World Go News from The American Go Association



MEMBER’S EDITION BONUS CONTENT: Slow, unnecessary moves are the hallmark of a kyu-level game, as Yuan Zhou illustrates in today’s game commentary. Our bonus file reinforces this lesson, as Wang Yuan 8P shows how to “Take the Big Points First” in an article from The World of Weiqi translated by David Wong. Non-members: join the American Go Association and get all this great content with every EJ! It’s all just a click away!



January 28, 2008; Volume 9, #6

SPITZ WINS M.A. WINTER TOURNEY: David Spitz 6k won the January 13 Winter Handicap Tournament in Somerville, MA. “Players were made up of all ages from elementary school kids who have been playing a few months to retired folks who have three-digit AGA membership numbers,” reports tournament director Su Co Marjorie Hey. Players came from as far away as Maryland, as well as Vermont, Maine and New Hampshire. “A mild complaint heard from some of the older players -- who may have had the same rank for some years -- was that the kids play at too low a rank,” Hey tells the EJ. “However, a 6th grader who started playing six months ago and was ranked a 17-kyu by the AGA in September played at 12 kyu. The young players promise many years of exciting tournaments.” The tournament was organized by the Massachusetts Go Association; click here for tournament photos.
WINNER’S REPORT: 1st: David Spitz 6k; 2nd: Sam Huang 15k; 3rd: Gus Heck 3k.
photo: David Spitz plays Gus Heck in a friendly game; photo by Su Co Marjorie Hey

JERSEY OPEN A WMSG QUALIFIER: Next month’s New Jersey Open (NJO) will be a qualifying event for the World Mind Sports Games, reports organizer Rick Mott. The tournament is scheduled for February 23-24 in Princeton, NJ. Held annually for almost 50 years, the NJO “is a great event for strong players and beginners alike,” says Mott. “Last year 80 players entered, from 30 kyu to some of the strongest amateurs.” For full details, email Mott at photo: young players analyze a game at the 2007 NJO; photo by Chris Garlock

N.A. OZA RATINGS POSTED: Ratings for the more than 300 players who competed in the North American Oza last week have been available since last Friday, reports North American Oza Coordinator Roy Laird. Posted just five days after the 2-site event took place, “This may be the quickest turnaround time ever for ratings from such a large tournament, reflecting the AGA's commitment to bring timely rating updates to its members,” Laird tells the EJ, crediting “the diligent efforts” of Chris Kirschner, Jon Boley, Chris Hayashida and Andy Okun in Los Angeles, and Chuck Robbins, Sam Zimmerman, Steve Colburn and Keith Arnold in Baltimore, along with AGA rating coordinator Paul Matthews. Click here, type in your last name or AGA ID, click and you'll see your new official AGA rating; you can use the same process to see how any other players fared.

’08 SHODAN CHALLENGE UNDERWAY: The 2008 Shodan Challenge is well underway, with 38 Challengers working on improving their strength by this year’s U.S. Go Congress in Portland. Challenge coordinators Lee Huynh and Laura Kolb are coordinating a training program that includes online simuls with stronger players, ongoing game reviews and a book review contest that this month focused on endgame and life and death. Also on the Challenger’s reading list is Kolb’s terrific article on “Playing Games,” which says that “You will never get stronger at go if you don't play the game,” and offers some useful tips on when, where, who and how to play. An abbreviated version of the article appears below. For questions on the Challenge, email

CLASSIFIEDS WORK! After offering his collection of Go Worlds in the EJ’s Go Classified section, reader Bruce Bailey “got an email from a 3 dan in Argentina who had seen the ad in the EJ. We emailed back and forth a bit, I checked his KGS account to see if he was real, (which) he was. Certainly a lot more real than the guy from Craig's List who I sold it to first for $1000 and then got a counterfeit cashier's check for $5000!” After working out the logistics of shipping to Argentina, the deal was struck. “This was really a joyous transaction for both of us,” says Bailey. “I could no longer keep that big box of magazines, and I know they went to a good home. He's followed up saying again how much he appreciates them. Now I can pay for my AGA membership for a few years!” Go classifieds are always free and run for 4 weeks; email

BARCHILON REPLACES LAIRD AS AGF VP: 2006 AGF Teacher of the Year Paul Barchilon is the new Vice President of the American Go Foundation, AGF President Terry Benson announced today. "Since Paul joined the Board last year, he has built a mentoring program that supports dozens of active teaching programs across the US, and a mailing list of more than 200 school-based programs," Benson said. Roy Laird, who had served as VP for the past five years, nominated Barchilon to succeed him when he stepped down last month to focus on his duties as Chairman of the AGA Board. "Paul is working so hard, I hope the Vice Presidency gives him a more effective platform for his efforts," said Laird, who will continue as a Board member. Photo: Barchilon (far right, in green shirt) playing in the 2006 Te wo Tsunaide pair Go tournament in Denver, CO. photo by Bruce Young.

CHAPTER UPDATES: NEW SYRACUSE CLUB: Syracuse go organizer Anton Ninno has founded the May Memorial Chess & Go Club; the club meets on the first Sunday of the month from 1-4P; details at 315-479-9073. WICHITA GETS CLUB: The new Wichita Go Club meets Thursday nights at the Barnes & Noble at Rock Rd & 29th St in Wichita, Kansas; call founder Andrew Wrinn at 229-255-1100 or email GOT CLUB NEWS? Email us at!

REMEMBERING DUANE BURNS: Duane Burns’ family has asked for photos, memorabilia, and stories from Burns’ life in the go world, reports Phil Straus (“IN MEMORIAM: Duane Burns, 12/24/07 EJ). “Please send me any photos you have of Duane,” says Straus, “preferably by email or snail mailed on a CD. 300 dpi at 4"X6" would be great, but any size is ok. If you send me prints, I will scan them, and return them to you. If you send stories to me by email, I'll compile them.” Email by March 1 to Phil Straus, or mail to him at 228 South 21st Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103-4807. If you want to give any objects directly to the family, please send them to Mark Burns, Packard Electrical, CSE Test Center, M/S 97B, Warren OH 44483. photo of Burns (l) by Phil Straus

LEE SEDOL WINS SAMSUNG CUP: Lee Sedol 9P (r) added a third international title to his current holdings by defeating fellow Korean Park Yeonghun 9P by a score of 2-1 in the Samsung Cup. Lee won the final game on January 24th by 1.5 points; he won their first game by 4.5 points. Park is the most recent winner of the international Fujitsu Cup, while Lee holds the Toyota Denso World Oza and the Asian TV Cup titles. The Koreans continue to dominate the international go scene, holding most international titles. Park Jieun 9P holds both international women's titles and Lee Changho 9P is the current Zhonghuan Cup holder. The Koreans also won both the women's and the open team cups last year, the Jeongganjang and the Nongshim. The Chinese hold two top titles, the Chunlan Cup held by Gu Li 9P and the Ing Cup most recently won by Chang Hao 9P. There is also a lone Taiwanese victor in this area: Zhou Junxun 9P who won the latest LG Cup. No international titles are currently held by Japanese representatives.

RUI NAIWEI WINS HER 7TH WOMEN'S MYEONGIN: Rui Naiwei 9P (l) defeated Cho Hyeyeon 7P by a half point on January 21st to hold on to her Korean Women's Myeongin (Japanese: Meijin) title by a 2-0 score. This was the ninth edition of this event and Rui has won it seven times, including the last four in a row. Cho held the title once, in 2003, and has been the unsuccessful challenger against Rui four other times. The only other player to hold this title is Park Jieun, who was recently made the third 9P woman in the world, along with Rui and Feng Yun 9P. Park won its first edition, but lost it to Rui the following year.

PARK JIEUN PROMOTED TO 9P: Following her victory over Rui Naiwei 9P to take the Yuanyang Cup title, Park Jieun (r) has been promoted to 9P by the Korean Go Association (Hankuk Kiwon). The Yuanyang is her third international title win. She won the Dali Cup last year (Rui lost in the semifinals after defeating Feng Yun in the third round), and the Jeongganjang Cup in 2004. However, she has yet to win a national Korean title, all three of which have been dominated by Rui in recent years. Park is the third woman to achieve this lofty level, joining Rui Naiwei and Feng Yun, and is the first Korean woman to do so. Rui plays as a Korean professional, but is Chinese by birth, as is Feng Yun, who lives in the US and is a very active go teacher in the New York City area.

KUIN REPEATS AS DUTCH CHAMP: Defending Dutch Champion Merlijn Kuin 6d (l) retained his title last weekend in a dramatic finale to the Dutch National Championship, played at the European Go Centre (EGC) in Amsterdam. The Championship features top Dutch players battling over eight rounds on two weekends. Only four-time Dutch Champion Frank Janssen 6d and Gerald Westhoff 6d were undefeated after the first four rounds January 12-13, while Kuin had only lost to Westhoff. After six rounds Westhoff was still undefeated, but suffered his first loss in an endgame upset Sunday morning, while Kuin notched another win. In the final round Kuin was the first of the top contenders to win his game, as Westhoff went all-out against former champion Emil Nijhuis. After the smoke had settled and the score counted, Westhoff had missed his chance for a play-off and Kuin – who placed an impressive 7th in the 2007 World Amateur Go Championships in Japan -- kept his title. Also last weekend at the EGC, favorite Alexander Eerbeek 2D kept his youth (under 18) title without dropping a game. Rounding out the weekend’s activities, Anne van Leeuwen 1k defended her Dutch Women’s title successfully in a field of nine women. Harry Weerheijm drew an audience of hundreds on KGS and to live top-board broadcasts from the EGC. This coming weekend, even more players are expected to flock to the EGC for the bi-annual European Oza Cup, a World Oza qualifier with three places for Europeans at stake. The tournament is a 4-day invitational for 72 of the top (best-ranked 4D-plus) players in Europe, which begins on January 31. A side-event during the weekend is open to all players, and on Sunday there will be also a tourney for kids. Catalin Taranu 5P, the top-ranking European, cannot take part in the European Oza as he’s a Nihon-Ki-in member and would have to qualify in Japan, but he’ll be present to comment games and Board one will be broadcast on KGS.
- Report/photo by Peter Dijkema, European correspondent for the EJ in Amsterdam, Holland

by Laura Kolb
You will never get stronger at go if you don't play the game. Who you play, how often, and where are negotiable, but you need to play. Here are some of the options:
Where: Physical and Virtual: Lots of games are played online, where you can play at any time of the day or night, against people anywhere in the world. Click here for more information. Whatever the advantages of online play, they cannot duplicate sitting across from your opponent and physically placing stones on the board. You may find people at a local go club, or maybe you have a friend nearby who plays. If you know of no player within a reasonable distance, consider posting a classified in the E-Journal (email If you need equipment for playing go, Korean grocery stores are the best place to look for a cheap, decent set. Higher quality equipment can be purchased online.
Who: People and Computers: When you get the opportunity, play stronger players. They will show you where you are weak, just by how they play. They might even review the game with you afterward to provide further advice. But don't hesitate to play weaker players, too. Not only is this fair in the larger scheme of things and a benefit to the weaker player, but you also benefit by figuring out how to explain to your opponent why their moves were weaker and what they missed that you saw. Beginners to around 15 kyu may find playing a computer useful to learn some of the basics. Once you can beat a program in a even game, STOP, or you will learn bad habits. Click here for both free and commercial options.
Other Tips: Handicap Stones, Reverse Komi, and Reviewing: When playing a stronger or weaker player, it is common to use handicap stones to even the play. If you are looking for as even a fight as possible, this is the way to go. If, however, you want to learn or teach, reverse komi is another option. Instead of handicap stones, you play even, but black (the weaker player) gets a certain number of points (somewhere between 3 and 12 points in place of each handicap stone) added to the final score. Whenever possible, review your games immediately after playing. This is useful whatever the strength of your opponent, and whether you do it alone or with your opponent. Get in the habit of trying to remember your game as you play; having a purpose for every move helps. You can also record games as you play if you doubt your memory. As you review, discuss why you chose your moves, what alternatives you considered, and when you were surprised at your opponent's move. Discuss what the biggest moves of the game were; perhaps try to find a winning or losing move. Were there tesuji, life & death, or end game mistakes? Having a joseki dictionary on hand can also be helpful. Reviews can be quick or lengthy; don't feel a need to do all of the above every time. Having a study buddy to play and review games with can be very helpful. Thanks to the wonders of the internet, this person can be anywhere in the world. KGS has the best interface for reviewing games online. If you are the weaker player, expect to be told that you've played many bad moves. This can be difficult for some people to get used to, but accept it as necessary for getting stronger. If you are the stronger player take the time to point out your opponent's weaknesses, but do try to be gracious as you do so, remembering that you also were once that weaker strength.
Laura Kolb 2k [r], coordinates the Shodan Challenge – an AGA/EJ-sponsored program for which this article was originally written -- with Lee Huynh. Photo by Chris Garlock

YOUR MOVE: Readers Write
CORRECTING OZA GAME LINKS: “There is a little error on the website in the game record links of the NA East Oza,” writes Romain, one of several readers to catch a couple of Oza game records errors. “Rd3Bd2_JLi-HSSong is pointing to Rd3Bd2_JHung-HYang. Thank you for the good work you are doing.” The links have been corrected; please email us at if other errors are found.
GO SOFTWARE: ”I have just received a new laptop,” writes Edith from London. “I would be grateful if you could suggest a download site for go software.” Click here for all kinds of cool go software.
MISSING COMMENTARIES & READER SUBMISSIONS: ”This issue mentioned commented games,” writes Matthew. “However, they were not attached the email itself. Am I missing something? Or perhaps my renewal was not passed along yet? Also, the issue looks great! I was surprised to see so many images and at such nice quality. Does the E-Journal still use reader-submitted content?”
If you’re a member of the AGA – or another national go organization – and are not receiving the game files, you’ll want to make sure your membership is up to date so that you don’t miss any of the commentaries. Email or contact your national go organization. We do welcome reader submissions: please email us at first with your idea.
ENFORCING POLITENESS: “A loss was registered in a grandmaster game when one player declined to shake hands at the beginning of a game,” reports Phil Waldron. “It seems that a friendly greeting is mandatory in the chess world.” Click here to read the full story about what happened when Ivan Cheparinov refused to shake hands with Britain’s Nigel Short.

SELL IT, BUY IT OR TRADE IT HERE with over 12,000 go-players worldwide! Classified ads are FREE and run for 4 weeks; email your ad to us now at

GO PLAYERS WANTED: Athens, GA: Seeking all kinds, any kinds of go players to form a club or just play. Email Vic Anderson at (1/28)

GO TEACHER WANTED: Looking for go teacher in Malden, MA. Must be 5 dan and up. Reply to me back at (1/28)

GO PLAYERS WANTED: Dexter, ME: I'm looking for people who want to join my go club in Dexter. Anyone from the state of Maine is welcome to play; no age limit. Contact Information: OR call me at: 207-924-3185. (1/28)

GO PLAYERS WANTED: Washington, PA; I am going to start a go workshop every weekend at any coffee shop in Washington PA. Anybody is welcome. please drop a message to if interested. (1/28)

GO PLAYERS WANTED: West Jordan, UT area: Recently moved to west side of Salt Lake valley and looking for fellow go players. Please contact David Conklin at (1/28)

GO PLAYERS WANTED: New Haven, CT. We have started a small group which meets every Wednesday at 6:30p. We have a strong player (4d) who gives free teaching games and reviews. For details, please join our google group (1/21)

GO PLAYERS WANTED: Grayslake, IL area: Wishing to start up a club of interested go players of any age and level of experience. Please contact Spencer Allen at (1/21)

GO PLAYERS WANTED: Columbus, GA: Starting a go club. Day and time to meet TBA. If interested, email Dylan at (1/7/08)

GO PLAYERS WANTED: Kansas: Looking for go players in Kansas (especially in the Wichita area) to join the city's Go Club. For more information contact Andrew Wrinn (cell: 1-229-255-1100; email: or visit our website (1/7/08)

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Managing Editor: Chris Garlock
Assistant Editor: Bill Cobb

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