World Go News from The American Go Association


MEMBER'S EDITION BONUS CONTENT: Probably thinking that the Ryusei Tournament was created especially for him, last year's runner-up Yuki Satoshi probably felt fairly confident playing Takao Shinji this year, even if the latter was the current Honinbo. “However,” says this week’s game commentator Rob van Zeijst, “just as Yuji had secured a huge corner in the lower right in the attached game, a thunderbolt struck and his entire upper right corner suddenly found itself in a life-and-dead struggle involving ko. Would you be able to spot this ko and prevent it? Or are you the predator that spots this ko and goes for the kill?”
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August 25, 2008: Volume 9, #45

FODERA WINS NYC TOURNEY: An undefeated Michael Fodera topped Sunday's New York Go Center Big Tournament, going 4-0 in the Dan Division. Avi Mowshowitz swept the Kyu Division with his 4-0 record. "I nicknamed this tournament the tournament of growth," said TD Boris Bernadsky, "many players have come back much stronger after the summer." Fodera, who was 1d last month, may now be 3d, says Bernadsky. Liu Xiliang 7d placed second in the Dan Division and Kyu Division 2nd place winner Harrison Chiu -- who entered at 20 kyu, was upgraded to 15 kyu "because of overwhelmingly good performance." 20 players participated; the next NYCGC tournament will be September 14th.

TACOMA HOLDS 8TH '08 RATINGS TOURNEY: Players from more than 40 miles away turned out for the Tacoma Go Club's eighth monthly 3-round ratings tournament last Saturday, August 23, held at the Commencement Bay Coffee Co. in Tacoma, WA. TD Gordon Castanza used the PyTD v.2 pairings software for the first time and reports that "Players loved getting provisional ratings at the end of each round. They also liked the fact that the TD reported the results to the AGA within minutes after the tournament was over." Barista Gelina provided lunch sandwiches, pastries, and refreshments during the tournament. The TGC's September ratings tournament is set for Saturday, September 20th. Photo: Clockwise from center bottom: Kevin Burton, John Jackson, Robert Tobias, James Anderson, Barista Gelina, TD Gordon Castanza, Peter Mooyman, and Usio Tokura.

LEARNING GO FROM TX TO NJ: Go students in Texas and New Jersey have a couple of exciting new learning opportunities. In Houston, Texas, the Arts Alliance Center at Clear Lake is offering a course for beginners in "The Magic of Go" beginning this Wednesday. "If you or your friends are new to go and would like a structured approach to learning, this course may be right for you," says Robert Cordingley of the Houston Go Club, who is presenting the course. The introductory class takes the brand new beginner through a step-by- step approach to learning go and consists of three 6 week sessions. Click here for more information. Meanwhile, in Englewood, New Jersey, the Donghwa Cultural Foundation is offering children's classes in baduk as well as other Korean arts. Instructor Steven Kim "is combining traditional methods using the baduk board and books as well as online computer play," reports Youngmi Ha, Donghwa Executive Director. Click here for details.

KOREAN GO EVENT OFFERS FREE ROOM & BOARD: Go players interested in mixing go with business will want to check out the "Hi Seoul World Businessmen Baduk Fair" from September 22-27. While participants must pay their own travel expenses, their meals and hotel during the event will be covered. The deadline for applications has been extended through the end of August: for further information contact Seong-June Kim at

KIRSCHNER WINS LASKER AWARD: "I don't know who taught my great-grandfather how to play go in 1898," said 2008 Edward Lasker Lifetime Achievement award-winner Chris Kirscher (right), "but that seed has grown and borne fruit in Europe and in America. It just goes to show that you never know what's going to happen when you teach someone how to play go. It's been a wonderful, wonderful ride and I'm definitely staying on the train." The award is named in honor of chess grandmaster Dr. Edward Lasker, who learned go late in life, recognized its beauty and value, declared it a better game than chess, wrote a beginners book, 'Go and Go-Moku' and - with others - founded the AGA in 1935.
- report by Chris Garlock, photo by Phil Straus

BRADLEY PUBLISHES "IMPROVE FAST IN GO" ONLINE: Longtime go player, teacher and writer Milton Bradley has just released "Improve Fast In Go" free online. Bradley, who says is "Improve Fast" is "my latest -- and almost certainly final -- attempt at making a contribution to the go community," adds that the online book "is aimed primarily at double digit kyu players," and hopes it "will also provide insights of value to players rated as high as 5k." The 7-chapter publication covers topics ranging from "The Role Of Fighting In Go" to "Sector Lines, Enclosure & Connectivity" as well as "S.W.O.T. Analysis."

WORLD OZA REACHES THIRD ROUND: The 4th Toyota Denso World Oza Cup held its second round on Monday, August 25th. All players not from the big three of China, Japan, and Korea have been eliminated. This year there were two from North America: Mingjiu Jiang 7P, who was defeated by 6.5 points by Japan's Cho U 9P, and Jie Li 9d, who lost by resignation to Alexander Dinerchstein 3P. Dinerchstein is the only European representative who made it to the second round, where he ws also beaten by Cho U. Fernando Aguilar 6d represented South America, as he has several times, and lost to Lee Changho 9P. The other European reps were Cristian Pop 7d, who lost to Imamura Toshiya 9P of Japan, and Ilya Shikshin 7d who was defeated by Xie He 7P of China. The rep from Taiwan, Zhou Junxun 9P lost in the second round to Mok Jinseok 9P of Korea, while the rep from Hong Kong, Yang Shihai 8P lost to Takao Shinji 9P by 1.5 points. In the third round there are three Koreans, Lee Sedol 9P, Mok Jinseok, and Cho Hanseung 9P. There are four Chinese representatives, Xie He, Piao Wenyao 5P, Liu Xing 7P and Gu Li 9P. The Japanese still have one player left, Cho U. Round Three is scheduled for Wednesday, August 27th, with the fourth round two days later. The best-of-three-games final starts on September 1st.

KATO KEIKO TAKES STRONGEST WOMAN TITLE: Kato Keiko (left) 6P defeated teen Xie Yimin 3P 2-0 to take the Japanese Strongest Woman title. This is Kato's second title win--she won the
Women's Meijin in 2007, but lost it earlier this year to Xie Yimin, who is now Women's Meijin-Honinbo at the age of eighteen. Kato made it to the finals of the Women's Kisei earlier this year, but lost the opportunity to challenge to Mukai Chiaki 2P.

XIE IN FINALS FOR A THIRD TITLE THIS YEAR: Teen Xie Yimin (right) 3P defeated Suzuki Ayumi 3P to gain the finals against Kobayashi Izumi 6P in the Daiwa Ladies Cup, a fast-play Internet tournament. Kobayashi won this event last year, defetaing Kato Keiko 6P in the finals by 1.5 points.

GO CALENDAR: Tucson, Quebec City, Houston & Palo Alto
August 27: Tucson, AZ: Tucson Go Club August Rating Tournament
Martin Lebl 520.850.9213

August 30 - September 1: Quebec City, PQ: 2008 Canadian Open
2-day main tournament. Monday will be for professional activities and representative selections. Guo Juan, 5d pro, will be there for the event. Prizes will also be available.
Francois Gourdeau 1.418.667.0272

August 30-31: Houston, TX: Houston Summer Go Tournament 2008
Featuring Open and Handicap sections, cash prizes, free boxlunch. Register online
Robert Cordingley 281.333.1614

August 30: Palo Alto, CA: Bay Area Go Players Association Monthly AGA Ratings Tournament
Steve Burrall 916.688.2858

GO QUIZ: Rin Was The First
Rin Kaiho (Lin Haifong) 9P (left) came back from 0-3 to defend his Meijin title against Ishida Yoshio, then Honinbo, in 1973. This was the first "miraculous fight back." Three of you chose Cho Chikun, who has done it three times, one chose Sakata and one chose Ishida. But 10 of 15 had the right answer, including a large number of new folks, many from Europe, perhaps some carryover from our wonderful Congress coverage? Congrats to Jonathan Huber, this week's winner, chosen at random from those answering correctly.
THIS WEEK'S QUIZ: Phil Waldron hinted at this interesting fact - since Rin's fightback in 1973, every player who has come back from 0-3 to tie a series 3-3 has won the final game - except one. So, this week, who is the one player who failed to complete his "miraculous fight back" - was it Takao Shinji, Kobayashi Satoru, Kobayashi Koichi or Yamashita Keigo? Click here to vote!
- Keith Arnold, Quizmaster

PROFESSIONALLY SPEAKING: Janice Kim 3P on Go and Poker
American pro Janice Kim 3P has grown up in the public eye of the go community here in the United States, where she was born, and in Korea, where she received her professional training. In recent years, she's been less visible as she married, became a mother and was less active as a go player and teacher. This year, however, she has re-emerged in a major way, drawing big and enthusiastic crowds to her entertaining lectures at the 2008 U.S. Go Congress in Portland and also at the World Poker Tour Ladies Championship at the Bellagio in April, where she made the final table and won over $11,000.
    "I'm working on a theory" about the connection between go and poker, Kim told the EJ. "Poker is the game that I've found to be the closest to go, and I'm hoping to find underlying strategic principles between the two games; that in the differences you will see the similarities." Where go "is a game of perfect information, so sente -- playing first --is everything, in poker, a game of imperfect information, playing last is the most important thing. So it's just the flipside, that the most important consideration in both games is initiative." Another way Kim thinks the games resemble each other is while "most other games have complicated rule sets, both go and poker are quite simple. From that simplicity, actually, you get the variation that leads to complicated situations. So chance and gambling are really not the key in poker that's interesting me. It's the underlying strategy that's what I think is really fundamentally related to what I think is going on in go. And," adds Kim, "I've noticed that playing poker has actually increased my go strength."
    Kim says she learned to play poker fairly recently. "I learned from a very good friend who's a go player. He has a home game and on my way there I bought Poker for Dummies, desperately reading it on my way over thinking Oh this is going to be really bad. I thought I was doing rather well but he told me later Are you insane? You can't bet two pair like that! I lost $60, which was significant, but what really hooked me was that community thing. I hadn't felt that since the early days of being in Korea, where you have, like 10 or
12 people sitting around analyzing a game of go. And you can just be so charmed by seeing different people's personalities and the way their minds work. It's a really deep sense of connection, because for a moment, you can actually see the world though someone else's eyes. I thought This is great, I gotta do this again. I played a little more and my next step was to go to the Commerce Casino to ask to play in the largest game they had. They did, and I looked around and realized that everyone was sitting there with stacks and stacks of, like $5,000 chips. It was definitely one of the most embarrassing moments of my life. But of course I had way too much ego to just get up and leave. So I sat there very quietly for an hour, and then I left."
    Determined to improve, Kim says she took "a page out of a go book (and) decided what I needed to do was becomes someone's disciple. So I picked out the person who looked like the best player and asked Excuse me, you seem to be the best poker player; I'm trying to learn, will you show me? This worked like magic; they had never seen anything like this. I got some of the strongest players in the world who said Hey, that's really something, here, come take a seat. They even let me sweat their cards, which is where they show me their cards, so you sit behind the player and they show you their cards and then you can see all the action. So it's like a beginner were to ask Lee Changho and he said Sure, I'll teach you, walk with me. It was really tremendous and I got unparalleled access to many of the top players in the world. I was in a unique position in that I told them about my experience as a go player, and also, because there aren't that many women poker players, I was able to ride the novelty card for quite a while. It reminded me of being a young girl in Korea when top players really did help me. It just showed that it's really true that if at the beginning you can really get some a good solid fundamental base, then you don't get stuck with misinformation or negative
reinforcement, you just kind of know well this is the correct way of doing things. You still lack the experience, but you have that strong sense of fundamentals so you can bypass those murky kyu waters."
    Another way the two games are similar, says Kim, is that - just as in poker -- in go, at a
certain point you can know where people are at, how strong they are, where their weaknesses are, things like that. In poker, it's kind of deceptive, because a lot of what people think is based on what they see on TV, which is basically snippets of tournaments. Tournaments are actually a very minor part of poker. The really great players are who who you see on TV, they're the cash game players, who are way under the radar. Most of those players don't play tournaments because it's a large time commitment and there's a huge element of luck and literally anyone can win any given tournament. The really great players know exactly where they're at and within that you don't see a lot of variation; there's a consistent winning. I would say that at the professional level of poker, over the long term, the chance player -- I'm going to go out here on a limb - has almost no chance of winning. I know there would be a lot of debate about that, but that's been my observation. I'm very impressed with the skill level at the top of poker. Go may be harder - I don't even know if that's necessarily true - again, going out on a limb, I don't think it's possible for a 35-year-old to learn go and become a top player; I'm not sure that's true in poker but it's a little more likely somehow. In that sense, poker may be a little bit easier, but at the very top level, it's extremely difficult. It goes way beyond understanding odds or the correct way to play; it's very go-like in that you're putting together a whole package. The skill-set poker players are bringing to that is tremendous, and the amount of effort and time they're putting into it is also tremendous. I was always very impressed by top go players; they really do dedicate their lives to study and play and the top poker players are spending 60-80 hours a week non-stop, they're like Terminators, they don't stop. They train, they all go to the gym - some as much as 3 hours a day -- they eat right, they have nutritionists."
    Another theory of Kim's "is that only about 10% of the population is really, truly interested in games, but those who are, really are. What poker has is than over a short time, even an inexperienced player can win, (but) with go, that really doesn't happen. So that's kind of a drawback, in terms of gaining mass popularity (for go). And there's a huge social aspect to poker. One of the things I always enjoyed about go - one of my most favorite aspects - is the social aspect. I've felt a deep sense of community with go players, and if people can hook into that, I think it could be popular on that level. But we don't have enough momentum right now to really form that community. If it builds, though, I think it will snowball, because of the social aspects, because it's really such a great way of building a community."
    Of her go-poker theories, Kim says "We're still in the information-gathering stage. I'm going to start playing a lot more go, kind of like cross-training. My objective is to see how far this goes with both games and then I hope to write a generalized thing about trying to add something to game theory but more on ideas of strategy and tactics and see the interplay between various games. This Congress is supposed to mark my return to go," she added. "I'm hoping to jump in with both feet and hopefully get a lot more involved with go. We've already made some arrangements for me to be playing online, but I'm going to do it in secret. So the 25-kyu game that you click by because it's far beneath your interest, that's going to be me. Just want to play a lot, get practice in, have some fun."
- photos by Brian Allen (top right, middle left) & Steve Colburn (bottom right)

SELL IT, BUY IT OR TRADE IT HERE with nearly 13,000 go-players worldwide! Classified ads are FREE and run for 4 weeks; email your ad to us now at

PLAYERS WANTED: Reno / Lake Tahoe area. Contact Fred Hopkins 916-548-8068 or (8/18)
PLAYERS WANTED: Dallas/Fort Worth area: Finding interest level for a regular get-together or Go club that meets Tuesday nights in Bedford. Beginners welcome. Please contact Jeremy at for more information. (8/18)
FOR SALE: Japanese 1.5cm folding board, $40. Two Japanese 1.8cm folding boards, $50. Pair of Japanese medium-size chestnut bowls, $50. Set of very old, Japanese, 4.5mm shell & slate stones in chestnut bowls, $85. Buyer pays shipping. The boards and bowls are all in very good, gently used condition. Some of the antique shell stones are chipped, as should be expected for their age, but they are quite usable and very unique. You just can't buy new stones like these anymore. Contact Anton at (8/18)
GO PLAYERS WANTED: Springfield, MO. Starting a club; any players, any level wanted. E-mail Sara at (7/28)
GO PLAYERS WANTED: At the Atlanta Chess & Game Center. All players, all levels welcome. Anyone interested please e-mail Michael Bacon: Or call 404-377-4400 If there is enough interest we hope to start a Go meeting on Thursday evenings in September. (7/21)

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 Photographer); Keith Arnold (Go Quiz); Peter Dijkema (Dutch/European Correspondent); Marilena Bara (Romania/European Correspondent); Ian Davis (Ireland Correspondent); Jens Henker (Korea Correspondent)
Columnists: James Kerwin 1P; Kazunari Furuyama; Rob van Zeijst; Roy Laird; Peter Shotwell
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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