News from the American Go Association

January 5, 2007
Volume 8, #1 (Member's Edition)

GO QUIZ: Most Castle Games?
GAME COMMENTARY: Challenger Lesson
Attached game files: 2007.01.05 Challenge Liu-Blatt, Hsiang; 2007.01.05 Yang Jan Puzzle

NEW YORK TOURNEY INTRODUCES SWEEPSTAKES SCORING: Sweepstakes scoring will be introduced at this Sunday's Winter Revival Tournament in New York City. The New York Go Center -- in conjunction with the American Go Honor Society -- has added a special team prize to Sunday's tournament (watch top boards LIVE on IGS & KGS!). In addition to the usual individual tournament, "if you and your friends enter as a team, you will also earn points toward special team honors," reports organizer Roy Laird. The tournament director will award each player one point per game played, a second point for a win, and bonus points for best finish in certain categories. The points from players from the same club will be tabulated together as sweepstakes scoring and "The club who scores the highest overall will win the Sweepstakes Award and gain bragging rights," says Laird. In an experiment for 2007, the New York Go Center will also make cumulative total of sweepstakes points for all tournaments held there and give a grand award for the club that receives the most total points in a twelve-month period. To pre-register as a team send a message to listing the members of your team and their AGA ID/rank or estimated playing strength.

AGA MEMBERSHIP SURGES: Buoyed by a Go World promotional offer, membership in the American Go Association surged last month, reaching 2,111 and including a record high of 1,740 full members. Details Monday.

2007 CHALLENGERS IMPROVING: "A number of Challengers have already reported improvement in their ratings," report Shodan Challenger Coordinators Lee Hunyh and Laura Kolb. The Challengers also have a book review contest going and a study buddy program. Details Monday.

MASTERS TOURNEY WRAP-UP: "We had a very exciting North American Masters Tournament (NAMT) in 2006," reports Tournament Director Jon Boley. "Every AGA member with a 6 Dan or higher rating was able to play." In June, a B League single elimination tournament was held to qualify a player for the A League NAMT: B League players were Zhaonian Chen, Soring Gherman, Eric Lui, Martin Mueller, Seung Hyun Hong, Jie Lang, I Han Lui, Jung Hoon Lui, Wei Yu Chen, Landon Brownell, and Yuan Zhou. Zhaonian Chen defeated Jung Hoon Lee in the finals to advance to the A League, which consisted of the two 2005 finalists, Champion Jie Li and Thomas Hsiang. Joining them were the professionals Feng Yun 9P, Yilun Yang 7P, Mingjiu Jiang 7P, Hui Ren Yang 1P, Xue Fen Lin 1P and B League winner Zhaonian Chen. The 8-player field played a round robin, and the top two A League players, defending champion Jie Li 9d and Feng Yun 9P, then played a best-of-three tournament in person at the Seattle Go Center in mid-December. With a split in the first two games, go players around the world were treated to a decisive third game broadcast on both KGS and IGS, with Jie Li winning to complete a successful defense of his title. "Thanks goes out to the AGA and Ing Goe Foundations for making this tournament possible," says Boley, "Also, Dennis Wheeler and Chris Kirschner were instrumental in getting the tournament completed. Dennis was on hand for all but one of the 'A' league games and also maintained the web site for the NAMT. Chris Kirschner arranged and managed the live finals in Seattle Washington. Finally, we would like to thank the players in this year's tournament!" Complete game records for the tournament can be found at

ONDREJ SILT WINS LONDON OPEN: Ondrej Silt 6d took first place on tie breaks in the London Open. Details on Monday.

TOP PRO MONEY WINNERS IN 2006: Takao Shinji 9P of Japan was the top money winner among all pros in 2006, amassing a total of about $750,000.00 US. Rest of the list on Monday.

FINALISTS SET FOR CHANG-KI CUP IN CHINA: Gu Li 9P will play Kong Jie 7P in a best-of-three-games finals for the cup named for Ing Chang-Ki, founder of the Ing Foundation. Details on Monday.

GO QUIZ: Most Castle Games?
       Who knew? Certainly not your quizmaster. Apparently there are black clams in India (Phil Waldron) and in Sweden (Phil Waldron, Bob Felice, Duncan Brown, Karen Jordan and Thomas Tamayo), and white slate from India (Duncan, Phil and Bob again). But the question asked for "Where in the go world", and no one was aware of any go sets made out of this stuff. The answer we were looking for, is of course the Slate and Shell logo -- where the Shell says Slate, and the Slate says Shell. Only two of you (2/8), Steve Fawthrop and Don Groves came up with it, and the winner - selected at random, is Groves, who wins a beautiful Nihon Kiin 2007 Go Calendar, courtesy of one of our new advertisers in the 2006 American Go Yearbook, Kuroki Goishiten Co, Hirotaka Kuroki, President (find out more at
        Ok, folks, we start our New Year quiz competition with this week's quiz. To encourage and reward participation, the top prize will be for the most correct answers, then most participation, and then best % of correct answers based on at least 50% participation. And in honor of that theme -- Which player played in the most Castle Games, in the era of Classical Japanese Go? (And don't worry, Karen, its multiple choice) Was it Honinbo Jowa, Yasui Sanchi II, Genan Inseki or Honinbo Retsugen? Click here to vote:
- Go Quiz Editor: Keith L. Arnold, hka

GAME COMMENTARY: Challenger Lesson
    Now in its third year, the E-Journal's Shodan Challenge is designed to motivate participants to study and get stronger at go. Contests, events, information, and networking are organized to encourage the 50 participating players as they aim to reach a set goal by the 2007 AGA Go Congress.
Today's game commentary features Challenger Todd Blatt 4k playing Jianbo Liu 2d even in a game from the UMBC Go Club. Thomas Hsiang 8d, runner-up in the 2005 Masters tournament provides the commentary.
       Our bonus file is Yilun Yang 7d's latest in his series of life and death problems based on the names of the months; we hope to publish the complete collection in the forthcoming 2006 American Go Yearbook.
       To view the attached .sgf file(s), simply save the file(s) to your computer and then open using an .sgf reader such as Many Faces of Go or SmartGo. Readers who need .sgf readers can get them for most platforms at Jan van der Steen's

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Managing Editor: Chris Garlock
Assistant Editor: Bill Cobb

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