American Go E-Journal » Go Spotting

Go Spotting: Vagabond Manga; The Uncommon Series

Monday November 9, 2015

Vagabond Manga: “A favorite coffee barista of mine suggested I read the manga Vagabond, a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by2015.11.09_Vagabond21 Takehiko Inoue,” writes Devin Fraze. “It portrays a fictionalized account of the life of Japanese swordsman Miyamoto Musashi, based on Eiji Yoshikawa’s novel Musashi. In Volume 6, go is being played by the hero’s love interest. Unfortunately more of the game play is not shown as her opponent “accidentally” knocks over the board.

2015.11.09_vagabond-seriesThe Uncommon Series: One of the protagonists in The Uncommon Series is an avid go player. “The thriller trilogy follows a pair of entrepreneurs that drop out of college to found a new tech startup and get caught up in an international conspiracy along the way,” author Eliot Peper tells the E-Journal. “James Chen is the protagonist who’s a go enthusiast. He’s Chief Technology Officer of the startup in the book and the brains behind the whole operation. He develops a complex algorithm that identifies fraud in large financial datasets, allow law enforcement to take down money laundering rings, etc. He loves go because it’s all about pattern recognition and is the perfect analog for the breakthrough software he’s developing. He even uses online go players to train the software’s artificial intelligence routines. As the startup in the book skyrockets from garage to IPO, they have to use his technology and their own wits to take down a major cartel that’s in bed with the big banks and government regulators.”2015.11.09_vagabond-series
Spotted go somewhere? Let us know by emailing us at journal@usgo.org!

 

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Go Spotting: “When the Last Sword is Drawn”

Wednesday October 14, 2015

In this rather sad elegiac 2002 film — directed by Yojiro Takita — about the end of the Samurai age, at 46:03 minutes we see a goban (floor 2015.09.13_When the Last Sword is Drawnboard) with two bowls of stones on top of the board, in the background of the scene. At 48:51 we see the local lord playing go on a floor board.
- Duncan Brown

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Go Spotting: “The Broken Seal” and the Mystery of Yamamoto’s Missing Go

Thursday September 17, 2015

“Quite unexpectedly I found an interesting reference to go in a non-fiction book that I am currently reading, ‘The Broken Seal,’ by Ladislas 2015.09.13_TheBrokenSealFargo,” writes Erwin Gerstorfer.

2015.09.13_Isoroku Yamamoto“This book, first published in 1967, deals with the hidden war between American and Japanese code breakers from WW1 to Pearl Harbour. In discussing Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto (left), the “brain” behind the attack on Pearl Harbour, Fargo mentions that Yamamoto was considered one of the strongest go players in the Japanese Navy (he enjoyed other games too, like Shōgi, Bridge and Poker).

For me it was not too surprising that Yamamoto played go, as many members of the Japanese Navy were fond of it (see e.g. Ukiyo-e below right), but I did not know that he was such a strong player. However, when I checked the curriculum vitae of Admiral Yamamoto in Wikipedia I got another surprise. While go is listed on the German Wiki among other games that Yamamoto enjoyed, in his English Wiki entry go is not mentioned at all. This is quite a contrast to the fact that he was an expert go player.2015.09.13_JapaneseNavyGoPlayers

Yamamoto was killed when American codebreakers identified his flight plans and his plane was shot down.

 

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Go Spotting: “Fist of Legend”; Podcast Picks Kageyama’s “Fundamentals”; “Ten Nights of Dreams”

Sunday August 23, 2015

“Fist of Legend”: “Just noticed a go board being used for gomoku in the 1994 Jet Li film ‘Fist of Legend,’” writes an E-Journal reader. ” The 2015.08.22_Fist-of-Legend-movie-posterscene is about 1 hour 16 minutes into the film.”

Podcast Picks Kageyama’s “Fundamentals”: “At the end of the ‘Keeping Libraries and Utilities Small and Simple‘ podcast, Michel Martens picks “Lessons in the Fundamentals of Go,” writes John Hager. “Lessons” is Toshiro Kageyama’s classic book for anyone just picking up the game.

“Ten Nights of Dreams”: In the 2006 movie “Ten Nights of Dreams,” based on the short story collection by Natsume Soseki, the ninth dream has several scenes with go stones, reports David Matson. “No bowls, goban or mention of the game, but it is an enjoyable experience.  If Kurosawa and Fellini had ten children together, then something like this would be the result.”

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Go Spotting: Jeffery Deaver’s “Trouble in Mind”

Tuesday August 11, 2015

Jeffery Deaver’s 2014 book of short crime stories “Trouble in Mind” has a story “The Competitors” set at the Beijing Olympics, reports Tony 2015.08.01_troubleinmindAtkins. “In it, the Chinese head of security out-thinks terrorists as he is a go player,” says Atkins, who’s Vice-President of the British Go Association. “He explains to the US and Russian officers ‘It’s our version of Chess. Only better, of course.’”  The head of security “I look forward when I play the game. You must always look forward to beat your opponent at go. You must see beyond the board.”

Atkins has added this book to the exhaustive round-up of “Novels and Other Books Featuring Go” on the BGA website.

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Go Spotting: A different kind of go board

Saturday July 25, 2015

EJ photographer Phil Straus spotted this unusual go board recently at an airport Marriott in Salt Lake City, Utah.  2015.07.21_Straus-go-board

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Go Spotting: Patterson’s NYPD Red 2

Friday July 24, 2015

Patterson’s NYPD Red 2: In James Patterson’s “NYPD Red 2,” one of the NYPD’s detectives is searching for witnesses to an abduction near a park in a Chinese community, reports AGA Life Member David Kent. “The detective, a Caucasian, 2015.07.21_nypd2-bookapproaches a go game being played in the park, and challenges the local champion to a game, betting $100. After a hard-fought hour the detective intentionally makes a mistake, throwing the game, which only the champion, an old man, recognizes,” says Kent. “This soon pays off with the old man coming to the aid of the detectives, leading to a witness. The detective plans to give the old man a kaya board from a 700 year old tree instead of the hand-made plywood board he has been using.”

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Go Spotting: Go in John Green’s Crash Course World History; China’s News Silk Road Strategy & Go

Thursday July 23, 2015

Go in John Green’s Crash Course World History: “Hey, I was watching John Green’s Crash Course World History 2 series and spotted both a depiction of and mention of go,” writes Evan Hale of the Columbus Tesuji Go Club. “In the episode, Green covers the Heian 2015.07.21_Go Spotting - Crash Course World History 227Period of Japan and mentions go when talking about how the elite, upper class spent their leisure time. The mention is a little bit after 7:00 in the video.”

China’s News Silk Road Strategy & Go: In Weiqi Versus Chess (Huffington Post 4/3/2015), David Gosset says that “China’s New Silk Road strategy certainly integrates the importance of Eurasia but it also neutralizes the US pivot to Asia by enveloping it in a move which is broader both in space and in time: an approach inspired by the intelligence of Weiqi has outwitted the calculation of a chess player.” Thanks to reader Ted Joe for passing this along.

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Go Spotting – Gosset on Weiqi vs. Chess

Friday July 10, 2015

David Gosset, Director of the Academia Sinica Europaea, published an in-depth look at go in The World Post, on April 3rd. “For centuries, literati have been fascinated by the contrast between the extreme simplicity of the rules and the almost infinite combinations allowed by their execution,” writes Gosset.  To read the full article, click here.  -Thanks to Teddy Joe for the link.

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Go Spotting: STEAM Training

Thursday July 9, 2015

CIWdqhPUEAAufRQSTEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) curricula training by Georgette Yakman brings her into schools across the country, where she introduces go as part of her plans. “This admin and these teachers were excited by go, and tweeted about me teaching it to them recently,” says Yakman, “We hope to try and put it in all 8 middle school programs in Tuscaloosa County Schools this coming year.” Check out the tweet, with pics, here.

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