Go junkies rejoice: Baduk TV is now available on your smart phone. That’s right, you can now watch the same program Korean baduk (the Korean word for go) players watch 24 hours a day. The free Baduk TV app is available in Apple’s App Store and Google Play. Though currently only available in Korean, Myungwan Kim 9P says there may be an English translation version of the program available as early as the end of this year. “Many Korean go players first met go through Baduk TV,” says Kim, “The biggest reason prize money in Korean tournament has been rising for the last 10 years or so is because Baduk TV created so many fans and attracted commercial sponsors. I think it could make a huge difference to the go community here, as well.” For now, the service is free, though Kim says that may change later this year, and the rates will depend on how many users there are.
American Go E-Journal » Tools: books, software & hardware
Monday June 25, 2012
Sunday May 27, 2012
In The Square of The Thousand Winds, a Chinese girl plays go. Serious go, toppling opponent after opponent. The time is the early 1930‘s and the Japanese are invading. Hearing that “terrorists” from the Chinese Resistance meet at the Square to plot their next moves, a Japanese soldier visits the square in disguise, to spy on them. Instead he falls into a game with the girl who plays go. They meet at the square day after day to continue this strangely compelling game. Meanwhile, we watch their lives converge toward a startling climax.
The award-winning author (at left) seems to know her Asian history and literature, and even fills us in with footnotes when the characters participate in major historical events, or discuss history. Attention to detail is so “granular” that the Chinese girl depicted on the cover is even holding authentic Chinese stones! (Chinese stones are flat on one side.) The writing is sprinkled with thoughtful little gems, but seems mostly halting and disjointed, and the occasional intrusion in the translation of Britishisms like “chivvying” is a bit jarring. Most of the chapters are only a few paragraphs long — just when we‘re beginning to immerse ourselves in a scene, it‘s over. Nonetheless, as often happens with good books, I am left with vivid memories and images, and thoughtful questions about the meaning of war. You have to admire the author‘s ambition. Through these gradually intertwining lives, one Chinese, one Japanese, she seeks to illuminate a dark era of occupation, torture and violent death, and to some degree she succeeds.
As a go player, I was happy to see the game presented as in a compelling, dramatic way. The Japanese lieutenant goes to the Square on a mission for his country and the Emperor, but finds himself hopelessly seduced by go. He confesses to his Captain, who shows his understanding by quoting the Chinese philosopher Zhuang Zi: “When you lose a horse, you never know whether it is a good thing or a bad thing.” In the end, the game becomes the means by which two minds meet in a profound, life-altering way.
This novel takes its place in a growing lexicon of “go stories”. The ongoing, periodically adjourned game that progresses through most of the book invites comparison with Kawabata‘s The Master of Go, which won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1968. After the degrading portrayal of women in Sung-hwa Hong‘s tough, dark First Kyu, it‘s nice to see a woman who is not just the central character, but clearly the master of a her fate — and a strong go player to boot!
Most of all, The Girl Who Played Go brings to mind the classic film The Go Masters, a historic Chinese-Japanese film that has been called “an Asian ‘Gone With the Wind.’ ”
- review by Roy Laird
Spring Crop of Go Books: 300 Tesuji Problems, Modern Master Games, Punishing and Correcting Joseki Mistakes, Five Hundred and One Tesuji Problems, Joseki Dictionary Vol. 3 & Life of Honinbo Shuei
Wednesday May 23, 2012
Spring has brought an early crop of go books, some brand new and others re-issued in new formats. Here are six that have just been released, two each on joseki and tesuji, a historical look at tournament go in Japan and a bio of “Meijin of Meijins” Honinbo Shuei.
Don’t let the “4-dan to 7-dan” subtitle of Kiseido’ s 300 Tesuji Problems scare you off. Though the problems in this book, Volume 5 of the Graded Go Problems for Dan Players series, are quite challenging, “even if you are unable to solve them, contemplating the problems, then studying the solutions will broaden your tactical horizons by revealing new possibilities in fighting techniques,” says go publisher Richard Bozulich. Also new from Kiseido is Modern Master Games, Volume One, The Dawn of Tournament Go by Rob van Zeijst and Richard Bozulich with historical notes by John Power. A survey of Japanese go from the founding of the Honinbo tournament in the 1940s to the Meijin and Judan tournaments in the 1960s, Modern Master Games contains eleven exciting games with detailed commentaries that chronicle the Japanese go scene during the Second World War, including the “Atomic Bomb Game” between Iwamoto and Hashimoto, and the rise of Sakata and Takagawa’s dominance of the Honinbo title in the post-war era. Kiseido notes that many of their books “are now available on the iPad and iPhone through Smart Go.” Available books can be purchased by downloading the free SmartGo Books app from the App Store, then use in-app purchase. New titles are being added regularly.
SmartGo Books has been updated with two new books, and the added feature of being able to play arbitrary moves in diagrams, which is especially valuable for problem books. The new books are Punishing and Correcting Joseki Mistakes by Mingjiu Jiang 7 dan and Adam Miller, a popular Slate & Shell book that has been out of print, and Five Hundred and One Tesuji Problems by Richard Bozulich, featuring a large variety of tesuji problems. SmartGo Books for the iPad and iPhone has always allowed users to replay moves in diagrams. “In version 1.5, you can also play your own moves directly in the diagram,” says author Anders Kierulf. “This is especially helpful for problem diagrams, where SmartGo Books will provide feedback on whether your move is right or wrong.” For problem books like 501 Opening Problems or the newly added Five Hundred and One Tesuji Problems, Kierulf says, “this is a game changer.”
Volume 3 of Robert Jasiek’s Joseki Dictionary completes the German 5-dan author’s joseki series. Jasiek’s intent is to make learning joseki easier with a method of evaluation that enables players to “distinguish equal from one-sided results correctly” and emphasizes understanding strategy and judgment. His dictionary explains the strategic choices in each joseki, evaluating the territory and influence of each sequence, identifying types of josekis, from “finished thick settling” to “lean and attack.” Using databases of professional games, Volume 3 includes modern josekis and 130 mostly professional game examples. Click here for a sample and Jasiek’s overview.
GoGoD is releasing a new e-book for the Kindle, The Life of Honinbo Shuei, Volume 1 of a trilogy, The Life, Games and Commentaries of Honinbo Shuei, by John Fairbairn. A famous go player in Japan at the end of the 19th century, Shuei was known as the “Meijin of Meijins” and is still revered by many modern professionals. Overcoming a life full of hardship and controversy, Shuei rose to dominate the go world in his forties, a classic example of “great talents mature late.” This first volume covers Shuei’s biography, with forthcoming volumes to provide detailed commentaries on about eighty of his games and commentaries by Shuei himself on games by other players. Volume 1 covers Shuei’s own life in detail, and sets it firmly in the context of the go scene and the social and political scene at the time, especially the long-running spat between the Honinbos and the Hoensha. Included are juicy tidbits like the tragic end of Honinbo Shuwa, Shuetsu’s breakdown, the fate of the Driftwood Board, the sordid truth about Shusaku’s Castle Games and why Shuei disappeared from the go scene for years at a time.
Thursday May 10, 2012
Dutch go players Peter Brouwer 6d (‘danoontje’ on KGS) and Kim Ouweleen 4d (‘Murugandi’) have launched a weekly webcast on their BadukMovies website. The short videos — 10 min. max — clearly explain and cover a wide variety of go topics, ranging from “A trick play without drawbacks” to “A Chinese tesuji against moyo” as well as detailed explanations about securing or destroying bases. Every Monday a new screencast is uploaded, with eight posted since the launch on March 20. The free videos are in English and Brouwer and Ouweleen say “Comments, feedback or new ideas for videos are more than welcome. Let us know what you think!” You can also find them on Facebook and Twitter.
Monday May 7, 2012
Go features prominently in a couple of new films, one a drama, the other a documentary. In Tokyo Newcomer, Chinese go genius Yoshiryu (Qin Hao) comes to Japan to hone his skills in the game, but finds he’s too busy earning a living to study go at all. One day, he meets an old woman hawking vegetables, who turns out to be a descendant of a prestigious go family. The latest film by Jiang Qinmin – who also directed The Last Sunflower and Sky Lovers – Tokyo Newcomer is “a touching drama about true communication, transcending national borders and generation gaps, through go.” In Weiqi Wonders: Conversations About the Game of Go in China, anthropologist Marc L. Moskowitz (at right, below) interviews people in China in settings ranging from children’s schools to China’s elite Beijing University to a park where retired working class men gather to play, from child educators to those reminiscing about their own youth during the Cultural Revolution. What emerges is a fascinating cultural study as people discuss children’s education, retirement, China forty years ago and today. “As Chinese politics have changed over the last two millennia, so too has the imagery of the game,” Moskowitz notes, “from a tool to seek religious enlightenment to military metaphors, one of the noble four arts, one of the condemned “four olds”, nationalism, transnationalism, historical elitism, and futuristic hyper rationality.” The film is “witness to people’s lives, ranging from university students to working class senior citizens, professional players, people who gave up professional careers to become students, and a range of others who all share a love for this extraordinary game.” Please let us know if you hear about screenings of either of these films, so we can let EJ readers know.
Thursday May 3, 2012
“Invincible: The Games of Shusaku,” John Power’s classic and widely-acclaimed masterpiece on one of the greatest go players who ever lived is now available in SmartGo Books. Originally published by Kiseido, the SmartGo Books edition of Invincible “includes the complete text, games, and diagrams of the print edition, painstakingly converted to digital format,” SmartGo’s Anders Kierulf tells the E-Journal. “And it takes full advantage of the digital medium – be prepared to experience this classic in a whole new way.” Features of the new edition include the ability to replay moves in figures and diagrams, play out your own variations, fewer moves per figure, with the appropriate text for each figure, and inline diagrams for move sequences embedded in the text. Best of all, the new edition’s portable accessibility on iPad or iPhone means Invincible — at an introductory price of $19.99 – can now always be with you. SmartGo Books is a free app for the iPad and iPhone available on the App Store. Check out free chapters of over 30 go books and purchase those you like using in-app purchase.
Sunday April 1, 2012
The latest release of GoClubsOnline offers an integrated tournament pairings module for all participating clubs, reports Robert Cordingley. “Now club volunteers and organizers can manage their tournaments from start to finish,” says Cordingley, “from online registration, through check-in and pairings to completing post tournament activities, like book-keeping and emailing results to the AGA or generating the ‘EGD Wallist’ for EGF rated tournaments.” Included in this latest release is a QuickStart mode that presents some of the most frequently needed tasks for tournament management, pairings, event management and club membership management. And for non-English speaking organizers, the developers have integrated Google Translate, which Cordingley calls “a not-perfect but potentially very useful machine language approach to making the site accessible in over 50 languages.”
Monday March 19, 2012
Guo Juan’s Internet Go School is currently accepting enrollment for group classes for the 2012 second term, which begins April 28/29. “The group class participants will also receive a 20% discount on our Audio Lectures membership,” says Guo Juan. The school’s teaching faculty includes Guo Juan 5P, Jennie Shen 2P and Young Sun 8P and Mingjiu Jiang 7P.
Saturday March 10, 2012
SmartGo Books has released Yilun Yang’s “Fundamental Principles of Go” (published by Slate & Shell), bringing the total number of e-books to 28. “Be prepared,” warns veteran player Joel Sanet, “Your approach to the game of go is about to be transformed.” Adds SmartGo’s Anders Kierulf, “The basic principles illustrated in the book cover virtually every situation and enable a player to find the best play with a minimum of reading.” SmartGo Kifu has been updated to be a universal app, working on both iPad and iPhone, and is up to 35,000 pro games, including 1,700 played in 2011. “New features make it easy to find a particular move in a game, and to correct a wrongly entered move,” says Kierulf. Click here for details on the latest SmartGo updates.
Thursday March 1, 2012
Jonathan Chetwynd’s Peepo.com is a fascinating tool designed to visualize the complex relationships of real world objects. Using go as the delivery vehicle, Peepo uses each element to represent data relationships; e.g. shadows are stones in Atari, etc. Now ready for user testing on 9×9 and full-size boards, Peepo provides maps, hints, comments and score as you play against the pachi engine. “It works best with Firefox browser (version 9 or later) and has many features under development,” Chetwynd says.