News from the American Go Association
May 29, 2006

Volume 7, #45

Go For Young Kids; When To Hold And When To Fold

ZHAONIAN CHEN REPEATS AS MD OPEN CHAMP: ZhaoNian Chen 8d won the 33rd annual Maryland Open last weekend, topping a three-way tie of 4-1 winners to hold onto his title. Eric Lui 7d, the only player to beat Chen, took second and Zhi Yuan "Andy" Liu 7d was third. The domination of the top section by teen players may well mark the ascendance of a new generation of American go players. The complete Winner's Report was not available at press-time; look for it soon on our newspage, where you'll also find tourney photos and all five Board 1 games:

JOEY HUNG 2-0 IN WAGC: Joey Hung 8d has won his first two games at the World Amateur Go Championship in Japan, defeating Ricardo Quintero Zazueta of Mexico and Michael HongJie Yao of Sweden. Hung, the US representative to the WAGC, faces Pal Balogh of Hungary Round 3; Balogh also won his first two games. Yong Fei Ge, the Canadian representative who has often played in the Ing Cup at US Go Congresses, won his first two games as well, defeating Peter Karailiev of Slovakia and Desmond James Cann of the United Kingdom. Other 2-game winners are Cristian Gabriel Pop of Romania, Ondrej Silt of Czechia, and Christoph Gerlach of Germany. Complete up-to-date results can be seen at . The youngest participants this year are two thirteen year olds, from China and Hong Kong, which is still allowed a separate representative under WAGC rules. Both of them also won their first two.

FENG YUN SCHOOL ORGANIZES NEW YOUTH TOURNEY: The Feng Yun Go School is co-organizing a youth go tournament in New York City July 22 with the World Journal. The 5-round event will be held at 62 Mott St., 5th Fl, New York City and features an under-12 division and a 12-17 division. The $5 registration fee can be sent to: Reader' Service Department, 140-07 20 Ave. Whitestone, NY 11357; Contact: 718-746 8889 ext. 6361. Feng Yun Go School: or for details in Chinese:

EAST COAST GO CAMP DEADLINE 6/1: Paperwork must be received by June 1 to qualify for the East Coast Go Camp's discounted rates. Details at or email

JOEY HUNG'S SUMMER CAMP: Joey Hung's Go School is organizing a summer go camp June 19-30 in Fremont, CA, reports Hung. "The main purpose is to provide a good, safe, focused environment for children to learn go, Chinese, and math," says Hung. Details at or call 510-659-8220.

SMARTGO DISCOUNT FOR EJ READERS: SmartGo, the game-playing and recording software, is offering a special $20 discount to all E-Journal subscribers, reducing the price from $89 to $69. Go to, click on the Buy Now button, then enter ejournal as your coupon to get your discount. This discount is effective immediately and will be valid until the end of June.

GO CONGRESS ON A ROLL: "Registration is picking up," reports 2006 US Go Congress organizer Paul Celmer. "We had an amazing 20% jump in registrants last week." Celmer notes that "the carpool contest is still on. Ride together to the Congress for a chance to win coupons for free meal plans (21 meals, including the Saturday banquet) at the Congress." See for details of the contest, carpool rideboard, and Congress registration. The Kuroki Goishi Company of Japan has now more than doubled their initial sponsorship of the U.S. Open, Celmer tells the EJ. "The company has sent us two more magnificent traditional slate and shell stones, making a total of 4 sets. These two new sets are even thicker and more stunning than the first two. The stones are truly fabulous, and will be a joy for anyone who has the good fortune to use them. These sets of traditional stones sent by Kuroki Goishi Company will serve not only as prizes that sharpen the competition, but they also enable the AGA to demonstrate the respect we all have for the achievement of the players in the U.S. Open. Also, Kuroki Goishi has sent us an additional 200 of go stone keyholders, for a total of 300; made from actual slate and shell, these will make an interesting and unique memento." More information and products from the Kuroki Goishi Company can be found at

OLDER GENERATION CELEBRATED IN SPECIAL KUKSU: To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Korean Kuksu Tournament, previous winners of the title were invited to play in a special tournament. Only 83-year-old Cho Namchul 9P, who won the first Kuksu in 1956 and continued to win every year through 1964, did not participate. The other past winners are Kim In 9P (6 times, immediately after Cho Namchul), Cho Hunhyun 9P (16 times), Lee Changho 9P (9 times), Yun Kihyeon 9P (twice), Seo Bongsoo 9P (twice), Ha Chanseok 8P (twice), Choi Cheolhan 9P (twice), and Rui Naiwei 9P (once). In the special tournament, Choi was defeated by Lee in the first round and Rui defeated Kim. Seo and Cho also won. In the second round Cho defeated Lee by resignation and Rui lost to Seo, who is the only one of the top Korean pros against whom Rui does not have a good record. The final in June will pit Cho, who first won this title in 1976, against Seo, whose first victory was in 1986. The more recent first time winners, Lee, Rui, and Choi were all eliminated. Only Choi among these past winners qualified for the regular tournament, the 50th Kuksu, which is just getting underway.

KOREAN TEEN MAKES FINALS AGAINST LEE CHANGHO: In another sign of the strength of the younger Koreans, Lee Changho 9P finds himself facing teenager Lee Yeongkyu 5P in the title match of the 40th Korean Wangwi, a title Lee has held for the last ten years. Yeongkyu's best achievement so far as a pro was second place in the BC Card Cup in both 2003 and 2004. He defeated relatively unknown Seo Moosang 6P in the finals of the Wangwi challenger's tournament. Seo had defeated Choi Cheolhan 9P to earn a spot in the finals. Changho and Yeongkyu have met twice before, with Changho winning both games.

HEALEY AND MACFADYEN TRIUMPH IN BRITISH PAIR GO CHAMPIONSHIP: Kirsty Healey and Matthew Macfadyen have won the British Pair Go Championship for the tenth time. There were fifteen pairs in the event this year, with eight playing in the open section. Francis roads played in the handicap section to make an even eight for that group (after two nine stone games, the handicapping required him to give twenty-six stones in the final game, the winners of which received the fighting spirit prize). Healey and Macfadyen defeated last year's winners, Natasha Regan and Matthew Cocke, in the second round, and then beat the new pair of Jenny Radcliffe and Tim Hunt in round three to come out on top. Jackie Chai and John Johnstone were the top pair in the handicap section.

YOUR MOVE: Readers Write

GO FOR YOUNG KIDS: "Do you have any information or materials concerning beginning go for young children aged about 7 or 8?" wonders J. Matthews.
     The book Let's Play Go! by Yasutoshi Yasuda (published by Slate & Shell, is explicitly aimed at young children. It starts off with the so-called "first capture" version of go and develops that into regular go in a natural way. The same approach is used in Bill Cobb's The Book of Go (published by Sterling Publishing Co. and available in most bookstores), though this book is written for adults. Kids themselves could probably work with Let's Play Go! . They can definitely handle first capture go by themselves, but will probably need some guidance from an experienced player to play regular go. Milton Bradley's Go for Kids, published by Yutopian (, takes a fairly complicated approach and is more suitable for older kids (high school).

WHEN TO HOLD AND WHEN TO FOLD: A few years ago, Michael Redmond 9P said he was working hard on his endgame. Pros have notoriously powerful endgames, and it's no wonder - they have close games. "When I looked back at my own online games I found that only 7 of the last 50 games were within 6 and a half points," reports John Pinkerton, "while half ended in resignation." Pinkerton wondered if this meant he was "a wild and reckless fighting player" but a little investigation revealed that his stats are pretty common. "A KGS database summary shows that out of some 7 million games, about half are won by resignation," says Pinkerton. "Of the counted games, only 18% were within 6.5 points. Another 28% were within 6.6 to 20 points, leaving more than half of counted games won by more than 20 points. The pros also resign about half the time, but when they do have a count, it's much closer. Of counted games, 80% are within 6.5, another 19% within 6.6 to 20 points. Only 0.4% of counted games were won by more than 20." Pinkerton's conclusion: "Pros know how to count and when to resign, they don't crash at the end of their games, and their endgame is strong and dependable." Thanks to Bill Shubert for providing a KGS database extract and to Chuck Robbins and Gordon Fraser for statistics on pro games.


June 3: Chicago, IL
Zoot Suit Alors!
Bob Barber 773-467-0423

June 4: Seattle, WA
Ratings Tournament
Jon Boley 206-545-1424

June 10 : Piscataway, NJ
Feng Yun Go School Monthly rated tournament
Feng Yun 973-992-5675

June 10: Sacramento, CA
Davis/Sacramento Quarterly Tournament
Fred Hopkins 973-992-5675

June 17: Richmond, VA
Virginia Open
William Cobb 804-740-2191

June 17: Tacoma, Washington
Late Spring Go Tournament
Gordon E. Castanza

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Managing Editor: Chris Garlock
Assistant Editor: Bill Cobb

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