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


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.



Monday May 3, 2010 is a new website dedicated to promoting the knowledge, culture and beauty of go worldwide.  Organized both as a blog and as collection of useful links and articles, the site will feature blog posts from an international team that includes Alexandre Dinerchtein 3P, Hajin Lee 3P, and Youngil An 8P, with  Tyler Reynolds from the Canadian Go Association, and Paul Barchilon from the AGA rounding out the contributors. A downloadable toolbar offers instant RSS updates from several go sites, as well as the ability to search on Sensei’s Library.



Saturday April 10, 2010

If you know them, following joseki is easy, but what happens when your opponent veers off course? Will you know how to handle it? Alexander Dinerchtein 3P has teamed up with Josekipedia to offer a joseki contest exploring this problem. The contest contains three real high-level games containing joseki mistakes. “Find the mistakes, then the best refutations, and win fabulous prizes,” says Dinerchtein. “Even if you are not a joseki expert, you will learn a lot from participating in this contest!” The contest ends April 30.



Saturday April 10, 2010

Early adopters who have already picked up their iPads can use SmartGo Kifu to transform the just-released iPad into a go board with 20,000 professional gamerecords and 2,000 problems. “SmartGo Kifu also offers an innovative way to view and replay games using figures and diagrams like in go books,” says author Anders Kierulf. “Twenty games annotated by Alexandre Dinerchtein are included to showcase this feature, and you can import your own games to view them the same way.”


U.S. GO NEWS: Seattle Hosts Pro Workshop For Kyu Players; Myungwan Kim 9p Workshop Set For Berkeley; Orlando Hosts Guo Juan 5p Workshop; Teacher Of The Year Nominations Open; New Go Club In Chi; Turn-Based Go App Released; Smart Games Adds Igowin Life App

Monday February 22, 2010

SEATTLE HOSTS PRO WORKSHOP FOR KYU PLAYERS: Kyu players in the Northwest will want to be in Seattle this weekend. The Seattle Go Center is hosting Jennie Chen 2P for a workshop for kyu players with a focus on their issues. The workshop will be divided into two groups, so that Ms. Shen can provide instruction that’s relevant to the strength of the player. The workshop is recommended for anyone who plays full-board games and is able to record his or her games. Dan level players are welcome to attend, but the discussion will not be centered on their questions. The workshop is scheduled for this weekend, February 27-28 at the Go Center. Rates are $55 for voting members of the Seattle Go Center, and for youth; $80 for all others. Email Brian Allen for more information at

MYUNGWAN KIM 9P WORKSHOP SET FOR BERKELEY: The Bay Area Go Players Association will host a workshop with Myungwan Kim 9P  March 20-21 in Berkeley, CA. “Because of some generous donations the entry fee is just $50 for students under 23 and $90 for those 23 and over,” says Roger Schrag. The first pro sent to the U.S. by the Korean Baduk Association, Kim came to the Los Angeles area in June, 2008. He won the US Go Congress Open in 2008 and 2009. Today Kim – who was promoted to 9 dan about three months ago — runs a Go Academy in the Los Angeles’ Korean Go Club, teaching roughly three times per week. Click here for details and to register.

ORLANDO HOSTS GUO JUAN 5P WORKSHOP: The Orlando go club is hosting a workshop with Guo Juan 5P March 27-28 in Orlando, Florida. Click here for details, or email Joshua Lee at

TEACHER OF THE YEAR NOMINATIONS OPEN:  Nominations are open for the  AGF Teacher of the Year, an excellence award that comes with an all-expenses paid trip to the US Go Congress. To be eligible, a teacher must be a member of the AGA, have been teaching Go to children for at least two hours a week for two years, and have helped kids enter any available tournaments. In recent years, winners have far exceeded these requirements, some running several programs at once.  Click here <> for more information. To nominate someone for this award, including yourself, please write to The deadline is March 31.
- Paul Barchilon, EJ Youth Editor

NEW GO CLUB IN CHI: There’s a new place to play go in the Chicago area, reports local organizer Bob Barber.  The Go Center in Arlington Heights is open seven days a week, with daily and monthly fees to choose from.  “Owner Yong Yu says there are 21 boards, with room to expand, especially in nice weather,” says Barber. “Plenty of free parking, several nearby restaurants, and Young Rhee, AGA 7 dan, is often on hand for lessons.” The club is located at 350 E. Golf Road; 847-640-6474

TURN-BASED GO APP RELEASED: The new Boardz is a different way to play go online on the iPhone and iPod touch. “Games played on Boardz are turn-based, meaning you can play your moves whenever you wish,” says Boardz author Christopher Maughan, “you don’t need to stay online until the game is finished.” Boardz also features authentic ‘shell’ stone and wooden board graphics, as well as smooth animations. Full territory statistics are shown at the end of the game, and you can play with friends or random opponents on 9×9, 13×13 or 19×19 boards. Search the app store for ‘Boardz’, or you click here for more information. Boardz is $2.99, and in addition to go, can play shogi, XiangQi  and chess.

SMART GAMES ADDS IGOWIN LIFE APP: One of the fastest ways to get stronger at go is to practice life and death problems. David Fotland’s new Igowin Life gives you problems at your level, whether you are a 25-kyu beginner or a dan-level expert.  The app plays against you as you solve each problem.  It quickly learns your strength and gives you problems that challenge you to improve your skills. Igowin Life is available now in the iTunes application store for the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad.  This app ports the “Solve Go Problems” feature from The Many Faces of Go.  Over 2000 problems are included, graded by difficulty from 25 Kyu beginner problems to difficult Dan level problems.  Problems are shown in various orientations or with colors reversed, giving over 32,000 combinations.  A magnifying glass lets you precisely choose your spot to play.  Search the app store for Igowin to find all of the Igowin applications. Several more will be released in the next few months.