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

SmartGo Books Releases 3 New Titles

Wednesday April 22, 2015

SmartGo’s Go Books for iOS and Macintosh has released three new books. The Go Books app for iPad, iPhone, and Macintosh now offers a total2015.04.19_Elephant-slices of 102 interactive books about go, including the three newest ones, two of which are available exclusively on Go Books. Iwamoto Kaoru 9 dan’s “Reductions” is a companion volume to “Invasions,” teaching how to reduce many common formations. It’s also available in print from Slate & Shell. “Just Enough Japanese, Vol. 1” by Richard Hunter provides the most relevant kanji for understanding Japanese go books and is exclusively available in Go Books. In Thomas Redecker’s “Igo Hatsuyōron 120: An Elephant in Slices,” the most difficult go problem is split into 120 simpler problems. Only available in Go Books.


Beta SmartGo for Mac Now Available

Sunday April 19, 2015

2015.04.19_smartgo-mac-icon-256An early beta of SmartGo for the Macintosh is now available. “It’s taken a while,” says author Anders Kierulf, who’s written up the whole history2015.04.19_smartgo-screen-mac-lib1 here. “While this is very much work in progress, I think many go players will already be able to enjoy the GoGoD game collection, joseki and fuseki matching, and SGF editing including the tree view from SmartGo Kifu.” For current users of SmartGo for Windows, this is a free upgrade. For new users, there’s a 15-day free trial, and $39 to buy a license for both Macintosh and Windows version.

Spaces Available in In-seong Hwang’s American Yunguseng Dojang

Monday April 6, 2015

In-seong Hwang 8D’s American Yunguseng Dojang still has spaces available for students for the online go school’s next session, which starts2015.04.05_In-seong Hwang 8D April 20. Last session there were 40 participants in six leagues, ranging from 12 kyu to 4 dan. A well-known top player in Europe, In-seong Hwang 8D will teach at this year’s U.S Congress. “His enthusiasm is infectious,” says one student, “his energy and his dedication show why he is such a strong go player.” Click here for In-seong Hwang ‘s recent post in Life in 19×19.

Spring Sale at Kiseido

Saturday March 28, 2015

Through May 31, Kiseido is having a sale of all English-language go books; order 3 or 4 books and get free shipping; order 5 books or more and2015.03.28_kiseido-goban get 10% off the listed price with free shipping. Kiseido has also obtained two kaya go boards with legs, one with tenchimasa grain and the other with tenmasa grain. Also, Chess and Go: A Comparison, the second in a series of essays by Richard Bozulich, is now available.

Workbooks Popular in Seattle School Go Clubs

Wednesday March 25, 2015

WorkbooksAfter-school go club teachers in Seattle have often used handouts with go problems, but this year they have started giving each student their own workbook with their name on it.  The results were surprising: the beginners really liked the books, sometimes more than playing.  One student told me he was going to sign up for the spring session just so that he could finish his workbook!  The go clubs are in local elementary schools, and most of the students are in grades 1-3.  The Center is mostly using English translations of the “Level Up” books by Lee Jae-Hwan, with some of the “Speed Baduk” workbooks by Kim Sung-Rae as well.

The workbooks have been an education for the teachers as well.  The books use a lot of repetition, and progress much more slowly than the typical introductory class at the Seattle Go Center.  “Level Up” doesn’t introduce the concept of “two eyes” until the end of the 2nd volume.  Apparently, the students like the repetition, as it makes the problems seem easy.  But over time, they get a thorough grounding in the fundamentals.  The “Level Up” series has 10 volumes; the “Jump Level Up” series follows that.

Finding the beginning volumes of either series in the U.S. can be hard, but the “Level Up” books can be ordered directly from Korea.  They are shipped by international surface mail, so it takes a while for them to arrive.  One order took about 2 weeks, another order, about 8 weeks.  To order books, contact Baduktopia at  More information on Baduktopia can be found on FacebookPhoto/Report by Brian Allen

Two New Books from Kiseido and Bozuliuch Launches Online Series

Sunday March 1, 2015

Kiseido has just released two new books and launched an online series of essays by Richard Bozulich. In The 2014 Ten-Game Match between Gu2015.03.01_Kiseido-Ten-Game Match Li and Lee Sedol Part Two, Michael Redmond 9P and Rob van Zeijst is the second volume of the historic match between two rivals who have dominated go in the first decade of the 21st century.  The contrast in style and strategies “are what make the 2015.03.01_Kiseido-Tesujisgames in this book especially fascinating and give birth to innovative moves and spectacular fights,” says Kiseido.

Richard Bozulich’s The Road Map to Shodan, Volume Four; A Survey of the Basic Tesujis aims at helping readers develop their intuition, which “plays a role in your ability to instantly find the key move that turns the position in your favor” though of course “Of course the player must confirm that it is indeed the required tesuji by the brute-force reading out of the continuation after the tesuji is played.”

Appropriately, The Interplay of Intuition and Brute-Force Analysis in the Game of Go is the first in a series of essays Richard Bozulich is writing on various go topics. If you are interested in receiving them as they appear, send your email address to


Hinoki Press Founder Chris Greene Dies

Sunday February 22, 2015

Hinoki Press founder Chris Greene died last Friday. Greene, who had cancer, died at home in Libertyville, Illinois. He is survived by his wife, 2015.02.22_HinokiPressWebsite1Vicky, and his daughters, Melissa and Elizabeth. “I was lucky enough to work with Chris doing a little copy editing on some of Hinoki’s books, and found him to be a gentleman and a friend to the go community,” said AGA president Andy Okun. “The books he published represent a lasting contribution to the game and its enjoyment.”

A long-time go player, Greene started the go book publishing company in 2006 after retiring from his career as a programmer and published 18 go books before selling it late last year to Go Game Guru (Go Game Guru Buys Hinoki Press, Will Keep Titles in Print 11/12/2014 EJ). “Chris made an immense contribution to the body of English language go literature in a relatively short time,” said Go Game Guru’s David Ormerod. “He was incredibly modest about his achievements and stoic about his illness. When I last spoke to him, on Thursday, he was primarily concerned that the material that he’d worked hard to have translated and published in English remain available to future generations of go players. His motto for Hinoki Press was, ‘always carry a go book in your hand.’ We will miss our friend and fellow go player and will do everything we can to honor his wishes.”

Macworld Reviews Go Apps

Wednesday February 4, 2015

Macworld senior contributor Kirk McElhearn provides a terrific overview of go apps on his January 31 Improve your game of Go (or just keep 2015.02.04_smartgo-playerplaying) with this collection of apps column. “If you want to play Go, or want to improve your game, there are a number of excellent iOS apps that can help you learn how to play and try to master the game. Here are the best ones,” writes McElhearn. McElhearn writes The Ask the iTunes Guy column and writes about Macs, music and more on his blog Kirkville

New Joseki, Endgame Books from Robert Jasiek

Tuesday January 20, 2015

Robert Jasiek, German 5D and author of eight go books aiming to clarify various aspects of the game for kyu players, has released his ninth2015.01.18_Endgame_1_Cover_small and tenth instructional books. With Endgame 1 – Fundamentals Jasiek begins a study of the last phase of the game, where “most moves of a scored game belong,” he writes. Most endgame instruction focuses on calculating the value of each remaining sequence. Jasiek takes a more strategic approach. Have you ever wondered how to avoid premature or worthless endgame moves? How can you prepare for the end earlier in the game? Jasiek looks at these considerations while also delving into other strategic factors such as forcing moves, timing, sente/gote and importance of reading. These principles are reinforced with 229 problems. Click to view the table of contents or some sample pages. Volume Two will address how to calculate the value of endgame plays.

2015.01.18_EasyLearningJoseki_Cover_smallJasiek describes his fourth book on josekis, Easy Learning – Joseki, as a summary of his three-volume joseki series. It is intended as the first or second book on the topic for the aspiring new player. Each of its 196 pages addresses a specific joseki or topic in simple bite-size lessons. Jasiek begins by discussing a dozen or so of the most common patterns, then begins his standard approach of interspersing one- or two-page essayson topics such as “Why To Cut,” “What Is Efficiency?” and “What Group To Defend?” Click to view the table of contents or some sample pages.

These two books are worthy additions to Jasiek’s growing collections of books for aspiring mid-level players. Don’t expect any “New Moves” or groundbreaking strategic concepts, but Jasiek’s books present familiar concepts that appear well-founded in standard thinking. They are organized in a way that is thoughtful and easy to follow. Some of the brief essays seem especially useful in their simplicity and clarity. If you find other mid-level books overly problem-focused and want more explanatory content, have a look at Jasiek’s growing catalog.
- Roy Laird, EJ book review editor

Registration Opens for 2015 Osaka Go Camp

Monday January 19, 2015

The 2015 Osaka Go Camp is set for June 28 – July 18, supported by the Kansai Kiin and the Osaka University of Commerce. The camp offers 2015.01.18_okasa-group_photointensive training by Kansai-Kiin pros, the opportunity to play go inside the Kiin with pros, play against top amateur players, former inseis, sightseeing to major historical cities like Kyoto and Nara. A discount of 5.000 JPY is available for students who pay the deposit before February 28. Email for more info or reservations.
photo: 2014 Osaka Go Camp participants