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

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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2016 American Go Yearbook Released

Sunday January 1, 2017

The American Go Yearbook 2016 Member’s Edition Collection was released on New Year’s Day, January 1, 2017. One of the 2016.12.24_Yearbook-joinbenefits of membership in the American Go Association is the Member’s Edition of the American Go E-Journal, the largest English language go publication in the world. If you’re not yet a member, this is a great time to join!

The Member’s Edition includes game commentaries and other special content and the annual Yearbook collects it all into one handy online document. The 2016 edition includes game records from this year’s US Open, US Masters and Cotsen tournaments, as well as Globis commentary. Extra content includes Michael Redmond 9Ps Pair Go tsumego problems and his Cho v. Deep Zen commentaries, as well as Stephanie Yin 1Ps Women’s Championship commentary.

Once selected in the online Yearbook, game records or PDFs open up quickly and easily for review or download. We appreciate our member’s support of the AGA and hope that they will find the Yearbook a valuable and useful resource. Click here now to join the AGA and begin receiving the Member’s Edition. Special thanks to the Yearbook Games Editor Myron Souris for pulling all the 2016 material together.

- Chris Garlock, Managing Editor

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2016 American Go Yearbook Coming Soon; Join Now!

Sunday December 25, 2016

The American Go Yearbook 2016 Member’s Edition Collection is scheduled to be published January 1, 2017. One of the 2016.12.24_Yearbook-joinbenefits of membership in the American Go Association is the Member’s Edition of the American Go E-Journal, the largest English language go publication in the world. If you’re not yet a member, this is a great time to join!

The Member’s Edition includes game commentaries and other special content and the annual Yearbook collects it all into one handy online document. The 2016 edition includes game records from this year’s US Open, US Masters and Cotsen tournaments, as well as Globis commentary. Extra content includes Michael Redmond 9Ps Pair Go tsumego problems and his Cho v. Deep Zen commentaries, as well as Stephanie Yin 1Ps Women’s Championship commentary.

Once selected in the online Yearbook, game records or PDFs open up quickly and easily for review or download. We appreciate our member’s support of the AGA and hope that they will find the Yearbook a valuable and useful resource. Click here now to join the AGA and begin receiving the Member’s Edition. Special thanks to the Yearbook Games Editor Myron Souris for pulling all the 2016 material together.

- Chris Garlock, Managing Editor

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Go Books App Adds “The Basics of Life and Death”

Tuesday December 20, 2016

The Go Books app just added “The Basics of Life and Death” by Rob van Zeijst and Richard Bozulich. Part of their new “Road 2016.12.19_basics-life-deathMap to Shodan” series, this book first provides a systematic introduction to life and death, with 50 problems, then goes through 177 problems based on positions that often arise in real games. “As such, it is an invaluable reference work that deserves a place in every go players’ library,” says Anders Kierulf. The Go Books app offers 115 interactive go books that you can read on iPad, iPhone or Macintosh.

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Go Game Guru Hits the Reset Button

Saturday December 17, 2016

Although Go Game Guru is closing its go shop and Baduk TV, it plans to keep going, most likely with a focus on writing about2016.12.17_go-game-guru-logo go. “We can’t keep up with everything we’ve been trying to do anymore,” reports founder David Ormerud. “The Go Game Guru team has made lasting contributions to the world go community,” said American Go E-Journal Managing Editor Chris Garlock. “Kudos to David, Jing and Younggil for their impressive work over the last six years; we look forward to continuing to work with them after a well-deserved break.”

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How to Clean Go Stones

Wednesday December 14, 2016

David G Doshay2016.12.11-dirty-go-stones
I always wondered what the best way is to clean clamshell go stones. So when I saw these used stones for sale (right), I decided it was time to find out. Searching the internet I saw many ideas, and the one I decided to try 2016.12.11-go-stones-h202suggested soaking in hydrogen peroxide (H2O2). I used the 3% solution that is available in drug stores (It’s possible to get 10%, but that will do painful damage if it gets on your skin). After a month of soaking the solution was very cloudy so I poured it off, rinsed the stones in tap water and dried them. About half the stones were clean so I put the remaining dirty stones in fresh H2O2 and after two more months they were all clean (left), with no damage from the extended soaking. As a side note, rubbing the clamshell stones did not do much to remove what I assume were tobacco stains. I soaked the slate stones in diluted liquid dish-soap and they were clean in just two weeks; dish soap did not work on the clamshell stones.

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Go Spotting: Going Beyond Bed & Bath

Monday October 17, 2016

“This is the strangest place I’d ever think to find go equipment,” reports Andrew Jackson. “Bed Bath & Beyond is selling 2016.10.16_BB&B-Burl Wood Go Bowlswooden go bowls. No stones, no boards, just bowls! They’re available in their online catalog. Crazy!”

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New SmartGo Books Releases Include Tsume-Go Collections & Shuko Tesuji Dictionary

Sunday October 16, 2016

SmartGo Books has added several new titles to its collection. Volume 2 of Thomas Redecker’s “Tsume-Go Strategy — Learn to Recognize Vital Points in Go” joins the previously-released Volume 1 to offer over 700 problems based on 47 corner patterns (vol. 1) and 44 side patterns (vol. 2). The problems are analyzed in great detail, providing hints to guide you to the 2016.10.16_smartgo-books-collagevital shape points. SmartGo Books has also released Redecker’s new book “Workbook: One-Move Life and Death Problems — Basic Tsume-Go Strategy Made Easy,” with over 700 problems ordered by shape. While it’s designed especially for beginners, requiring you to only think a single move ahead, the repetition helps you recognize shapes instantly. For many years, Redecker was the editor of the problem section of the German Go-Journal. He is also the author of several books on Igo Hatsuyōron 120, the most difficult go problem ever. Click here to find more about his books.

Shuko’s Dictionary of Basic Tesuji is one of the most famous Japanese go books, and Slate & Shell has now brought that series to the Go Books app (in English). “Dictionary of Basic Tesuji — Volume 1: Tesuji for Attacking” is the first in the four-volume series; later volumes will cover tesuji for defense, as well as tesuji for the opening, capturing races, and the endgame. The 188 tesuji problems in the first book are analyzed in detail, with over 900 inline diagrams making it easy to visualize all the variations.

The Go Books app (for iPad, iPhone, and Mac) now provides access to 115 high-quality Go books: popular books by major publishers, out-of-print classics, and books available only in Go Books.

 

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Go4Go App Reviewers Wanted

Thursday October 13, 2016

Go4Go.net has released an Android-based app that allows users to access the Go4Go database via their smartphones and 2016.10.13_Go4Go-apptablets and the E-Journal is looking for Android users to test and review the app. Email us at journal@usgo.org if interested (testers get free access). The app’s main features include access to the entire Go4Go database, ability to search the database by date, player, tournament, and follow the latest and popular games. Users can also replay games manually or using the auto-play function.

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