American Go E-Journal » Go Spotting

Go Spotting: More Go Behind Bars

Monday February 22, 2010

Another tale of go behind bars – this one from Poland – comes from E-Journal European Correspondent Peter Dijkema. Seems that Slawomir Sikora picked up the game while serving a 25-year prison sentence for the brutal 1994 murders of two men who were blackmailing him and his business partner. The case became world-famous when the film “Dlug (The Debt)” http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0225535/ came out in 1999. According to Dijkema’s sources (his wife is a Polish journalist), after learning go from a book his mother gave him in prison, Sikora and his fellow inmates made their own sets out of cardboard and paper, and when he soon had his cell-mates taking serious handicaps, they concluded he was the dan-player, while they were weak kyu’s. The film helped Sikora become a hero in the eyes of many and he was freed in 2005, pardoned by the President of Poland after many prominent Poles signed a petition on Sikora’s behalf. “We do not know of any of his games outside jail, nor how his dan-level would match up on the Polish ranking list,” Dijkema reports. Click here http://www.kinokultura.com/specials/2/dlug.shtml to read more about the case.

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Go Spotting: The Taste Of Tea

Monday February 8, 2010

Go figures prominently in Katsuhito Ishii’s 2004 film, The Taste of Tea http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Taste_of_Tea (Cha no Aji). “Although go is not the only focus of the film, it is one of its essential ingredients and appears more often than in other films like Pi and A Beautiful Mind,” reports Pete Schumer. “It’s worth checking out!” According to Wikipedia, “The film is concerned with the lives of the Haruno family, who live in rural Tochigi prefecture, the countryside north of Tokyo. Nobuo is a hypnotherapist who teaches his son, Hajime, to play go. Hajime becomes an excellent go player, but he has a rough time with girls and puberty. Nobuo’s wife, Yoshiko refuses to be an average housewife, and works on animated film projects at home. She uses assistance from Grandfather Akira, an eccentric old man who is a former animator and occasional model. Uncle Ayano, a sound engineer and record producer, moves in with the family. He is looking to restart his life again after living in Tokyo for several years. Meanwhile, Yoshiko’s daughter Sachiko, believes that she is followed around everywhere by a giant version of herself, and searches for ways to rid herself of it.” “Katsuhito also directed the film Promises of August (1995) and Shark Skin Man and Peach Hip Girl (1999) as well as providing some animation in Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill vol. I,” adds Schumer.

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GO SPOTTING: “Criminal Minds” TV Series

Monday January 25, 2010

A number of readers recently tipped us off to go showing up in the Criminal Minds television series. A police procedural drama focusing on the criminal rather than the crime itself, Criminal Minds — which premiered in 2005 — featured go in the pilot. Screen grab from the “Extreme Aggressor” episode courtesy James G. McIlhargey.

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GO SPOTTING: “A Thousand Plateaus- Capitalism and Schizophrenia”

Sunday January 3, 2010

“I came across some interesting go-related material in my reading recently and wanted to pass the source along to those who may find it of interest,” writes Marc Willhite. ” In chapter 12 of their book A Thousand Plateaus- Capitalism and Schizophrenia Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari use a go in opposition to chess as a model to begin describing their concept of ‘nomadology.’  (pp.352-53)  Not the lightest reading to be sure, but it certainly gave me a new appreciation for the qualities that make go the confounding and fascinating game that it is.”

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WORLD GO NEWS: Kong Jie Wins Samsung Cup; Yamashita Takes Tengen From Cho U; Chinese Lead In Jeongganjang Cup

Sunday January 3, 2010

KONG JIE WINS SAMSUNG CUP: Kong Jie 9P defeated Qiu Jun to take the international Samsung Cup on December 17th. Both players are Chinese representatives. Only one non-Chinese made it to the semifinals: Lee Changho 9P of Korea, who was defeated 2-1 by Qiu. Kong defeated China’s Gu Li 9P 2-0 in the semifinals. Lee Sedol 9P of Korea won this event the two previous years, defeating Kong Jie in the finals last year. Overall, the Chinese have won the Samsung three times now, the Japanese twice and the Koreans nine times. This is Kong’s first win of a major international event. He also won the Asian TV Cup this year, defeating Lee Sedol, which prompted Kong’s promotion to 9P. Qiu has also won several titles, including the Chang-ki Cup last year; this is one of China’s most prestigious titles. Reaching the finals of the international Samsung Cup this year led to Qiu’s promotion to 9P.
Bill Cobb, from Go News, GoGameWorld, Sensei’s Library.

YAMASHITA TAKES TENGEN FROM CHO UCho U 9P has lost another of his titles as Yamashita Keigo won the Tengen title match on December 22nd 3-2. All five games of the match were won by Black by resignation. It is surely painful for Cho to now be down to only three titles: Judan, Oza, and Gosei. For Yamashita it has been a hard struggle in the Tengen. He held this title in 2003, but lost it the next year. Then he was the unsuccessful challenger for three years in a row against Kono Rin 9P. Yamashita now holds both the Kisei and the Tengen. Cho can take some comfort from the fact that he is for the first time the challenger for the Kisei; that title match begins January 14th and gives Cho a chance for revenge. - Bill Cobb from Go News, GoGameWorld, Sensei’s Library

CHINESE LEAD IN JEONGGANJANG CUP: The Jeongganjang Cup is a win-and-continue team match for women pros. Japan, China, and Korea each send a five player team. The Chinese team has won this event three times, including last year, and the Koreans four times. The Japanese did take second place in 2007, but have never won. The Chinese started off well this year, with their first player, teenager Wang Chenxing 2P winning the first three games. Aoki Kikuyo 8P of Japan then won the last game in the first round–last year the Japanese team did not win a single game. No one managed a big streak in the second round: the Japanese team scored again when Mukai Chiaki 3P beat Kim Hyeoimin 5P of Korea, who won the only game for Korea in the first two rounds. The second round ended with Song Ronghui 5P of China (another teen) defeating Mukai. The final round is scheduled for early February. The Japanese and Koreans have only one player left: Suzuki Ayumi 4P for Japan and Park Jieun 9P for Korea. Song is up for China with two other players from her team in reserve. It will be surprising if the Chinese don’t repeat as the champions this time.
Bill Cobb from Go News, GoGameWorld, Sensei’s Library

GO SPOTTING: Criminal Minds

Monday December 14, 2009

The TV show Criminal Minds recently aired an episode in which a suspect’s house is raided and found a go set in an upstairs room, reports Alan Wadja. “A team member, a genius with 3 Caltech PhDs and IQ of 187, glances briefly at the board, pronounces that he is playing against himself and quickly assesses his playing style to provide insight into the suspect’s personality,” says Wadja. “It would be interesting if someone could capture the board position from this episode, figure out if it makes any sense, in fact is the game of a player of the “highly aggressive” style (and whether he played both sides with equal aggressiveness), if the position is taken from a real game and who the go advisor is.”

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GO SPOTTING: Gaming Doctor ‘Caused Baby Death’; Bill Gates On His Failure At Go

Monday November 16, 2009

A five-month-old Chinese baby died in a hospital because his doctor was busy playing go online while his condition worsened, reports say. Officials from the Jiangsu provincial health department said that Dr Mao Xiaojun — admitted he was playing an online game of go — would be sacked from Nanjing Children’s Hospital, according to a November 13 report by the BBC. Parents have been angered by a series of major health blunders in China; more than 10,000 lawsuits relating to medical disputes have been filed in Chinese courts every year since 2002, the Xinhua news agency reported.

Gates On His Failure At Go: Billionaire Bill Gates (right) cites go as one of his personal failures. “When I was young . . . I wanted to be the world’s best chess player and, of course, I didn’t succeed. I wanted to be the world’s best Go player, too…so I’ve had plenty of disappointments,” Gates said in his 1997 book, Bill Gates Speaks: Insight from the World’s Greatest Entrepreneur. Click here to view the book online; the quote appears on page 227.
- Roy Laird & David Drexler

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GO SPOTTING/GO PHOTO: Go During U.S. Internships in ‘42

Monday November 2, 2009

GO SPOTTING/GO PHOTO: A 1942 Life Magazine photo of Japanese American men playing go at the Heart Mountain Relocation Camp in Wyoming is among the Life go photos* found online by EJ reader Troy Anderson. Another one shows “Japanese go game being played at alien relocation camp,” while a third shows Japanese prisoners of war Kiichiro Hiranuma and Toshio Shiratori playing go and a fourth depicts prisoner of war Akira Muto playing go with rough pebbles on a paper board. Click here for background on the relocation and internment of approximately 110,000 Japanese nationals and Japanese Americans during World War 2. In 1988, Congress passed and President Ronald Reagan signed legislation apologizing for the internment on behalf of the U.S. government.
* the site where these photos were originally posted no longer exists; we’ve included new links for three of the four shots; if you locate the one of Akira Muto, please email us at journal@usgo.org

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Go Spotting: Go Wargames

Monday December 22, 2008

In the 2008 film Wargames 2: The Dead Code, — the sequel to the 1983 science fiction film WarGames — “when Joshua is playing games with Ripley, and the games are rapidly flashing on the screen, games of go can be seen,” reports Doug Buchanan. Spotted go somewhere interesting? Email us at journal@usgo.org!

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Go Spotting: Go Wargames

Monday December 22, 2008

In the 2008 film Wargames 2: The Dead Code, — the sequel to the 1983 science fiction film WarGames — “when Joshua is playing games with Ripley, and the games are rapidly flashing on the screen, games of go can be seen,” reports Doug Buchanan. Spotted go somewhere interesting? Email us at journal@usgo.org!

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