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Registration open for New York Go League’s second month of competition

Notizie AGA - Mer, 10/06/2020 - 20:45

After a successful first month, the New York Go Honor Society team is ready to announce the New York Go League’s second month of competition. “The league has been operating at a participant count of over 80 players and we hope that more will be inclined to join,” says Patrick Zhao, VP of NYGHS. “Registration for the league is and will continue to be completely free for the foreseeable future.” If you are able to commit to two games per week and would like to participate, register here. “We are also proud to announce that although we cannot prize extensively, we will be awarding the top player in every division 50% off NYIG trial classes,” continued Zhao. “Despite it being a relatively small prize, we believe that it corresponds with our motivation of creating this league with the intention of giving people a chance to play competitively and develop their skills in the game.”


Member’s Edition: Yilun Yang’s June Hard Life and Death Puzzle

Notizie AGA - Mar, 09/06/2020 - 07:00

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Black to play. White’s position is so poor, but has plenty of space. How to attack?
Published in the June 9, 2020 edition of the American Go E-Journal.

Yilun Yang 7P is one of the most popular go teachers in the US. You can reach him at


Member’s Edition: Albert Yen 7d on USA vs China

Notizie AGA - Mar, 09/06/2020 - 07:00

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White: Albert Yen 7d (USA)
Black: Wei Xiaolin 7d (China)
Commentary: Albert Yen 7d
Game Editor: Myron Souris
Published in the June 9, 2020 edition of the American Go E-Journal

As an encore for his incredible round 1 game commentary of the US-China Internet Go Tournament, Albert gives us a similarly thrilling commentary of his round 2 game. After taking an early solid lead, Albert maintains an uncompromising approach all the way to the razor thin result at the end of the game.

Albert gives this background for the game: “My opponent is Wei Xiaolin, who is a Chinese 7 dan. Unlike in America, Chinese amateur 7 dan can only be obtained by winning a national amateur tournament, so most Chinese 7 dans have pro-level strength. In fact, Wei was even eligible to become a pro due to his outstanding performance as an amateur player (though he opted to maintain his amateur status).

As a funny side note, I actually met Wei at the 2018 World Student Pair Go Championship in Tokyo. We didn’t talk at the time but I witnessed his pair lose on time, because he “couldn’t see the clock and thought they still had time” (I almost laughed out loud). Thus, while I knew Wei is the heavy favorite in this game I thought I would still have a chance.

Albert Yen is an 8 dan player from Chicago. He first started playing go at the age of five after watching Hikaru no Go on television, and became 6 dan in Taiwan when he was 7. Albert continued to compete in America after he moved to Chicago in fifth grade and studied under Jiang Mingjiu 7p. To date, he has made several showings in national and international tournaments, including winning representation to the World Youth Goe Championship in 2014, 1st place in the Redmond Cup in 2015, and 4th place at the 2019 World Amateur Go Championship. Albert is currently a second year undergraduate student in UIC’s GPPA BA/MD program in Chicago. Outside of go, Albert enjoys running and ping pong.


Redmond launches new AlphaGo video commentary series

Notizie AGA - Mar, 09/06/2020 - 01:00

In the first days of 2017, rumors started to ricochet around the online go community. A mysterious online player had been making huge waves by defeating dozens of top professionals on go sites in Asia in recent days. “Master” first appeared on December 29, 2016, registering from Korea. Achieving 30 consecutive wins against many former and current world go champions, Master defeated Park Junghwan four times and Ke Jie twice. After that, Master appeared on a different go site and logged another 30 consecutive wins. That made it 60 games in a row with no losses. Was AlphaGo the Master?

Michael Redmond had been on holiday when the games were being played but word had of course spread swiftly through the professional community about the mysterious online player racking up win after win. “That kind of record was simply mindblowing,” he says, “and even before I got the game files off the internet it was clear that something new was happening. Anyone – or anything – that could win 60 straight games could probably give a 2-stone handicap, and these were top professionals who were losing to a player no-one had ever heard of.” The 60 Master games were not only evidence that AlphaGo had attained a whole new level of play, but an incredibly rich “treasure trove for professionals,” says Redmond.

Working again with American Go E-Journal Managing Editor Chris Garlock, Redmond is launching a new series of videos in which he’ll focus on the key points of each of the 60 Master games in brief videos, most of which will be 15 minutes or less. The commentaries will also be the basis for Volume 2 of AlphaGo to Zero: The Complete Games, “as well as a chance to introduce viewers to the professional go players who tackled Master,” notes Garlock.

The first video will be released on Tuesday, June 9 on Redmond’s YouTube channel and the series will be linked on the AGA’s YouTube channel  as well. Stephen Hu is producing the series.

The human player in this first game is 15-year-old Pan Tingyu 1P, who finished #1 in the Chinese professional qualification tournament in 2015. Pan has Black and plays a modern version of the mini-Chinese, and AlphaGo shows a new move in the upper left corner, which has since become the standard move for White in the Chinese opening pattern.

NOTE: The AlphaGo vs AlphaGo series, now up to Game 41, will continue through Game 55. 


AlphaGo, KataGo, and the future of AI

Notizie AGA - Dom, 07/06/2020 - 01:17
Visualization of ownership predictions by KataGo

“There’s something magical about the game of go,” writes Branton DeMoss in a recent blog post. “For thousands of years, it has captured the imagination of those who want to learn what it is to learn, to think about what thinking means. With the recent advent of strong, open source go AI that can beat top professionals, it’s worth tracing the history of the game, why it remained so difficult to beat humans for so long, and what the future of go may hold.”

DeMoss explores the evolution of computer go, and then discusses how AlphaGo differs from the open source Katago. “KataGo attempts to predict a greater number of game outcomes than just value,’ says DeMoss, “in particular, KataGo also predicts final territory control, final score difference, and from each board state the opponent’s next move. As a result of these improvements, KataGo massively outperforms Leela Zero and Facebook’s ELF bot in learning efficiency. KataGo achieves a factor of fifty improvement in training efficiency vs. ELF”.

The creator of KataGo, David J. Wu, answers some of DeMoss’s questions at the end of the article. “I think the AlphaZero-style training loop using MCTS (Monte Carlo Tree Search) is not the last word on [things like] this,” says Wu. “Blind spots are just the most visible of the flaws, but there are some technical and theoretical details you can dig into that start to make it clear that there are some practical problems with how exploration and move discovery work in this loop, some basic theoretical flaws involving mismatches between the neural net’s training distribution and usage, and also some fundamental ‘missing’ capabilities in current bots in terms of using search effectively.” The full blog post can be read here. -Story by Paul Barchilon. image from Accelerating Self-Play Learning in Go, by David J. Wu.


Go Spotting: This Is How You Lose the Time War

Notizie AGA - Sab, 06/06/2020 - 07:34

Adam Anaya reports that “Go is referenced many times in this creatively entertaining novella. ‘She decides she would describe it using terms from Go: You place each stone expecting it may do many things. A strike is also a block is also a different strike.'” This Is How You Lose the Time War was written by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone, and was one of NPR’s Best Books of 2019.


The AGA’s Ongoing Position on In-Person Play

Notizie AGA - Sab, 06/06/2020 - 07:27

The AGA believes that the health and safety of its members, and their communities, is a greater priority than in-person play.  For this reason, the AGA is continuing to suspend all AGA-sponsored in-person events.  
The AGA recognizes the value provided by in-person play and the camaraderie of Go communities.  Because of this, we advise our members to follow all local laws as well as the advice and guidance of public health experts when deciding when and how to safely resume in-person play during the Covid-19 pandemic.

As always, the AGA encourages its members to play Go online.  If you are looking for resources, check out this list of where to play go online, as well as this list of online resources, videos, and more.  The AGA is developing more resources to help local Go communities stay connected and eventually resume safer in-person play.  We are also in the early stages of planning online AGA events.  If you have ideas (or online resources) that you want to share – for instance, things that have worked for your community – please consider writing an EJournal story (you can submit stories using this form) or sharing them with us through this form.  We plan to publish some of the best ideas in the near future.


Redmond’s Golden Panda Cup commentary posted on YouTube

Notizie AGA - Sab, 06/06/2020 - 05:10

If you missed last Sunday’s Golden Panda Cup live game commentary on Twitch, it’s now been posted on the AGA’s YouTube channel. Michael Redmond 9P – hosted by E-Journal Managing Editor Chris Garlock — reviews Pandanet’s “Golden Panda Cup” final-round game between Ichiriki Ryo — one of the top up-and-coming young players — and Shibano Toramaru, who won the prestigious Meijin tournament in 2019 at age 19, becoming the first teenager to achieve one of the seven major Japanese titles. Redmond also chats with Garlock about the resumption of professional play in Japan.

Tune in this Sunday, June 7 for Redmond’s commentary on AlphaGo vs AlphaGo Game 43; 8p EDT on the AGA’s Twitch channel.

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Member’s Edition: Gansheng Shi 1P on Chinese League A

Notizie AGA - Mar, 02/06/2020 - 07:00

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White: Lian Xiao 9P (China)
Black: Lee Donghoon 9P (Korea)
Commentary: Gansheng Shi 1P
Game editor: Myron Souris
Published in the June 02, 2020 edition of the American Go Journal

This game is between Lian Xiaon 9p from China and Lee Donghoon 9p from Korea. Both are top professionals and are playing in the Chinese City League A. Gansheng’s commentary makes the game far more enjoyable than a simple play-through, by giving us insights into each player’s strategic planning from the opening all the way to the last desperate ko fight.

Already 7-dan at the age of 14, Gansheng Shi won the right to represent Canada at the 2008 World Youth Go Championships, where he competed in Guiyang China. In 2012 Shi fought well in the first AGA/Tygem professional certification tourney, earning promotion to Professional One Dan, along with Andy Liu 1P. Shi is now at the University of Toronto studying Immunology. The E-Journal is delighted to have him doing commentary, and we know our readers will enjoy his insights.


Member’s Edition: Yilun Yang’s June Easy Life and Death Puzzle

Notizie AGA - Mar, 02/06/2020 - 07:00

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Black to play. White’s corner has a serious weakness.
Published in the June 2, 2020 edition of the American Go E-Journal.

Yilun Yang 7P is one of the most popular go teachers in the US. You can reach him at


Go Spotting: The Order of the Stick #1203

Notizie AGA - Dom, 31/05/2020 - 22:43

“There’s an amusing Go reference in the latest Order of the Stick, a Dungeons and Dragons style strip I’ve followed for years,” reports Mark Gilston. The storyline involves one of the characters finding a Go stone, whereupon another character recognizes it as a piece from a lesson that devolved into some confusion over what the game of Go was called in the vein of Abbot and Costello’s Who’s on First? Read it here.


Annual North Carolina workshop with Yuan Zhou 7d successfully held online

Notizie AGA - Dom, 31/05/2020 - 22:31

The twelfth annual North Carolina workshop with Yuan Zhou was moved online this year and successfully held Sunday, May 24th. Zhou’s lecture included a pro game review discussion the influence of AI on professional play, as well as reviews of games that the ten workshop participants had played with each other in preparation for the day. “Teacher Zhou put special emphasis at understanding joseki in light of new insights from AI, including new ways to look at the double approach against a stone at the corner star point,” reports a workshop participant. “‘We can learn from AI, but AI can’t talk. We still need humans to interpret, and understand the Go truths.’ Yuan said.”

Participants report that while there were some technical difficulties to be ironed out, the online format was successful. The workshop was sponsored by the American Go Foundation and the Triangle Go Group of North Carolina. Read a full report of the workshop and Zhou’s biography here.

report and photo provided by the Triangle Go Group


50 years aGO – May 1970

Notizie AGA - Sab, 30/05/2020 - 21:26

by Keith L. Arnold, hka, with Patrick Bannister

May was dominated by Rin Kaiho’s defense of the Honinbo Title against challenger Sakata Eio. Already down a game, Sakata lost a bitter half pointer in the second game (top right) on May 7-8.

Those of you fortunate enough to travel (travel, I remember travel) to Japan will recognize this drawing (top left) – on May 8 the Nihon Kiin unveiled the plans for its “new” headquarters.

In the middle of the month Rin and Sakata squared off again (bottom right), and with a third straight loss on May 15-16, Sakata’s back was against the wall.

As of May 21, Fujisawa Shuko was leading the Meijin League (bottom left), with a 4-1 record, thanks to Takagawa Kaku’s victory over Kajiwara Takeo, giving them both matching 4-2 records.

Finally, the May 27 game brought the swiftest of ends to Sakata’s Honinbo challenge, losing in four straight games.


Redmond to review Ichiriki-Shibano game from Pandanet’s “Golden Panda Cup”

Notizie AGA - Sab, 30/05/2020 - 18:00

For this Sunday’s live game commentary on Twitch (8p EDT; note new time!), Michael Redmond 9P – hosted by E-Journal Managing Editor Chris Garlock — will review Pandanet’s “Golden Panda Cup” final-round game between Ichiriki Ryo — one of the top up-and-coming young players — and Shibano Toramaru, who won the prestigious Meijin tournament in 2019 at age 19, becoming the first teenager to achieve one of the seven major Japanese titles. Pandanet hosted the the “Golden Panda Cup”; Golden Panda is also what they called the player with the most wins, thus knocking out the most opponents.


AlphaGo vs. AlphaGo; Game 41: Michael’s mom and some exciting fighting

Notizie AGA - Sab, 30/05/2020 - 00:00

Michael Redmond 9p, hosted by the AGA E-Journal’s Chris Garlock, reviews the 41st game of the amazing AlphaGo vs. AlphaGo selfplay games. The 50-game series was published by Deepmind after AlphaGo’s victory over world champion Ke Jie 9p in May 2017.

In this commentary, originally broadcast live on the AGA’s Twitch channel on April 26, Redmond talks about a special video his mother made about the first time a young Michael met Kaoru Iwamoto, “who did so much to promote go overseas.” Today’s game starts with the Chinese Opening, “which is a little unusual for AI’s, we’ll see a few 3-3 invasions and of course some exciting fighting involving some groups where you’ll be wondering if they’re dead or alive.”

Also, tune in this Sunday on Twitch at 7p EDT for another live commentary, this one on the Ichiriki-Shibano game from Pandanet’s recent “Golden Panda Cup”

AG #41 produced by Stephen Hu, Allen Moy and Chris Garlock

Download SGF File


Nominations sought for AGA East Board seat

Notizie AGA - Ven, 29/05/2020 - 18:38

Nominations have been coming in for the upcoming AGA Board of Directors election, reports Arnold Eudell. Lisa Scott in the Central region and Christopher Saenz in the West are running to retain their seats, while Ted Terpstra and Darrell Ashworth are contesting the At-Large seat. Thus far, however, there are no nominations for the Eastern seat. “If you know of someone who you believe would offer guidance and service to the AGA consider making a nomination,” Eudell urges. Nominations, including self-nominations, may be made by full members for the region in which the member resides or without restriction for the At-Large seat and must be received by June 15, 2020. Nominations and questions must be emailed to Click here for complete election information and qualifications.


The Power Report: Professional go to resume & more reports

Notizie AGA - Ven, 29/05/2020 - 02:25

by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal

Professional go to resume

When the Japanese government declared an emergency on April 7, the Nihon Ki-in and the Kansai Ki-in fell in line and cancelled face-to-face go activity. The emergency was lifted on May 25, and on the same day the Nihon Ki-in announced that it would resume tournament activity on June 1, as will the Kansai Ki-in. However, some precautions will be observed.

  1. The temperatures of players will be measured.
  2. Players will wear masks.
  3. Attention will be paid to air circulation.
  4. There will be a limit to the number of games being played so that venues don’t become overcrowded. First of all, the first round of an international tournament, the 25th LG Cup, will be played on the net on June 1. The Japanese participants will play their games at the Nihon Ki-in Two domestic title matches were affected by the shut-down. The first game of the 75th Honinbo title match will be played in Kofu City, Yamanashi Prefecture, on June 2 and 3. Shibano Toramaru Meijin will be challenging Iyama Yuta Honinbo. Games 3 to 5 from the 58th Judan tournament which is being fought between Murakawa Daisuke Judan and Shibano Toramaru, have been rescheduled for June 17 and June 26 at the Nihon Ki-in and, if the match goes the full distance, July 3 at the Kansai Ki-in. The match is tied 1-1.

Tong wins Net tournament

On February 19, I published a report on a new net tournament, the 1st Wild Fox Contest for Supremacy, in which Iyama Yuta had won his way to the final and made a good start, winning the first game by half a point with white. However, in the second, his opponent, Tong Mengcheng 8P, returned the courtesy, winning by the same margin. The game was played on April 14. In the third game, played on April 22, Tong drew black and won by 3.5 points. First prize was 500,000 yuan (about $70,000). About 59,000 spectators followed the final game. Iyama had to be content with second place, but this is the best result a Japanese representative has scored recently. His cumulative score against eight Chinese opponents was 9-2. (Note: in English, the server seems to be called just “Fox.”)

Ohashi wins first tournament

The Young Bamboo Cup is a small-scale tournament for players 40 and under at the Kansai Headquarters of the Nihon Ki-in. The tournament is open to 16 players, which comes close to matching the number of players at this branch who meet the age condition. If there are more than 16 applicants, preliminaries are held; if fewer, the organizers can nominate extra players. The tournament was founded in 2018, but has already concluded its fourth term. The semifinals and final were held on April 7. In one semifinal, Ohashi Naruya 7P beat Utani Shunta 2P; in the other, Muramoto Wataru 2P beat Otani Naoki 3P. In the final, Ohashi (B) beat Muramoto by 9.5 points. First prize is 200,000 yen (about $18,570), and second is 100,000 yen. This is admittedly a minor title, but the 29-year-old Ohashi was very happy to win it. He commented: “This is my first victory. I hadn’t received any trophies since becoming a professional, so I’m extremely happy. Other tournaments have been postponed for the time being because of the corona virus, but I’ll be able to hole up at home cheerfully. Don’t tell anyone, but I was so excited after the win that I couldn’t sleep until the morning.”

Onishi and Son qualify for LG Cup

As mentioned in a previous report, the organizers of the 25th LG Cup cancelled the international qualifying tournament scheduled to be held in Seoul in April and instead allocated seats to the different professional organizations to use as they wished. Japan has three seeded places, taken by Murakawa Daisuke Judan, Ichiriki Ryo 8P and Kyo Kagen 8P, and was allotted two more places. These were decided by a net tournament among eight young players held on April 6 and 7. Onishi Ryuhei 5P won one side of the mini-tournament and Son Makoto 7P the other. They will play their first-round games at the Nihon Ki-in on June 1.

Ichiriki eliminated from MLily Cup

The quarterfinals of the 4th MLily Cup were held on the net, the first time ever for a major international tournament, on April 27. Ichiriki Ryo 8P was the only player standing in the way of complete Chinese domination of this Chinese-sponsored tournament, but his winning run came to an end in this round. Taking white, Xie Ke 8P beat him by resignation. Even so, this was Ichiriki’s best result so far in a major. Other results follow (full details are not available): Mi Yuting 9P beat Xie Erhao 9P; Ke Jie 9P beat Fan Tingyu 9P; Xu Jiayang 8P beat Meng Tailing 7P.

Go players marry

There is yet another professional couple. On February 10, O Keii 3P, the daughter of O Rissei, former Kisei, and Yamamori Tadanao 7P tied the knot. They are both members of the Nagoya branch of the Nihon Ki-in.


Ezura Yuichi retired as of April 30. Born on January 15, 1943 in Tokyo, he became 1-dan in 1962 and reached 8-dan in 1995. On his retirement, he was promoted to 9-dan.

Aragaki Takeshi retired on the same date. Born in Okinawa on June 4, 1956, he became a disciple of Sakata Eio and qualified as professional 1-dan at the Tokyo Nihon Ki-in in 1971. He reached 9-dan in 1994.

Obituary: Honda Sachiko

Honda Sachiko 7P died of old age on May 1. Born on December 30, 1930, she was 89. She was the middle one of the famous three Honda sisters, her older sister being Sugiuchi Kazuko (born on March 6, 1927, and still active) and her younger sister Kusunoki Teruko 8P (born on September 3, 1939; retired in 2019). Honda was born in Shizuoka Prefecture. She became a disciple of Kitani Minoru 9P and made 1-dan in 1947. She was promoted to 6-dan in 1981 and retired in 2000, and was then promoted to 7-dan. She won the Women’s Championship five times and the Women’s Honinbo title twice. In 1961, she made a two-month instruction tour of the U.S. along with her sister Teruko and Kitani Reiko, and in 1974 toured Europe with Kobayashi Chizu. As one of three go-playing sisters, it seems apposite that she took the three Mukai sisters–Mimura Kaori 3P (born in 1981, wife of Mimura Tomoyasu 9P), Nagashima Kozue 2P (born in 1984; not married to a professional), and Chiaki 5P (born in 1987, wife of Sugimoto Akira 8P, but she plays under her maiden name)—as disciples.


Teacher of the Year Nominations Open

Notizie AGA - Mer, 27/05/2020 - 03:13

Nominations for the American Go Foundation’s  Teacher of the Year award are due by June 15th. The award is usually presented each year at the U.S. Go Congress. Although congress has unfortunately been canceled due to Covid-19, the AGF Board decided to still honor a teacher this year, and to simply delay the prize until next year’s congress. The winner will receive an all expenses paid trip to the 2021 US Go Congress in Cleveland.  To be eligible a teacher must be a member of the AGA and have been teaching go to children  for at least one hour a week for two years – prior to March of this year. The award is now open to other kinds of teachers as well, including online efforts.  Click here for more information.  If you would like to nominate someone for this award, including yourself, email  Nominations are due by June 15th and should include a description of the teacher’s activities, how long they have been teaching, and how many students attended their program. – Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor. Photo:  Screen shots from 2019 Teacher of the Year Nick Sibicky‘s popular Go Lectures on Youtube.


Member’s Edition: Yuan Zhou on a Dan Game

Notizie AGA - Mar, 26/05/2020 - 07:00

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Commentary: Yuan Zhou 7d
Game editors: Bill Cobb, Myron Souris
Published in the May 26, 2020 edition of the American Go E-Journal.

Yuan Zhou’s commentary on this 1 dan game covers his usual wide breadth of informative tips. Maybe the biggest issue in this game is the trouble that arises when the players repeatedly do not handle a life and death situation correctly. Very strong players have a reason for telling us to practice life and death problems.

Yuan Zhou 7 dan is one of the strongest players in the US. He has won many titles. Zhou is also a popular teacher, lecturer, and author. He lives in Germantown, MD, and can be reached at . This commentary is typical for Zhou, who has published several books, including such thorough commentaries of pro games at Slate & Shell (


Membership manager payment problem solved

Notizie AGA - Mar, 26/05/2020 - 01:17

After being alerted to payment issues within the AGA Membership Manager the tech team consulted and patched the issue. The payments are now working again. If you have had an issue in the last month with using the membership manager to make payments, please try again. If there are any continued issues please email and to let us know so that we can help you.


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