Go author and blogger Jonathan Hop has launched a project to translate videos of professional games with commentary into English. “It’s all free and available on YouTube for all to see,” he tells the E-Journal. Hop says he’ll “try to do one or two a week depending on my schedule.” Available so far: Mukai Chiaki vs. Yamada Kimio, Cho Sonjin vs. Yukawa Mitsuhisa in the 63rd NHK Tournament, Takemiya Masaki vs. Goto Shungo and Kanazawa Makoto vs Akiyama Jiro in the 63rd NHK Cup.
Hop is back teaching and playing go after a long hiatus. After going to Korea, studying at a professional dojo and writing four books on go, he realized he didn’t want to be a professional go player, “So when the game felt like a chore, when studying was no longer exciting, I just plain stopped,” he writes on his blog. But now he’s heading to China next month and says “There’s no way I’m going to be in China and not play. So I decided I needed to get back in shape before I go.”
In addition to the pro game translations, Hop is playing on Twitch TV and archiving the games on YouTube. He’s also offering to review kyu level games or low level dan games for free and make videos of the review available on Youtube; send games to email@example.com. He’s also planning a go-playing marathon when he reaches 1,000 subscribers, and says that “I think I’m at 997 which is close enough for me to schedule it. Sunday August 2nd, 12 straight hours of go beginning around 11 a.m.”
Photos: (right) Cho Chikun commenting the Mukai Chiaki vs. Yamada Kimio game; (left) Hop playing on Twitch.TV
The US Open Master’s Division will again be a 9-round event with a top prize of $5,000. This section is open to all professionals and 7 Dan players. Additionally, players below 7-dan who earned points in AGA qualifier tournaments will be
eligible to compete in this section. As was done last year, the top three North American finishers in this section will get prizes with a top award of $2,000.
The regular 6-round event will continue as before, open to everyone. Players who qualify for the Master’s Division but do not wish to play 9 games can sign up for the 6-round Open event instead. However, there is no crossover between sections once play begins, and players in the Master’s Division are expected to commit to play the full 9 rounds. Jon Boley is the Tournament Director for the Master’s Division this year.
photo: top-board action at the 2014 US Open Masters Division; photo by Chris Garlock
The American Go E-Journal has a few openings on its US Go Congress team. Anyone interested in helping record/broadcast top-board games at the US Open should email firstname.lastname@example.org. Prior experience is useful but not absolutely necessary. You must be available either mornings (Sun-Sat) or evenings (Sunday, Tuesday, or Friday). “This is a terrific opportunity to get an up—close look at top-board games at a major tournament and be a part of the team bringing this event to the world,” says E-Journal Managing Editor Chris Garlock. “Plus, it’ll improve your own go!”
Tennis Alert: Tennis players be sure to pack your racquets, as there are courts available at this year’s Congress site and E-Journal editor Chris Garlock will be organizing games throughout the week. Email email@example.com if interested in participating.
photo: The EJ’s Dennis Wheeler records a 2014 US Open Masters game; photo by Chris Garlock
Word comes to the E-Journal of two last minute changes in the ranks of the professionals visiting the US Go Congress in Minneapolis-St. Paul. One is that the Korea Amateur Baduk Association will be sending Cho Hyeyeon 9p, a star player and active promoter of the game. Cho, who also attended the 2008 Congress in Portland, works, teaches and plays tirelessly, among other ventures running a go club at the US Army base at Yongsan in Seoul. Meanwhile, difficulties of making last minute travel arrangements have caused the Taiwan Chiyuan to substitute Ms. Tang Hsi Yun 2p, also known as Debbie Tang, for the earlier announced Wang Yuanjun 7p. Like Cho, Tang speaks English. She has been pro since 2004 and taught at the European Go Congress in 2012.
Update (7/21): The spelling of Ms. Tang’s name has been corrected.
At its June 7th board meeting, the Iwamoto North American Foundation for Go approved a request for proposals for the establishment of a Go Center on the East Coast. The foundation is seeking proposals by December 1, 2015. The RFP can be found on the foundation’s web page: http://www.inaf-go.org/. Please direct any questions to board members Thomas Hsiang (thsiang@UR.Rochester.edu), Andy Okun (firstname.lastname@example.org), or Dave Weimer (email@example.com).
With the 2015 US Go Congress less than a month away, it is on track to be a great event with over 350 attendees, says Congress Director Josh Larson. For players of all levels a major draw to attend the Congress is the chance to meet, play and learn from professional players from all over the world. So far, 21 pros are expected at this year’s Congress!
The pros are involved in many activities through the week. You can attend professional lectures during the afternoon and evening, play against a professional during one of the many simultaneous games in the afternoon after the US Open rounds, have your game reviewed in a small group session or hang around and chat with pros at mealtime. A few have been known to turn up at late night card games. Pros will also be involved in special events, like commenting on a key final game or, new this year, playing a demonstration game against an amateur.
A highlight for players of all levels is the review of your tournament games by a professional. These reviews are divided up by rank, so if you are a dan player, the professionals will focus on advanced topics while for kyu players, they will target the basics. You can watch and learn from another reviewee’s pride or pain before going up to the demo board yourself and finding out what actually happened to your stones during your own game. Larson encourages attendees to not be shy about approaching pros. “If you have a question, and see a professional player, ask! They often will just grab a board and give you an answer.” While some attendees will pay for group or individual lessons, all of the above activities are included in the cost of your registration. The US Go Congress is one of a very few events in the go world with so much pro training opportunity.
Below is a list of the professionals who have currently confirmed to attend the 2015 Us Go Congress.
Among pros currently based in the US we have:
Former women’s world champion and leading teacher, Feng Yun 9P.
The Korea Baduk Association’s Go Ambassador to the US, Myungwan Kim 9P.
Mingjiu Jiang 7P, who has been the North American representative in multiple international tournaments and teacher in the Bay Area for more than 25 years.
Yilun Yang 7P, author of many books, including “Fundamental Principles of Go,” and a revered teacher who does annual workshops across the country.
Jennie Shen 2P from Santa Barbara, gives individual lectures, group lessons, and audio lectures on KGS.
Stephanie Yin 1P studied under Nie Weiping 9P and Yu Bing 9P and has placed first in multiple tournaments.
Andy Liu 1P is one of the first AGA professionals.
Shirley Lin 1P taught Go at Nanjing University and is a previous US Open Champion.
Cathy Li 1P coached the Canadian team in the 1st World Mind Sports Games.
Professional delegates from foreign go organizations include:
Wang Qun 8P (China)
Wang Yuanjyun 7P (Taiwan)
Na Jonghoon 7P (Korea)
Maeda Ryo 6P (Japan)has been a popular lecturer at previous US Go Congresses.
Hajin Lee 3P (Korea) well-known for her go videos on YouTube and currently secretary general of the International Go Federation.
Murakami Akihide 3P (Japan)
Koyo Hoshikawa 3P (Japan)
Cao Youyin 3P (China)
Feng Yun 9p teaching at the 2014 Go Congress
Update: Wang Qun 8P ‘s name has been corrected (our original post had it as Wan Qun 8P).
With less than 50 miles to go to complete his 200-mile walk along the Pembrokeshire Coast Path in Wales, E-Journal Managing Editor Chris Garlock reports “there’s just $139 left to go to raise $2,500 for the fabulous work of the American Go Foundation!” Click here to support the AGF, and check out Garlock’s Facebook page (Christopher Garlock) for daily posts about the walk. “It’s been a great adventure made even better knowing so many folks are helping grow go in the U.S.,” says Garlock. “Thanks so much!” Garlock braving the Welsh rain on the Path late last week; photo by Lisa Garlock
(or what I learned during my two-year vacation from playing games) by Janice Kim 3P
Humans are not randomizers, they require computers, or cards, and even those require perfect input for true randomization. A good watch with a sweeping second hand can take care of a lot in poker. If you develop the strategy of eyes going to your watch, as if you’re the smartest Princess Bride in the world poisoning a cup, basing your actions entirely on the position of a watch hand on the dial, you will be about as random as humans get. I look pretty much like Lee Chang-ho would playing poker, a Stone Buddha in a skirt and heels, a non-sentient target no more than a table’s-length away, which is why it is oh-so-perfect.
Of course this is only truly useful if you are not looking at your cards at all, so as not to introduce the possibility of fear in yourself, and playing against the best cash players in the world, and aren’t an actual threat to the way of life to wealthy and powerful, testosterone-enhanced, actively aggressive people. And then you have to have enough chips neatly stacked in front of you, or maybe with one almost toppling over, to enrage enough or entice enough to engage enough to get any play. The buy-in on such where-are-you-on-the-guest-list events is steep if you aren’t backed.
You have to modify by close observation which perimeters to change, and how, when playing poker in all other situations. The lipstick camera in televised events, for example, lets the audience play along, and makes you look insane, or insanely driven for a spotlight. If you unfocus your eyes, it’s just possible to look like you’re looking without actually seeing your cards exactly, but the whole thing is too complex to deal with rationally, and I’m not color-blind.
There’s no doubt to me that poker is as complex as go, or at least, that if you have a game with simple enough rules, you get games of the most complexity. In poker, there are only five things you can do, after all: check, call, bet, raise, fold. Eighty percent of the time in ring games for the most part you should fold, and that is only when it’s your turn and you don’t have sente. For the other 20% of the time you can only do one of two of the other things, depending on whether you have sente or not. It’s harder to say than to do, and it’s not that hard to say, although some people say it more clearly than others. I’m like the Yoda of the poker world, but I wish I was the Yoda of the go world.
That reminds me of the coin again. In poker, gote has the value that sente has in go. There’s the secret. If you’d like to start a dialectic on these subjects, you can send me 1% of your game earnings later, if you choose to play for a time and find this information of practical value, or just send me a note. Yoda has no pockets, or any need for them. Yoda desires kind friends. If you read this last bit in a Yoda-voice, it is to write me immediately, please, good idea, I think. Yes. I have some letters, here somewhere, did I mention I have no pockets? I have this computer box though, hitting it with a stick I sometimes do.
No doubt poker is obscenely lucrative if you want to have fundamentally no fun or interest in what you are doing, but sleeping on a pile of greenbacks is fun or interesting for less than five minutes, and impossible after that no matter how tired you are. I can personally guarantee you of this, having on the occasion of one of my biggest wins, missing my daughter’s second birthday it was, finding out that without one of the regular’s secret boxes at the Bellagio, all cash comes cold and hard and lumpy, to be dumped on the bedspread before you collapse on it as well from not sleeping for 38 hours straight. You can get it in conveniently-sized flags and cranberries, colored wafers in $5,000 and $25,000 denominations, if you are prepared to carry and possibly lose non-traceable poker chips in a casino filled with people, kill you for them they would. Cash in a duffel bag is safer, using the force all around you. Even revealing this information will have me marked by the dark side. I found it was better to ask myself in the end why I wanted to negate myself, or if by way of another poorly-scaled analogy, if omniscience, if wise, requires dice to play with the universe. So much for poker.
Since I’m not able to memorize everything, a feat that puts the memorizing of the first 10,000 digits of pi in a little perspective, it’s lucky that my pattern recognition skills and ability to analogize seem built in to my brain, more or less, so I can play go. Of course it helps to be able to read, and to count, accurately. These do not appear to be built in to my brain, and required 10,000 hours of practice for me to be able to read well, and about a quarter of that amount of time to count to ~60 (fractions still throw me a little).
Of course I’ll never know everything, and know only the first six digits of pi (I know more digits of the transcendental number e, but no one has ever stopped me to congratulate me on my license plate, or could understand why I would pay $79 a year for an apparently random one, until now. See, I get a lot of writing). I figure being able to know very little, what I can do is try to prepare myself, and hope for the best. My chances appear random, but I suspect I’ll be a surprise ringer in the coming zombie apocalypse. I love game players, go players most of all. Who am I? I have achieved every award in Plants vs. Zombies, that is not easy, especially for someone in my position.
Chess is more than enough for my brain, but the board is much smaller and the pieces are all differently weighted, so I don’t find it my perfect analogy. Sorry chess guys who can kick me up and down the street in chess that I enjoy playing to the extent I have any idea what I’m doing, and probably also in go and poker for that matter, with any practice. Not clear if I still rule the wasteland in Plants vs. Zombies, but I am kind of old-school, does anyone even play that anymore, even in secret? That’s all that I have on chess, and, also, my kids played in a chess tournament, and my little daughter wanted to play too although she didn’t know how exactly. She gamely finished all the rounds, and they gave her a trophy too, to her tears of relief. As far as I could tell, the trophy was for being the youngest player to finish all her games that day, without actually knowing how to play chess. I wanted to take names and meet them in the darkening parking lot.
But I digress a little, and ramble on a lot. All true games are exciting and fun, and can keep kids entertained in ways that have educational value, more or less. I wouldn’t get all didactic and insist on one game over another, I say let kids play what they want, while remembering, safety first, and urgent before big. You need a way to live, two eyes at least, or otherwise a way to connect, or escape. Escape I did, for two long, long years.
Top pro Yuan-Jun Wang 7p will visit and teach at the US Go Congress as part of the first delegation in many years from the Taiwan Chiyuan, the organization of Taiwanese professional players, AGA president Andy Okun told the E-Journal. The 19-year-old star has been a pro since 2007, winning a number of titles over the years including the Haifeng Cup Professional Championship , the East Steel Cup and the Guests Cup. He has also been runner-up in the Acer Cup and Siyuan Cup and represented Taiwan in the SportAccord World Mind Games three times. Also visiting will be Taiwan Chiyuan Secretary General, Yi-Ching Lu. Ms. Lu is, coincidentally, Mr. Wang’s mother. “Taiwanese players have been growing in stature and the Taiwan go scene, amateur and pro, is active and vibrant,” Okun said. “This will be a good chance for our go enthusiasts to establish links with another important part of the go world.”
The Nihon Ki-In is inviting participants of their summer go camp to the first game of the 40th Meijin title match, which will be held in Tokyo on September 3rd. The defending title holder is Iyama Yuta. The participants will visit the venue, a five-star luxury hotel, and will be able to enter the room and watch the first couple of moves, up close by the players.
Special prizes will be given to the top three players of the league tournament at the go camp, in both dan and kyu brackets, including the Complete Works of Honinbo Shusai, which is out print and would be worth at least 500 USD. The game collection includes Honinbo Shuei (Meijin), Karigane Junichi and Go Seigen. A special fan will be also given to the top three players of each league tournament including Go Seigen’s 100 year birthday and the Nihon Ki-in’s 90th Anniversary fan signed by Honorary professionals (Cho Chikun, Kobayashi Koichi, Otake Hideo, Rin Kaiho and Ishida Shuho). All participants will be presented with a folding fan including autographs of Iyama Yuta, Cho U, Otake Hideo, Rin Kaiho, Cho Chikun, Kobayashi Koichi, Ishida Shuho, Takemiya Masaki, Yoda Norimoto, Go Seigen, Fujisawa Shuko, and Sakata Eio. For registration, please visit the official website of the Nihon Ki-In Summer Go Camp 2015. Address all inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org
David Gosset, Director of the Academia Sinica Europaea, published an in-depth look at go in The World Post, on April 3rd. “For centuries, literati have been fascinated by the contrast between the extreme simplicity of the rules and the almost infinite combinations allowed by their execution,” writes Gosset. To read the full article, click here. -Thanks to Teddy Joe for the link.
This Sunday in Los Angeles, Myungwan Kim 9p will give the first of what are planned to be monthly teaching events at Gunho Choi’s LA Go Club on Western Avenue, aimed at bringing together players from LA’s large Korean community and from the wider go community. From 10 a.m. to 11 a.m., he will give a lecture in English for dan and high-kyu strength players. From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., he will play simuls with up to 10 players, with free play from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. The fee is $20 for those who take part in the simuls, free for others. Please sign up beforehand by e-mail to email@example.com if you want to play a simul. LA Go Club, 1144 S. Western Ave., #208, Los Angeles, CA 90006.
STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) curricula training by Georgette Yakman brings her into schools across the country, where she introduces go as part of her plans. “This admin and these teachers were excited by go, and tweeted about me teaching it to them recently,” says Yakman, “We hope to try and put it in all 8 middle school programs in Tuscaloosa County Schools this coming year.” Check out the tweet, with pics, here.
Tongzhou Cai wins Scottish in Glasgow: The third consecutive Scottish Open in Glasgow, and the second sponsored by the local Confucius Institute, saw 23 different players converge on Glasgow University.