American Go E-Journal » Go Spotting

Physics Central Podcast on “Beating the Game of Go”

Friday May 2, 2014

“Beating the Game of Go” is the title of a recent Physics Central Podcast. “Researchers in France want to model the game as a complex network. Other examples of complex networks include airplane flight plans, social networks, neurons in the brain, and fungal communities, to name a few. By modeling Go as a complex network, the researchers hope to find patterns and symmetries that could assist scientists who are working on Go-playing programs, that they hope will some day beat the best human Go players (something that already been accomplished in Chess).” The report also has a number of interesting and useful go links.

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Your Move/Readers Write: More on Disco A-Go-Go

Friday April 25, 2014

“I got dressed to disco music this morning (Go Spotting: Disco A-Go-Go! 4/23/2014 EJ),” writes Phil Straus. “Thank you.”

In that same story, we said that “Perhaps a Japanese-speaking reader can translate the spoken section halfway through.” Reader Pieter Mioch came through for us:
Through the go board the stones make (bring about) ever changing variations
Go is like a scaled down version of life

goban wo bankai ni ishi ga kamoshidasu senpenbanka
go to wa jinsei no shukuzu no yo na mono desu.
碁盤を媒介に石が醸し出す千変万化
碁とは人生の縮図の様な物です。

And according to Tony Atkins in the UK, Chris Linn is the stage name for Christer Lindstedt, a 2-dan who plays at Gothenburg. His last tournament play was at the 1998 Grand Prix d’Europe, where he placed 49th, just one place ahead of Atkins. Linn formed the Gothenburg Association of Songwriters in 2002.

Go Spotting: Tonari no Seki-kun

Thursday April 24, 2014

“It is a very random show, but this episode of Tonari no Seki-kun features go. Sort of,” reports Joseph Cua. “‘Don’t lose to your shadow!’ Pretty funny.”

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Go Spotting: Disco A-Go-Go!

Wednesday April 23, 2014

People who like disco music may also like the game of go – if  Swede Chris Linn’s 1980 recording, The Game of Go (B-side to Santa Monica Blue Waves) was on the money. The song, whose chorus is: “Let’s play the game of go”, features such lyrics as:

Though you give me three stones,

I have to fight like mad;

You seem to catch up so easily

From the disadvantage that you had

as well as the hookline, Atari! Atari!

- all to a disco beat. Perhaps a Japanese-speaking reader can translate the spoken section halfway through.

Click here to boogie on down to Chris’s groove on Youtube.

Tony Collman, British correspondent for the E-Journal. Thanks to spotter Phil Smith, who says (with perhaps just a touch of British irony), “Can’t think why this wasn’t more popular….”; photo courtesy of Discogs.

 

 

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Go Spotting: Conway’s Game of Life

Monday April 14, 2014

Cambridge mathematician John Conway apparently conceived Game of Life — his ‘cellular automaton’ — on a go board, according to this video sent in by Peter Kron. The game, which became widely known when it was mentioned in an article published by Scientific American in 1970. It consists of a collection of cells which, based on a few mathematical rules, can live, die or multiply. Depending on the initial conditions, the cells form various patterns throughout the course of the game. For an introduction, you can watch the video fragment from Stephen Hawkings The Meaning of Life.
- Greg Smith; includes reporting on bitstorm.org 

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Your Move/Readers Write: 1940′s Article on Go Found

Tuesday April 8, 2014

“I expect you’ll have many responses to Stuart French’s question (looking for 1940′s article about how Japanese generals used the game of go to strategize WWII in the Pacific) in the April 7 E-Journal (Your Move/Readers Write: More Responses to The Popular Go Quiz Question), but I give mine anyways,” writes Reinhold Burger. “I think the article may have been a piece in the May 18 1942 edition of Life Magazine (pp. 92-96), entitled ‘Go: Japs play their national game the way they fight their wars.’ The map in question is on page 96. Btw, it includes a photo of Edward Lasker placing a stone on the board.” Burger goes on to wonder “if this is a serious example of the game. After 42 moves, neither player has touched the lower left corner (i.e., where the Indian ocean lies). But I am quite weak (DDK), so perhaps a stronger player could comment.”
Thanks also to David Doshay, Grant Kerr and quizmaster Keith Arnold, who also flagged the same article. It also appears on page 26 of The Go Player’s Almanac published by Kiseido, reports Richard Bozulich.

Go Spotting: Parsing Go

Tuesday April 8, 2014

EJ reader Simon Guo found this description of how to use Perl to parse a go game record file in Simon Cozens computer language book, Advanced Perl Programming.

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Why Bill Gates Wants to Be a Better Go Player

Sunday April 6, 2014

In “Why does Bill Gates want to be a better Go player?”, David de Ugarte says that “The birth of videogames and Apple’s first steps, free software’s first steps, and even the platforms that allowed for the organization of tens of thousands of volunteers for the earthquake in Haiti, all have something in common: their creators cited Go as a source of personal inspiration and related it to their form of innovating and thinking.” de Ugarte’s fascinating March 14 post on the Las Indias blog asks “What good is Go to those who change the world?” and takes a look at the go lessons learned and applied by Atari founder Nolan Bushnell, Nintendo’s Hiroshi Yamauchi (right), Tron’s Ken Sakamura, Richard Stallman of GNU (/Linux), Microsoft’s Bill Gates and young extrepreneur Luke Biewald (left), the creator of Crowdflower. de Ugarte has published two other posts on go, Reason Against Force and How Go Became The Favorite Game Of Anarchist And Libertarians. He’s an economist, technologist “and entrepreneur committed to new models of economic democracy.”
Thanks to Mark Gilston & Bart Jacob for passing this along.

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Go Spotting: “Orange is the New Black”

Tuesday April 1, 2014

“Credit to my wife and daughter for spotting a go board in the Netflix series ‘Orange is the New Black,’” reports Vermont Go Club President Dave Felcan. “In Season 1, Episode 12 (“Fool Me Once”) around the 29:30 mark, a go board can be spotted on a desk next to the main characters. Its there for about 5-7 seconds, so it was a nice spot.”

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“New Yorker” Reports on Computer Go

Wednesday March 26, 2014

The latest advances in computer go are covered in a new post by The New Yorker. In “The Electronic Holy War”, Patrick House reports on the Densei-sen, “or ‘electronic holy war,’ tournament, in Tokyo, where the best Go programs in the world play against one of the best humans” where Crazy Stone last March defeated Yoshio “the Computer” Ishida.

The article does an excellent job of explaining why go has been so tough for computers to crack. “Part of the difficulty for computers—and humans—is that it is often hard to determine at any given time whether a group of pieces is being surrounded or doing the surrounding, and thus who is ahead…Without a clear understanding of who is ahead, programs like Deep Blue stutter. ‘All the machinery that was built up for computer chess is pretty useless,’” (Murray) Campbell (a member of the IBM Deep Blue team says.

It also explains how “Monte Carlo” algorithms, initially developed seventy years ago as part of the Manhattan Project, have been the key to developing stronger go programs. “The better the programs got, the less they resembled how humans play: during the game with Ishida, for example, Crazy Stone played through, from beginning to end, approximately three hundred and sixty million randomized games. At this pace, it takes Crazy Stone just a few days to play more Go games than humans collectively ever have. ‘I have to be honest: I still find it kind of magical, that it works as well as it does,’ Campbell said.”

The “electronic holy war” will run once a year in Tokyo until 2017, the report continues. “This past weekend, at the second annual tournament, Crazy Stone faced Norimoto Yoda, a Japanese professional who has a reputation for slamming pieces onto the board—sometimes shattering them—to intimidate his opponent. Crazy Stone was given a four-move head start and, lacking the eyes and ears through which another player might have been intimidated, won by two and a half points. “After the match, Yoda, through a translator, told me that he was grateful for Crazy Stone because it eased up at the end and allowed the game to be closer than it actually was: the result of randomness—or, perhaps, of the beginnings of pity.”
Photograph of Rémi Coulom and Ishida Yoshio courtesy of gogameguru.com