Wednesday July 23, 2014
The new Korean action go movie “The Divine Move” (Dramatic Korean Go Movie Due Out in July 6/1 EJ) hits movie theaters across North America this Friday; click here for a trailer and local theater listings.
The movie has received warm reviews from Korean audiences, earning an 8.24 out of 10 rating on Korea’s search engine Naver.
When one thinks of the go community, violence and action are seldom the first thoughts that spring to mind. But Korean director Jo Beom-gu has painted go players in a new light in his action movie about a professional go player whose brother is murdered. Framed for the crime, he must spend time in jail. While there, he learns hand to hand combat and emerges tough as nails. After enlisting help from some unlikely candidates, he sets about getting his revenge, leaving a trail of destruction in his wake. The film’s North American posters promise “War On The Board.”
It is not the first time that go has made it onto the big screen. But in Western movies, the scenes are often short or unrealistic. The Divine Move is different in that go is central to the theme of the movie and appears in many scenes. Several fights are decided over the board or with life and death problems, and each section of the movie is labelled according to the various phases of a game, opening, counting etc.
The film in US-Canada release is in Korean with English subtitles and opens in a second wave of theaters on August 1.
- Ben Gale, Korean Correspondent for the E-Journal.
Tuesday July 22, 2014
“Not sure if the movie White Vengeance has already been mentioned before in the American Go E-Journal,” writes Erwin Gerstorfer. “Just by chance I saw it recently on German TV. The storyline is sometimes a little bit confusing, but nevertheless this movie contains many go references.” White Vengeance, also known as Hong Men Yan, is a 2011 Chinese historical film directed by Daniel Lee, loosely based on events in the Chu–Han Contention, an interregnum between the fall of the Qin dynasty and the founding of the Han dynasty in Chinese history, according to Wikipedia. “Most notably, the film shows a blind go player playing five simultaneous games, and the coordinates of the first moves are mentioned explicitly, e.g. 4 – 4 in the lower left corner,” says Gerstorfer. “Go boards with stones are shown often, although in some close ups, the board position looks strange.” The film is available online or through Amazon.
Wednesday July 16, 2014
Human go players will undoubtedly find the graphic for “Go-bot, Go” annoying, but the article in the July issue of IEEE Spectrum is an excellent exploration of computer go-playing by Jonathan Schaeffer, Martin Müller and Akihiro Kishimoto, who developed Fuego, which in 2009 defeated a world-class human go player in a no-handicap game for the first time in history. In the online version, AIs Have Mastered Chess. Will Go Be Next?, the Schaffer, Muller and Kishimoto explain how “a know-nothing machine that based its decisions on random choices and statistics” triumphed.
IEEE photo: Dan Saelinger; Prop Stylist: Dominique Baynes
Saturday June 21, 2014
“Intuition”: “In Allegra Goodman’s novel ‘Intuition’ on page 164 is the line ‘Jacob and Aaron sat playing go on towels in the sand,’” writes None Redmond, though she adds “Not one of her best books I think. I’m a bit bored with it already.” Note: This was previously spotted by Debbie Siemon in 2012: Go Spotting: Allegra Goodman ’s novel “Intuition”
“The Caryatids”: And in Bruce Sterling’s science fiction novel ‘The Caryatids,’ David Matson found this line: “Mr. Zeng was not a small-scale, face-to-face killer in the bold way of the warriors that she knew and loved best. Mr. Zeng was the kind of killer who deployed a nuclear warhead the way he might set a black go-stone on a game board.”
Another reader alerted us to Marc. L. Moskowitz’ book Go Nation: Chinese Masculinities and the Game of WeiChi in China, published last year by the University of California Press. Moskowitz “explores the fascinating history of the game, as well as providing a vivid snapshot of Chinese Go players today,” according to the UCP write-up. “Go Nation uses this game to come to a better understanding of Chinese masculinity, nationalism, and class, as the PRC reconfigures its history and traditions to meet the future.”
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.