The San Diego Go Club manned a go booth on May 8 at the 9th Annual Cherry Blossom Festival at the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park. “On a perfect San Diego sunny spring day in the 70’s,thousands crowded into the expanded garden,” reports club president Ted Terpstra. The club introduced go to the passersby and played demonstration games. Comments ranged from “What is that interesting game?” to “You play go in America! I am a Chinese level four player.” Several new members were signed up for the club.
Turns out the board position in episode 22 of Teen Wolf (EJ 3-12-14) is from a real game. “I had the pleasure of setting up the go board for this scene, and I got paid for it too,” reports 2012 AGF Teacher of the Year Joe Walters. “The empty triangle is a real move. The game was between Michael Redmond 9P and Chino Tadahiko 9P on March 15, 2012, in the B section of the Meijin. I set the game up for the scene sometime before Xmas last year, they provided the board and stones. I did it on the floor in the room where they shot the scene, but not on the tree stump where they used it in the final scene. Someone took pictures of the board, and they duplicated the setup when they shot the scene later on. They just wanted a game that looked real, so I selected that one because it was by an American 9 dan pro and had only a few moves,” said Walters.
The game itself had been offered as a commented record by Michael Redmond, and appeared in the members edition of the E-Journal. “The empty triangle, white 140, was just a normal endgame move,” Redmond tells the E-Journal. “Although good shape is advantageous even in the endgame, correct reading and calculation becomes much more important and as the board becomes crowded with stones, so-called ‘bad shapes’ become more likely and can often be the correct move, as in this case. Looking for good shape in this game, I would have chosen black 97 because, although I say it myself, it was an inspired and well-calculated move with which I forced the sequence that secured my win.” The timing in the episode of Teen Wolf is pretty good, as white actually resigns the move after the empty triangle, which coincides with Stiles sweeping the stones off the board, and also means the Nogitsune was playing Redmond’s moves. “I am glad to know that my games are getting this extra chance to be viewed by a non-playing audience,” adds Redmond. “It is great that go is now being used more in movies and other such media, and it is always exciting to see that reported in the AGA E-Journal.” This week, as a special bonus for non-members, the E-J is providing Redmond’s commentary on his game record. If you would like to receive exciting games like this in your e-mail every week, join the AGA as a full member here. -Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor
If you’ve been a subscriber to the Members’ Edition of the E-Journal, you’ve probably seen the occasional feature, “Lessons with Kaz.” I always liked the style of these features, how Kazunari Furuyama (right) often suggests different moves for players of different abilities, or rates the severity of mistakes by assigning a dollar level to them, so I recently began taking lessons from him online.
Kaz’s teaching methods appeal to me as an adult player, because he understands that the adult mind learns differently than that of younger players. This is not to say that adults don’t have the same potential to improve, and Kaz has seen many of his adult students progress from mid-kyu to dan level under his tutelage.
For the first lesson, Kaz has his students submit 11 games for review, 10 that he looks through to get a sense of the player’s strengths, weaknesses and habits, and then a game which he reviews with extensive commentary and variations. Accompanying this review is a set of 25-30 problems. Sometimes in place of some of the problems, Kaz will send a group of related problems that explain a concept in great detail. An example of this would be Kaz’s “Peeps” or the “On Fighting” series that have been recently featured in the E-Journal. For subsequent lessons, Kaz asks that students continue to send recent games, so he can keep track of the student’s tendencies and address any issues that come up.
This is precisely the kind of instruction that appeals to me. I have a shelf (and now IPad) full of go books that — with the exception of a few recent books — always seem to be over my head after a few pages; I feel they are often geared to professional players who don’t make kyu-level mistakes, and feature commentary that leaves me scratching my head. Instead, Kaz stresses basic, strong shapes that have broad application throughout the game, and repetition in various configurations that really allows the concepts to sink in. He avoids complicated josekis, choosing simpler ones that also teach good shape and tesuji, and have broad application throughout the game.
Since starting lessons with Kaz, I have felt more in control of my games, able to remain calm and play moves that I knew were solid, as well as take advantage of opponent’s mistakes, particularly in 3-3 corner invasions. This allows me to spend more time thinking about other aspects of my playing, and has greatly increased my enjoyment and fascination with this game that seems to be taking over my life.
- Steve Berthiaume is a 15-kyu who plays at the Milford Go Club in Milford, Massachusetts. Email email@example.com for details on studying with Kaz. photo by John Pinkerton