Category: Events

Yuan Zhou Monthly Workshop

Yuan Zhou explaining a game (Credit to (TriangleGoClub)

After many months of almost going and then not being able to, I am happy to report that I finally made it out to one of Yuan Zhou‘s monthly workshops. This post is slightly overdue since I went to the November one; but it comes at a right time since the December workshop is right around the corner!

For those who have never been to a go workshop, here’s a high level overview of what you might find:

  • In depth review of a game (usually a professional one)
  • One round of games (with a main time around 45 minutes)
  • Game reviews for the games that were just played

As I arrived at Yuan Zhou’s house, I nostalgically recalled the two lessons that I had taken with him in the past. They seemed so long ago, but I was glad that I was finally back to seriously study the game. As I walked towards the entrance, I felt a little apprehensive as I wondered whether I would be able to gain anything from this workshop since I am so weak; but before I could have any serious doubts, I was greeted by Yuan Zhou and welcomed inside.

I was happy to see that Nate had already arrived, and promptly sat myself next to him as I was told to work on the life and death problem on the board. As we sat there staring at the board, Nate made a comment that made me laugh,

“Two years after Shifu told me someone named Ben might be coming who was close to my level, you’ve finally managed to show up.”

After everyone had arrived, it was time to see if the students had figured it out. As luck would have it, since I was the weakest player there, I was to give the first response. Recently, I had been exposed to some of the quirkier life and death problems that required atypical moves just as making the empty triangle descent and such; so I ended up choosing that move even though I couldn’t quite see the end of the sequence. Sure enough. I was wrong. Haha. Eventually a stronger player gave the right answer, and so we finished up the explanation and moved on to the review of the professional game.

The game we were reviewing was one of Ishida Yoshio and Rin Kaiho‘s games from 1974. Before we even began looking at the kifu however, Yuan Zhou launched into a fascinating explanation of the history behind the game: Go Seigen & Kitani Minoru, the Super Six, the terse feelings of having a non-Japanese player hold both Meijin and Honinbo titles, and so on. While some may wonder how relevant this is to getting better, it is like a cultural tour of this game we all devote so much time to that many often overlook. And if you still aren’t convinced, knowing the history behind the entire game made for a much more exciting review since you have an understanding of the players and how high the stakes are.

After the exciting game review, we had lunch and then proceeded with the afternoon game. Since we had an odd number of players, one of the players recorded my game while I had the opportunity to play. I felt kind of badly that I was playing and the player had to record, so in the future, I think that I would not mind being the recorder instead so other players can play instead. Anyhow, here’s the game record from that afternoon.

After all the games were finished, Yuan Zhou reviewed all of the games. If there’s something I learned from that experience, you tend to remember your lessons a lot better when other people are watching the review and seeing the mistakes you made. For example, the one thing that I will remember forever is the Elephant’s Eye (which I’ll write more on at another time). In addition, being able to have both sides of the game reviewed really helps to open you eyes as to what was supposed to work and what wasn’t supposed to work. On top of that, getting to see the game reviews for everyone else’s game was also very helpful.

Although I started out skeptical of what I would gain from the workshop, I am now a huge fan of them. Since most of players will never have the opportunity to be an insei and study go at that level of intensity, I really feel that go workshops are like one day insei experiences. Everyone who attends is committing their time and money, and you can be sure that everyone wants to make the most out of it. In addition, they are spaced out in such a way that you don’t have to worry about information overload. In fact, that’s exactly what you want since the time apart from each workshop allows you to absorb and apply the things that you learned so that you will have new things to learn the next time around.

I highly recommend Yuan Zhou’s workshops if you ever have the opportunity. The next workshop will be December 16th, 2012. If you’re interested in attending one of Yuan Zhou’s monthly workshops, contact him at Hope to see you there one day!

North American Go Convention!!!

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Big announcement everyone! I am ecstatic to tell you about a brand new go event coming to the East coast!

North American Go Convention Logo

North American Go Convention 2013 (NAGC)

Here is a high level overview of all the exciting things you can expect:

  1. Game review sessions with professionals!
  2. Simultaneous games with professionals!
  3. Lectures from professionals!
  4. Multiple open tournaments for players of all ranks that are AGA rated and can be up to 23 rounds for kyu players and 17 rounds for dan players!
  5. Pair Go (Rengo)
  6. Blitz Go
  7. Lots of awards!!!
  8. And more more more!!!
    So if you’re even thinking about possibly going, go ahead and pre-register here because there is no obligation to commit to anything but you will at least have your name down early on in case spots for simul games or reviews from pros become unavailable due to high demand (which you know is inevitable). So don’t hesitate and hurry up and go pre-register! I’m already pre-registered for Gold Access in DC, but I’d also be open to going to NJ as well if given enough persuasion!

If you are going, be sure to let me know because I’ll definitely be there! Ahhhhh!!!! So exciting!!!!

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NOVA Pumpkin Classic Tournament 2012 — Conclusion

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NOVA Pumpkin Classic 2012 Winners by Gurujeet

When I first walked into the tournament room, I remember staring longingly at the trophies lined up at the front of the room thinking, “Wouldn’t that be awesome if I could bring one of those home one day?” Never in my wildest delusions did I think that it would happen that very day. Nevertheless, there I was, with a 4-0 record and standing with the rest of the winners of the NOVA Pumpkin Classic 2012.

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NOVA Pumpkin Classic Tournament 2012 - Round 4

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FFVII - Cloud vs Sephiroth by Shld

Both players: 3-0, and I was facing my worst nightmare: another 4 stone handicap game.

In terms of competitive play, this is probably the most intense of all scenarios. Both you and your opponent are aware that only one will emerge victorious, so there is a huge pressure to fight with everything you have till the very end because neither will yield in this kind of game. And as someone who has never been in this situation before, it was an overwhelming feeling that made me shake with anticipation.

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NOVA Pumpkin Classic Tournament 2012 - Round 3

Weekly Go Wednesday, Issue #6

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Empty Board by Eidogo

I looked down at the empty board before me and waited for the third round to start. In all honesty, I was still shaken up from the second round despite the pep talk I gave myself at lunch. Part of me was worried that I would play another crazy game that would be disgraceful. Life has a funny way of jostling you out of your mood sometimes, and little did I know, but I was about to be given the spark I needed to get out of my funk.

Anderson and his friend had just checked the pairings list and were making their way into the room. I was still sitting at the table closest to the list, so as Anderson’s friend made his way to his table, he noticed that I was sitting there. He paused by our table for a moment, looked at me momentarily, then turned to my opponent and said, “You be careful! This guy is a wild player!”

I was a bit stunned and embarrassed for a second as I recalled the miserable game I had just played… but then a burning blaze took hold of me and I thought…

“Crazy player huh? I’ll show you how wrong you are about that!”

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NOVA Pumpkin Classic Tournament 2012 - Round 2

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4 Stones Handicap by Eidogo

In all my naivety, it never occurred to me that I might end up giving my opponent handicap stones. After all, the majority of the time spent playing online were either even games or against stronger opponents who would give me handicap stones, not the other way around!! To make matters worse, I had spent so much time studying how Black should deal with handicap games that I wasn’t quite sure what to do as White. And as if that wasn’t enough, my familiarity with handicap games extended as far as 3 stones. Now that I was facing an opponent with 4 stones, I couldn’t help but feel the blood begin to drain from my face as I stared down the menacing board.

“All four corners are gone… I don’t even have one corner of influence to work with… I have no idea what I’m going to do…”

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NOVA Pumpkin Classic Tournament 2012 - Round 1

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3 Stones Handicap by Eidogo

My opponent made his first move: upper left star.

I stared at the board as I recalled memories of playing with my friend Nate: the various approaches I tried before, the numerous times he gave me advice as to how he tries to play as white, and how I should try to play as black. I wasn’t sure what was in store for me, because this was not going to be a fun casual Monday night game. This was a game that neither of us wanted to lose. After all, I’m sure that neither of us wanted to start the tournament off with a loss. Nonetheless, only one of us would come out a victor…

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NOVA Pumpkin Classic Tournament 2012 - Introduction

IntroductionRound 1Round 2Round 3Round 4Conclusion

In my entire go playing experience, I have only participated in two tournaments: the UMBC Go Tournament (2010) and the New Jersey Open (2011). In both instances, I ended up participating because of friends who encouraged me to do so. Otherwise, I’m pretty sure my lack of confidence would’ve prevented me from doing so. When I recall both tournaments, I remember not doing so well at either. My record was 0-3 at the UMBC Go Tournament and (with confirmation from Nate) 3-2 for the New Jersey Open. (For those thinking that 3-2 isn’t so bad, I recognize that; but I assure you that I don’t recall the greatest feeling about my victories. Can’t say why, but that’s what I can recall.) I’m sad I didn’t blog more about those experiences, so I’m hoping to make up for that with this tournament.

This is a six part series that will be released once per day (excluding weekends). So as the hors d’oeuvre to next week’s entree of daily posts, let the story begin…

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New Design Grand Opening!!!


As I promised last week, today is the grand opening of the new redesign for BenGoZen! It’s time to change your bookmarks, because BenGoZen now has its own domain name and is hosted on a completely new platform!

For those who haven’t visited in a while, here are some of the new features that will be accessible to you on the new design!

  • Easy Email & RSS Subscription!
  • Embedded Eidogo Kifu so you can view the game right in the post!
  • Updated content layout for easier reading experience and better searching!
  • Translator tool in case you want to read my blog in another language!
  • Easy contact form so you can send me emails at any time!

And in case there is any confusion, there will no longer be any updates here on the Blogger platform. All comments have also been disabled to prevent any confusion as well, so make sure to come on over to the new site! I assure you that it is worth it.

With that in mind, hope to see you over at the new site!

Also, for those of us that are being bombarded by Hurricane Sandy, I hope you are doing alright and have the good fortune of having electricity and internet so that you can be reading this. Take care!