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


Monday August 23, 2010

Peter Shotwell, author of Go! More Than a Game, has published two articles based on subjects in the upcoming update of his book to the AGA’s Bob High library. The first [PDF] is a look at his re-dating and re-interpretation of early Confucian thoughts on go, and the second article [PDF] covers some research done on the statistical properties of go games by Dr. John Tromp.  Traditionally, the Confucian ideas about go have been thought to be quite negative, but Shotwell took account of the fact they were actually written in a small area in northeastern China over a period of only about 50 years in the late 3rd to early 2nd centuries B.C.E, (instead of the usually-thought “hundreds of years”). When the full contexts were looked at, he found that the writers were clearly using go only to aid their comments on their evolving attitudes about filial piety, and that the only aspect of the game they disapproved of was fanatical play to the detriment of moral duties.  The last Confucian go writing appeared c. 260 B.C.E. and it was only 120 years later, after the Warring States period had ended and peace was restored, that writings with high praise for go (indicating a great increase in skill) appeared and the earliest game board was found. The second article, which includes an interview of Dr. Tromp, notes his incredible figures for the longest possible go game (longer than the universe might last), compares the vast numbers of possible positions for chess and go (like comparing the nucleus of an atom to the size of the universe), and the total number of possible games (for example, there are 386+ billion for 2×2 boards).  Shotwell gave a presentation at the recent U.S. Go Congress looking at both of these topics and some others that will appear in the update to his book.
- Jake Edge



Sunday August 1, 2010

“Who wants to be spending time organizing your go club when you could be playing go?” asked Santa Fe go club organizer Robert Cordingley Monday evening. Cordingley conducted a presentation on his online software GoClubsOnline, which simplifies the process of registering players for tournaments, sending email to club members, uploading data to the AGA, tracking a club library, and more.  Clubs can register with GoClubsOnline for $95/year for up to 30 members, though Cordingley is offering a discount for the duration of the Congress to $80/year for attendees.
- Report by Jake Edge


Sunday August 1, 2010

IgoLocal is a new way to find go players in your community or when you’re traveling. Creator Chuck Thomas – who also runs Shodan Imports — calls IgoLocal “the first physical go server and location service,” and the free online service — which just launched — makes it easy to find local go players who match your rank, challenge them to games at a specific time and location and create open games for anybody in your area to accept. IgoLocal is also designed to help go players find and join local go clubs, create a go club that will be seen by the entire world and manage your local schedule of go-related activities. “Register now so that other go players in your area can find you!” urges Thomas.


Monday July 26, 2010

The new Empty Sky Go Club t-shirts are now available. “This was designed by our very own Becky and it looks great,” reports club president Steve Colburn. The Hanes Tagless t-shirts in Kelly Green can be pre-ordered now; orders will ship by the end of the September, “just in time for the go tournament season!” adds Colburn. CLICK HERE to order.


Monday July 12, 2010

“Uno de los atractivos de ser un jugador kyu es la facilidad con que puede mejorar su juego—algo mucho más difícil para jugadores dan,” says Yuan Zhou in Como No Jugar al Go, a just-issued Spanish translation of Zhou’s popular How Not to Play Go in which he clarifies the common kyu level misunderstandings of how to play which hold kyu players back from reaching dan level. Brian J. Olive of Orlando, Florida did the translation and Slate & Shell publisher Bill Cobb reports that “there are also plans to translate How Not to Play Go into other languages.”


Wednesday June 9, 2010

The British Go Association (BGA) has recently completed a project to get all issues of the British Go Journal into an on-line archive.   Each issue since 1967 is available as a PDF file, with many issues having some of their content translated into web pages.  Making article web pages is an ongoing project, and issues will only become available to the general public once they become a year old.  There are 148 issues currently available with games and instructional articles for kyu through dan-level players.

Early issues were produced on typewriters and used an algebraic notation to describe games and positions.  Starting with issue number 4, pictures were added and the web page versions include SGF and GO format game records.  News from the local, national, and international go scenes in the issues as well as 40+ years of  “internal wranglings” of the BGA provide an amazing resource for anyone interested in go history, or just in improving their game.
- EuroGoTV; photo: Jon Diamond, creator of the first BGA journal prototype in 1967; he was British Champion at the time and is the current BGA President


Saturday June 5, 2010

The new Igowin Pro brings the features of “The Many Faces of Go” to the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad. Igowin’s apps include Igowin Tutor – a free introduction to go– Igowin — 9×9 play — Igowin 13×13 — 13×13 play — Igowin Life – solve life and death problems — and Igowin Joseki, a joseki dictionary and tutor. “The playing apps adjust to your rank and can play a good even game against anyone from 19 kyu to 1 dan,” says author David Fotland. “The knowledge-based engine allows the program to play human-like moves at the weaker settings, generally with good shape,” while the Monte Carlo engine from the latest Many Faces of Go “gives the program great strength.” $4.99. available in the iTunes App Store.

GO REVIEW: The Go Consultants

Tuesday May 25, 2010

The Go Consultants documents a unique event in go history, Kitani Minoru and Go Seigen’s 1934-35 consultation game against their teachers Suzuki Tamejiro and Segoe Kensaku.  Authors John Fairbairn and T Mark Hall provide fly-on-the-wall observations of what each side was thinking at every stage of the contest, doing an excellent job of describing the characters and putting their status into context for 21st-century readers. In fact the story is related so naturally that The Go Consultants reads like a hard-to-put-down novel, complete with amusing anecdotes as well as keen commentary on the actual progress of the game. It’s like a show-within-a-show. On top of the pure entertainment value of the story, I found it insightful to learn how professional players approach serious games and a relief to discover that even professionals can be taken by surprise. I have always appreciated tightly-decided games more than landslides, because they tend to exemplify the ideal of ‘balanced play’, and without giving away the ending, this game was very closely fought indeed. Whether you’re a novice historian or an obsessive student of go, you won’t find a more thorough deconstruction of a professional game-in-progress. As a bonus, the book includes the players’ own post-mortem analyses. $18 from Slate & Shell
- adapted from Tyler Reynolds’ Go For All blog


Friday May 14, 2010

A digitized version of Go Review, one of the very first English go publications, is now available. Go Review was published monthly by the Nihon Ki-in from January 1961 to March 1973, then quarterly through Spring 1977. The 160 issues — comprising some 15,000 pages –  are available on three DVDs ($75 each) from Kunaki. The early issues on disks 1 and 2 — 60 issues each, from January 1961 through December 1965 and January 1966 through December 1970 — “represent the halting attempts of the Japanese go world in the early 60s to start spreading the game internationally,” reports Bob Myers of Kiseido Digital on GoDiscussions. “The content is basic and written in poor English. However, it’s still very interesting. There are more handicap games (often with famous Japanese pros) than tournament games, apparently in the belief that pro-pro games might be too hard for foreigners to understand. There’s lots of go news, including about foreigners we all know well now. There are great teaching series by big names. Even the ads from big Japanese companies (which are included in the PDFs) are interesting.” Disk 3, — 40 issues from January 1971 through Spring 1977 — contains the last few years of monthlies and then the “meatier quarterly issues,” which are roughly equivalent to Go World (which succeeded Go Review) in terms of quality and content. A sample of the June 1963 issue of Go Review is available for download at Kiseido DigitalNOTE: Disc 1 is shown as “Go Review Archive”, and the DVD cover art could mistakenly imply that this item contains all three discs. It does not. This item is Disc 1, and contains only the first 60 issues.
- includes reporting by Sensei’s Library


Monday May 10, 2010

Many of the stories in the weekly E-Journal originally appeared in our daily edition; if you’d like to get the latest world go news in brief clickable stories linked to complete reports on the AGA’s website, simply click on the “update my profile” link at the bottom of the E-Journal and choose the daily edition (you can switch back and forth at any time). To receive the Member’s Edition – including members-only game commentaries, problems from Yilun Yang and more — join here.