World Go News from the American Go Association
October 8, 2007; Volume 8, #69

U.S. NEWS: Wu Fourpeats In Triangle Memorial; Feng Yun 5P U.S. Rep In World Women’s Tourney; Online Pair Go Registration Extended; Shodan Challenge Link; MGA Hosts Huiren Yang Workshop; Pre-Registration Required; Rapid Ratings
WORLD GO NEWS: Cracking Go Less Than A Decade Away? Xie Yimin Takes 2-0 Lead In Women's Honinbo; Lee Sedol And Choi Kihoon In Kuksu Finals; Lee Sedol Takes First Game In Myeongin; A Cho To Be Kisei Challenger; Balogh Wins Bratislava Casino Tourney
YOUR MOVE: Blackberry Go Revisited

CALENDAR: New York, Tempe, Roanoke & Hoboken
Too Easy
MEMBER’S EDITION BONUS CONTENT: Haruyama Isamu 9P discusses the shoulder hit in today’s installment of Questions from Actual Play, translated for the E-Journal by Robert McGuigan. Our bonus file is the first of this month’s endgame problems from Yilun Yang 7P. This is the easy problem; look for the hard one next week. Non-members: all this great content is just a click away!

WU FOURPEATS IN TRIANGLE MEMORIAL: Changlong Wu fourpeated at the 7th annual Triangle Memorial tournament in Cary, NC on September 29-30. “The weather was spectacular in the wooded parkland setting,” reports Paul Celmer. Owen Chen directed and 32 players participated in the 6-round event. Top section winner “Wu took home the $400 first place prize, a feat he has accomplished three years previously,” Celmer reports. Lunch was once again provided by Arlene Bridges. Winners Report: Section A: 1st: Wu Changlong; 2nd: Owen Chen; 3rd: Sheng Feng. Section B: 1st: Dima Arinkin; 2nd: Xiaoping Wu; 3rd: Yang Cao. Section C: 1st: Craig Garrett; 2nd: Glenn Williamson; 3rd: Bob Bacon. Section D: 1st: Brian Wu; 2nd: Tom Carlson; 3rd: William Daland. Equipment provided by the Ing Foundation. Photo: Frank Salantrie (r), Charles Alden (l) & Changlong Wu (standing at r in back). Photo courtesy Paul Celmer.

FENG YUN 5P U.S. REP IN WORLD WOMEN’S TOURNEY: Feng Yun 5P (l) will represent the United States in the World Women Professional Open Go Tournament being held in China, reports AGA President Mike Lash. "We just received the invitation last week and had to select a player by this Wednesday," said AGA President Michael Lash. "The selection had to be made almost immediately because the first round starts at the end of this month, which is a qualifier for and the second round to be played in January 2008." The field will include 24 women from five different countries. Eight women are seeded from China, Japan and Korea, and 16 women are being invited from China, Japan Korea, the US, and Europe. The top prize is about $15,000 and all expenses are paid by the host. The event is organized by the Chinese Weiqi Association and sponsored by the Beijing Long Ze Yuan Real Estate Company Ltd. “This event presents an exciting opportunity for the top women go players to receive focused attention,” Lash noted, “and it helps everyone recognize the talent among the top women players in the world." Photo by Steve Colburn

ONLINE PAIR GO REGISTRATION EXTENDED: Registration for the Internet Pair Go Tournament has been extended to this Friday October 12. “Get into this first-ever national Pair Go event,” says organizer Allan Abramson. If enough pairs register -- at least 6 dan-level teams and 6 kyu-level teams – Abramson promises “the NOVA Go Club will make it a bit more interesting by offering cash prizes of $200 each for the winning dan team and the winning kyu team. Click here for details.

SHODAN CHALLENGE LINK: Registration for the 2008 Shodan Challenge (Shodan Challenge Returns 10/1 EJ) has begun; click here to sign up.

MGA HOSTS HUIREN YANG WORKSHOP: There are a few slots left for the October 28 go workshop with Huiren Yang 1P. The event features a lecture, game reviews and simultaneous play against Mr Yang, and runs from 9A-7P at the MGA club in Somerville, MA. Cost is $50; participants must be at least 15k; sign-up by emailing with your rank & AGA ID number.

PRE-REGISTRATION REQUIRED: A growing number of tournaments are requiring – or strongly encouraging – pre-registration to speed start times and ease administrative hassles. Here are some upcoming events to note: HOUSTON: Register now for the October 20-21 Houston Fall Go Tournament Refreshments, box lunches and prizes are included for those who pre-register, but not for those who do not. LOS ANGELES: The annual Cotsen Go Tournament, one of the biggest go tournaments in the country, is set for November 10-11 at the Best Western Historical Mayfair Hotel in Los Angeles, CA. Pre-registration is encouraged; send your AGA number, name, address, city, state and zip, phone number, email address, playing rank and go club affiliation to MARYLAND: Pre-registration is required for the November 17 Moon Cha Memorial Go Tournament in Germantown, MD. Presented by the XYZ Private Go Group. Contact: Yuan Zhou or 301-528-7259 OTTAWA, CANADA: The Ottawa Chinese Go club is organizing a tournament at the embassy of Japan in Ottawa on November 18. The one-day, 3-round free tournament will run from 9A to 5P, with a maximum of 60 players. Pre-registration is required; email Charles Chang at “A group of nine go players along with two professional teachers from the Hangzhou Go Academy, China, will tour the Northern America and may visit Ottawa at the end of November or early December,” Chang adds.
NOTE: Click on Calendar for this weekend’s events.

RAPID RATINGS: “Rapid rating updates have quietly become the AGA's new reality over the past year or so,” reports AGA Board Chairman Roy Laird. “Thanks to the efforts of longtime ratings coordinator Paul Matthews, the AGA has rated more than 120 tournaments in the past year, breaking all records.” In most cases, Laird reports, “new official player ratings were available within one week!” Previously, ratings were updated monthly or even less frequently, but with ten or twelve tournaments every month, results are now generally processed within a day or two of receiving them. “At The New York Go Center, we had a tournament on September 9th; sent the results on the 10th; and player ratings were updated on the 11th!” This means a new level of responsibility for Tournament Directors (TDs), Laird notes. “TDs and organizers are expected to submit results within a few days of the event; after 30 days, rating data may not be accepted.” New pairing software, especially PyTD and Accelrat, makes it easy for anyone to run a tournament and automatically format results for submission to the ratings system. “We hope more and more chapters will offer their members a chance for rated play,” says Laird, “most of the time, players will see their updates results within a week. If not, they should contact tournament director. Rated tournament play challenges players to do their best; it's a great way to improve, so give it a try!”

CRACKING GO LESS THAN A DECADE AWAY? “I believe that a world-champion-level Go machine can be built within 10 years, based on the same method of intensive analysis—brute force, basically—that Deep Blue employed for chess,” wrote Feng - Hsiung Hsu (r) in “Cracking Go,” a provocative article in the October issue of IEEE Spectrum, published by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). Hsu has some game chops to back him up: in 1997 he and his colleagues at IBM programmed Deep Blue, which defeated Garry Kasparov, the highest-rated chess player ever. “All the leading Go programmers today belittle brute force,” Hsu writes. “In this they resemble the computer chess experts of 40 years ago. Selective search dominated thinking on computer chess from the late 1940s to the late 1970s, and that mind-set prevented any program from advancing beyond the level of a Class C player.” Hsu goes on to acknowledge and explore go’s “two real problems, both having to do with the amount of searching the program must perform.” Hsu says the first is the tree of analysis and the second is evaluation of the end positions. “Put these two problems together and you get a computational problem that at first glance seems intractable. But there are ways to engineer around it.” Hsu’s “gut feeling is that with some optimization a machine that can search a trillion positions per second would be enough to play Go at the very highest level." photo: Mark Leong

XIE YIMIN TAKES 2-0 LEAD IN WOMEN'S HONINBO: Teenager Xie Yimin 3P (l) defeated Yashiro Kumiko 5P by resignation on Wednesday, October 3rd, to take a 2-0 lead in the title. Yashiro, who is in her thirties, has held the title for the last two years but will have to win three in a row to keep her title and threepeat. Xie (aka Shie Imin) holds the record for being the youngest woman to become a pro in Japan. She made it in 2004 at fourteen years and four months. Xie is also the youngest woman to win a Japanese title, the Strongest Woman in 2006 at the age of seventeen years and one month. The Women's Honinbo is the only title Yashiro has won. Game Three is scheduled for October 17th.

LEE SEDOL AND CHOI KIHOON IN KUKSU FINALS: The finalists for the 51st Korean Kuksu (National Champion) will be Lee Sedol 9P (r), who defeated Park Yeonghun 9P on Monday, October 1st, and Choi Kihoon 1P. Lee is one of the best-known Korean pros and a top player who has won many national and international titles. This year he won both the Toyota Denso World Oza and the Asian TV Cup and currently holds four Korean national titles. Unfortunately, we have been unable to find any information about Choi Kihoon and would be delighted if one of our readers can provide information about him (email us at

LEE SEDOL TAKES FIRST GAME IN MYEONGIN: Lee Sedol 9P (r) has defeated Cho Hanseung 9P (aka Jo Hanseung) to win the first game in the best-of-five-game title match for the Korean Myeongin (Meijin) title. This tournament was not held in 2004-2006, but has been revived this year with a new sponsor, the Kangwon Land Co. A ten-member round-robin league was held to determine the two finalists, although Lee Changho 9P was the title holder in 2003 and for several years prior to that. However, Lee Changho was merely a member of the league this time and managed only a 5-4 result. Cho had to play Mok Jinseok 9P to determine who would play Lee Sedol since both had identical 6-3 records. Lee Sedol was 7-2 in the league. Cho holds the Korean Chunwon title, which he won last year by defeating Lee Sedol 3-1. Cho lost in the second round of the current Chunwon, but Lee Sedol is in the semifinals.

A CHO TO BE KISEI CHALLENGER: It’ll be Yamashita vs Cho in the upcoming Kisei. The question is which Cho? Cho U 9P (l), with a 5-0 record, and Cho Chikun 9P (r), with 4-1 record are the winners of the two round robin leagues to select the challenger for Kisei title holder Yamashita Keigo 9P. The two Cho’s will meet for a one-game playoff to determine who gets to challenge Yamashita, who has held this title for the least two years. Cho Chikun has been Kisei eight times, most recently in 1999, but Cho U has never even challenged for this title, despite his many successes in other top Japanese tournaments; he is also the current challenger for the Meijin with a 2-1 lead over Meijin Takao Shinji 9P.

BALOGH WINS BRATISLAVA CASINO TOURNEY: Pal Balogh 6d (l) won the Casino Go Tournament held October 5-7 in Bratislava, Slovakia. Over 120 players from 10 countries took part in the tournament, which Balogh -- from Hungary – won with a 5-1 record. Finishing second -- also with a 5-1 record – was Cornel Burzo 6d from Romania and Hong Seul-ki 7d of Korea took third place. Other money prize-winners were Cho Seok-bin 7d and Ondrej Silt 6d.
- reported by Marilena Bara and Mihaela Burzo, Special European Correspondents to the E-Journal. Photo by Chris Garlock

YOUR MOVE: Readers Write

BLACKBERRY GO REVISITED: “Did you ever get any answer to Richard Solberg question, "Does anyone have information on software to record games on a Blackberry device?" (11/27/06 EJ), asks Michelange in Paris, France. “I've got a Blackberry and I would love to be able to play go on it!” Send responses to us at

CALENDAR: New York, Tempe, Roanoke & Hoboken
October 12: New York, NY: Fridays With Andy
2006 US Open winner Andy Liu 8D, one of America's top ten players, teaches and plays
Roy Laird 212.223.0342
October 13: Tempe, AZ: Arizona Go Rating Tournament
MU @ ASU Saturday 1P
Bill Gundberg 480.831.5567
October 13: Roanoke, VA: Blue Ridge Open
John Greiner 540.884.7010
October 14, 2007: Hoboken, NJ: Hoboken Open Tournament
$350 first prize in Open (no handicap) section
Larry Russ 201.216.5379

By James Kerwin 1P
    In a previous column, I introduced the corner. This time I’ll talk about the side. The 4th line is the seam between the side and the center. The side is a very productive place to build territory, although not as good as the corner. It is even more valuable if side territory is added to adjacent corner territory. Another feature of the side is that it is also quite easy to secure groups there, as the nearby edge helps make life quickly.
    To see how easy it is to stabilize on the edge, look at Dia. 1 (r). The two-space extension of 3 makes white stable. Note that white is NOT alive. But black will not be able to get much profit from attacking white. Quick stability is the reason why white 1 is a common move used to break apart the side. If black played there -- or one line above -- black would have a structure including the lower side and both corners. When white plays there, since white has room for the standard 2-space extension in either direction, the single stone is already stable. The stable white group breaks black’s position into two smaller pieces. But remember that a single weak stone does nothing; when you play a move like 1 you must play the extension when the opponent approaches.
    Now look at the joseki in Dia. 2. This kind of pushing development is common in go. There is a rule of thumb that is invaluable in deciding if the development is better for you or better for your opponent. The rule is that the player whose stones are on the 4th line has the better position. By this I mean that if the player on the 4th line has territory, his territory is more valuable than the opponent’s center power. But if the player on the 4th line has center power, his power is more valuable than the opponent’s territory. This is why I call the 4th line the ‘golden line’.
    This rule explains the development in the diagram. Black has the 4th line so white fights to get off the 3rd line onto the 4th line. The first step is white 6, jumping ahead. Obviously if you’re not ahead you can’t get off the 3rd line. White 8 is necessary to make a position strong enough to move up. Then white hanes with 10 and again with 12. Finally white has gotten off the 3rd line. Because white has so many cutting points black 17 forces white 18, giving black some corner profit. Then black settles the center position and takes sente. This is an equal divide because white was able to fight off the 3rd line.
    Don’t bother to memorize this joseki. But it is important to understand what happens and why. If you remember that the 4th line is the golden line you will be able to quickly decide if a pushing development similar to Dia. 2 is good for you or not.
    Kerwin, a longtime go teacher, is a regular contributor to the E-Journal and American Go Yearbook. If you have questions on the material in this column, or on how to get stronger, email him at

GO QUIZ: Too Easy
"This has been the easiest quiz so far" opines Terri Schurter about last week's question about who had not been AGA President. And indeed, only one person out of 25 got it wrong. However, it gives me a chance to say nice things about some hard working individuals. Barbara Calhoun was a director o
f the International Go Federation from 1985-94, Treasurer of the AGA from 1979-88, and President from 1989-92. Phil Straus was chair of the Rating Commission from 1986, and stepped up after Bob High's untimely death to serve as President in 1994. Phil shepherded and handled the negotiations with the Ing Foundation securing the ongoing Ing grant. Roy Laird remains very active in the AGA; currently Chair of the Board of Directors, he edited the American Go Journal from 1984 to 1999, and was President from 1998 to 2002. Barbara and Roy can be spotted in the photo at left (courtesy Brooklyn Go Club website). Paul Matthews (the correct answer) may not have been President but he directed the 5th U.S. Go Congress, runs the N.J. Open every year and, as reader Michael Dobbins notes, " Paul has contributed as much as anyone else by his work on developing the AGA rating system and the AccelRat program used in many tournaments...The algorithm is a thing of beauty" Congrats to Alice Butcher of Chelsea, MI, this week's winner, drawn at random from those answering correctly.
QUIZ UPDATE: Still close at the top - Waldron 25/30, Salamony 23/27, Kerr 14/14 (topping Phil and Kim's best streaks - each at 13), Fung 10/10, Denis 10/11, Hayes 10/13, Mercado 7/8. Expect some hard questions in November to give a final chance to stir things up, with the year-long (whew!) contest wrapping up in December.
THIS WEEK’S QUIZ: Also in the photo is a person who played a big role in the history of "Keshi and Uchikomi," the AGA-Slate and Shell collaboration. Is it Iwamoto, Bill Cobb, Don Wiener or Joe Keshi? Click here to vote.
- Quizmaster Keith Arnold, HKA


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Managing Editor: Chris Garlock
Assistant Editor: Bill Cobb

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