A Game Recorder's View: First US Pro Tournament

The First AGA - Tygem Pro Finals is double-elimination. After the first round the contests are best-of-three matches. After his first loss a player drops to the 2nd band; but the leader of the 2nd band, who at the end will have had only one loss, will play a match with the loser of the championship match, who also will have had only one loss, to determine second place. That’s important because 2nd place will be the second American certified professional, ever.

Andy Liu has been a steam roller; not only has he won all his matches, but he has won all his games, winning matches two-zip vs Janing Gan and Eric Lui. As I write this, Gan-Sheng Shi (who beat Jing Yang 2-1 the previous round) is playing Hugh Zhang (who beat Yuan Zhou 2-1) in their third-game playoff (they split yesterday) for the right to challenge Andy Liu for the championship. Either way a bloodied veteran will confront a locomotive in what will have to be a great battle.

I can see why recording other’s games is so important in Go pedagogy: you have to spot the move before the opponent replies (a few moves played in rapid succession, which can happen abruptly at any time, can make the move order mystifying even if you catch up to the current position). So the recorder must effectively play the game, identifying candidate moves and sorting them, so he can recognize the move and record it before play progresses on too far. It’s quite a bit of work, but it’s fascinating. You are putting yourself in the head of another player, like Rengo (pair go). The two games I recorded yesterday wore me out about as much as if I had played two rounds.

Sitting in a rocking chair on a cottage veranda in the cool night-time breeze at the end of the day, overlooking the wooded ravine passing among the cottages, relaxes beautifully.

Peter St. John, Triangle Go Group

Documentary Crew to Film at Black Mountain

“The Surrounding Game” film will be a full-length documentary chronicling the growth of the Go in the United States. Part of the filming will occur during the Professional Qualifying Tournament, the International Go Symposium, and of course, the 2012 US Go Congress. To support this project, or for more information and a video of their trailer go here.

Go Camp Registration is OPEN!

Create your account and register now! Amanda Miller and Nano Rivera are the 2012 Go Camp Directors and can answer any questions you may have. Contact them at Visit the Camp website at for more details.

Go Congress 2012 is on Twitter

New USA Go Board Contest

New contest!

Find the best Fuseki (first 8 moves) on the USA shaped go board and win a private one hour lesson with one of our Pros!

Use the image file to understand the quirky border points (in general, if a stone can cover more than one point then it shall be considered one point). Printouts of the board grid will be available at the congress help desk. Mark white moves with a number and black moves with a number in a circle.

The winner will be determined by a panel of our congress pros. Deadline for entries is Thursday at noon. Include your name and email and deliver your completed entry to the congress help desk.

Paul Celmer

Our Journalist's Report from the First US Pro Tournament

I’ve just recorded my first game! There are still technical issues; I don’t know where “finish” is for a relayed game, so I’m keeping it open, but I’m pretty sure it’s saved somewhere.

White, Andrew Lu (not to be mistaken for Andy Liu), 7d, played a big moyo game in the style of Takemiya; Black, Gan-Sheng Shi 7d, made three (pretty) secure corners and later tiny life in gote inside the fourth, leaving himself with the problem of usefully invading the big moyo. When I was a kid, the Joe Shoenfield School of Go is that no space was secure, ever; you can always make a ko or at least a mess that will spill over into what used to be secure territory, or something. So I myself would be more comfortable playing Black; but the moyo was oki, indeed, and the squirming hopping battles could make a mess of Black groups as well as White’s, so the battle was very exciting as it rattled around in the big space. In the end there were just too many threats and Shi killed one of Lu’s groups, leading to resignation.

My feeling is that everyone is a bit tired (from travelling) and perhaps more than a bit nervous (this really is historic, and at the end of the week two people will have credentials that never before existed). So I think the game was imperfect; but fought with all the heart of a college basketball game. These guys are all deadly serious. They may have been joking around playing poker last night, but they are working their brains to the skull today.

The weather is beatiful; a bit warm, but the nights are cool, there are breezes, the venue is air conditioned :-) and the view from the full-wall two-story window in the dining hall is spectacular.

Peter St. John


Photos from the First US Pro Tournament

Here’s a link to some pictures from this week’s First US Pro Tournament:

Registration Special

The US Go Congress is running a special registration promotion from now (June 28) until July 7th.  If you register and pay your bill between June 28 and July 7th, you will receive your choice of either 1 hour of private game review and/or lesson with a pro, or a congress certificate for one book of your choice from Slate and Shell (up to 30 dollars in value).  Each registrant should also send an email to the registrar at indicating they are using the promotion and what reward they are choosing.

Don’t forget to check out the trailer for “The Surrounding Game” documentary that will be filmed at Black Mountain as well!

Thanks again, and hope to see you soon at that congress!

Peter Armenia and Paul Celmer

Win a Free Meal Plan!

U.S. Go Congress organizers have just announced a drawing for a free 2012 Congress meal plan – a $230 value — on April 25th. “Who says there’s no such thing as a free lunch… and breakfast and dinner?!” said Congress Co-Director Peter Armenia and Paul Celmer. This year’s Congress runs August 4 – 12 in Black Mountain, North Carolina.

Here’s how to enter:

1) Register and pay your total Congress balance. If you have already registered and paid, you can still enter the contest by completing the following steps.

2): Post a memory: on the 2012 Congress Facebook page post at least a paragraph that describes either your favorite memory of a U.S. Go Congress, or tells how you came to learn about go. Favorite pictures of a Go Congress from your personal album will also be accepted. If you don’t want to post to Facebook you can email it to and indicate that we can post your story or anecdote.

3): Notify: send an email to indicating that you have entered the contest.

You must complete all three steps to be considered for entry. The winner will be drawn at random from complete entries. Payment and postings must be made by midnight (EST) April 25th. “Of course, even if you do not wish to enter the contest we still very much appreciate your Congress payment to ensure your room reservations!” say Armenia and Celmer.