“I was looking at manga online when I happened across this comic strip style manga called BugCat-Capoo,” writes Taylor Litteral. “It’s a very interesting series and had this cute scene of BugCat ‘playing Go’ against his dog friend.” This particular sequence, or chapter, is titled “Go Experts” and portrays BugCat and the dog pretending to play a heated game of go to the befuddlement of their caretaker. BugCat thinks of an impressive move only to realize that it was a mistake when his friend sabotages his plan. He gets mad and throws a tantrum, ruining the game, while his friend calmly watches.
- edited by Crystal Lin & Joel Sherman
To understand how China thinks about its’ rivalry with the United States, one needs to understand the game of go. That’s the message Dr. David Lai, a Professor of Asian Security Affairs at the Strategic Studies Institute in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, gave during a half-day seminar on go held March 4 at the U.S. Army War College, also in Carlisle. More than 30 attended, about half of them U.S. Army officers.
The seminar was the idea of Colonel Jack Pritchard, Chief of the Strategic Wargaming Division of the War College. Colonel Pritchard, who had never played go, became intrigued by references to the game in literature on military and political strategy, including a monograph written by Dr. Lai titled “Learning from the Stones: A Go Approach to Mastering China’s Strategic Concept, Shi” as well as Lai’s recent article “China’s Moves and Countermoves in the Asia Pacific,” Parameters, Spring 2015. Col. Pritchard asked a member of his staff, Lieutenant Colonel Donald Travis, to organize a seminar that would introduce the game to other officers and civilians closely associated with the War College and affiliated programs.
LTC Travis, who has played go with the Carlisle Go Club, planned the event in consultation with Lai and two other Carlisle go players, Dr. Howard Warshaw and Dr. Fred Baldwin (above, right). The result was a four-hour session, divided between lectures and actual play. Dr. Baldwin opened with a brief history of go from its Chinese origins to the present, emphasizing its appeal to strategic thinkers. Then, Dr. Lai applied go concepts more specifically to Chinese geopolitical aims. Dr. Warshaw followed this up with an explanation of the rules of go and fielded questions on go basics, including capturing, life-and-death, and scoring.
During the second half of the seminar, the officers and other go neophytes played against each other on 9×9 and 13×13 boards, during which Warshaw, Baldwin, Lai and four other frequent Carlisle-area players were available to answer questions. Warshaw and Baldwin noted that the officers grasped the basics quickly, especially considering that none of them had ever played the game before.
The War College is the Army’s version of graduate school for senior officers, those at the rank of Lieutenant Colonels or Colonels. Speaking from a War College perspective, LTC Travis remarked that Col. Pritchard and he considered the seminar a success. He also indicated that it may be possible to incorporate an introduction to go into the school’s academic curriculum on a more systematic basis.
Edited by Noah Doss and Howard Wong; photos courtesy Donald S. Travis
From SNL Korea “AlphaGo” participated in a rap battle vs Block B last weekend. Can AlphaGo master freestyle rap the way it mastered go? Click here for Show Me the AlphaGo Part 1 and Show Me the AlphaGo Part 2.
- Steve Colburn
The Irish Confucius Cup took place from the 4th to the 6th of March, at the Gresham Hotel in Dublin. A field of 44 players took part in the go competition, whilst separate Xiangqi and Chess competitions ran alongside in parallel. The field was very strong, with European professional Mateusz Surma (1-pro) in attendance, alongside the veteran height of Cristian Pop (7-dan). Visiting on the first leg of their European go holiday were former korean insei Jinwon Chae (7-dan) and the eventual winner Oh Mingyu (7-dan). Surma took second, with Pop taking third on tiebreak from Chae. Winner of the Rapid tournament was Piotr Gawron (4-kyu). The generous sponsorship allowed Ms Shuang Yang (5-pro) to visit and to give commentary to all the players, which was very much appreciated.
- Ian Davis, based on the full report from organiser Rory Wales
At the beginning of March the Go players of the Ile de France region were faced with a difficult choice: a weekend of quiet contemplation before the debut of the AlphaGo – Lee Sedol match, a plane trip to Dublin and the Confucius Cup, or a ride on the Paris Metro to the Levallois tournament.
As with previous years, the tournament was held in the in the College of Anatole France, beside the metro station of the same name. 71 players, ranging from 25-kyu to 6-dan, took part in 4 rounds of competition. They came not just from Ile de France, but from distant and intriguing lands such as Italy, Luxembourg, and Auvergne ( where, just so you know, they even have black cathedrals). Also of note was the fact that this year there was a relatively high number of female players – almost 10% of the field.
Reigning champion Junfu Dai was unable to defend his title, which left Kenzo Meier (6-dan) of Paris Ouest the favorite. Indeed, he made short work of his opponents, finishing with a flawless score of 4/4. The Italian Alessandro Pace (4-dan) finished in second with 3/4, ahead of Mathieu Daguenet (3-dan) on SOS. Let’s hope that the great atmosphere will be repeated next year for the 20th edition!
- Ian Davis, based on the original article in Revue Française de Go by Louise Roullier; photo: Alessandra Pace contre Kenzo Meier (photo : Jean-François Le Galiard)
The AGA has received a request to send a young North American (US or Canadian) player to Hangzhou, China, for the new Li Min Cup World Best Go Star Championship Finals in mid-October. The tournament format will be a single elimination knockout of the final 32 players. The organizers will provide food and lodging, and travel expenses of up to 10,000 RMB.
Eligibility: US/Canadian citizen born after Jan. 1, 1993 (must meet AGA’s/CGA’s eligibility requirements too).
Awards (before tax): 1st round: 5,000 RMB (32 players), 2nd round: 8,000 RMB (16 players), 3rd round：10,000RMB (8 Players), 4th round: 10,000 RMB (4 Players), Champion: 400,000 RMB, Runner-up: 120,000RMB
Interested players should respond before midnight April 3rd. If there are multiple interested players, a quick single elimination play-off may be held based off of ratings on the April 9/10 weekend.
If interested, email email@example.com with your KGS ID, best form of contact, AGA ratings. Please confirm in the email that you are born after Jan. 1, 1993.
Did the AlphaGo Match Boost Interest in Go? Has your local go club seen a spike in interest in go? The Korean Baduk Association is looking for data on AlphaGo’s effect in the US, reports American Go Association president Andy Okun. “I suspect that it is not merely academic or journalistic interest,” says Okun. “In years past, KBA and KABA have used information like this to argue for private and government resources to promote baduk around the world. The value of something interesting could be significant and pretty soon.” Email Okun at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Daily Show Covers Go: While reporting on artificial intelligence, Ronny Chieng investigates a Google program called AlphaGo, which has mastered the Chinese strategy game Go. (3:45)
Li Zhe 6P on the AlphaGo-Lee Sedol Match: The Massgoblog has published three articles by Li Zhe 6P on the recent AlphaGo-Lee Sedol match. The former National Champion of China scored seven consecutive wins in the 2007 Chinese Weiqi League A, including wins against Lee Sedol and Gu Li and in 2013 made the top four in the LG Cup. He’s currently studying philosophy at Beijing University. The essays are Lee Sedol’s Strategy and AlphaGo’s weakness; Nobody could have done a better job than Lee Sedol and Before Game 5. Translation by Yi Tong, Michael Chen and Chun Sun.
How the Computer Beat the Go Master
Andy Liu 1P topped the March 19 Boston Spring Open 2016 Go Tournament, held at the Microsoft New England R&D (NERD) Center. Jie Liang 7d took second and DH Yun 5d was third. 54 players participated. The tournament also featured “echo-friendly drone technology” (aka balloons) to set up life-death problems. “A Ph.D candidate in Physics major from MIT concluded that the more difficult the problem is, the more weight it will have, hence the balloon will fly lower,” reports Chun Sun. “Many players agreed to her theory.” Complete report, results and more photos here.
Showtime’s Billions: On the March 20 episode of Showtime’s Billions (Episode 9: “Where the F… is Donnie?”), during a scene at the DA’s office with Chuck (Paul Giamatti’s character), go was referenced while the Axelrod case was being discussed, reports Joe Maia. “Bryan explains to Chuck that the AG’s office was about to pull the Axelrod case so he found it prudent to let slip their upper hand (their informant from Axelrod). Chuck approves of the kikashi play.”
Lucifer comic: Go makes an appearance in Issue #3 of Vertigo’s comic, Lucifer (right), reports Cylis Dreamer. “The plot is confusing as is comic tradition, plus this comic series is a continuation of an older comic from over a decade ago, (but) Lucifer is sitting in a dreamscape playing go with his current cohort. It’s the last page in the issue, so it’s a little dramatic.”
The deadline to register for the 2016 School Team Tournament (STT) has been extended to 3/26. “Register your school now,” says AGHS President Yunxuan Li. “This year there will be many wonderful prizes for top finishers in each division. The STT is one of the most interactive and competitive go tournaments for students in high school or below. All you need to do is gather 3 players from your school and sign up to compete.” Prizes include a full scholarship to the AGA Summer Go Camp – for the whole team. More information on the event can be found here. To register, click here.
“The Summer Go Camp will be held for overseas go players who want to improve their go level and to experience Japan’s rich go culture and to make friends with the participants from around the world!” say organizers. The Go Camp 2016 will provide participants with unique and content, including playing in Japan’s most popular amateur tournament, teaching games and special commentaries by legendary players, plus visit and watch the first game of the Meijin Title Match at the Four Seasons in Tokyo.
Other features: Go Seigen’s secret story and his “best game* will be introduced by a professional who is very familiar with Go Seigen. Participants will enjoy goodwill matches with Japanese University students. Special sightseeing programs in/around Tokyo will be also available.
Register before June 30 and the program fee will be 29,800 JPY (45,000 JPY) after that. For inquiry or registration:
Reminder that the first Japan Go Congress will be held July 15 through 18 in Takarazuka, Japan, and organised by the Kansai Ki-in. In addition to a maintournament, the Congress — at which 200-300 participants are expected — will offer a variety of side events such as lectures, teaching games with professionals, and other traditional Japanese games. Famous for its Grand Theater, Takarazuka is also known as the “city of opera.” Situated northwest of Osaka, it is outside of typical urban tension, but still easily accessible. Available accommodations include Daikin Dormitory, the Takarazuka Inn Hotel and the Takarazuka Hotel; click here for details. “The Kansai Ki-in warmly welcomes players from abroad,” reports their Go Congress Team.
Just before the Japan Go Congress, the 4th Osaka Go Camp — also organized by the Kansai Ki-in — will be held from June 26 to July 14. Last year there were more than 70 participants at the camp, where “You can train with professionals in a cozy environment and do sight-seeing,” report organizers.
The Canadian Open will be just two days this year, July 2-3 in Oakville Ontario (about a 40 minute drive from Toronto). In recent years the CGA has encouraged a 3-day main event to make the days less tiring and to leave more room for activities other than the main tournament but facilities challenges made that impractical this year. The Pair Go event will take place on the Friday July 1st at the Golden Key Mississauga facility. The Toronto Go Open will be held April 30; click here for the entire current 2016 Canadian tournament schedule.
Horst Sudhoff, long-time friend of the U.S. Go Congress and go players all over the world, died at 84 on Saturday, March 18, peacefully and surrounded by his family, in Bochum, Germany.
We met at his first U.S. Go Congress. He loved to play rapid games, and we quickly became partners, playing late into the night during the week. He attended 20 straight Congresses. After each one, he drove thousands of miles in a few weeks, hitting virtually all of the tourist sights in nearby states. Horst touched every state but Alaska and Hawaii, and delighted in sharing what he saw in story after story.
Horst’s joy in go was unlimited. He once he told me that he had memorized over 10,000 tesuji. Indeed, his game was full of aggressive tesuji, and it took me several years to learn the patience to counter with a late probe at a weakness. He was about five Dan when we first met, able to give me three stones and still make me feel silly.
We talked about go, travel, business, investing, Germany, and his family. Pride in his children was foremost, and he never tired of relating all of their educational and professional accomplishments. My wife Helga and I visited the family in Bochum, and our families formed a lasting bond.
At his 20th Congress Horst said that it would be his last, and that it was time to explore more of Europe. So, to memorialize his final Congress, we agreed to play 100 “serious” games, and finished the last as appetizers were served at the banquet. We laughed, looked at each other, and declared that it would be a long time before anyone else came close to this record (or would want to)…
Later, we invited him to the 2009 Congress in Washington, DC, but when he arrived it was clear that Horst had some health problems. Sudden low blood pressure made it hard to walk, so after a while in the hospital undergoing diagnosis, he was flown home and his travels were over. We visited him in Bochum again, and his spirit remained high, along with his unbounded joy in life.
Horst Sudhoff was outgoing and warm with everyone, and made friends in many countries. Anyone who would like to contribute memories, stories, or photos may send them to me at email@example.com for a memory book for his family.
Allan Abramson is a longtime Northern Virginia go organizer and former president of the American Go Association. photo (top right): Horst Sudhoff shows off his sheaf of Self-Paired Tournament wins at the 2002 U.S. Go Congress (photo by Phil Straus); left: at the Abramson home in 2009; photo by Allan Abramson
Mark Lee scored a perfect 5-0 record to win the 2016 New Jersey Open championship March 19-20 at Princeton University. Lee (right), who lives in Los Angeles, has been having a good year, winning the Jin Chen Open on January 3, sweeping the Southern Cal Go Championship March 5-6 and winning the San Diego tournament in January. Zhaonian (Michael) Chen was second, Zhongxia (Ricky) Zhao third, Alan Huang fourth and Yunxuan Li fifth. Click here to view all player standings, ratings and pairings. A total of 155 players registered, and as many as 142 played in each round in the 2-day tournament held in Princeton, New Jersey. Click here to see tourney photos on the AGA’s Twitter feed. The Princeton student go club organized this event with support from alumnus adviser Rick Mott and the Feng Yun Go School; Paul Matthews was the tournament director. “Thanks to Chris Garlock and John Pinkerton for broadcasting boards 1 and 2 on KGS,” said Matthews.
Winning 4 or 5 games at any level in this tournament is hard because players were matched by ratings which were dynamically updated, says Matthews.5 game winners: Warren Chen 4k; Olaf Witkowski 2k; Tevis Tsai 7k; Alana Noehrenberg 20k. 4 game winners: Saki Fujita 6d; Yong Chen 4d; Yuming Zhu 4d; Yong He 3d; Bryan Lim 2d; Alex Wong 4k; Shen Wan 4k; Preston Peng 4k; Bob Crites 6k; Valdas Savukynas 7k; Terri Schurter 9k; Sarah Crites 10k; Alexandra Patz 11k; Daniel Bhatti 11k; Manan Singh 14k; Eric Swain 15k; Tzu Hung (Jeffery) Yeh 16k; Yu Zhongling 18k; Peter Noehrenberg 20k
The use of Fischer time controls and online preregistration enabled precise control of round times.
- report/photo by Chris Garlock, with additional reporting by Paul Matthews
NOTE: this post has been updated to reflect Mark Lee winning the Jin Chen Open on January 3.
Be a part of the team that produces the most widely read English-language go publication in the world: volunteer at the American Go E-Journal! We have opportunities for writers, editors and artists, as well as game recorders for our online broadcasts. This is a historic moment in the history of go, with the recent AlphaGo-Lee Sedol match generating coverage and interest around the world. If interested, email firstname.lastname@example.org and include your relevant experience.