DrStraw has, for all practical purposes, retired from the game. He recently elected not to renew his membership of the AGA after 30 years and has made his last post to GoDiscussions after being the leading poster there. He will occasionally log into KGS to keep the account alive "just in case" but will otherwise not be active. If you wish to contact him in the future the best place it to message him at DGS where he will continue to play a few very non-serious games for fun with old friends.
UPDATE: 09/09/09 I have sold off the vast majority of my go books and a lot of my Go World magazines. I was amazed at the prices which some of the out-of-print books brought.
UPDATE: 04/30/14 Although I am still not playing regularly on the go servers except for DGS I did just volunteer to start up reviews for GTL again after a seven year hiatus. I play very infrequently on KGS where I have a solid 3d account.
UPDATE: 11/08/19 Alas, I was careless and let my KGS DrStraw account expire. But I still have a 2d account there with which I play very infrequently.
UPDATE: May, 12, 2022 Terrible news : the information has been around that Steve passed away in an accident on May, 10th, 2022. Obituary here
I learnt to play in 1973 in the U.K., where I became shodan before emigrating to the U.S.A. I have been rated AGA 5d since 1989 but stopped studying around 1990. My biggest regret about leaving the U.K. is that, because of the greater access to players and tournaments, I probably would have had a trip to the World Amateur Go Championship by now had I stayed. If you want to read the story of why I started playing Go look at the page Why Did You Start Go.
I can occasionally be found on KGS but I rarely play there any more, being too busy building my own house when not working at my job as a mathematics professor. These days I only play regularly on DGS
I have given several formal lessons on KGS in the Wings Go Club room and these are available at the links shown below. The most popular ones were a series of 5 lessons on Counting. I originated the KGS Teaching Ladder room (originally called The Straw Hut), but am rarely there any more. Several years ago I ran the first Online AGA Chapter Tournament, which has recently been revived as an official AGA sanctioned event. I replaced it by the KGS Team Tournament, which I set up and ran the first three versions before passing on to someone else due to time constraints. I was also a regular reviewer for the Go Teaching Ladder for many years but had to stop because of time constraints. I will probably do it again at some point in the future. I did over 50 reviews over an 8 year period.
As you can see from the above I have done a lot of teaching in my time, even thought I am usually too busy these days to spend a lot of time doing so any more. Hopefully this will change in the future. Even though I have been an AGA 5d since 1989 I am adamantly opposed to the idea of amateur players charging for lessons. I have received so much pleasure from this game of ours for more than 40 years now that I feel I owe it to the Go community to return that by teaching others and helping to spread the game. When there are as many people in the west know how to play as know how to play chess then maybe I will change this opinion. Until then I will never approve of amateurs who charge for lessons which they themselves almost certainly got for free due to the kindness of stronger players. I make only two exceptions: those who have been insei; and those who are strong enough to make insei and plan to do so but need money to be able to afford it. To all others I say "Don't be selfish: give back to this game what you have got out of it yourself." Obviously many people disagree with this point of view, but that is their privilege, as, of course, is mine. I'm not asking anyone to change: merely asking them to consider the matter.
I was on the AGA rating committee which, in about 1990, set up the current rating system, and was on the ranking committee at one point.
A few years ago I mentioned to someone that I had once played a game against Iwamoto Kaoru. As far as I am aware I have not mentioned it since, but I notice that several references in SL are appearing which claim a Shusaku number based on games against me. Seems like someone spread the word. It is only fair to point out that I never claimed a 1-on-1 game against him. It was only a simultaneous game and I am not sure if this counts.
- I wrote a few book reviews several years ago. I recently added them to a subpage here in SL.
- Here is a page I wrote several years ago on how to study life and death, and another which discusses middle game fighting.
- A series of counting lessons I gave several years back.