Dutch go player Theo van Ees 1d, one of the authors of Bibliogo, is developing a catalog of go books and articles. The project started in 1975, and is now a listing of about 3,200 go titles in the main European languages plus Russian. The European Go Cultural Centre, meanwhile, started a library of go books in 2003 and today this collection is managed by librarian Henk Mourik 1k. Database specialist Otto Versteeg 8k has put both collections together in a searchable database listing all of the titles in van Ees’ catalog, with an indication of which items are available at the European Go Cultural Centre library in Amstelveen, Amsterdam. You can search the go catalog, and the plan is to update it frequently. You may report comments and wishes to van Ees at firstname.lastname@example.org. He is especially interested to hear about omissions and newly published material.
American Go E-Journal » Tools: books, software & hardware
Thursday May 23, 2013
Tuesday May 21, 2013
There is a new IGS client available, GoPanda 2, which is being distributed as a standalone application. Version 2.1.0 was released May 15th. “Aside from a ton of bugfixes and new features, we also moved away from java as the supporting technology” report the developers. “The new client handles like a native app, and doesn’t rely on any specific browser being installed anymore. It’s still missing some features, but we will be adding new things constantly.”
Sunday May 12, 2013
In Russia, they take their mind sports seriously. Case in point: the Russian Sports Federation’s (RSF) chess program has produced many of the world’s finest players. Similarly, the RSF’s go program has produced top Western professionals through their partnership with the Hankuk Kiwon, producing players such as Alexander Dinerchtein 3P (“breakfast” on KGS) and Svetlana Shikshina 3P, and continues to produce promising up-and-comers such as Ilya Shikshin 7D.
If asked to name their mentors, all would certainly mention Valery Shikshin, an Honored Trainer of the Russian Federation (and as you may gather, father of both Svetlana and Illya). Shikshin has been teaching and coaching Russian go for 25 years, and has developed a set of axioms and principles that he sets forth in this four-volume “Theory and Practice Series,” now available exclusively in the US through GoGameGuru. Volume 1, The Theory and Practice of Tsumego, includes more than 300 original life-and-death problems, many from Russian master games. Starting with the basic shapes, Shikshin takes the reader all the way through corner positions, side formations, and on into the intricacies of seki and ko. I found the chapter on seki to be uniquely systematic in its understanding of how these strangely symbiotic shapes arise.
While Volume 1 of “Theory and Practice” is a new approach to an area that has been widely studied, Volume 2 — “The Theory and Practice of Semeai“ — is surely unique in English. Here Shikshin takes the same systematic approach to capturing races, illustrating a few dozen basic principles with numerous problems and game examples. As in Volume 1, the principles are illustrated by hundreds of problems and examples, many from actual games. Two other volumes will complete the series in the next few months – The Theory and Practice of Shapes, and The Theory and Practice of Analysis. These materials helped to produce some great Western go masters – they are surely a worthy entry into the Western go canon.
- Roy Laird
Wednesday May 8, 2013
Now that Go World magazine has ceased publication (EJ 11/16/12) , back issues of this matchless archive of top analysis and instruction have become more valuable than ever. The American Go Foundation’s Store offers a selection, and the first 108 issues are also available as PDFs from Kiseido Digital. The AGF was delighted to recently receive a generous donation of hundreds of oldies but goodies from the publisher, including twenty issues that have never been available from the AGF before. Click here to browse the contents of all but the last seven issues. If you’re unfamiliar with this great resource, download a free sample issue of Go World and check it out. A total of more than 50 back issues are now available to AGA members, and AGF programs. Click here to order from the AGF, who will ship anywhere in the US. If you enjoy the “real feel” of actual paper-and-ink, act now — when they’re gone, they’re gone! Still missing an elusive issue? Kiseido is offering all back issues from #72 – #124 on at $8/each including airmail from Japan. Issue #125-129 are $10/each. Some earlier issues are also available. Click here to find more info about Kiseido’s offer (at the bottom of the page). -Roy Laird
Thursday May 2, 2013
SmartGo Books has been quietly adding more books over the last months, publisher Anders Kierulf reports. John Fairbairn’s “The Life, Games and Commentaries of Honinbo Shuei” is one of three more books added recently, bringing the total to 61.
“Honinbo Shuei” contains a full biography, detailed commentaries on 79 of his games, and 11 commentaries written by Shuei. “It combines six books that were available for the Kindle (combined price $54) into one $20 masterpiece while vastly improving readability and interactivity,” says Kierulf. “One reason Shuei is so famous is because of his pure but elusive style; he is still esteemed as the best model for even modern professionals to follow.”
“Schwarz am Zug: Das Go-Übungsbuch” by Gunnar Dickfeld is SmartGo Books’ first book in German, containing 131 go problems for beginners. “As with our other multi-lingual books (“Patterns of the Sanrensei” in Japanese and “How NOT to Play Go” in Spanish),” notes Kierulf, “English is always an option.” Click here for more information on books by Brett und Stein Verlag.
“The Workshop Lectures, vol. 5” by Yilun Yang 7P looks at choosing areas in the opening, handling unusual opening moves, and protecting positions. “As always, Mr. Yang emphasizes the importance of understanding general principles rather than memorizing particular patterns,” says Kierulf.
SmartGo Books is a free app for iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch, with books available through in-app purchase.
Wednesday May 1, 2013
Reviewed by Roy Laird
GoEye, the latest go-related app for iOS 5.0+ iPhones, helps you organize, build and enjoy your sgf collection, but offers no content of its own. I’m pretty happy with the sgf readers I’ve written about before, but GoEye does have a couple of unique functions. For commented games, the PDF creator turns the SGF into a PDF file with numbered stones on a series of diagrams, and the accompanying comments at the bottom at the bottom of each page. So for instance, if the first comment appears at move 5, the PDF will show a game record with moves 1-5 and the comment; if the second comment is at move 17, the next record will show move 6-17; etc. Explanatory diagrams also appear, and the pages curl nicely as you “turn” them. There’s an “Alert” function that tells you when you get to the next comment. The game info pops up, pushing the board down, a move that is sure to get your attention; you can swipe it back into place, but I would prefer an alert that doesn’t disturb the status quo.
I was unable to load large files, such as Kogo’s Joseki Dictionary. I told the developer, who then released an update he claims fixed this bug, but I still can’t get such a large file to load. A link with Go4go.net gives you access to recent pro game records, or for €9.99 purchase the entire 33,000 game archive; but at present you can’t search Go4Go while within GoEye. They also plan to integrate seamlessly with others sites such as GoBase, but for now it’s easy enough to collect the files you want directly, then use the reader of your choice to view them.
GoEye also contains an “image recognition” feature meant to read images of go games and transform them into sgfs. I found it somewhat tricky and picky. You can use it for instance when players post positions on GoDiscussions.com and ask for comments, but it doesn’t work well with photos. GoEye is integrated with Facebook and Sina Weibo, a popular Chinese microblogging site.
GoEye provides users with first-rate graphics and a couple of nice features, but falls short of its self-proclaimed status as “the best iOS app for go.” If you spend a lot of time looking at SGF files, and you’re not happy with any of the readers that are out there, maybe it’s worth $11.99 to give GoEye a try; unfortunately there is no free trial offer. But if you’re shopping for software that helps you study, consider other apps that offer original content and additional features.
Wednesday April 10, 2013
Two dozen go players from around the world gathered in a beautiful old Japanese style dojo for a brand-new tournament on April 1. Lush bamboo rustled in the breeze while the sea whispered nearby. But the only real thing was the go. The tournament is taking place in “Second Life,” the popular 3D simulator world with millions of users all over the world. The online virtual world enables many different kinds of activities, including playing go. Second Life’s Kido Go Club is a beautiful old Japanese style location where your 3D avatar can play and review your games online using voice chat. The games are saved on the server in SGF format and can be downloaded. The Meijin League — which runs through the end of the month – tournament is the largest in Second Life history. It has two subdivisions with 12 registered participants each, the first 7d-9k, the second 10k-30k. Players are from the United States, Russia, Japan and many European countries. Each subdivision is a round-robin where players arrange the time of their games and both leagues will reward the first right places with Linden Dollar prizes, the in-game currency. Five matches took place on April 1, when the League launched; The very first day was marked by five Go matches. The games will last at least till the end of April and new participants can still join the tournament. Click here for more on playing go in Second Life.
- Daria Koshkina
Sunday March 31, 2013
Leading go publishers are releasing a number of exciting new books that already seem destined to be classics in the field. Go Seigen’s 1-1 Point Modern Opening Strategy has just been published by Slate & Shell, based on a manuscript that had been thought lost for years. “Go’s deep but straightforward analysis of the power of the 1-1 point opening may well revolutionize opening theory,” says S&S. Adding to their legendary “Get Strong” series, Kiseido is offering Get Strong at Gote, which “explores the subtle strength of refusing to take sente.” In a related volume, Kiseido is re-releasing The Art of Aji Keshi, long out of print but back by popular demand “for players who want to master the ability of eliminating absolutely all play in a given situation.” From Yutopian comes a pair of books for players looking to make the jump to the next level. Making Bad Shape and All About Heaviness are “encyclopedic references no serious go player will want to be without,” promises Yutopian. Finally, SmartGo Books is releasing four brand-new books by the prolific 9-dan professional Michael Redmond — How To Die In Gote, The Joy Of Being Thick, The Wrong Direction and 21 Kyu in 21 Days – in 14 different apps and online platforms. A 50% discount is being offered on all the books above in a special 1-day offer that expires at midnight on April 1.
- David Stevenson
Thursday March 28, 2013
“A good program for playing go on Mac is Goban,” (Your Move/Readers Write: Mac Go? 3/25/2013) suggests Porter Howland. “It also works very well as a stand-alone .sgf reader, and I believe it can be used to play online. Goban and its underlying game engine are both open source and distributed freely under the GNU General Public License. Currently, the GNU Go engine is not the strongest; newer engines implement recently discovered algorithms that are more efficient. For example, the Many Faces of Go game engine by David Fotland.”
“For a real beginner, you can’t do much better than Anders Kierulf’s Go Kifu, for iPad (about $10),” writes David Erbach. “For desktop machines, Goban has the gnugo engine behind it, with a very nice interface. It’s plenty strong for a program, but doesn’t have Kifu’s tutorial mode, so it’s not quite as nice as a teaching tool.”
In addition to GNU Go, Ke Lu suggests PANDA-glGo; they’re both available on the IGS Pandanet site. Peter St. John flagged Wikipedia’s listof computer go playing programs and of course there’s always the AGA website’s go software page.
Monday March 25, 2013
“I’m looking for a good Mac computer go program to play against as I learn,” writes an EJ reader, “any suggestions?” Email suggestions to email@example.com