World Go News from the American Go Association
May 29, 2007; Volume 8, #42


LIU LOSES HALF-POINTER IN 4TH WAGC ROUND: “That felt like the longest game in history,” said Andy Liu Tuesday afternoon after his 379-move game with South Africa’s Victor Guang Chow. Chow won by half a point and collapsed in relief as both players congratulated each other. Chow – a 31-year-old managing director of a technology firm in Johannesburg, played a very unusual opening, with the first move on the 5-5 point and the second on the 6-4, but tells the EJ that he was surprised that Andy was not only familiar with it but was able to play so fast. “At the end of the game,” said Chow, “I was in byo-yomi and Andy still had an hour on his clock!” Liu led for most of the game, which turned into a thrilling all-out ko-fight brawl that attracted a big crowd at the end. Liu ran out of stones in the middle of the fight and more had to be rushed over, and in the final counting, both players completely filled the board and had stones left over. The game, with comments by Yimin Hsieh 3P, the Women's NEC Cup winner, is attached.
In the third game, Andy Liu 6d won his third round game against Merlijn Kuin 6d of The Netherlands Tuesday morning (photo at left). Kuin – this year’s Dutch Champion and European Student Champion – kept the game close and fluid. Although Liu says he made a couple of mistakes, he had a good 10-15-point lead coming into the middle game and Kuin was forced to risk a group in a do-or-die effort to keep the game close. A moment of levity came when a gnat landed briefly on Kuin’s threatened stones. The gnat survived but Kuin’s group did not. The game record – with comments by Hironobu Mori – is attached. Kuin took up go 11 years ago when “I got bored with chess and school.” His mother took him to a tournament at the nearby European Go Centre “and I had a great time.” He took 2nd in the 2006 Toyota Denso. Click here to check out the latest WAGC standings. Photos by John Pinkerton (top right) & Chris Garlock (left)

AND THEN THERE WERE 4: The fourth round is where the champions really begin to emerge, and when the last stone had been played Tuesday afternoon, there were no surprises on the big board. Only four players were undefeated: Woo of Korea, Mori of Japan, Shan of China (in photo at right) and Lai of Chinese Tapei. The rest of the top 10 – US, Romania, Czechia, Hong Kong China and South Africa – were all 3-1. photo by Chris Garlock


ZHOU, SUN TAKE USYGC BY STORM: William Zhou 6d and Calvin Sun 6d emerged as the US representatives to the World Youth Go Championship after five rounds of hard play over two days at the Seattle Go Center over Memorial Day weekend. Zhou, an 8th grader, will be playing in the senior division, while 10-year-old Sun will be playing in the junior division in Boston this August.   Dark horses Ricky Zhao and Sudhir Vel made impressive bids, with the 3d Zhao defeating two 6 dan players to advance to the semifinals and 1s Vel beating Hugh Zhang 3d to advance to the final, where he lost to Sun.
    The games were broadcast live on KGS, where almost 150 people from around the world tuned in to watch and kibitz, including Matt Burrall’s go student friends from Korea, a whole contingent of French players, and many kids who had played in the USYGC over the past few months. The game recorders contributed to the drama as well, with telling comments like “Lawrence’s hand was shaking as he played that last move.”   
    The exciting tournament defied predictions, with huge reversals and unexpected winners. On Saturday, 14-year-old Will Zhou 6d (left) started the first day of competition by defeating 12-year-old Kellin Pelrine 3d. In Zhou’s second game, against 14-year-old Jimmy Guo 6d, a mistake early on put Zhou way behind, but in an amazing comeback he turned the tables and eked out a win by a few points. Meanwhile, 13-year-old Ricky Zhao 3d, pulled out a surprise victory over 17-year-old Jason Gu 6d, and top-seeded 16-year-old Matthew Burrall 7d lost his first-round match against Jimmy Guo. In Round 3, Will Zhou gave Ricky Zhao his only defeat of the day, while 16-year-old Lawrence Ku 6d handed Burrall a surprising endgame loss in an incredibly close game.
    Sunday’s finals were equally exciting, with Guo defeating Zhao to advance and Zhou defeating Ku before the final showdown. “I was very surprised that I won the event,” Zhou told the EJ. “I thought I only had a 1 in 3 chance and I didn't really expect to win. When I found out that two very high ranked players, Matthew Burall and Jason Gu had both been defeated, I had a lot more confidence. My victories against Jimmy were very surprising. In the first game against him, I made two 20-30-point mistakes, but managed to get the win by a very small margin. The second game I told myself I wouldn't make those kinds of mistakes, but I made one huge mistake anyway. At that point I thought I had already lost but I kept playing and managed to win at the end.” Indeed, the spectators had long given up on Zhou, but he staked everything on a huge multi-step ko and pulled off an amazing victory at the very end of the game. Junior division champion Calvin Sun (right) tells the Journal " For the USYGC, although I knew I would have a good chance to win, I kept practicing and learning from my go teacher, Mr. Mingjiu Jiang." Sun adds, "I just did it as my teacher has always taught me: Do your best to play every single game no matter how strong or weak your opponent is. I'm glad I will represent the US and play at the WYGC this year."
    Both of the Zhou-Guo games are attached, as well as Calvin Sun’s victory over Hugh Zhang and Lawrence Ku’s win over Matthew Burrall.
    “The finals are over, and some very intriguing observations have been floating in
my mind ever since,” says Ku (who’s also an EJ correspondent), reflecting on the games. “The next generation of go in America seems to be represented by the younger players; the older generation can¹t keep up with the younger generation, and the high school players can’t keep up with the middle and elementary school go players. In the senior division, there were four high school students, but only one made it to the elimination round, and in the junior division, the majority were under 10.” Matt Burrall, expressing similar sentiments, told the Journal, “I didn't play as well as I would have liked, but all my opponents played good honest games and I was impressed with very solid play by a young 3-dan opponent named Kellin Pelrine.”
    The Seattle Go Center hosted the finals and the tournament was organized and directed by Gordon Castanza, Jon Boley, and John Hogan. The event was made possible by the generous sponsorship of the Ing Chang-ki Wei-chi Education Foundation.
    WINNERS REPORT: Senior Division: 1st: William Zhou 6d (14 years old); 2nd: Jimmy Guo 5d (14); 3rd: Ricky Zhao 3d (13); 4th: Lawrence Ku 6d (16). Junior Division: 1st: Calvin Sun 6d (10); 2nd: Sudhir Vel 1d (9); 3rd: Hugh Zhang 3d (10); 4th: Maverick Lin 1k (11).
- Reported by Paul Barchilon and Lawrence Ku. Photos by Brian Allen

2007 AGA BOARD NOMINATIONS STILL OPEN: Nominations are open for the American Go Association three seats on the regional board of director. “Willard Haynes have been nominated to continue in his current position in the western region,” reports Arnold Eudell. “Quentin Dombro had been nominated to compete against incumbent Paul Celmer in the eastern region. In the central region Laura Kolb is so far the only nominee.” To be eligible for election, candidates must be nominated by June 15; click here for bylaws on AGA elections; nominations can be sent to

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