Sunday July 14, 2013
Legendary British folk musician, the late, great Bert Jansch was keen on go. He used to play often with John Renbourn, a fellow member of British folk-rock band (The) Pentangle, whom he had befriended on the UK folk circuit.
In 1966, year before the formation of Pentangle, they recorded an album together, Bert and John (1966, Transatlantic, released in America with extra tracks 1969, by Vanguard, as Stepping Stones). The album’s cover picture shows the pair enjoying what looks to be a rather peaceful game of go.
The 1992 film of Bert Jansch’s career, Acoustic Routes, was re-released UK-wide and on DVD earlier this year. It is a documentary presented by top British comedian Billy Connolly, who was a good friend of both musicians and who performed on the circuit as a banjoist before breaking through as a comic. In a recent Jansch retrospective on BBC Radio2′s Folk Show, Connolly recounted in an interview with presenter Mark Radcliffe how Jansch and Renbourn played go continually between takes during the filming. Sadly, although a clip of the interview is still available, this anecdote was edited out.
Jansch and Renbourn feature in the British Go Association’s page of famous westerners who have played go too, where a link to more pictures of the two playing go can be found, taken from the booklet issued with the CD of Bert and John.
- Tony Collman, British correspondent for the E-Journal; album cover photo courtesy of blog of Portugese sixties music fan The Red Hippie Teenager
Saturday July 13, 2013
Doraemon is seen studying go in an episode of the popular anime. The series is about a robotic cat who travels back in time from the 22nd century to aid a fifth grade boy, Nobita (seen in the background at right). Doraemon debuted in 1969, and became one of the longest running anime in Japan, and was also a huge hit in China. It is regarded as a Japanese cultural icon, and generations of kids have been gently influenced by the charming cat and his wise lessons. Image from weibo.com/chessnews, thanks to Taylor Litteral for the suggestion.
Saturday July 6, 2013
Xinming Simon Guo sends us this brief clip of the go scene in the 2005 pilot of “Criminal Minds,” the CBS series starring Mandy Patinkin and Aaron Hotchner as agents in the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit, which focuses on profiling the criminal, rather than the crime itself. In this scene, the agents discover that their suspect is a go player and, saying that “go is considered to be a particularly psychologically revealing game,” analyze the board position in the suspect’s apartment to conclude that he’s an “extreme aggressor,” which is also the name of the episode.
Sunday June 30, 2013
In “Turing’s Cathedral“, author George Dyson’s description of Princeton’s Fuld Hall – where the Institute for Advanced Studies was to be housed – includes this line on page 90: ‘ A chessboard (and later a Go board, favoured by Oppenheimer’s young particle physicists) sat near the windows overlooking the Institute Woods.” Dyson’s account reveals how the digital universe exploded in the aftermath of World War II, illuminating the nature of digital computers, the lives of those who brought them into existence, and how code took over the world.
- None Redmond
Wednesday May 29, 2013
A recent article on the Business Insider website extols the mathematical benefits of the game of go, which is the 6th of 13 Things That You Can Do To Make Your Child A Genius At Math.
The article asked professional mathematicians what got them started in math. “There is no better way to train your brain, said one respondent, than the game [of] Go.”
Can you tell who is ahead in the go position that the article displays? (Assume Black to play and a komi of 6.5.) The full article appears here. Thanks to Chris Sira for sending the link.
Saturday May 25, 2013
An article in the May 23 issue of the magazine Foreign Policy entitled “Pulp Liberation Army” surveys the strange and terrifying underground world of Chinese military fantasy novels. One such novel, 2066: Red Star Over America, “portrays the United States in the throes of a Cultural Revolution, where bands of marauding U.S. students fight battles in the country’s ravaged countryside. China is the world’s top superpower, and an earthquake has sunk Japan, erasing it from the map. The protagonist, a Chinese Go player and diplomatic envoy, tries to return civilization to a crumbling United States.” Go player to the rescue! Read the full article here. Thank you Matthew Curran for sharing this.
Monday May 13, 2013
“The heavyweight pros on late-night cable television boast nicknames such as Monster, Razor, Butcher, Assassin and Knitting Needle. The most famed matches in history include the Blood Vomiting Game of 1835, the Famous Killing Game of 1926 and the Atomic Bomb Game of 1945. No, this is not some bone-crushing contact sport. It is a simple parlour game where two opponents, comfortably seated and often equipped with nothing more than folding paper fans and cigarettes, take turns placing little stones, some black, some white, on a flat wooden grid…”
- excerpted from the December 16, 2004 report on “The most intellectually testing game ever devised?” in The Economist; thanks to Glen Peters for passing it along. Photo Getty Images, courtesy The Economist
Sunday May 5, 2013
The most recent episode of Da Vinci’s Demons “The Prisoner” (Episode 3) — is structured to parallel a game of go, played by Riario and the eponymous, mysterious prisoner. “The villain forces a prisoner to teach him go,” reports EJ reader Diego F. Pierrottet. “The villain then uses the go strategy and philosophy that he is learning against his enemies, in this case DaVinci’s employer and DaVinci himself.” The series airs Friday nights at 9 pm on Starz.
- Dave Weimer
Monday April 29, 2013
“At the 1:10:00 minute mark of ‘Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame’ there is a beautiful scene with an elaborate goban and stones,” writes Vincent DiMattia. I don’t know if this has been reported before but (even if so), watch the movie for it’s great production and story line. It’s filled with mystery and magic and is top quality. Fight scenes are impressive also.”
Read more about this in our October 22, 2011 post: Go Spotting: The Mystery of Detective Dee and the Go Board.
Tuesday April 16, 2013
“It’s a cold night in January 2012 and Peter Armenia is sitting on a Flushing-bound seven train, anticipating culture shock,” writes Lani Conway in “Go Big Or Go Home” in the April 2 edition of Narrative.ly. “For two decades, Armenia has played the ancient Chinese game of go, always wondering how his skills would hold up at a traditional Asian club. Tonight, he’s finally getting his chance.” The piece is an excellent portrait of the current American go scene, with a focus on New York City but touching on last year’s first American pro tournament, an introduction to the history of the game and how to play, as well as a nice report on Armenia’s humbling visit to a Flushing Korean go club that weaves in stratagems from “Thirty-Six Strategies: The Secret Art of War.” graphic: detail from Mo Oh’s story illustration