American Go E-Journal » Go Spotting

Go Spotting: The Key to Nintendo’s Success?

Saturday September 21, 2013

Hiroshi Yamauchi transformed Nintendo from a small maker of traditional Japanese playing cards into to a manufacturer of gaming consoles and software that delivered Super Mario Bros. and Donkey Kong into living rooms around the world.Yet “For all his success in popularizing computer games,” reported the Wall Street Journal, Yamauchi — who died on September 19 at age 85 — “didn’t play them much. He preferred the decidedly classical board game of Go, in which a player seeks to outwit and encircle his opponent.” Thanks to Fred Baldwin for passing this along. Agence France-Presse/Getty Images photo courtesy WSJ

Categories: Go Spotting

Go Spotting: New xkcd Comic

Wednesday September 11, 2013

Go was just featured again on xkcd, a popular web comic among mathematicians and physicists. Thanks to everyone who passed this along.

Categories: Go Art,Go Spotting

Go Spotting: Lan Su Chinese Garden in Portland

Sunday September 1, 2013

by Roger Schrag
On the way to Tacoma for the US Go Congress last month, we stopped for a few days in Portland, OR. Among other places we visited the Lan Su Chinese Garden in downtown, claimed to be the most authentic Chinese garden outside of China. I had been here before – in 2008 while attending that year’s US Go Congress. A few of the displays had changed in the intervening five years, including this scene in the Scholar’s Study. According to the garden’s tour, this is a place “where the men of the family studied for civil service exams that would ensure the family’s prosperity. It served as a place of comfort for writing poetry, practicing calligraphy, reading and admiring art.” Is the position on the go board viable? How strong were the players? You be the judge.

Categories: Go Spotting

Go Spotting: Seattle Asian Art Museum

Thursday August 22, 2013

These go players are part of a new display at the Seattle Asian Art Museum. Thanks to SAM curator Pam McClusky  for passing this along.

Categories: Go Spotting

Go Spotting: Japan Woodworker Catalog Features Go Board

Monday August 19, 2013

A custom-made go board is featured on both the July 2013 edition cover of The Japan Woodworker Catalog and the August 2013 Woodcraft catalog. A post on the Woodworking Adventures blog describes both the construction of the board and the game of go. “This is a great family project and game piece,” says the blog. “Great for all ages to keep your minds sharp, worthy of ‘Spock’ like mentality. Head to your woodshop, build one of these, learn to play, live long and prosper, but most of all, ‘GO’…have some fun!” Thanks to David Doshay for passing this along.

Go Spotting: BGA’s Go Celebs Listing

Saturday August 17, 2013

What do Pop Art sculptor Arman the Artist, sci-fi writer Ursula Le Guin and comedian Robin Williams have in common? They’re all listed on “Celebrities who have played Go,” a fascinating page on the British Go Association’s website. Arman the Artist’s “obituary reported that he played a bit of Go in his apartment after retirement,” Le Guin’s The Left Hand of Darkness “mentions Go in chapter 16” and Williams “is known to be a big player of games, including computer and role-playing games, and is known to have bought a Go board and stones.” Check out the page for go tidbits about other go-playing notables, including Albert Einstein, Bill Gates, Alan Turing and more.

Categories: Go Spotting

Go Spotting: Go in BBC Currency Report

Sunday July 28, 2013

A July 9 BBC report illustrates a report on “What’s really going on with the yuan?” with scenes of Chinese go players in a park playing with discs emblazoned with US and Chinese flags as the report explores charges that China is manipulating its currency to boost exports. Thanks to spotters Martin and Helen Harvey for passing this along.

Categories: Go Spotting

Your Move/Readers Write: Stomu Yamashta’s Go Supergroup

Friday July 19, 2013

“Thank you for Tony Collman’s article about Bert Jansch and John Renbourn, two legendary musicians I did not know were go players,” writes Steve Burrall. “Another go connection in music is ‘Go’ by Stomu Yamashta (actually Tsutomu Yamashita), Steve Winwood and Michael Shrieve. In 1976 the Japanese percussionist Tsutomu Yamashita formed what is generally considered to be a ‘supergroup’ owing to having musicians from Traffic, Santana and Return to Forever; the name of the group as well as the name of the first recording was ‘Go’.  While not explicitly about the game of go, the influence of the game is quite clear in some of the songs. Yamashita is quoted as saying that ‘it’s a game of chance, random and abstract, with few rules. It’s also about opposites colliding, reality and fantasy shifting into one another, re-birth through suffering, and defeat turned to victory.’ Those with an interest in the confluence of jazz, rock music and classical music are likely to find it to be a very beautiful music journey.” -Graphic from the Wikipedia page for the album.

Go Spotting: Brit Folkies Bert and John

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

Categories: Go Spotting

Go Spotting: Doraemon

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, thanks to Taylor Litteral for the suggestion.

Categories: Go Spotting