At the AGA Board meeting held August 4, in Minneapolis, MN at the U.S. Go Congress, Chris Kirschner , Martin Lebl and Diego Pierrottet were congratulated for winning election to the AGA Board; they’ll serve September 1, 2015 to September 1, 2017.
The 2014 Go Congress in New York City had a very healthy surplus. The 2016 Congress will be held in Boston, almost certainly at Boston University, near Fenway Park and across the river from MIT.
There was a discussion on how to award qualifying North American Masters points for the next year. The points will be used to help select the team for the 2016 World Mind Sports Games and eligibility for the Open Masters section as well as its North American prize. A committee will have a proposal circulated before the next board meeting.
At the end of 2014, the AGA had 96 chapters and 2012 members. These numbers have been steady over the last couple of years.
The board was informed of purchase of audio/visual equipment that enabled commentated games from the 2015 Go Congress to appear on YouTube. The equipment can be used for similar purposes at other go tournaments.
The next AGA Board meeting will be held on Sunday, September 13.
- Ted Terpstra, AGA Western Region Board Member
Yulin Tong 4P defeated Zexiang Sui 7D in just 126 moves (click here to see the game) Saturday morning to lock up his 2015 U.S. Open MastersTournament championship, losing just one game, to defending champion Mark Lee, on his way to an 8-1 record. Click here for complete results and to see the professional review by Cho Hye-yeon 9P and Myungwan Kim 9P on the AGA’s YouTube page. Albert Yen won the U.S. Open; click here for complete results.
photo: Tong (second from left) reviews the Round 9, Board 2 game with Chen Wang 7D and Qun Wang 8P, as Yongfe Ge 7D, Ryan Li 1P and Eric Lui 7D watch; photo by Chris Garlock
Rafael Torres Miranda had a problem. The automotive importer had just discovered the game of go in 1990 but had no one to teach him and, worse yet, no one to play with. Twenty five years later, he’s attending the U.S. Go Congress as President of the Cuban Go Federation, the first time a delegation of Cuban go players has ever participated.
“The high level of play and the variety — as well as sheer quantity — of go activities is very impressive,” Miranda (at right, in white shirt) told the E-Journal. The other member of the delegation is Dr. Lazaro Bueno Perez (far left), a professor of chess and go at the University of Camaguey, and both said that they “will be bringing much back to Cuba from the Go Congress.”
Miranda says that there are some 2,000 go players in Cuba, ranging in strength from 5-dan to double-digit kyu players. “We’ve come a long way in a very short time,” he said. Miranda learned about the game from a Japanese colleague in the automotive business. The game intrigued him immediately. Although his colleague didn’t think he was serious, but he did teach Miranda the rules and they played. “No one in Cuba played go,” he laughs, “everyone played chess.” But as a judo teacher Miranda knew how to study and train and determination did the rest. They have had major support from the Association for International Go Exchange (a group of retired Japanese who love the game) and pros from the Nihon Ki-in. The Cubans make their own go equipment and there are now players in every city in the country.
In addition to the obvious barriers posed by Cuba’s political isolation, perhaps the biggest obstacle to spreading the game and improving Cuban go player’s strength has been one that go players around the world can appreciate: extremely limited internet access. There’s also a real hunger to participate in go tournaments around the world. “Always we want to participate,” Miranda said, chuckling. “We can’t, but we want to.” He hopes that the timing of the Cuban delegation to the U.S. Go Congress as official relations between the United States and Cuba have been established this year may be a harbinger of more opportunities to travel and compete internationally. “We are grateful to the AGA, the American Go Foundation, and to Bob Gilman for making this possible.”
Cuba will host the 17th Iberoamerican Go Championships October 9-11 at the Cuban Go Academy in Havana. Cuba. In addition to the chance for Cuban go players to meet their comrades from other Latin American countries, Miranda said it’s an opportunity for the Cuban Go Federation to be in the spotlight; after all Cuba organized the first four international tournaments in Latin America (1998-2001) before the current Championship series began.
- Chris Garlock; photo by Phil Straus