American Go E-Journal » 2023 » January

Books, books, books! (Did we mention they’re free?)

Sunday January 22, 2023

Could your chapter use some free books? Perhaps to stock or replenish your club’s library and/or to offer as tournament prizes? When Yutopian went out of business, it gave its stock of 32,000 books to the American Go Foundation, which teamed up with the AGA to offer free books to AGA chapters. More than two dozen AGA chapters responded to a direct mailing last Fall and now other chapters, libraries, and school programs can participate, but you must act now. 

The books are expected to ship in mid-February; if you have an existing request that you’d like to revise or want to make a request, you can do so now by completing this Google Form. You may submit as many forms as necessary to complete your request. You’ll find a listing of the available books here. If you have any questions about how to order, please address them to rewards@usgo.orgThe deadline for all requests is February 6.

There is also a “Library Set” box – with one copy of every title – as a starter collection for a club or for placement in a local library.  (Please make sure the local library will accept the donation.)

The books are free. Shipping and handling to AGA Chapters will be paid with Chapter Rewards points. (Chapters without enough points will receive points that have been generously donated.) All chapters can receive books and no cash payments are required. There will be a flat charge of $60 (60,000 rewards points) for each box of books. We may reduce some requested amounts to distribute some titles more widely.

The AGF will pay for books sent to AGF programs or libraries. Any club that can get a vehicle to the storage container (in Los Angeles) on Feb 12th or 13th can take boxes at zero cost. (San Diego took a carful and may get more.) 

This is a once-in-a-decade chance, don’t miss it!


The Power Report: Seki defends Tengen; Iyama defends Oza; Shibano wins 47th Kisei play-off

Sunday January 22, 2023

By John Power, Japan Correspondent for the E-Journal

Seki defends Tengen

48th Tengen; Ida vs. Seki (right)

The 48th Tengen title match started off with Black winning both games (see my report of October 24). There was a gap of over three weeks before the next game, which was played at the Hotel Marital Sosei Kurume in Kurume City, Fukuoka Prefecture, on November 14. Taking white, Ida Atsushi 9-dan, the challenger, beat Seki Kotaro Tengen by resignation after 202 moves. This gave Ida a 2-1 lead, so Seki’s grip on the title seemed to have been loosened.

The fourth game was played at the Hotel New Awaji in Sumoto City on the island of Awaji in Hyogo Prefecture. Seki (B) fought strongly and evened the series.

The final game was played at the Tokushima Grandvrio Hotel in Tokushima City, Tokushima Prefecture, Shikoku  (not far south of the venue for the fourth game) on December 15. Seki drew black when they redid the nigiri. The initial fighting seemed good for White, but when the dust settled, Seki had the lead. After that, however, he made a series of small mistakes, so the game became very close. At a crucial point in the endgame, Ida made a mistake, miscalculating the value of a move: he played a one-point move because he thought it was worth two points. That was his last chance to pull off an upset. Seki managed to hold on for a half-point win.

At 21 years zero months and 18 days of age, Seki set a new record for the youngest player to defend a top-seven title. (When Shibano Toramaru defended the Oza title in 2020, he was seven days older.)

Winning his second top-seven title earned Seki promotion to 9-dan.

Iyama defends Oza

Iyama Yuta made a good start in the 70th Oza title match, beating the challenger, Yo Seiki 8-dan of the Kansai Ki-in, in the first game, played on October 21, by the narrow margin of 1.5 points. The second game was played at the Westin Miyako Hotel Kyoto on November 11. The game featured a struggle between large groups, but it ended up even closer than the first game, with Iyama (B) winning by just half a point.

The third game was played at the Hotel Okura Kobe in Kobe City, Hyogo Prefecture, on November 18. Like the first two games, this one was also very closely contested, but Yo (B) made a blunder while attacking a white group. He resigned after 180 moves.

Iyama thus defended his title with straight wins. He maintained his triple crown with the Honinbo and Gosei titles. This is also his 70th title. He commented that, what with losing the Kisei and Meijin titles, 2022 was not a great year for him, so he was relieved to have ended it with a success.

Shibano wins 47th Kisei play-off

The first game of the “best-of-three” play-off to decide the Kisei challenger was held on November 18. Taking black, Yamashita Keigo 9-dan, the winner of the A League, defeated Shibano Toramaru Meijin, the winner of the S League by resignation. However, the S League winner is gifted a win in this play-off, so Yamashita couldn’t afford to drop a game. The second game was played on November 21. Taking black, Shibano beat Yamashita by resignation, so he became the challenger. 

Incidentally, since the current Kisei tournament system came into effect in the 40th term, the S League winner has always become the challenger. (In this report, I am focusing on 2022, but I can reveal that Ichiriki Ryo Kisei won the first game of the title match.)

Tomorrow: New members of the Meijin league; Meijin & Honinbo League updates; Ueno repeats as Young Carp champion


50 years aGO – January 1973

Sunday January 22, 2023

By Keith L. Arnold, hka, with Patrick Bannister

Ceremonial game for the Uchizomeshiki at Nihon Ki'in
Ceremonial game for the Uchizomeshiki at Nihon Ki’in

We begin the New Year with the Uchizomeshiki, a ceremony held at the Nihon Ki’in in Ichigaya on January 5. The event, which Go Review compared to a “purification ceremony,” is an essential kick off for the tournament year. Pictured is a ceremonial game. Your editor recognizes some of the faces of the “old guard” of Japanese go at the time.

The action began promptly on January 7 with the Nihon Ki’in Championship. The title holder, Ōhira Shūzō 9d, entered the New Year one game down after losing Game One in December. Ōhira had dominated this title since winning it from Sakata Eio in 1966, winning it every year except one. However, faced once again with an in-form Sakata, Ōhira had to summon all his fighting strength to kill shinogi expert Sakata’s huge group to even the series in Game Two. (Game record: Game Two.) We see Sakata during the third game on January 16, once again going ahead. (Game record: Game Three.) Finally, Sakata ended his eight year drought in this title on January 25-26 by a 3-1 score. (Game record: Game Four.)

As of January 10, we note that Ishida Hon’inbo was leading the Meijin League with a 2-0 record.

On January 11, Ōtake Hideo 9d began his defense of the All Japan 1st Place Tournament which he had defended five times in a row. Here we see him react to the confident play of Kajiwara Takeo. He sorted out the problem and won this first game. (Game record: Ōtake vs. Kajiwara.)

On the same day, Takagi Shōichi 7d defeated Takagawa to win the “losers bracket” and went on to defeat Rin Meijin for the right to challenge Sakata for the Jūdan title. Pictured during the match against Takagawa, Takagi was the author of Beyond Forcing Moves and attended the 1993 U.S. Go Congress. (Game records: Takagi vs. Takagawa, Takagi vs. Rin.)

Sakata was presented with the 9th Shūsai Prize as the past year’s outstanding player on January 16. With the Meijin and Hon’inbo titles divided between Rin and Ishida, Sakata’s dominance of the lesser titles made him a unanimous choice for the third time.

Finally, on January 26, Honda Sachiko 4d defeated Kitani Reiko two straight in the Ladies’ Hon’inbo Title. (Game record: Honda vs. Kitani.)

Photos from Go Review, game records from SmartGoOne


1st New York State Championship registration open with $1,200 top prize

Wednesday January 18, 2023

Competition at the New York Institute of Go in Midtown Manhattan, NY

Registration for the 2023 New York State Championships is open to all players of all levels. The event will be held on February 25 and 26 at the New York Institute of Go in Midtown Manhattan, New York. 

The main events include the Open Tournament, New York State Open Championship, and New York Youth Championship with a maximum of 140 seats. Besides the main tournament games, there will also be evening events like Pair Go, Crazy Go, 9X9 and 13X13 Tournaments. The event is located in the center of Hell’s Kitchen with a variety of delicious food.

Thanks to a parent donor, all divisions from the double-digit kyu to the open division will be awarded cash prizes. Youth divisions will be awarded with trophies and certificates. Additionally, the two champions in open and youth state championships tournaments will receive specially designed trophies.

“After the New York Go Center permanently shut down 10 years ago, we lost not only a place for Go players to play Go, but also a big family for us to laugh and share stories with, forget about pressure and unhappiness, and just enjoy some Go time. We welcome everyone to the 10-year reunion tournament in Manhattan!” says NYIG founder Stephanie Yin.



Registration Open for the 2023 North American Kyu Championships

Tuesday January 17, 2023

Young players competing at the 2022 US Go Congress in Estes Park, Colorado

The 10th annual North American Kyu Championships (NAKC) is now open for registration. The tournament will be held online on the KGS Go Server on Saturday, February 18th and consist of four rounds over the course of one day. Players must be under the age of 18, reside in North America, and be members of their country’s national Go organization to compete. The top junior (under 13 years old) and senior (13-17 years old) player in each of the top two divisions as well as the top two general finishers in each of the lower divisions will win personalized crystal trophies, and the junior and senior champions of the top division will receive an invitation to play in the Redmond Cup, which is traditionally only open to dan-level players. Players who complete all rounds of the tournament will also be eligible for a $200 scholarship to the next US Go Congress, courtesy of the American Go Foundation. Attendance has been strong over the past several years for this tournament with over 100 players each time, and all young kyu players are encouraged to participate!

Registration for the NAKC will close on February 12th, and interested players can read the rules and additional details for more information.

Story by Justin Teng, AGA Youth Coordinator, Photo by Paul Barchilon.


Ryan Li promoted to Professional 4 Dan

Wednesday January 11, 2023

Ryan Li’s recent win at the 2022 North American Professional Go Championship in Toronto (Toronto Go Spectacular lives up to its name 1/6/23) not only netted him the $6,000 top prize, but a promotion to Professional 4 dan, after he reached 60 points in the North American Go Federation’s Professional Rank Promotion System.

“It was a tough tournament,” Li told the EJ, “especially after unluckily drawing Alex in the semi-finals. The three games in the finals were unpredictable yet exciting. Having our own professional tournament means a lot to the pros and we look forward to the next one!” Added American Go Association President and North American Go Federation board member Gurujeet Khalsa (at left in photo), “I was honored to be in Toronto to watch the game that Ryan played to secure the championship and then present the trophy. He is a terrific representative for North American Go.”


INAF announces three more online go lectures in English 

Sunday January 8, 2023

The Iwamoto North American Foundation for Go (INAF) has released three more online go lectures, all in English. This follows release of two lectures last month. In the first of the latest batch, which features a number of interesting plots, Ohhashi Hirofumi 7P, an expert on AI play, comments on his game with the young Tengen-title holder Seki Kotaro, who’s also well known for studying and emulating AI play.

The second lecture is by Michael Redmond 9P, who comments on a game by Kevin Yang, the new North America professional. Yang played this game in the 2022 Globis Cup against the Kansai Kiin’s young star, Nishimura Jin.  

The third lecture is by Ishikura Noboru 9P, the most well-known go teacher in Japan who also offers go courses at the University of Tokyo. Here he comments on some modern fuseki ideas.


Yilun Yang’s 2023 New Year’s Puzzle — Solution

Sunday January 8, 2023

Yilun Yang 7P has been creating original annual problems based on the digits of the New Year for many years now. Yang is one of the most popular go teachers in the US. His original tsume-go problems are a regular feature in the Member’s Edition of the American Go E-Journal. You can reach him at

Join the AGA now and receive the weekly E-Journal with members-only extras such as game files with professional commentary. Plus: participate in local and national tournaments, the national rating system, and attend the annual US Go Congress –- the largest go event in North America.


Categories: Main Page

Last Call for Registration for 2023 AGHS Pair-Go Tournament

Friday January 6, 2023

AGHS Pair-Go Tournament: Sunday, 1/15/2023.

First round: 4 pm EST (1 pm PST). 
Second round: 7 pm EST (4 pm PST).
Registration deadline: Saturday, 1/7/2023 at 11:59 PST.

Rules and regulations
There are no restrictions on pair eligibility. You may pair up with anyone regardless of age and gender.

If you already have a partner, please register using this form. 
If you are looking for a partner, please register using this form.


N.A. Online League “beta” season to start January 24

Friday January 6, 2023

The North American Online League (NAOL) begins play on January 24th (North American Online League to launch beta season in January 12/23/22 EJ). Players will be grouped by skill level in groups of six and play a round-robin of weekly games. All games will be played even with AGA rules, 45 minutes base time and 3×30 byo-yomi. 

This first season is a “beta” limited to 96 players while the registration, pairing, and rating interfaces between AGA, CGA, OGS, and the new Leago software are being put into production. If interested in joining the beta, send a note to with your name, AGA or CGA ID, and your current rank. All games will be rated and ratings will be published. Season 2 in March and April will be open to all registrants from the US, Canada, and now Mexico. Registrants must be a current member of the go association in the country in which they reside.

Registration information will be sent in the next two weeks with priority given to those who have been members of the existing Canadian or Massachusetts leagues. “The enthusiasm we are seeing for the new league is exciting.” reports AGA President Gurujeet Khalsa. “We are already looking beyond the beta and ahead to Season 2 with full participation across North America.”

There is now a NAOL group on OGS, for more information.

Logo design by Cami Levek.