News from the American Go Association

March 24, 2005

In This Issue:
LATEST GO NEWS: Ondrej Silt Wins In Austria; Honinbo League Winding Up; Chapter Team League Fielding 12 Teams; Smartgo Upgrades To 30,000 Games; Weekend Tourney Action
GAME COMMENTARY: A Bloodthirsty Game
GO REVIEW: The Chinese Opening (2 views)
MY MOVE: Latest AGA Updates
ATTACHED FILES: 2005.03.24 Game 3, 15th Judan.sgf; 2005.03.24 Go Review Problem.sgf


ONDREJ SILT WINS IN AUSTRIA: Ondrej Silt 6d of Czechia won the latest event in the Toyota-IGS-Pandanet European Go Tour in Velden , Austria. Details on Monday.
HONINBO LEAGUE WINDING UP: The current Honinbo League to choose the challenger for the title match is nearly complete, with Takao Shinji 8P holding the advantage. Details on Monday.

CHAPTER TEAM LEAGUE FIELDING 12 TEAMS: "The American Go Association Chapter Team League is doing great!" says League Director Bill Saltman, "We have a total of 12 teams and 36 players, representing Chapters from across the entire U.S." See Monday's edition for further details.

SMARTGO UPGRADES TO 30,000 GAMES: SmartGo:Games has been upgraded to include 30,281 professional games. See\t_games.htm for details

WEEKEND TOURNEY ACTION: Two events this Sunday, one in New York City and one in Denton, Texas:
- March 26: New York, NY
Spring Tournament
Wren Chan 646-549-4061
- March 26: Denton, TX
Yet Another Go Tournament
Paisa Seeluangsawat 940-367-2537

WELLS ALERT READER WINNER: George Wells is this week's Alert Reader winner, winning a $10 go vendor gift certificate for spotting our Alert hidden in our March 18 game commentary. Honorable Mentions this week to Josh Gum, Peter Haas, Larry Russ, Marjorie E. Hey, Bob Bacon, Jay Turley, Peter N. Nassar, Alpha Chen, Michael Dobbins, Dan Jaqua, James R Levenick, Nicholas T. Roussos, John Stoneham, Eddy Gorsuch & Gilles Cazelais. Winners are drawn at random from those who correctly report the Alerts. Keep a sharp eye out and you could be a winner too!

GAME COMMENTARY: A Bloodthirsty Game
       Today's game is the classic third game from the 15th Judan title match in Japan, played on April 13, 1977. Kato Masao, playing White, defended his title against Sakata Eio 9P. Kato, who did not make 9P until the following year, won the first two games of the best-of-five match. "It's unusual to see such a bloodthirsty game nowadays," Fujisawa Shuko commented in admiration. "Playing like this would be quite beyond me." The thorough commentary is from Go World #2 and is used by permission. Go World is an English-language go magazine that contains pro news and commentaries on pro games as well as instructional material. It is available from
        Our bonus file today is an amusing life and death problem that challenges the assumption that a group that surrounds four empty intersections in a row is alive.     
       To view the attached .sgf file(s), simply save the file(s) to your compu ter and then open using an .sgf reader such as Many Faces of Go or SmartGo. Readers who need .sgf readers can get them for most platforms at Jan van der Steen's

GO REVIEW: The Chinese Opening
by Kato Masao
Kiseido Publishing Company, 142 pp
Reviewed by Bill Manka, 4k    
      I've always enjoyed playing on a large scale, but the symmetry of the san-ren-sei has never appealed to me. I know it's perfectly sound, and nowadays is probably more popular among pros, but for me the asymmetry of the Chinese style fuseki is more interesting. My friend loaned me a copy of Kato Masao's (admittedly dated) treatise on the Chinese a while back, and for a long time I played the Chinese whenever possible.
     The book is lucid and straightforward in its presentation. Diagrams are plentiful and comments do not presuppose a highly sophisticated understanding of go theory. Kato was certainly a strong proponent of the Chinese for black, contributing greatly to its theory, but one mustn't forget that he also faced it often as white, and so the coverage is hardly one-sided. The most likely criticism from strong players would be that it truly is an old book, considering the rate at which fuseki theory advances at the top. But that point is probably not that relevant for all but the strongest amateurs. Yes, the book does spend much time looking at lines which may now be obsolete. But this coverage is still highly instructive, because it elucidates the thematic ideas in this most thematic of fuseki. I have recently moved on to other fuseki experiments as black, but I feel that studying this book enriched my understanding of not only this fascinating, ambitious opening, but also  fuseki principles generally, attack and defe nse, and  light play in reducing (which is what white must achieve). Anyone who has been frustrated by the Chinese as white, or enthralled with its possibilities as black, can learn plenty from this book. And unlike problem books, it won't take you very long to read.

The Chinese Opening
by Kato Masao
Reviewed by Lawrence Ku, 2d
    The Chinese opening has been one of the most popular opening styles for the past 20 years.  This book is one of the few English books that describe the opening in detail.
    In this book, Masao Kato teaches us how to defend and how to attack the 3-4 point and the star-point stone, when you are either black and white.  In addition, he spends a lengthy chapter showing us the variations and many complicated joseki for the two space high pincer, which occurs when white tries to prevent black from playing the Chinese opening.  In the en d, Masao Kato uses four of his own games from the 32 Honinbo (1977) to illustrate real-game examples involving the Chinese opening.  However, because this book was published more than 15 years ago, there are many newer variations that have not been covered.
    I like this book because this is the first book that systematically teaches us how to deal with an opening and its many variations.  This is the first opening book I read, and it ends up that I use the Chinese opening more often than any other opening because I feel most comfortable with it (due to the fact that I read this book).  I recommend "The Chinese Opening" for go players between 15 kyu and 3 dan.

MY MOVE: Latest AGA Updates
By Mike Lash, AGA President
      Lots to report this month: national tournament developments, an update on the 2004 Congress and the inaugural Internet T eams League, volunteer opportunities and coverage of the Cotsen; your AGA hard at work for you!
      New National Tournament Coordinator Bill Cobb is actively working with me on establishing an annual national program for AGA events, including professionals, strong players and amateurs, as well as clarifying eligibility rules and the like. All interested parties will have an opportunity to comment on the proposals before they are adopted, and we will publish these on the website later this year and changes will be phased in for an orderly transition.
     Many of you have expressed understandable concern about the apparent negative financial results of the 2004 Go Congress and the implications for future Congress sponsors. Terry Benson, former AGA President, longtime AGA member and current AGF President has, once again, risen to the call for help and taken on the challenging task of the very complex inquiry into the 2004 Cong ress. With the assistance of 2004 Congress Coordinator Greg Lefler, Terry is working with the RIT financial officer to accurately ascertain the 2004 Congress' complete financial picture, including substantial income not clearly accounted for yet. The initial reported loss may well end up being much smaller than originally projected, and due more to accounting errors than actual losses; we will share the final report as soon as it's completed.  
     Let me assure you that there has been no change in the AGA's long-standing policy regarding our financial support for chapters hosting a Congress: we fully intend to continue to support a hosting chapter if a Congress incurs a loss due to events beyond the host's control. Uncontrollable events such as severe weather, transportation strikes, outbreak of disease, war or natural disasters can unexpectedly ruin attendance at a Go Congress and no chapter will be abandoned by the AGA in such circumstances. At th e same time, to assure the continued success and modest profitability of all Congresses well into the future, we will work closely with hosting chapters on appropriate contracting for Congress facilities, proper financial controls of income and expenses, and realistic budgeting at the start.
     Another long-standing issue is now coming to fruition: the AGA will soon publish a formal policy on business relations with vendors of go products and services. Our goal is to encourage vendors to attend tournaments and promotional events to sell their wares by having public, clear and fair rules of business, professional conduct and regulated access to AGA events. The draft is now being circulated among go vendors for their views and has been well-received so far; when approved by the Board the policy will be published permanently on the web page.
     My two favorite subjects this year are the new Internet Teams League and volunteers. We alr eady have a dozen teams vying for the Internet Teams League's first year's titles and prizes and there's still plenty of time to get a team together in your chapters and start competing. It's free, fun and brings out the best in local and national friendly competition. The inaugural year only happens once, so don't miss your chance to be able to say that you played in the League from the very first year!
     We're always looking for new volunteers and I'll be making announcements soon regarding some key positions being filled right now by new people. There are never-ending opportunities for volunteers to get involved in a wide variety of programs, functions, and projects. For example, the annual Go Camps need support; major tournament coordinators need help at key events; Membership and Chapter Services Coordinators need more staff; and even our "Election Committee" needs organized and responsible staff to handle the election of Directors to the Board. Yo u can work locally or nationally - all support counts and is appreciated.
    Lastly, our very own E-Journal Editor and National Communications Coordinator Chris Garlock, just back from covering the Ing Memorial Tournament in Amsterdam, will be heading West to cover the Cotsen Tournament in April for the first time. This is a very player-friendly tournament and promises to attract a large crowd including some of the strongest players on the West Coast. Chris will be providing coverage of top games, interviews with Eric Cotsen and others, and providing an insider's view of what's happening in LA. Wish I were going; hope you'll be there!

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