“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
American Go E-Journal » Go Spotting
Tuesday April 16, 2013
Sunday April 14, 2013
Fr. Mark Lichtenstein found this on xkcd, “A webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language.”
Tuesday April 2, 2013
“I found this in an old manga called Vagabond which follows the swordsman Miyamoto Musashi,” writes Taylor Litteral. It was in Volume 6, chapter 50, page 6.
Thursday March 21, 2013
The Walthers brothers are tantalizingly close to raising the $8,000 they need to create a free movie trailer (German Brothers Team Up to Produce “Fascinating” Go Video 2/4/2013 EJ) to inspire more go enthusiasts. Sven Walther, a go player and computer scientist, and his brother Lars, an actor and filmmaker, plan to make the video available on YouTube, so anyone “can use it to promote the game wherever you want.” Their goal “is not to explain the rules, but to create some fascinating atmosphere to represent the game. The novice will see it and say ‘Whoa, what’s that game? Wanna learn more!’” The project will only receive funds if at least $8,000 is raised by Monday, March 25 at 11:59PM PT.
- Annalia Linnan
Thursday March 14, 2013
A go board shows up in New World, the 2013 South Korean noir film written and directed by Park Hoon-jung. Starring Lee Jung-jae, Choi Min-shik and Hwang Jung-min, the film — released just last month — shows the conflict between the police and the mob through the eyes of an undercover cop. Click here to see a trailer.
Thanks to Vincent DiMattia for the tip.
Saturday March 9, 2013
If regular go is getting too easy, you may want to check out the eXtreme Mindgame Challenge, which proposes to expand play to a staggering 57 x 57 board.
“The goal of this project is to make this 4000 year old game really extreme,” say the project’s organizers, who say they’re planning to recruit two teams to eight players each to play on the biggest board in the world. “Players will be quite strong so that they can focus on the whole game,” they add.
It’s not clear who’s behind the grandiose effort, which is trying to raise $5,000 for the summer 2013 project but has only attracted two supporters for a grand total of $60 thus far.
With 3,249 intersections in a 57×57 board, project organizers calculate the number of possible game positions at 10 to the 2,000 power.
- Thanks to Paul Barchilon for passing this along
Sunday February 17, 2013
A new Korean comic book provides a view of Korean corporate life through the eyes of a former go player. In Misaeng, artist/author Yoon Taeho “ describes the claustrophobic interpersonal relations between employees of Korean corporations, focusing on the banality of everyday life and the little struggles and tiny victories of survival in a corporate culture,” writes Emanuel Pastreich on his blog, Korea: Circles and Squares.
“The protagonist of Misaeng is Jang Gurae, a young man who starts out as an apprentice to the national baduk Association. After his father’s sudden death, Jang Gurae finds his family in serious financial straits. When he fails to qualify as a baduk player, he enters the corporate world. Quiet and introspective, baduk is the underlying formula for his survival.” Pastreich calls Misaeng “a remarkable work of art that deserves to be widely read and analyzed.” Unfortunately, it’s currently only available in Korean.
Thanks to Go Game Guru’s David Ormerod for passing this along.
Monday February 4, 2013
Two German brothers are collaborating to create a free movie trailer to spread the game of go. Sven Walther is a go player and computer scientist, while his brother Lars is an actor and filmmaker. Sven says he’s driven to “inspire people with interesting stuff” while Lars is “wowed by the stories and the drama in a game that appears to be so simple.” The brothers have teamed up to crowd-source $8,000 “to make a short video clip, like a movie trailer, to promote the game of go.” Rather than explaining the rules of the game, the Walthers intend to work with real actors and real movie people to create a professional clip that will create a “fascinating atmosphere to represent the game. The novice will see it and say ‘Whoa, what’s that game? Wanna learn more!’” They’ll make the video available on YouTube, so anyone “can use it to promote the game wherever you want.” With 50 days to go, the duo has already raised just over $2,200 in pledges. With several other professionally-produced shorts – the romantic French go video The Album Leaf Within Dreams (Go Art: Romantic Go Video 12/3/2012 EJ) and the 2012 European Women’s Goe Championship promo (The Red Dress Tesuji 8/26/2012 EJ) – already available, and the feature-length documentary The Surrounding Game now in production, a critical mass of go videos seems to be building.
Sunday December 30, 2012
“Go was just featured on a U.S. TV series!” writes Alicia Seifrid. The game was featured in the ABC series “Last Resort,” episode 10 (“Blue Water”), which aired last Thursday, December 13. “The series is about a renegade U.S. submarine crew on an island in the Indian Ocean,” explains Seifrid. “In this episode, a Chinese diplomat named Zheng visits the crew offering humanitarian aid. He meets with Captain Chaplin, who is wary of what strings might come attached with the aid. Zheng offers Chaplin his grandfather’s go board as a gift. When Chaplin says he prefers chess, Zheng says ‘In chess, the victor is the one who annihilates his opponent’s armies. In weiqi or go, victory goes to the one who can control the most territory with the fewest armies.’” Later in the episode, they play a game against each other, and Zheng catches Chaplin in a trap, “exactly what Chaplin fears might be the real-life situation if he accepts Zheng’s aid,” says Seifrid. She sent along this screencap of the board during their game, noting that “Chaplin is black and Zheng is white.”
Tuesday December 25, 2012
Here’s an exciting sign of the times: a stack of go sets in the “Classic Games” section of Barnes and Noble. And not just buried on the shelf, but stacked in the aisle, a higher-profile position, priced at $34.95 each. We found this display on New York’s Upper West Side: other stores may not feature it as prominently, but according to the set, B&N commissioned a Chinese manufacturer to produce this set exclusively for them, so they must hope to sell a lot of sets. The board folds and locks to hold the 360 pieces (not 160 as listed on the B&N website) when not in use. The stones are made yunzi style (flat on one side). Many players prefer the double-convex stones, which are easier to pick up after a game, but yunzi stones have their fans; during post-game analysis, just flip them over to recall which moves were actually played in the game. A few short years ago, books about go were a rarity in mainstream bookstores, Seeing such a prominent display of actual playing equipment inspires hope that our favorite game has finally hit the big time. This version may not quite be ready for prime time; according to the picture on the website, the hoshi, or star points, seem to be missing. Imagine what the Chinese workers who made these sets must have thought. Nice as it is to see go going mainstream, discerning shoppers can find nicer sets at Yellow Mountain Imports (check out their portable sets, some under $10), Kiseido or Yutopian.
- Roy Laird