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

TYGEM Launches iPad App

Monday February 14, 2011

The Korean Go server TYGEM has just launched their English language go app for the iPad. Search for tygem on iTunes. In addition to free services on TYGEM, sources tell the E-Journal that TYGEM plans to offer go servers on an English website by March.


Xbox’s Path of Go The New Hikaru No Go?

Monday January 10, 2011

Judging by the flood of fan mail we received over the holiday break, The Path of Go — the new Xbox LIVE game – is quite the gaming hit, at least in the go community. “I just played The Path of Go with my 8 year old grand daughter and we could not get her to stop,” writes longtime go player and organizer Ernest Brown. “The three year old wanted to try also. This should be a great thing for promoting go.  In fact I believe we will get a bump in people wanting go lessons similar to the Hikaru No Go phenomena.  I think this beginning could attract more attention from the computer gaming community as well.  I hope it gets Bill Gates more engaged with go!”

Thanks to everyone who sent in reviews (Path of Go Available on Xbox 12/23/2010); “It’s a fun game,” wrote Joshua Ward. “It has a story mode that I was able to play through fairly quickly. The story mode is good for beginners as it plays entirely on a 9×9 board and teaches them the basics of the game. There is a multiplayer function to the game as well. You can go onto Xbox Live and play against other people on a 9×9, 13×13, and 19×19 board.” Here’s an edited excerpt of Christian Haught’s review: The game’s plot is interesting. You begin by being summoned to the residence of a wise old go master, who teaches you the basics of go. He then informs you of a twin you didn’t know of, who possesses go prowess like you, but who could never learn how to lose with grace. Leaving to pursue the Path of Go, he left his – and now your – master, who allows you to leave to look for your twin. This is an interesting setup for the game, as it hints to leading to a suspenseful final game between you and your twin, who has an odd habit of leaving games unfinished, which the masters you meet along the way ask you to finish. The control system for the game is relatively simple to understand, graphics were really well done and the three dimensional effects are impressive, adding a sense of depth and realism to the game. The insertion of your xbox live avatar into the game is also carried out quite well, as they make it seem as though your avatar belongs in the game, not just coded in. The settings in which the game takes place are also beautifully put together, and look like places you could find in nature. The computer that you play against is also decently strong, sometimes even forcing players who are more then just beginners into a corner. I wonder how that will work with players who are new to the game, but I imagine that this will force newer players to improve at a more rapid rank. Even if you have never played a game of go in your life, the game starts out with an excellent tutorial that introduces many of the beginning basics. These are, of course, added onto as the game proceeds, but these few beginner tips will allow you to get the basic understanding of the game and begin your journey into becoming a skilled go player. I imagine that most players will be at least 18k in rank, if not higher, by the end of this game.
- click here for the original version of this review


Thursday December 16, 2010

Continuing its 40-plus year practice publishing some of the best go books in English, Kiseido recently brought three new titles to market. The latest installment in the Mastering The Basics series is Attacking and Defending Moyos, in which authors Richard Bozulich and Rob van Ziejst  lay out the fundamental principles of building territorial framework, and attacking the opponent’s framework, then illustrate using examples from professional games, ending with 151 problems.   300 Life and Death Problems may sound familiar, but we’re not referring Volume One of the Graded Go Problems for Dan Players series. The problems in Volume One start at about 5K, and the level of difficulty increases to about 3D.  This is Volume Four of the same series, with problems beginning at 4D and taking the reader all the way through to 7D. Coming soon: two more top-level problem books, 300 Tesuji Problems and 300 Joseki Problems, Volumes Five and Six to complete the seven-volume series. Kiseido founder and publisher Richard Bozulich produced the first advanced instructional books in English in the 1960′s. With this series he has completed a continuous course of study from beginner to 7D, starting with The Elementary Go Series (seven volumes) and Graded Go Problems for Beginners (four volumes) and continuing with Mastering The Basics (seven volumes) and Get Strong At Go (ten volumes.). Altogether, his carefully crafted course of study occupies nearly two feet of shelf space and offers an accessible path to the top for anyone willing to work their way through these thirty plus volumes. And lastly, Kiseido has also published the book that go art lovers have been waiting for — Japanese Prints and the World of Go, a collection of 75 go-themed ukiyo-e.  Extensive commentary provides an understanding of how each piece fit into its time and place.
- Roy Laird

Latest Issue Of GoGoD Released

Monday December 13, 2010

The Winter 2010 issue of the GoGoD Database and Encyclopaedia has just been released and sent to subscribers. “This issue contains over 65,000 games in the database, including previously unknown games of Go Seigen, Kitani Minoru, Hashimoto Utaro and many others,” reports T Mark Hall.

CORRECTIONS: Shotwell Link Updates & E-books on the iPad

Monday December 13, 2010

Our Go Online post on E-Books And Steganography (12/5/2010) has been updated with correct links for Peter Shotwell’s writings and the steganography article as well as to a recently-posted short version of Shotwell’s Appendix V of the Origins article, the one that revamps early go history. Also, in that same post “Amazing Happenings in the Game of Go,” Volumes 1 & 2 are available on the iPad, not the Kindle, as we reported. “In fact,” says author Bob Terry, “I specifically wrote them for the iPad. The Kindle does not display color, and these books are filled with color photographs of Japanese festivals, television programs and other picturesque events that make use of the iPad’s capabilities. I want these books to reach as many people as possible, not just go players, so that they bring more people into the game. I hope that making go attractive in this way will help in that.”


Monday December 6, 2010

SmartGo Kifu 1.3 for the iPad is now available in the App Store, reports author Anders Kierulf. “The main improvements are in Book View, which is designed to present annotated games with diagrams and comments like a book,” Kierulf tells the E-Journal. Click here to see examples. “And unlike a book, you can replay the moves within a diagram,” Kierulf adds. Click here for more information.


Sunday December 5, 2010

It was only a matter of time. The e-book revolution has come to the world of English-language go books. Translator Bob Terry has just published not one, but two books available only on the Kindle, Amazon’s e-book reader.  The Startling Beauty of the Game of Go contains 200 problems from every aspect of the game, the “cream of the crop” from Kido magazine, the resource of choice for Japanese players for decades, while Amazing Happenings in the Game of Go — also drawn from the pages of Kido — “is packed with material that has rarely been seen in the West,” Terry tells the E-Journal. “It’s part almanac, part teaching manual, part travelogue, part cultural treatise and part game collection,” adds Terry, noting that this is just Volume 1 and that “each volume totals more than 1,000 pages” with “more than 30 games, with 15 fully annotated” between the two volumes. Terry — who’s also working on iPad versions of the books — is the translator of the hard-copy Heart of Go series, Shuko’s two-volume The Only Move series, Takemiya’s This Is Go The Natural Way, and other works.

Steganography, our vocabulary word for this installment, refers to a process by which information is encoded in other information. In ancient times, considerable ingenuity was required; Herodotus reported in 440 BC that one ruler concealed a message by shaving a slave’s head, tattooing a message on his scalp, and sending him to deliver them message when his hair grew back. More recent uses include watermarking intellectual property online and hiding information in e-mail attachments, a sort of digital “invisible ink.” If you like this kind of cloak-and-dagger stuff, you may enjoy a 2005 article we recently found and posted at The Bob High Memorial Library, entitled “A General Methodology and Its Applications to the Game of Go.” The authors have developed Stegogo, a program that encodes information in game diagrams. Reading this article, go author and scholar Peter Shotwell was reminded of an old mystery novel he had read, The Chinese Lake Murders, where crucial details were found encoded in a game diagram. Click here for a brief article Shotwell contributed to the Library that provides more detail; you’ll find articles there that explore many other facets of the game as well, including a recently-posted short version of Shotwell’s Appendix V of the Origins article–the one that revamps early go history.


Sunday October 24, 2010

“As we all know, practicing your reading is one of the best ways to get stronger,” writes programmer Tim Kington. “To that end, the popular program GoGrinder has just been released for iPhone and iPod Touch. Now you can have thousands of go problems in your pocket and fit a little practice in whenever you have a few minutes to kill. GoGrinder uses problems in SGF format, and is the only app that lets you add your own problem sets.” The iPhone and iPod Touch versions of GoGrinder are available in the iTunes store.


Sunday October 24, 2010

The Many Faces of Go iPad app, “Igowin HD” is now available in the iTunes app store.  The app plays with an adjustable AI strength ranging from 18 kyu to the full-strength Many Faces of Go engine of “about 1 dan on 9×9 and about 3 kyu on 19×19,” says author David Fotland. Users can set their strength, or have it adjusted automatically by the app, which plays on 9×9, 13×13, or 19×19 boards.  Handicap and opponent strength can be adjusted or chosen automatically. “It includes an sgf editor that supports variations, comments, and marks, so you can analyze your games when they are finished,” Fotland adds. You can try out a variation and continue the game against the AI from a new position.  Games can be saved and restored, or emailed as attachments.  At any time you can ask for a score estimate or a hint.  This is the seventh mobile app from Smart Games, all under the Igowin brand.  Igowin Tutor is a free introduction to the game.  Igowin 9×9, Igowin 13×13, and Igowin Pro let you play go against the AI.  Igowin life is for practicing solving life and death problems, and Igowin Joseki is for learning Joseki.


Saturday October 9, 2010

Tuttle, the mainstream publisher of three books on go by Peter Shotwell, has added another title, but this time, he is only the co-author, while the principal author is none other than Richard Bozulich, the architect of the Kiseido catalog. Winning Go, like his Kisedo publications, is a problem book. But whereas other problem books usually focus on a a single subject — joseki, tesuji, life-and-death — Winning Go gives us a little of everything. Problems from all aspects of the game are organized into one book, designed to help kyu-level players discover their strengths and weaknesses, with suggestions for further study. Personally, I prefer the Kiseido format, where several problems appear on one page, and you turn the page to see the answers. Here the answers appear below the problems–cheaters beware! If you have made it solidly into the SDK range, you should easily solve most of the problems; but it’s a unique resource for advanced beginners. I’ve been playing a friend some nine-stone games, and I’m putting it on his Christmas list. — reported by Roy Laird