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

SmartGo’s Kierulf on the US Go Congress and his new app

Saturday August 27, 2016

SmartGo’s Anders Kierulf recently published a nice post-Go Congress blog post. In it you’ll find out why Kierulf will be 2016.08.27_kierulf-yasuko-imamurabringing a a 9.7″ iPad to the next Congress instead of his 12.9″ iPad Pro, gives shout-outs to Brady Daniels for making a good case about why you should come to the next Go Congress and Kevin Hwang’s Go Talk about “What did you like most about the Go Congress?” both of which he says “clearly show that people are a main feature of the annual Go Congress.” Kierulf also reports that he just launched a new app for Othello, “a game that go is often confused with.” SmartOthello is written in Swift, Apple’s new programming language, “and is the first step in a redesign of my go apps,” Kierulf tells the E-Journal. “Most of the E-Journal readers are probably not interested in Othello/Reversi, but many might be interested to see the direction of the SmartGo apps.”
photo: Kierulf at the 2016 US Go Congress with Yasuko Imamura, a go instructor and SmartGo user from Kyoto

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American Yunguseng Dojang Autumn Class Registration Now Open

Friday August 26, 2016

Registration is now open for the American Yunguseng Dojang’s 16th season of on-line classes, taught by former Korean insei 2016.08.26_Yunguseng Dojangand top-ranked player on the European rating list Inseong Hwang. The program contains five games of league play and analysis of all games, three lectures with interesting topics such as opening theory, local techniques, and evaluation, and a weekly highlights video.

The past three seasons had seven leagues with 42 players, but with 43 members already registered, the upcoming season is expected to open the biggest number of leagues ever. The best player each month get’s a month’s free tuition; click here for current standings.

This season kicks off September 5; register now and get free access to the recorded lesson videos until the season begins.
photo: Yunguseng members meet each other in this year US Congress in Boston and show off their member fans.

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New from Kiseido: “300 Joseki Problems”; “Close Encounters with the Middle Game” & Discounted Slate & Shell Stones

Monday July 25, 2016

“300 Joseki Problems”: The final installment of “Graded Go Problems for Dan Players,” Kiseido’s popular seven-2016.07.24_300 Joseki Problemsvolume dan players’ series, is now available. Aimed primarily at 3-dan to 7-dan players, “300 Joseki Problems” – a continuation of Volume 3 of the series — is divided into two sections, each featuring 150 problems. The first section analyzes local joseki problems, allowing the reader to expand their understanding of local patterns. The second section takes the reader on to the next level, presenting whole-board joseki problems from real professional games, where the global situation must be taken into account.

At times, the correct move is not a standard joseki move, but an innovative move, requiring the reader to “think outside the box.” Consequently, readers will not only gain joseki knowledge, but will gain a real understanding of what joseki means, and how it can be applied to unique positions that might arise in real games. Note that even though the problems in this book are rated as high as 7-dan, Kiseido says the book is actually suitable for players 1-dan and above; even if the correct answer is hard to find, simply studying the answers to get exposure to new ideas and joseki innovations is enough to improve your game.

2016.07.24_Close Encounters with the Middle Game“Close Encounters with the Middle Game”: The game of go is often decided in the middle game. Players strong at the opening can gain an early advantage. Players with precise endgame skills can gain points to finish the game. But excelling at the middle game is the surest way to victory. And what better way to improve middle game expertise than to learn from the best? Michiel Eijkhout’s “Close Encounters with the Middle Game” presents 32 crucial middle-game positions that arose in top professional games. Each position is analyzed in detail, explaining how the players were thinking during the middle game, highlighting the techniques needed to gain an advantage during middle-game fighting. If you’ve ever been confused by professional moves, wondering about alternatives – what moves were good, bad, or difficult to judge – you’ll want to check out this “entertaining journey through the realm of professional go.”

Slate and Shell Stones: Kiseido reports that slate and shell stones are becoming more and more difficult to come by due to a tremendous increase in demand and go players willing to pay premium prices. Fortunately, Kiseido has managed to obtain a small supply of “Jitsuyo grade” stones, and is offering them at a discounted price. Click here for details and to order.
- Brian Kirby

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Robert Jasiek Releases Life and Death Book for Beginners

Tuesday July 19, 2016

Robert Jasiek, go teacher, author, and strong German amateur player, has released a new book on life and death, or tsumego2016.07.18_FirstLifeAndDeath problems. Titled “First Life and Death,” the book promises to “teach life and death from scratch,” starting with building two eyes and creating dead shapes (nakade). Continuing with techniques for attack and defense of one’s eyespace, 274 problems guide the reader through the theory of life and death, including liberty shortage, capturing races, strategy, and tactical reading. With an approach designed for those first venturing into the concept of life and death, Jasiek says beginners can expect to reach the life and death skill of intermediate players. The book can be purchased here.
- Noah Doss

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“Whole Board Thinking, Vol.2″ Back in Print

Sunday June 12, 2016

Slate & Shell has just re-issued Yilun Yang’s “Whole Board Thinking in Joseki Volume 2.” Long out of print, this is a continuation 2016.06.12_Whole Board Thinkingof Mr. Yang’s exploration of joseki, written in collaboration with former AGA president Phil Straus. “The title of this book is a bit misleading,” notes Slate & Shell. “It does not aim to teach you josekis. 2016.06.12_Whole Board Thinking coverIt aims to teach you how to decide which joseki to use in a particular situation (assuming you know the relevant josekis). So what it is really about is judging how to play in the early opening. To narrow down this enormous topic and provide a very thorough treatment of it, Yang focuses on situations in which a few opening moves have been made, including in all four corners, and your opponent has approached your 3-4 stone in one corner. The issue is how should you respond: by settling the corner, trying to get out (in the proper direction), or attacking from the outside. It depends on the rest of the board, of course, and this book shows you how to determine the correct response in terms of the whole board situation. This is very useful knowledge even if your understanding of how to achieve the correct goal in that situation is somewhat limited. At least you will know what you should try to do instead of just guessing the proper continuation.” 181 pages, $26

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“JustGo” Game Recording App to Demo at Go Congress

Sunday June 12, 2016

Automatic game recording app “JustGo” will be demonstrated at this year’s US Go Congress. Lei Chen 7d and Yi Tang 2p 2016.06.12_justgo-appfrom WanTong technology will be on hand at the Congress with their newest technology. Click here to see a demo; the app will be available both in iOS and Android.

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Worldwide shortage of go equipment reported in wake of AlphaGo match

Monday April 25, 2016

The surge in interest in go following the recent match between AlphaGo and Lee Sedol 9p has apparently led to a worldwide2016.04.25_ggg-shortage shortage of go equipment. Go Game Guru reports that their stocks of go equipment have been significantly depleted “and some products have been removed from our catalog after completely selling out.” In addition, “The factories that make the equipment we sell are facing an even heavier surge in demand,” Go Game Guru reports, “because AlphaGo has caused an even larger ‘go boom’ in Asia. Given that they are struggling to keep up with domestic demand, it’s extremely difficult for them to satisfy the export market.” GGG’s report ends with the warning that “This is not an April Fools’ joke, we deliberately withheld this post for over 48 hours to avoid confusion.”
- Noah Doss, based on a report in Go Game Guru

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New version of StrasGo released

Thursday April 21, 2016

In the wake of AlphaGo’s match, the Go Club of Strasbourg, France has been busy promoting the game with its own teaching2016.04.20_Stras Go method. The Strasbourg Teaching Method has been used successfully for a long time, indeed it won the Iwamoto Award in 2001. They have created their own software (StrasGo), which is free of charge, to help beginners learn go through this approach. As of this month it now has an English language version. For the moment it is only available for Windows but a Mac version will be available later this year. The Strasbourg Teaching Method encompasses a three phase approach, which is widely used in the schools in their local region. Essentially these phases are: 1. Capture game on 9×9; 2. Strasbourg Rules on 9×9 or 13×13; 3. French (AGA) rules on 13×13.

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Chinese masterpiece, “Go Fundamentals” translated into English

Thursday March 31, 2016

Qing dynasty go saint Shi Xiangxia’s masterpiece, Go Fundamentals (Yili Zhigui Xubian), has been translated into English by 2016.03.29_go-fundamentalsRuoshi Sun 4d. Originally published in 1778, the book covers 12 topics, using 257 variations from six different games. Unique to this work, Go Fundamentals includes three poems on go theory. Notably, Shi’s “Guiding Formulas for Important Positions” is seen by some as “one of the most important literary works in go history, not only for its technical value but also for its literary beauty”. To top it off, translator Ruoshi Sun has enhanced Shi’s work by including illustrative examples from the Google Challenge Match between Lee Sedol and AlphaGo to demonstrate “how the profound principles of this great master can be applied even to this day.” The book is available from CreateSpace and Amazon.
- Brian Kirby
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Ideas for Adding Buzz to Your Go Club Program

Sunday March 20, 2016

If you’re looking to add some excitement, ‘zip’ or ‘buzz’ to your go club program, GoClubsOnline’s Robert Cordingley has some suggestions. “One 2016.02.20_go-clubs-online-pair-goway is to run face-to-face tournaments in which players compete to win prizes, improve their ratings or just accumulate accolades!” says Cordingley. Another idea is running a Pair Go tournament. A popular feature of the annual US Go Congress, “Pair Go might be a little daunting for a club to run but is now much easier because they are supported in the latest release of GoClubsOnline,” says Cordingley. From registration to forming teams, calculating team ratings and generating pairings, GoClubsOnline gives TDs the tools they need. Click here for details.

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