World Go News from the American Go Association

April 2, 2007
Volume 8, #28

Kerwin Series A Hit; Making The Ratings
GO ONLINE: MoGo -- No-Go, So-So or Uh-Oh?
YOUTH GO: Liu, Zhou & Kessler Profiled

ERIC LUI SWEEPS DC CHERRY BLOSSOM: Eric Lui 8d swept all four rounds to top the NoVa Cherry Blossom Tournament on Saturday, March 31. The popular 4-round tournament - an official part of the Washington DC Cherry Blossom Festival - attracted 84 players and featured dozens of unusual prizes chosen by organizer and TD Allan Abramson, who ran the event on time despite the large turnout. Pre-registration ensured a timely kick-off for the tournament, although an unfortunate glitch occurred when Juan Pablo Quizon 5d didn't show up, leaving Yuan Zhou 8d without a first-round opponent and disappointing hundreds of viewers who had tuned in to watch the live broadcast on KGS. The Board 1 and Board 2 games are posted online Game recorders were John Pinkerton, Todd Heidenreich and Chris Garlock; KGS support by Akane Negishi. Photos by John Pinkerton: left, Eric Lui (l) plays Yuan Zhou; top right: game review.
Winner's Report: 1st place winners: Eric Lui 8d (4-0); Scott Waldron 4d (3-1); Zhaochi Wei 2d (4-0); Tianren Tan 2d (4-0); Odie Hestnes 1d (4-0); Gregory Lysko 3k (4-0); Craig Garrett 4k (2-2); Stephen Tung 5k (4-0); Mike Lash 6k (4-0); David Warzinski 7k & Samantha Fede 7k (2-2); Matthew Harding 8k (4-0); Shannon Jones 9k & Kabe Chin 9k(3-1); Hanwei Yin 14k (3-1); Joel Wheatley 18k (4-0); Melody Chao 30k (3-1). 2nd place winners: Nicholas Jhirad 5d (3-1); Andrew Jackson 4d (2-2); Daniel Poore 1d (2-2); Ed Hsu 1d (2-1); Nicole Casanta 1 K (3-1); Joe Maia 2k (3-1); Arnold Eudell 4k (2-2); Sam Zimmerman 4k (2-2); Kathy Qiu 4k (2-2); Bill Cobb 4k (2-1); Chin-Sung Chin 5k (2-2); John Zhao 5k (2-2); John Gipson 6k (3-1); Raymond Yeh 6k (3-1); Patrick Allen 6k (3-1); Andrew Hubbard 8k (3-1); Robert Lorenz 12k (3-0); Larom Lancaster 18k (3-1); Alex Yen 29k (3-1); Joey Phoon 30k (3-0).

STUDENTS DOMINATE SYRACUSE GO TOURNEY: For the first time, students out-numbered adults at the latest Syracuse go tournament, held March 24. "Seven college students and 11 upper school and middle school students participated," reports organizer Richard Moseson, "ten schools from as far away as Rochester and Binghamton were represented." Twenty-eight players played 62 games in the rated tournament, a self-paired event in which "Everyone's a winner," says Moseson. photo by Richard Moseson

EIGHT QUALIFIERS PLANNED FOR 2007 ING: A series of eight tournaments are planned to select competitors for the 2007 North American Masters Tournament (NAMT), the first to include face-to-face qualifying rounds. In previous editions, all early rounds were played online. As in previous years, the finals will be at the US Go Congress in Lancaster. Each qualifier tournament will receive $500 to sweeten the prize fund. "Any chapter interested in hosting a qualifier is invited to do so immediately," reports TD Dennis Wheeler. "There will be two qualifiers for each of the three AGA regions, and two played on the Internet." The 2007 North American Masters Tournament is funded by the Ing Chang-Ki Wei Chi Education Foundation through the American Ing Goe Foundation, which recently approved a $23,000 grant for this event. All games will be played using Ing rules. Click here for details.

YOUTH CHAMPIONSHIPS ROLL INTO CHI: The U.S. Youth Go Championship (USYGC) rolls into the Chicago area this weekend, where Bob Barber and the Evanston Go Club will host the next qualifier. Thirteen year old William Zhou, 6d, is the odds-on favorite in the senior bracket (see profile below). Also profiled this week (see below) are Hawaii junior division winner Chase Kessler 10k and 15-year-old superstar Andy Liu 8d, who will be competing at the Philadelphia qualifier on April 14th and 15th. Boulder, CO will also host a qualifier over Tax Day weekend and will join Philly as the last chance stop for the golden ticket to the finals. Look for profiles on the Boulder kids next week.
- reported by Paul Barchilon, EJ Youth Editor

HIKARU NO GO VOL 9 HITS STANDS: Volume 9 of Hikaru No Go will be officially released tomorrow, April 3. Check it out online

MISSION POSSIBLE: "Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to attend the 2007 US Go Congress," reports Secret Agent Peter Nassar. "More than 70 registrants have already signed up for the 23rd Annual Congress, putting us well on our way toward global -- er, I mean, 'go' -- domination of more than 500 Congress attendees this year!" Congress organizers have sent out invitations to every professional go player in North America, as well as to professional go associations across Eastern Asia, including China, Japan, Korea, and Taiwan. Also invited are perennial Congress favorites like Guo Juan 5P and Maeda Ryo 6P. Running from July 28-August 4 in Lancaster, PA, organizers are working hard to make the 2007 Congress "the biggest yet!" Register now for the best choice in lodging options (including dorms, suites, or hotel-style rooms), and $100.00 off the registration! Click here for details. "But hurry," adds Agent Nassar, "this report will self-destruct in 5 seconds!"

GO WORLD OFFER RETURNS: If you've been thinking about joining the American Go Association, April is the month to make your move. This month, AGA members can buy back issues of Go World -- the superb chronicle of contemporary go, with at least ten commented games as well as a wealth of instructional material in every issue -- at record low prices. Choose from three options: Pick up 24 issues of Go World magazine for just $60, just $2.50 for each copy; Expand your collection with a "fill-in" offer of a limited number of 11 additional issues for just $30; Or, order the whole enchilada -- 35 packed issues -- for just $80, the best deal of all. Plus, the first nine purchasers of any offer will receive an additional "mystery issue". Supplies of the "fill-in collection" are limited -- there are only 12 complete sets -- so we will reduce the charge accordingly if you receive fewer than 11 issues. NOTE: this offer is only available for AGA members! It's the best move: join the AGA and add some of the finest go commentary in English to your collection, at prices you may never see again! Click here to download the order form. Check out Go World

CHO CHIKUN LEADS 2-0 IN JUDAN DEFENSE: Cho Chikun 9P is just one game away from retaining his Judan title for a third consecutive year. Cho is now 2-0 in the best-of-five-game match against challenger Yamashita Keigo 9P. Yamashita, who currently holds both the Kisei and the Oza, two of the top seven Japanese titles, also challenged Cho for the Judan last year. The third game is scheduled for Thursday. Cho also won the fast-play NHK Cup this year.

JAPANESE WOMAN PRO GETS FIRST VICTORY IN NHK CUP: Teenager - and female pro -- Xie Yimin 3P defeated Rin Shien 7P in the first game of the 55th NHK Cup on April 1. The NHK Cup, sponsored by the national TV company in Japan, is one of the few pro tournaments that regularly includes both male and female pros. Other women players in this year's event - in which 50 players are participating -- include Aoki Kikuyo 8P, Umezawa Yukari 5P, and Yashiro Kumiko 5P. Xie, who was born in Taiwan, was the youngest-ever female pro in Japan when she made pro status at the age of fourteen. She won the Strongest Woman title last year at seventeen. Rin Shien is also a native Taiwanese.

BROOKS WINS BRITISH YOUTH GO CHAMPIONSHIP: William Brooks 3d of Cambridge was the overall winner of the 2007 British Youth Go Championship, which was held in Loughborough March 25. There were 38 participants, of whom Brooks was the strongest at 3d and the only dan level player. Brooks also won the under-18 category; Matthew Hathrell 7k of Coventry took the under-16 prize; Hai Xia 2k of Aston the under-14; Ken Dackombe 12k of Farnborough the under-12, Thomas Meehan 20k of Solihull the under-10, and Roella Smith 30k of Milton the under-8.

AGA MEMBERSHIP HITS NEW RECORD: Membership in the American Go Association hit a new all-time high in March, with 2,181 members, just beating out the previous high of 2,180, set back in January of 2006. The new high follows a 4-month run of increases in full memberships and two consecutive months of overall increases. Full members were up 13, Life Members were up two to 57, Sponsors and Youth were up one each to 43 and 576, respectively, while Sustainers and Chapters were down one each to 60 and 131.

YOUR MOVE: Readers Write

KERWIN SERIES A HIT: "James Kerwin's new series looks great," writes Richard Moseson from Syracuse, NY. "I'll be handing out copies of it to the players in the school go clubs I coach."

MAKING THE RATINGS: "My name does not appear in the (new Yearbook) listing of members with their rankings," writes Paul Morgan Fredrix. "Not that mine is anything to show to my friends, but still…"
- Yearbook ratings only include names of members who participated in an AGA-rated tournament during 2006. If you played in such a tournament and you're not in the list, please email

GO ONLINE: MoGo -- No-Go, So-So or Uh-Oh?
    Go has been called "The fruit fly of IT", and for a good reason -- although software engineers have created programs that can defeat the strongest chess players, the strongest go programs are routinely defeated by talented children. In fact, go is the lone holdout, the only classic game that has not yet been "solved" (so to speak) for the computer. If you wonder why, the Wikipedia article on computer go is a good place to start.
    One way to simplify the problem is to work with a smaller board, an approach followed by Levente Kocsis and Csaba Szepesvari, who are working together at the Hungarian Academy of Science on a 9x9 program called MoGo. Their recent claim that MoGo plays 9x9 go "near the level of a professional go player made international news so we decided to investigate.
Sylvain Gelly, a contributor to the program, clarified the "one-armed bandit strategy," a variation of the ancient Chinese proverb "Rich men don't pick fights." Gelly told the EJ that "MoGo tries to maximize its winning probability. When behind, MoGo will play 'strange' moves to try to catch up, and when ahead, it will prefer safe moves which secure victory instead of keeping score. Usually it loses points when ahead, trading profit for safety, aiming to win by +0.5." To learn more see the Sensei's Library MoGo page.
    MoGo has played extensively on the Internet but evidence that it plays beyond the mid-kyu level is not compelling, so we're going to put MoGo to the test. Philip Waldron -- a solid 6-dan with a current AGA rating of 6.47 who has reviewed go software for the EJ -- will play a best-of-seven series against MoGo in the computer go room on KGS. Game times will not be announced in advance, and times will vary to eliminate the possibility of human interference on the MoGo side. The results, and possibly a few of the games, will appear in a future EJ, so stay tuned!
- Roy Laird

YOUTH GO: Liu, Zhou & Kessler Profiled
    ANDY LIU 8d is currently the top-rated youth player in the nation at 8.7d, and he took the US Open by storm last year at the US Go Congress. He will also be representing the US at the World Amateur Championships in Tokyo in May. "I started playing go at 8, and my teachers are Chen-Dao Lin 5P and Jin-Jay Tao 7P," Liu told the E-Journal. "It took me about three years to get to Shodan. The time that I spend on go depends on how much schoolwork I have, but I usually play two casual games online every week. I advise young players to play more online, it helps a lot! Of course, the competition is fierce; many more kids play go today as compared to seven years ago."
    WILLIAM ZHOU 6d: "I was about eight and a half year's old when I first started playing go," William Zhou told the E-Journal. "I first got introduced to go in Chinese school, along with chess. After a few months of playing I decided that I liked go better and chose to play go instead of chess." Young Zhou reached Shodan about two years later. His current study regimen involves lessons twice a week, but his solo study time varies depending on how much spare time he has. "I usually play go online on KGS at least three times a week," Zhou adds. Asked to rate his odds he responded "I think at least locally I'll do well, as I haven't met any opponents near my strength around Chicago that are 12-17 years old. The national level will be far more challenging, since there are many other strong players."
    CHASE KESSLER 10k, is a 4th grader at Le Jardin Academy, Kailua, Hawaii. In October 2006, He was introduced to go by his Chess Club mentor Frank Alejandro, who reports "His fascination with the game was piqued even more when he was able to play against his great-great uncle during a family reunion in Okinawa a few months ago. There he discovered an antique go board with real shell stones. His uncles taught him some great moves and gave him some tips. His regular go night is Monday, where he participates with other members of the Oahu Go Club, (but only if he's done all of his homework). Chase continues to participate with the Le Jardin Academy Chess & Go Club, as well as soccer, baseball, archery, and ukulele. His other interests include reading, drawing, and of course, playing on his Game Cube."
- reported by Paul Barchilon, EJ Youth Editor

Click here for complete listing

April 7: Chicago, IL
Spring Tournament
Also: Youth Qualifier
Bob Barber 773.467.0423

April 7: Baltimore, MD
5th Annual Hopkins Go Tournament
Lisa Scott 816.651.6347
Scott Waldron 410.236.4668

Locate go clubs worldwide

PLAYERS WANTED: Ft. Myers, FL area. Seeking players to form go club for regular play and/or starting school go clubs with regular classes and tournaments. If interested call Kent at 239-222-3625. email address I presently play with the Sarasota Go club, but would like to advance the game in my own area. (4/2)

WANTED: Copy of "Beyond Forcing Moves" by Takagi Shoichi. Prefer mint or clean but will consider all offers. Email (4/2)

PLAYERS WANTED: Chicago, IL: Looking for go players in West Chicago. Email (3/19)

PLAYERS WANTED: Bemidji, MN. Seeking go players in this area; I have been playing go for a little less than one year, and am tired of only playing online. If there is anyone interested (new or experienced), please contact me at (3/13)

FOR SALE: "The Breakthrough to Shodan" by Naoki Miyamoto, 9-Dan, translated by James Davies, The Ishi Press, 1976. Hard-to-find work is based on a series of 10 articles on 3- and 4-stone handicap play that Miyamoto wrote for the Igo Shincho in 1973 and 1974. $95 or best offer plus postage. Contact Andy at (3/12)

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Managing Editor: Chris Garlock
Assistant Editor: Bill Cobb

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