American Go E-Journal » 2014 » February

NJO Attracts Players of All Strengths

Sunday February 9, 2014

In the run-up to this year’s New Jersey Open (NJO) in three weeks (March 1&2), Princeton senior Tiansheng (Eric) Guo ran an introductory go class on campus during the intersession break, reports organizer Rick Mott. “Guo got more than 20 attendees, and hopes more novice players will enter the tournament this year,” Mott says. As well as drawing some of the strongest players in the mid-Atlantic region, the NJO honors Bob Ryder, formerly of Bell Labs and a longtime AGA organizer who held the NJO at Rutgers for many years, with a memorial Beginner’s Prize. Registration Sat. 3/1   9AM-10AM at Frist Campus Center, Princeton University. Click here for tournament details.

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Go Spotting: Alex Wissner-Gross’ TED Talk

Saturday February 8, 2014

Go is cited in a brand new TED Talk video by physicist and computer scientist Alex Wissner-Gross (right). In “A new equation for intelligence,” Wissner-Gross attempts to give a definition and a formula for intelligence. “His main thesis seems to say that ‘Intelligence is a physical process that resists future confinement, and attempts to maximize the options for diversity,’ ” writes James Michali of the Springs Go Club in Colorado, one of several readers who sent this in. “Among several examples to illustrate this thesis, Alex uses the game of go to make his argument concrete,” says Michali.
Thanks also to James Chao and Cynthia Gaty.

Categories: Go Spotting
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The Go Quiz Returns!

Saturday February 8, 2014

by Keith Arnold, HKA
I am delighted to have been asked to return as AGA Quizmaster and look forward to bringing you a whole new batch of weekly brain-teasers that will test your knowledge of the go world and its fascinating history. I will be ably assisted by quiz veteran Phil Waldron 6 dan and Daniel Chou 6 dan; if you notice clever questions of a new style, they will deserve the credit, while all errors (and unfortunate puns) will remain my responsibility.  Please remember to submit your answers on or before Thursday each week. Let the games begin!

Since we’re in a self-referential mood, let’s make our first effort close to home: How many books are in Keith Arnold’s go library?  For the purpose of this question, all languages are allowed, including duplicates as long as they are materially different (translations, revised editions with different covers) as opposed to the deranged “doubles” of an obsessed collector.  Our E-Journal editor – who interviewed me at my home some years ago — will be as surprised as I am that the number of go books finally exceeds my voluminous collection of books regarding the War Between the States. Is the number 600-700, 700-800, 800-900 or more than 900?  Click here to make your guess and, as always, feel free to include your comments, rude or otherwise, as we do award extra points for clever responses. photo: Arnold at the 2012 US Go Congress; photo by Phil Straus

Categories: Go Quiz
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New In Print: Classic Handicap Books; SmartGo Says “Oui”

Friday February 7, 2014

Classic Handicap Books: Whether giving or getting stones, two new translations of classic handicap go books will come in handy. Go master Guo Bailing’s “Sanzi Pu” (Three-Stone Games) and “Sizi Pu” (Four-Stone Games, Part 1 & Part 2 have just been translated by Ruoshi Sun and published on Amazon’s Create Space. The books contains hundreds of diagrams from Guo’s research on three- and four-stone handicap games. In Guo’s own words, “It is the author’s intention to elucidate the countless variations and let people realize that they all follow the basic principles.” Both books were recently added to the AGA’s “New and Noteworthy” page where you’ll find information and links to hundreds of go books both new and old.

SmartGo Says “Oui”: Meanwhile, SmartGo Books is branching out into other languages. After releasing books in Japanese, Spanish, and German, SmartGo Books recently added two books in French: “Comment ne pas jouer au go” is the French translation of “How Not to Play Go” by Yuan Zhou (Slate & Shell), translated by Micaël Bérubé. Also, “Black to Play! – Train the Basics of Go” by Gunnar Dickfeld (Board N’Stones) now includes both French and Spanish translations. Click here for more information on SmartGo Books or here for information in French. Also just added to the SmartGo Books line-up: John Fairbairn’s “New Ways in Go: A complete translation of Honinbo Shuho’s classic Hoen Shinpo”.

Go Classified: Searching for “Tony”

Friday February 7, 2014

Looking for “Tony,” a strong amateur originally from Austria who used to live in Japan and now lives in LA. When he visited Japan last year, we played go at the Japan Go Association’s center in Tokyo. email Kazu Narimatsu at kazunari_rjbb0624@yahoo.co.jp

Categories: Go Classified
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Go Spotting: Go Kaizen; CSM’s Good Reads; Go in Shanghai Factor?

Thursday February 6, 2014

Go Kaizen: The lifehacker website uses Juha Nieminen’s photo of a go board to illustrate a post on how to “Practice your personal Kaizen”. The Japanese management strategy called Kaizen roughly translates to “continuous slow improvement” and Jason Thomas uses the concept here to as “an ideal approach to improve one’s personal workflow.” Thanks to Lisa Garlock for passing this along.

CSM’s Good Reads: Go is mentioned in the Christian Science Monitor’s January 25 Good Reads column. In the section on “Lessons in an ancient war game,” Managing Editor Marshall Ingwerson says that “Games can be a reflection of how people see the world. If the Western world, reared on chess, wants to understand the Chinese worldview, one way is to understand the strategies of Go.” Thanks to David Saunders for sending this in.

Go in Shanghai Factor? The cover of Charles McCarry’s 2013 espionage thriller “The Shanghai Factor” features a go board, reports Dave Bogie. “I’ve lightly skimmed the book at my library and found no go analogies, references or game descriptions. Maybe other E-Journal readers know more about the story.”

Categories: Go Spotting
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Research Offers a New Look at Go Players’ Brains

Thursday February 6, 2014

A research collaboration in Seoul has revealed new information about the cognitive requirements of playing go and the effects that it may have on the brain. A team compared a group of expert go players with a group of beginners and published the results in the journal “Frontiers in Human Neuroscience”. The work revealed several differences between the brains of the beginner and the expert. The experts had increased volume in certain areas of the brain, decreased volume in others, greater interconnectivity between certain regions and differences in the overall brain structure. A correlation between the magnitude of the effect and the number of years of go training suggests that these differences are not simply the result of a predisposition of these people to continue playing go. Rather, the difference in brain structure can be explained by the the fact that the brain rewires itself to meet new skill requirements. This phenomenon, known as neuroplasticity, has been observed before in chess players. The areas of the brain in which the experts outmatched the novices are associated with visuospatial processing and emotional regulation in decision making, among others. This suggests that these skills are important in go. Thus, it appears that long-term go training can enhance these and other skills and can indeed be used as a tool for brain development. The complete article is available here. The literature search section links to many other fascinating studies as well. There are several related articles. Click here for one that discusses similar specific physical changes in the brain and reaches similar conclusions. The EJ covered this article at length in 2010 here.
- Ben Gale, Korean Correspondent for the E-Journal
Categories: World
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EuroGoTV Update: Romania, Netherlands, Hungary

Wednesday February 5, 2014

Romania: Constantin Ghioc 5d bested Lucretiu Calota 5d at the National Veteran Championship in Bucuresti on January 26 while Liviu Oprisan 4d placed third. Netherlands: Also on January 26, the Dutch Female Championship finished in Amstelveen with Marika Dubiel 2d (left) in first, Mirjam Visscher 4k in second, and Annemarie de Putter 2k in third. Hungary: Dominik Boviz 4d led group 1 in the Kondor Dragon Cup on January 26 in Budapest. Behind him were Robert Csizmadia 1d and Attila Teby 1k.

– Annalia Linnan,  based on reports from EuroGoTV, which include complete result tables and all the latest European go news; photo courtesy of EuroGoTV

School Teams Tournament Set for March

Tuesday February 4, 2014

The annual School Teams Tournament is set for March 22 and 29 this year. Run by the American Go Honor Society (AGHS), and co-sponsored by the AGA and the AGF, the event is the largest annual youth competition in North America, drawing players from dozens of schools across the continent.  All K-12 schools and organized learning institutions (such as Chinese language schools) in Canada, the US and Mexico, can register teams consisting of three players. Each school is allowed a maximum of three teams. This year, all teams that complete their matches will also receive an entry prize (regardless of their score in the event).  Teams can choose between a full set of Hikaru no Go manga (23 volumes), two classic go books from Slate and Shell (Fundamental Principles of Go, and Master Play), or a $50 gift certificate to the go vendor of their choice (due to customs fees, not all gifts may be available for Mexico and Canada).  For more details visit the AGHS website. The event is “a good opportunity to see which school club is the best in North America and a chance for young players to communicate,” says AGHS Promotion head Yunxuan Li, “our recent champions in 2012 and 2013 are High Land Park High School and Albert Einstein High School. Will we see the returning of a defending champ or the rise of a new champion?” Rules for the event are here, to register, click here. - Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor. Double click on the image to enlarge it to full size.

 

Kyu Championships Deadline Feb. 11th

Saturday February 1, 2014

Young players, in the US, Canada, and Mexico have until Feb. 11th to register for the North American Kyu Championships (NAKC). The tourney will be held on KGS, on Saturday Feb. 15. Brackets in the NAKC will be divided by rank, with a new bracket formed approximately every 5 ranks or so depending on the range of participants. Within brackets, all games will be played even.  Dan level players will be able to compete in the Redmond Cup (including players from Canada and Mexico).  Youth who compete in either event will also be eligible for $400 scholarships to the AGA Go Camp, or $200 scholarships to the US Go Congress, courtesy of the AGF, on a first come first served basis.   Registration is now open for both the NAKC and the Redmond Cup, and more information can be found on the AGA webpage for youth events.  The deadline for the NAKC is Feb. 11th. to register, click here.  For Redmond Cup registration, click here.  - Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor.