News from the American Go Association

September 18, 2006
Volume 7, #80

Peter Nassar's Challenge

TEXAS A&M GETS GOING: The new Texas A&M Go Club is up and running, reports organizer Jared Jessen. "We had eight people at our first meeting," Jessen says, "which far exceeded my expectations." With about five players of similar skill level, "we had some really intense games going on. We also had many people stop by asking what we were playing, and one of those stayed and learned the game." The club meets Sundays from 1-3P in the Commons, next to C-Store. Contact: Jared Jessen,

NEXT STOP, MILLERSVILLE '07: The Shodan Challenge is back to motivate and help players of all strengths to improve significantly by the 2007 US Go Congress, scheduled for July 28th - August 5th at Millersville, Pennsylvania. "If you are like us, then you probably already have your sights set on the next Go Congress," say Shodan Challenge organizers Lee Huynh and Laura Kolb. The third annual Challenge - which drew 50 participants from around the world last year-features contests designed to aid studying and prizes including donations from go vendors, simuls with strong players and more. "The Challenge provides a great opportunity to make studying more effective and more enjoyable," promise Huynh and Kolb. Those interested in the 2007 Challenge should contact them at

30 MB OF MAGIC: For more than seven years, the Yomiuri newspaper in Japan has been publishing "The Magic of Go", a weekly column written first by Richard Bozulich and now by Rob Van Ziejst, reports EJ webmaster Roy Laird. "Early installments cover the basics and then the authors explore the current tournament scene and various related subjects," says Laird. Check it out online at where the most recent 100 columns are posted. The rest -- 331 downloadable installments, linked for easy browsing -- are posted at where you also download Dariush, a program that plays go. A 30MB file containing all the columns "is in a mysterious 'tgz' format, but don't worry," Laird says, "WinZip knows what to do. Put all the files in one direct ory, open 'index.html' and you're set for offline enjoyment of this wonderful series."

KOREANS FALL BEHIND IN NONGSHIM: The Korean team, which won the first seven editions of the Nongshim, is in trouble again this year. The Koreans dominated the international team tournament sponsored by the Spicy Noodle (Nongshim) Company until last year, when Yoda Noriyuki 9P defeated Lee Changho 9P - who had never before been defeated in the Nongshim - in the final game to win the cup for the Japanese. Lee This year, Hane Naoki 9P of Japan got things off to a good start for the Japanese by defeating Wang Lei 8P of China and Cho Hunhyun 9P of Korea. Hane then lost to Peng Quan 7P of China, who also defeated Choi Cheolhan 9P of Korea to end the first stage of the tournament, in which the Koreans lost two members of their five-player team while the Japanese and Chinese only lost one each. These four games were decided by a total of nine points, which may well be some sort of record. Peng is another of the bright you ng stars beginning to break into the top ranks of the pros. Born in 1985, he was a World Youth champion in 1999 and has been a surprising winner of several matches against top international players. Pictures and career highlights can be found at . Alexander Dinerchtein considered Peng's victory over Choi the most exciting game of the week. Here's a link to the SGF file:  Dinerchtein says that Choi lost because he tried to kill one of Peng's groups. The next stage of the Nongshim is in November.

YAMASHITA DEFEATS TAKEMIYA IN TENGEN: Takemiya Masaki 9P made an exciting run for the challenger's role in the 32nd Japanese Tengen, reaching the semifinals against Yamashita Keigo 9P. However, Yamashita came out on top by resignation to win the chance to challenge Kono Rin for the title. Yamashita is the current Kisei. Kono took the Tengen title from Yamashita last year. Kono is in his middle twenties, and the Tengen is the only title he has won so far.

SHAW AND CHURCHILL WIN CORNWALL TOURNEYS: In tournaments on the 9th and 10 of September in Penzance, England, Robert Churchill 16k of Penzance won the Cornish Handicap and Edmund Shaw 5d of Bracknell was first in the Cornish Open. Churchill beat Rob White 17k of West Cornwall in the final. Shaw beat John Culmer 1k in the final to win the Open on Sunday.

CHO U THE TIGER WOODS OF JAPANESE GO? Cho U 9P, who now holds three of the top seven Japanese titles -- Meijin, Oza, and Gosei -- and who is considered the top Japanese player at the moment. is also in the running to challenge for two more of them, the Kisei and the Judan. His strong performance is reflected in an amazing 83% winning percentage so far this year, winning 38 games while losing just 8. Among Japanese pros, only Yamashita Keigo 9P comes close with 37 wins to 16 loses for a 70% winning percentage, while the next player on the won games list is Yuki Satoshi 9P with 27 wins.

MISSING GAMES & PUNS: "So where was that game attachment?" writes Richard Moseson (Cho-Takao Meijin game 9/11 EJ). "And (you must have considered this), even though Luana asked about 9P and 6D, how come you skipped the opportunity to title the question 'Watching our P's and kyu's'"
The Cho-Takao game is posted on the AGA website AT  We apologize for the inadvertent omission. We're also sorry we missed the clever headline.

LOW-COST MEMBERSHIP MODIFIED: The American Go Association's "limited" memberships have been replaced by "Promotional" memberships. The change was approved at the August 18 AGA National Assembly in Black Mountain, NC and went into effect September 1, 2006. New promotional memberships are available only for new members (people who have never been an AGA member in any category); the annual fee is $15. AGA members currently in the limited membership category will be automatically converted to "Promotional membership" at no cost. Promotional membership, whether by conversion or through a new membership, may not exceed two years from the date the individual Promotional membership begins. Questions about membership status? Contact the AGA at

E-JOURNAL TEAM EXPANDING: Be a part of one of the most-widely read English-language go publications in the world! We have an opening for someone to help prepare game commentaries for publication; the work involves an hour a week editing comments in SGF files to conform to EJ style and standards. Game editors receive appropriate credit in the game records and are part of the EJ team; if interested, contact Bill Cobb at for more information.

A GO CLUB OF YOUR OWN: The Challenge
By Peter Nassar, AGA League Co-Director
      Most of you don't know me, but in the next three years I'm going to try to create more registered AGA go clubs in my hometown of Philadelphia, PA than in all of the United States combined. And I challenge you to beat me.
      So far, we have, well, just two clubs here in Philadelphia. Neither of which I had anything to do with starting, though now I help run both. There are now 140 clubs registered nationally, but with just two clubs, Philadelphia is already doing better than the two dozen states that have even less than that.
I'm issuing this challenge because of something Allan Abramson, the former Chair of the AGA Board, wrote in his letter of resignation earlier this year: "Go should be as popular as chess in this country." I happen to believe that Alan is right, despite the fact that even the North American Mycological Organization (a scientific organization for people who study fungi) can boast a membership almost the same as the AGA's 2,000. Meanwhile, the US Chess Federation has a membership level well into the five digits.
      More power to our chess-playing colleagues, but in Japan, in China, and in Korea, go is in the newspapers, you can watch it on television, you can read about it in manga and anime, major in it at universities, and subscribe to go journals that come out weekly, monthly and annually. There are more go clubs in Tokyo alone than there are in all of the United States - and the ones there are open every day. Millions of children in East Asia play it.
      In the United States, go is visible, but it is not visible enough. The game is popular, but it is not popular enough. This is frustrating, and I know there are many who would like to see this game in the national spotlight. But the AGA cannot do this without you. You may not be the President of the AGA. You may not be on the Board of Trustees. You may not hold any national AGA position. You may have only just learned how to play go yourself. But that doesn't mean you can't start something - locally, state-wide, or nationally. Just the fact that you play go makes you one of those rare people in this country who holds some knowledge of what is arguably the world's oldest and most strategic board game. That's something. And it's worth sharing with others.
      The AGA has been around for over 50 years. We are more than ready to take go to the next level. And if you want to help do that, then everything you do with regard to this game can easily be ramped up. First and foremost: increasing the game's visibility and the number of people who play it.
      There is no better way to promote the game of Go than to make it as visible as possible: by playing it, with as many people as you can muster, in the most public of places that you can find. And once you start doing that on a regular basis, you are ready to form a club.
      Go clubs, whether they meet in person or online, are the life-blood for promoting go in this country. Now, I'll be the first to tell you that two years ago, I didn't know the first thing about running a go club. But I have spent the past two years learning, listening, and fostering the growth of our two clubs in Philadelphia, and in the next three years I'm going to take that same approach to create over 138 more. In a series of articles in the coming months, I'll be laying out a plan, a fuseki, so that you can do the same. Let's face it, with the tidal wave of young players in Korea, China, and Japan breathing new life into the oldest of games, this is an amazing and historic time to be a go player!
Nassar can be reached at  He is Co-President of the Penn Go Society -- -- Philadelphia, PA, Vice-President of the Philadelphia Baduk Association, Elkins Park, PA, Co-Director of the American Go Association Leagues and founder of the Philadelphia Go Initiative.


WANTED TO BUY: Looking for English version of "All About Life and Death" by Cho Chikun. Contact (9/11)

PLAYERS WANTED (Auburn, NY): Looking for players in and around Auburn, NY who would like to start a Go club. Syracuse is too far away to drive to play go, and my high school club is greatly limited in what we can do due to time and public school regulations. We'd prefer a city club so we have more freedom. Contact Valerie Smith at (9/11)

PLAYERS WANTED (Bayside, NY): Looking for go players in Flushing, Queens or Long Island NY. It's too lonely by myself and my 2 other go players. Please reveal yourselves. (9/4)

PLAYERS WANTED (Ft Myers FL): Seeking go players of all levels in the Ft. Myers, FL area interested in starting a go club. Contact me at 239-543-7823 or my yahoo email, (8/28)

PLAYERS WANTED (Las Cruces NM): Go in Las Cruces, New Mexico? Contact Peter Shotwell, who has just moved there, at (8/28)

WANTED TO BUY: I am interested in buying a copy of the 1982 movie "The Go Masters," original title "Mikan no Taikyoku," with English subtitles. I think there was a VHS-version released that included English subtitles; pretty sure there was no DVD. Contact (8/21)

PLAYERS WANTED (Gallup NM): Looking for go players in the Gallup, New Mexico area. There are a bunch of chess players but they turn blank at the mention of our beloved game. Lee (8/21)

SELL IT, BUY IT OR TRADE IT HERE with over 8,000 go-players worldwide! Classified ads are FREE and run for 4 weeks; email your ad to us now at


September 23, 2006: Durham, NC
Triangle Memorial
Paul Celmer 919.779.7925

September 30, 2006: Chicago, IL
In Cold Blood
Bob Barber 773.467.0423

October 1, 2006: Seattle, WA
Ratings Tournament
Jon Boley 206.545.1424

October 6-8, 2006: Round Top, NY
Guo Juan woodlands workshop
Jean-Claude Chetrit 718.638.2266

October 8, 2006: Somerville, MA
MGA Fall Handicap Tournament
Zack Grossbart 617.497.1232

October 8, 2006: Princeton, NJ
Princeton Fall Self-Paired
(come anytime 9AM-6PM, full handicap)
Rick Mott 609.466.1602

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

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