American Go E-Journal » Go Spotting

Go Spotting: Netflix’ Borgia

Monday December 15, 2014

Go makes an appearance in the Netflix series “Borgia,” which is not to be confused with the similar series “The Borgias.” In the 29th minute of 2014.12.14_borgia-seriesthe third episode (“1497″) of the third season, Cesare Borgia , the illegitimate son of Pope Alexander VI (r. 1492-1503), uses “the game of strategy from the Orient, go,” to give a plan for his conquest of northern Italian states. He uses a thick go board with legs and colored glass beads to demonstrate his point. “The goal is to add as few men as possible; out-thinking your opponent rather than out-fighting him.” The winner does not eradicate his opponent, but rather entices him to surrender.
- Ted Terpstra, based on a tip from Mark Gilston 

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Go Spotting: Go TED Talk

Wednesday November 26, 2014

In his 2013 “A New Equation For Intelligence” TED Talk, Alex Wissner-Gross uses go to demonstrate his thesis that there is a single equation 2014.11.25_TED-talkfor intelligence. Drawing on the fact that computer game playing has improved to the point that in 1997 the computer beat the world chess champion and in the last decade computers have made significant progress in playing go, Wissner-Gross postulates that intelligence is a “physical force that resists future confinement.”
- Ted Terpstra, with thanks to Arnold Eudell and Joshua Guarino. We also covered this in a February 8, 2014 post.

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Go Spotting: Go On His Mind

Wednesday November 19, 2014

San Diego Go Club President Ted Terpstra has been seeing go everywhere lately. On senet, an Egyptian board game that’s older than go by 3,000 years,2014.11.17_terpstra-collage but lost for millennia before being reborn, “‘GO’ can be seen in a couple of places on the side of the board,” he writes. A recent New Yorker cover “that at first glance seemed to have many white go stones scattered in it,” turned out to be raindrops on a taxi window as it approaches the Empire State Building, which Terpstra points out “is near the 2014 Go Congress site.” The UCSD Go Club combined with the San Diego Go Club to sponsor Go Night at UCSD on Saturday, November 8. Japanese language students turned out to learn go at a Study Abroad event. Twenty student showed up for the beginners class and although it was supposed to end at 8:30 p.m., “the students kept playing until they were thrown out at 10 p.m.,” says Terpstra.

Go Spotting: Cat Go

Tuesday November 18, 2014

The Internet is filled with cats, so Steve Colburn wasn’t too surprised to come across this piece by Tango that combines cats and go. “The tumblr2014.11.17_cats-go this came off of has a lot of fun images for simple perspective and jokes,” Colburn adds.

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The Art of Propaganda: North Korea’s Mansudae Art Studio

Tuesday November 4, 2014

This oil painting depicting a go game between a young Korean girl and an older western man is featured in an October 31 ArtNet News 2014.11.02_KimHyonMyongConfrontation-oilnorthkoreareport about North Korea’s Mansudae Art Studio. Perhaps the world’s biggest art factory, “It employs around 4,000 laborers of which under a quarter are artists who mostly graduated from the Pyongyang University of Fine Arts. The studio churns out propaganda for the Kim family leadership, producing everything from trinkets to murals and gigantic Soviet-style monuments.” This piece, entitled “Confrontation” is by Kim Hyon Myong.

Thanks to David Fruchtenicht for passing this along.

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Go Spotting: Destiny’s Go Gauntlets

Monday November 3, 2014

In the game Destiny once you hit Level 5 you can buy “Snakeline 4.5 gauntlets,” which are “tough, menacing, and I swear- make you unbeatable 2014.11.02_gauntletsat Go.” Thanks to Michael Albert for passing this along, though he doesn’t say whether the gauntlets have actually made his go invincible.

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Go Spotting: US Army War College Quarterly

Sunday November 2, 2014

Once again, go is providing insights into US/China diplomacy. In the recent US policy of “rebalancing toward Asia,” Michael Spangler, writing 2014.11.02_war-college-quarterlyin the Summer 2014 issue of Parameters, the US Army War College quarterly, suggests that “Another way to look at this is to imagine a Chinese game of weiqi, the popular Asian game of black-and-white pieces in which two opposing players strive to surround the other. China’s July 2012 establishment of Sansha City on Paracel Island seized by force from Vietnam in 1974 was the precursor of its new weiqi games with the Philippines and Japan.” In “Rebalancing the Rebalance,” Spangler, a visiting fellow at the Army War College in Carlisle, PA, adds that “It is key that Manila’s talks not give Beijing any preponderant advantage by isolating or leveraging the Philippines against other disputants. In other words, this weiqi-like diplomatic negotiation can be completed as China’s future negotiation partners consult with each other.”
Thanks to Don Travis, a historian at the War College, and a new go player at the Carlisle Go Club.

“Cartography” Puts Go on the Map

Saturday November 1, 2014

Cartography is a new map-making, territory claiming, strategy game based on the game of go. Developed by Jon Adams, the game’s map is made 2014.11.01_cartographyup of interlocking triangular tiles, with walls that divide the map, allowing territory to be defended or captured. Players create and claim territory, and capture opponents, in an effort to control the map, which, like go, changes as you play. “Strategy is key and chance doesn’t determine the winner,” says Adams. Like go, “Cartography is easy to learn and challenging to master!” Adams has already raised over $14,000 of his $15,000 Kickstarter campaign to launch the game.
Thanks to Jeff Diamond for passing this along.

Original Vampires Take a Cue from Teen Wolf

Thursday October 9, 2014

The.Originals.S02E01.Image.3The CW Network’s The Originals, a spin off from the popular Vampire Diaries, featured a go game between two characters in a key scene this week.  Perhaps after MTV’s stylish use of go in repeated episodes of Teen Wolf last year, the CW thought they would get in on the action as well.  Original vampire Klaus Mikaelson (Joseph Morgan), the vampire who made almost all other vampires, is seen playing go with Marcel (Charles Michael Davis), a vampire he sired in the 1800′s who then became his enemy in later years.  The game represents a kind of detente between the two characters, in their ongoing fight to control New Orleans, and prevent the witches, the werewolves, and the humans from getting the upper hand.  E-J reader Xinming Simon Guo says the game featured is a famous one, and challenges readers to see if they can identify it.  The entire episode can be streamed on the CW website here, the go game is about 21 minutes in. -Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor. Photo from the CW website: Charles Michael Davis playing go.

UPDATE: “Although it’s hard to see the rest of the board at this angle, that shape in the close corner looked strangely familiar, so I took a close look,” writes Michael Redmond 9P. “The famous Red Ear game, of course.” 

Go Spotting: Wired Mag on Network Science, Go and Inscrutable Hairballs

Friday October 3, 2014

Two French scientists have decided to apply network science to the game of go, according to a 2012 report on the Wired blog we just came 2014.09.14_wired-mag-network-goacross. “They constructed their networks in a simple way,” Samuel Arbesman reported in Network Science of the Game of Go (4/20/2012). “If one board position can lead to another, they are connected. Using a dataset of about 1,000 professional games and 4,000 amateur games, they began to construct these networks.” Arbesman says the network analyses in the paper “are a bit odd, though they find many classic graph structures, such as a heavy-tailed link distribution and high amounts of clustering.” And though the networks constructed from amateur and professional games were distinct, Arbesman said that “while I know that network pictures are usually inscrutable hairballs, I was disappointed that networks weren’t visualized at all.” Still, he concluded, “this a fun little network analysis and I recommend checking it out.” photo courtesy Wired blog

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