American Go E-Journal » Go Spotting

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.

 

 

 

 

Categories: Go Spotting
Share

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.

Categories: Go Art,Go Spotting
Share

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).

Categories: Go Spotting
Share

Go Spotting: Turn on, Tune in, and Play Go

Friday November 29, 2013

The Beckley Foundation, a British organization for consciousness and drug policy research, is appealing for passionate go players who have experience with psychedelic drugs to take part in research on LSD. Volunteers will participate in a scientific experiment using the latest brain-imaging technology to investigate changes in cerebral circulation and connectivity during go play after taking either a dose of the hallucinogenic drug or a placebo. The date and location have not yet been fixed, but the study is expected to take place in the new year, either at the organisation’s headquarters at Beckley Park, Oxford or in London. The Beckley Foundation was established in 1998 by Amanda Feilding and is “dedicated to improving national and global drug policies, through research that increases understanding of the health, social and fiscal implications of drug policy, and the development of new evidence-based and rational approaches“. The late Albert Hofmann (right), who first synthesized LSD and was the first human to experience its effects, was the founding member of the Foundation’s Scientific Advisory  Board. Possession and supply of LSD are generally prohibited by UK criminal law, but use for scientific research, as in this case, can be licensed by the Home Office – essentially the UK’s interior ministry. The Foundation received government approval for the study in March 2013 and this is the first time permission has been granted to use LSD in scientific research since it was outlawed. Click here to download flyer with full details.

Report by Tony Collman, British correspondent for the EJ. Photo: Albert Hofmann in 2006, at the age of 100, during a discussion, “on Beauty” at the Zürich Helmhaus, courtesy of wikipedia.

Categories: Go Spotting
Share

Go Spotting: New Korean Movie “The Stone”

Thursday November 28, 2013

Coming to grips with the truth that he will never earn a living playing baduk, a young man’s chance encounter with a local gangster finds him with a new pupil in Deo Seu-tonThe Stone – the 2010 Korean drama about the vastly different past and future of the two men. Check out the trailer here.
Thanks to Devin Fraze for passing this along. This film made the rounds of international festivals last year but we’re not sure if it’s been released in the US; if anyone has info on where it can be seen, let us know.

Categories: Go Art,Go Spotting
Share

Go Spotting: Heathers, The Economist, Hunter X Hunter

Friday November 22, 2013

“In the movie Heathers (1989, at right), in Veronica’s room, before the hanging scene.
- Michael Wall

“In the October 26 issue of The Economist, on page 8, there is a photo of a couple of old-timers playing Baduk. Underneath is the rather dispiriting label: ‘Not much else to do.’”
- Bob Barber

“The latest episode (102) of Hunter X Hunter featured go. When describing the game, one character says, ‘It may look simple at first, but it is a complex game.’ They play a game, and discuss the general strategy of disrupting your opponents rhythm.”
- Nick Prince

Categories: Go Spotting
Share

Go Spotting: Bleach & Star Trek: Enterprise

Thursday November 21, 2013

“I recently spotted go in the anime ‘Bleach’” reports Tyler Keithley. “Unfortunately I haven’t been able to find a screenshot, but it is shown briefly about midway through Episode 258, titled ‘Stray Snake, Tortured Monkey’”.

Matthew Clark spotted go in Star Trek: Enterprise. “In Season 2, Episode 22 at 29:45, there is a scene with commander Tucker and an alien he is trying to teach to think for herself,” Clark reports. “After showing the alien the film ‘The Day the Earth Stood Still’, they are playing go on a floor board in the Commander’s quarters. Tucker says that after just one day of instruction, the alien is able to beat him,” which had taken others months to achieve.

 

Categories: Go Spotting
Share

Go Spotting: Fujisawa Shuko Documentary

Monday November 4, 2013

E-Journal reader Zhiping You sent us a link to a terrific 2009 NHK documentary about Fujisawa Shuko that’s been posted on YouTube with English narration. The 26-minute video provides an excellent overview of Fujisawa’s fascinating life, with an emphasis on his role as a stern but inspirational teacher for many top players.

One of the best players of his era, Fujisawa was one of the “Three Crows” along with Toshiro Yamabe and Suzuki Keizo (and later Kajiwara Takeo). Even though he was known for controversial acts, such as a drinking habit, his go skill shone through. Besides go, he was known for gambling and was a successful real estate dealer. He was also known for his calligraphy and had several exhibits of his works.

Fujisawa, a student of Fukuda Masayoshi, began studying at the Nihon Kiin in 1934 and turned pro in 1940. Although he struggled at first, taking 23 years to reach 9 dan, he started a title run in the early 1960′s, continuing through the 70′s and 80′s. He won his first major title in 1962, the Meijin. He then won two Asahi Pro Best Ten titles in 1965 and 1968. He held the Oza for three consecutive years from 1967 to 1969. The same year that he lost the Oza, he won the NHK Cup. The Meijin title was Fujisawa’s again when he won it in 1970. He then went on a dry streak of titles. By 1976, he won his first title since the Meijin in 1970, the Tengen.

Perhaps the crowning achievement of his go career was winning the Kisei title on its inception in 1976, at the relatively advanced age of 51, and holding it for 6 straight years from 1976 to 1982. By 1980, nobody thought anyone else but Fujisawa would win the Kisei, but that was silenced when he finally lost it to Cho Chikun in 1982. He won the first three games, controlling each and every move Cho made. It looked like Fujisawa would hold the Kisei for the 7th year in a row, but Cho fought back and won four games, Fujisawa making a blunder in a winning position in the seventh game. After his run of consecutive Kisei titles, the Japanese Nihon Ki-in awarded him Honorary Kisei. He is known to play a very flexible fuseki but infamous in making errors, or poka later in the game.

Fujisawa was getting old now, and wouldn’t win another title until ten years later. Again he won the Oza and held it for two years at the age of 67. He had set a record for the oldest player to defend a title, a record which still stands to this day. In October of 1998, he decided to retire from the Go world at the age of 74. The following year Fujisawa was expelled from the Nihon Ki-in for selling unsanctioned rank diplomas to amateurs in protest against what he considered improper Ki-in policies. In June, 2003, the dispute was resolved and Fujisawa was reinstated in the Ki-in. Fujisawa died on May 8, 2009.
- report based on the YouTube video text

Categories: Go Spotting
Share

Go Spotting: Distinguishing Between Skill and Luck on LinkedIn

Friday October 25, 2013

“How often do you gamble on behalf of your company?” wonders Bill Pieroni, Global Chief Operating Officer at Marsh in his October 11 post on LinkedIn. “It probably occurs more often than you think. The outcomes of most actions are often dependent on a combination of skill and luck. Skill involves impacting the outcome in a purposeful and measurable way. Luck dominates when an outcome is based on random, uncontrollable factors. It is useful to think about skill and luck on a continuum. For example, Wéiqí, a game of strategy, is dominated by skill, while winning the lottery is based on luck.”

Categories: Go Spotting
Share

Go Spotting: “The Math Book”

Thursday October 24, 2013

Kelsey Dyer was “pleasantly surprised to find go” mentioned in Clifford A. Pickover’s “The Math Book,” which chronicles discoveries and advances in mathematics throughout history. Picover “gives a rundown of the object of the game and its mathematical facets” and Dyer says that his favorite line is “While powerful chess software is capable of defeating top chess players, the best Go programs often lose to skillful children.”

Categories: Go Spotting
Share