American Go E-Journal » Go Spotting

Go Spotting: Boxing Fuseki

Friday February 21, 2014

In the manga Ashita No Joe — also known as Tomorrow’s Joe in America — the main character Joe Yabuki talks about fuseki. The manga isn’t about go at all — its about boxing — but here Joe is in the middle of a brutal match and in danger of losing. His coach wants to take him out of the match but Joe uses the concept of fuseki to explain his plan.
Thanks to Henry Hathaway for passing this along.

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Go Spotting: Top Mind-Bending Games

Sunday February 16, 2014

Go makes the top slot in Top 10 Mind-bending Strategy Games on the How Stuff Works website. “It’s perhaps no coincidence that the most mind-bending of all strategy games is also the oldest,” writes John Kelly. Kelly also reports that “Japanese neurosurgeon Kaneko Mitsuo has studied the effect that playing Go has on older adults, noting that “Randomized trials by the U.S. National Institutes of Health have shown that playing certain types of games — though not a mental health cure — can keep the brain healthy.”
Thanks to Aaron Murg of Bethesda, MD for passing this along! A 15-kyu AGA member, Aaron says “I enjoy waking up each morning to find an E-Journal waiting to be read.”

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Go Spotting: Iyama Yuta on NHK

Saturday February 15, 2014

“Just watched an episode of NHK’s documentary series ‘Professionals,’” writes AGA Treasurer Roy Schmidt. “The pro for that week was Iyama Yuta, Meijin. “The program featured several games, including a televised handicap game when he was around six years old.  Also, there were scenes from his private life.”  Click here to see the program (which is in Japanese).

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Go Spotting: Alex Wissner-Gross’ TED Talk

Saturday February 8, 2014

Go is cited in a brand new TED Talk video by physicist and computer scientist Alex Wissner-Gross (right). In “A new equation for intelligence,” Wissner-Gross attempts to give a definition and a formula for intelligence. “His main thesis seems to say that ‘Intelligence is a physical process that resists future confinement, and attempts to maximize the options for diversity,’ ” writes James Michali of the Springs Go Club in Colorado, one of several readers who sent this in. “Among several examples to illustrate this thesis, Alex uses the game of go to make his argument concrete,” says Michali.
Thanks also to James Chao and Cynthia Gaty.

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Go Spotting: Go Kaizen; CSM’s Good Reads; Go in Shanghai Factor?

Thursday February 6, 2014

Go Kaizen: The lifehacker website uses Juha Nieminen’s photo of a go board to illustrate a post on how to “Practice your personal Kaizen”. The Japanese management strategy called Kaizen roughly translates to “continuous slow improvement” and Jason Thomas uses the concept here to as “an ideal approach to improve one’s personal workflow.” Thanks to Lisa Garlock for passing this along.

CSM’s Good Reads: Go is mentioned in the Christian Science Monitor’s January 25 Good Reads column. In the section on “Lessons in an ancient war game,” Managing Editor Marshall Ingwerson says that “Games can be a reflection of how people see the world. If the Western world, reared on chess, wants to understand the Chinese worldview, one way is to understand the strategies of Go.” Thanks to David Saunders for sending this in.

Go in Shanghai Factor? The cover of Charles McCarry’s 2013 espionage thriller “The Shanghai Factor” features a go board, reports Dave Bogie. “I’ve lightly skimmed the book at my library and found no go analogies, references or game descriptions. Maybe other E-Journal readers know more about the story.”

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Go Spotting: Want Fries With That Tesuji?

Thursday January 16, 2014

A story about a battle between elderly Korean patrons and a McDonald’s in Queens, New York, mentions go in passing. Apparently the Korean seniors prefer the McDonald’s to the other facilities that “cater to the elderly in the neighborhood,” according to a January 14 report in The New York Times. “Civic centers dot the blocks, featuring parlors for baduk, an Asian board game, and classes in subjects from calisthenics to English,” the report adds. No mention of whether the seniors are playing baduk in the McDonald’s.
photo: Chang W. Lee/The New York Times. Thanks to Ted Terpstra for passing this item along. 

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Go Spotting: Upgo.info to Crowdsource Game Play Globally; Weichi in Age of Wushu; China Adopting Go to Foreign Policy Strategy?

Monday December 23, 2013

Upgo.info to Crowdsource Game Play Globally: “Upgo.info is angel funding meets go tournaments meets Mechanical Turk,” explains one upgo founder. “A start-up is only as strong as its best go player,” says another. Video explains how the site will “use the latest in big-data technology,” maximize the untapped strength of Japanese retirees and “crowdsource game play” globally.
Thanks to David Doshay for passing this along.

Weichi in Age of Wushu: Go plays a key role in Age of Wushu, a popular MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role-playing game), reports Taylor Litteral.  “Age of Wushu takes place in ancient China during a time period where martial arts legends are born,” says Litteral. “Weiqi — or go — stakes its claim as being one of the four cultural life skills which is advanced by answering go problems, and Age of Wushu players can even play weiqi against each other.”  In the picture an npc (non-player character)  tells the player about weiqi.

China Adopting Go to Foreign Policy Strategy? “China is playing the classic game of weiqi, wherein it slowly expands influence through steps that are not a threshold to violence and do not trigger a forcible response,” says Douglas Paal, director of the Asia Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, in a recent Bloomberg news report about how “China Adopts Board-Game Strategy to Blunt U.S. Pivot to Asia.” The foreign policy strategy emerging from China’s new leadership “may include a series of incremental steps calibrated to blunt U.S. influence across Asia and sow doubt about America’s commitment to its allies in the region,” the report suggests.
Thanks to Chris Roose for passing this along. 

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Go Spotting: Fearful Symmetry

Saturday December 21, 2013

Chinese-American physicist Anthony Zee mentions go in his book Fearful Symmetry:The Search for Beauty in Modern Physics. First published in 1986, the book is an attempt to explain to the layman how modern physics strives to produce the simplest possible explanation of nature and describes the rallying cry of fundamental physicists as, “Let us worry about beauty first, and truth will take care of itself!”. At page 16 (2007 edition)  he writes:

“It is easy to produce complicated behaviour with a complicated design. As children, when we take apart a complicated mechanical toy, we expect to find a maze of cogs and wheels hidden inside. The American game of football is my favourite sport to watch, because of the variety of behaviour exhibited. But the complex repertoire is the direct result of probably the most complicated set of rules in sports. Similarly, the complexity of chess is generated by its rather complicated rules. Nature, whose complexity emerges from simplicity, is cleverer. One might say that the workings of the universe are are more like the oriental game of Go than chess or football. The rules of Go can be stated simply and yet give rise to complex patterns. The eminent physicist Shelley Glashow has likened contemporary physicists to kibitzers at a game whose rules they do not know. But by watching long and hard, the kibitzers begin to guess what the rules might be.”

The book’s title is, of course, a reference to William Blake’s poem, The Tyger.

Report by Tony Collman, British correspondent for the E-Journal. Thanks to spotter Pat Ridley, editor of the British Go Journal. Photo: cover of 1999 edition, courtesy of Princeton University Press.

 

 

 

 

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Go Spotting: Blanket Love Story

Wednesday December 18, 2013

Frequent Go-Spotting contributor Zhiping You came across this amazing go blanket online, which turns out to have a fascinating story behind its creation, which includes a love story, Hikaru No Go, learning how to crochet and instructions on how to make your very own go blanket.

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Go Spotting: Making the World’s Best Go Pieces

Thursday December 12, 2013

“Sitting in front of a clay oven in which the temperature is kept at 1,200 C, workers use a traditional tool to precisely drop melted materials onto an iron board,” reports ChinaDaily.com. “ As a result, crystal-clear Go pieces, which look like black jade along with the color white, immediately appear. This is how the world-famous Yunzi, the special Go pieces, are produced… Yunzi is short for Yunnan Go pieces, and has a history of more than 500 years. The ancient process of making Yunzi was lost towards the end ofthe Ming Dynasty. In 1974, researchers found the formula from ancient Go pieces and the process remained a secret…” Read more here (be sure to click on the photo to see the entire gallery of how the stones are made).

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