GO SPOTTING: Go on the History Channel: Reader Drew Chuppe recently caught a go reference on a History Channel program called “The Art of War.” “They were talking about how the teaching of Sun Tzu could have helped Robert E. Lee win the Civil War,” Chuppe writes. “To my surprise, the narrator remarked that on the final day at Gettysburg, ‘Lee abandoned his go strategy and reverted to chess strategy’ and stated that the charge up Cemetery Ridge was dictated by chess strategy.” Go “teaches us to stay away from the opponent’s thickness and look for weaknesses in his position,” says Chuppe, noting that “Ordering a charge across a broad, open field into cannon fire is the battlefield expression of placing a stone next to your opponent’s strong wall. As an aside, I have read The Art of War but I do not recall any overt reference to go (though) there are a few strategic statements that could apply.” In a related go connection, graphic designer and longtime American go community contributor Mike Samuel – who designed many of the annual U.S. Go Congress logos — designed the History Channel’s iconic logo.
American Go E-Journal » Go Spotting
Friday May 13, 2011
Monday May 9, 2011
“Readers may be interested in the current May/June issue of Archaeology magazine,” reports Janice Kim. “There is an article ‘Archaeology of World War II’ that includes a section ‘The Archaeology of Internment’ that describes some findings at the Kooskia camp in Idaho, where American citizens of Japanese ancestry were interned during World War II. It notes that archaeologists ‘… are uncovering evidence that people not only survived, but also struggled to maintain their identity and dignity even in the most restrictive and dehumanizing environments’, with a picture of go stones discovered at the site. In light of recent events I think it’s important to reflect on this chapter in our history, and I was heartened by the Journal’s reporting of fundraising events for Japan by the US go community.”
- photo: go players in the Wyoming Heart Mountain internment camp in 1943; photo by Tom Parker, The War Authority via The National Archives
Sunday May 8, 2011
More on Have Gun, Will Travel: “The screen shot from “Have Gun Will Travel” looks to me to be 5-in-a-row and not go,” wrote Richard Dolen, among others responding to our May 2 “GO SPOTTING: Have Gun (and a go board) – Will Travel” post. “Even though the word “seki” is mentioned in the dialogue; here it probably means that nobody won, but they used a word from go to describe it.” And Jeffry Finer notes that “The Have Gun Will Travel episode was #186, not 171 (episode 30 of season 5). It aired in 1962.”
Monday May 2, 2011
In Episode 171 (“The Coming of the Tiger”, episode 30, season 5, available in streaming video on Netflix) of the classic TV Western Have Gun – Will Travel, the hero, Paladin (Richard Boone) is shown playing a game of go in San Francisco, reports David Saunders. “To the dismay of his Japanese opponent, Paladin announces that the position is seki,” Saunders writes. “The game is interrupted by a crisis and resumed at the end of the episode. I was amazed to see this in a national TV show from c. 1961.”
Screenshot at left courtesy Paul Barchilon
Sunday April 24, 2011
“Go computers are not even close to human capability,” reported Andrew Moseman last February in Discover Magazine . In “Who’s Smarter, a Human or a Computer?” Moseman reviews “the ways that humans can still out-think our computational creations—for now.” On the eve of the IBM’s supercomputer thumping of Jeopardy champions, Moseman looked at checkers, chess, poker and go, as well as Scrabble and Risk, which are also games where humans still do better than computer programs. “There won’t be any major popular game solved for a while now,” University of Alberta professor Jonathan Schaeffer — a member of a research team that created a poker-playing AI that can best human players in limit Texas hold ‘em — says. “There’s a gap.”
photo: Watson faces its human rivals in a practice round. Image: Jeopardy / IBM
Monday March 14, 2011
Bar Karma, a show on Current TV, mentioned seki and discussed it on a recent episode, reports EJ reader Laurie. And in the Jan/Feb issue of Film Comment, Bob Barber reports that a headline on page 8 that says “Triple Ko.” Although Barber says “I couldn’t make out the connection, I’m happy to see go terminology creeping into American English.”
Monday January 31, 2011
Monday January 17, 2011
Recent go spottings in films by EJ readers include Dangerous Moves, a 1984 French film (La Diagonale de fou) about a couple of chess grandmasters. “At minute 20, the elder is shown in the evening playing go with someone,” reports Bob Barber. “The board position looks quite cluttered, and they seem to be placing stones at random while talking.” And None Redmond just saw A Taste of Tea, a 2004 film directed by Katsuhito Ishii that features go as a major part of the plot and has been called a “surreal” version of Ingmar Bergman’s Fanny and Alexander. EJ Managing Editor Chris Garlock recently rediscovered Sanjuro, the great 1962 Akira Kurosawa film starring the magnificent Toshirō Mifune (r) in an exciting – and quite funny — sequel to Yojimbo, with Mifune reprising his role as a wandering ronin who in one scene halfway through the film naps next to a goban and then perches atop it to instruct his young samurai. All three films are available on Netflix.
Thursday December 23, 2010
The appearance of go in Tron: Legacy (GO SPOTTING: Tron: a Legacy of Go 12/20) has generated a lot of excitement and email from the go community. Several EJ readers sent in screencaps of the board position in the game (r). “It definitely looks like an actual amateur game, with 103 moves, black to play,” writes Linden Chiu, who notes that it doesn’t match any pro games in his database. “White seems to have an overwhelming lead in territory, especially with black’s top left group having only one eye. There’s some aji in the bottom left, and I think black’s corner group there can live in gote, but the moyo potential on the right is too thin. The black stone on the edge of the top right corner seems to have been moved a line, as I’m guessing it was originally an atari.” If anyone has insight into how the game wound up in the movie, let us know at email@example.com
Monday December 20, 2010
Go makes a brief appearance in the new movie Tron: Legacy. “One of the players comments to an observer that her opponent’s patience usually overcomes her more aggressive strategy,” reports reader Alicia Seifrid. “What a great movie to incorporate go into!” The game’s being played on “a nice floor board,” adds Alf Mikula, “it was too quick to get a good grasp of the position, but it did look like a real game in progress.” Thanks to everyone who passed along this sighting!