The inaugural American Chang Qi Cup, scheduled for September 26-28 at Harvard University in Cambridge, MA, is shaping up to be an exciting event, and over 100 players have already registered.
The 2015 Chang Qi Cup is the first time that the semi-finals of an international professional tournament will be held in North America. Four top pros from China will compete for a berth in the Chang Qi Cup finals. This event will also include the inaugural American Chang Qi Tournament, an AGA-rated tournament with significant cash prizes. The American tournament features a top prize of $4,000 for the open section, and generous prizes for all division winners.
Hosted by the American Collegiate Go Association (ACGA) and the Shanghai Ing Foundation, special activities are planned, including the Tsumego Challenge, in which competitors solve rapid-fire go problems for small prizes. And for participating college students only, there will be an extra event: free bowling on Saturday night. Similar to the AGA E-Journal’s expanded video coverage at this year’s US Go Congress, local organizers are planning complete coverage of the event through video streaming. Professional commentary on the Chang Qi Cup games, commentary on the top boards of the American tournament, and even special interviews will all be broadcast.
Hotels for the weekend are filling up quickly, so the ACGA urges registrants to book soon. Visit the website for details and registration.
Kudos for Swift Ratings: “I’ve complained before about the timeliness of ratings updates, so let me be the first to compliment those responsible for getting it done swiftly this year,” writes Brady Daniels.
The following US Go Congress tournaments have now been rated: US Open, US Open Masters, Congress Self-Paired, Congress DieHard and Congress U16 AGA Girls’ Championship. Click here for latest ratings.
“Meeting all the other people who love to play go as much as I do”…”Pro game review is the single most important activity at the Congress” …” I have attended only two US Go Congresses in the past ten years, but follow them avidly each year and attempt to visit each year.” These are just a few of the more than 100 responses thus far to the US Go Congress Survey. So far, the US Open and pro lectures rank highest in popularity, while the 9×9 and 13×13 tournaments rank lowest. Whether you’ve attended a Congress or not, Congress organizers would like your opinions on a few basic questions so that they can make future Congresses even better. “One of the best things is simply meeting people who love the game and playing go.” Click here to take the brief survey; participants are eligible for go prizes!
Take Go Congress Survey, Win Prizes: The US Go Congress is the single biggest go event in North America each year, drawing hundreds of go players from across the country for a week of go events. Whether you’ve attended a Congress or not, Congress organizers would like your opinions on a few basic questions so that they can make future Congresses even better. Click here to take a brief survey; participants will be eligible for go prizes!
Got US Open Games? Make sure your US Open games are part of the tournament’s permanent record: send in your US Open game records and we’ll add them to the official crosstab (thanks to everyone who’s already done so!)
Email them to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Podcast Picks Kageyama’s “Fundamentals”: “At the end of the ‘Keeping Libraries and Utilities Small and Simple‘ podcast, Michel Martens picks “Lessons in the Fundamentals of Go,” writes John Hager. “Lessons” is Toshiro Kageyama’s classic book for anyone just picking up the game.
“Ten Nights of Dreams”: In the 2006 movie “Ten Nights of Dreams,” based on the short story collection by Natsume Soseki, the ninth dream has several scenes with go stones, reports David Matson. “No bowls, goban or mention of the game, but it is an enjoyable experience. If Kurosawa and Fellini had ten children together, then something like this would be the result.”
The American Go Foundation is looking for someone who wants to make part of their living teaching go to children. Start up funds are available for a demonstration project that would include building a program around chess and go in the schools, based on the work of Peter Freedman and Fritz Balwit in Portland, OR. The goal is to create similar programs in any US cities that can find teachers willing to run a program. Click here for: go in the schools job description, a project overview is here: go in the schools, and a sample budget is here: go in the schools budget. Please send a letter of interest describing your background and qualifications to email@example.com.
Brugo provides a collection of more than 10,000 joseki moves from the Brugo joseki website.
Let me start off by alienating the half of the audience that may not be alienated after reading this, by giving away the title of my next installment, Why Go Is Better Than Chess, Really (From the Non-Chess-Playing Perspective).
For those of you who aren’t having a bad day and easily saw past that ruse, may I offer some unvarnished truths, in the form of the real answers to questions that I cavalierly and annoyingly dismissed when asked earnestly by those to whom I was only too happy to present myself as knowledgeable in the past. This is in opposition to talking around the subject, which I never do despite the difficulty in following my convoluted English, which I’ve used to actually talk myself out of traffic tickets, thanks very much. I’m never not honed in like a hawk eyeing a field mouse when I’m answering a question someone asked me five years ago. I’ve either missed it entirely, or am dead on.
Q. How much is the ability to memorize involved in go-playing?
A. Let me tell you a story about my father. My father once memorized a 50-page poem when he was in high school. In English. Which he didn’t speak. It’s not clear to us whose memory is better, because he remembers things I don’t and vice versa. This has something to do with whether he or I was there or paying attention, I believe.
No one cares or truly believes this wild talent, except perhaps exes who are literally rendered speechless and apoplectic when I quote what they said verbatim years ago by way of reply to questions posed as to how I’m doing, etc. now. It really only comes in handy these days when my son asks me what lithium is and I send him running out the door with a tour of the periodic table sung to the tune of “Beautiful Dreamer,” which my father did for me when we went for a walk when I was eight.
My dad taught me how to play go by spending about ten hours a week on it with me for a long time. So that’s the answer to the other question, how did I make progress so quickly. Because I was young and it was easier to learn when I was young and I’m very smart and talented, yes, yes, that must be it. Spending ten hours a week on Netflix now has nothing to do with stalled progress. If only he’d spent ten hours a week on video games with me for a long time, I’d be a Silicon Valley venture capitalist.
Which is not to say that I think memorization of moves plays a big part in go playing. I barely remember any specific actual moves, or generally even where my opponent played last. Which is not to say I didn’t write a whole go book entitled The Palace of Memory. Which enervated many people that there were many typos. And apparently enervated no one that I said I remembered like ten things, but had a lot of jingles and off-topic anecdotes and references that actually constitute what I know about go that you may secretly suspect is true.
But seriously, folks. How many of you read Lee Sedol 9 dan’s book of commented games? When I heard about it I thought that was the holy grail and almost flew to Korea. I could not contain myself. Lee Sedol 9 dan became the world champion because he spent a lot of time on go, and that time had emotional content, because his father spent a lot of time teaching him and his father wanted him to be world champion and then his father died. Remember, Bruce Lee said emotional content, not anger. The point isn’t to get angry at ourselves or our opponents, but to find what is meaningful to us in the conversation with our hands that we are having. If we spend even a few minutes trying to extract what we and our opponents were trying to say as we played, with respect for our words, surely we can find something, if we are looking for it, that we can remember to take away with us. So I knew it would be the holy grail, before I even read it.
I actually don’t remember the moves of the games I read (I can only recreate games if I paid attention throughout and remember the first few moves and how I was thinking about them at the time and exactly who the players are, then, it all follows logically), but Lee Sedol (who means a lot to me because his brother was a good friend long ago who said he would sacrifice his own career to make sure Lee Sedol would be world champion) made one comment in a matter-of-fact, off-hand way that entirely changed my perspective on go and made me realize what I had been doing that had been frustrating me and causing me to lose most of the time even the few times when I was way ahead. It was because I was ahead. I could only knock out my opponent because I had no idea how to pull a punch and wait, and stronger opponents don’t get knocked out easily. That will be the actual subject of my next installment.
The American Go E-Journal’s coverage of the 2015 US Go Congress in St Paul, MN was truly wall-to-wall this year, with more than 60 games broadcast live on KGS, 23 live video feeds on our YouTube channel, well over a dozen live pro game commentaries and nearly two dozen reports in the E-Journal, as well as numerous posts to the AGA’s Facebook page and Twitter feed. None of that would have been possible without a talented and committed team of volunteers, some of them veterans of previous congresses and some newbies, but every one richly deserving of a hearty round of applause and appreciation. Click here to see our Facebook album of team photos.
First and foremost are Assistant Manager Todd Heidenreich, Tech/IT Manager Steve Colburn and Lead Game Recorder Dennis Wheeler; their titles don’t begin to do justice to the many key roles these three play in ensuring our smooth operation. Todd, Steve and Dennis have been our core team for many years now, and hanging out with them in the EJ room each year is a joy that many others have discovered as well.
An exciting addition to the EJ team this year was our video streaming operation, managed by Andrew Jackson, who surpassed his goal of dramatically improving the current state of go video streaming, as evidenced by the impressive number of live viewers and video views. The video streaming team included Ashish Varma (fairgo) Shawn Ray (clossius), Justin Teng (odnihs),Stephen Hu (xhu98), Lionel Zhang and Calvin Sun.
Youth Editor Paul Barchilon makes sure we give proper coverage to the many exciting youth events and rising young go stars; he’s also training the next generation of the EJ’s youth team and worked with Jackson to coordinate youth coverage; special thanks to Justin Teng, who went above and beyond to organize the streaming team for the Redmond Cup games. Game recorders included Andrew Lu, Ethan Frank, and Ashish Varma.
While video streaming and social media coverage have been generating a lot of this year’s interest in the Congress, our game recording team quietly went about the everyday work of broadcasting top-board games online, not only so that go players around the world could watch live, but so that the games are recorded for posterity. Dennis Wheeler anchored the team, as usual, and with the indefatigable Richard Dolen they broadcast all the morning top-board games. The evening game recording team included Solomon Smilack — who also transcribed the live pro commentary for the Friday Night Big Broadcast –David Weimer, Bart Jacob, Stephen Hu, Andrew Lu, Ethan Frank, George Schmitten, Yong Peng, Yanqing Sun and Austin Harvey. Thanks as always to Akane Negishi and the entire team at KGS for their support and help. And a big shout-out to US Open Masters/US Open TD Jon Boley, whose coordination with pairings and results data was critical to our timely reporting; plus his sense of humor made him a perfect fit for the EJ team.The professional go players have become an integral part of the EJ team each year, contributing their insights in live game commentaries, this year on our YouTube livestream as well as on KGS. They included: Feng Yun 9P, Cho Hye-yeon 9P, Yilun Yang 7P, Jennie Shen 2P, Shirley Lin 1P, Stephanie Yin 1P, Cathy Li 1P. Special thanks to Myungwan Kim 9P and Yilun Yang 7P for their Big Game broadcast Friday night, and to pro coordinator I-Han Lui, who provided professionals for both the KGS and video stream commentaries. And a very special thanks this year to Hajin Lee 3P and Nick Sibicki, who anchored our streaming video commentary, and to Matthew Hershberger, who also helped with the commentary on Pair Go night.
Finally, I want to thank EJ photographer — and my very good friend — Phil Straus (left, in yellow shirt), without whom literally none of this would be possible: Phil taught me how to play go 30 years ago when I showed up at the Philadelphia Go Club, which he ran out of his house in center city Philly. He’s been there for me as a go player, go journalist and friend for three decades.
Thanks to the entire team, and to you, our readers; see you next year in Boston!
photos by Phil Straus (top right), Ken Koester (left) and Chris Garlock (bottom right).
Benjamin Lockhart 7d prevailed over fellow American Ricky Zhao 7d in the finals of the Samsung Cup World Baduk Masters World Division in Seoul, Korea and will play next month in the round of 32 of the top international event in Beijing. The World Division was established three years ago as a way of encouraging players from the rest of the world to excel at go; Americans have won all three years. Lockhart was in the final last year but lost to Eric Lui 7d. This year the division was expanded from eight to 12 players, with four from Europe, three from North America, one from Latin America, and four from Asia excluding the major go countries. Click here to see more photos.
The Orange County Go Club’s Kevin Chao 6D (right) prevailed in a spirited bidding war at the annual go board auction at the 2015 U.S. Go Congress banquet August 8. For much of the auction, conducted by E-Journal Managing Editor Chris Garlock and American Go Foundation president Terry Benson, it was a 3-man duel between Brady Daniels, Congress Director Josh Larson and an increasingly hoarse banquet MC Andrew Jackson. The back of the board — donated by Yutopian — had been signed by most of the professional go players attending the Go Congress, and previous winner Andy Okun testified to the veracity of Garlock’s promise of improvement, noting that he’d been 1-kyu when he won the auction and is now shodan.
When Jackson’s bid of $1,200 knocked Daniels out, the board seemed destined to head to Seattle, but then Chao swooped in with a bid of $1,500, his first of the evening, and it proved decisive. “This is so amazingly generous,” said Benson. “This will help fund American Go Foundation activities and programs that promote go across the United States, including important future investments like go camp scholarships.”
“The support of go players like Kevin and Chris (whose recent walk across Wales raised $2,400 for the AGF) is what makes this such an incredible community,” added American Go Association president Andy Okun. “They, and all our generous AGF contributors, are truly planting the seeds for the future of American go.”
photo: (top left) Benson, Okun & Garlock; photos by Phil Straus
The 2015 Canadian Open will be held in Montreal, Quebec, Canada from September 4-7. Click here for complete details or check out the event’s Facebook page. The 6-round event also features professional go players who will teach, analyze games and lecture. Sohyun Park 3p from Korea has been confirmed as attending, and will be joining forces with Stephanie Yin 1p to teach go during the event. The event is sponsored by Caisse populaire Desjardins du Mont-Royal, Huawei Technologies and Salon de thé et de Go Senthé, “The perfect place to play go in Montréal.”
2015 Congress Ratings Update: As of Friday, August 14th, the results of four Congress tournaments have been submitted, reports Jonathan Bresler. “The four tournaments are the U.S. Open, the U.S. Open Masters, the DieHard and the Girls 16 and Under. The DieHard and Girls have been rated.” Self-Paired results are expected to be submitted Monday. Click here for AGA ratings.
(8/16 Update/Clarification: the U.S. Open and U.S. Open Masters results were just submitted on August 14 and have not yet been rated)
Winner Reports Posted: Complete Congress tournament winner reports are now posted online.
Congress Coverage Going Viral: The EJ’s Congress posts on Twitter and Facebook have been generating lots of traffic and likes, and the videos on our YouTube page have been getting tons of views. Our story on the Cuban delegation, for example, reached over 1,000 people on Facebook, the report on go pioneer John Goodell reached nearly 1,000 and photo albums like Phil Straus’ recent collection of Pair Go photos reached nearly 600. Over on YouTube, the 23 Congress videos reached people in over 100 countries, added almost 1,000 subscribers and the most-viewed video was Round 4, Mark Lee vs Cao Youyin with Haylee commenting, with over 2,600 views since it went live.
photo: 2015 US Open players; photo by Chris Garlock
In the new season for the Pandanet AGA City League, the A and B League will enlarged to eight teams each. The teams in last place for the A League and the winners of the B League will be demoted and promoted as normal. The other teams in the B League will be promoted until there are 8 teams in play. The B League will be the same way with the C League until there are 8 teams. “Start gathering your team for the fourth season of this exciting league,” says League coordinator Steve CColburn. The new season include some revised rules to make the seasons longer and more challenging games. Check the rules for a special registration deal for the teams. “Does your team have what it takes to defeat our winners from last year?” Colburn asks. Registration is open until September 20th. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or to register your team.
Jeffery Deaver’s 2014 book of short crime stories “Trouble in Mind” has a story “The Competitors” set at the Beijing Olympics, reports Tony Atkins. “In it, the Chinese head of security out-thinks terrorists as he is a go player,” says Atkins, who’s Vice-President of the British Go Association. “He explains to the US and Russian officers ‘It’s our version of Chess. Only better, of course.’” The head of security “I look forward when I play the game. You must always look forward to beat your opponent at go. You must see beyond the board.”
Atkins has added this book to the exhaustive round-up of “Novels and Other Books Featuring Go” on the BGA website.