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 Post subject: Re: Tap?
Post #21 Posted: Thu Aug 11, 2011 4:39 pm 
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jts wrote:
pwaldron wrote:
Anyone born in the US learned go here, and has benefited from the tournaments and go congresses that are organized...


The sense in which this is true strikes me as similar to the sense in which the NCAA deserves to profit from the abilities of young athletes.


Having the advertising associated with the college basketball scene, I'd say the NCAA does a pretty good job profiting from the abilities of its young athletes.

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Post #22 Posted: Thu Aug 11, 2011 4:55 pm 
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hilltopgo wrote:
I'm not saying I disagree with Messrs. Fairbairn and Waldron (both of whom have my deep respect). In fact, I'm still sorting out my feelings on this proposal. But I am saying that, if I had the perspective of (for example) a foreign-born, foreign-trained 9p who had built my own successful Go school here, then probably I would disagree.

[edit -- typo in name :oops: ]


When is Feng Yun going to become President, she makes all the key policy decisions anyway.

10% tax seems fair enough to me.

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Post #23 Posted: Thu Aug 11, 2011 4:56 pm 
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Demanding payment because of some vague general benefit the organization offers to go players is dangerous, and I don't think it is what is being recommended.

I imagine one of the reasons for deciding this early is so that the agreement with any future U.S.-certified pros will be in place. That is, we certainly don't want a situation where someone becomes a pro and then later has a "tap" foisted on them. Rather, it should be clear from the initial agreement.

If there is a tap, there needs to be a quid pro quo. After thinking about it more, the "quid pro quo" is the professional status itself (which is granted by the AGA). And in these circumstances, professional certification will be the only thing we can reliably point to as a benefit each pro player received. You could think of it as contingent deferred consideration (payment) for the license.

I know it is an overreaction on my part, but justifying the requirement for such a payment on the dubious notion that the organization is "good for everybody" sickens me. (I know, I know, like I said, being "sickened" is an overreaction). So, let's just say it is for the pro certificate. :)

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 Post subject: Re: Tap?
Post #24 Posted: Thu Aug 11, 2011 5:07 pm 
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Javaness2 wrote:
hilltopgo wrote:
[...] if I had the perspective of (for example) a foreign-born, foreign-trained 9p who had built my own successful Go school here, then probably I would disagree. [...]

When is Feng Yun going to become President, she makes all the key policy decisions anyway.

10% tax seems fair enough to me.

That is who springs to mind; but there are others in a somewhat similar situation. Jujo Jiang isn't 9p last I remember, but he learned Go overseas and, I think, built a school in California. Joey Hung and Jie Li might fit, with a little shoehorning. Janice Kim and James Kerwin are native born, but trained overseas, and I think they still makes their livings largely through Go lessons. I'd be interested in their opinions on this.

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Post #25 Posted: Thu Aug 11, 2011 7:17 pm 
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I am a little curious about the history of the rather cute term "tap". Isn't Javaness2 more accurate in calling it a "tax"? (We probably can not call it a tithe since the bidding seems to have started at a lot more than 10%.) :)

Is the correct image that of the robber barons of old, levying tolls upon the boats plying the rivers just because they held the castles on the heights? You can speculate about future good efforts as you will. The fact is that the AGA (EGF, etc.) monopolizes the entry point, nothing more. The idea would be to exploit that to extract some money, not from the tournament sponsors (possible if there were a monopoly on players, e.g. the professional associations in asian countries), but from the players. Is the AGA a tax-free charity? Would players from the U.S. get to deduct the "tap" from their winnings on their tax returns?

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Post #26 Posted: Fri Aug 12, 2011 7:53 am 
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Some other information that hasn't been mentioned on here but was said at congress:

Sport Accord games in asia has a lowest prize(lost all games) with a $2000 payout
Two pro's have opposed the TAP for the AGA: Feng Yun and Mingjiu Jiang
The AGA President said he would want to limit the TAP to $2000 prizes and higher, several strong players were OK with that

That being said I am all for the TAP at any level. The AGA provides many services to strong players through tournaments and opportunities to go overseas. Being a SDK I am nowhere near eligible for any of those opportunities like the strong players, except paying for their teaching. I believe in the past the AGA has paid for airfare for the player being sent overseas.

As many have mentioned there are a lot of strong players that have not learned go in the US and top our rosters. The professionals that would be affected by this do not pay for AGA dues, but amateur players do. Do asian players have to pay fees to their countries organization to be able to play in these tournaments?

Will this board ever hear from one of those strong players affected? Why don't our strong players want to be like their asian counterparts which are taxed/tapped the 20% they will earn?

One last thing: the proposal was written by Thomas Hsiang 8d who has been sent to asia many times for tournaments like the WMSG, Fujitsu and KPMC.

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 Post subject: Re: Tap?
Post #27 Posted: Fri Aug 12, 2011 8:23 am 
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vash3g wrote:
... Will this board ever hear from one of those strong players affected? ...


It's already known that the two you mention strongly oppose any tap; the president reported at the general assembly that it was discussed at the strong player's meeting and that the 8 or 9 there (who would potentially be affected in the future) were generally in favor or at least not strongly opposed.

... Oh, I guess you meant L19 and not the AGA board. Well, this is worth saying anyway.

@ez4u, it can't be a "tax" because the AGA is not a government body. ;) Donations to the AGA are not tax deductible (donations to the AGF are, though); I'm certainly not a tax expert but I would presume that money paid as part of the tap would be something like a business expense and the strong player would only be taxed on the amount of money they actually receive. I could very well be wrong, of course.

@everyone, thank you for the great discussion. I think I'm currently leaning towards being in favor of a tap, but I'm still listening :)

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Post #28 Posted: Sat Aug 13, 2011 2:41 am 
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I support the tap. Up to 20% seems fine.
I doubt I'll ever get the chance to give the AGA 20% of my winnings, though.

BTW. This news about the American pro scene got me to renew. I'd been off go for 2-3 years while completing a master's thesis.

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Post #29 Posted: Sat Aug 13, 2011 3:22 am 
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The major concern that I have with this scheme is that there is an asymetrical definition of obligations. The player would be obligated to give X percent of his winnings to the AGA, and the AGA is obligated to err..uhh...do exactly what for the player?

I'd like to see symmmetry. If the AGA is going to define what players contribute to it, then let it define exactly what it will contribute to the players. Will it pay entry fees? Travel expenses? Will it train young players with room and board like the inseis receive in Asian countries?

At my most cynical, I fear that this could degenerate into a defacto extortion racket. If Asian tournament sponsors give the AGA the right to decide who gets to go, then the AGA would have a monopoly, and could demand almost any cut it wants from the players.

Please note that I am not making commments about the character of the current AGA officers. I do not suggest that any individual would deliberately take advantage of the players. My comments are about the structure of the organization. I fear that if policies are set in place that are inherently asymetrical, even the best of AGA officers would find it difficult to treat players fairly.


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Post #30 Posted: Mon Aug 15, 2011 4:27 pm 
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This evening, while chaperoning my daughter on a mad dash through the house, the scales fell from my eyes and I realized that I am not sure how to answer this question because I don't know how the circumstances under which it would come into play.

1. How many games would you have to win in various tournaments to hit the $2000 minimum? Are we talking about a rare achievement like Fernando Aguilar's two straight wins, or something more difficult? If the purse is a once in a decade windfall, I think it makes sense to leave it to the player. If American Go needs another two decades to reach a point where these prizes are more regular, we need to evaluate it based on the programs we have in place then. If we are talking about players regularly winning two or three rounds in major international tournaments, I think we can assume that country has more going on than the current AGA.

2. So far as they can be divulged, given that there are probably ongoing negotiations, what are the plans surrounding an American professional program? Will this involve new events, money from the AGA or anything else?

2b. Not precisely on topic but relevant to (2): is there a plan for how the AGA will decide whether or not to institute a professional program? Will chapters/members vote, or will the board speak for us? I must say I'm a bit surprised that there are plans to create such a program so soon, and I'd like to see more transparency and public discussion.

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Post #31 Posted: Tue Aug 16, 2011 2:49 am 
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I just caught on to this discussion which derived from a proposal I made to AGA, so let me first apologize for not having come in earlier.

The tap (or "tax" if you will) is intended to compensate AGA for its cost in bringing opportunities of playing in professional tournaments to the American strong players and to build a "war chest" for AGA's future efforts. For the former, so far AGA has incurred very little cost because its officials' time was volunteered, their travel has been subsidized by foreign sponsors, and entertainment/gift cost has been borne by the officials themselves. While we can continue to expect the volunteers' time, it is quite restrictive to say AGA officials can only travel for developmental purposes when they themselves or someone else pay for it. It is also very unfair to expect our officials to have ZERO budget for diplomacy purposes.

The recent record shows that the AGA players got to participate in the SAMG, the Women's championship, the Chunlan Cup -- all DIRECTLY because of AGA officials' effort. Currently they are strongly involved in developing still more such opportunities.

It seems eminently fair to ask the players to contribute 20% of their prize money to ensure AGA is well represented and effective in advocating for the players.

By the way, the tap is applied only on the prize money after the cost of travel and R/B that the players may need to pay (so far, zero for all tournaments) is deducted. Also, note that the EGF formula is much more taxing and is justified for the same reasons above.


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Post #32 Posted: Tue Aug 16, 2011 6:17 am 
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Hsiang, thank you for explaining. Not all of your rational had been explained to me.

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Post #33 Posted: Tue Aug 16, 2011 6:57 am 
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My reading of Thomas Hsiang's version of the proposal appears is that it is only slightly different from the one assumed here earlier. The difference I infer from his phrasing is that he intends the levy to be hypothecated and used for stronger players in future. Either way, I still think it is a good proposal.

The depressing part is his statement "While we can continue to expect the volunteers' time". I'm sure that's right, but for certain stronger players to have already opposed the proposal under those circumstances suggests to me me that those players are, at best, unthinking, but arrogant and contemptuous of ordinary members at worst.

There is a parallel thread about the need to boost AGA volunteers. I'd say the President should therefore have a stiff word in the ear of certain top players.


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Post #34 Posted: Tue Aug 16, 2011 7:23 am 
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Joaz Banbeck wrote:
The major concern that I have with this scheme is that there is an asymetrical definition of obligations. The player would be obligated to give X percent of his winnings to the AGA, and the AGA is obligated to err..uhh...do exactly what for the player?


This is a fascinating analysis. Correct me if I am wrong, but as I read the above, you are suggesting that the AGA does nothing for the strong players, and yet it is asking to the player to give up something. I am assuming this is the analysis.

While I am not sure I agree with a tap (I much prefer the 10 game participation rule), I certainly maintain that Joaz has the "asymetry" all wrong here.

On the player's side, he earned the money by winning the games.

But why did he have the chance? Because a foriegn Go association decided that an invitation to a player selected by the AGA was a good idea. These invitations are prized and they are earned and they are deserved because the AGA has earned them - through diplomatic efforts, through organizing go in this country, through IGF activities and contacts. People here have no idea the good that Thomas Hsiang and Barbara Calhoun before him have done.

Of course, there are "selfish" reasons foriegn go associations want US and European participation - but to them, US go IS the AGA - that is how they see things themselves and that is how they operate. Everything the AGA does, or has done, supports this strong individual getting this chance - putting aside whatever impact AGA activities have played in getting the player to be strong.

It mystifies me that anyone could see this as such an imposition. The AGA asks a go player to pay $30 a year. All the player has to do is sit at home and play go online, win a few games - challenging games which presumably a go player would enjoy playing. AGA volunteers set up the games, and AGA fans watch and support them. The AGA does not demand that the player do anything but play the games, they do not have to set foot outside their homes until they leave for the airport. Where they get a free status filled trip to Asia and recieve playing fees, win or lose and more if they win. Fees they could not have receieved without their affiliation with the AGA, and without the supportive efforts of the AGA to get them there.

Again, I would rather see these strong players leave their homes, teach in our clubs and play in our tournaments.

But if we are not going to ask them to do that, you cannot call this unreasonable.

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Post #35 Posted: Tue Aug 16, 2011 7:32 am 
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Indeed, ask yourself what Congress would cost if all the volunteers were paid labor. No Congress, no US Open, no NAIM.

Maybe the Asian countries would invite our players if we all sat at home and played internet qualifiers. Maybe.

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Post #36 Posted: Tue Aug 16, 2011 7:54 am 
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Horibe wrote:
...

But why did he have the chance? Because a foriegn Go association decided that an invitation to a player selected by the AGA was a good idea. These invitations are prized and they are earned and they are deserved because the AGA has earned them - through diplomatic efforts, through organizing go in this country, through IGF activities and contacts. ...


I agree, mostly, but I think that it stands to point out that foreign go associations likely work with the AGA simply because the AGA is the most predominant go organization in the USA, rather than something specific that the AGA has done.

People from Asian countries might simply think that a go organization in the USA is cool, even without knowing specifically what the AGA has done.

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Post #37 Posted: Tue Aug 16, 2011 8:11 am 
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John Fairbairn wrote:
I'd say the President should therefore have a stiff word in the ear of certain top players.


The AGA usually does this the other way around. More seriously, I'd just like to reiterate that it was reported at the general assembly that the strong players at the strong players' meeting were generally OK with the proposal.

Also, the note about the tap being post-player's-expenses makes me a lot happier with the proposal.

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Post #38 Posted: Tue Aug 16, 2011 9:22 am 
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Kirby wrote:

I agree, mostly, but I think that it stands to point out that foreign go associations likely work with the AGA simply because the AGA is the most predominant go organization in the USA, rather than something specific that the AGA has done.

It would indeed seem so to people unfamiliar with how these invitations work. I won't go into details, but let me just say that Chunlan Cup was out of AGA's hand for many years until the last round. To change the mind of the sponsors took a big effort over a long time. In the previous versions of the Korean Cups (Samsung, LG, etc), they all bypassed AGA with their invitations. The Women's World Championship last year would have been handled "around" AGA as well, had AGA officials not caught it in time. The SAMG this year would also have taken on a very different format if the EGF and AGA representatives in IGF did not work very hard to change it.

So, yes, there is indeed something specific that AGA has done in all cases that made it possible to have representatives selected from open competitions accessible to all strong players. Actually, most of these players know at least part of this history.

Someone asked the level of prize. In the World Championships, the payment is 1K to 4K USD each for the first-round losers (Ing at the highest end; Fujitsu at 3K USD). The 2011 SAMG guarantees each team USD 12,000 (five members) even if they do not win a single game! Transportation and high-end R/B are all extra. So we are not talking about trivial sums here; nor is the prize money the only reward to the players.


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Post #39 Posted: Tue Aug 16, 2011 10:14 am 
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John Fairbairn wrote:
My reading of Thomas Hsiang's version of the proposal appears is that it is only slightly different from the one assumed here earlier. The difference I infer from his phrasing is that he intends the levy to be hypothecated and used for stronger players in future. Either way, I still think it is a good proposal.

The depressing part is his statement "While we can continue to expect the volunteers' time". I'm sure that's right, but for certain stronger players to have already opposed the proposal under those circumstances suggests to me me that those players are, at best, unthinking, but arrogant and contemptuous of ordinary members at worst.

There is a parallel thread about the need to boost AGA volunteers. I'd say the President should therefore have a stiff word in the ear of certain top players.


I generally agree with this sentiment, but perhaps those opposed to the tax/tap have another idea about where the funds should come from. Or maybe they don't-I really don't know. I'd just be a little hesitant to attack someone's character without knowing more about his or her position. (I'm not saying you're wrong--just a thought.)

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Post #40 Posted: Tue Aug 16, 2011 1:28 pm 
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Horibe wrote:
Joaz Banbeck wrote:
The major concern that I have with this scheme is that there is an asymetrical definition of obligations. The player would be obligated to give X percent of his winnings to the AGA, and the AGA is obligated to err..uhh...do exactly what for the player?


This is a fascinating analysis. Correct me if I am wrong, but as I read the above, you are suggesting that the AGA does nothing for the strong players, and yet it is asking to the player to give up something. I am assuming this is the analysis....


You mis-read me completely. I did not say that the AGA does nothing. I did say that what it does in the future is not clearly defined. I am not saying that there is an asymmetry of contribution. I am saying that there is an asymmetry of definition.

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