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New from Kiseido: “300 Joseki Problems”; “Close Encounters with the Middle Game” & Discounted Slate & Shell Stones

AGA news - Mon, 25/07/2016 - 23:23

“300 Joseki Problems”: The final installment of “Graded Go Problems for Dan Players,” Kiseido’s popular seven-volume dan players’ series, is now available. Aimed primarily at 3-dan to 7-dan players, “300 Joseki Problems” – a continuation of Volume 3 of the series — is divided into two sections, each featuring 150 problems. The first section analyzes local joseki problems, allowing the reader to expand their understanding of local patterns. The second section takes the reader on to the next level, presenting whole-board joseki problems from real professional games, where the global situation must be taken into account.

At times, the correct move is not a standard joseki move, but an innovative move, requiring the reader to “think outside the box.” Consequently, readers will not only gain joseki knowledge, but will gain a real understanding of what joseki means, and how it can be applied to unique positions that might arise in real games. Note that even though the problems in this book are rated as high as 7-dan, Kiseido says the book is actually suitable for players 1-dan and above; even if the correct answer is hard to find, simply studying the answers to get exposure to new ideas and joseki innovations is enough to improve your game.

“Close Encounters with the Middle Game”: The game of go is often decided in the middle game. Players strong at the opening can gain an early advantage. Players with precise endgame skills can gain points to finish the game. But excelling at the middle game is the surest way to victory. And what better way to improve middle game expertise than to learn from the best? Michiel Eijkhout’s “Close Encounters with the Middle Game” presents 32 crucial middle-game positions that arose in top professional games. Each position is analyzed in detail, explaining how the players were thinking during the middle game, highlighting the techniques needed to gain an advantage during middle-game fighting. If you’ve ever been confused by professional moves, wondering about alternatives – what moves were good, bad, or difficult to judge – you’ll want to check out this “entertaining journey through the realm of professional go.”

Slate and Shell Stones: Kiseido reports that slate and shell stones are becoming more and more difficult to come by due to a tremendous increase in demand and go players willing to pay premium prices. Fortunately, Kiseido has managed to obtain a small supply of “Jitsuyo grade” stones, and is offering them at a discounted price. Click here for details and to order.
- Brian Kirby

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Go Spotting: “Hell on Wheels”

AGA news - Mon, 25/07/2016 - 23:21

As previously reported, go was spotted in “Hell on Wheels” Season 5, Episode 10, titled “61 Degrees,” between minutes 43 and 45. Here’s the screenshot, thanks to Taylor Litteral.  

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European Go Congress 2016 Gets Under Way in Saint Petersburg

AGA news - Mon, 25/07/2016 - 23:18

The 60th European Go Congress got under way on July 23rd in Saint Petersburg, Russia. The Congress is being held at the Hotel Azimut, a couple of kilometres south of the historic centre of the city. 456 players took part in the first round, including seven Europeans with pro status. Among the guests are professional players including Cho Hye-Yeon 9p, Shao Weigang 9p, Yamashiro Hiroshi 9p, Muraoka Shigeyuki 9p, Ohashi Hirofumi 6p and many others.

In addition to many tournaments, Congress organizers have prepared some special events. On July 25 Google DeepMind representatives will give an update on AlphaGo, on July 27 Cho Hye-Yeon will take on Zen AI and two chess Grandmasters will clash in a go battle.

Traditionally the first days of the EGC are marked by the Pandanet Go European Team Tournament finals. Team Ukraine, led by recently-minted European pro Artem Kachanovskyi, prevailed over Team Russia 3-1 in the finals, with a sensational victory by Andrij Kravec over Alexandre Dinerchtein (photo at left), sealing the championship. Russia took second place, France 3rd and Romania 4th.

- Daria Koshkina, with additional reporting from the EGC 2016 site; photos: EGC 60 opening ceremony (right); Dinerchtein vs Kravec

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60th European Go Congress in Saint Petersburg

European Go Federation - Mon, 25/07/2016 - 12:05
The 60th European Go Congress got under way on 23rd July in Saint Petersburg. 456 players took part in round one.
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Ukraine win the Pandanet Go European Team Championship

European Go Federation - Mon, 25/07/2016 - 11:54
Pandanet Go European Team Championship, with over-the-board finals played at the European Go Congress in St Petersburg, Russia, was won by Ukraine.
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Michael Redmond 9P on Pro Pair Go Tsumego 2 (Answer)

AGA news - Mon, 25/07/2016 - 02:26

download SGF file

Michael Redmond 9P is graciously providing all E-Journal readers with a set of tsumego problems featured at the 2016 pro pair go tournament. Of course, these problems are quite tough, but nevertheless entertaining to everyone, especially because Michael will later provide each solution.

In this tsumego contest, each pair has up to 10 minutes to answer each problem, but only the first 5 pairs can answer. The race to answer first makes these problems highly challenging. After signalling having an answer, a pair must play each move within 5 seconds. The pair team plays Black’s moves, while the composer plays White’s, which allows the composers to show their favorite variation for White.

Michael gives the background for this tsumego from Oba Junya 7P, who is well known for his pro level tsumego problems:

This tsumego is not as difficult as it looks, as there is only one tesuji that jumps to mind for Black, and White 2 is forced, making the first 3 moves fairly easy to find. In fact, Ke Jie 9p slapped down the first 3 moves almost immediately. However, there is a very effective blind spot after that, which tripped some pros.

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2016 Samsung Cup Prelim: World Division More Diverse and Competitive

AGA news - Sun, 24/07/2016 - 14:02

Twelve players from 11 countries competed in the Samsung Cup’s World Division among the 19-division preliminary in Seoul, Korea on July 20. Israel’s Ali Jabarin 1P defeated Slovakia’s Pavol Lisy 1P to earn a seat at the upcoming 21st edition of the Samsung. The first round, officially known as the Samsung Fire & Marine Insurance World Masters Baduk Championship, will be on September 6-8 in a double-elimination format. North America’s Eric Lui 1P (US) and Manuel Velasco 6D (Canada) both lost in the first round. See chart at right for the World Division’s full results.

In the division semi-final on July 19, China won 19 of 22 critical matchups against Korea, and accordingly became a huge winner with 14 spots from the prelim. Complete prelim winners: Byun Sangil, Kang Seungmin, Cheong Tae-sang (Korea); Tan Xiao, Tong Mengcheng, Li Qincheng, Guo Wenchao, Fan Tingyu, Liao Xingwen, Xia Chenkun, Fan Yunruo, Cai Jing, Huang Yunsong, Tuo Jiaxi, Yu Bin (‘Senior Division’), Lu Jia, Rui Naiwei (‘Women Division’) (China); Ida Atsushi (Japan); Ali Jabarin (Israel).
by Edward Zhang 

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Pandanet AGA City League Finals One Week Away

AGA news - Sun, 24/07/2016 - 14:00

In one week the Pandanet AGA City League Finals will be played in Boston, MA at the U.S. Go Congress. Canwa Vancouver 1 will take on Greater Washington for the championship. Canwa Vancouver won the second year of the tournament. Greater Washington has been in the finals before. All games will be broadcast on Pandanet in the AGA City League room at 3pm EST.

Your lineup for the finals will be:
Board 1: Hanchen Zhang vs Zirui Tim Song
Board 2: Ryan Li vs Eric Lui
Board 3: Bill Lin vs Yuan Zhou

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2016 Go Congress: A Brief Introduction to Boston

AGA news - Sat, 23/07/2016 - 13:25

by Chialing Chan

The 2016 U.S. Go Congress begins in just a week. It will take place on the main campus of Boston University, which is located near the heart of Boston and along the Charles River. Boston is a fun and beautiful city during the summer: blue sky, Boston Harbor Islands, cool ocean breeze, good food, and beautiful people. It’s a vibrant city with about 152,000 college students. And it’s home to many innovative companies and institutes. Boston is also steeped in history. This was where the Boston Tea Party took place (some believe it’s the reason why we drink coffee today) and the first place in the United States to have a subway transportation system. The city was named after Boston, Lincolnshire, England, the origin of several prominent colonists. The original people of the area were the Massachusett, after whom the state is named.

Go players who use the traditional day off on Wednesday to explore the city might enjoy dimsum in Chinatown, a walk around Boston Common and the Public Garden, a lunch at the Faneuil Hall, a ferry ride to one of the Boston Harbor Islands, a dinner at the North End, and/or drinks in Cambridge. Alternatively, you might enjoy a trip to the Museum of Fine Arts and an afternoon tea inside the Boston Library (at Copley Square) with its gorgeous paintings and architecture. For kids, the New England Aquarium and the Museum of Science are always the big hits. And of course, there are always the duck boats. See you soon!

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Michael Redmond 9P on Pro Pair Go Tsumego 2

AGA news - Fri, 22/07/2016 - 00:53

download SGF file

Michael Redmond 9P is graciously providing all E-Journal readers with a set of tsumego problems featured at the 2016 pro pair go tournament. Of course, these problems are quite tough, but nevertheless entertaining to everyone, especially because Michael will later provide each solution.

In this tsumego contest, each pair has up to 10 minutes to answer each problem, but only the first 5 pairs can answer. The race to answer first makes these problems highly challenging. After signalling having an answer, a pair must play each move within 5 seconds. The pair team plays Black’s moves, while the composer plays White’s, which allows the composers to show their favorite variation for White.

Michael mentions that the author of this tsumego, Oba Junya 7P, is well known for his pro level tsumego problems.

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Yang Shuang 2P to Give DC-area Players a Preview of Go Congress

AGA news - Thu, 21/07/2016 - 23:00

Metro Washington-area go players can get a taste of the upcoming US Go Congress next Monday, July 25 when Chinese pro Yang Shuang 2P — who will be teaching at the Congress in Boston — will play Josh Lee 6D at the NoVA Go Club, followed by a game analysis. The game will start at 7:30 pm at the club, which meets at St. George’s Church in Arlington at the corner of Fairfax and Oakland (ring the bell or call the cell phone number posted on the door). In other local news, a Back to School Special tournament is scheduled for September 10, the Richmond (VA) Go Club is back and will be having a fall tournament on October 15 and the Pumpkin Classic will be held October 29. Email garrett.p.smith@comcast.net for more details.

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Two Chess Grandmasters to Clash in Go Match at EGC

AGA news - Thu, 21/07/2016 - 19:00
The 2016 European Go Congress, which starts tomorrow in Saint-Petersburg, Russia, features many special events. One of them is a go/chess match between two chess Grandmasters. In one corner is Alexander Morozevich (right), three-time champion of the Chess Olympiad and two-time Russian Champion. He achieved 3k on KGS and played at some recent Russian tournaments. He started playing go as a hobby and enjoys studying and practicing. His opponent is a Swedish chess Grandmaster Tiger Hillarp Persson, also a two-time champion of his native country, and a winner of several individual bronze medals in the Chess Olympiad. He started playing go in 2011 and reached 1 dan in 2015. He believes that learning the principles of go can improve skills for all chess players. The match is scheduled for July 27 and will include two go and two chess games with reviews (and one additional match in case of a draw) and a simul with both Grandmasters. Organizers hope the event helps go to captivate more chess-lovers. Click here for more information.
- Daria Koshkina; photo from EGC 2016 website
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Cotsen Open Registration Opens

AGA news - Thu, 21/07/2016 - 17:00

Registration for this year’s Cotsen Open is now live; click here now to reserve your spot. The 2016 Cotsen Open will be held on the weekend of October 22-23 at the Korean Cultural Center in Los Angeles, with the support of the Korean Consulate and the KCCLA. The tournament will feature “all of the things that you’ve come to expect,” organizers report, “including roving masseuses, free lunches, gorgeous trophies, a game between Yilun Yang 7p and another top pro, and thousands of dollars in prizes. This is a tournament you won’t want to miss!”

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What Go Players Can Learn from Track and Field

AGA news - Thu, 21/07/2016 - 00:19

John Zombro, a life time Track and Field athlete and coach recently attended the Track and Field Olympic Trials in Eugene, OR and wrote up some of the things he learned from the character, philosophies and performance of the athletes. E-Journal photographer Phil Straus thought this list “is excellent for serious go players, as well for potential Olympic athletes” and sent along some illustrative photos. 

Intensity: When Joe Kovacs placed second in the shot put, and secured his place on the team to Rio, it was an excellent example of intensity. The shot put requires the athlete to concentrate all his/her power into less than a second. Kovacs finished fourth in 2012 and needed a breakthrough throw to make the team. The intensity of his place-garnering throw rocked the stadium as loudly as his roar, and the crowd’s applause.

Aggression: Sometimes in life, and in sport, we need to be aggressive. There is no event where this is more true than in the 100 meters, and when Justin Gatlin toed the line for the final, it was all about aggression. Athletes learn to turn this on before an event, and turn it off soon afterward, but in the heat of battle, well, it’s all about the fight. Gatlin won the 100 going away in a true show of aggression.

Confidence: Not to be confused with arrogance, confidence is that trait exemplified when an athlete refuses to have doubts, trusts his/her training, and is resolute to fully utilize talent and give a maximum effort. There were many examples of this at the trials, but none better than Emma Coburn in the women’s 3000m steeplechase. Coburn, easily the class of the field and a Rio medal contender, exuded confidence before the start and throughout the race.

Humility: Bernard Lagat dropped out of the men’s 10,000 meters on a hot evening, unable to stay with leader Galen Rupp at the 7400 meter mark. At 41 years of age, Lagat, a champion many times over at 1500/mile and 5000m, just humbly commented that he could not stay with the leaders and was determined to come back in the 5000 and make yet another Olympic team. To the surprise of some, but not to others (including this author), when the pack exploded for the finish over the 5000’s last lap, Lagat took the lead in the homestretch and impressed us all.

Poise: Brenda Martinez was in contention for a medal in the women’s 800m, when, on the final turn, her stride collided with that of Alysia Montano, and her chances of making the 800 squad were dashed. She did not blame Montano, and instead said the collision was a “blessing in disguise.” She stated “The track doesn’t care about your feelings, you’ve just got to move forward”. She did just that in the 1500m final, gathering herself to take the third and final spot on the team to Rio in a photo-finish.

Focus: Molly Huddle, winner of both the women’s 5000m and 10,000m, in similar fashion, gave us a lesson in focus. She won both races by leading from the gun and then gradually pulling away from the field. Her ability to concentrate is only matched by her talent and work ethic in training.

Patience: Chaunte Lowe, the American record holder in the women’s high jump, a veteran at 32 years of age and mother of 3, convincingly won the women’s high jump. After a rather unsuccessful 2015, she patiently put in the training, and ruled the vertical leap. “I’m not quite done yet”, she said.

Execution: Sometimes you just have to execute. Have a race plan and follow it, but also see what develops and react appropriately. Allyson Felix executed in the women’s 400m, displaying a homestretch gear that no one else could summon, and going 49.68 in the process. Still recovering from a severely sprained ankle from a training injury in April, Felix stated that she knew she had to be patient and use her sprinter’s speed in the final 100m, regardless of how her ankle felt or what the other runners were doing. Always a class act, she attributed her victory to her coach, physical therapist, chiropractor, and massage therapist. Executing her race plan effectively “executed” all competitors.

Celebration: Occasionally we see athletes who deliver phenomenal performances but are never satisfied. “If only I’d trained harder, done this or that, or the weather was blank,” has been said a few times. But there is also something to be said for living in the moment. Sam Kendricks, in winning the men’s pole vault with a jump of (5.91m) 19’-4.5”, was jubilant in his victory. He took the microphone and thanked the athletes, the coaches, the spectators, and really shared the joy in his accomplishment. Kendricks was a graceful champion and captured the spirit of the trials.

Appreciation: In this modern world, we sometimes lose track of those human qualities mentioned above. We have so many distractions in our connected, electronic, social media-driven world. However, I can say for certain that those Olympic ideals of striving to go higher, farther, faster, and to do it with honor and respect, were alive and well in Eugene and they are pulsating in our Olympians. Go USA!

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Go Spotting: Pokemon Go Go

AGA news - Wed, 20/07/2016 - 23:18

Pokemon Go Go: Thanks to Matt Lecin and Ramon Mercado for sending this in.

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Michael Redmond 9P on Pro Pair Go Tsumego 1 (Answer)

AGA news - Wed, 20/07/2016 - 22:25

download SGF file

Michael Redmond 9P is graciously providing all E-Journal readers with a set of tsumego problems featured at the 2016 pro pair go tournament. Of course, these problems are quite tough, but nevertheless entertaining to everyone, especially because Michael will later provide each solution.

In this tsumego contest, each pair has up to 10 minutes to answer each problem, but only the first 5 pairs can answer. The race to answer first makes these problems highly challenging. After signalling having an answer, a pair must play each move within 5 seconds. The pair team plays Black’s moves, while the composer plays White’s, which allows the composers to show their favorite variation for White.

Michael gives this interesting background for this tsumego from Ohashi Hirofumi 6P:

This problem is misleading, in that Black’s first and 3rd moves are relatively easy to find, while White 4 is counter-intuitive. Ohashi tells me that he saw surprise and maybe shock in the top Chinese pairs faces when he played move 4, but Ke Jie quicky recovered, flickering his fingers in a burst of concentration, and was in time to give the correct answer.

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AGA Teams Up with Hope Chinese School to Teach Summer Camp Students

AGA news - Wed, 20/07/2016 - 02:43

Nearly 60 students in Northern Virginia learned go basics on Monday, thanks to an AGA chapter’s initiative teaming up with the summer camp of Hope Chinese School (HCS). “We started with First Capture to get the students interested,” reports Edward Zhang 6D of the Capital Go Club. “Then we introduced the true goal of the game, strategically getting more territory.”

Justin Teng 6D (right), Assistant AGA Youth Coordinator, also lectured about some basic Go concepts, which students then practiced with each other. A Go Congress introduction and Weiqi Boy video (Chinese) showed off the game’s rich culture as students inquisitively watched them.

Zhang emphasized the etiquette and sportsmanship of go, including greeting the opponent and bowing at the beginning, as well as showing appreciation at the end of the game. “Summer is a great time to learn go and the HCS summer camp is a great platform for the AGA,” says Zhang. “Students were very active in the go class, and while it’s hard to match their energy level, it was certainly a fun experience for us.” Zhang credited Yuan Zhou 7D, Dinny Li and Bin Wen for the event’s planning and administration.

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Your Move/Readers Write: Pokemon Go?! Senior Invitation in Sunnyvale

AGA news - Tue, 19/07/2016 - 18:00

Pokemon Go?! “I thought I was into real go but they stole the name!! How disappointed was I?” writes Ted Terpstra after reading about Pokémon Go in The New York Times recently .

Senior Invitation in Sunnyvale: “I would like to encourage go players 50 and older to meet at the Sunnyvale, CA, Senior Center on Thursdays between 2:30pm and 5:30pm,” writes Jean DeMaiffe, responding to our Beginner at 80, Still Playing at 90 7/10 EJ post. “The Senior Center chess players have graciously agreed to share their playing room with us. For now, I am providing two go sets plus a few books, all of which are stored with the chess players’ equipment.” Although DeMaiffe, who’s taught beginners for years, says she won’t always be able to attend, “if a go player contacts me in advance, I will happily make an effort to attend any particular meeting.” Reach her at 408-930-5888 or jean@dougandjean.com.

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Robert Jasiek Releases Life and Death Book for Beginners

AGA news - Tue, 19/07/2016 - 17:00

Robert Jasiek, go teacher, author, and strong German amateur player, has released a new book on life and death, or tsumego problems. Titled “First Life and Death,” the book promises to “teach life and death from scratch,” starting with building two eyes and creating dead shapes (nakade). Continuing with techniques for attack and defense of one’s eyespace, 274 problems guide the reader through the theory of life and death, including liberty shortage, capturing races, strategy, and tactical reading. With an approach designed for those first venturing into the concept of life and death, Jasiek says beginners can expect to reach the life and death skill of intermediate players. The book can be purchased here.
- Noah Doss

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Last Minute Chance to Sign Up for Major China Amateur Tournament

AGA news - Tue, 19/07/2016 - 07:46

China Qiyuan has announced the 2016 Gold Cup World Amateur Go Tournament, with online preliminaries for players outside of the major go countries to be held on Tygem. “It is a last minute invitation, but the prizes and playing opportunities for the players who make it past the prelims make it worth a shot,” said AGA President Andy Okun. The deadline for registration is July 21; details and the registration form can be found here.   The preliminaries will be held from July 27 to Aug. 10, selecting 10 Chinese players, six Korean players and four from the rest of the world.  Although competition can be expected to be rough, players down to 18 kyu are welcome to register.  Winners of the online prelim will play face to face at the Xiamen Aqua Resort Hotel in Fujian from Sept. 13-18.

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