Weekly Schedule

The Go Center is closed during the COVID-19 emergency. We will reopen when we can. Meanwhile, please join us to play, chat, teach & learn, or review on KGS, OGS, and Discord

Monday 9am-12pm

The Zoka Coffee crew meets up for games and socializing in the Seattle Go Center room on KGS

Tuesdays 1pm-10pm

Go players meet on Discord and OGS 

Computer monitor displays game of Go / Baduk / Weiqi

Wednesday 6pm-8pm

Jonathan Cheng’s “Single Digit Kyu” class meets on Zoom (also check out his previous lectures)

Wednesday 5pm-8pm
South Sound Go Club meets on Discord and OGS

Friday 9am-12pm

The Zoka Coffee crew meets up for games and socializing in the Seattle Go Center room on KGS

Saturday 1pm-8pm

Go players meet for Go and socializing on Discord, OGS, and KGS Seattle Go Center room

Shogi — 1st and 3rd Saturdays, 11am-5pm

Shogi games and lessons, 11am-5pm on Discord and 81dojo

Saturday “Programming Go AI” class with Drew — project help is available via Slack channel and email.

Sunday 3pm-6pm

South Sound Go Club meets on Discord and OGS

News

75th Anniversary of the Atom Bomb Game

August 6, 2020 is the 75th anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima.  Our generous benefactor, Mr. Kaoru Iwamoto 9p, was almost killed by this bomb.  His Honinbo championship game with Mr. Utaro Hashimoto was moved at the last moment to the outskirts of Hiroshima, about 10 kilometers upwind from the center of the destruction. The blast disrupted the beginning of the last day their three-day game, but nobody in the playing room was badly hurt, so they set up again and finished.  Only later, as they walked to their host’s house, did they get the terrible news of what happened as refugees came streaming from the center of Hiroshima.

Iwamoto Sensei’s wartime experiences motivated him to continue to share and teach the game of Go as a pathway for international understanding.

Back in 1926, he was one of the Japanese pros who encouraged the Chinese prodigy Wu Qingyuan to come to Japan.  Mr. Wu, better known as Go Seigen, became one of the strongest players of the 20th Century.  After the war, which ended in 1945, Iwamoto Sensei devoted a lot of his efforts to teaching and outreach. He still played tournament Go, successfully defending his Honinbo title in 1947, and playing in tournaments until the mid 1970’s, but that wasn’t his only focus. For example, in the 1970’s, James Kerwin of Minnesota, the first western pro in the Nihon Ki-in, was one of Iwamoto’s students.  

Iwamoto Sensei’s success in the Tokyo real estate market in the 1980’s allowed him to expand on his ability to teach and share Go internationally by endowing Go Centers in Seattle, New York, Sao Paulo, and Amsterdam. Thanks to Iwamoto Sensei’s generosity, Seattle has had a Go Center for 25 years. We were happy to have him visit us in 1995 and 1996.  Mr. Iwamoto passed away in 1999, after 97 years.

The other player in the Atom Bomb Game, Mr. Hashimoto, also helped the Seattle Go Center significantly, if indirectly. He was the founder of the Kansai Ki-in, the professional Go association in the region of Japan around Osaka. The Kansai Ki-in has sponsored many trips by the professional Ryo Maeda to Seattle. Mr. Maeda is one of our favorite teachers.

Like Iwamoto Sensei, the Seattle community seeks to promote the crucial necessity of international understanding through its beautiful yearly memorial to the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bomb victims. “From Hiroshima to Hope” generally uses floating lanterns at Green Lake — except that this year, it is a virtual event. To find links, go to Hiroshima to Hope.

You can see the Atom Bomb Game below if you are viewing this post on the news page, rather than the front page. It is the 3rd Japanese Honinbo, title match #2.  Mr. Iwamoto had black.  (Mr. Hashimoto won the game; Mr. Iwamoto eventually won the championship.)  The last move before the atomic bomb blast was 106, which was played at the end of the 2nd day, Aug 5.  The game was long form – each side had 13 hours. That is why it took three days. On the third day the players had just finished setting up and replaying the previous days’ moves when the blast came.  This game is displayed on the outside west wall of the Seattle Go Center. In this setting, it is played out to move 74.  There is a detailed analysis of the game in Modern Master Games, Vol. 1, The Dawn of Tournament Go by Rob van Zeijst and Richard Bozulich (Kiseido Publishing)

Mid-May Update

The Seattle Go Center has been closed due to coronavirus precautions for over two months now. Brian still goes there to check on the building, and to do office work. The neighborhood is much quieter, due to a huge reduction in traffic on nearby I-5, and in jets crossing above. The veterinary clinic downstairs is still open for urgent care, so the building doesn’t feel too lonely. They recently changed their name to “Caring Pet Clinic”, and put up new signs.

Our financial situation is stable for now, but we worry about the effects of a long closure on the Go Center. Meanwhile, the plans for developing the property, with space for us in a new building, are proceeding energetically, despite COVID-19 worries. The property is owned by our benefactor, the Nihon Ki-in of Japan.

Tuesdays were our big days, with 20-40 visitors each Tuesday this winter. All that has changed.  Some of those Tuesday players are meeting on go servers now at the same time of the week.  Go Center Member Bob (Mingcun) Fan reports that he is now playing Mr. Yao on OGS, and then they have a phone call to review the game.  This is happening with some of the meet-ups too. The Zoka coffeehouse group that used to meet in person on Monday and Friday mornings now meets on KGS, using the Go Center “room”.  Member Frank Brown writes that about six players have made the transition. 

Seattle Go Center members have been taking advantage of online Go education for years.  Some have private online lessons with pros, while others are part of the American Yunguseng Dojang.

Our Wednesday SDK class with Jonathan (Chin Jung) Cheng has now gone completely online.   This class is designed for 9K – 1D players.  He is doing a series on using opening moves suggest by AI.  Jonathan teaches the class live on Wednesdays from 6-7 pm PDT through Zoom, and later posts the lectures on YouTube.

Nick in front of imaginary Go demo board
Nick Sibicky in Cyberspace

Before COVID-19, Nick Sibicky used to give his DDK lectures in front of a live audience at the Go Center on Monday nights, and then post them on YouTube.  Now he is recording them at home. He is up to lecture #388!  Nick’s popular lessons were originally intended for double digit kyu players, but his scope has widened to include many issues of interest to stronger players as well.  His most recent lecture at the Go Center was with Nihon Ki-in Pro Daiki Komatsu in early March.

Washington State Governor Jay Inslee recently announced “Washington’s Phased Approach” to reopening, with four phases.  The Go Center Board of Directors will meet online to decide how our organization fits into the opening rubric. The earliest the Go Center might be able to reopen would be late June 2020. In the meantime, Brian is working on washing all the go stones.

COVID-19 Closure and Cancelation: 03-24 update

Seattle Go Center remains closed due to the COVID-19 emergency. On 3-23, Governor Inslee issued a proclamation, that (among other measures) closed all non-essential businesses and banned all recreational gatherings regardless of size, for at least two weeks. This means the soonest the Go Center might be able to re-open would be April 9.

Accordingly, the April monthly ratings tournament (that was scheduled for April 5) is canceled. The annual Spring Go Tournament, scheduled for May 3, is uncertain at this time.

Every year, volunteers from the Go Center share the game with attendees at certain festivals. We’ve received confirmation that the following events, originally scheduled for April and May, are canceled: Sakura-Con, Cherry Blossom Festival (at Seattle Center), and University District Street Fair.

The online community resources for playing Go and chatting have been getting increasing use. The Discord server in particular has about 40 users, and the players who meet up regularly at Zoka Coffee on Monday and Friday mornings have been finding each other in the “Seattle Go Center” club room on KGS.

— Mike M.

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