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Updated: 10 weeks 3 days ago

New York Youth Team Go Championship training new generation of players

Sat, 06/01/2018 - 05:25

A dozen teams faced off just before Christmas in the New York Youth Team Go Championship, hosted by the New York Institute of Go.  The five-round event, held December 22-23, was organized by the New York Go Association and held at The New York Institute of Go in Queens, NY.

The Institute’s focus is on popularizing the game, especially among a younger generation of players. This year’s Championship was the second annual competition, providing an opportunity for youth players in the New York City area to meet current students from universities including prominent Ivy League schools.

The teams, with three players each, had players from different regions. The MustWin team (1st table: Cathy Liao, 2nd table: Chenghan Du, 3rd table: Jason Long) swept the 2017 Championship, with The Go Ninga Masters taking second and the Dark Go team in third. The World Champions team won the Best Fighter award. Almost of the players have been learning go for just one to two years, and some had met and played in the first team championship in 2016.

“How did you improve so fast since the last Rating Competition” an 18-kyu player asked another player, who’s now 15-kyu.  “I must practice go more often now.” The MustWin team’s eight-year-old Chenghan Du said “I have to get up early tomorrow morning to study a pro game before tournament, I promised Mrs. Yin to study at least one game per day.”

Institute founder and lead teacher Stephanie Yin called the Championship “a great opportunity for young players to learn from each other, share experience, and improve in and outside go. The success of consecutive youth tournaments led us to encourage the passion of go to prosper.” Starting this year, New York Go Association will offer scholarships to youth players; stay tuned for details. The New York Go Expo and 2017 Dreamworks School Invitational is free event and will be hold on Feb 17-18, 2018 in New York. The event includes pro activities, free rated games, and etc. Details to follow.

 - includes reporting by Stephanie Yin, with help from Aaron Julian; photos by Stephanie Yin


5th North American Kyu Championship Registration Open

Thu, 04/01/2018 - 23:07

“With the ringing in of 2018 a new year of youth go tournaments begins,” says AGA Youth Coordinator Justin Teng. “Starting with the fifth edition of the North American Kyu Championships (NAKC) on February 3rd, kyu players under the age of 18 from the United States, Canada, and Mexico can test their mettle in a one-day, four round tournament hosted on KGS. Stupendous crystal trophies will be awarded to the top Junior (under 13) and Senior (under 18) players in each of 5 divisions, and entry into the esteemed 25th Redmond Cup will be granted to the champions of the top division.”  The American Go Foundation will again offer players their choice of a $400 scholarship to the AGA Summer Go Camp or a $200 scholarship to the 2018 US Go Congress in Williamsburg, Virginia. Find out more about this year’s NAKC and register here by January 28th. “Dan players will not have to wait long to enter the fray themselves, as registration for the 25th Redmond Cup will open in early February with the preliminaries beginning in March,” adds Teng. -Story and photo by Paul Barchilon, EJ Youth Editor Photo: Young go players competing at congress.


AlphaGo doc live now on Netflix; both go docs coming to Portland

Thu, 04/01/2018 - 20:40

“AlphaGo”  — the 2017 documentary about the 2016 showdown between the AlphaGo AI and Lee Sedol, is now streaming on Netflix. Directed by Greg Kohs with an original score by Academy Award nominee, Hauschka, AlphaGo chronicles a journey from the halls of Oxford, through the backstreets of Bordeaux, past the coding terminals of Google DeepMind in London, and ultimately, to the seven-day tournament in Seoul. As the drama unfolds, more questions emerge: What can artificial intelligence reveal about a 3000-year-old game? What can it teach us about humanity?

Both “AlphaGo” and “The Surrounding Game” – which follows the lives of three young Americans vying to become the first-ever Western professional players — will screen later this month in Portland, OR. The Surrounding Game screens on Jan. 13th at 7:30 and AlphaGo on Jan. 14th at 7:30, both at the Documentary Film Center (corner of NE Williams and Tillamook). “We’re also going to hold a small teaching session at 6PM on the 14th for new players to learn how to play the game. Players can sign up on the 13th for the free teaching session,” reports Peter Freedman.

“We’ll be selling tickets for $8 per night or $14 for both nights,” Freedman adds; email him at Raffle tickets will be a dollar and will be sold at the Surrounding Game screening. The raffle drawing will occur at the end of the screening. “We’ll have some popcorn and non-alcoholic beverages for free and beer for sale on both nights.”


Holiday Pair Go in Seattle

Tue, 02/01/2018 - 21:22

The 5th Annual Gala Pair Go Tournament, held Saturday Dec. 16 in Seattle, had lots of laughter, and stronger players than 2016. Although the 2017 group was a little bit smaller than the previous year, with 11 teams, they managed to eat almost all the cake, and to polish off the raspberries and cream. The first table was won by Lusha Zhou and Tzu-Jen Chan. The second table was won by Cat Mai and Nick Wilmes, while the third table was won by Anne Thompson and Bill Thompson.  The games inspired much discussion, and pairs were still replaying their games an hour after the awards ceremony.  photos: (right) Cullen Mott and Lucy Wang in rabbit ears; (left): first table winners on left, second table winners on right, third table winners in center front. Photos and report by Brian Allen.


Upcoming Go Events: Irvine, Cambridge, Seattle, Portland

Tue, 02/01/2018 - 02:15

January 6: Irvine, CA
2nd Zheng Youth Tournament
Yixian (Michael) Zhou 626-617-5870

January 7: Cambridge, MA
Massachusetts Go Association’s Winter Tournament
James Peters 617-372-6839
Neil Ritter 978-621-5936

January 7: Seattle, WA
Jin Chen Memorial
Brian Allen 206-545-1424 or 206-632-1122

January 13-14: Portland, OR
The Portland Tournament
Roy Schmidt 309-360-9473

Get the latest go events information.


2017 American Go Yearbook set to release on January 1

Thu, 28/12/2017 - 17:00

The annual American Go Yearbook is the perfect holiday gift to yourself or your favorite go player and all you have to do is join the American Go Association!

The online compilation of all the Member’s Edition material published in the E-Journal during the year, the Yearbook enables you to quickly find the material you’re looking for on a month-by-month list. Once selected, game records or PDFs open up quickly and easily for your review or download. The Yearbook collection also includes bonus files not originally included in the E-Journal. As a special bonus in the 2017 edition, we’ve bundled all of Michael Redmond’s game commentaries on the amazing AlphaGo games released this year.

The Yearbook will be released on January 1 so join now and get your year off to a great start! The Yearbook also brings together previously-published Special Edition reports on events like the US Go Congress, the World Amateur Go Championship and the Cotsen with other features – also previously released – such as the Member’s Edition Collection Of Games, Commentaries & More, The Year in Headlines, Games & Commentaries, Instruction, The Go Player’s Guide to the World, Go Spotting and Youth reports.


An efficient move, before January 1

Thu, 28/12/2017 - 14:00

In go, we’re always searching for efficient moves, which accomplish multiple goals. You can help build American go and get a tax deduction by donating now to the American Go Foundation. The vast majority — 98% — of the donations to the American Go Foundation come from individuals like you. Here’s another way: last year the Syracuse Go Club collected from each member and added their support. AGF Teacher of the Year Richard Moseson led his club to give and hopes that “other clubs will consider doing the same.”  “I couldn’t agree more” says Terry Benson, AGF President.  “If go is going to grow, we need every player to help. Pooling donations and using company matching grants are great multipliers for community support of go.” Click here to donate now.


Pasadena go club launching in 2018

Thu, 28/12/2017 - 14:00
A new go club is coming to Los Angeles, reports Kevin Hwang. “Located in Pasadena, we are planning on meeting every Sunday from 12pm-4pm at the first floor public area of Whole Foods (465 S Arroyo Pkwy, Pasadena, CA 91105). Parking is free and boards will be provided, although we encourage vistors to bring their own. Meetings will begin in 2018, so 1/7/18 will be our first meeting.” For further questions e-mail

Two new women’s world championships announced

Wed, 27/12/2017 - 20:19
First is the SENKO CUP, organized by the Nihon Kiin, which will be held March 14-16 2018 in Tokyo.  Eight players are invited, including the top four finishers from the Japanese domestic version of the Senko Cup: Hsieh Yimin, Fujisawa Rina, Mukai Chiaki, and Nyu Eiko; Joanne Missingham (Hei Jia-jia) from Taiwan; and one each from South Korea, China, and Europe. The second event is the Wu Chingyuan Cup (“Go Seigen” in Japanese pronunciation) to be held in Wu’s birth city Fuzhou of Fujian Province in China.  Twenty eight players will be invited for this late-April event, including possibly six from Europe and two from North America.  This event is sponsored by the Fuzhou city government, with support from Go Seigen’s family who donated the naming right.  In parallel, there will be an exhibition match between world champion Ke Jie and “a top AI program”. - Thomas Hsiang

Mark Lee joins faculty for Yunguseng Dojang’s 20th season on KGS

Wed, 27/12/2017 - 20:17

Registration is now open here for the upcoming 20th season of the American Yunguseng Dojang, In-seong Hwang’s on-line go school on KGS. Mark Lee (right), AGA 7d who this year won the Cotsen Tournament for the 3rd consecutive time, will join the faculty as one of the reviewers of students’ games. The season will run from January 2 to March 23, 2018.

The American Yunguseng Dojang has been running successfully for four years. Main teacher and founder In-seong Hwang, 8 dan from South-Korea, is the No.1 rated player in Europe and national go teacher of France and Switzerland.

In the just-completed season, 54 students competed in nine six player leagues. As of December 22, there are 40 players
out of 54 maximum registered for League play in the 20th season. Strengths range from 7d to 12k. Additionally there are 15 registered as spectators.

League players receive: 15 reviews (5 each month) of the games they play; 9 lectures (3 each month) on various aspects of the game of go, each one thoroughly illustrated by the analysis of example positions. Game reviews and lectures occur live on KGS and afterwards are added to the video library on the Yunguseng web site. The library now contains over 200 lectures besides the game reviews; a personal page for League players listing their games and with links to their game reviews; after the season, a personal go report commenting on your style of play.

Spectators receive access to the Yunguseng room on KGS where they can watch games, reviews, and lectures live and access to the library of lectures and game reviews on the web site.

You can find full information and register for the 20th season on the Yunguseng website here. Once you register, you receive full access to the video library on the web.
- Robert Gilman


Ki Young Choi tops Sacramento/Davis Go Club Winter Quarterly

Thu, 21/12/2017 - 22:15
Ki Young Choi topped the Sacramento/Davis Go Club Winter Quarterly tournament on December 16 at the Arden-Dimick Library in Sacramento. There were eight players including some from the Bay Area and the Grass Valley/Nevada City area. Tai-An Cha, 4k, won the lower division; both won with 3-1 scores.
- Willard Haynes

AGA Board Meeting 12/17/2017 Executive Summary

Thu, 21/12/2017 - 17:00

The board discussed the upcoming state championship system (you can now contact the organizers at and how to ensure that the upcoming US Go Congress is as affordable and accessible as possible. The president’s report included a discussion of developing a policy to ensure inclusion of transgendered individuals in gender-specific tournaments and about rank certifications for 18 kyu players and below. Other business included a status update on the ranking system and code of conduct development.
-Samantha Fede, AGA Secretary

This post has been updated; the email address is


Power Report (2 of 2): Ueno to challenge for Women’s Kisei; Awards for Iyama and Habu; World Go Championship 2018

Tue, 19/12/2017 - 17:00

by John Power, Japan Correspondent for the E-Journal

Ueno to challenge for Women’s Kisei:
A fresh face will be challenging Xie Yimin for the 21st Women’s Kisei title early next year. The play-off to decide the challenger was held in the Ryusei TV studio located in the basement of the Nihon Ki-in headquarters in Tokyo on December 11. Ueno Asami 1P (right), who is aged 16 and who qualified as a pro last year, beat Okuda Aya 3P (left); Ueno had black and secured a resignation after 199 moves. She will be just 16 years two months when the title match starts on January 19 and will be the youngest challenger ever. She lowered the record of Nyu Eiko, set last year, by about a year.

Awards for Iyama and Habu: A government spokesman announced last week that the Prime Minister, Abe Shinzo, was considering giving People’s Honor Awards to the top go and shogi players Iyama Yuta and Habu Yoshiharu. Going by the timing, it would seem the idea was sparked by a recent achievement of Habu. Earlier this month, he won the Ryuo tournament for the seventh time and so qualified for the title of Eternal Ryuo (also translated as “Lifetime Ryuo”). The wording sounds grander, but this seems to be the equivalent of the “honorary” titles in go. The point was that Habu has qualified for the “eternal” title in all of the top seven shogi titles, an unprecedented feat. The reason for also giving a People’s Honor Award to Iyama was his success in achieving a grand slam of the top seven go titles for the second time.

Iyama (aged 28) and Habu (aged 47) will be the first board-game players (or mind-sport athletes, if you prefer) to win this award. Previously, it has been given to 23 individual athletes in various sports, actors, singers, composers, etc., and to all the members of the women’s soccer team that won the World Cup in 2011. The wording that the government is “considering” making these awards may seem a little funny, but surely the Prime Minister won’t change his mind. An official announcement is expected to follow within the year. The story was the lead-off article on the front page of the December 13 morning Yomiuri Newspaper and also featured on the front page of the afternoon edition. The criterion for the awards is: a person with conspicuous achievements who is widely loved and respected by the people and who have given bright hope to society.(Conditions for the shogi “eternal” title seem slightly easier for some of the titles than for honorary titles in go. They range from five cumulative wins to five wins in a row or ten cumulative wins, the latter being the condition in go. There are actually five variations in the conditions.)

World Go Championship 2018: The Nihon Ki-in has announced that this tournament will be held in March next year. It’s actually the second time: the 1st World Go Championship was held in March last year, but the next one is not being called the “2nd.” Last year, four “players” took part, one of them being the AI program DeepZenGo. First place was taken by Park Junghwan of Korea, 2nd by Mi Yuting of China, 3rd by DeepZenGo, and 4th by Iyama Yuta. Next year, six players will take part: two from Japan, two from Korea, one from China, and one from Chinese Taipei. Note that Korea is not being favored over China. As host country, Japan gets two slots (the host country gets more seats in many international tournaments); Korea gets two because the previous winner, Park, is seeded (as in the TV Asia tournament). The other participants will be: Iyama Yuta and the winner of a qualifying tournament open to the top four place-getters (after Iyama) in the prize-money rankings for Japan; Shin Jinseo 8P for Korea; Ke Jie for China; and Wang Yuanjun 8P for Chinese Taipei. The time allowance will be three hours per player, with the last five minutes being allotted to byo-yomi. Games will start at 10:30 a.m. and there will be no break for lunch. Prizes are: 1st, \20,0000,000 (about $182,000); 2nd, \5,000,000; 3rd & 4th, \2,50,000; 5th & 6th, \1,000,000. Park and Iyama will be seeded into the second round.


Wainwright edges Evenson in Inaugural Danger Monkey Go Club tourney

Tue, 19/12/2017 - 04:00

The inaugural Danger Monkey Go Club AGA-rated tournament in Denver was very successful, reports Stu Horowitz. Eleven players were split into two sections. First place in the dan section went to Eric Wainwright, 1 dan, in a tiebreak over Kent Evenson, 1 dan, both with 2-1 records. The winner in the kyu section with a perfect 3-0 record was Mune Ganbaatar, 12kyu. Mune and her older brother, Billy, 3kyu, are  students in the Boulder Kids and Teens program at the Boulder Public Library.


Power Report (1 of 2): Tuo of China wins Agon Kiriyama Cup play-off; Meijin League starts; Honinbo League; Chinese program wins computer go tournament

Tue, 19/12/2017 - 03:30

by John Power, Japan Correspondent for the E-Journal

Tuo of China wins Agon Kiriyama Cup play-off: 
The 19th Agon Kiriyama Cup Japan-China Play-off was held at the Westin Hotel in Beijing on December 6. Tuo Jiaxi 9P (aged 26, below left) of China beat Mutsuura Yuta 7P (aged 18, at left in photo at right) of Japan. Tuo had black and secured a resignation after 135 moves. This was China’s 1th win in this series (Japan won the first four and Iyama Yuta won the 17th play-off).

Meijin League starts: The first two games of the 43rd Meijin League were played on December 7 and were won by two former Meijins. Cho U 9P (B) beat Hane Naoki 9P by resig. and Yamashita Keigo 9P beat Yo Seiki 7P, also by resig. Another former Meijin won the third game, played on Dec. 14: Takao Shinji 9P (B) beat Ko Iso 8P by resig.

Honinbo League: The second game in the third round of the 73rd Honinbo League was played on December 7. Ko Iso 8P (W) beat Kobayashi Satoru 9P by half a point. One more game was played on December 14. Ida Atsushi 8P (B) beat Motoki Katsuya 8P by resig. On 3-0 Ida retains the sole lead; Ko is now 2-1, and Motoki and Kobayashi are 1-2.

Chinese program wins computer go tournament: A new tournament for computer go programs, the AI Ryusei Tournament, got off to a start on December 9 and 10. It was held in the UDX Building in front of Akihabara station in Tokyo. Seventeen programs, including four from overseas, took part, with the Igo & Shogi Channel acting as the main sponsor. The tournament is a successor to the UEC Cup, held for ten years by the University of Electro-Communications of Chofu City in Tokyo. FineArt of China, regarded as the favorite as the last winner of the UEC Cup, and DeepZenGo of Japan made the final. Playing white, FineArt won by resignation after 248 moves. It has been developed by the Tencent corporation.

Tomorrow: Ueno to challenge for Women’s Kisei; Awards for Iyama and Habu; World Go Championship 2018


Elite Mind Games wrap-up

Mon, 18/12/2017 - 00:15
The go activities during last two days of the IMSA Elite Mind Games included three medal competitions: pair go, men’s  blitz and women’s blitz.  The format for these tournaments were new: the six teams were divided into three tiers, China and Korea, Japan and Taiwan, Europe and America.  Then one team from each tier is drawn to form a group of three teams.  In the first day, each group play within the group to determine the three teams’ position. Then in the second day, the top four teams from the two groups play two rounds to determine the top four finishers, while the two third place teams play to decide the 5th and 6th places.  In the end, Ke Jie from China won the men’s blitz, while Korea took the two other gold. Japan won all four bronze medals, a surprisingly good result.  Canadian pair Sarah Yu and Ziyang Hu (at left in photo above right) played hard to narrowly defeat Manja Marz and Mateusz Surma (above right) and took a valuable, lone, 5th place for the American team. Wan Chen lost to Manja Marz of Germany, and Mingjiu Jiang forfeited his game with Ilya Shikshin. For the whole event, Ziyang Hu was the top performer from America’s team, winning two games – one against Surma in team play and one in pair go. During the closing ceremony, medals were awarded in all five mind sports represented by IMSA. China and Russia were the big winners, followed by Ukraine and Korea.  It was announced that the next chapter of this event will likely be held in mid-November, 2018. It is expected that the final details will be announced in February next year.
- Thomas Hsiang; photo above left: Pair Go finalists

AlphaGo Zero-AlphaGo Master: An early mistake, then things get interesting

Sun, 17/12/2017 - 20:18

“I think Master made a mistake fairly early in this game,” says Michael Redmond 9p in his fourth commentary on the AG Zero games. “Then it was supposed to be an easy game for Zero, but Zero made it really interesting, and there are points in the game where I think Master had a chance to win. There’s a big fight toward the end.”

Click here for Redmond’s video commentary, hosted by the AGA E-Journal’s Chris Garlock, and see below for the sgf commentary. To support this content, please consider joining or renewing your membership in the American Go Association; click here for details.

Note: The video commentary team will be taking a break over the holidays to rest up, recharge and work on plans for 2018. Watch for a 2017 recap interview coming soon and more updates and videos in the New Year!

Video produced by Michael Wanek and Andrew Jackson. The sgf files were created by Redmond, with editing and transcription by Garlock and Myron Souris.

download SGF file


Evanston Go Club’s “Rated Games Night” gets underway

Fri, 15/12/2017 - 04:40

The Evanston Go Club had its second Rated Games Night last week. “The first Wednesday of every month will be Rated Games Night”, said club president Mark Rubenstein. “Some of our members have recently joined the AGA, and they’re highly motivated to improve their rating. It’s also an opportunity for those members who can’t make it to our tournaments to get some rated games in, and push themselves to get stronger.”

Although only one rated game was played last week, Rubenstein is optimistic about the program. “We are purposefully keeping the structure very open. You can play any number of rated or un-rated games; there’s no pressure to play rated games, it’s just an option. We have clocks for those who want to use one, and signs letting onlookers know that a rated game is in progress. It lends a slightly more serious tone to the evening, which is a nice change of pace.” Last week’s game was between Scott Gerson (5k) and David Rockwell (5k), pictured here; Scott took black and won. Scott has light-heartedly suggested that the second Wednesday of every month should be Trash-Talk night… but Rubenstein needs some convincing.
photo by Mark Rubenstein

Go miscellany Year End Edition (bonus)

Thu, 14/12/2017 - 14:00

Being a collection of interesting items – in no particular order – that have landed in our in-box in recent months but never made it into the E-Journal.

New adds to Kiseido’s year-end sale: Kiseido has added a few more items to their year-end sale of go books and go equipment, including the 2018 Ukiyo-e Calendar , shell & slate go stones, a new original ukiyo-e print and of course go books.

Stop, Go Murder: A story about murder, the game of go, and the role of happenstance in shaping our lives. Introduces Steven Crane, a homicide detective who has come to see his life, including his current case, as a deceiving game of go. A first novel  — available on Amazon — from Paul Freeman, the former mayor of Laguna Beach, CA, who is available for book signings and other go club functions: call Ken Levine at (818) 414-6002. Bulk club discounts are available.



Elite Mind Games Day 4 report

Thu, 14/12/2017 - 04:48
The last day of women’s team competition saw plenty of sparks, but the only surprising result was Fujisawa Rina defeating the world’s top-ranked female player from China, Yu Zhiying.  Japan was then in a position to tie or defeat China, depending on the outcome of the other game bewteen China’s Lu Minquan and Japan’s Nyu Eiko. In that a game, Nyu played well to be ahead for most of the game, but she slipped in the yose when both players were in byo-yomi.  After 6+ hours of play, the score was an unusual W+1.5 point due to a single-shared-liberty seki.  Another game that could have sent shockwave through the tournament was between Canada’s Sarah Yu and Korea’s Choi Jeong.  Sarah was in a difficult position from the start, but she fought hard and was about to win a large-group semeai with a favorable yose-ko.  Sarah was in byo-yomi and could not read in out, missing her chance.  She missed a second chance to create a triple ko, which would have tied the game according to the tournament rules. As a result, Korea took first place, China dropped to second, and Japan received a hard-earned bronze medal. On the men’s side, the games were all lopsided.  Taipei could not follow its previous day’s performance and lost to Korea 0-2. In the end Korea was first, China second, and Taipei third. Tomorrow the action switches to Pair Go and men’s and women’s blitz go. In two days, there will be three more medals to be won.  For all three tournaments, the first day will be a three-round preliminary.  Participants are divided into two groups.  Preset seedings separate China and Korea, Japan and Taipei, North American and Europe into the two groups.  The groups’ top finishers will meet to determine 1st and 2nd place, etc, in the second day.
- Thomas Hsiang; photos: (right) women’s medalists; (left) men’s medalists