World Go News from The American Go Association




We're very pleased to present the decisive April 19 Greater Boston Chinese Cultural Association (GBCCA) Youth Go Tournament Senior Division game in which Zhongzia Ricky Zhao 6d, 13, topped the Division by beating Lionel Zhang 6d; the commentary is by Andy Liu 8d. Fan Hui 2P takes a look at a key 2006 Samsung Cup game between Lee Changhao 9P and Luo Xihe 9P, in which the odds are heavily stacked against Luo, who was 0-4 against Lee at the time. Our final bonus file today is the latest Hot Off The Press, with an excerpt from Otake's Secrets of Strategy by Hideo Otake, published by Hinoki Press. Non-members: join the American Go Association and get all this great content with every EJ! It's all just a
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April 28, 2008: Volume 9, #19

THIS JUST IN: THE YEARBOOK IS IN THE MAIL! The 2007 American Go Yearbook (cover left) is now in the mail to members of the American Go Association: if you haven't yet received yours, it's on the way! The 124-page compilation is the biggest Yearbook yet, featuring the best of last year's world go coverage in the E-Journal, including major event reports, photos, youth and world go news and a Yearbook CD that includes every 2007 E-Journal, including all game records. Here's your chance to tell us what you think and help us improve it for next year! Click here to take our brief survey. All survey participants will be entered in a random drawing for a go vendor gift certificate!

CHEN TOPS NYC TOURNEY: Walter Chen 5d took first place in the dan division of the April 26 New York Go Center's tournament, the first of a planned series of seven events. "This series of tournaments will be treated as one big tournament," reports organizer Boris Bernadsky. "Money from the entrance fees for each tournament will be collected and used for prizes - including most wins, highest winning percentage, and largest growth -- at the end of the seven months." The last tournament of the series will be the First Annual New York Open on October 11-12th. The next tournament will be on May 10th; click here for details. "Andy Liu 8d showed up to see what was happening at his local club, and he was treated like a celebrity," Bernadsky tells the EJ. "Although Andy did win all his games, he did not win the tournament, since he showed up late for the first round." Other strong players included John Lee 6d, Ok Won Suk 5d, Steven Pine 5d, Michael Huang 5d, and NYGC resident instructor Tadashi Komoto 5d. WINNER'S REPORT: Dan Division: 1st: Walter Chen 5d (3-1); 2nd: William Lockhart 4d (3-1). Kyu Division: 1st: Afa Zhou (4-0); 2nd: Michael Fodera (3-1).

DESOUZA & WU WIN IN FL YOUTH TOURNEY: Alex DeSouza 6k and Derek Wu 15k won their divisions in last weekend's U.S. Youth Go Championship Qualifier, held April 26 in Fort Myers, FL. Twenty-one players participated. Results: Senior Division (12 & up): 1st: Alex DeSouza 6k; 2nd: Jordan Winters 6k; 3rd: Cory Cunningham 12k. Junior Division (11 & below): 1st: Derek Wu 15k; 2nd: Sam Ponader 19k.

PAIR GO IN BEIJING: The deadline for registering for the tournament to decide the U.S.
representative to the World Mind Sports Games in Beijing in October is midnight, Tuesday April 29! Click here now for details and to register.

MIND SPORTS GAMES LAUNCHES WEBSITE: Plans to promote the upcoming Mind Sport Games have moved to the next level with the launch of the event's official website, packed with information, photos and more. On April 8, the organizers also unveiled the official logo (right), as well the theme concept that reflects the diversity of the participants - "Civilizations Varied, Wisdom Unbounded." Meanwhile, American players are rallying to support the US team, with 53 contributors amassing nearly $12,000 so far. "For a first-time appeal for support, this is unprecedented," said AGA President Michael Lash, who also reminds everyone that it is still possible to add your name to the donor list by responding to the appeal letter recently sent to AGA members, or by downloading the AGF contribution form.

RYUSEI NEARING FINAL STAGE: The Ryusei tournament in Japan is an unusual event. It begins with eight groups of twelve players each, who play a win-and-continue match. The last player standing in each block gets into the final tournament, along with the person who wins the most games in each block. The final round is a single-elimination tournament of sixteen players. Cho U 9P won this event last year. At this point there are three games left in most of the eight blocks. Since the players are ordered in terms of strongest at the top of the list, this means more of the better-known players are getting involved. A number of things are already clear. None of the eight women entered in the initial stage have survived, although Kato Keiko 9P, Xie Yimin 4P, and Kato Tomoko 5D did each win one game. Several players have won enough games to be assured a place in the final match: the famous teen Iyama Yuta (left) 7P is in with five wins. He hasn't lost yet and his next opponent is O Meien 9P. Yamada Kimio 9P is in with four wins (no one can do better at this point in his block) and hasn't lost yet; his next opponent is Kono Rin 9P and waiting at the top of his block is Sakai Hideyuki 7P, who made it to the semifinals in the final tournament last year. Some relatively unknown players always make it into the final round of this event. This year Kurahashi Masayuki 9P and Shimojima Yohei 7P are already in. Kurahashi is in his upper thirties and never won a title. Shimojima, who is twenty-nine has apparently also never won a title.

YOUNG PROS DOMINATE TITLES: One way to rank the top professional players is by how many titles they currently hold. Five players stand out in this regard. In the international arena, Lee Sedol (right) 9P is substantially ahead of every one else, with no less than four international titles, including LG Cup, Samsung Cup, Toyota & Denso World Oza Cup, and the Asian TV Cup. Lee also holds three Korean national titles, Kuksu, Myeongin, and Prices Information Cup, for an impressive total of seven. Gu Li 9P of China holds six titles, including two international -- Chunlan Cup and Korea-Japan Tengen - and four national, the Mingren, Tianyuan, Chang-ki Cup, and NEC Cup. Cho U (left) 9P of Japan holds five national titles, including two of the top seven, the Meijin, Gosei, Agon Cup, Ryusei, and NHK Cup. Though no other pro holds this many national titles, Cho has no international titles. Lee Changho 9P currently holds three national titles, Wangwi, Siptan, and KBS Cup, and one international, the Zhonghuan Cup. A fifth player who can plausibly be considered part of this group is Park Yeonghun 9P of Korea, who holds the international Fujitsu Cup and three national titles. One of the surprising things about the current professional go world is that, except for Lee Changho, these players are in their twenties (and Park just barely, having left his teens only on the first of this month). In his early thirties, Lee Changho is an old guy by modern standards.

WORLD AMATEUR PLAYER PROFILES: Germany, India, Singapore, Switzerland and the United Kingdom Players from 70 countries and territories will compete in the 29th annual World Amateur Go Championship, scheduled this year for May 29-31 in Tokyo, Japan. The American Go E-Journal will once provide full coverage of the 8-round tournament, posting daily updates on the web and in the EJ, including news, features, photos and game records live from the playing venue at the Nihon Ki-in. A new feature this year will be profiles of the WAGC players. This week we're pleased to introduce the players from Germany, India, Singapore, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. - Chris Garlock

GERMANY: Franz-Josef Dickhut (right) 6d is a 39-year-old service manager from MG, Germany who's been playing since he was 15. He's won 7 German Championships, beginning in 1992 and then six between 1999 and 2006. As far as hobbies, Dickhut says "Except go, there's not much time nor need for other hobbies." His favorite thing about go is that "There are hundred ways of approaching the game. Recently I take it as a nice leisure, but I like the mental competition a lot as well."

INDIA: Raju Kumar Shah 1k is a 13-year-old student from Kolkata, West Bengal, who's been playing since he was 6. He's won regional tournaments in 2007-08, and his hobbies include book reading and playing cricket. He want to be a go professional and says his favorite thing about the game is "Formation of territory."

SINGAPORE: Chee Hiong Chuah (left) 3d is an 18-year-old student from Boon Lay, who's been playing since he was 15. He's won a number of prizes, including in the SWA Students Weiqi Grading Competition Advanced Level in 2005, the 15th Qui Ping Cup Secondary School Weiqi Competition in 2006, the Toa Payoh East Nation Day Open Weiqi Tournament in 2007, the 2007 Qui Ping Cup, the 8th Whampoa Cup and the Jurong Green CC Weiqi Championship in 2007 and the 2008 Ma Guang Cup Youth Championship. Hobbies include running and being with friends. His favorite thing about go is "doing life and death problems (and), playing slow games because I get to calculate." He's looking forward to playing in the WAGC "Because I want to get to see more of the beauty of go and hope to get to make more new friends from go."

SWITZERLAND: Josef Renner 3d is a 30-year-old illustrator from Zurich who started playing when he was 20. His favorite thing about go is that "the stones look like candies!"

UNITED KINGDOM: Matthew Macfadyen (right) 6d is a 55-year-old electrician from Warwick, who started playing when he was 13. Though he's been British Champion 21 times since 1978, he says that "Strangely, 2007 was my worst result in that whole period, finishing third." Macfadyen retired from his first career as a weather forecaster at 29 "so as to be able to travel and play go for 20 years before the need for money caused me to become a domestic electrician." Married and with two non-go-playing daughters, Macfadyen's hobbies include bird watching, boating and music. His favorite thing about go is that "It's a kaleidoscope, fills your brain with fantastic patterns which just keep spinning around the back of your eyes."

GO QUIZ: Gonshor Was Here
     Thanks again to Trevor Morris for accidentally giving me this question, which has become my all-time favorite. I loved reading your stories about Harry Gonshor (below left), and was delighted to find my photo of Harry holding the very go board he won in his game against Trevor! The scanned photo doesn't do Harry justice but I hope you get a sense of his familiar thick glasses and baggy pants, if not the ever-present mathematics textbook on the table. Though the vast majority of you voted correctly for Harry, one vote each went to Ralph Fox -- a mathematician who founded the Princeton Go Club-and Robert Ryder -- a great Bell Labs N.J. player and former President of the AGA. Jonathan Nagy thankfully received no votes, as he's very much alive and, last we heard, living in Spain.
     You really outdid yourselves with your wonderful memories of Harry, so I've begged my sharp-penned editor for his indulgence - and a little extra space this week - to share some of the best. "If there are many funny stories, it must be Harry Gonshor'" deduced Joel Sanet. "I didn't even have to read past 'eccentric math professor from Rutgers' " quips Lee Anne Bowie. Peter Schumer remembers "Harry Gonshor was an outstanding mathematician as well as a leader in the go community - he was always up for a game - even on 9-stone handicaps with a beginner like me during evenings at math meetings." Peter St. John, who spent a semester at Rutgers in 1983, remembers a time when "I was headed to his office, he saw me, and he turned his back and walked away hastily. I picked up to a jog, caught up to him, and reminded him I was a go player, not a student. He took me to his office and we spent hours playing."
     Many vivid memories come from New York City. "Harry loved go game so much," Young Kwon says fondly. "Two things remind me of him the most. 1) He would leave something at the Go Club to have an excuse to come back to his wife. 2) He would scream at himself loudly in a tournament setting, with his belly button usually uncovered when he made a mistake. He was so naive and natural and everyone loved him." Terry Benson recalls Harry hiding under a table at the New York Go Club as his wife's eyes searched the room. "He got a bowl of go stones thrown at his head when she found him"
     I remember Harry from U.S. Go Congresses, and, along with Ted Drange, Maryland Opens. "Harry would arrive at the Congress, drop his bags, and start playing...(he was always)...bent over the go board, in some danger of losing his pants" recalls Bob Barber. I remember Harry playing with Bob Ryder, literally all night, often only one of the old gentleman awake at a time, each trading naps between wake up calls of slamming stones. And many of you recalled his trademark sudden, high-pitched exclamation "Oh! Did I do that?" jarring the silence of a roomful of go players.
     The best Congress memory is saved for last. "I first met Harry Gonshor at the ‘87 Congress, where I did not realize there were shared dorm facilities," writes an EJ reader. "As I walked into the bathroom, Harry suddenly emerged from the shower. We both stood there in stunned silence until Harry said, 'Aren't you Janice Kim?'" Congrats to this week's winner, Pete St.John, selected at random from those answering correctly. THIS WEEK'S QUIZ: Currently there are 12 states without a paid-up AGA Chapter; can you name the one state where the AGA lacks any contact or club information at all, whether chapter or club, up-to-date or not? Click here to vote and you could be next week's Quiz winner!

KERWIN'S ROAD MAP FOR BEGINNERS: Part 10: End of The Road, Beginning of The Journey
By Jim Kerwin
     This is the last article in this series. If you've read the series and have applied what I've written, where should you be? First and foremost you shouldn't have to work so hard to see stones combining to stake a claim to territory and how they combine to make groups. You should have some knowledge about the meaning and value of the different areas of the board and have an idea of which areas are big at any time. You should be starting to know the moment in a sequence when you have created an enduring value and can move to another area. You should be pretty aware of which stones are weak and which are strong. And you should be starting to understand how your weak stones are a liability that the opponent can exploit, and that his weak stones are an asset for you.
     Where do you go from here? How do you continue to improve? Improvement in go comes from learning, practice, and correction. By learning I mean learning new concepts, rules of thumb, strategies or tactics. You can learn from books, teachers, other players, lectures, etc. Practice is trying to use what you've learned in your own games. Correction comes from reviewing your games and seeing if the new things you tried worked the way they were supposed to. If they did, great. If they didn't you must find out what went wrong. Did you try to use something in the wrong situation or in the wrong way. Or did you make a mistake of implementation. This third part, correction, is where a teacher can really help you.
     The practice part may seem easy, but it may be the hardest part of learning. In practice you are playing moves you don't fully understand, and as you play them you may not be sure they're good moves. In addition you may be uncertain how to follow them up. This discomfort is the reason practice is hard. If you want to improve you must embrace this discomfort.
     At the start I said go is, "...the most fascinating, challenging, and maddening game." If you have read what I've written in this series and tried to apply it you should now be able to see that for yourself.

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Published by the American Go Association
Managing Editor: Chris Garlock
Assistant Editor: Bill Cobb
Professionals: Yilun Yang 7P; Alexandr Dinerchtein 3P; Fan Hui 2P
Contributors: Paul Barchilon (Youth Editor); Lawrence Ku (U.S. West Coast Reporter); Brian Allen (U.S. West Coast Photo Editor); Peter Dijekma (Dutch/European Correspondent); Marilena Bara (Romania/European Correspondent); Ian Davis (Ireland Correspondent)
Columnists: James Kerwin 1P; Kazunari Furuyama; Rob van Ziejst; Roy Laird
Translations: Chris Donner (Japan); Bob McGuigan (Japan); Matt Luce (China)

Text material published in the AMERICAN GO E JOURNAL may be reproduced by any recipient: please credit the AGEJ as the source. PLEASE NOTE that commented game record files MAY NOT BE published, re-distributed, or made available on the web without the explicit written permission of the Editor of the E-Journal. Please direct inquiries to Articles appearing in the E-Journal represent the opinions of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official views of the American Go Association.

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