Slate & Shell has just re-issued Yilun Yang’s “Whole Board Thinking in Joseki Volume 2.” Long out of print, this is a continuation of 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. It 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
American Go E-Journal » Tools: books, software & hardware
Sunday June 12, 2016
Sunday June 12, 2016
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 worldwide 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
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 teaching 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.
Thursday March 31, 2016
- Brian Kirby
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 way 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.
Sunday February 21, 2016
Slate & Shell is having its annual “Dark of Winter” sale. The following books are available at 50% off through February 29: The Meijin’s Retirement Game, Old vs New Fuseki, All About Joseki, Whole Board Thinking in Joseki, Monkey Jump Workshop, Kamakura, The Chinese Opening, 200 Tesuji Problems, and Master Play: The Style of Lee Sedol.
Wednesday January 27, 2016
In a stunning development, the AlphaGo computer program has swept European Go Champion and Chinese professional Fan Hui 2P 5-0, the first time that a go professional has lost such a match. “This signifies a major step forward in one of the great challenges in the development of artificial intelligence – that of game-playing,” said the British Go Association, which released the news on January 27, based on findings reported in the scientific journal Nature this week (click here for the video, here for Nature’s editorial, Digital intuition and here for Go players react to computer defeat). NOTE: This story was posted at 1p EST on Wednesday, January 27; be sure to get the latest breaking go news by following us on Facebook and Twitter.
“AlphaGo’s strength is truly impressive!” said Hajin Lee, Secretary General of the International Go Federation and a Korean go professional herself. “Go has always been thought of as the ultimate challenge to game-playing artificial intelligence,” added Thomas Hsiang, Secretary General of the International Mind Sport Association and Vice President of International Go Federation. “This is exciting news, but bittersweet at the same time,” said American Go Association president Andy Okun. “I think we go players have taken some pride in the fact that we could beat the best computers. Now we’re down to Lee Sedol fighting for us.”
Google DeepMind, the British artificial intelligence company which developed AlphaGo, has issued a challenge to Lee Sedol 9P from South Korea, the top player in the world for much of the last 10 years, to play a 5-game, million-dollar in March. “I have played through the five games between AlphaGo and Fan Hui,” said Hsiang. “AlphaGo was clearly the stronger player. The next challenge against Lee Sedol will be much harder.” While Hajin Lee agreed, saying “I still doubt that it’s strong enough to play the world’s top pros,” she added “but maybe it becomes stronger when it faces a stronger opponent.” Fan Hui (left) is a naturalized French 2-dan professional go player originally from China. European Champion in 2014 and 2015, Fan is also a 6-time winner in Paris as well as Amsterdam.
Just as the Kasparov/Deep Blue match did not signal the end of chess between humans, “so the development of AlphaGo does not signal the end of playing go between humans,” the BGA pointed out. “Computers have changed the way that players study and play chess (see this 2012 Wired article), and we expect something similar to occur in the field of go, but not necessarily as assistance during play. It has been recognised for a long time that achievements in game-playing have contributed to developments in other areas, with the game of go being the pinnacle of perfect knowledge games.” Added Okun, “go has for thousands of years been a contest between humans and a struggle of humans against their own limits, and it will remain so. We still cycle in the Tour de France, even though we’ve invented the motorcycle.”
The BGA noted that that achievements in game-playing technology have contributed to developments in other areas. The previous major breakthrough in computer go, the introduction of Monte-Carlo tree search, led to corresponding advances in many other areas.
Last year, the Facebook AI Research team also started creating an AI that can learn to play go and earlier today Mark Zuckerberg reported on Facebook that “We’re getting close, and in the past six months we’ve built an AI that can make moves in as fast as 0.1 seconds and still be as good as previous systems that took years to build. Our AI combines a search-based approach that models every possible move as the game progresses along with a pattern matching system built by our computer vision team.”
Game 1 of the AlphaGo vs. Fan Hui 2P match appears above right. Click below for the match’s remaining game records:
AlphaGo vs. Fan Hui, game 2
AlphaGo vs. Fan Hui, game 3
AlphaGo vs. Fan Hui, game 4
AlphaGo vs. Fan Hui, game 5
Update (11:44pm 1/27): Myungwan Kim 9P will analyze the games played between Fan Hui and AlphaGo during a live stream on the AGA YouTube Channel and TwitchTV this Friday; more details will be posted at 7a EST.
Wednesday January 27, 2016
Robert Jasiek has released his 12th book, “Positional Judgement 2 – Dynamics.” Targeted at players 5 kyu to 5 dan, the book focused on “the dynamic aspects of the middle game (influence, aji, fights etc.) and the related positional judgement with theory and examples,” says Jasiek. “While territory characterises peaceful positions, our assessment of dynamic positions includes reductions, aji, potential, influence, thickness and fights. The general theory applying to these concepts raises the quality of our middle game and enables our very profound positional judgement.” 276 pp., EUR 26.50 (book), EUR 13.25 (PDF). Click here for sample pages, a review, and all of Jasiek’s books.
Friday January 1, 2016
We can’t guarantee it’ll make you a stronger player but Stephen Miller’s new Go Quiz app is a lot of fun and will definitely improve your knowledge of the game. Available on Quizup (or search for Quizup in the App Store), the quiz now has 289 questions covering a wide range of go information, including history, players and the game itself. “You can play against people you know, or you can play against random players,” Miller tells the E-Journal. “Either way, it’s a fun way to learn some go facts, history, lore and trivia.” Each game has seven rounds and Miller says “The best experience in Quizup is to download the app on your mobile. It’s designed more as a mobile game, but you can certainly play online.”