American Go E-Journal » Tools: books, software & hardware

Four out-of-print titles from Slate and Shell now on Amazon

Tuesday March 14, 2017

Four out-of-print titles from Slate and Shell are now available through Amazon.2017.03.14_alphago-yuan-zhou
200 Endgame Problems by Shirai Haruhiko. Long out of print, this popular collection of problems covers common situations from simple endgame tesuji to complex issues that require careful reading and counting.

AlphaGo vs Lee Sedol: The Match that Changed the World of Go
 by Yuan Zhou. In a detailed commentary of the five game match between Lee Sedol and AlphaGo, Zhou explains why Lee should not have won the fourth game but should have won the fifth while also discussing the strengths and possible weaknesses of AlphaGo.
The Young Chinese Go Masters, Volume One by Yuan Zhou. Zhou analyzes four games involving eight of the young Chinese pros who are dominating the world of go.
Single Digit Kyu Game Commentaries by Yuan Zhou. Zhou thoroughly investigates a variety of mistakes that are common among weaker players, and illustrates how to deal with many common situations correctly.
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Your Move/Readers Write: Go Clock Recommendations

Friday March 10, 2017

Leap PQ9903: “The MGA battled about this for about a year before finally settling on the Leap PQ9903,” writes Neil 2017.03.10_Leap PQ9903Ritter in response to the February 25 Your Move/Readers Write: Looking for go clocks posting, noting the clocks were more affordable through Alibaba compared to Amazon. It’s “perhaps important to note explicitly that this clock doesn’t do Canadian Byoyomi particularly well,” Neil adds. A thread summarizing the Massachusetts Go Association’s discussion on the topic can be found here.
 
DGT3000: “I believe the best game clock for the money is the DGT3000,” 2017.03.10_DGT3000suggests Dave Baran. “I am aware of three clocks that currently available that have both Japanese and Canadian byo-yomi:  the DGT3000, the Cronos, and the Duel Timer.” Dave notes that the Excalibur is an affordable option that might be available on EBay, but has been discontinued from production. Dave adds that, “the byo-yomi time control on the Zmartfun II chess clock is inadequate.”
 
Amazon.com: “You can get just about anything from Amazon.com,” points out Ralph Meyer, suggesting searching for “Chess Clocks”.
- Edited by Brian Kirby
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Guo Juan 5P’s New Website/System Developments

Sunday March 5, 2017

Many go players around the world already know that Guo Juan 5P has an online go school, featuring recorded lectures and problems presented in a Spaced Repetition System for remembering correct play. 2015.12.22_guo-juan-logo But you may not know about the new developments. “My website/system has made big improvements in the last half year,” Guo Juan explains. “Now you can use tablets and phones to do the exercises, which makes possible for people to use the system anywhere, instead of sitting before the computer.” She adds that “One of our website users (has) posted a thorough overview/review.”

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LifeIn19x19.com back online

Sunday February 26, 2017

One of the largest English-language go communities, LifeIn19x19.com, is back online. The site suffered a downtime of about 2017.02.25_19x19-site_logo12 days beginning on February 6th, reports Adrian Petrescu. It was brought back online last Saturday (details here). “I worry we lost a lot of people who gave up on retrying to access the site after over a week,” says Petrescu. “Pretty much every feature that existed before the downtime has been restored,” he adds.

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Go Review: Fairbairn’s “Meijin of Meijins: The Life and Times of Honinbo Shuei”

Monday February 20, 2017

Reviewed by Roy Schmidt2017.02.20_meijin-of-meijins

Go translator and historian John Fairbairn draws upon his phenomenal knowledge of go history and his collection of classic works to craft “Meijin of Meijins: The Life and Times of Honinbo Shuei,” an entertaining and educational book covering the life of one of the strongest members of the Honinbo “family,” Honinbo Shuei. Shuei has long been the most admired and emulated player amongst go professionals in Japan. He gave Honinbo Shusai black in every game they played, and won a solid majority of them. It is a marvel that he became so strong, because during his lifetime, the go world in Japan was thrown into turmoil with the abolishment of government support by the new Meiji apparatus. How the Honinbos and other go families coped with their reversal of fortunes makes for a good read.

With a grand total of just three diagrams in the book, this is not the book for those interested in reviewing Shuei’s games. But if you want a taste of the inside workings of the go community during the late 1800s up to 1908, this is an absolute jewel. There are some organizational problems with the narrative, with some repetition of events – perhaps because the book is pulled from a larger e-book (which does contain commented games) with “light editing.” But overall, the writing is excellent and for fans of go history, I highly recommend this book. It’s published using Amazon’s instant-printing process, which offers quality comparable to mainstream paperback go books with an amazingly low price ($9.99).

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Website tech issues resolved, Kiseido offers discounts on all go books

Sunday January 29, 2017

Kiseido’s recent website tech issues have been resolved, reports Richard Bozulich. Click here  to go to Kiseido’s new secure 2017.01.28_kiseidoURL. “In the meantime, until February 6, Kiseido is having a sale of all its books with with discounts of up to 15% and free shipping,” says Bozulich.

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Slate & Shell “Dark of Winter Sale” Begins

Wednesday January 25, 2017

Slate & Shell, one of the main publishers and distributors of English-language go books, is having a winter sale from now until 2017.01.25_Patterns Sanrenseithe 12th of FebruaryNew Moves by Alexander Dinerchtein, Patterns of the Sanrensei by Michael Redmond, and a handful of other books are all half off. On a separate note, Single Digit Kyu Game Commentaries and Young Chinese Go Masters, two previously out of print books from Slate & Shell, are now available on their Amazon page.
- Noah Doss
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“How to Play Go” intro book available free for limited time

Tuesday January 24, 2017

A new book by Richard Bozulich has just been added the SmartGo’s Go Books app. “This one is aimed at beginners and is free2017.01.24_how-to-play-go for a limited time,” says SmartGo’s Anders Kierulf. “I think it covers the basics really well.”

“How to Play Go: A Concise Introduction” by Richard Bozulich and James Davies is a straightforward introduction to the rules of the game, with example games and problems, as well as chapters on opening strategy, elementary tactics, life and death, and handicap go strategy.

For a limited time, this book is available for free inside the Go Books app (on iPhone and iPad). “Please consider recommending this free book and the Go Books app to friends who are curious about go,” Kierulf urges. The book will be free until January 28; after that, the price will be $3.99.

This Kiseido book is also available as a printed book for $7.95 from Amazon.

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Reader Survey asks “What’s in a name?”

Monday January 16, 2017

Revival of our annual Reader Survey was sparked by a longtime reader’s suggestion that we drop the “E” from the E-Journal’s title. Since we’re usually focused on more substantive content and design issues, this seemed like a cosmetic change of minor import but it did get us thinking that this is a good time to check in with our readers. Please click here to let us know what you think about the E-Journal, including whether we should change our name.

Deadline to weigh in is Friday, February 27.

A quick history of the Journal and the E-Journal: The American Go Journal made its first appearance in Fall, 2017.01.16_Journal11949, with a 16-page 8 1/2 x 11″ mimeographed edition that featured a game record — of the 1941 Honinbo match — in Korschelt notation, and hand-drawn diagrams.

The Journal, an intermittent “quarterly” that was mailed to members of the AGA, continued in this basic format until the September 1961 edition, after which it went on an extended hiatus, when the American Go Association agreed to distribute Go Review, the Nihon Kiin’s new, monthly magazine, to members.

Revived in January 1974, the Journal kept the same 8 1/2 x 11 format but now 2017.01.16_Journal2featured a cover with a slightly heavier stock and began to include black-and-white photos. The Journal went to a 5×7″ format in the July/August 1976 edition, a format maintained until 1997. In the mid-1980s a separate publication, the American Go Newsletter — also a quarterly — began to be produced, focusing on go tournament schedules, reports and player ratings.

In early 1998, the Newsletter and Journal merged and returned to the 8 1/2 x 11 format, this time with lots of photos as well as the go news and instruction the Journal has 2017.01.16_Journal3always featured. The American Go E-Journal first appeared on April 24, 2000, focusing, as the Newsletter had, on tournament reports and club news. Originally a text-only email publication (which were often referred to as “e-zines” in those days), it has developed over the years into a multimedia publication including photos and easily accessible sgf game records.

By 2003, with the E-Journal’s readership expanded to over 5,500 worldwide, while the Journal was being produced at significant expense soley for the AGA’s 1,700 members, the Journal was suspended and the resources reallocated to the E-Journal and an annual printed American Go Yearbook, which itself was discontinued in 2009.

The E-Journal, which now has nearly 10,000 readers worldwide — making it the 2017.01.16_Journal-EJmost widely-read English-language go publication — integrated with the AGA website some years ago and has been publishing on a often daily basis, especially during major events like the annual US Go Congress, US Pro Qualifiers and Cotsen Open. AGA members continue to receive special content in the weekly Member’s Edition, as well as the annual online American Go Yearbook compilation.

The rationale for changing the name is that since there hasn’t been a print Journal since 2003 the “E” is now an irrelevant distinction; the E-Journal is functionally the Journal and has been been for many years. The counter argument has more to do with sticking with a 17-year tradition and the EJ’s name-recognition.

As the creator of the EJ and the Managing Editor of all the AGA’s publications for many years, I don’t have a strong opinion on the name either way. I have been extremely proud to help carry on the AGA’s now nearly 70-year commitment to publicizing go, especially during a time when our communication tools have changed — and continue to change (check us out on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube) — so dramatically. What we call our publication is far less interesting to me than the question of how we’re meeting your needs as go players. So whichever way you vote on the name, please be sure to take the survey and let us know how we can improve.
- Chris Garlock, Managing Editor
American Go E-Journal and Yearbook

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Review: “The Tengu’s Game of Go”

Tuesday January 3, 2017

by David Bogie
2017.01.01_tengu-game

“The Tengu’s Game of Go” is the last in a four-volume fantasy by Lian Hearn, set in medieval Japan. Magic beasts with enchanted weapons, convoluted plots with betrayals and double-crosses galore. Go? Not so much.

The author is well-versed in Japanese lore and history and has based many of her books on ancient and traditional folk stories. She knows the equipment used to play go but I don’t think she has any real concept of the game’s territorial objective.

During the game mentioned in the title, the tengu (a magical being) tricks a human into stealing an enchanted bow from his opponent. This theft somehow shifts the game in his favor, implying the author thinks of go as a series of contests with tangible goals. Go actually appears in only three or four short passages that will not interest go players in the least.

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