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
Sunday December 16, 2012
In 1982, a historic film appeared, the first ever co-produced between the Chinese and Japanese film industries. Mikan no Taikyoku, released in 1982 with English subtitles as The Go Masters, explores the impact of world events in the mid-20th century when a Chinese prodigy’s father sends him to Japan. This is NOT the 2006 Go Seigen biopic The Go Master. In fact the current release is entitled “An Unfinished Chess (sic) Game,” which is actually closer to the original title (except for the chess part.) Critics hailed the 1982 film at the time as “an Asian Gone With the Wind,” and it won first prize at The Montreal Film Festival. Then, oddly, it faded into obscurity, but at least one fan never forgot. Yellow Mountain Imports proprietor Pong Yen writes, “I saw this movie a long time ago and have always wanted to carry it . . . After some searching around I was able to find the Chinese distributor.” YMI seems to have an exclusive on the DVD, at least in English. Kudos to Pong Yen for tracking it down. It’s not HD, and the subtitles are a little dark, but if you are a go player who appreciates Asian films, you are in for a treat.
- Roy Laird
Monday December 3, 2012
While researching our recent story on go in Brazil (New Sao Paolo Go Club Opens with Style 11/25/2012 EJ), we came across a terrific romantic French go video, The Album Leaf Within Dreams, posted on Insei Brazil’s website. The wordless 6:36 minute video, made by Pierre Bellanger (DJPeter 3d KGS) for a class at the University of Montpellier Paul Valéry in France, beautifully shows the seductiveness of the game of go through the attraction of a soccer-playing boy to a studious female go player. Be sure to watch it all the way through to a perfect ending that could have been scripted by Nakayama Noriyuki.
Thursday November 15, 2012
“I recently went to the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego to see Allegiance, a musical about the Japanese internment camps in the US,” writes San Diego Go Club President Ted Terpstra. “Powerful stuff. They had an accompanying exhibit of artifacts of the camps in the Museum of Man next door. There was even a go board and stones that had been smuggled into the camp because ‘Japanese’ cultural things were prohibited. Note that the board has been used so much that the lines have been worn off.”
photos by Ted Terpstra
Saturday November 10, 2012
Girl vs. Monster: Go makes an appearance in the new Disney channel movie “Girl vs. Monster”, reports Tyler Keithley. If anyone’s got more details and/or stills, send ‘em to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Xbox LIVE’s Path of Go: Shawn Ray from Tennessee recently discovered Xbox LIVE’s go arcade game The Path of Go. Ray notes that “My mother, who is not even a go player, said ‘You know go is getting popular when it is on the X-Box.’” He says the game is “unique and fun,” adding that “the graphics are very well done and the board and stones are beautiful and portrayed in a way that you feel like you are playing with the go stones from ancient times.” In addition to useful beginner-level problems, Ray says there’s “a nice little story line with an interesting twist at the end.” He adds that “While most players who are well versed in the game might find the first few chapters boring and easy, it is worth it once you reach the later stages in order to find out what happens. Also the final boss is not so easy, as I am a 4d and it still took me a couple tries to beat him since we are playing on a 9×9 which forces me to come up with new strategies as I can’t us my normal joseki/fuseki ideas on a smaller board.” Ray has a few minor technical complaints but his main problem is that “since the game is not yet popular, I am finding it very difficult to find an opponent on X-Box Live. Hope we can spread the word and get more go players online!”
See Xbox’s Path of Go The New Hikaru No Go? for our original report in the January 10, 2011 EJ.
Tenjou Tenge: Taylor Litteral spotted a go board in Episode 26 of the anime Tenjou Tenge (at 7:40). The anime is based on the Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Oh! great, which primarily focuses on the members of the Juken Club and their opposition, the Executive Council, which is the ruling student body of a high school that educates its students in the art of combat. As the story unfolds, both groups become increasingly involved with an ongoing battle that has been left unresolved for four hundred years.
Wednesday October 31, 2012
A go board is one of the treasures available for players to dig up in The Legend of the Golden Robot game on Kongregate. Thanks to EJ reader Corey McQuarters for passing this along!
Monday October 8, 2012
Go seems to make an appearance in the “Gangnam Style” video, which has racked up over 28 million hits on YouTube since its release last summer, inspiring parody clips from all corners of the globe. At .52 in the video there’s a 2-second glimpse of two game players behind South Korean singer and rapper PSY; several EJ readers have suggested that it’s go but it’s hard to tell for sure, even on close inspection. However, given go’s huge popularity in Korea, and PSY’s (born Park Jae-sang) attendance at Boston University and Berklee College of Music in Boston – home to a longtime go club – the appearance of the game is probably not that far-fetched.
Monday October 1, 2012
Wayne Nelson has just sent us a translation of Jorge Luis Borges’ wonderful poem about go. We’ve run it before but it’s so lovely that, like all great poetry, it bears repetition. Other than this poem, we don’t know anything about Borges’ connection to go, e.g. where he learned, whether he attended a club, or if he mentions it in other writings; if anyone has information along these lines, please send it to us at email@example.com.
Today, the 9th of September 1978,
I had in the palm of my hand a small disk
of the 361 that are required
for the astrological game of Go,
that other chess of the Orient.
It is more ancient than the most ancient writing
and the board is a map of the universe.
Its black and white variations
In it men can lose themselves
as in love and in the day.
Today, the 9th of September 1978,
I, who am ignorant of so many things,
know that I am ignorant of one more,
and I thank my Muses for
this revelation of a labyrinth
that never will be mine.
- by Jorge Luis Borges; translated by Wayne Nelson
Hoy, 9 de septiembre de 1978,
tuve en la palma de la mano un pequeño disco
de los trescientos sesenta y uno que se requieren
para el juego astrológico del go,
ese otro ajedrez del Oriente.
Es más antiguo que la más antigua escritura
y el tablero es un mapa del universo.
Sus variaciones negras y blancas
agotarán el tiempo.
En él pueden perderse los hombres
como en el amor y en el día.
Hoy, 9 de septiembre de 1978,
yo, que soy ignorante de tantas cosas,
sé que ignoro una más,
y agradezco a mis númenes.
esta revelación de un laberinto
que nunca será mío.
- photo by Martin Chrz