American Go E-Journal » 2018 » July

2018 U.S. Go Congress volunteer acknowledgements

Tuesday July 31, 2018

By Nate Eagle and Diego Pierrottet2018.07.31-eagle=khalsa-okun-diego

Being co-directors of the 34th annual U.S. Go Congress is the biggest, hardest thing we’ve ever done, and the generosity of attendees in encouraging us has been tremendously meaningful. But the thing we feel, more than anything, is immense gratitude toward the huge team of volunteers, from our core team to all the people who showed up out of nowhere, ready to work, who made the event possible.

Anchoring our core team were Gary Smith, the registrar who made it all possible, Gurujeet Khalsa, whose creation of the first-ever official Go Congress app was such a huge success, Todd Heidenreich, the treasurer who also served as a font of institutional knowledge throughout the week, and I-Han Lui, who managed the pro schedule and was vital with many details of Congress operations.

We are also particularly proud of the National Go Center regulars who played big roles this year: Nathan Epstein, who, working with Xiaocheng (Stephen) Hu on broadcast, took the tech operations of the Congress and the E-Journal team (managed as usual by Chris Garlock; look for his Congress EJ team acknowledgements tomorrow) to new heights, Joel Cahalan, who provided vital Ruby on Rails experience to craft the first-ever SMS pairing notification system, which will now be passed to future Congresses, and Eli Ferster, the assistant registrar who could handle anything.

Daniel Zhao helped in dozens of vital ways throughout the week. Doug Wilkinson (left) poured sweat and, on at least one occasion, blood into the incredibly difficult task of managing the Congress’s substantial equipment needs. It was also Daniel and Doug’s first Congress!

2018.07.31 WilkinsonAndrew Hall performed amazingly in his first year directing the U.S. Open, and his assistant TD, Dan Ritter, was up early every single morning or the last to leave at nights, making sure that players had ready clocks and orderly tables to waiting for them. Josh Lee directed a tremendously exciting U.S. Masters tournament in his first outing. Big thanks to tournament directors Steve Colburn, Keith Arnold, Peter Schumer, Andy Olsen, Lisa Scott, Jim Hlavka, Neil Ritter, Justin Teng, Terry Benson and Todd Heidenreich. And a particular thanks to Greg Kulevich, director of the Seniors Tournament, who worked hard this week, giving up most of his own Congress experience to make one of the biggest tournaments of the Congress a success. Thanks to our excellent translators, Jonathan Hop and Satoru Inoue. Huge thanks to Devin Fraze, who ran the wonderful youth room, and Paul Barchilon, to whom Devin passed the baton at the end.

Thanks to James Pinkerton, Qucheng Gong, and to Facebook, for bringing OpenGo to the American Go community this year: over 66 players got the chance to personally play and learn from the strongest open-source Go AI in the world, and over 10,000 people got to tune in and watch Andy Liu and Ryan Li play Pair Go with OpenGo as a teammate. (It was a particular honor for Nate to get to be one of the hands of OpenGo as Andy’s partner.) And thanks to the volunteers who made the simuls possible by serving as the eyes and hands of OpenGo, which was not an easy job: it required multiple hours of back-straining, brain-draining effort. You did great.

Thanks to the people who showed up early on Friday to help us get everything set up and to help on registration morning, 2018.07.31_josh-lee teachesamong them Chris Kirschner, Marianne Palhamous, Lee Schumacher, John Grenier, Ted Terpstra, Mark Nahabedian, Wayne Nelson, Keith Arnold, Patrick Bannister, Kristal Soo, and so many more. Particular thanks to Neil and Dan Ritter, who assembled the two giant monitors that became the center of the Congress experience, and then disassembled them again so they can travel to next year’s Congress in Madison.

Thanks to Lisa Scott for managing the AGA meetings and for working to bring us the first year with an official Code of Conduct, a hugely valuable tool for making the Congress a welcoming place for everyone.

Thanks to the front-desk staff at William and Mary—all students—who handled the largest group they’d ever had come through with kindness, patience, and helpfulness.

We will have inevitably missed people—please know that no matter what it was, your contribution toward making Congress happen was essential and appreciated. Thank you, and we hope to see everyone next year in Madison!

photos: top right: Nate Eagle (left) and Diego Pierrottet (right) with the National Go Center’s Gurujeet Khalsa (second from left) and AGA president Andy Okun (second from right), photo by Phil Straus; bottom left: Doug Wilkinson, Equipment Manager and first-time Congress attendee, photo by Nate Eagle; bottom right: Masters TD Josh Lee teaching go.



US Go Congress social feed photos posted to AGA Facebook page

Tuesday July 31, 2018

The photos posted to the 2018 US Go Congress app’s social feed — one of the app’s most popular features — have now been2018.07.30 Congress social album posted to the AGA’s Facebook page. E-Journal reporter Julie Burrall will also be transferring the photo captions over the next few days; help spread the word by tagging folks you know. EJ photographer Phil Straus is adding more photos to his 2018 Go Congress album, and we’ve posted an album of photos from the 2018 Pandanet City League finals, where you can also tag folks.


Tim Song upsets Ahn Dalhoon to win 2018 US Open Masters; Tianyi Chen wins top section of US Open

Saturday July 28, 2018

Tim Song 1P snatched the US Open Masters title from Ahn Dalhoon 9P, defeating the Korean professional in the ninth and 2018.07.28_brandon-zhoufinal2018.07.28-Song-Zirui(Tim) round by resignation in a thrilling game watched by hundreds on Twitch and KGS. Tianyi Chen won the top section of the US Open (click here for the official final standings), and in an interesting wrinkle, 15-year-old Brandon Zhou 5d (right) went 6-0 to top the 5-dan division, defeating three 6-dans, including 6-dan division winner Tianyi Chen.
Commentator Yilun Yang 7P’s assessment in the Masters final was that Ahn had a good position until he ran into time trouble in the late middle game, but AI analysis indicated that Song had an advantage from fairly early in the game. Either way, Song (left), a young Chinese pro who now lives in the US, relentlessly pressured Ahn until, with the last few seconds ticking away in his final byo yomi – and with two weak groups at stake, he turned off the clock in acknowledgement of his defeat. “I’m really impressed with way 2018.07.28-Ahn-Song-Cupthe field has developed in recent years,” said AGA president Andy Okun. “It bodes very well for the future of American go.” The upset was not the only one of the day. On board 2, Chinese pro Ding Wei 9P fell to Michael Chen 7d, also losing by resignation. The losses by the two top professionals threw the results into tiebreaks; both Ahn and Song were 7-2, but Song prevailed by a single SOS point. Song is the title winner, but because they had the same win/loss records, they’ll split the $7,500 first and second place prize money evenly. Four players had 6-3 records, and Ding Wei won the third place trophy on SOS; Andy Liu, Ryan Li and Michael Chen are the runners-up. Latest Masters crosstab here.
– report by Chris Garlock and Dennis Wheeler; photos by Garlock
7/29: updated with link to official final US Open standings


US Open Masters comes down to final round

Friday July 27, 2018

Dalhoon Ahn has a firm but not quite final grip on this year’s US Open Masters trophy, after winning both rounds on Friday and2018.07.28 US Open division leaders-updated 2018.07.27 Round 7 mastersimproving his record to 7-1. With two players with 6-2 records nipping at his heels — Wei Ding, Zirui Song — and one final round to go, the outcome is still to be determined Saturday morning in Round 9. Check the latest results on the US Open Masters crosstab. See the chart at right for the division leaders in the US Open, which also has one more round to go Saturday morning; click here for the US Open crosstab. Watch top boards in the Masters live on KGS and Twitch (Friday night’s coverage attracted more than 12,000 viewers) starting at 9a EDT and check out this week’s videos on YouTube.
– report/photo by Chris Garlock; Wei Ding (left) playing Dalhoon Ahn in Round 7 Friday morning. Chart by Matthew Burrall


Who Run the World?

Friday July 27, 2018

The AGA Girls Cup and Women’s Tournament provide space at the annual US Go Congress for female go players to meet one2018.07.28_womens-cup another and to further develop and maintain a larger community of go players. In a historically male-majority event, it is motivating to see how women can inspire other women to attend the Go Congress and Congress events through friendly competition. By promoting the U.S. Go Congress as a place for women to study go and compete, the hope is that there will continue to be an 2018.07.28_girls-cupincrease in the number of women attendees and strong female competitors.

There was an interesting start to the tie-break game between Melissa Cao and Tina Li in the Girls Cup (left). Knowing that a perilous game was in the offing, both players were reluctant to hit the clock and begin the festivities. So Justin Teng did it for them, and they were off on the game that would determine the Girls Cup Champion. After black (Melissa) settled a group in white’s developing moyo, it looked to be a tough game for Tina. Both players had dangerously weak groups at different points in the game, but they all lived and at the end, Tina Li edged out a victory to claim the 2018 AGA Girls Cup Championship.

The fourth and final round (right) of the 12th annual Women’s Tournament left just one player with a perfect record. Annie Wang 2d swept all her games to emerge as the top division winner. Other division winners were Alice Li 8k and Victoria Xie 10k. Lisa Scott and Laura Sparks directed.
– Report/photos by Julie Burrall

Updated 11/5/2018 with final division winners.


Sophia Wang & Alan Huang win 2018 US Pair Go Championship

Friday July 27, 2018

Thursday evening at the US Go Congress means that time for Pair Go. This year, 36 pairs gathered in the Sadler Center to 2018.07.28 Pair Go kids2018.07.28 PairGo winnerscompete in this popular tournament. Sophia Wang 3d and Alan Huang 7d won the Open Section and will represent the United States in the 2018 International Amateur Pair Go Championship in Tokyo during the first weekend of December.

Open Section:
1st – Sophia Wang 3d and Alan Huang 7d (left)2nd – Melissa Cao 4d and Jeremy Chiu 7d; 3rd – Tina Li 3d and Justin Teng 6d; 4th – Sophia Wang 3k and Fred Bao 4d
Table Winners: Yoonyoung Kim 4p and Diego Pierrottet 4k; Seowoo Wang 2d and Nhat Minh Vo 5d; Cathy Liao 10k and Michael Chen 7d; Vivie Truong 5k and Bill Gundberg 2k; Yoko Ohashi 6k and Mark Fraser 6k; Bethany Nyborg 18k and Keith Arnold 4d; Vidie Pong 12k and John Uckele 4k; Tonya Perez-Lopez 20k and Tevis Tsai 6k.
Report by Pair Go TD Todd Heidenreich; photos by (left) Dennis Wheeler and Phil Straus


David Cho and Moonhun Oh outlast the field in Seniors Tournament

Friday July 27, 2018

The Seniors Tournament featured tough competition in both the Dan and Kyu divisions. “Special shout out to Motoyoshi Makino2018.07.28 David Cho-right 2018.07.28 Moonhun Ohfor being able to defeat champion David Cho,” said TD Greg Kulevich. Makino defeated Cho in the final round, but Cho’s score on tiebreaks prevailed to make him the Dan champion. In the Kyu division, Moonhun Oh was the only undefeated in the end, making him champion of that division. Steffen Kurz won the sportsmanship prize. Shunichi Hyodo (4-1) was second in the Dan division and David Frankel (4-1) was third. Pete Schumer (4-1) took second in the Kyu division and Jim Pickett (4-1) was third.
– report/photos by Matt Burrall; (right) Motoyoshi Makino vs David Cho; (left): Moonhun Oh


Baum prizes a hit at congress

Friday July 27, 2018

20180726_225242“Can you help me find an old person who is around my rank?” and “is that guy really old?” have become popular questions at congress this year as kids compete for the new Baum prizes.  Adults are enjoying the games too, and finding young folk ready and willing to play – all very much in the spirit that Leonard Baum would have wanted to encourage with the endowment in his honor.  Kids must be under 16, and adults at least 40 years older than the kid.  Games must be submitted Saturday afternoon by the end of the Youth Pizza party, results can be left in the box, or given to Paul Barchilon or Neil Ritter. Please remember to circle the winner, many slips have come in without the winner indicated. With 30 games played so far here are the current standings:

The Badger ( Youth under 12 who plays the largest number of adults)
  • 24008 Duc Minh Vo with 7 games
The Grasshopper (Youth age 12 to 15 who plays the largest number of adults)
  •  Maya Boerner with 6 games
  •  Seowoo Wang with 6 games
The Elder Slayer (Young player who beats the largest number of adults)
  •  Duc Minh Vo with 6 games
The Dan Destroyer (Young player who beats the largest number of dan level adults)
  •  Seowoo Wang with 4 victories over dan players
  •  Duc Minh Vo with 4 victories over dan players
The Old Hand (Adult who plays the most games)
  •  Don Karns with 7 games
The Encourager (Adult who loses the most games)
  •  Don Karns with at least 3 losses (4 games with no winner identified!)
The Teacher (Adult who gives the most 9 stone (or higher) teaching games)
  •  Don Karns with 3 nine stone games

Story and photo by Paul Barchilon, EJ Youth Editor: Current leader Duc Minh Vo 1d, age 10, plays former AGA President Mike Lash 4k



Congress Updates: Wei Ding and Dalhoon Ahn leading in US Masters; Rain helps boost Diehard turnout; Aaron Ye clinches Redmond Cup Senior Division; Bao and Cheng tied in Junior; Sibicky and Nyborg tops in 9×9; “Why We Play” returns

Thursday July 26, 2018

Wei Ding and Dalhoon Ahn leading in US Masters: Wei Ding and Dalhoon Ahn shook off their Tuesday losses in the 2018.07.27_round6-board1-reviewUS Masters Open to win their Round 6 games on Thursday morning, defeating Andy Liu and Ryan Li to set up a potentially decisive showdown between the two 5-1 players. Latest Masters crosstab here. Click here for the latest US Open crosstab. photo: Dalhoon Ahn, Ryan Li and Stephanie Yi 1P review the Ahn-Li game; photo by Chris Garlock

Rain helps boost Diehard turnout: This year’s Diehard Tournament — the traditional 4-round Day Off tournament — had 2018.07.26_DieHard95 players, up from 90 last year. “The rain may have caused some people to revise their day off plans,” says TD Andy Olsen, “because many players registered at the last minute Wednesday morning.” The field attracted a good spread of players, from three 7 dans to many double-digit kyus.
Top section Winners: 1st: Tianyi Chen 6d; 2nd: David Cho 5d; 3rd: Ary Cheng 5d.
Additional prizes awarded to undefeated players: Eli Ferster 5k and Dave Whipp 7k.
photo by Steven Burrall

2018.07.27 GregAaron Ye clinches Redmond Cup Senior Division; Bao and Cheng tied in Junior; : Aaron Ye clinched the senior division Monday against Jeremy Chiu. Frederick Bao bounced back against Ary Cheng in the junior division, making the series 1-1.

Sibicky and Nyborg tops in 9×9:  Nick Sibicky 4d is the dan division winner in the 9×9 tournament and the kyu division winner is Bethany Nyborg 18k.

“Why We Play” returns: E-Journal reporter Samantha Fede has been posting new “Why We Play” profiles in the Go Congress app social feed, like this one for Greg Steltenpohl 8k (left), who’s from Madison, WI and has been playing for two years.  Greg’s favorite thing about go: “It’s kind of like programming in that you build a mental game/problem space and you get to navigate through that. I like doing that in programming and go. Solving a big puzzle. I also like to play games of go on my phone anytime I have a little time.” This is his first go congress, and he has already volunteered for next year’s Go Congress in Madison.

– reports by Julie Burrall and Matt Burrall


Over 10,000 tune in for Facebook AI Pair Go match

Wednesday July 25, 2018

More than 10,000 viewers tuned in on Twitch Tuesday night to watch Andy Liu and Ryan Li pair up with AI partners in the 2018.07.26 PairGoAI-stephanie-et-alFacebook Open Go Pair Go match. “It was a huge success,” said event organizer James Pinkerton. “I was so impressed with the incredibly high quality of the game. It was amazing how often the human players’ moves were exactly what the AI would have chosen.” The match featured $4,500 in prizes and paired both players with Facebook’s Open Go AI, which was set for approximately 30,000 roll-outs and 15 seconds per move. Stephanie Yin 1P and Managing Editor Chris Garlock provided live commentary for the audience in the Sadler Center auditorium at William and Mary College, where this year’s US Go Congress is being held. Qucheng Gong contributed insights into the AI’s assessments of the game in real time. Andy Liu/Open Go won the game by resignation after a dramatic middle-game. 2018.07.26 PairGoAI-group“Sometimes Ryan and I would just look at each other and be like ‘We have no idea,’” laughed Liu in the post-game analysis. The game included 3-3 invasions in all four corners, most initiated by the human players, both of whom have been studying AI play extensively in recent months. And as in human Pair Go games, there were periods where two partners seemed to be playing entirely different games. “It was often hard to know just what my partner was thinking,” admitted Li; “I was just trying to follow its lead.” The broadcast team included Steven Hu, Nathan Epstein, Joel Cahalan, Nate Eagle, Josh Lee and Dennis Wheeler; Solomon Smilack did the KGS simulcast. “We’re really excited to bring this open source go AI to the go community,” said Pinkerton, who works at Facebook. “We hope it’ll become an increasingly useful tool for go players around the world.”
photos by Phil Straus; top: (l-r) Yin, Garlock and Gong commenting; bottom (l-r): Garlock, Yin, Gong, Pinkerton, Liu, Li.