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Updated World Go News
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50 years aGO – May 1970

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”

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

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

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

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

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

Mar, 26/05/2020 - 07:00

Download SGF File

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

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.


In Memoriam: Gordon Castanza

Lun, 25/05/2020 - 03:08

By Mike LePore

Former AGA board member Gordon Castanza passed away on May 24, after a battle with cancer.

Gordon’s life was anything but boring and conventional. At the age of 20, he received a draft notice, and left college to serve in the Air Force for five years during the Vietnam War. Upon returning to civilian life, Gordon finished his bachelor’s and master’s degrees, and went to work for the Alaska public school system. In 1984, when the school board wouldn’t let him take time off to compete in the Iditarod dog sled race, Gordon quit his job and competed anyway. (does this really surprise any of you who knew him?) He then spent several years in the 1980s working for a company that was instrumental in opening up free markets in China. He would later return to Alaska, obtaining his doctorate in his mid-50s while serving as a school district superintendent.

Gordon retired in July 2000, and moved to Gig Harbor, WA. In retirement, go became one of Gordon’s true loves, along with fly fishing and military history. He even found a way to get the story of the famous Atom Bomb Game incorporated into Don Farrell’s book Tinian and the Bomb. Gordon loved go’s beauty and historical significance, and was always delighted at the chance to introduce the game to others. I will miss spotting his wide-brimmed hat at future go events.

“I feel fortunate to have gotten to know Gordon,” said AGA president Andy Okun. “He took me fly fishing high up in the Rockies on the Wednesday off at the Colorado Congress in 2010, a chance to see him in his element, hat, shades, waders, and a quiet stream. He told me stories about his time in China, and witnessing the Tiananmen crackdown, being in the Air Force in Vietnam, his devotion to go, and getting to fish the ant fall on the San Juan River. Keep your line tight, Gordon.”

American Go E-Journal Managing Editor Chris Garlock added that “Gordon joined the EJ Congress game recording team when we were just getting started and was always a reliable and steadfast game recorder, insisting on using his own laptop, an innovation we’ve since adopted for the whole team.”

photos by Chris Garlock (top) and Phil Straus (middle); Andy Okun (bottom)


LIVE TONIGHT: Redmond and Garlock on AlphaGo vs AlphaGo, Game 42

Dom, 24/05/2020 - 09:00

Tune in to the AGA’s Twitch channel tonight at 7p EDT to catch the live commentary by Michael Redmond 9P and Chris Garlock on AlphaGo vs AlphaGo Game 42. Viewers will be able to ask Redmond and Garlock questions during the live commentary.

Also of interest: The 2020 China-US Internet Go Tournament, Day 1 with commentary by Kim Yoonyoung 8p (Originally aired on April 14, 2020).
AlphaGo vs. AlphaGo with Michael Redmond 9p: Game 40. Originally broadcast live on the AGA’s Twitch channel on April 5, in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, Michael and Chris begin by checking in on the status of the professional go community in Japan, and they also talk about Michael’s YouTube channel, which he had just launched.


Survey: planning for online AGA activities

Dom, 24/05/2020 - 07:06

While we all continue to take precautions for the health and safety of ourselves and our communities, the AGA wants to encourage people to continue to play Go and to socialize virtually with other people in the Go community.

The AGA is planning to put on some limited online programming during the first week of August to bring the AGA Go community together during the time in-person Go Congress has traditionally been held. We are still figuring out the details, and that’s where you all come in! If you are interested in participating, please take a minute to fill out this survey and help us plan a better event for you!


KGS Adds Web Registration

Sab, 23/05/2020 - 23:45

The KGS Go Server just got easier to join and use. The Java client for KGS has been an ongoing problem for some computers and blocked by many schools. The KGS Home Page features a new link to sign up for a free account. Using ShinKGS, a web-based client developed by Justin Kramer, phones, tablets, or computers can now play on the server while avoiding Java completely. 

The American Go Foundation has been steadily working on improving KGS, but mostly behind the scenes until now. “This is the first of many upgrades to KGS that the AGF wants to see happen.” says AGF President Terry Benson. “To make KGS a better go community, we could use help on the open source ShinKGS code.  While so many people are stuck at their computers, go is a great way to stay busy and connected to other people.”  ShinKGS is still missing some features and has a few bugs, a list of areas that need work is here, access to the code is on Github here. GoUniverse, a plugin for the Chrome Web Browser developed by Ilya Kirillov, is  another way to access KGS without Java, and has almost all of the features in the full client. GoUniverse is also open source, and can be accessed on Github here.

KGS has seen a boom in users with everyone staying home due to Covid-19, and many clubs now meet virtually on the site. The AGF hopes to expand that user base by improving services and growing the community. “Many thanks to lead KGS developer Lee Schumacher for his tireless work on behalf of the server. Our thanks also to Oren Laskin, on the development team, and to all the admins who work daily to keep KGS a safe and friendly space for all,” adds Benson. – Paul Barchilon, AGF Vice-President


Redmond’s Reviews, Episode 22: Yasui Sanchi 7P vs Honinbo Shusaku 6P

Sab, 23/05/2020 - 00:04

In the latest Redmond Review, Michael Redmond 9P and Chris Garlock take a break from their AlphaGo vs AlphaGo series to take a look at another classic game, Honinbo Shusaku’s first castle game, against the 9th Yasui Sanchi (Shuntetsu). The program originally aired on April 12 on Twitch, and includes an update on the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the Japanese professional go scene, as well as Michael’s historical insights into the four go houses, the castle games and the connections to modern go, including the influence of AI. Tune in on the AGA’s Twitch channel this Sunday at 7p EDT for the next live game commentary.

Download SGF File


BadukPop app adds AI opponent

Ven, 22/05/2020 - 23:01

BadukPop has added several improvements in its latest update, including the ability to play against artificial intelligence. The popular go problem app, developed by Hajin Lee 4P and Dan Maas, works on both Android and iOS. The interface was designed to be fun for all ages, including kids, and now features 7 humorous AI characters you can play against. The weakest is Bobby – perfect for people who have just learned to play. Next up is Kevin whose “mind wanders off into deep space – and so do his go moves.” As players work their way up, the AI gets much stronger. “I love playing against Cora,” says Lee “she’s my new rival – I have about a 50/50 win rate against her, and it’s really fun to have a quick game with her now and then.” At the top is Max “a powerful AI that plays at human professional level.”

The app only supports games on 9×9 for now, but 13×13 and 19×19 are coming soon says Maas. A new section of lessons has been added as well. Designed as short sequences to teach new players, you can go from learning the rules to mastering basic corner and side positions. Like everything in BadukPop, the lessons are designed to be quick so one can learn something in just a few minutes, but build deep knowledge over time. Lee goes over the new features on her Youtube channel here. The app is free, but has in app purchases for extra features. Download from the Apple or Android stores, or from BadukPop’s website here. -Paul Barchilon, EJ Youth Editor


Member’s Edition: Lessons with Kaz: Common Mistakes

Mar, 19/05/2020 - 07:00

Download SGF File

Published in the May 19, 2020 edition of the American Go E-Journal.

Kaz commented a couple months ago on this 2-stone handicap game, between 1 kyu and 1dan players, but Kaz notes, “However, I realized that I should have explained more. I’m also going to show more moves and comments.

A longtime contributor to the American Go E-Journal, former insei Kazunari Furuyama has returned with his popular EJ column, now in sgf files and re-named “Lessons with Kaz”. Visit his newly improved website, including the advice column and example problems. Kaz also has room for offline teaching.


How we’re coping: the Austin Go Club blends KGS and video chat to keep connected

Lun, 18/05/2020 - 07:15

The Austin Go Club has continued to meet twice per week online on Tuesday evenings from 6-12PM and Saturday afternoons from 1-5PM. Players meet up on KGS in the Austin Go Club room where a Google Hangout link is posted, so that players who join the hangout can still see each other and carry on conversations. “Just like our face-to-face meetings prior to COVID-19, anyone is welcome to attend and play some games,” reports Bart Jacob. “Though we miss being in the same physical room, this has allowed us to continue playing each other and keep up-to-date on our lives and well being. We hope you can come visit!”

For more information email


LIVE TONIGHT: Redmond and Garlock on AlphaGo vs Lee Sedol, Game 2

Dom, 17/05/2020 - 13:49

Tune in to the AGA’s Twitch channel tonight at 7p EDT to catch the live commentary by Michael Redmond 9P and Chris Garlock on AlphaGo vs Lee Sedol Game 2. As they write in their book AlphaGo to Zero: The Complete Games, “AlphaGo’s move 37 is the move heard ‘round the go world. The move that, if AlphaGo were human, would have been the equivalent of announcing that ‘There’s a new sheriff in town.’ On Main Street. At high noon. To call it shocking would be an understatement.” Tune in tonight at 7p, when viewers will be able to ask Redmond and Garlock questions during the live commentary.


AlphaGo vs. AlphaGo; Game 40: It gets weird in the endgame

Sab, 16/05/2020 - 01:02

Michael Redmond 9p, hosted by the AGA E-Journal’s Chris Garlock, reviews the 40th 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.

Originally broadcast live on the AGA’s Twitch channel on April 5, in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, Michael and Chris begin by checking in on the status of the professional go community in Japan, and they also talk about Michael’s YouTube channel, which he had just launched.

“In this game, AlphaGo is going to look a bit like two human players,” Michael says. The game starts with the mini-Chinese opening and the rest of the game “looks like a game two human players would play, but then it gets weird in the endgame.”

Also, tune in this Sunday on Twitch at 7p EDT for another live commentary on the historic 2016 AlphaGo vs Lee Sedol match; and you get to help choose which game Michael and Chris analyze! Click here now to vote!

AG #40 produced by Stephen Hu, Allen Moy and Chris Garlock

Download SGF File


Submit stories to the AGA E-Journal

Sab, 16/05/2020 - 00:21

The American go community is always eager for reports of local tournaments, mentions of go for our Go Spotting column, new tools or study resources, and any go-related news. Please submit all your stories to our new E-Journal Article Submission form. With a growing team, our new submission method will allow us to better manage your article submissions, improve our workflow and publishing turn-around time. You can still get in touch with us by email for any inquiries related to the E-Journal or your subscription at!


Upcoming AGA Board meeting May 17

Gio, 14/05/2020 - 09:22

The AGA Board is meeting on Sunday, May 17th at 8pm EDT.  Topics of discussion include: Financials, Investment Report, Budget, International Affairs, Update on Teaching, Update on Congress, a Privacy Policy, Online Ratings, and topics related to Coronavirus and no US Go Congress in 2020.
For more information, you can find the detailed agenda here.

Are you an AGA member interested in listening in to the meeting?  Please contact the Chairperson at for call-in information.

Are you interested in commenting on past board meeting minutes?  You can submit your comments here, and they’ll be available to entire board and relevant officers. Past minutes are available here.


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