says Mott. Official starting times for the last two rounds on Saturday have been moved up to 2P and 5P and advance pairings will be done by 1:30P for Round 2, and 4P for Round 3. The E-Journal will broadcast Board 1 on the IGS for most rounds. The tournament will be held at Frist Campus Center; find a map at  For more info or to register, email

2006 CONGRESS REGISTRATION OPENS: Registration for this year's U.S. Go Congress in Black Mountain, NC is now open. Projected to be the biggest Congress yet, the event runs Saturday, August 12 through Saturday, August 20. Early registrants can save $50 dollars by registering now. "Due to the reasonable cost, array of family activities, and natural beauty of the location, we anticipate breaking Congress attendance records," says organizer Paul Celmer. "We encourage early registration as some accommodations are limited." For fuller details and to register, go to:

CALL FOR AGA OVERSEAS REPS: Those interested in attending overseas events this year in the capacity of a non-player representative with American Go Association go players are encouraged to apply by Monday, March 22, reports AGA President Mike Lash. Eligibility criteria include full AGA membership; the complete policy statement and criteria are available at  Anyone wishing to be considered must send in a statement with the required information to Lash at by 3/22.

THE REAL ULTIMATE PUZZLE: "As a computer scientist, I greatly enjoyed Tom Mueller's account of the computer chess program Hydra and its developer, Chrilly Donninger ("Your Move," December 12, 2005, The New Yorker), wrote Dale Hoopingarner in a February 6 Letter to the Editor of The New Yorker. "As a player of the Oriental game of Go, however, I took exception to calling chess the 'ultimate puzzle.' While the number of possible games in chess may exceed the number of atoms in the universe, Go, which is played with black and white stones on a nineteen-by-nineteen grid, is said to have more possible board positions than the number of subatomic particles in the universe. And while leading grandmasters have been defeated by computer chess programs, a serious recreational player can defeat the best current computer Go programs." Hoopingarner lives in Milford, Massachusetts.

CHOI EVENS UP KUKSU AGAINST LEE CHANGHO: Choi Cheolhan 9P won the fourth game in the 49th Korean Kuksu title match to even up the score with Lee Changho 9P at two games each. All four games in the title match have been won by Black by resignation. Choi won this title for the first time in 2004, taking it from Lee Changho, who has held the Kuksu title a total of eight times since first taking it from Cho Hunhyun 9P in 1990. Choi defended it successfully against challenger Lee in 2005. The fifth and final game is scheduled for March 2nd. Choi is getting off to a good start this year, leading the Korean pros with nine victories already in 2006 and only two losses. Lee has a six and five record so far.

CHOI FACES LEE SEDOL IN MAXIM: Choi Cheolhan 9P is up against the other famous Lee in Korea, Lee Sedol 9P in the finals of the 7th Maxim Cup, a best-of-three match. Lee won this cup last year. US players will remember that this Cup was the first ever to have a wife-husband team play each other in the finals when Jiang Zhujiu (Jujo) 9P beat Rui Naiwei 9P for the title in 2003. Rui won it the next year, defeating Yoo Changhyeok 9P in the finals, for her second "open" (not restricted to women) title. This year, Jujo lost in the first round and Rui in the second.

AOKI KIKUYO TAKES WOMEN'S MEIJIN FROM KOYAMA TERUMI: Aoki Kikuyo 8P has taken the Japanese Women's Meijin title away from Koyama Terumi 5P, 2-0. She did it by a total of two points, winning the first game by a mere half point and the second by one and a half points. Aoki has won this title four previous times, first in 1990. Koyama also has held been the Women's Meijin four times, first losing it to Aoki in 1999. The only other player to hold this title in the past ten years is Kobayashi Izumi 6P, who has owned it three times, taking it from Aoki twice. Aoki has also won the Japanese Women's Kakusei title four times.

15-YEAR-OLD TO CHALLENGE IN CHINESE TIANYUAN: Yet another amazing teenager has emerged in China. After Wang Xiangyun 1P astounded everyone by winning the first five games in the 4th Joengganjang Women's World Cup last year when she had just turned sixteen, a fifteen-year-old has now won the challenger's role in the 20th Chinese Tianyuan. Zhou Ruiyang 3P accomplished this feat with a string of victories by resignation, concluding with a defeat of Kong Jie 7P, who had just beaten Luo Xihe 9P, recent winner of the international Samsung Cup. We have attached an SGF file of this last game for your enjoyment, courtesy of the site. Zhou now faces title-holder Gu Li 7P, currently considered number one in China.

PROFESSIONALLY SPEAKING: Inside The Chinese Team Tournament Scene
By Ronghao Chen
      A major part of the go scene in China is the massive Chinese National Team Tournament. Teams represent various cities and have corporate sponsors. For example, the Dengkang Company, a large toothpaste manufacturer, recently pledged to provide about $260,000 US annually for the next five years to sponsor a team for the city of Chongging. The teams of six players are divided into A, B, and C leagues. The matches involve games between four members of each team, once at home and once away, for a total of 22 matches in each of the twelve-team leagues. These leagues have great popular followings, like the professional sports leagues in the US.
      In the A league, virtually all of the players are pros, some from other countries. For example, the Korean Cho Hunhyeon was a member of the Sichuan team in 2005. When he played a game, he received about $12,500 US if he won and about $5000 if he lost. Other foreigners who have played for Chinese city teams are Rui Naiwei, Rin Haiho, Kono Rin, and Lee Sedol. Each year the two teams that do the worst in the A league are demoted to the B league, while the two that do the best in the B league are promoted. In 2005 the A league was again won by the team from Shanghai, which includes such top players as Chang Hao, Hu Yaoyu, Qiu Jun and Liu Shizhen. The runners up were the team from Beijing. The 2006 teams have not been formed yet and, just as in pro sports in the U.S., pros can move to different teams, which must pay fees to the old sponsoring team, many of whom are willing to pay to get stronger pros and increase their chances of winning.
- Edited by Bill Cobb & Chris Garlock. Ronghao Chen is Special Overseas Reporter for The World of Weiqi, the bi-weekly go magazine published in Beijing, China.

BEGINNER'S MIND: Senior Year Blues
By Aria von Elbe
      "Hi, I'm Aria von Elbe, and I haven't played go in six months." A week ago, that statement would have been true.
      No, I haven't been in rehab, but senior year of high school is very similar. Between the college applications and the stress, the desire to do something and not being able to, and not having enough time, it's all very infuriating. For the last six months I tried to arrange my schedule in a way that would allow for go, but the grueling college process took over my life instead. Fortunately, chanting my "big envelope, big envelope" mantra worked and I am proud to announce that I have been accepted at New York University.
      Senior year isn't all easy classes and tons of free time, despite the testimonies of seniors past, who neglected to say that once you check in, you can't check out until you graduate and you actually have to keep your grades up, even after you're accepted at college. Then there's the yearbook to work on, and the school paper, the school's underground paper and the school television network to supervise. With my go life on hold, I missed the Lancaster Workshop and the New York Oza, and I'd even been declared MIA from my own Miami Club after not attending since the Congress.
      But that was all before last week. Not just once, but three days in a row last week I was declared Best Go Playing Patient-I mean Student-in school. On both Tuesday and Wednesday, I managed to have school go club meetings. My vice-president realized she will indeed need to keep the club going next year, because almost as many underclassmen showed up as seniors. And that's really saying a lot, considering that I drag all my senior friends to the board. I gave lessons to the newcomers, and showed how to count territory. Counting territory! My members are playing real games now, not just capture go!
      And it doesn't end there. Thursday I drove (yes, I know, a frightening idea) down to Miami, walked into Borders prepared to explain my long absence and lose quickly, but by 7:10P there was not a go game in sight. One of the Borders workers noticed my distress and when I asked if she'd ever seen a group of people playing a board game with black and white stones on Thursday nights, she drew a blank. Then I turned and there, standing in line, was one of the club members who had been there since my first day. Turns out the Miami Go Club is alive and well, they just start at 8P now. Back on the board for the first time in months, I realized just how much I'd missed go, how much fun it is. I didn't really care if I won or not, I just wanted to play.
      I'm not going to lie, I was playing online in Computer Science on Friday, it's a good thing I sit in the back of the classroom.
      "Hi, I'm Aria von Elbe, and I'm a go addict." Much better.


February 25-26: Princeton, NJ
New Jersey Open
Rick Mott 609-466-1602

February 25: Los Angeles, CA
10th annual tri-city GO tournament
Tom Trilling

February 26: Des Moines, IA
Des Moines All-Iowa Go Tournament
Duncan H. Brown
641-919-7066 Brigid Strait

Published by the American Go Association

Managing Editor: Chris Garlock
Assistant Editor: Bill Cobb

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