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“Global” Go Teaching Concepts Shared

AGA news - Wed, 03/08/2016 - 15:00

A highlight of the US Go Congress is the teacher training program. At Myungwan Kim 9p’s Tuesday afternoon lecture on teaching opening theory, Kim (right) said that one of the most important things players need to develop is evaluation, both global (whole board) and local (small area) evaluation. “If you are winning globally, or if you are weak locally, how should you play?” he asked the crowd attending the teaching seminar. “Defensive,” he told us after we shouted out a few answers.  He also shared a mathematical approach to deciding between invading a territory or reducing it from the outside, in which the player calculates how many points he or she can let the opponent have and still win. If the opponent will make too many, invade.  Otherwise, play from the outside.  “That’s how you will find exactly how Lee Sedol will play,” explains Kim, “It’s not that difficult. But if you don’t have this type of theory, how can you find what he played? It’s way more difficult.” He also had something to say about losing stones. “The difference between sacrifice and giving up is whether you planned it or not,” he argued, getting a laugh from the crowd. Kim’s next teaching lecture is on Thursday, 8/4, at 1pm.

Antoine Fenech of Strasbourg, France, came to the US Go Congress specifically to exchange teaching ideas with American go clubs and for the seminars for go teachers. Kim’s Tuesday talk was Fenech’s first teaching lesson. “We don’t have this in Europe,” he said afterwards. Fenech (left) is a middle school math teacher who’s also a 5 dan go player. He runs programs in 10 primary schools in the city and teaches kids from 6-13 years old, a program started by his father in 1982, and responsible for training up many strong players. Fenech himself is a product of that program. “The most important thing is that the kids have fun” so that they come back, he said. Asked whether there’s a secret to teaching go he’d like to share with teachers in America, Fenech said that “We have a method to teach go very fast. In like five minutes, they can learn the real go game. And then after that, we don’t need to talk to them anymore, they can just play with each other. I have some kids who play every week and who just play together and I just taught them for five minutes the first day. If they’re already happy playing a lot with each other, then they don’t need someone to tell them more.” But that doesn’t mean the Strasbourg go program isn’t going to produce strong players. “I have some kids who want to improve, who want to play with me,” Fenech explains. “The new generation, we hope that some of them will become stronger, become the best French players.” The Strasbourg go club also developed a website so that kids can keep playing.

- report/photos by Samantha Fede, E-Journal special correspondent, reporting from the 2016 U.S. Go Congress


Behind the Scenes at the US Go Congress: An Army of Volunteers

AGA news - Wed, 03/08/2016 - 14:00

While the two dozen professional players and the many tournaments, lectures and simuls at the US Go Congress rightfully
claim most of the attention at this popular event, none of it would be possible without the small army of volunteers that keep everything going and on schedule. More than forty volunteers — ubiquitous in their bright orange Congress shirts — are helping out, according to Congress Director Walther Chen. “They’ve put in so many hours,” he says, “and I know they put in even more hours than I know about, so it’s amazing how much work goes into Congress.” In addition to all the pre-Congress work, registering, housing and feeding hundreds of go players, volunteers also re-set the huge main playing area and Strong Players Room each night, so that attendees see a neatly-organized playing area each morning. Chen says he was able to take on directing the Congress thanks to a community of active go players organizing tournaments and club meetings in the Boston area. Andrew Hall, Event Coordinator and Director of the Evening Tournament, helps organize local go club meetings on Thursdays. “One day I heard Andy Okun was getting dinner with Walther Chen to discuss possibly running Congress in Boston,” Hall said. While we’re talking, an attendee comes by to ask about accessing the wifi and Hall answers before continuing his story. “They went to dinner, and I got an email saying I was running the Congress with them.” Youth Director Devin Fraze, a math teacher from Ohio, explains that “when Fritz Balwite and Paul Barchilon were transitioning out of running the Congress Youth events, they asked me if I’d do it, so I stepped up. I love to see some new energy come to the organizing side of Congress and just to (be able to) give back to this wonderful event.”
- report by Samantha Fede, E-Journal special correspondent, reporting from the 2016 U.S. Go Congress; photo by Chris Garlock 


US Go Congress Updates: Ito & Bao Headed for Showdown in US Open Masters Thursday; Pro Game Commentaries; Schedule & Tourney Updates

AGA news - Tue, 02/08/2016 - 20:44

Ito & Bao Headed for Showdown in US Open Masters Thursday
And then there were two. Kenryo Ito 1P and Yun Bao 7D are the only undefeated players after five rounds in the US Open Masters. Bao (left) defeated Andy Liu by 2.5 points in a hard-fought Round 5 game Tuesday morning in which Liu had an early advantage but lost it when he mistakenly thought a move was sente. Ito beat Zheng Xiangnan in a Round 5 game that was just 114 moves but ran well into the lunch hour. Ito (right) and Bao will go head to head in Round 6 on Thursday. Complete US Open Masters results and top-board game records here. And click here for the US Open crosstab.

US Open Broadcast Schedule: Wednesday is the traditional Day Off, so there will be no live broadcasts. The broadcasts will resume Thursday morning.

Pro Game Commentaries
US Open Round 4 Board 1 Pro Commentary on KGS by Yilun Yang 7p (sgf)
US Open Round 2 Board 3 Pro Commentary on KGS by Feng Yun 9p (sgf)
2016 US Open Masters Round 3 Board 1 Cathy Li and Justin Teng KGS Commentary (sgf)
2016 US Open Masters Round 3 Board 4 Cathy Li and Justin Teng KGS Commentary (sgf)
2016 US Open Masters Round 5, Xiangnan Zheng 7d (W) vs Kenryo Ito 1p (B), w/Stephanie Yin 1p on KGS (YouTube)
2016 US Open Masters Round 5, Tony Tang 7d (W) vs Zirui Song 1p (B), w/Stephanie Yin 1p on KGS (YouTube)
2016 US Open Masters Round 5, Danny Ko 7d (W) vs Ryan Li 1p (B), w/Stephanie Yin 1p on KGS (YouTube)

US Go Congress Tournament Schedule: Wednesday 8/3
9:00a: Diehard
7:00p: Evening League, night 4

Senior Cup
Click here for the latest crosstabs from the Senior Cup.

Women’s Tournament
Click here for the latest crosstabs from the Women’s Tournament.

Under 16 Girls Championship
Taylor Shu 6d and Gabriella Su 6d will face off on Thursday 8/4 to decide the Under 16 Girls Champion. Taylor defeated Jessica Wu 2d and Gabriella defeated Melissa Cao 4d on Tuesday afternoon in the semi-final. photo: Jessica Wu and Taylor Shu in the first round Monday

Evening League
In night two on Monday, 66 players showed up to play a total of 60 games between 7pm and midnight. Vo Nhat Minh 2d is the current defending champion at the top of the ladder.

report by Karoline Li, Congress Tournament Liaison; photos by Chris Garlock except for Under 16 Girls Tournament (bottom right) by photo by Ted Terpstra. 


Why We Play: Nqua Xiong 1k, Alister Hake 12k

AGA news - Tue, 02/08/2016 - 19:33

Nqua Xiong 1k
Age: 28
Lives in: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Home Club: Twin Cities Go Club
Years playing go: 9
Favorite thing about go: “The adrenaline rush. It’s the whole game… being able to see all the different fighting variations that come out from different people.”

Alister Hake 12k
Age: 29
Lives in: Sedona, AZ, originally from Liverpool, England
Home Club: Started a local one with friends, and the ASU Go Club
Years playing go: 3
Favorite thing about go: “The subtlety to the way it moves.. it’s an amorphous game. It’s just the way it shifts. Things that are all dead come back to life, things that were alive die. That interchange, the way it just spins with the moves. It’s mind-boggling and at the same time enigmatic and intriguing and that’s the best bit about it. Especially when you watch pro games, like Andy [Liu 1P] and Myungwan [Kim 9P], you see the depth of thought and visual imagination and how powerful that is. That level of skill is just mind blowing.” It’s not just about the game for Alister. “It’s really friendly, everyone’s welcome. Everyone can just play and have a good time. It’s an overwhelming characteristic of the US Go Congress.”

- report/photos by Samantha Fede, E-Journal special correspondent, reporting from the 2016 U.S. Go Congress  



Behind the Scenes at the US Go Congress: Andrew Hall

AGA news - Tue, 02/08/2016 - 17:40

Andrew Hall doesn’t wear hats, but if he did, he’d be wearing several at this year’s Go Congress. Players may know him best as the founder and Tournament Director of the new Evening League, but he is also the Event Coordinator for the Congress, which means he plays backup for just about everyone else on the Congress team. You might spot Hall at the Congress Help Desk one minute, or fixing clocks (right) the next, and then he’s off and running about the playing rooms in his distinctive Congress staff shirt, the only one with the sleeves cut off to show off both arms covered in go-themed tattoos. Hall learned go from his grandfather, and both his father and his uncle — a 1k in Glasgow — also play. In ninth grade he discovered Hikaru No Go and started spending evenings playing go in Davis Square. After college, he got involved in the local go community who met regularly for club play and tournaments. “We ran local tournaments, including ladder tournaments like the Evening League, and then someone let us run a Congress!” Hall laughs. He’s also worked hard on developing the Open Team Relay tournament, another tournament that — like the Evening League — emphasizes making go fun and fostering a sense of community and competitive spirit, Hall’s favorite things about the game.
report by Karoline Li, Congress Tournament Liaison; photo by Chris Garlock


Michael Redmond 9P on Pro Pair Go Tsumego 6 (Answer)

AGA news - Tue, 02/08/2016 - 17:01

download SGF file

Presented here is the answer to the 6th (and last) tsumego from Michael Redmond 9P’s coverage of the challenging tsumego problems featured at the 2016 pro pair go tournament.

The author of this tsumego is Kono Rin 9P.


U.S. Go Congress Updates: US Open Masters Round 4 Report (Crosstabs Posted!); Broadcast Schedule; Lightning & 9×9

AGA news - Tue, 02/08/2016 - 04:00

US Open Masters Round 4 Report (Crosstabs Posted!): After four rounds, just three players are undefeated: Kenryo Ito 1P, Andy Liu 1P and Yun Bao 7D. Bill Lin, Zhaonian Chen, Ryan Li, Xiangnan Zheng and Zirui Song are all 3-1. Crosstabs of results for both the US Open Masters and US Open have now been posted.  Again this year we’re including game records; to include your game record, please email your sgf file to Be sure all game info, including the result, is complete. Watch our websiteFacebook and Twitter feed for updates throughout each day; top-board broadcasts with professional commentary can be found on our YouTube channelTwitch and KGS.

US Go Congress Broadcast Schedule: Tuesday, 8/2: US Open Masters Game 5
9:30a EST: YouTube/Twitch: Hajin Lee 3P, with Stephen Hu 6d
10:30a: KGS: Stephanie Yin 1P, with Daniel Chou 6d

US Go Congress Tournament Schedule: Tuesday, 8/2
9:00a: US Open, round 3; and US Open Masters, round 5
1:00p: Senior Cup, round 2; and Youth/Adult Pair Go
3:00p: Redmond Cup
7:00p: Evening League, night 3; Crazy Go; and Open Team Relay Go

Lightning Tournament
“This was the year of the undefeated,” said TD Keith Arnold (at right, pointing). “Special thanks to Ryo Maeda 6P for filling out the bottom table to make an even number.”
16 tables, 94 players. Table Winners: Tai yuan Zhang 7 dan (5-0); Changha Kim 6 dan (5-0); Forest Song 5 dan (5-0); Young He 4 dan (5-0); Soren Jaffe 3 dan (5-0); Gilbert Feng 3 dan (5-0); Daniel Puzan 2 dan (5-0); Isaac Wu 1 dan; Cam Wagner 1 dan (5-0); William Gundberg 2 kyu; Jim Fienup 3 kyu; Musa Al-Hassy 5 kyu; Tevis Tsai 7 kyu; Katie Oh 10 kyu; Alice Sedgwick 13 kyu (5-0); Lawrence Pierce 24 kyu.

9×9 Tournament: Dan champion: David Glekel, 3d; Kyu chamion: Eric Hookway, 10k. Click here for our full report.

report by Karoline Li, Congress Tournament Liaison; photos by Chris Garlock except for Lightning Tournament (bottom right) by Karoline Li. 


Jackson, Khalsa, Scott and Zhang Elected to AGA Board

AGA news - Tue, 02/08/2016 - 02:32

Andrew Jackson, Gurujeet Khalsa, Lisa Scott and Ed Zhang are the winners in this year’s American Go Association Board election. Jackson will represent the West region, Khalsa the East, Scott (who defeated Doc Sade) the Central and Zhang was re-elected to the At-Large seat (defeating Steve Colburn). They will serve two year terms, joining Diego Pierrottet (Eastern), Martin Lebl (Central) and Chris Kirschner (West). The Board will meet this Friday at the US Go Congress.


Longtime Go Congress Attendees Meet Again in Senior Cup

AGA news - Mon, 01/08/2016 - 23:26

“We have tournaments for women and for juniors, why not one for seniors!” exclaimed Bart Jacob after his first Senior Cup game Monday afternoon. The idea for a Senior Cup came from longtime player Wanda Metcalf 5k. With well-established events like the Youth and Women’s tournaments, as well  and now a Girls Championship already at the Go Congress, the Senior Cup fills a noticeable gap for a community of longtime go players, some of whom gather weekly at their local clubs, while others see each other once a year at the annual Go Congress. The Senior Cup is four rounds, and all players must be at least 55 years old. TD James Peters says he’s honored to be running a tournament that involves so many long-time Go Congress attendees. “It’s a natural extension of the sorts of tournaments we already run.”
report/photos by Karoline Li, Congress Tournament Liaison


Annual General Meeting, some Updates

European Go Federation - Mon, 01/08/2016 - 17:49
Like last year 22 countries sent a representative to the assembly. With different numbers of votes for each country, the majority was reached at 26 votes. Some countries have only 1 vote because of a reduced membership fee, most countries have 2 votes and the bigger countries like Russia, Germany, France and Holland have 4.

David Glekel 3d & Eric Hookway 10k Top Restructured 9×9 Tournament

AGA news - Mon, 01/08/2016 - 17:13

David Glekel 3d and Eric Hookway 10k came out on top Sunday night as the dan and kyu champions of the 9×9 tournament directed by Audrey Wang. As the tournament began, she reviewed the new double elimination structure, faster time settings (5 minutes basic time and 1 period of 10 seconds sudden death byo yomi), and adjusted komi structure. The completely new format — which was designed to complete the tournament in one evening rather than several sessions over the week of the Congress as in past years — caused some confusion for longtime players used to simply being lined up and split into tables, and “could improve in terms of overall efficiency,” said assistant TD Si Chen. “If we do double elimination again, there are definitely some things we could improve on.”  Overall, “it was a really good tournament,” said Dan Champion David Glekel, and players had a good time. The new time settings and komi structure were received well, and the champions were chosen without further playoff games needed during the week.
- report/photo by Karoline Li, Congress Tournament Liaison


Why We Play: Bill Phillips 1k, Jasper Emerton 7k

AGA news - Mon, 01/08/2016 - 16:05

Bill Phillips 1k
Age: 59
Lives in: Ann Arbor, Michigan
Years playing go: 42
Favorite thing about go: Bill learned to play go in 1974, the same year he learned to play Ultimate Frisbee- although he’s a lot more serious about go than Ultimate. That being said, he likes them for the same reasons. “Both are incredibly competitive,” he says, “But there’s also an element of compatibility and cooperation that’s required in both of them. In go, you start with an empty board and you build it up to a point where one person has a little bit more than half and one has a little bit less than half. And you want to be that one with a little bit more than half. It’s intensely competitive but it also requires this [cooperation] and respect of your opponent.” The relationships he’s built in the go community are a large part of his long-term go playing. “I’m also here at the Go Congress because of the people. The other thing I really love about go is that every stone is the same, it’s just the relationship with the other stones that are different. And so, the number of relationships far exceeds the number of stones. So the relationships between stones exceed the number of stones, and the relationships at the go tournaments far exceed the number of games I play.”

Jasper Emerton 7k
Age: 17
Lives in: Nashville, Tennessee
Years playing go: 1
Favorite thing about go: “When you’re playing, there’s trick moves that you can play such as snapbacks. Seeing that move before your opponent does and being able to trick them into it is my favorite thing… being able to see something that my opponent doesn’t see and taking advantage of their lack of reading.”

- report/photos by Samantha Fede, E-Journal special correspondent, reporting from the 2016 U.S. Go Congress  



Michael Redmond 9P on Pro Pair Go Tsumego 6

AGA news - Mon, 01/08/2016 - 14:00

download SGF file

Presented here is the 6th (and last) tsumego from Michael Redmond 9P’s coverage of the challenging tsumego problems featured at the 2016 pro pair go tournament. Michael gives the detailed solution tomorrow.

The author of this tsumego is Kono Rin 6P.


Ilya Shikshin is 60th European Champion

European Go Federation - Mon, 01/08/2016 - 10:05
Ilya Shikshin became the 60th European Champion by beating Ali Jabarin in the final at the EGC in St Petersburg.

U.S. Go Congress Updates: US Open/US Masters Highlights; Broadcast/Tournament Schedule

AGA news - Mon, 01/08/2016 - 03:56

US Open/US Masters Highlights: Tournaments at this year’s Go Congress kicked off with round one of the U.S. Open and U.S. Open Masters Sunday morning at 9a, pairings posted promptly at 8:45p. In first-round top-board action at the 2016 U.S. Open Masters, Zirui (Tim) Song 1P edged out Man Bowen 7d by 2.5 points in a 4-hour marathon on Board 1; Andy Liu 1P (left) defeated Matthew Burrall 6d (right) on Board 2, Zhaonian (Michael) Chen 7d beat Jeremy Chiu 7d on Board 3, Ryan Li 1P defeated Hugh Zhang 7d on Board 4 and on Board 5 Kenryu Ito 1P beat Lionel Zhang 7d.

In Round 2 of the Masters on Sunday night, Andy Liu 1p defeated Cheng Zhang 7d, Hanchen Zhang 1P defeated Tim Song 1P, Michael Chen 7d defeated Mengxue Luan 7d, Ryan Li 1P defeated Zhongfan Jian 7d, Tony Tang 7d defeated Danny Ko 7d and Xiannan Zheng 7d defeated Calvin Sun 1P. The E-Journal team broadcast five boards live on KGS in Round 1 (Jennie Shen 2P commented on KGS with Andrew Jackson) and six boards in Round 2 (Feng Yun 9P commented on KGS with Solomon Smilack), and Board 1 was streamed on the AGA’s YouTube channel and Twitch in the morning (commentary by Mingjiu Jiang 9P with Stephen Hu) and Board 2 in the evening (commentary by Jennie Shen 2P with Andrew Jackson).

A crosstab of results for the entire field of 346 players will be posted soon; meanwhile click here for results from US Open Round 1 and US Masters Round 1. Again this year we’ll be including game records in the crosstab; to include your game record, please email your sgf file to Be sure all game info, including the result, is complete. Watch our websiteFacebook and Twitter feed for updates throughout each day; top-board broadcasts with professional commentary can be found on our YouTube channelTwitch and KGS.

US Go Congress Broadcast Schedule: Monday, 8/1: US Open Masters Game 3
9:30a EST: YouTube/Twitch: Hajin Lee 3P, with Stephen Hu 6d
10:30a: KGS: Cathy Li 1P, with Justin Teng 6d

US Go Congress Tournament Schedule: Monday, 8/1
9:00a: US Open, round 2; and US Open Masters, round 3
1:00p: Under 16 Girls Championship, round 1; and Senior Cup, round 1
3:00p: Women’s Tournament, round 2; and Youth 9×9 / 13×13
7:00p: US Open Masters, round 4; and Evening League, night 2
7:30p: Lightning Tournament

Here’s a short rundown of the rest of the tournaments on the roster this week:

Women’s Tournament: Ladies compete in this four-round annual tournament; begins Sunday 7/31 at 3pm. TD: Lisa Scott

Evening League: Evening League is a week-long ladder tournament in which players face off in serious games, competing for glory at the top of a standings page updated in real time. Players may play at any time during the week, but every night there will be a dedicated area where the standings will be projected and people can find opponents. Evening League is an evolution of the Self Paired Tournament, which it will be replacing; begins Sunday evening 7/31 at 7pm and continues every night of the week. The first night of play drew over 50 players! TD: Andrew Hall

9×9: The battle of the tiny boards commences! This year’s 9×9 tournament is a paired four round double elimination tournament; Sunday 7/31 at 7:30pm. TD: Audrey Wang

Girl’s Tournament: The four highest rated girls under 16 years of age will face off in a two round no-handicap tournament to find first, second, third, and fourth place; begins Monday 8/1 at 1pm. TD: Gurujeet Khalsa

Senior Cup: A four-round rated tournament for players 55 and older; begins Monday 8/1 at 1pm. TD: James Peters

Lightning: A playing time of 10 minutes sudden death will test participants on their instincts and performance under pressure! Players will split into 6-person tables to play a round robin tournament for table prices. Table winners will play elimination games throughout the week to find the ultimate champion; begins Monday 8/1 at 7:30pm. TD: Keith Arnold

Crazy Go: Play Go on crazy boards, with crazy rules, against crazy people! Games include Blind Go, 3D Go, Four-Color Go, and more; begins Tuesday 8/2 at 7pm.

Amateur Team Relay Go: Players of all strengths can queue up to join one of two teams who will rotate pairs of players against each other in an ultimate pair go game! While waiting to take the place of the pair currently playing for their team, the next pair will be coached on strategy and board position by professional coaches.

Die Hard: Annual four-round tournament for those players who don’t need a Wednesday day off from Go! Wednesday 8/3 at 9am. TD: James Peters

North American Pair Go Championship: Teams of one male and one female will compete against three other teams of similar combined strength in a two-round tournament to determine table winners. At the top table, pairs will compete to win and represent the US at the International Pair Go tournament in Tokyo in the fall! Don’t afraid to get dressy folks, formal or semi-formal dress is encouraged. Thursday 8/4 at 7pm. TD: Todd Heidenreich

Karoline Li, Congress Tournament Liaison, with additional reporting by Chris Garlock; photos by Karoline Li except for top right, by Chris Garlock


Congress Pair Go Sign-Up Opens

AGA news - Mon, 01/08/2016 - 03:34

Among the most popular events at the US Go Congress now underway in Boston is the annual Pair Go tournament, featuring male and female pairs of players attired in their best outfits. The tournament winners go on to compete in the International Amateur Pair Go Championship in Japan over the first weekend in December. Table winners receive prizes, and there are some souvenirs provided by the Japan Pair Go Association. The tournament is unrated. Sign-up sheets are now available just outside the main playing area at the Congress (16 pairs have already signed up as of presstime). The tournament is Thursday night and TD Todd Heidenreich reminds strong player teams wishing to play for the chance to represent the United States at the tournament in Japan that there will be a play-in round for the top 8 eligible pairs in the Strong Players Room on Wednesday evening at 8pm. Heidenreich, who has been directing the Pair Go tournament for a dozen years, is looking to hand over the reins so anyone interested in finding out more about Pair Go and what’s involved in directing the tournament can contact him at or just stop by the E-Journal office at the Congress. “It’s a lot of fun!” Heidenreich promises.
- photo: at the 2015 Pair Go tournament; photo by Eric Jankowski


Go Congress Evening League Melds Self-Paired and Midnight Madness, Welcomes Local Players

AGA news - Sun, 31/07/2016 - 23:01

While this year’s U.S. Go Congress in Boston includes many longtime traditional events like the U.S. Open, Lightning Go and pro lectures, it also offers some new events. The Evening League combines the community and competition of the Midnight Madness tournament and the flexibility of the Self-Paired. “The Evening League is all about fostering competitive spirit in a straightforward and transparent format,” says TD Andrew Hall (photo). Perhaps most important, this is the first year that the Go Congress is offering evening passes to enable local players who cannot attend during the day to have a chance to play some competitive rated games while the Congress is in town.

Imagine a ladder. The first night of the tournament (Sunday night beginning at 7p), players will be placed in positions from the top of the ladder to the bottom in the order they register for the tournament. During the tournament, players on the ladder challenge other players who occupy higher spots. If the challenger wins, they take the defeated opponent’s ladder position and everyone else moves down one spot. The tournament will be handicapped at handicap-2, all games will be rated, and results will be updated and projected real time during the evening rounds. These live TD-facilitated sessions, every evening from 7pm to midnight, are designed to give sense of physical place and the competitive spirit provided by a tournament, but players are not restricted to scheduled play. They may play games using tournament time settings with opponents anytime during the day, much as they did in the Self-Paired. Players record the results and the date and time of the game, and these results are input into the ladder every evening at 5pm in time for that evening’s ladder to be updated with the day’s results. That evening, players continue challenging and moving up (or down) the current ladder. Players do not need to play every evening; those who do not show up to an evening round are dropped from the ladder, but can join the ladder again when they want to play, and even challenge to reclaim their previous spot. Prizes may be won in the form of individual prizes inspired by the self-paired prizes of years past, but also through achievements that are attainable by multiple players.

The Evening League provides a structured opportunity for the local go community and Go Congress attendees to mingle and compete. “It’s king of the hill style; you play to climb the ladder and defend your space at the top!” says Hall.
- Karoline Li, Congress Tournament Liaison for the E-Journal; photo: Hall shows off Evening League playing space in main playing area in Boston University’s George Sherman Union; photo by Chris Garlock


Standing Room Only for Young AGA Professionals

AGA news - Sun, 31/07/2016 - 22:45

Sunday afternoon at the U.S. Go Congress featured an unusual line-up; three homegrown American professionals conducted game reviews in Boston University’s George Sherman Union. The newest pro, Eric Lui (right), a 1 dan professional as of January this year, is soft-spoken but the room full of players hung on his every word. “Who thinks black is better? Raise your hand,” asked Lui, who was reviewing a game for Ken Koester 1d. They were discussing a sequence in the corner, ending with a liberty race in the top left. “So, it seems like Black has too many liberties [so white can’t live],” explained Lui.

At the same time, Andy Liu (left), 1 dan professional, was lecturing to a room so packed that many couldn’t even get in the door. “The key to being stronger is you must, at all costs, avoid playing in the ‘red’ (or low-percentage) areas,” he told the audience, sprawled on the floor and spilling out the door. Although he was  reviewing his recent game with Lee Sedol from the Ing Cup, Liu seemed more focused on explaining the paradigm shift in measuring playing strength with the success of AlphaGo. Each point on the board has a probability distribution of how good a move it is. In the opening, most of the moves are green (i.e., having normal distributions), particularly on the 3rd, 4th, and 5th lines. You shouldn’t spend a lot of time on the opening, Liu advised, “Don’t sweat it… Don’t try to look for outliers when there are none.” Instead you should spend time when the distribution is skewed: when one move is green, and all the rest are red. How do you know what areas are red and green? It’s not that easy, according to Liu. He doesn’t know and no pro does. Their play isn’t perfect. That’s why AlphaGo is so exciting; it sees these distributions. “AlphaGo has called humanity out,” Liu said, saying that now top professionals are being forced to become stronger.

Calvin Sun, 1 dan professional (right), followed his young colleagues at 3pm. His fans, sitting in the front row, were multitasking by listening and watching games on KGS. Sun, reviewing a game, spoke quietly, “This is pretty good for you. It’s joseki but nowadays white doesn’t really play this because black gets sente.” His review, targeted at 1 kyu – 3 dan players, involved discussion of different joseki variations and when to not follow the joseki.
- report/photos by Samantha Fede, E-Journal special correspondent, reporting from the 2016 U.S. Go Congress  


Why We Play: Alexandra Patz 13k, Lee Schumacher 1D

AGA news - Sun, 31/07/2016 - 19:45

Alexandra Patz 13k
Age: 43
Lives in: New York, NY, originally from South Africa
Years playing go: 5 years, but learned almost 20 years ago and took a break
Favorite thing about go: Alexandra likes how stimulating go is for the brain. “Very engaging,” she explained. When asked if she plays other brain games, she says, “It’s really just go, I tried chess as I child, I never really liked it, I never learned bridge. I lived in Japan for a year, so I became interested in Japanese culture. And when I moved back to South Africa, I joined a go club there.” She’s also fascinated by AlphaGo, and the deep learning involved. “[Go] is an amazing community, too,” she adds, “Clever people.”

Lee Schumacher 1D
Years playing go: Since the age of 13
Lives in: California
Favorite thing about go: “The focus, the immersion.”

- report/photos by Samantha Fede, E-Journal special correspondent, reporting from the 2016 U.S. Go Congress  


Canwa Vancouver 1 defeats Greater Washington 3-0 to win 2016 Pandanet City League

AGA news - Sun, 31/07/2016 - 16:23

The Canwa Vancouver 1 team prevailed in the finals of the Pandanet AGA City League, played Saturday in Boston, MA as the 2016 US Go Congress got underway. Vancouver — Hanchen Zhang, Bill Lin, Ryan Li and captain Cathy Li  (photo at right) — swept 3-0, overcoming a strong challenge from the Greater Washington team (left; Zirui Tim Song, Eric Lui, Yuan Zhou and captain I-Han Lui) which has now challenged for the title the last two years. Board 1 was broadcast live on the AGA YouTube Channel with Hanchen Zhang 1p vs Zirui Tim Song 1p. Ryan Li defeated Eric Lui on Board 2 and Bill Lin defeated Yuan Zhou on Board 3. Photos of the event can be found on the AGA Facebook page.
- Steve Colburn, TD; photos by Todd Heidenreich

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