Thursday June 19, 2014
The Highbrow Game: Go is classified as a “high-brow” game in a chart detailing “the best and worst of art and popular culture,” in a 1949 issue of LIFE magazine, reports Molly Fitzpatrick on nerve.com . “Looking at the other classifications, I am unsure whether it’s a compliment or not,” says EJ reader Garrett Bredell, who sent us the link. “But nice to see it mentioned anyway.”
An Unlikely Place: “My father spotted a go reference in a very unlikely place!” writes Alicia Seifrid. “An opinion article by Bob Pinato in the latest issue of Microwave Product Digest spoke about the current world political situation, and it mentioned go in reference to China’s recent policy of claiming of nearby islands. The author likened this to a real-life version of ‘GO, the ancient Asian game of power and strategy.’”
Saturday June 7, 2014
Northeastern University alumnus Gordon Castanza sent along this Northeastern University Magazine from January 2002, which features go on the cover to illustrate a story by Katy Kramer about “The modern relevance (and strange seductiveness) of a very ancient game.’” Unfortunately, we didn’t get a copy of the actual story, so if anyone’s got it, please scan and send to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Saturday June 7, 2014
A Google doodle on June 6 honoring the 185th birthday of Honinbo Shusaku sparked a bit of a kerfuffle in the UK when Google hastily replaced it with links to letters, photos and maps of the Normandy landings to honor the 70th anniversary of D-Day. “What were you thinking #Google?” chided a tweet. “Unfortunately a technical error crept in and for a short period this morning an international doodle also appeared,” said Peter Barron, Google’s director of communication. “We’re sorry for the mistake, and we’re proud to honour those who took part in D-Day.” The Shusaku doodle remained in some countries, including Japan and Hong Kong, honoring one of the greatest go players of the 19th century. Click here to read Go Game Guru’s report, which includes Shusaku’s famous Ear-reddening Game, and here to read the BBC’s report. Click here for an interesting discussion on Board Game Geek about which countries the doodle appeared in.
Thanks to readers around the world who sent in sightings and links to reports.
Monday June 2, 2014
Go was used to graphically illustrate a Harvard Business Review blog post on how to “Develop Strategic Thinkers Throughout Your Organization,” earlier this year. While go is not directly referenced in the post, author Robert Kabacoff says that “Strategic leaders take a broad, long-range approach to problem-solving and decision-making that involves objective analysis, thinking ahead, and planning.” One commenter does suggest that “strategy games might be best” to practice strategic thinking, “something like Chess, Go (in picture above), or even Starcraft are all fantastic (best is chess, imo).”
Thanks to Roy Laird for passing this along.
Sunday June 1, 2014
Professional go player Tae-seok loses his brother to infamous underground gambler Sal-soo after losing a high-stakes game in The Divine Move (AKA The Immortal Move) a new Korean film due out next month. Framed for the murder of his own brother and locked up in prison, Tae-seok (Jung Woo-Sung) vows revenge and trains ferociously in Jo Beom-gu’s action-packed drama. After serving his seven-year sentence, Tae-seok gets in touch with his brother’s former associate Tricks, hermit and blind master player Jesus and skillful junkyard owner Mok-su (Ahn Kil-Kang), and begins formulating a plan to get back at Sal-soo (Lee Beom-Soo) and his men. Slowly penetrating Sal-soo’s inner circle and his gambling joint, Tae-seok eliminates Sal-soo’s men one by one. But when Sal-soo discovers Tae-seok’s true identity, one final game will seal the fates of the two men. According to one source, the film’s literal title “Shinui Hansoo” (“God’s One Move”) “refers to a winning move in the board game of ‘Baduk’ (known in the West as ‘Go’), when the opponent is unable to counter and loses.” No info yet on US release plans.
Thanks to David Doshay for passing this along.
Tuesday May 13, 2014
“Rémi Coulom is sitting in a rolling desk chair, hunched over a battered Macbook laptop, hoping it will do something no machine has ever done.” So begins Alan Levinovitz’s thorough report on the current state of computer go in Wired Magazine – The Mystery of Go, the Ancient Game That Computers Still Can’t Win – published May 12. Levinovitz covered this year’s UEC Cup, the computer Go tournament held each March that rewards two finalists with matches against a “Go sage” in the Densei-sen, or machine-versus-man matches. The Wired report covers the history of computer go, name-checking Einstein, Turing and Nash, includes an excellent explanation of the game’s branching problem and explains how the development of Monte Carlo Tree Search enabled the latest breakthroughs in computer go, in which Coulom’s Crazy Stone program won the first Densei-sen last year against Japanese professional Yoshio “The Computer” Ishida. American-born pro Michael Redmond — a regular EJ contributor — makes an appearance in the report as the commentator at the UEC Cup. Levinovitz does a good job demystifying computer go, as well, writing that the view that go is “the final bastion of human dominance over computers” is “deeply misguided.” Levinovitz points out that “computers can’t ‘win’ at anything, not until they can experience real joy in victory and sadness in defeat, a programming challenge that makes Go look like tic-tac-toe. Computer Go matches aren’t the brain’s last stand. Rather, they help show just how far machines have to go before achieving something akin to true human intelligence.”
photo: Remi Coulom (left) and his computer program, Crazy Stone, take on grandmaster Norimoto Yoda. Photo: Takashi Osato/WIRED. Thanks to the many EJ readers who quickly spotted this report and passed it along.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.