World Go News from The American Go Association



MEMBER’S EDITION BONUS CONTENT: Kazunari Furuyama explores Common Amateur Mistake 109 in the latest installment of his Important, Fundamental Matters” series; have fun solving Yilun Yang 7P's annual New Year's tsume-go problem. Non-members: join the American Go Association and get all this great content with every EJ! It’s all just a click away!



February 4, 2008; Volume 9, #7

ZENG TOPS SALT LAKE TOURNEY: Robert Zeng 6d topped the February 2 tournament in Salt Lake City, UT. "We had 16 players," reports Mike Wallsted, who served as TD, and "organized it with the help of a local gamestore, Game Night Games and Mike Compton." Winners Report: Robert Zeng 6d (3-0), Erik Lakis 2k (3-0), John Bernhardt 8k (2-1), and Charles Laser 19k (3-0).

ING MASTERS EXPANDS: The North American Ing Masters Tournament (NAIM) will expand to 32 professional and amateur players this year, reports Chris Kirschner. "The NAIM qualification cycle for 2008 will have 8 qualification tournaments," Kirschner tells the EJ, "each provided with $500 to sweeten the tournament pot." AGA chapters are invited to submit bids to host these tournaments between March 15 and July 15; 32 qualifying players will be invited to play in the finals at the Congress in Portland in August. The finals will be a 5-round Swiss paired tournament with first prize of $3,000. These tournaments will provide qualification points for both NAIM and WMSG finals. Submit hosting bids to

EJ INVESTIGATES TOXIC GO STONE RUMORS: Rumors have been circulating on the Internet that Chinese go stones contain lead and may be harmful, especially to small children. An E-Journal investigation reveals that the stones in question have been recently reformulated to safe levels, that a prominent US distributor is replacing such sets, and that in the case of stones in circulation that do contain low levels of lead, "there should be no significant risk" with proper use. Read Dr Roy Laird's complete report below.

KERWIN WORKSHOP RETURNS TO HOLLYHOCK: Prep for this year's U.S. Go Congress by attending Jim Kerwin's Hollyhock Go Workshop, which runs from July 27th to August 1st on Cortes Island in British Columbia. "It's a perfect combination with the US Go Congress starting August 2nd, if you can make both," Kerwin tells the EJ. "Relaxed and beautiful, Hollyhock, located on Cortes Island, BC, is an ideal place to study go." photo from 2007 Hollyhock workshop by Phil Straus

ING TEAM EVENT HEATING UP: With just under three weeks to go until the February 22nd registration deadline, the playing field for the new Ing team competition is looking to be quite exciting. Mission San Jose High, in Fremont, California will be tough to beat, with two six dans, Lawrence Ku and Calvin Lee, both playing on the same team. Further down the coast Calvin Sun and Cherry Shen, also both 6d, are playing for the Orange County Kids Go Club; as this is a team competition, it may well boil down to who sits in the third chair. Across the country, and in Canada, teams with a wide range of ranks are registered as well, ranging from 28k to 6d. Chester High School in Illinois is fielding no less than three teams under the direction of Dwight Lochhead, while Fair Oaks Go Club, Manlius Pebble Hill, Boulder Kids and Teens, Saratoga High, and Hebbville Academy are all fielding two teams. Youth whose schools don't have enough members for a team can still register as independents and be paired by the tournament directors. There is still time to join in the fun, click here for more information and to register.
- Paul Barchilon, EJ Youth Editor

THE OZA IN PICTURES: Now you can relive those magic moments - or see what you missed -- at the recent North American Oza East and West tournaments by checking out online photo albums: official N.A. Oza pages, Gurujeet Khalsa's Oza East photos; Carrie Gustavson's Oza East pics and Terry McIntyre's Oza West album. photo (l) by Carrie Gustavson

GO CALENDAR: Phoenix, Leuven, Helsinki & Cheshire
February 9: Phoenix, AZ: Phoenix Chinese Week Go Open
Chinese Cultural Center 11am - 6pm, Reg by 9:30am
Quan Li 602.326.7556
February 9-10: Leuven, EU: Leuven Go Tournament
Frank Segers +32499399067
February 9-10: Helsinki, SF: Takapotku Open
Part of the Pandanet Go European Cup tournament series. Call between 5-11P Finnish time.
Janne Nikula +358.50.341.4050
February 9: Cheshire, CH: Cheshire
Frodsham Community Centre, Fluin Lane, Frodsham, Cheshire, WA6 7QN
Tony Atkins 0118.9268143
GET LISTED & GET PLAYERS! We post tournaments worldwide. Click here to list your event.

CHO TAKES SECOND GAME IN KISEI: Cho Chikun 9P (r) defeated Kisei title holder Yamashita Keigo 9P on January 31st in the second game of their title match to even the score at 1-1. Yamashita is aiming for a threepeat in this match. He also held the Kisei title for one year in 2003 and is the current national Oza champion. Yamashita turns thirty this year, but Cho is already in his fifties--and continues to amaze by his ability to compete at this level at that age. He won the NKH Cup last year and has held the Judan title for the last two years. Cho has won 71 titles, the most of any Japanese pro.

LEE CHANGHO SWEEPS KOREAN SIPTAN: Lee Changho 9P (l) finished off Mok Jinseok 9P on February 2nd to take the Korean Siptan [Japanese: Judan] title by a score of 2-0. Mok is in his upper twenties and has won two national titles and played in several international events. He won more games in 2007 than any other pro in the world: 93 with a winning percentage of 76%. However, he rarely makes it into tournament finals or title matches. Lee, of course, has won more international titles than anyone else and a huge number of national titles. This was the third edition of the Siptan, and Lee has won it twice.

RUSSIANS DOMINATE EURO OZA: Alexander Dinerchtein 3P and Ilya Shiksin 7d of Russia and Christian Pop 7d of Romania took top honors at the Oza European Championship. All three will represent Europe in the World Oza in Japan. The tournament was held January 31 through February 3 at the European Go Centre in Amsterdam, Holland and drew 58 players. After two days of qualifiers, 24 players made it into three parallel knock-out quarter-finals. While Holland, Romania and Russia each had two players in the finals, the pairings did not give any nationality a sure ticket to the World Oza. The Russians, holding the highest ratings, were expected to win, but the final between Dutchman Rob van Zeijst and Christian Pop of Romania promised a close contest, as Pop is next to van Zeijst in the European ratings. In a dramatic final round, Shiksin -- the current European Champion -- was the first to be sure of his title, with more points on the board as white against Burzo of Romania. Next, Dinerchtein (r in photo) won a resignation from Frank Janssen 6d (l) of The Netherlands. In the final top game, van Zeist fought back after an initial set-back but still lost by a couple of points to Pop (see below for a profile of Romania's Gheorghe Pãun, who is largely responsible for go's boom in Romania). The youngest participant was 14-year old Thomas Debarre 4d, an up-and-coming youngster from France and the only other top teen besides Ilya Shiksin at this year's Oza. Just 17, Shiksin won a place in the World Oza for Europe two years ago and told the E-Journal "Two years ago I was very excited, now I already got used to success." Also interesting was the first appearance of Diana Koszegi 1P from Hungary in her first tournament in Europe after her recent promotion. She did well until the semi-finals, when she lost to Pop. Soon she will return to Korea, she told the EJ; she wants to finish her University degree in Baduk there, but mainly looks forward to competing in pro-leagues and getting stronger. Four games each round were broadcast simultaneously by EuroGoTV on both KGS and IGS, drawing audiences of up to 650 visitors at one time for one game. Other games also drew audiences of hundreds, while Rob van Aurich produced 13 tournament bulletins with games and results. Catalin Taranu 5P was present for game commentary and gave a large simul, losing only two games.
- Report/photo by Peter Dijkema, European correspondent for the American Go E-Journal.

GO REVIEW: Chinese Go Stones
by Dr Roy Laird
Some readers have expressed concern recently about rumors that have been circulating on the Internet that Chinese stones contain lead and may be harmful, especially to small children. So we decided to investigate, and here is the result.
Yunzi stones -- opaque, often flat on one side, with a faint greenish translucence -- have been manufactured in Yunnan province in southern China since the 1600's. According to legend, the imperial treasury burned, and an employee discovered that the fire-baked jewels had a particular luster. Local manufacturers produced stones with a similar appearance for centuries, but during China's tumultuous conflict in the early 20th century, the process was lost. Zhou En-lai ordered the production of replicas in the 1970's, and the Yunnan Weiqi Factory was back in business. (Click here for a video in Chinese that shows glimpses of the process; we also see Queen Elizabeth II receiving a set of yunzi stones as a gift.)
In early January, a go blogger reported finding lead in his set of yunzi stones, using an inexpensive home test kit available online. It turns out Yellow Mountain Imports (YMI), which imports yunzi stones to the US, was already on the case, with their own test of 20 sets of black and white stones.YMI immediately established a return policy for concerned customers and contacted the manufacturer, who changed the formula. According to YMI, "Yunnan Weiqi Company has recently achieved levels of less than .05%, which surpasses the FDA requirements for levels of lead permissible in paint. Production of stones by this method will begin after Chinese New Year." The stones also contain melamine, which caused the poisoning of many dogs and cats last year when a Chinese pet food manufacturer used it as filler, but like lead, it poses no danger if not consumed. What about the stones now in circulation? The Consumer Products Safety Commission tells us that lead poses a significant danger to young children when ingested in large amounts. The main danger is "leaching" of lead into food or drink that is stored in lead-based containers for a long period; for instance, keeping your favorite sherry in a crystal decanter that contains lead. Yunzi stones are not meant to be consumed, nor do they flake like lead paint, so with proper use there should be no significant risk. Of course the choking hazard makes it even more important to keep stones away from small children who may mistake them for candy. Click here for more on lead safety. (Thanks "Chiyodad" for the link!) Conclusion: If you bought your yunzi stones from YMI you can return them for a lead-free set, but with proper use even the sets now in circulation pose very little risk of lead exposure.

Laird, Chair of the AGA Board, is a clinical psychologist who works with children.

GO PROFILES: Romania's Gheorghe Pãun
Mathematician and novelist Gheorghe Pãun (r) was largely responsible for go's boom in Romania in the Eighties. Romanian players like Catalin Taranu 5P, Cristian Pop 7d, Mirel Florescu 6d, Cornel Burzo 6d, Dragos Bajenaru 6d are now among Europe's top players. Paun, a senior researcher at the Institute of Mathematics of the Romanian Academy, penned a number of articles about the game, as well as Romania's first introductory book on go, which has sold over 100,000 copies and helped drive the sale of 300,000 go sets in Romania in the Eighties. Paun, Corresponding Member of The Romanian Sciences Academy (1997), Member of Academia Europaea (2006) and the author of the P-system theory about membrane computing , served as the first president of the Romanian Go Federation from 1990 to 1992 and also persues a strong interest in literature, authoring science fiction novels, as well as romance and detective novels.
- reported by Marilena Bara, Romanian Correspondent for the E-Journal. NOTE: We welcome suggestions and reports on other seminal figures in go history in your country; email us at

by Motoko Arai
Looking back on it now, I think it was about this time that I had two epiphany-like experiences during games with Mr. A.
First, epiphany number one. I was getting better gradually, and thinking, "Hey, maybe I'm finally becoming a decent opponent for Mr. A." (I mean, I was still losing by points, but playing against someone like Mr. A and not having a big group die during the game felt like a victory.)
So, in this one game I had linked up my stones on the left and the bottom and made a few points, and then in the left top area I had a decent-sized piece of territory. Because of this, Mr. A had taken the whole right side. (I would lose based on points here alone.) In the center, while completely surrounded by Mr. A's territory, I had just barely managed to live. Yeah, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. I had five open points so it was definitely alive. Okay, at least I didn't have any groups that were going to die.
And then, out of the blue, Mr. A placed a single stone in the center of my 5-point group. Huh? What's this? I have five open points, right? I'll just take that stone. Is he just committing suicide? So I placed my stone to capture, and then Mr. A played inside there again. Huh? Wait a second. huh?! Now I can't take this stone. Well, I can, but then my group will die.
"This is called a bulky five shape."
* * *
Now, for epiphany number two. Around this time, in a different game, I found myself for the first time in a position to kill one of Mr. A's groups - in the bottom corner. They were definitely dead. I wasn't just going to capture one at a time-I was going to kill the whole group. This was also a first for me, and I was pretty excited about it.
Here's the situation: my stones were all connected with no possible cuts, and Mr. A's group didn't have enough space to make two eyes. Yes, yes, yes - I did it! But I had to be careful not to allow my own stones to be put in atari. If that happened, then Mr. A would kill me and live. So, I just wait for Mr. A to place a stone here. And I wait. and I wait. "All right, looks like we're finished, okay?"
But I'm still waiting! Mr. A had proclaimed the end of the game without playing that last stone. No way was that okay!
"But wait - there's still this point. It'll be dame so please put a stone there."
"But if I play there I'll die. If someone's going to play there, please go ahead."
"But if I play there, your stones will live."
"Exactly. That's why neither of us has played there. Neither of us can put a stone there or we will die. It's called seki."
Bulky five. Seki. I'd read these terms in books and not understood them. I'd had them explained to me and regrettably not really understood them. Now, in an instant, their meaning was crystal clear. Oh, what an epiphany.
Motoko Arai is an award-winning science fiction author in Japan. Translated by Chris Donner from the Nihon Kiin's Go Weekly (February 19, 2007 issue)

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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 at (1/7/08)

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