One of the biggest go tournaments on the East Coast is taking place this weekend. The New Jersey Open will be held in Princeton, NJ Saturday February 28 and Sunday March 1st. Registration run from 9-10a at the Frist Campus Center, Princeton University, located at the corner of Washington Road and Ivy Lane. You must be there by 10a to be paired in the first round. $38 for full tournament; $28 youth rate under age 23; $25 Sat. only / $20 Sun. only ($20/$15 under-23). Free to Princeton University students with ID. Cell phones don’t work at the site, but if you’re lost or late, call 609-851-6351 during the last half hour of registration. Info: email@example.com.
photo: TD Paul Matthews at the 2014 NJO; photo by John Pinkerton
Yilun Yang came to the Seattle Go Center for his yearly workshop last weekend, Feb. 21 and 22. There were 13 participants, ranging from 12 kyu to 2 dan; a mixture of new students and old friends. Mr. Yang has been teaching these workshops in Seattle since 2001, and he has fine-tuned his mixture of lectures on theory, reviews of games played by students, and go problems. He recommends that kyu players do go problems to improve, rather than studying professional games. This year, students worked on his go problems throughout the workshop, but still there were very few perfect scores at the end of Sunday.
We had beautiful sunny spring weather during the workshop, with early flowers in full bloom, and we were glad to show Mr. Yang that Seattle is not always cloudy in February. Photo caption: Now that the young man is playing white, it is harder to make territory. – - photo/report by Brian Allen
Kids in Portland, OR, competed for candy in a Chess and Go Tourney, held at Taborspace, on Feb. 22nd, reports Peter Freedman. Four elementary schools, Roseland Heights, Richmond, Irvington, and Beverly Cleary, sent a total of 24 kids. Tommy Boyd Flynn, of Beverly Cleary took the first place trophy in the Go tournament, winning all four games. In a play-off for second place, Olin Waxler, also from Beverly Cleary, defeated Kieran Cronin, of Irvington. Both had 3-1 records. Fourth place was taken by Emmett Mayer with a 3-1 record, one of his wins being a bye. Games were played on 13×13 boards. “All the children were either unranked or double digit kyu players,’ adds Freedman, “kudos to Elsa Warner, the only female go player, and to Ai Rose Solomon, the only female chess player.” The top three places in the chess tournament were all taken by Irvington players: Ansel Wallace, 1st, Mason Buchanan, 2nd, and Leo Frankunas, 3rd. Each Go player received a packet of black and white M&M’s, and each chess player received a chocolate king or queen. -Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor
“Researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) Media Lab are trying to turn chess into a spectator sport like American football or poker,” reports the BBC. “The group wants to make the game more accessible to the uninitiated, by presenting complex information on matches in a simple, visually appealing way and give an expert insight into the state of a game.” “Can’t we do this as well?” wonders EJ reader David Matson, who sent this along.
by John Power, EJ Japan Correspondent
Ida loses sole lead in Honinbo League: Ida Atsushi 8P (right) seemed to be heading inexorably for a rematch with Iyama Yuta Honinbo, but he finally stumbled in the fifth round of the 70th Honinbo League. In a game played on February 19, Kono Rin 9P (W) beat him by resignation. Ida’s loss means that Yamashita Keigo 9P pulls even with him on 4-1; we might see another play-off between these two. Cho U 9P and Kono, both on 3-2, are also in contention. In another game played on the same day, Yo Seiki 7P picked up his second win when he beat Ryu Shikun 9P; playing white, he forced a resignation. Yo improves to 2-3 and has an outside chance of keeping his league place. Ryu and Takao Shinji 9P, both on 1-4, have lost their places.
Yamashita keeps his Kisei challenge alive: Yamashita Keigo (left) finally picked up his first win in the 39th Kisei title match and survived his first kadoban (a game that can lose a series). The fourth game was held at the Zagyoso. The Zagyoso (which literally means ‘fishing-while-seated-villa’) was the retirement villa of a famous statesman, Saionji Kinmochi, who led the Japanese delegation at the Versailles peace conference; it was moved from its original location in Shizuoka to Meiji Village, a theme park in Inuyama City in Aichi Prefecture that recreates traditional Japanese buildings. The game was played on February 19 and 20. Iyama (White) took the lead in the middle game when Yamashita made a misreading about a life-and-death position. His group didn’t die, but he had to add an extra stone and so fell behind. However, Iyama slipped up with an oversight of his own when he tried to wrap up the game. Yamashita played a brilliant atekomi tesuji and pulled off an upset. He won by 2.5 points after 224 moves. Yamashita will be greatly encouraged by this win, but, on 1-3, he is still in a tough position. The fifth game, to be played on February 25 and 26, will show whether he has really changed the flow of the match.
To 2-dan: Komatsu Daiki (30 wins). Komatsu is the son of Komatsu Hideki 9P and Komatsu Hideko 4P. The promotion took effect on the 17th.
Life-Lessons of Go: “If life is a game of go. I wish I (could) place my first move again.” (Go Spotting: “Go Stone” Tweet 2/22 EJ) “And that is the life-lesson of go,” writes Terry Benson. “We don’t get to play our first stone again. As in sports, we have to ‘suck it up’ and look for the next best move with our mistakes glaringly in full view. Go ‘is’ life.”
Did Go Save Edward Lasker’s Life? “What I find most remarkable about Lasker’s story (Go Spotting: Lasker’s “Chess Secrets I learned from the Masters” 2/23 EJ) is that one can argue that go saved Lasker’s life,” writes Vernon Leighton. “Out of college, Lasker worked for a multinational German corporation. He wanted to be transferred to the Japan unit so that he could study go. His company said that he had to be fluent in English to work in Japan. He got a transfer to England to work on his English. WWI broke out and he was jailed as an enemy national. He was transferred to the United States, where he settled and lived the rest of his life. Had he not been in England, he might have been drafted into the German army and killed in a trench in France. Therefore, go may have saved his life.”
photo from LIFE Magazine 18 May 1942
The 2015 edition of the Iwamoto Awards has gone global. “Thanks to internet and social media, the world has become smaller, so we think it is time to invite people on a global scale to submit go promotion projects,” says Harry van der Krogt of the European Go Centre, which organizes the awards, supported by the European Go Federation and the Nihon Ki-in. “So many people are trying so many things these days,” says AGA president Andy Okun, who’s serving on the awards jury. “I think it is great we are giving them rewards, encouragement and incentives to keep to at it.” Now called the World Wide Iwamoto Awards, the contest – with €2,000 in prizes — is named in honor of Iwamoto Kaoru, who devoted much of his career to promoting go around the world. The goal is to motivate go players “to think about how go can be promoted,” organizers say, so that “through the gathering and exchange of ideas it can lead to a higher quality of popularization of go all over the world.” A top prize of €1,000 will be awarded, and two “encouragement” prizes of €500 each will also be awarded; click here to see examples of previous winners. Deadline for submitting proposals is June 1, 2015; click here for criteria/rules and to apply online.
The 2014 American Go Foundation College Scholarship winners are Amy Su of Bridgewater, New Jersey and Leon Lei of Bardonia, New York, AGF President Terry Benson announced. “We had nine applicants this year, more than ever, and all of them worthy candidates,” Benson said. “For the first time, students included school-related assignments as part of their applications; one winner’s paper was favorably received at a regional competition. Another applicant tried to measure the impact of go instruction on school performance. It’s great to see students exploring the mathematical, psychological and other intricacies of go in their schoolwork.”
The AGF awards two scholarships of $1000 each year to ” high school students who have served as important youth organizers and promoters for the Go community,” according to the AGF website. College-bound US citizens are encouraged to apply in the fall by submitting an application form and an essay; the scholarships are awarded in November.
Amy Su 5D of Bridgewater NJ was already an experienced tournament competitor when at age 12 she “decided to change my relationship with go. Instead of playing for my own satisfaction, I chose to devote my time to teaching others about the game, to give them a chance to discover the art, and for me to pass on my enthusiasm for the game. I learned to teach by watching my mother [Feng Yun 9P] teach at her go school.” After starting go classes in two different Chinese schools, Amy became active in The American Go Honor Society, where she is now serving as Promotion Head. “Teaching Go [has] given me leadership, mentoring, and speaking skills,” Amy wrote in her essay. “It taught me patience, and how to encourage others to learn. As a student, it taught me how to think and use logic. It changed me as a thinker, a dreamer, an artist.”
Leon Lei 10K learned go at the The Huaxia Chinese School in White Plains, NY from Ms. Tang Jie 4D. After bitterly grieving his early losses, Leon “realized that much more can be gained from a lost game than an excess pile of teardrops,” going on to win his school’s tournament two years in a row. ” When he graduated from Chinese school, which had grown to more than 40 students, he stayed on as an assistant teacher, while also starting a club at his high school. He also submitted a paper, “Go and Mathematics”, to The Greater New York Math Fair, where it gained entry into the second round of competition. Leon explored the question of how to calculate the number of possible go games, noting that it is far larger than commonly thought. Many calculations only consider the number of possible arrangements of stones on the board, but he noted that the stones can also appear in any order; any single ending position accounts for thousands of possible games. Leon’s paper and other school-friendly resources are available on the AGF’s Lesson Plan Cooperative.
The AGF College Scholarship recognizes high school students who have served as important youth organizers and promoters for the Go community. Juniors and seniors who plan to attend college and believe they meet the criteria are encouraged to apply by November 1 of each year. Scholarships may be awarded to one male and one female applicant based on merit. “If we continue receiving so many applications of such high quality, we may need to increase the budget for scholarships,” Benson said. — reprinted from SENSEI: The American Go Foundation Newsletter. Click here to read other issues of Sensei. Subscribe for free at the bottom of this page.
“When I was reading the book ‘Chess Secrets I learned from the Masters,’ Edward Lasker’s semi-autobiographical book, I found that weiqi/go is mentioned in the introduction and in the middle of the book,” writes Xinming Simon Guo. “To my surprise, his go story covers two and half pages in the 6-page introduction.” Lasker and a friend had learned go’s rules from a magazine. “To our amusement, the game was called a ‘competitor’ of chess,” Lasker writes. “But on closer examination we found the statement was well-founded, and we played Go at the slightest provocation.”
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Hinoki Press founder Chris Greene died last Friday. Greene, who had cancer, died at home in Libertyville, Illinois. He is survived by his wife, Vicky, and his daughters, Melissa and Elizabeth. “I was lucky enough to work with Chris doing a little copy editing on some of Hinoki’s books, and found him to be a gentleman and a friend to the go community,” said AGA president Andy Okun. “The books he published represent a lasting contribution to the game and its enjoyment.”
A long-time go player, Greene started the go book publishing company in 2006 after retiring from his career as a programmer and published 18 go books before selling it late last year to Go Game Guru (Go Game Guru Buys Hinoki Press, Will Keep Titles in Print 11/12/2014 EJ). “Chris made an immense contribution to the body of English language go literature in a relatively short time,” said Go Game Guru’s David Ormerod. “He was incredibly modest about his achievements and stoic about his illness. When I last spoke to him, on Thursday, he was primarily concerned that the material that he’d worked hard to have translated and published in English remain available to future generations of go players. His motto for Hinoki Press was, ‘always carry a go book in your hand.’ We will miss our friend and fellow go player and will do everything we can to honor his wishes.”
After a long period of low attendance, things are looking up for the Evanston Go Club. “The new location has sparked a lot of interest” says clubpresident Mark Rubenstein. “We started meeting at the new Starbucks in downtown Evanston (IL), and the response has been fantastic. Customers are showing an interest in the game, and we’re teaching more beginners than ever! This week I was setting up a board and stones at an empty table. I went to get my opponent, and when I returned I saw that two college students had sat down at the board and started playing Go Moku. They didn’t even know about the club!” Check out the club’s website for more information.
photo by Mark Rubenstein
The E-Journal is seeking a new European go news editor. Current European go news editor Annalia Linnan is taking a well-deserved break after two years of consistently excellent work. The volunteer position is responsible for editing reports from EuroGoTV and other sources; editing experience is helpful but not required. Those interested may email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Register by February 28 and you’ll save 5000 yen (about $40) on Maeda Ryo 6P’s 3-week intensive go camp in Osaka, which runs June 28 through July 18. Osaka Go Camp activities include intensive training by Kansai Kiin professionals, the opportunity to play go at the Kiin with professionals, play against top amateurs and former inseis, as well as sightseeing, cultural trips and making new go friends. The camp is sponsored by Kansai Kiin and the Osaka University of Commerce. Email Osaka.email@example.com for more info or to reserve your space.
Tim Kington, a software engineer at Fog Creek Software and 2-dan amateur go player, talks about go, Artificial Intelligence and attempts to create computer programs that can beat human players in “Go and Artificial Intelligence – Tech Talk,” produced for his Fog Creek colleagues. Kington gives an overview of go, explains how to play it and why go AI is hard. He finishes by describing the progress so far with go AI programs and what the future is likely to hold. The post includes a handy guide to the talk’s content and timing so viewers can jump to the area of interest, as well as a written transcript.
“On your site, you’ve posted a poem about go by Jorge Luis Borges, and asked about his connection to the game (Go Spotting: Jorge Luis Borges on “the astrological game of Go” 10/1/2012 EJ),” writes Scott Enderle. “I am not currently aware of any direct connection, but I think it’s worth mentioning that Borges’ writings explored the idea of combinatorial explosion more deeply than perhaps any literary writer before or since. His story The Library of Babel is a particularly notable example — there’s a fairly recent book about the mathematics behind it, William Goldbloom Bloch’s The Unimaginable Mathematics of Borges’ Library of Babel (click here for a review). So the connection as I see it is more conceptual than historical. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that Borges never actually played the game, but I imagine that he was immediately able to intuit some vague sense of its beauty because of his fascination with other sources of combinatorial complexity.”
The Go Blog @thegoblognet recently tweeted some stills from the Korean go film “The Stone” (Go Spotting: New Korean Movie “The Stone” 11/28/2013 EJ). #baduk #weiqi #igo #囲碁 #바둑 #围棋 #gogame #moviestills ift.tt/1C98g3g .
1st US Go Congress, Not: “The group photo said to be of the 1st Go Congress in 1985 is not (Go Filmmakers Looking for US Go Congress Photos, Videos 2/16),” writes Michael Bull. “That photo predates the Congress and was taken in San Francisco, CA at one of the last of the East Coast/West Coast championships. The long time manager of the SF Go Club Shinji Dote is seated in the front and he never attended a US Go Congress, (he was unable to attend the 1999 Congress in SF because of poor health). The photo was taken by a SF Go Club regular known only as St. Clair.”
The American Go Honor Society has announced the 2015 School Team Tournament (STT) will be held March 28 and April 4. “The STT is our annual flagship tournament, played in the classic Hikaru no Go team style where each school sends three representatives to compete against other schools,” said AGHS Co-President Hugh Zhang. All matches will be played online, and schools from Canada, the US, and Mexico are all invited. As a new top prize this year, the American Go Foundation is offering full scholarships (tuition + room/board) to the AGA Summer Go Camp. All three members of the top dan and top kyu team will win the scholarships. Prizes will also be awarded in the other divisions, including $75 cash for first place, $50 for 2nd, and $25 for 3rd, as well as medals, and the stylish new AGHS T-Shirt pictured at right. This year’s tournament will be held on March 28 and April 4. To register, fill out the form here, by March 20. More information may be found on the AGHS website. -Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor.