The American Go Association’s Twitter account is about to cross the 1,000-follower mark. Those following @theaga are the first to get the AGA’s go news, like Monday’s posting that the 2014 US Open ratings had been released or the Cotsen Open’s request for “Volunteers Needed to help with setup on Friday,October 24, 11am -5pm. Pizza lunch provided.Please contact Samantha at CotsenOpen@gmail.com” Please follow us now @theaga and retweet widely.
Andre Connell is a Johannesburg-based information technology consultant who represented South Africa at the 2014 Korea Prime Minister Cup in Seoul. Ranka spoke with him after he had played two rounds and split two games with very different Asian opponents.
Ranka: How did you learn about the game of go?
Andre: I learned about the game at Stellenbosch University, which is where I studied. We have a student center where the students can go and get fairly cheap food, and the go club used to meet there. So one evening I walked past and asked the guys, 'What are those? Can you eat them?' Which is kind of the standard question. It started from there and I've been playing ever since.
Ranka: How many years ago was that?
Andre: That was in '95, so it was nineteen years ago.
Ranka: How has go developed in South Africa during those nineteen years?
Andre: It's grown. During the Hikaru no Go phase when everyone was watching the manga, it grew quite a lot. We've kept a few of those players, and I think the general level in South Africa has improved quite a bit. We have one very strong player, Victor Chow, who has been playing in South Africa and is pretty much the strongest guy around in our country, but there are a lot of the rest of us who have also increased our level. I'd say we've got between five and ten players at around the two to four dan level now, which is much better than, let's say, fifteen or twenty years ago when I started, when we had only a couple of dan players. So that's basically where we are at the moment. We're not as strong as many of the European countries, for example, but we're doing fairly well.
Ranka: Does Victor Chow teach the rest of you?
Andre: Yes. We generally play against him in tournaments. Every time you get to a tournament, which can be about two to five times a year, you get to play a game against him, and it's pretty much a teaching game.
Ranka: Do you also go into the places where the original African population lives?
Andre: The townships, for example. One of our strongest clubs is actually in Soweto. We have a couple of players from there who have actually gone to the World Amateur Championships and to the KPMC. I think about seven or eight years ago Julius Paulu went to the World Amateur Champs, and Welile Gogotshe went to the KPMC four years ago. Julius was around 1-dan. He's unfortunately passed away since then, but Welile is one of the strongest players in South Africa. He's probably around 3-dan. He's doing very well.
Ranka: And now, can you tell us about your first game, this morning?
Andre: My first game this morning was against Mongolia. It was quite a tight game. I had a large lead up to about move 100, and then I kept losing little chunks of territory and stones, and eventually managed to sneak it by 2-1/2 points, but it was quite tight at the end. It was one of those that almost got away. At least it was 'almost' -- it didn't get properly away.
Ranka: And what was the story this afternoon?
Andre: I played against the Korean player. He is very strong, quite a few stones stronger than I am, but it was a lot of fun. I tried to attack one of his groups. It didn't work out too well, and then he had one of my groups on the run. It managed to live, but he ended up taking a quarter of the board in return, so he was twenty or thirty points ahead and there was no way I could catch up, unfortunately.
Ranka: Thank you and good luck in the upcoming rounds.
Postscript: In the remaining rounds Andre faced four European opponents and beat one of them to finish 36th.
- Photo: Ito Toshiko
October 18: Minneapolis, MN
TCGO Fall 2014 Rated Games Day
Aaron Broege 612-384-8789
Get the latest go events information.
Go Club Tango and the Slovak go association will host the 2014 Winter Solstice Bratislava on December 27 and 28 at Hotel Viktor. The 13 EU fee must be paid-on site but organizer Julius Masarovic requests that all players register online before December 10. Players who wish to stay at Hotel Viktor for the duration of the tournament will enjoy a discount. Cash and material prizes will be available for top players. To register or for more information, please visit the Klub Taogo website.
The British Go Association and Central London Go Club will host the 41st London Open Go Congress 2014 from December 28 to December 31 at the International Students House. Cash prizes will be available for the top 4 players, the top 2 players “below the bar,” and the top player who started the tournament with a GoR of 10 kyu or below. In addition to the main tournament, there will be lectures, pair go, and lightning games as well as a rengo tournament and New Year’s Eve meal for those who wish to stay for celebrations. Students and junior players (under age 18) will receive discounts. Players who wish to play only for one or two days will also receive lower rates but all players must register before December 15. To register or for more information, please visit the official London Open website.
—Annalia Linnan; for complete listings, check out the European Tournament Calendar
“This is a call to all the metro DC area go players,” writes Nick Jhirad. “There are two excellent Kiwons in the Annandale area which I’ve been attending recently:
The Korean-American Baduk Association of Washington ($15 per day)
7535 Little River Turnpike G 100-A Annandale VA (entrance inside the parking garage)
This one has a monitor broadcasting BadukTV, study material, complimentary drinks, and nonsmoking indoors.
The Washington Hankuk Baduk Club ($10 per day)
4110 Horseshoe Dr Annandale VA (There are two entrances to Horseshoe drive, it’s on a loop, if you’re having difficulty finding it, just keep driving around, it has a sign out in front in Korean and a number of cars in the driveway and around)
This one is a house that is also used as the club, they have a nonsmoking section on the first floor and a deck and basement where smoking does take place.
Both have a good number of players every day and are available from the morning to late at night. In the interests of their profitability and continued existence it would be great if AGA players would make use of them. The average level of the players is a bit stronger than what you might find at clubs that meet once a week, but there are people at all strengths.
Their existence and their openness to outsiders is truly unique, let’s do what we can to make them successful!”
photo: playing on the deck of the Washington Hankuk Baduk Club; photo by Nick Jhirad
Lorenz Trippel is a Swiss 1-dan who works at an office in Zurich, likes cycling, is an active go organiser and is also a prolific provider of go information on the Internet. Ranka talked with him shortly after he arrived in Seoul for the 2014 Korea Prime Minister Cup.
Ranka: Please tell us about go in Switzerland.
Lorenz: We have a long history of go in Switzerland. We started in the late 1970s or early 1980s, and from there we have been growing slowly, like everywhere else in Europe, I think. Now we have about 150, maybe 200 active go players. We have the tradition that every club holds a tournament each year, so we have eight or nine tournaments a year. As we are small, our organization has waves. Sometimes the people get very active and do a lot, and some other times things go a bit slow. But still, we are maintaining quite a good tournament schedule. We also try to promote the game on some special occasions where we can put up a stand, talk to the public, and explain the rules. That's probaby, from my point of view, the most important thing the organization can do: to promote the game.
Ranka: How did you get started in go?
Lorenz: I got started through my family. My father played, my aunt played, and I have an older brother who played -- a half-brother, who is much older than me. When I was like ten he was already in his thirties. So they would play against each other, my father and my brother, and I would watch them playing. That's how I started, just by observing the older family members. And then one day I started to play myself, but I don't really remember the moment when I started to play.
Ranka: Please tell us more about your go-playing aunt.
Lorenz: She's now over one hundred years old, and she has a very emotional connection to the game. She's not a strong player. She just has this feeling about it, about playing the stones. She likes the game, but she is not competitive at all. To her, it's more of a social doing.
Ranka: And what are you looking forward to in the KPMC?
Lorenz: In this tournament I really couldn't say what I'm looking forward to. I just want to play good games. I cannot win a prize. I'm sure that if I play too well in the beginning I will meet some very strong opponents and get crushed, so how well I do cannot be counted by numbers. I just want to to play good games.
Ranka: Thank you and we hope you do.
Postscript: Lorenz played quite well on the first day of the KPMC, beating 2-dan and 3-dan opponents from Norway and Spain and losing only to a 4-dan from the Netherlands. His prediction then came true: on the second day he was matched against a pair of 5-dans from Thailand and Germany and a 4-dan from Israel, lost all three games, and finished 35th. But that was still second highest among the eight 1-dans competing.
- Photo: Ito Toshiko
We are pleased to learn that the next Go tournament in Cork is coming up soon. You can find full details on the UCC website, but as a summary we can tell you this.
The tournament will be a 5 round Swiss, and will take place on the 15th and 16th of November at the Mardyke Pavillion in University College Cork. The prize fund is at least 300 euro, but more importantly there will be free tea, coffee, biscuits, and cake available.
It’s Spring in Australia and tournaments are popping up all over. The Australian tournaments all attract selection points towards qualification for the Australian teams at the various world championships. Here’s a quick rundown:
• 1st Sydney Spring Tournament, Sunday 19th October, Surry Hills, New South Wales (see sydney.baduk.org.au)
• 4th Gold Coast Classic, Sunday 26th October, Helensvale, Queensland (rsvp to firstname.lastname@example.org)
• 2014 Wellington Open, Saturday 29th and Sunday 30th November, Victoria University, Wellington, New Zealand.
• 37th Australian Championships, Saturday 6th and Sunday 7th December, Sydney City Go Club, Surry Hills (Sydney), New South Wales
• 35th Queensland Championships, Saturday 28th February to Sunday 1st March, University of Queensland (Brisbane), Queensland
Click here for all current Australian go tournament info.
Ukraine: The Ukrainian Championship finished on October 5 in Kyiv with Valerii Krushelnytskyi 3d in first, Dmytro Yatsenko 5d in second, and Vasyl Skochko 4d in third. Russia: Also on October 5, Georgij Pimenov 16k bested Dmitrij Arkhipov 11k at the Korean Council Cup in Sankt-Peterburg while Dmitrij Shpigel 15k placed third. France: Viktor Lin 6d (left) took the European Student Go Championship in Toulouse on September 28. Behind him were Mihai Valentin Serban 5d in second and Johannes Obenaus 5d in third.