Sophomore Soren Jaffe wins international “Go” competition

Fine Arts,

This summer, Lake Erie College sophomore Soren Jaffe took part in an international competition for “Go,” an ancient board game originating in Asia. For over 4,000 years, people have been fascinated by the game, the aim of which is to surround more territory on a playing board than one’s opponent.

As described by the American Go Association (AGA), Go is the oldest game still played in its original form. It is composed of simple elements yet is based on abstract strategy, making it somewhat similar to chess. Apart from the exciting challenge Go provides, the beauty of the game is that it’s universal and bridges the language gap, allowing people from around the world to play one another regardless of background.

Jaffe attended the AGA’s 32nd annual U.S. Go Congress in August, also known as the US Open. Held at Boston University, the tournament ran for 9 days with 6 official tournament games and encompassed various divisions including “3 Dan,” the advanced group in which Jaffe competed.

Jaffe won all 6 games of his division by resignation, and was one of only 7 people to go undefeated 6-0 in tournament games. His opponents were people from all over the world, including participants from Canada and France. In addition to winning prizes and a medal, Jaffe’s dominating performance earned him advancement to higher ranks of competition in future tournaments. The Cleveland Go Association sponsored him for the tournament.

A graduate of Riverside High School, Jaffe learned to play Go at a very young age. His father, Dr. Jerry Jaffe, associate professor of theatre at LEC, played for 20 years himself and taught all of his children the game. While Jaffe’s two sisters enjoyed the game, he exceled and began playing it seriously in 2011. He often goes to tournaments and has won every tournament held in Ohio over the past 3 years.

Jaffe’s participation in the tournament in Boston provided an opportunity for him to learn more about the game he loves. In Asia, Go is treated as any other sport and involves professional players, many of whom attended the U.S. Go Congress to impart their skills to the U.S. players.

According to Jaffe, his opinions on the game are summed up by the following quote from German-American Go player and author Edward Lasker: “The rules of Go are so elegant, organic, and rigorously logical that if intelligent life forms exist elsewhere in the universe, they almost certainly play Go.”

Jaffe will be defending his title at the Kingston Classic in Columbus on October 15.

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