Tuesday March 18, 2014
Go is referenced prominently in the liner notes for Haskell Small’s new CD, The Rothko Room: Journeys In Silence, beginning with a quote from Iwamoto Kaoru: “Go uses the most elemental materials and concepts — line and circle, wood and stone, black and white — combining them with simple rules to generate subtle strategies and complex tactics that stagger the imagination.”
“Meditations on silence and space are as structurally important to the creative life of Haskell Small as are the grids on his beloved Go board,” the liner notes continue. “And, just as with that ancient and revered “game” (using that word advisedly), vast complexity arises.” An accomplished pianist and composer, Small is a longtime go player and organizer in Washington DC.
Monday March 17, 2014
The novel “Cryptonomicon” by Neal Stephenson “has a 2-page scene involving a go board and a rambling digression using go as a metaphor in the middle of its 1100+ pages,” reports David Doshay. “Cryptography is one of the main themes of the book.” Doshay warns that “this book is not for folks bothered by swearing.”
Sunday March 16, 2014
Anton Ninno spotted this mysterious sky-writing recently outside the Japan Center at Disney Epcot in Orlando, Florida.
Saturday March 15, 2014
Turns out the board position in episode 22 of Teen Wolf (EJ 3-12-14) is from a real game. “I had the pleasure of setting up the go board for this scene, and I got paid for it too,” reports 2012 AGF Teacher of the Year Joe Walters. “The empty triangle is a real move. The game was between Michael Redmond 9P and Chino Tadahiko 9P on March 15, 2012, in the B section of the Meijin. I set the game up for the scene sometime before Xmas last year, they provided the board and stones. I did it on the floor in the room where they shot the scene, but not on the tree stump where they used it in the final scene. Someone took pictures of the board, and they duplicated the setup when they shot the scene later on. They just wanted a game that looked real, so I selected that one because it was by an American 9 dan pro and had only a few moves,” said Walters.
The game itself had been offered as a commented record by Michael Redmond, and appeared in the members edition of the E-Journal. “The empty triangle, white 140, was just a normal endgame move,” Redmond tells the E-Journal. “Although good shape is advantageous even in the endgame, correct reading and calculation becomes much more important and as the board becomes crowded with stones, so-called ‘bad shapes’ become more likely and can often be the correct move, as in this case. Looking for good shape in this game, I would have chosen black 97 because, although I say it myself, it was an inspired and well-calculated move with which I forced the sequence that secured my win.” The timing in the episode of Teen Wolf is pretty good, as white actually resigns the move after the empty triangle, which coincides with Stiles sweeping the stones off the board, and also means the Nogitsune was playing Redmond’s moves. “I am glad to know that my games are getting this extra chance to be viewed by a non-playing audience,” adds Redmond. “It is great that go is now being used more in movies and other such media, and it is always exciting to see that reported in the AGA E-Journal.” This week, as a special bonus for non-members, the E-J is providing Redmond’s commentary on his game record. If you would like to receive exciting games like this in your e-mail every week, join the AGA as a full member here. -Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor
Wednesday March 12, 2014
MTV drama Teen Wolf again wove go into the latest episode, making two weeks in a row where the game has been featured prominently. Co-star Dylan O’Brien, as Stiles Stilinski, has been possessed by a dark fox spirit, the Nogitsune, who is controlling his mind and body. Go is alluded to about twelve minutes in, when two werewolves are discussing strategy. One is trying to use a chess board to figure out what Stiles would do, but the older werewolf observes “Chess is Stiles’ game, it’s not the game of a Japanese fox”. Later, using psychic werewolf powers, Stiles’ friends are able to enter his mind, where they find him engaged in a game of go with the Nogitsune. Like all good go players, he is immersed in the game, and deaf to the cries of his friends. It appears that while his mind is trapped in the go game, the Nogitsune has complete control of his body. We see the board from multiple angles, with Stiles playing white. Unfortunately, the only move he makes on the board is an empty triangle, although the board position is at least reasonable. The spell is broken when Tyler Posey, as Scott McCall, transforms into a werewolf and his howl gets through to Stiles. Suddenly realizing what is going on, Stiles looks up at the Nogitsune, and then sweeps all the stones off the board. Just as well, nothing good would have come from that empty triangle anyway. The go match appears at the 35 minute mark, and the entire episode can be viewed on the MTV website here. -Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor. Photo from the MTV website.
Friday March 7, 2014
MTV’s popular drama Teen Wolf features go prominently in the latest episode The Fox and the Wolf. Part of the episode is set in a Japanese internment camp, during the second World War, and a character named Satomi uses go throughout the episode, to help control her emotions. “You take too frequently, and you take too much,” Satomi tells a younger woman, in a conversation at the go board that is as much about stealing supplies for sale on the black market as it is about the game. “The young fox always knows the rules so she can break them, the older wiser animal learns the exceptions to the rules,” says Satomi as she captures a stone. The entire episode can be streamed on the MTV website here, go first appears in the episode at the 9 minute mark. -Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor. Photo: Satomi studies the board, from Teen Wolf Episode 21.
Friday February 21, 2014
In the manga Ashita No Joe — also known as Tomorrow’s Joe in America — the main character Joe Yabuki talks about fuseki. The manga isn’t about go at all — its about boxing — but here Joe is in the middle of a brutal match and in danger of losing. His coach wants to take him out of the match but Joe uses the concept of fuseki to explain his plan.
Thanks to Henry Hathaway for passing this along.
Sunday February 16, 2014
Go makes the top slot in Top 10 Mind-bending Strategy Games on the How Stuff Works website. “It’s perhaps no coincidence that the most mind-bending of all strategy games is also the oldest,” writes John Kelly. Kelly also reports that “Japanese neurosurgeon Kaneko Mitsuo has studied the effect that playing Go has on older adults, noting that “Randomized trials by the U.S. National Institutes of Health have shown that playing certain types of games — though not a mental health cure — can keep the brain healthy.”
Thanks to Aaron Murg of Bethesda, MD for passing this along! A 15-kyu AGA member, Aaron says “I enjoy waking up each morning to find an E-Journal waiting to be read.”
Saturday February 15, 2014
“Just watched an episode of NHK’s documentary series ‘Professionals,’” writes AGA Treasurer Roy Schmidt. “The pro for that week was Iyama Yuta, Meijin. “The program featured several games, including a televised handicap game when he was around six years old. Also, there were scenes from his private life.” Click here to see the program (which is in Japanese).
Saturday February 8, 2014
Go is cited in a brand new TED Talk video by physicist and computer scientist Alex Wissner-Gross (right). In “A new equation for intelligence,” Wissner-Gross attempts to give a definition and a formula for intelligence. “His main thesis seems to say that ‘Intelligence is a physical process that resists future confinement, and attempts to maximize the options for diversity,’ ” writes James Michali of the Springs Go Club in Colorado, one of several readers who sent this in. “Among several examples to illustrate this thesis, Alex uses the game of go to make his argument concrete,” says Michali.
Thanks also to James Chao and Cynthia Gaty.