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

New Turn-Based Go Server Comes to U.S.

Monday September 17, 2012

The world of turn-based servers – the modern equivalent of postal go – has expanded with the addition of the International Network Go Organization (INGO). INGO, based in Japan, launched back in May 2011 and has since expanded to China, Taiwan, Korea, Australia, Germany and England.  “We think we should invite the United States now,” says INGO Chairman Isao Yamashita. The advantage of turn-based go (TBG) is that “A player can think long or short as he likes,” notes Yamashita. “Thus a game may take a month or longer depending on the total number of moves of a game or how frequently each player sends his move.”  Many turn-based players play multiple games simultaneously. Links to INGO and other TBG servers – as well as real-time servers – can be found on the AGA’s Internet Go page.

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SmartGo Books Releases 3 Kiseido Classics

Monday September 17, 2012

SmartGo Books now includes three classics from the much-requested Elementary Go Series (Kiseido). “Life and Death” and “Tesuji,” both by James Davies, and “Attack and Defense” by Akira Ishida & James Davies. “These are books you read and re-read as you get stronger,” says SmartGo’s Anders Kierulf. Other recent additions include the first two volumes of Yilun Yang’s “The Workshop Lectures” (Slate & Shell), with chapters on when to tenuki, choosing the direction of attack, how to invade, pincers, extensions, and more. Click here for details. SmartGo Books is a free app for iOS (iPad & iPhone), with 42 go books now available for in-app purchase.

Baduktopia Releases English Edition of “Commented Games by Lee Sedol, Vol. 1″

Saturday September 15, 2012

The English edition of “Commented Games by Lee Sedol, Vol. 1: One Step Closer to the Summit” – which some are calling “a Korean version of Invincible” — is the highlight of eight new books published recently by Korean publisher Baduktopia. Keenly awaited by his fans — Lee wrote the 3-volume series during a leave of absence in mid-2009 when he temporarily stopped playing professionally — the book doesn’t disappoint. Over 320 pages Lee Sedol 9P comments in great detail on three of his own games; click  here for sample pages. “Commented Games” also includes unusually honest and frank stories about Lee’s life, thoughts and emotions, providing rare insight into the mind of one of the world top players. There are three volumes of the Lee Sedol books, with three games in each for a total of nine commented games, the English translation of Volume II is scheduled for release in the first half of 2013. Baduktopia has also released the continuation of the “Level Up! Series,” five new “Jump Level Up!” books along with their answer book. The “Level Up” books contain short explanations, practice problems and entertaining material like comics and texts on go culture. Originally designed for children at Korean Go schools the books are intended to systematically teach essential techniques step-by-step. The “Jump Level Up!” series is recommended for single-digit kyu players. Available from Baduktopia, Go Game Guru and SchaakenGo. Note: the AGA receives a 10% commission on books sold through the GoGameGuru shop.

AGA Pro Tourney Game Records Posted; Women Who Get Go; Vogue interviews Xie Yimin; GoGoD Publishes Chinese Classic in E-Book Form; Go Mention in Stevie McCabe Mystery; Nice Go

Wednesday September 12, 2012

AGA Pro Tourney Game Records Posted: AGA-TYGEMGO Pro Tournament game records for both the main tournament and the Exhibition League have been added to the AGA Professional System page on the AGA website. To see the tournament draw – and download game records – scroll down to “Results.” Thanks to Dennis Wheeler and Steve Colburn for their work on this.

Women Who Get Go: Go has been catching on recently among young women in Japan, Daniel Krieger reported in The Japan Times earlier this year (The women who get go 5/15/2012). “Just last year, it started to get more popular,” said Mayumi Otsuka, 29, who has been hosting monthly get-togethers since last year at a go parlor in Osaka where she and her 27-year-old sister, Satomi, have been working (and playing up to 10 times a day) for the past three years. International Go Federation vice president Thomas Hsiang said that “To facilitate the next big change, we need a model” like a “Bobby Fischer” of women’s go, and suggested that the two best bets on the pro scene are 18-year-old Joanne Missingham, who is a sensation in Taiwan, and Hsieh Yi Min (Xie Yimin), a 22-year-old prodigy who came to Japan 10 years ago and is now at the top of the women’s game. photo: Yasuko Mantani (left) and Aya Kitano commence a game of go at the Shinsaibashi Igo Salon in Osaka. photo by AIMI NAKANO, courtesy The Japan Times

Vogue interviews Xie Yimin: In a related story, GoGameGuru’s David Ormerod reports that “Vogue Taiwan and the fashion house Chanel recently did a video interview with Xie Yimin, the Women’s Honinbo Meijin in Japan. It’s part of a series of interviews with directors, musicians, go players – basically artists.” Although the video is in Mandarin, GoGameGuru has posted an English transcript along with the video here. “When I first arrived at the Nihon Kiin, I had to learn to kneel while I played,” Xie Yimin says in the interview. “I would kneel until my legs and feet went numb. However, my Go Sensei (teacher) said that, before the goban, one must learn to display a modest demeanour before one can become strong at Go.”

GoGoD Publishes Chinese Classic in E-Book Form: GoGoD has issued another e-book on Amazon: Gateway To All Marvels. Gateway is special edition of the 1347 Chinese classic Xuanxuan Qijing (Gengen Gokyo in Japanese), which John Fairbairn says “is surely the most significant go book ever produced. It has become the foundation for virtually every problem book since, as well as being the main source for early go theory.” The new e-book version “brings together every problem and every variant from perhaps every subsequent edition, and discusses how the almost 500 problems and their solutions have evolved and varied, and also how even modern professionals often disagree on the correct solutions or, dare we say it, trip up,” Fairbairn adds. Previous GoGoD e-books include Inoue Genan Inseki and The Life of Honinbo Shuei, also available on Amazon.

Go Mention in Stevie McCabe Mystery: “Go is mentioned in the fifth novel in the Stevie McCabe mystery series, No Shadow in the City by John Callaghan, a Scottish author,” reports Su Co Chon Duc (Marjorie E. Hey). “In Chapter 4, there are several pages introducing go to the private investigator, Stevie McCabe. It is mentioned again in passing in Chapters 6 and 29. There’s some mayhem, but there are no ripping viscera, no splintering skulls. Yes, there are sexual encounters, because the characters have real lives, but no lingering erotica. It is marked for For Adults because of language.” While the first four books are available in paperback and Kindle format, Su Co Chon Duc notes that this book is currently only available on Kindle.

Nice Go: Bob Barber reports that go pops up in “Mr. Nice,” a 2010 film about a Welsh drug dealer. “There’s a minute of go at minute 19,” says Barber.

SmartGo Kifu Half-Price Through Sept. 15

Sunday September 2, 2012

SmartGo Kifu is on sale for half-price until September 15. Building on the acclaimed SmartGo Pro for the iPhone, SmartGo Kifu offers a go board with tools to study go: professional game records, go problems, and annotated games enabling users to replay master games, solve problems, play against the computer, and record their own games. The first-ever sale for SmartGo Kifu, it may also be the last, says SmartGo author Anders Kierulf. “The main reason for the sale is to give SmartGo Pro users a fair way to upgrade to SmartGo Kifu. SmartGo Pro, now discontinued, was iPhone-only, and has since been superseded by SmartGo Kifu, which works on both iPad and iPhone. Unfortunately, Apple doesn’t provide a solution to upgrade users from one app to another.” At the sale price of $9.99 — instead of $19.99 – “This is your chance to upgrade to SmartGo Kifu, or simply get SmartGo Kifu at half off,” says Kierulf. “The next release of SmartGo Kifu will include joseki matching. Get ready by upgrading to SmartGo Kifu now.” For more information, see Kierulf’s blog post.

 

Jasiek Releases “First Fundamentals”

Saturday September 1, 2012

Designed to “help beginners to rise above their current level and become intermediate players as quickly as possible,” First Fundamentals has just been released by author Robert Jasiek. The 212-page book (also available as a PDF) is also intended to help intermediate players “abandon their remaining mistakes,” says Jasiek, who notes that “A lack of awareness and understanding of mistakes is the by far greatest obstacle for improving.” First Fundamentals includes clear and simple principles about the fundamentals of strategy and tactics and illustrates the principles with examples from beginners’ games. “Apply these principles and improve several ranks!” says Jasiek. Click here for sample pages.

 

Kaya Go Server Releasing Beta Version

Sunday August 19, 2012

After 7 months of intensive development, the Kaya Go Server  (Kaya Go Server Aims at Online Audience  9/19/2011) programmers are releasing the beta version. “Kaya has been growing a lot technically in the past six months,” reports lead developer Gabriel Benmergui. “We have made weekly releases improving and adding features, including automatic professional relay games, variation sharing and voiced countdowns, Fischer time system and many more since we came out on Christmas 2011.” The server can now broadcast simultaneous game video and commentary and the system’s been field-tested at several tournaments, with Guo Juan 5P using it for a lecture at this year’s Canadian Open, which was broadcast on Kaya, courtesy of the Quebec Go Association. In addition, “OpenKaya, the open-source side of the project, has had collaboration by many people and contains hundreds of hours of work,” Benmergui adds. Over $13,000 in donations thus far have enabled the team to develop the project full time. “Kaya works in all devices,” Benmergui notes. “Although it’s not optimized yet for Android and iPad, it is usable in those devices, without the need to download anything.”

 

Android Go Programs

Wednesday July 25, 2012

It has been a while since the E-J reviewed go programs available on the Android platform, and given that not all of us have iPhones, I thought it was time to do an update.  I should note first that I love Apple, and have three Apple computers in my home.  However, I hate the iPhone and iPod touch for go.  Why? One simple reason:  the screens are so tiny it makes me go cross-eyed; as for the iPad, it is too big to fit in my pocket.  I have had several Android devices, and my current one is a Samsung Galaxy player with a 5″ screen.  It is small enough to carry easily, but big enough to see what I am doing.  Another advantage Android offers is that it is open-source, which means people can develop and change apps very quickly.  On the whole, I have found Android developers incredibly responsive, and three programmers actually changed their application based on user comments, in some cases overnight! I also have no need for a cell phone contract, or expensive data plans, what I wanted was a wireless only device, and I got mine specifically to record go games.  There are a ton of apps out there, so I thought letting our readers know which ones I found most helpful would be useful. A tip for searching, don’t bother with “go”, search for “baduk” or “weiqi” on the Google Play Store. I will review three game recording apps this week, and then review apps for Go Problems next week. I am not reviewing KGS for Android as it requires a data connection, so I can’t use it to record games if I don’t have internet access.  People who play on KGS, and want to do so on their phone, or watch games, will love the app though – it is beautiful and functions very well. Continue reading…)

Summer 2012 GoGoD Release Includes 2,000 Cho Chikun Games

Friday July 20, 2012

The Summer 2012 GoGoD (Games of Go on Disk) update is now available and on its way to subscribers, with a total of 72,644 games in the Database, reports T Mark Hall. “This is a landmark issue,” says Hall. “We now have exactly 2,000 games featuring Cho Chikun. He beat Cho Hun-hyeon as the first to that mark by a whisker. And since we are in Golden Oldies mood, let us recall and salute Jan van Rongen, who collaborated with us on Chikun’s collection in its early days.” Other new material includes “a new Kitani game we found on the day we went to press, but apart from that there has been a long catalogue of new finds of old masters’ games. The most significant perhaps are the three new games by Shusaku which we wrote about in New In Go. Of course the Krypton Kiddies who only wish to drive their 4×4 josekis are not forgotten. You will find well over 1,200 new games for 2012 alone.” Fun stuff includes some new 13×13 blindfolded-pro games, as well as pro games at 9×9, 13×13, 15×15, 17×17 and 21×21. Hall says that GoGod is changing the way the database is sold. “Basically, we are dropping the subscription system at the end of this year, although purchasers who have already subscribed will get their copies as normal,” Hall says. “From now on, all sales will be at the plain vanilla price of $30. This gives us the freedom to update at different times in the year, when we reach notable targets, for instance.”

SmartGo Books Adds Three by Yilun Yang

Friday July 20, 2012

Just in time for players to get in shape for the upcoming U.S. Go Congress, SmartGo Books has added three more booksfor a total of 38 designed to be read on the iPad. The latest batch is a trifecta by Yilun Yang 7 dan, “all based on his inspiring workshop lectures,” says SmartGo’s Anders Kierulf. “How to Destroy and Preserve” ($3.99) and “Sabaki – How to Manage Weak Stones” ($3.99) are out-of-print small books originally compiled and edited by John C. Stephenson. “The Workshop Lectures, volume 1” ($5.99) by Slate & Shell contains three chapters: When to Tenuki in the Opening, Choosing the Direction of Attack, and Playing Complicated Joseki. SmartGo Books is a free app for iPad and iPhone, with 38 Go books (including “Invincible”) available as in-app purchases. Kierulf tells the EJ that he hopes “to add at least two more highly requested books before the Go Congress.”