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

Dango: A Go-based Card Game

Saturday July 16, 2011

A new game called Dango combines the rules of go with the mechanics of a card game.  Players use two kinds of cards, representing either go shapes or “actions”.  The go shapes are used to play stones on a goban, while the actions allow (or require) players to do various things, like remove opponent’s stones, lose their turn, or block a move that an opponent wants to make.  Cards can be downloaded and printed out or sets can be purchased from Alexander Dinerchtein.

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Kiseido Releases Updated 21st Century Joseki Dictionary

Saturday July 16, 2011

21st Century Dictionary of Basic Joseki Vol. 1Calling it “an indispensable study tool and reference work,” Kiseido has just released the 21st Century Dictionary of Basic Joseki, Volume 1 in English.

The Dictionary is a thorough updating and complete rewriting of the Yoshio Ishida Dictionary of Basic Joseki published in the mid-70s,” according to Kiseido. “Like the Ishida work, it thoroughly analyses the various components of josekis, such as tesujis and good style and good shape, and focuses in depth on such themes as securing momentum and building influence.”

This first volume of the dictionary covers not only long-established josekis familiar to players of all levels but also the many new variations of old josekis, such as the Magic Sword and the Large Avalanche, that have been developed in recent decades, including the first decade of the 21st century. “Each joseki is backed up by numerous diagrams exploring alternative moves and mistakes, to ensure that the reader understands the joseki fully,” Kiseido says.

The author, Shinji Takao, is a top Japanese professional who has held both the Honinbo and Meijin titles. His book retains the variations from its predecessor that are relevant to contemporary play but also gives countless new variations, reflecting the widespread innovations generated by professional go in the Far East in the last three decades.

Kiseido is currently working on a translation of the Dictionary’s second volume, scheduled for a 2012 release. Check out the Kiseido Newsletter for more information on this and other newly-released books.
- Daniel Nichols

Shotwell Updates Go! More Than a Game

Monday July 4, 2011

Go writer Peter Shotwell reports that he recently updated Go! More Than a Game with a brand-new chapter covering recent developments in the go world. New material in Go! — first published in 2003 by Tuttle — includes Computer Go Turns into Supercomputer Go, Surreal Numbers and Combinatorial Game Theory, Go Combinatorics: The Maximum Number of Possible Go Positions, Games and their Length, Asian Professional Go, Two Giant Tibetan Go Boards and A Re-dating and Re-interpretation of the Pre-Han Confucian Go Passages. Because of space limitations, the section on beginner’s use of The 36 Strategies has been dropped from the latest edition, “however they will soon appear in the AGA e-library” Shotwell says, adding that he’s now at work on a review for the EJ of the use of go in Henry Kissinger’s new book On China and Scott Boorman’s The Protracted Game.

Instant Go Set Now Available

Saturday July 2, 2011

For anyone wanting to play go, but without a goban handy, the Instant Go Set could fill in that gap. David Ormerod has announced the free PDF of a go board and stones that can be printed and then cut out for a quick game.   Ormerod says: “When people learn go, it’s important for them to start playing quickly, so they remember what they’ve learned. Of course, you can play go online or against your computer, but not everyone wants to do that. Some people just want to play go with their friends and family. We created the Instant Go Set to give away with our free go course with this in mind. Now we want to make it available to everyone. Anyone who wants to learn go, teach go or just wants a free go set is welcome to download it.”

MyGoFriend Program Ties Top Pro

Sunday June 26, 2011

The MyGoFriend program scored a 2-2 result against Kim Young Sam 8P in a June 16 9×9 exhibition match played during the recent Kido Cup in Hamburg, Germany and broadcast live on KGS. MyGoFriend – a Gold Medal winner at the 15th Computer Olympiad that employs state of the art Monte Carlo algorithms  — won the first two games and Kim Young Sam 8P the last two. While MyGoFriend officially lost the final game on time, due to connection issues, the position was evaluated as unclear or better for MyGoFriend. Click here for the complete report, videos, photos and game records.

BruGo Releases iPad Joseki App

Saturday June 18, 2011

The author of the BruGo online joseki dictionary has just released an iPad Joseki application, BruGo Joseki.  “The Brugo Joseki iPad version is fast and reliable and contains more sequences than you could ever dream of,” says author Bram Vandenbon.
NOTE: we’re always interested in your thoughts on how go tools work — or don’t; email us at journal@usgo.org

New in Print: Jasiek’s “Joseki Volume 2: Strategy”

Sunday June 12, 2011

German 5-dan Robert Jasiek has released the second volume of his series on joseki, which focuses on joseki strategy. Jasiek describes the goals for the book in his review: “The book serves the two purposes of teaching joseki strategy in particular and strategy in general. While the majority of examples shows josekis or other corner situations and only some examples illustrate the middle game, almost all principles, concepts and methods are equally applicable during opening and middle game.” The first volume of the three-volume series (with Volume 3 still to be completed) came out in 2009 and looks at the fundamentals of joseki.  Both volumes are 250+ pages with an average of four diagrams per page. Jasiek is well-known in international go circles for his work on go theory and his research into go rules.

SmartGo Books Releases Two New Books for iPad/iPhone

Monday June 6, 2011

SmartGo Books has just released two new iPad/iPhone books, including one by Michael Redmond 9P specifically designed to take advantage of the power of the iPad.  In Patterns of the Sanrensei, Redmond reviews six basic plans for the sanrensei opening, and illustrates the strategy and tactics of these patterns in twenty of his own games.  Written for SmartGo Books and only available for the iPad and iPhone, Patterns of the Sanrensei enables readers for the first time to easily replay the moves in the book’s diagrams, peeling the moves back to see how a given diagram developed, as well as the ability to adjust fonts and layout.  “Whether you play the Sanrensei or need to defend against it, this is the book to read before your next tournament,” says SmartGo Books publisher Anders Kierulf. Click here to check out a PDF sample. Also just released is Yuan Zhou 7d’s How Not to Play Go, published by Slate & Shell. The slim 63-page book “will have a revolutionary impact on any kyu player who reads it,” and “clarifies common kyu level misunderstandings that hold kyu players back from reaching dan level.”  SmartGo Books currently offers ten go books for the iPad and iPhone, with more in the works; they’re all available on the App Store.

Readers Write: Kindle Go Update

Saturday May 14, 2011

“Any plans for a game of go version for Kindle?” wondered Dave Gagne here back in March (Kindle Go? 3/28 EJ). We’ve subsequently had two Kindle go sightings: Cristian sent us a link to Adrian Petrescu’s blog; Petrescu’s most recent post on May 5 says that “KindleGoban (r) and KindleChess will both be released this summer.” And  Mike Yankee reports that “all three volumes of Cho’s Encyclopedia Of Life And Death (as well as other tsumego collections) are downloadable as .pdf files here; these can be viewed directly on the Kindle although the diagrams are small.”
Keep us posted on these and other go news developments at journal@usgo.org

Go Game Guru Interviews SmartGo Author Anders Kierulf

Monday May 9, 2011

Anders Kierulf is fairly well-known in the go community as the author of SmartGo, but he also invented the widely-used sgf format, was the U.S. Othello champion in 1992 and is also an avid joggler. Go Game Guru recently published an extensive interview with Kierulf, who last month  launched SmartGo Books for iPad and iPhone.