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

Igolocal.net Relaunched as “Find Go Players”

Monday May 26, 2014

Chuck Thomas has launched Find Go Players, “which is a fresh rewrite of my old website Igolocal.net,” he tells the E-Journal. “It’s become difficult to find games where I live, and I hope this will help others as well as me.” Users put themselves on a map and can use it to find other players nearby; the site also automatically notifies users when a new user appears in their area. Thomas, who ran Shodan Imports until shutting it down four years ago, is now a freelance software consultant and says he hopes to re-use the Find Go Players platform with other websites “to help facilitate local communities for people with rare interests such as go.”

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Problem Of The Week: Classic for a Reason

Tuesday May 13, 2014

This study comes from Xuan Xuan QiJing, a 14th century work, which may be the most copied problem set in go.  Black plays.  The odd nature of the correct move sequence may throw off some stronger players, so that weaker players may actually find the solution faster! Click here to see the solution.
A new problem appears every Monday morning. And for archived problems click here.
- Myron Souris, POTW Editor

Go Spotting: Lesley Downer’s ‘On the Narrow Road’

Thursday May 8, 2014

“About 300 years after the Japanese poet Basho wrote his famous book The Narrow Road to the Deep North a woman named Lesley Downer wrote an account of her own 1989 journey following in Basho’s footsteps,” writes None Redmond. “It was called On the Narrow Road and halfway through she is as far north as Basho went and watching the river Mogami.  She writes ‘At Goten the river narrowed and frothed. With the help of a little imagination the rocks could have been flat and evenly spaced enough to be Go-ten, the counters you use for playing Go.’”

“It’s a good book,” Redmond adds. “I am fascinated by her travels and envy her her knowledge of the Japanese language.”

Website Update: Yahoo Go Gone

Friday May 2, 2014

Yahoo go fans will have to search elsewhere for their online gaming: Yahoo has shut down their “classic” games after 15 years. “The go, chess, Checkers and the rest of what they call ‘parlor games’ are shut down with no definite return,” reports Robert DeLisle. Check out where to play go online on the AGA’s online go page.
- Greg Smith, AGA website team

New Offerings from SmartGo Books, Plus Add Your Own Notes

Saturday April 19, 2014

SmartGo Books now lets you add your own notes in books, reports SmartGo’s Anders Kierulf, who’s now in Paris for the 42nd International Paris Go Tournament which runs through April 21.

“Four new books and several translations have been added to SmartGo Books,” Kierulf adds. The new offerings include two from John Fairbairn: “Wonders of Life & Death: Honinbo Shusai’s tsumego classic Shikatsu Myoki” and “Today We Have a Splendid Feast: The Meijin Inseki’s Yoshin Teiki,” while “Fight Like a Pro – The Secrets of Kiai”, a much-requested book by Rob van Zeijst and Richard Bozulich, is also now available.

Gunnar Dickfeld has added Volume 3 of “Black to Play! Train the Basics of Go (20-15 Kyu)”, in English and German, and volumes 1 and 2 are available in English, German, Spanish, and French, while “The Basics of Go Strategy” is now available is Spanish as well as German.

Click here for details on all the SmartGo Books books now available.

Website Updates: 2 New Books & 2014 Summer Camp

Sunday April 6, 2014

Two new books have just been added to our “New and Noteworthy” page: “Games of Wonder” is an English translation by Ruoshi Sun of Yi Miao, a collection of 40 famous games by some of the best players in the Qing Dynasty, and “Whole Board Opening Problems” by Yuan Zhou draws problem situations from actual games played by amateurs and pros.

The Summer Go Camp page has been updated for 2014, when the camp will be held August 3-9 at YMCA Camp Kresge in White Haven, PA.
- Greg Smith, AGA website team
Update (4/10/14): The title of one of the books has been corrected to “”Games of Wonder” . 

Redmond on Guanzi Pu: “Beyond Tsumego”

Tuesday April 1, 2014

“I have the Guanzi Pu pdf (‘New on the AGA Website: Classic Chinese Problem Collection‘ 3/16 EJ) in other formats already, but this one is very nicely done,” writes Michael Redmond 9P. “That collection is one of the best of what I call classic tsumego collections, but on the other hand, it wasn’t all problems that would now be called tsumego. It includes many endgame sequences, and some positions in which there is more than one feasible way to play. That is typical of the ancient Chinese collections, which were published before the modern definition of tsumego was established. From the professional viewpoint, those indefinite problems actually add value, although they could confuse weaker players.”

Guo Juan Go Class Starts New Term; Mingjiu Jiang Workshop Coming Up in Portland

Wednesday March 19, 2014

Guo Juan Go Class Starts New Term: The new term for Guo Juan’s Online Go Class starts up on April 12th. “You are welcome to join us,” says Guo Juan 5P. “Meet new friends, have fun and improve your go!”

Mingjiu Jiang Workshop Coming Up in Portland: Mingjiu Jiang 7P will do a two-day workshop in Portland, OR., April 26-27. Anyone interested in attending should contact Peter Freedman at peter.freedman@comcast.net.

New on the AGA Website: Classic Chinese Problem Collection

Sunday March 16, 2014

Guanzi Pu (Sensei’s Library), a classic Chinese problem collection from 1660 of 1473 problems has just been added to the Learn Overview page, based on a post on L19 . It is one of the problem collections that is considered high dan/pro level, although it may be the easiest of those. Some problems are easy at the beginning, but ramp up. Includes a PDF with multiple problems per page, but doesn’t include the solutions, typeset by pwaldron. Also includes a PDF (ebook) version that includes all 1473 problems (plus a few extras) and answers from p2501 on L19.
- Greg Smith, AGA website team

On Studying With Kaz

Saturday March 15, 2014

by Steve Berthiaume

If you’ve been a subscriber to the Members’ Edition of the E-Journal, you’ve probably seen the occasional feature, “Lessons with Kaz.”  I always liked the style of these features, how Kazunari Furuyama (right) often suggests different moves for players of different abilities, or rates the severity of mistakes by assigning a dollar level to them, so I recently began taking lessons from him online. 

Kaz’s teaching methods appeal to me as an adult player, because he understands that the adult mind learns differently than that of younger players.  This is not to say that adults don’t have the same potential to improve, and Kaz has seen many of his adult students progress from mid-kyu to dan level under his tutelage.

For the first lesson, Kaz has his students submit 11 games for review, 10 that he looks through to get a sense of the player’s strengths, weaknesses and habits, and then a game which he reviews with extensive commentary and variations. Accompanying this review is a set of 25-30 problems.   Sometimes in place of some of the problems, Kaz will send a group of related problems that explain a concept in great detail.  An example of this would be Kaz’s “Peeps” or the “On Fighting” series that have been recently featured in the E-Journal. For subsequent lessons, Kaz asks that students continue to send recent games, so he can keep track of the student’s tendencies and address any issues that come up.

This is precisely the kind of instruction that appeals to me. I have a shelf (and now IPad) full of go books that — with the exception of a few recent books — always seem to be over my head after a few pages; I feel they are often geared to professional players who don’t make kyu-level mistakes, and feature commentary that leaves me scratching my head.  Instead, Kaz stresses basic, strong shapes that have broad application throughout the game, and repetition in various configurations that really allows the concepts to sink in.  He avoids complicated josekis, choosing simpler ones that also teach good shape and tesuji, and have broad application throughout the game.

Since starting lessons with Kaz, I have felt more in control of my games, able to remain calm and play moves that I knew were solid, as well as take advantage of opponent’s mistakes, particularly in 3-3 corner invasions.  This allows me to spend more time thinking about other aspects of my playing, and has greatly increased my enjoyment and fascination with this game that seems to be taking over my life.
- Steve Berthiaume is a 15-kyu who plays at the Milford Go Club in Milford, Massachusetts. Email cickazu@gmail.com  for details on studying with Kaz. photo by John Pinkerton