News

Don’t Worry, We Will Have a Space in the New Building

Plans are proceeding for the development of the Seattle Go Center property. The project has passed the “Early Design Guidance” phase, so now many of the parameters of the building have been established. The building will be 23 stories high! We will have the 2nd floor space marked “office” on the plans. The rest of the building will be apartments. The big cork tree next to our entrance will be protected. We will have some parking on the basement levels, accessed from the alleyway, also know as Roethke Mews.

Installing Seattle Dept. of Construction and Inspections sign

The Go Center is currently closed due to COVID-19 precautions, while our tenant, Caring Pet Clinic, is open with social distancing guidelines. If the development plan goes ahead, the Go Center will be able to occupy the current building at least until the end of 2021, once the pandemic is under control. Then we move to a temporary location while the new building is being constructed.

Test drilling for foundation engineering

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)

Fall Schedule Update

Tuesday Game

As summer fades into fall, much of our regular schedule is returning. On Mondays, Drew will teach one more class on Sept 16 (thanks Drew!), and then YouTube star Nick Sibicky will start teaching again on Sept 23 with our live audience, from 6:30-8:30.

Tuesdays were big in August, and will probably get even bigger when the UW students are back in town in late Sept. We are open 1-10 p.m.

We will be closed on Wednesdays in September. In October, we’re expecting to reboot the “Programming Computer Go A.I.” class, based on the book “Deep Learning and the Game of Go”

Thursdays are a great day for beginners. We are open for casual games 2-9 p.m., and Larry Eclipse teaches (free!) “Go for Complete Beginners” class, 6:30-8:30 PM.

On Fridays, we are open only for the UW Chanoyu (Culture of Tea) class.

Saturday is our second most popular day.  Players of all levels can find a game, and Dennis Wheeler is available to teach beginners.  Open 1-8 p.m.

Sundays we are closed, except for tournaments.

Gala Pair Go Tournament Dec. 8 With Haylee!

Seattle Go Center is pleased to present the 6th Annual Gala Night of Pair Go

  • * Saturday, December 8 (following 2nd Saturday Speed League).
  • * Register in person, 5:00 – 5:30 PM.
  • * $10 entry ($5 for youth 17 and younger / Go Center voting members).

This is a great holiday event, with two rounds of Pair Go, cake, prizes and lots of fun.  (We expect to finish the evening around 10 PM.)  We will be following International Pair Go Rules.  Each team must have one male partner, and one female, transgender, or non-binary partner.  Team members may be of any age.  This is not an official Pair Go competition, so formal dress is encouraged, but not required.

Special guest Hajin Lee, 4 Dan professional —  Haylee’s World of Go/Baduk — is expected to play!

Go Terms in Four Languages

We have gotten a second shipment of Chihyung Nam’s new book, “Go Terms”.  This is a great book for Seattle Go Center players, since it compares Go terms across four languages: English, Japanese, Chinese and Korean.  While English is the most common language at the Go Center, a lot of our stronger players use Japanese, Chinese or Korean as their first language.

“Go Terms” is available in our book and equipment shop for $25, including tax.  (We are sorry, but we do not do mail order or internet sales.)

The book is organized for English readers, with explanations in English, and diagrams, and the corresponding Asian words, along with their Romanized versions.  There are tables in the back of the book to help Japanese, Chinese and Korean speakers find corresponding terms in English.

Readers will find that many Japanese terms are listed in the English columns as well, such as komi, sente and hane.  In other situations, Ms. Nam suggests using English terms, which would make the game more understandable to beginners who speak English.  So she uses “corner pattern” for joseki,  and “play elsewhere” for tenuki.   Often there is not an exact match across all four languages. The entry on “Continuous atari” includes a comparison of 7 Asian terms, including the Japanese oiotoshi, and the Korean chokchoksu.

Chihyung Nam was one of the first female pros in Korea, and she is a good friend of the Seattle Go Center.  She is a professor at the Buduk Studies program at Myungji University, and has represented Korea at several international conferences on unifying Go rules. Her earlier book, “Contemporary Go Terms”, went out of print a long time ago, when Oromedia Publishing closed.  We are very happy that she has thoroughly rewritten her book, and found a new publisher.   Report and photo by Brian Allen

Mike Malveaux Now Program Manager

Mike Malveaux Teaching at the 2018 U District Street Fair

We are pleased to announce that the Directors of the Seattle Go Center have selected Mike Malveaux to be the Program Manager for the center.  This is a new part time position with responsibility for classes, workshops, visiting pros, outreach and school programs.  Mike will also be updating the website, the mailing list, and our social media.  Brian Allen will be continuing at the Go Center as Operations Manager, with responsibility for the building, the bookkeeping, and for tax reports. [ Read more… ]

We Are Testing a New Go Board

Steve Pell with his prototype Go board

A talented furniture designer and craftsman in Bellingham, Steve Pell,  has taken an interest in making high quality Go boards.  He has given us one of his prototypes to test out.  Try it and tell us what you think!  It is the 2.5 inch thick table board in the photo.  (It will be in the main playing room, and it is a bit thicker than our regular boards.)  Some of Steve’s other work can be seen at: Pellican Design

We Are At Seattle Center for Cherry Blossom Festival

Teaching at Cherry Blossom 2017

The Go Center will be teaching and sharing the game of Go at the Cherry Blossom Festival, April 20-22,  2018.  This is at Seattle Center, underneath the Space Needle.  We will be in the “Armory Loft”, which is one floor up from the food court, from 10 am to 5 pm.  We have room for more teachers!

13×13 Tournament at SakuraCon April 1

We will be at the big anime festival, Sakura-Con this weekend.  On Sunday, April 1, we hold a 13×13 tournament that is beginner friendly.  Everyone is welcome, and you do not need a pass to reach us.  We are at the Washington State Convention Center, near the escalator on the third floor, in Room 305.  The tournament is from 10 am to noon, and we will be there until 4 pm.

Pro Visit by Chang Ruei Jie 2P

We are pleased to host a weeklong visit by Nihon Ki-in Pro Chang Ruei Jie in March. Mr. Chang is originally from Taiwan, but he lives in Japan now. As a young pro, he is very much interested in Artificial Intelligence computer programs that play the game of Go. We have a number of events scheduled for Chang Ruei Jie, including:

Simultaneous games at the Seattle Go Center ($10):
Saturday, March 17, 4 p.m.
Tuesday, March 20, 6:30 p.m.

Lectures at the Go Center (free!)
Monday, March 19, 6:30 p.m. for DDK class and others
Wednesday, March 21, 6:30 p.m. for Single Digit Kyu group and others

One Day Workshop with Mr. Chang:
Sunday, March 18, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
$45/$30 students and voting members; $10 discount for early registration
More info at: workshop