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 Fargo,” writes Erwin Gerstorfer.
“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.
Yamamoto was killed when American codebreakers identified his flight plans and his plane was shot down.
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 scene 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.”
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 Atkins. “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.
Saturday July 25, 2015
EJ photographer Phil Straus spotted this unusual go board recently at an airport Marriott in Salt Lake City, Utah.
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, approaches 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.”
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 Period 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.
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.
Thursday July 9, 2015
STEAM (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.
Friday July 3, 2015
“I went to New York for a vacation, and when I went to the American Museum of Natural History, at the Japanese Hall, I saw a board of go and stones. I was surprised of the size, because I had never seen a Goban for real,” writes Mateo Nava, of Mexico City.
Wednesday June 17, 2015
A go-playing President of the United States would probably be a better president. That’s according to David Z. Hambrick, a professor in the Department of Psychology at Michigan State University who wrote recently in Scientific American that “my colleague Brooke Macnamara and I found that fluid intelligence—the general ability to reason and think logically—was a strong positive predictor of skill in the board game GO, as measured by a laboratory task that was specially designed to measure a GO player’s ability to evaluate game situations and select optimal moves. In turn, performance in this task was strongly related to a player’s tournament GO rating.” Hambrick adds that while IQ isn’t the only predictor of presidential success, “what science tells us is that a high level of intellectual ability translates into a measureable advantage in the Oval Office.”
Thanks to Mark A. Brown for passing this along. Photo credit: Sam Boulton Sr. via Wikimedia Commons