News from the American Go Association

April 14, 2005

In This Issue:
LATEST GO NEWS: Tourney set for U.S. Pros; Syracuse Hosts 1st Spring Ratings Tourney; Got GPS?; 18th Fujitsu Roster Reduced To Eight; British Go Congress Held In Leicester; Free Jie Li In DC; Challengers In Free Online Simul With 6d; Yang At Cotsen; WEEKEND TOURNEY ACTION: College Park, MD, Houston, TX, Menlo Park, CA, Somerville, MA & Cleveland, OH; Bai & Cornett Alert Reader Winners
GAME COMMENTARY: Pro Cliffhanger, 2-Space Kaz & Yang Variations
GO REVIEW: Go! More Than a Game
ATTACHED FILES: 2005.04.14 Heyang-Changho.sgf; 2005.04.14 Furuyama Lesson #32.pdf; 2005.04.14 Shodan Challenge Yang on Lavigne-lightbug.sgf


TOURNEY SET FOR U.S. PROS: Final planning is underway for an annual tournament for American professionals and the strongest non-professional players. The US Masters Tournament will be a round-robin event between 8 players and the first game will be held no earlier than May 14, with the last game scheduled to be held no later than July 30. Games will be played in person where possible, or online. Participation is by invitation, rating and eligibility and this year the eight seats will be filled first by eligible American professionals. If less than eight eligible American professionals accept the Masters invitation, seats will be made available to the strongest eligible non-professional American players. The final round will be between the top two players based on the results of the round robin portion, and will be a three-game series played in person at the 2005 US Go Con gress in Tacoma, Washington. Jeff Shavel is the Masters Tournament Coordinator and Jon Boley is the Tournament Director.

SYRACUSE HOSTS 1ST SPRING RATINGS TOURNEY: Twenty-three players from across Central New York State, including Ballston Spa, Binghamton, Niskayuna, and Rochester turned out for the 1st Annual Syracuse Spring Ratings Tournament on April 2. Held at the Manlius Pebble Hill School, the self-paired event was co-hosted by the Syracuse Go Club and the Manlius Pebble Hill School Go club. Students and staff from Jamesville Dewitt Middle School, MPH School, OCC, RIT, SUNY Binghamton, and Syracuse University participated, and Rochester's Empty Sky Go Club sent the largest number of out-of-town players. "Total attendance including proud parents and casual spectators was about 35," reports organizer Anton Ninno. "Go hats, mugs, and bumper-stickers were given away in a drawing for door prizes, and players also enjoyed shopping for new and used books and equipment at the Bargain Pagoda sales table."

GOT GPS? A new "geocache" that uses go for its theme has been designed by Syracuse Go Club organizer Anton Ninno. "I designed this GPS treasure hunt to introduce people to go while they have some fun in the great outdoors playing with a GPS receiver," says Ninno, who connects the game to geography by pointing out that "One of the legends about the origin of Go says that its Chinese inventor intended the grid of intersecting lines on the board to represent the Earth." Find out more at

18TH FUJITSU ROSTER REDUCED TO EIGHT: Jujo Jiang 9P, the North American representative, lost in the first round of the 18th Fujitsu on April 9th, as did the South American and European representatives. It's down to 8 players after two rounds: 4 Japanese, 3 Chinese, and only 1 Korean. Details on Monday.

BRITISH GO CONGRESS HELD IN LEICESTER: The 38th British Go Congress was held the weekend of April 8-10 at Leicester University. T. Mark Hall was thwarted in his effort to three-peat as winner of the British Open. Details on Monday.

FREE JIE LI IN DC: "Arguably THE strongest amateur player in America, Jie Li, 9-dan, has agreed to come to the Greater Washington Go Club," reports Haskell Small. Li, who is in DC for a college internship, will present a lecture next Friday, April 22 from 8-10P at the GWGC in the basement of the Cedar Lane Unitarian Church, 9601 Cedar Lane, in Bethesda, MD. Jie Li, U.S. Open and Ing Cup Champ, currently holds the highest listed AGA rating -- 9.44499 -- and has defeated professional players in tournament play. "At this one-time special event, Jie will do a lecture-style presentation of one of his exciting games," says Small. The lecture is free. "Since he is in our area for a short while, Jie wishes to share his wisdom with us at no charge," adds Small. "We are grateful for his generosity, and encourage all of you to take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity." Small is planning a dinner at a local Japanese restaurant prior to the lecture; to reserve space, RSVP by Wednesday, April 20 to

CHALLENGERS IN FREE ONLINE SIMUL WITH 6D: Playing a top-ranked amateur is a great way to improve your game and fourteen Shodan Challengers will be playing Jon Boley 6d in online simuls, as part of the E-Journal's ongoing Shodan Challenger program. In conjunction with the 2005 US Go Congress (which Boley is helping organize), the E-Journal has arranged for Boley to play simuls with Challengers on Saturday April 16th and Saturday May 7, both at 1 PM PST (4 PM EST) on KGS. Shodan Challengers are nearly two dozen kyu-level players who have publicly accepted the challenge of trying to achieve 1-dan by this year's U.S. Go Congress in Tacoma, Washington. See photos of some of the Challengers at

YANG AT COTSEN: Popular go teacher Yilun Yang 7P will be on hand at the upcoming Cotsen Go Tournament scheduled for April 30 & May 1 in Los Angeles, CA. Yang, well-known for his original life-and-death problems, will provide go problems for players to solve and win prizes, and will also play an online game with another pro. Info/registration:

WEEKEND TOURNEY ACTION: College Park, MD, Houston, TX, Menlo Park, CA, Somerville, MA & Cleveland, OH
- April 16 & 17: College Park, MD
2005 John Groesch Memorial Tournament
Steve Mount
- April 16 & 17: Houston, TX
Houston Spring Go Tournament 2005
Robert Cordingley 281-331-1614
- April 17: Menlo Park, CA
2nd California High School Goe Tournament
Jason Pan
- April 17: S omerville, MA
MGA Spring Handicap Tournament
Zack Grossbart 617-497-1232
- April 17: Cleveland, OH
Cleveland Go Club Spring Tournament
Paul Jacobs 216-371-2628

BAI & CORNETT ALERT READER WINNERS: Yuchen Bai 6d and Howard Cornett are this week's Alert Reader winners, winning $10 go vendor gift certificates for spotting our Alerts hidden in last week's game commentaries. A record 58 readers participated this week; 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: Pro Cliffhanger, 2-Space Kaz & Yang Variations
If you enjoyed the down-to-the-wire duel between Tiger Woods and Chris DiMarco in Sunday's Master's Golf Tournament, you'll be glued every step of the way in today's 300-move cliff-hanger between Zhou Heyang 9P and Lee Changho 9P. The margin is razor-thin all the way in this first-round Chunlan Cup game from last month and we're not giving anything away to say that it goes down to the last half point. Our thanks to, which originally published the commentary. In this week's installment of "Important, Fundamental Matters," Kaz Furuyama demonstrates how to properly strengthen the 2-space extension and avoid a serious common mistake.
And in our bonus file, Yilun Yang 7P takes his usual in-depth look at a game by Shodan Challenger Eric Lavigne 4k, including a wealth of variations.
To view the attached .sgf file(s), simply save the file(s) to your computer 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

By Kaz Furuyama
"You have a natural talent for explaining the complexities of go in a way that is easy to grasp," a reader told me recently. Actually, it's not natural. It's taken me many years to reach this point, and I still keep learning how to teach from my go students. The irony is that it was only when I lost interest in improving my own go several years ago that I began to see what amateur players wanted and needed to learn. So I started listening more intently and the more attention I paid, the more I saw what they really needed. Before, I'd always thought about the best moves and how to make myself better, so my teaching was half-baked, so to speak. I didn't intend to be half-baked, but when I taught I naturally thought about the best moves for myself rather than what would be best to teach amateurs. It's very difficult for most strong players, whether pros or top amateurs, to t each go without thinking about improving their own game. It's contrary to their instinct, as well as a totally different way of thinking and playing. I'm still learning how to teach go every week. It's an unending process, but I find that I am good at coming up with new ideas to explain things easily, so I enjoy it. Teaching amateur go players is like trying to understand another country and culture: you really have to listen and pay attention.

GO REVIEW: Go! More Than a Game
Tuttle Publishing
reviewed by Dale Hoopingarner
As a new aficionado of the game of go, I'm always on the lookout for go books when I visit a bookstore. Usually I walk away empty-handed, but recently I came across Peter Shotwell's "Go! More Than a Game" at my local Barnes & Noble. I found "Go!" to be a very enjoyable read and am sure I will refer back to some of the game commentary several times.
The early section of the book provides some interes ting 9x9 and 13x13 games, something I haven't seen in other books and is likely to be a welcome start for many beginners instead of the somewhat daunting first try at a 19x19 board (so many choices -- where to play?). The examples are backed up by variations with fairly thorough explanations, a nice change from some books that merely hint at a variation but leave it to the reader to explore.
An obstacle that readers new to the game may find challenging is that the author tends to use a concept before explaining it. Similarly, some Japanese go terms are used with little introduction. He does, however, avoid the problem of some books of overusing such terms, sticking instead to just the most basic ones.
A few editing glitches mar the book a bit -- one game diagram is repeated twice instead of showing the next sequence of moves, and occasionally a stone or position marker referred to is absent, leaving the beginner to puzzle a bit. The subject of josekis gets only a brief address, but given the entry level that the book targets that is probably for the best.
Overall, I would recommend this book to beginners. I especially enjoyed the final sections detailing the often legendary history of go. I find the timeless appeal of the game to be part of it's attraction, and delving into the often intriguing historical figures surrounding go's origins is part of the game's mystique.

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