News from the American Go Association

December 31, 2006
Volume 7, #111

A Beginner Studies the Pros

FREE GO WORLD OFFER EXPIRES TODAY!: Join the American Go Association (or renew your membership) today, December 31 and you'll not only get the forthcoming 2006 American Go Yearbook - over 100 pages of the "best of" the E-Journal and a CD with every 2006 game commentary PLUS lots of bonus games AND two copies of Go World! Two terrific go resources AND a full year of the weekly Friday Games Edition: make a good move and act now (offer expires at midnight) at

TOURNEYS HEAT UP JANUARY SCHEDULE: After a quiet couple of holiday weekends, the tournament schedule is heating up in January, with seven tourneys already scheduled around the country, from Salem, OR and Tacoma, WA in the West to Evanston, IL in the Midwest, Rochester, NY in the Northeast, Somerville, MA, New York, NY and Piscataway, NJ on the East Coast and Richmond VA in the South. See Calendar, below, for the schedule or click on for latest updates.

WINTER REVIVAL SET FOR NYC: Registration is now open for The New York Go Center's Winter Revival Tournament, set for Sunday, January 7. "We are expecting more than fifty players -- last time we had 56 -- says organizer Roy Laird, "and we're cutting off registration at sixty, so don't miss out." Guarantee your place: pre-register now by sending a message to with your name and AGA rank or estimated strength. "And since Board One will be broadcast live on the Internet," Laird adds, "we expect some tough competition for the top seats." More at

DC HAPPENINGS: The Arlington, VA-based NOVA club will be closed on Monday, January 1, re-opening on January 8 "with our annual meeting and free dinner and dues collection night!" reports Allan Abramson. The Greater Washington Go Club will be open tonight and has several upcoming club events, including the next Yuan Zhou lesson on January 5, the next team match with Rockville on January 12 and the annual dues collection dinner on January 19. Got club news? Send it in to us now at

LATEST GOGOD BIGGER & BETTER: The latest edition of GoGoD - now heading into its 14th year - is now available. The "definitive database and encyclopaedia on CD" now has over 300 MB of data, reports T. Mark Hall, including "new gems such as all the games of the Best Ten Pro-Am Matches (which include two rare early games by Cho Chikun) and new games by Shusaku, Shusai and Jowa from Nagano." In addition to hundreds of items (including several books, commentaries and instructional articles) the new edition also features a report on the Two Manchurian Ki-ins Incident, caused by the man snubbed as Honinbo Shusai's successor. Plus articles on inseis, go among war criminals and Mongolian go. More at  

NOW OR NEVER FOR CHO'S INTRO: It's now or never for Cho Chikun's "Complete Introduction to Go," available through January 1 (that's tomorrow!) at just $5 a copy, more than 50% off retail. It's perfect for the complete non-player -- small, easy to read, mixing historical and cultural information with "how-to-play" stuff". In fact it's so perfect that we have already received and accepted an offer to sell all remaining copies on January 1. Go to to read a review, then stock up for your non-playing before it's too late! And don't forget this is also a one-time opportunity to pick up back issues of Go World for just $3, or get 25 back issues for just $60. Offer expires January 1 2007. Click here now to order:

SYRACUSE GOES FOR FIVE: The Syracuse Go Club - a chapter of the American Go Association -- recently celebrated four years of weekly meetings, reports organizer Anton Ninno. "Since our beginning in 2002 we have had well over 180 people attend one of our meetings," says Ninno. "Some people found us through our website. Others were simply customers eating dinner at Wegmans who wandered over to ask about the game we were playing. Often they stayed for a lesson." The club now has about 20 regular players, most of whom have become paying members of both the club and the AGA. In just four years, the club has held five tournaments, proceeds of which fund collections of go books at local public libraries, where the club has given presentations on go. The club has also helped create student go clubs in half a dozen area schools. "This fall, our club hosted a group of visiting Japanese go players," says Ninno, "We hope to do that again in the years ahead." Find out more about the club at

CAN'T STOP THE MONKEY JUMP: A Beginner Studies the Pros
by Motoko Arai
       While we're on the subject of going over master games, there's one thing I want to say. As we laid out these games, my beginner husband and I had a question that kept bothering us: "Hey, this white stone is in atari, right?"
      "Yeah. no matter how you look at it, if you leave it like that it can definitely be captured." "But White is just leaving it there." "Yeah but. Black isn't taking it either. He's playing in completely different places." "So what's the deal?"
       For a beginner, this is an absolute mystery. For a beginner, if you can capture a stone, you take it. And furthermore, there was another thing we didn't understand: "Hey, right now there's a lot happening in the bottom right area, right? But Black ignores it, and is playing in the top left instead."
      "He is, isn't he?" "And maybe I'm wrong, but. if he leaves this position alone and plays in the upper left instead. I'm thinking that White can capture the three black stones at the bottom." "You're right. If Black doesn't escape, those stones can definitely be caught." "Is that okay?" "I don't know. But it's a pro game. It must be right." "Well why is it right? And then, why doesn't White grab those three stones?"
      Okay sure, now, three years later, I understand why. It's more important for Black to surround the large area at the top than to save the three stones at the bottom. Similarly, rather than capture those three stones, White deals with more pressing issues. But three years ago, when we didn't understand that at all, the question lingered in our minds as we continued through the game.
      And then, there was another thing we didn't get: "Ahh! Black escaped!" Until that point, Black had been playing in completely different places. Then suddenly, Black hit the exact spot where White needed to play to capture those three stones. "Why does he escape now? If he was just going to escape, wouldn't it have been better to have done it all the way back at the beginning? And then, from the very beginning all the way up until now, White just left those stones sitting there."
       Yeah, again, now I know the reason for this. After calmly building his position elsewhere, Black returns to this part of the board. Of course, if we want to ponder this issue further, we really need to study such concepts as "big moves," "urgent moves," and "moyo." But as beginners, the two of us. well, let's just say we had to satisfy our doubts somehow. So we arrived at our own "conclusion."
       Yup. This conclusion was the direct result of following that often-recommended study method: "Even though you don't understand the movement of the stones, just keep going over masters' games." Our conclusion was. pro players are weird. This is what it means to be a beginner.
       Motoko Arai is an award-winning science fiction author in Japan. Translated from the Nihon Kiin's Go Weekly November 20, 2006 issue by Chris Donner, who teaches at an elementary school in northern Japan and hails from Rochester, NY.

Locate go clubs worldwide at

PLAYERS WANTED: Valrico/Brandon, FL: Looking for GO players in the area; the closer to Valrico/Brandon area the better but willing to go into Tampa for games. Contact john at (12/31)

PLAYERS WANTED: Monument, CO: Are there any go players in the Monument area? Looking for people to play or a teacher at 5k or better. Please email (12/31)

PLAYERS WANTED: Indianapolis, IN: Local players looking for others who play go, and are considering the formation of a go club. We're also looking for qualified amateurs or professionals in the Indy area who give go lessons. Please send email to (12/31)

PLAYERS WANTED: Mansfield, OH: Attention go youngsters...I wish to start a go club in Mansfield; anyone who wishes to play please contact me at (12/25)

FOR SALE: Collector's items. The original American Go Journal from vol. 1, no. 1 (Fall 1949) to vol. 8, no. 4 (Sept. 1961): all 29 issues in very good condition. Also the revived American Go Journal from the 1970s. The big journal from vol. 9, no. 1 (Jan. 1974) to vol. 11, no. 3 (May/June 1976), all 15 issues. The small journal from vol. 11, no. 4 (July/Aug. 1976) to vol. 14, nos. 5/6 (Oct., Nov., Dec. 1979), all 16 issues. The Eastern Go Newsletter from no. 1 (May 1975) to no. 12 (April 1976). The Voice of the Go Movement from no. 1 (May 1976) to no. 6 (Oct. 1976). If interested in any of the above, contact Ted Drange, (12/25)

WANTED: Go players in the area of Noblesville, Indiana. Anyone interested, email (12/25)

PLAYERS WANTED: Bucks/Montgomery Counties, PA: Are there any go players in the Bucks Montgomery area outside of Philadelphia? The Penn Go Society is a little bit of a drive so I was thinking more local. Contact me at (12/25)

GO PLAYERS WANTED: Clifton Park, NY: Anyone interested, e-mail: or phone: 518-253-9706 (12/18)

WANTED: Volunteers to help run go panel/booth at upcoming AnimeNEXT anime convention, July 6 - 8, 2007, Meadowlands Exposition Center, NJ;  For more information call 646-821-5588 or email (12/11)

FOR SALE: Go Review, complete set, all 164 issues from Jan. 1961 to Spring 1977. If interested, contact Ted Drange, (12/11)

SELL IT, BUY IT OR TRADE IT HERE with over 9,000 go-players worldwide! Classified ads are FREE and run for 4 weeks; email your ad to us now at


January 7: New York, NY
New York Go Center Winter Revival Tournament
Christopher Vu 212.233.0342

January 13-15: Evanston, IL
8th Annual Evanston Winter Workshop with Yilun Yang
Mark Rubenstein 847.869.6020

January 13: Rochester, NY
The Second Annual Greg Lefler Memorial Tournament
Nick Blake 339.364.0933

January 13: Salem, OR
Salem Winter Go Tournament
Cynthia Gaty 503.585.3380

January 14: Somerville, MA
MGA Winter Handicap Tournament
Zack Grossbart 617.497.1232

January 20-21: Piscataway, NJ
U.S. Youth Go Championship Qualifier at Feng Yun Go School
(open to all)
Paul Matthews 908.722.5748
Feng Yun 973.992.5675

January 27: Richmond, VA
Slate & Shell Open
William Cobb 804.740.2191

January 27: Tacoma, WA
Verna Castanza Memorial
Gordon Castanza 253.732.0874
Mike Malveaux 253.906.0095

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

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