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

Go Game Guru Hits the Reset Button

Saturday December 17, 2016

Although Go Game Guru is closing its go shop and Baduk TV, it plans to keep going, most likely with a focus on writing about2016.12.17_go-game-guru-logo go. “We can’t keep up with everything we’ve been trying to do anymore,” reports founder David Ormerud. “The Go Game Guru team has made lasting contributions to the world go community,” said American Go E-Journal Managing Editor Chris Garlock. “Kudos to David, Jing and Younggil for their impressive work over the last six years; we look forward to continuing to work with them after a well-deserved break.”


How to Clean Go Stones

Wednesday December 14, 2016

David G Doshay2016.12.11-dirty-go-stones
I always wondered what the best way is to clean clamshell go stones. So when I saw these used stones for sale (right), I decided it was time to find out. Searching the internet I saw many ideas, and the one I decided to try 2016.12.11-go-stones-h202suggested soaking in hydrogen peroxide (H2O2). I used the 3% solution that is available in drug stores (It’s possible to get 10%, but that will do painful damage if it gets on your skin). After a month of soaking the solution was very cloudy so I poured it off, rinsed the stones in tap water and dried them. About half the stones were clean so I put the remaining dirty stones in fresh H2O2 and after two more months they were all clean (left), with no damage from the extended soaking. As a side note, rubbing the clamshell stones did not do much to remove what I assume were tobacco stains. I soaked the slate stones in diluted liquid dish-soap and they were clean in just two weeks; dish soap did not work on the clamshell stones.


Go Spotting: Going Beyond Bed & Bath

Monday October 17, 2016

“This is the strangest place I’d ever think to find go equipment,” reports Andrew Jackson. “Bed Bath & Beyond is selling 2016.10.16_BB&B-Burl Wood Go Bowlswooden go bowls. No stones, no boards, just bowls! They’re available in their online catalog. Crazy!”


New SmartGo Books Releases Include Tsume-Go Collections & Shuko Tesuji Dictionary

Sunday October 16, 2016

SmartGo Books has added several new titles to its collection. Volume 2 of Thomas Redecker’s “Tsume-Go Strategy — Learn to Recognize Vital Points in Go” joins the previously-released Volume 1 to offer over 700 problems based on 47 corner patterns (vol. 1) and 44 side patterns (vol. 2). The problems are analyzed in great detail, providing hints to guide you to the 2016.10.16_smartgo-books-collagevital shape points. SmartGo Books has also released Redecker’s new book “Workbook: One-Move Life and Death Problems — Basic Tsume-Go Strategy Made Easy,” with over 700 problems ordered by shape. While it’s designed especially for beginners, requiring you to only think a single move ahead, the repetition helps you recognize shapes instantly. For many years, Redecker was the editor of the problem section of the German Go-Journal. He is also the author of several books on Igo Hatsuyōron 120, the most difficult go problem ever. Click here to find more about his books.

Shuko’s Dictionary of Basic Tesuji is one of the most famous Japanese go books, and Slate & Shell has now brought that series to the Go Books app (in English). “Dictionary of Basic Tesuji — Volume 1: Tesuji for Attacking” is the first in the four-volume series; later volumes will cover tesuji for defense, as well as tesuji for the opening, capturing races, and the endgame. The 188 tesuji problems in the first book are analyzed in detail, with over 900 inline diagrams making it easy to visualize all the variations.

The Go Books app (for iPad, iPhone, and Mac) now provides access to 115 high-quality Go books: popular books by major publishers, out-of-print classics, and books available only in Go Books.



Go4Go App Reviewers Wanted

Thursday October 13, 2016 has released an Android-based app that allows users to access the Go4Go database via their smartphones and 2016.10.13_Go4Go-apptablets and the E-Journal is looking for Android users to test and review the app. Email us at if interested (testers get free access). The app’s main features include access to the entire Go4Go database, ability to search the database by date, player, tournament, and follow the latest and popular games. Users can also replay games manually or using the auto-play function.


Drawing the Line(s)

Monday October 10, 2016

“Tachi-mori” is the art of drawing lines on high-end go boards using a traditional Japanese sword upon which lacquer has 2016.10.10_Tachi moribeen thinly and evenly applied. Gurujeet Khalsa sent along this video showing the technique. The video is from Kurokigoishiten, which has a fascinating series of videos on making go equipment, including go stones and bowls.


SmartGo’s Kierulf on the US Go Congress and his new app

Saturday August 27, 2016

SmartGo’s Anders Kierulf recently published a nice post-Go Congress blog post. In it you’ll find out why Kierulf will be 2016.08.27_kierulf-yasuko-imamurabringing a a 9.7″ iPad to the next Congress instead of his 12.9″ iPad Pro, gives shout-outs to Brady Daniels for making a good case about why you should come to the next Go Congress and Kevin Hwang’s Go Talk about “What did you like most about the Go Congress?” both of which he says “clearly show that people are a main feature of the annual Go Congress.” Kierulf also reports that he just launched a new app for Othello, “a game that go is often confused with.” SmartOthello is written in Swift, Apple’s new programming language, “and is the first step in a redesign of my go apps,” Kierulf tells the E-Journal. “Most of the E-Journal readers are probably not interested in Othello/Reversi, but many might be interested to see the direction of the SmartGo apps.”
photo: Kierulf at the 2016 US Go Congress with Yasuko Imamura, a go instructor and SmartGo user from Kyoto


American Yunguseng Dojang Autumn Class Registration Now Open

Friday August 26, 2016

Registration is now open for the American Yunguseng Dojang’s 16th season of on-line classes, taught by former Korean insei 2016.08.26_Yunguseng Dojangand top-ranked player on the European rating list Inseong Hwang. The program contains five games of league play and analysis of all games, three lectures with interesting topics such as opening theory, local techniques, and evaluation, and a weekly highlights video.

The past three seasons had seven leagues with 42 players, but with 43 members already registered, the upcoming season is expected to open the biggest number of leagues ever. The best player each month get’s a month’s free tuition; click here for current standings.

This season kicks off September 5; register now and get free access to the recorded lesson videos until the season begins.
photo: Yunguseng members meet each other in this year US Congress in Boston and show off their member fans.


New from Kiseido: “300 Joseki Problems”; “Close Encounters with the Middle Game” & Discounted Slate & Shell Stones

Monday July 25, 2016

“300 Joseki Problems”: The final installment of “Graded Go Problems for Dan Players,” Kiseido’s popular seven-2016.07.24_300 Joseki Problemsvolume dan players’ series, is now available. Aimed primarily at 3-dan to 7-dan players, “300 Joseki Problems” – a continuation of Volume 3 of the series — is divided into two sections, each featuring 150 problems. The first section analyzes local joseki problems, allowing the reader to expand their understanding of local patterns. The second section takes the reader on to the next level, presenting whole-board joseki problems from real professional games, where the global situation must be taken into account.

At times, the correct move is not a standard joseki move, but an innovative move, requiring the reader to “think outside the box.” Consequently, readers will not only gain joseki knowledge, but will gain a real understanding of what joseki means, and how it can be applied to unique positions that might arise in real games. Note that even though the problems in this book are rated as high as 7-dan, Kiseido says the book is actually suitable for players 1-dan and above; even if the correct answer is hard to find, simply studying the answers to get exposure to new ideas and joseki innovations is enough to improve your game.

2016.07.24_Close Encounters with the Middle Game“Close Encounters with the Middle Game”: The game of go is often decided in the middle game. Players strong at the opening can gain an early advantage. Players with precise endgame skills can gain points to finish the game. But excelling at the middle game is the surest way to victory. And what better way to improve middle game expertise than to learn from the best? Michiel Eijkhout’s “Close Encounters with the Middle Game” presents 32 crucial middle-game positions that arose in top professional games. Each position is analyzed in detail, explaining how the players were thinking during the middle game, highlighting the techniques needed to gain an advantage during middle-game fighting. If you’ve ever been confused by professional moves, wondering about alternatives – what moves were good, bad, or difficult to judge – you’ll want to check out this “entertaining journey through the realm of professional go.”

Slate and Shell Stones: Kiseido reports that slate and shell stones are becoming more and more difficult to come by due to a tremendous increase in demand and go players willing to pay premium prices. Fortunately, Kiseido has managed to obtain a small supply of “Jitsuyo grade” stones, and is offering them at a discounted price. Click here for details and to order.
- Brian Kirby


Robert Jasiek Releases Life and Death Book for Beginners

Tuesday July 19, 2016

Robert Jasiek, go teacher, author, and strong German amateur player, has released a new book on life and death, or tsumego2016.07.18_FirstLifeAndDeath problems. Titled “First Life and Death,” the book promises to “teach life and death from scratch,” starting with building two eyes and creating dead shapes (nakade). Continuing with techniques for attack and defense of one’s eyespace, 274 problems guide the reader through the theory of life and death, including liberty shortage, capturing races, strategy, and tactical reading. With an approach designed for those first venturing into the concept of life and death, Jasiek says beginners can expect to reach the life and death skill of intermediate players. The book can be purchased here.
- Noah Doss