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

Can Giraffe Crack Go?

Sunday September 27, 2015

An artificial intelligence machine called Giraffe that has taught itself to play chess by evaluating positions much more like humans and in an 2015.09.27_computer-chessentirely different way to conventional chess engines may well be the future of AI, according 2015.09.27_MatthewLaito a recent report in the MIT Technology Review. “Straight out of the box, the new machine plays at the same level as the best conventional chess engines, many of which have been fine-tuned over many years,” the report says. The technology behind the new machine — developed by Matthew Lai (left) at Imperial College London –is a neural network that consists of several layers of nodes that are connected in a way that change as the system is trained. “Lai says it should be straightforward to apply the same approach to other games,” the report concludes. “One that stands out is the traditional Chinese game of Go, where humans still hold an impressive advantage over their silicon competitors. Perhaps Lai could have a crack at that next.”
Thanks to Fred D. Baldwin for passing this along.


Second Volume of Yuan Zhou’s “Deep Thought: Extremely Thoroughly Commented Pro Games” Released

Tuesday September 22, 2015

Responding to popular demand, Slate and Shell has just published a second volume of “Deep Thought: Extremely Thoroughly Commented Pro 2015.09.13_DeepThought-coverGames,” by popular author Yuan Zhou. It contains three games with virtually every move explained and almost every diagram showing only one new move. “Unlike normal problem books, the ‘problems’ here are not limited to local situations,” says Slate and Shell publisher Bill Cobb. “You must always keep in mind the whole board. Read this way, the books provide an excellent study of opening, middle game, life and death, and endgame problems, considered in terms of what is going on elsewhere in the game.” Sample pages can be seen on the web site. Available now at a special introductory price.

Guo Juan 5P’s Online Group Class Starts This Week

Sunday September 13, 2015

There’s still time to sign up for Guo Juan 5P’s online group class, which starts on September 19. The 135 euro fee cover eight 90-minute classes and seven weeks of full access to Guo’s pro lecture site and training system. “Meet friends, have fun and learn from pro teachers,” says Guo. In addition to Guo, teachers include YoungSun Yoon 8P, Jennie Shen 2P and Mingjiu Jiang 7P.

Yutopian Offers Extra 10% Discount; Two New Bozulich Essays at Kiseido

Thursday August 27, 2015

Yutopian Offers Extra 10% Discount: Buy two go books at Yutopian and, in addition to existing discounts, get an extra 10% off with free U.S. shipping (offer only good for shipping to US addresses). Yutopian has an extensive 2015.08.22_yutopian-yangcollection of go books, from Nie Weiping on GoArt of Capturing Stones, Yilun Yang’s Ingenious Life & Death Puzzles (Volumes 1 & 2) and more.
Two New Bozulich Essays at Kiseido: Kiseido has just uploaded two new essays on go by Richard Bozulich. The first essay, “Increasing your Concentration and Powers of Analysis through Visualization” explains how solving life-and-death problems by memorizing the position, then solving the problem in your head, is an efficient way to improve your analytical abilities. The second essay, “Microgo,” introduces a variant of the go rules that makes play on boards with grids as small as 2×2 possible.
Update (8/30): Yutopian was not able to add the special sale on their order form, so the discount will apply after they confirm your order.

Brugo Joseki App Returns

Thursday August 20, 2015

Brugo is back. After being down for some months, the joseki app — for iPad only — has returned to the appstore; click here for a direct link.2015.08.01_brugo

Brugo provides a collection of more than 10,000 joseki moves from the Brugo joseki website.

Ishi Press Archives Releases 4 More Classics

Thursday June 25, 2015

Ishi Press Archives recently announced the release of a second group of four out-of-print Ishi Press go books. The reprints are available through2015.06.25_great-joseki-debates Amazon and include The Great Joseki Debates by Honda Kunihisa, The 3-3 point: Modern Opening Theory by by Cho Chikun, All About Life and Death Vol. 1 by Cho Chikun and All About Life and Death Vol. 2 by Cho Chikun.

More Go Players Streaming

Thursday June 18, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-06-18 at 1.11.29 PMMore go players and teachers are starting to stream their games on Twitch, the world’s leading video platform and community for gamers. More than 45 million gamers gather every month on Twitch to broadcast, watch and chat about gaming. Several go players are getting in on the action, including Shawn Ray 4d, who reviews games and holds lectures; Battousai 5d, who teaches and has  lectures using different go servers; and Xiaocheng-Stephen Hu 3d, who goes over many go concepts.

Shawn Ray will have Yoonyoung Kim 4p, a pro from South Korea, in his next lecture this Saturday at 8 pm central time, on June 20th. “This should be a fun event as well as my first professional guest on stream. If it goes well I also plan to do more events like these,” Ray notes. The event can be watched on Ray’s Twitch channel hereHe also has a list of teachers that are streaming reviews and teaching games, which can be found here.

Xiaocheng-Stephen Hu, also known as xhu98, is the host of an ongoing tournament between teachers found on OGS and KGS. The schedule and participants can be found here“I am really enjoying the tournament,” says Triton Perrin, “of course I am not strong enough to get far, but it has inspired me to work just a little bit harder to do my best against other teachers I look up to. To me, it seems like this tournament is helping the go community come together and get more people involved.”  Hu has a lecture every Friday for all ranks, and occasionally has players join him in his lectures.  Times can be found on the spreadsheet link from Shawn Ray above.

Josh Allen, also known as Battousai, has been doing lectures for years, and now puts his videos on his website, as well as Twitch and YouTube. Click here to visit his site. Allen has lectures every Wednesday afternoon from 3pm to 9pm EST. “I love games and problems, but I don’t even play go,’ says username Wreqt, “I stick around because I like you. Your instruction and teaching is fantastic, and it is a blast to hear your commentary on this game. Thanks for such a great channel!”
- Special report by Austin Freeman. Image: Battousi’s cartoon version takes on bots, from



GoClubsOnline Adds PayPal Option

Tuesday June 2, 2015

With the latest release of GoClubsOnline attendees can now pay their tournament or event fees via PayPal. Look for payments due and PayPal 2015.06.02_GCOL-paypalprompts during online registration for a tournament or event to see if this convenient option is offered by organizers. When PayPal is offered by the hosting club and payments are due, attendees can pay either via PayPal or with a credit card. GoClubsOnline (GCOL) doesn’t handle any of these funds and organizers can manage their PayPal account completely independently. “Organizers can set whatever fees they wish to charge, especially if they want to supplement a prize pool!” says GCOL’s Robert Cordingley.  “Club organizers can separately and simply set up a club PayPal account, then include the account name in the Payment Method section of a tournament or event profile and it’s good to go.”

Ishi Press Archives Issues 5 Reprints

Friday May 15, 2015

Ishi Press Archives is reprinting five long out-of-print Ishi Press go books. The reprints include Breakthrough to Shodan by Naoki Miyamoto 9-2015.05.13_breakthru-shodandan, Enclosure Josekis by Masaki Takemiya 9-dan, Kato’s Attack and Kill by Masao Kato 9-dan, The Power of the Star-Point, The Sanren-Sei Opening by Shukaku Takagawa 9-dan and All About Thickness, Understanding Moyo and Influence, by Yoshio Ishida 9-dan.


Jasiek Releases “Tactical Reading”

Thursday May 14, 2015

“Reading is the process of imagining tactical sequences of well-chosen moves,” says Robert Jasiek. “Besides strategy, reading determines a 2015.05.14_TacticalReading_Cover_smallplayer’s skill.” “Tactical Reading,” Jasiek’s latest book – his 11th– uses the holistic approach of general theory applicable to all tactical problems. “Powerful principles develop every essential aspect of the theory of tactical reading,” Jasiek says. “Various kinds of simplifications and techniques reduce a large and unmanageable set of choices to the smallest possible number of necessary variations.” The book explains in detail a general method which Jasiek says will lead to “correct and efficient reading.” Application of the theory to 100 problems and their exhaustive answers demonstrates “the best way to distinguish inferior from the interesting moves.” Click here to order from Jasiek or go to Goshop Keima.