“Just watched an episode of NHK’s documentary series ‘Professionals,’” writes AGA Treasurer Roy Schmidt. “The pro for that week was Iyama Yuta, Meijin. “The program featured several games, including a televised handicap game when he was around six years old. Also, there were scenes from his private life.” Click here to see the program (which is in Japanese).
American Go E-Journal » Go Spotting
Saturday February 15, 2014
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.
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.”
Thursday January 16, 2014
A story about a battle between elderly Korean patrons and a McDonald’s in Queens, New York, mentions go in passing. Apparently the Korean seniors prefer the McDonald’s to the other facilities that “cater to the elderly in the neighborhood,” according to a January 14 report in The New York Times. “Civic centers dot the blocks, featuring parlors for baduk, an Asian board game, and classes in subjects from calisthenics to English,” the report adds. No mention of whether the seniors are playing baduk in the McDonald’s.
photo: Chang W. Lee/The New York Times. Thanks to Ted Terpstra for passing this item along.
Go Spotting: Upgo.info to Crowdsource Game Play Globally; Weichi in Age of Wushu; China Adopting Go to Foreign Policy Strategy?
Monday December 23, 2013
Upgo.info to Crowdsource Game Play Globally: “Upgo.info is angel funding meets go tournaments meets Mechanical Turk,” explains one upgo founder. “A start-up is only as strong as its best go player,” says another. Video explains how the site will “use the latest in big-data technology,” maximize the untapped strength of Japanese retirees and “crowdsource game play” globally.
Thanks to David Doshay for passing this along.
Weichi in Age of Wushu: Go plays a key role in Age of Wushu, a popular MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role-playing game), reports Taylor Litteral. “Age of Wushu takes place in ancient China during a time period where martial arts legends are born,” says Litteral. “Weiqi — or go — stakes its claim as being one of the four cultural life skills which is advanced by answering go problems, and Age of Wushu players can even play weiqi against each other.” In the picture an npc (non-player character) tells the player about weiqi.
China Adopting Go to Foreign Policy Strategy? “China is playing the classic game of weiqi, wherein it slowly expands influence through steps that are not a threshold to violence and do not trigger a forcible response,” says Douglas Paal, director of the Asia Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, in a recent Bloomberg news report about how “China Adopts Board-Game Strategy to Blunt U.S. Pivot to Asia.” The foreign policy strategy emerging from China’s new leadership “may include a series of incremental steps calibrated to blunt U.S. influence across Asia and sow doubt about America’s commitment to its allies in the region,” the report suggests.
Thanks to Chris Roose for passing this along.
Saturday December 21, 2013
Chinese-American physicist Anthony Zee mentions go in his book Fearful Symmetry:The Search for Beauty in Modern Physics. First published in 1986, the book is an attempt to explain to the layman how modern physics strives to produce the simplest possible explanation of nature and describes the rallying cry of fundamental physicists as, “Let us worry about beauty first, and truth will take care of itself!”. At page 16 (2007 edition) he writes:
“It is easy to produce complicated behaviour with a complicated design. As children, when we take apart a complicated mechanical toy, we expect to find a maze of cogs and wheels hidden inside. The American game of football is my favourite sport to watch, because of the variety of behaviour exhibited. But the complex repertoire is the direct result of probably the most complicated set of rules in sports. Similarly, the complexity of chess is generated by its rather complicated rules. Nature, whose complexity emerges from simplicity, is cleverer. One might say that the workings of the universe are are more like the oriental game of Go than chess or football. The rules of Go can be stated simply and yet give rise to complex patterns. The eminent physicist Shelley Glashow has likened contemporary physicists to kibitzers at a game whose rules they do not know. But by watching long and hard, the kibitzers begin to guess what the rules might be.”
The book’s title is, of course, a reference to William Blake’s poem, The Tyger.
Report by Tony Collman, British correspondent for the E-Journal. Thanks to spotter Pat Ridley, editor of the British Go Journal. Photo: cover of 1999 edition, courtesy of Princeton University Press.
Wednesday December 18, 2013
Frequent Go-Spotting contributor Zhiping You came across this amazing go blanket online, which turns out to have a fascinating story behind its creation, which includes a love story, Hikaru No Go, learning how to crochet and instructions on how to make your very own go blanket.
Thursday December 12, 2013
“Sitting in front of a clay oven in which the temperature is kept at 1,200 C, workers use a traditional tool to precisely drop melted materials onto an iron board,” reports ChinaDaily.com. “ As a result, crystal-clear Go pieces, which look like black jade along with the color white, immediately appear. This is how the world-famous Yunzi, the special Go pieces, are produced… Yunzi is short for Yunnan Go pieces, and has a history of more than 500 years. The ancient process of making Yunzi was lost towards the end ofthe Ming Dynasty. In 1974, researchers found the formula from ancient Go pieces and the process remained a secret…” Read more here (be sure to click on the photo to see the entire gallery of how the stones are made).
Friday November 29, 2013
The Beckley Foundation, a British organization for consciousness and drug policy research, is appealing for passionate go players who have experience with psychedelic drugs to take part in research on LSD. Volunteers will participate in a scientific experiment using the latest brain-imaging technology to investigate changes in cerebral circulation and connectivity during go play after taking either a dose of the hallucinogenic drug or a placebo. The date and location have not yet been fixed, but the study is expected to take place in the new year, either at the organisation’s headquarters at Beckley Park, Oxford or in London. The Beckley Foundation was established in 1998 by Amanda Feilding and is “dedicated to improving national and global drug policies, through research that increases understanding of the health, social and fiscal implications of drug policy, and the development of new evidence-based and rational approaches“. The late Albert Hofmann (right), who first synthesized LSD and was the first human to experience its effects, was the founding member of the Foundation’s Scientific Advisory Board. Possession and supply of LSD are generally prohibited by UK criminal law, but use for scientific research, as in this case, can be licensed by the Home Office – essentially the UK’s interior ministry. The Foundation received government approval for the study in March 2013 and this is the first time permission has been granted to use LSD in scientific research since it was outlawed. Click here to download flyer with full details.
Report by Tony Collman, British correspondent for the EJ. Photo: Albert Hofmann in 2006, at the age of 100, during a discussion, “on Beauty” at the Zürich Helmhaus, courtesy of wikipedia.
Thursday November 28, 2013
Coming to grips with the truth that he will never earn a living playing baduk, a young man’s chance encounter with a local gangster finds him with a new pupil in Deo Seu-ton – The Stone – the 2010 Korean drama about the vastly different past and future of the two men. Check out the trailer here.
Thanks to Devin Fraze for passing this along. This film made the rounds of international festivals last year but we’re not sure if it’s been released in the US; if anyone has info on where it can be seen, let us know.