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

SmartGo Books Releases Three More Books

Friday August 5, 2011

Just in time for the Go Congress, SmartGo Books has released three new books from Hinoki Press, reports SmartGo author Anders Kierulf (l). In Vital Points and Skillful Finesse for Sabaki, Yoda Norimoto 9P takes a look at sabaki, one of the most intriguing techniques in go. “In the hands of accomplished players it can seem like pure sorcery. At times the stones can appear to dance with life. While playing lightly hither and yon, the opponent’s forces can end up ineffective, over-concentrated and misdirected.” (220 pages, $8.99). And in Shuko: The Only Move — volumes 1 & 2 — Fujisawa Shuko looks at joseki, fuseki and the middle game. “The key word here is imagination and Shuko Sensei never tires of repeating that the essential factor in go is to think in creative ways.” Two books from Kiseido are currently in preparation; Modern Master Games: The Dawn of Tournament Go by Rob van Zeijst and Richard Bozulich and The Games of Fujisawa Shuko by John Power. The free SmartGo Books app runs on iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch, and currently contains 13 go books available for in-app purchase. Click here for details.
- photo by Chris Garlock


New GoGoD Released, Coming to Congress

Sunday July 17, 2011

This year’s U.S. Go Congress attendees will be able to meet GoGoD authors T Mark Hall and John Fairbairn when the two bring copies of the brand-new Summer 2011 edition of the GoGoD database and encyclopaedia to the States.

“The crop of new games for various top players has been unusually large this year,” Hall tells the E-Journal. “We have new games for Kitani Minoru, Takagawa Kaku,  Hashimoto Utaro and Sakata Eio.” Hall also says that “with much eye-rubbing,” they’ve found Honinbo Jowa’s earliest known game.

Additions to the latest CD also include a number of New Fuseki games from Autumn 1933, “a key period in this movement, and these will illuminate the period especially for those who have our latest book: Old Fuseki vs. New Fuseki.” Another sidelight on that period is provided by the very large number of games by Segoe Kensaku just added.

”Of course, routine games have not been neglected,” Hall promises. “The latest games are there en masse and Fujisawa Hideyuki has now become a milligod, as we have at least 1,000 of his games. The entire GoGoD game collection now comprises some 68,127 games.

The cost for GoGoD – which in addition to the games includes the extensive encyclopaedia – is $30 for a single copy or $40 for a copy plus one update.


Dango: A Go-based Card Game

Saturday July 16, 2011

A new game called Dango combines the rules of go with the mechanics of a card game.  Players use two kinds of cards, representing either go shapes or “actions”.  The go shapes are used to play stones on a goban, while the actions allow (or require) players to do various things, like remove opponent’s stones, lose their turn, or block a move that an opponent wants to make.  Cards can be downloaded and printed out or sets can be purchased from Alexander Dinerchtein.


Kiseido Releases Updated 21st Century Joseki Dictionary

Saturday July 16, 2011

21st Century Dictionary of Basic Joseki Vol. 1Calling it “an indispensable study tool and reference work,” Kiseido has just released the 21st Century Dictionary of Basic Joseki, Volume 1 in English.

The Dictionary is a thorough updating and complete rewriting of the Yoshio Ishida Dictionary of Basic Joseki published in the mid-70s,” according to Kiseido. “Like the Ishida work, it thoroughly analyses the various components of josekis, such as tesujis and good style and good shape, and focuses in depth on such themes as securing momentum and building influence.”

This first volume of the dictionary covers not only long-established josekis familiar to players of all levels but also the many new variations of old josekis, such as the Magic Sword and the Large Avalanche, that have been developed in recent decades, including the first decade of the 21st century. “Each joseki is backed up by numerous diagrams exploring alternative moves and mistakes, to ensure that the reader understands the joseki fully,” Kiseido says.

The author, Shinji Takao, is a top Japanese professional who has held both the Honinbo and Meijin titles. His book retains the variations from its predecessor that are relevant to contemporary play but also gives countless new variations, reflecting the widespread innovations generated by professional go in the Far East in the last three decades.

Kiseido is currently working on a translation of the Dictionary’s second volume, scheduled for a 2012 release. Check out the Kiseido Newsletter for more information on this and other newly-released books.
- Daniel Nichols


Shotwell Updates Go! More Than a Game

Monday July 4, 2011

Go writer Peter Shotwell reports that he recently updated Go! More Than a Game with a brand-new chapter covering recent developments in the go world. New material in Go! — first published in 2003 by Tuttle — includes Computer Go Turns into Supercomputer Go, Surreal Numbers and Combinatorial Game Theory, Go Combinatorics: The Maximum Number of Possible Go Positions, Games and their Length, Asian Professional Go, Two Giant Tibetan Go Boards and A Re-dating and Re-interpretation of the Pre-Han Confucian Go Passages. Because of space limitations, the section on beginner’s use of The 36 Strategies has been dropped from the latest edition, “however they will soon appear in the AGA e-library” Shotwell says, adding that he’s now at work on a review for the EJ of the use of go in Henry Kissinger’s new book On China and Scott Boorman’s The Protracted Game.


Instant Go Set Now Available

Saturday July 2, 2011

For anyone wanting to play go, but without a goban handy, the Instant Go Set could fill in that gap. David Ormerod has announced the free PDF of a go board and stones that can be printed and then cut out for a quick game.   Ormerod says: “When people learn go, it’s important for them to start playing quickly, so they remember what they’ve learned. Of course, you can play go online or against your computer, but not everyone wants to do that. Some people just want to play go with their friends and family. We created the Instant Go Set to give away with our free go course with this in mind. Now we want to make it available to everyone. Anyone who wants to learn go, teach go or just wants a free go set is welcome to download it.”


MyGoFriend Program Ties Top Pro

Sunday June 26, 2011

The MyGoFriend program scored a 2-2 result against Kim Young Sam 8P in a June 16 9×9 exhibition match played during the recent Kido Cup in Hamburg, Germany and broadcast live on KGS. MyGoFriend – a Gold Medal winner at the 15th Computer Olympiad that employs state of the art Monte Carlo algorithms  — won the first two games and Kim Young Sam 8P the last two. While MyGoFriend officially lost the final game on time, due to connection issues, the position was evaluated as unclear or better for MyGoFriend. Click here for the complete report, videos, photos and game records.


BruGo Releases iPad Joseki App

Saturday June 18, 2011

The author of the BruGo online joseki dictionary has just released an iPad Joseki application, BruGo Joseki.  “The Brugo Joseki iPad version is fast and reliable and contains more sequences than you could ever dream of,” says author Bram Vandenbon.
NOTE: we’re always interested in your thoughts on how go tools work — or don’t; email us at


New in Print: Jasiek’s “Joseki Volume 2: Strategy”

Sunday June 12, 2011

German 5-dan Robert Jasiek has released the second volume of his series on joseki, which focuses on joseki strategy. Jasiek describes the goals for the book in his review: “The book serves the two purposes of teaching joseki strategy in particular and strategy in general. While the majority of examples shows josekis or other corner situations and only some examples illustrate the middle game, almost all principles, concepts and methods are equally applicable during opening and middle game.” The first volume of the three-volume series (with Volume 3 still to be completed) came out in 2009 and looks at the fundamentals of joseki.  Both volumes are 250+ pages with an average of four diagrams per page. Jasiek is well-known in international go circles for his work on go theory and his research into go rules.


SmartGo Books Releases Two New Books for iPad/iPhone

Monday June 6, 2011

SmartGo Books has just released two new iPad/iPhone books, including one by Michael Redmond 9P specifically designed to take advantage of the power of the iPad.  In Patterns of the Sanrensei, Redmond reviews six basic plans for the sanrensei opening, and illustrates the strategy and tactics of these patterns in twenty of his own games.  Written for SmartGo Books and only available for the iPad and iPhone, Patterns of the Sanrensei enables readers for the first time to easily replay the moves in the book’s diagrams, peeling the moves back to see how a given diagram developed, as well as the ability to adjust fonts and layout.  “Whether you play the Sanrensei or need to defend against it, this is the book to read before your next tournament,” says SmartGo Books publisher Anders Kierulf. Click here to check out a PDF sample. Also just released is Yuan Zhou 7d’s How Not to Play Go, published by Slate & Shell. The slim 63-page book “will have a revolutionary impact on any kyu player who reads it,” and “clarifies common kyu level misunderstandings that hold kyu players back from reaching dan level.”  SmartGo Books currently offers ten go books for the iPad and iPhone, with more in the works; they’re all available on the App Store.