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

Go Game Guru Celebrates 3rd Year Anniversary and Looks Ahead

Sunday August 25, 2013

Congratulations to Go Game Guru, which recently celebrated its third birthday. “When we started this project, we set out with the idea of building a sustainable business that exists to promote go worldwide,” writes GGG founder David Ormerod. While conceding that “I didn’t fully anticipate exactly how much work that would be, or how long it would take to get certain things done,” Ormerod says the GGG team and systems “are running very smoothly at last, which frees up a lot of time to improve how we’re doing things and to work on new stuff.” That includes new go equipment in the GGG store, more articles for beginners and intermediate players, and affordable, basic equipment for beginners. Perhaps GGG’s most ambitious idea is one that the E-Journal strongly supports as well: worldwide go demonstrations on the same weekend in 2014. Stay tuned for more details. Meanwhile, happy birthday to Go Game Guru and best wishes to the team for many happy returns!
- Chris Garlock, Managing Editor, American Go E-Journal 

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Go Spotting: Japan Woodworker Catalog Features Go Board

Monday August 19, 2013

A custom-made go board is featured on both the July 2013 edition cover of The Japan Woodworker Catalog and the August 2013 Woodcraft catalog. A post on the Woodworking Adventures blog describes both the construction of the board and the game of go. “This is a great family project and game piece,” says the blog. “Great for all ages to keep your minds sharp, worthy of ‘Spock’ like mentality. Head to your woodshop, build one of these, learn to play, live long and prosper, but most of all, ‘GO’…have some fun!” Thanks to David Doshay for passing this along.

GoGoD Summer 2013 Update Released

Thursday August 8, 2013

The Summer 2013 update of the GoGoD (Games of Go on Disk) Database and Encyclopaedia has been issued and now contains a total of over 77,000 games with extra games from Hashimoto Utaro, Kitani Minoru and Go Seigen, to add to their “complete collections”, reports T Mark Hall.

SmartGo Kifu Adds GoGoD Game Collection, Streamlines Look

Wednesday July 24, 2013

The latest version of SmartGo Kifu includes the GoGoD game collection of more than 73,000 professional games. It also sports a “clean new look and icons,” reports SmartGo author Anders Kierulf. An immediate benefit of adding John Fairbairn and T Mark Hall’s GoGoD collection “is better player name translations,” says Kierulf, who promises that “there’s more to come.” Scott Jensen’s new modern look streamlines the user interface, “and there’s more to do for iOS 7,” Kierulf says, “but this takes a big step towards the future.” Kierulf plans to offer the GoGoD collection with the Windows version of SmartGo, but says that SmartGo for Windows will be temporarily unavailable until that work is complete. “The recent additions of joseki analysis and tree view have pushed SmartGo Kifu way beyond what I imagined five years ago,” Kierulf says. In other SmartGo news, Kierulf tells the E-Journal that SmartGo Books will be releasing “some very interesting books soon.” One is a book on a single 300-year old problem, “The most difficult problem ever: Igo Hatsuyôron 120″ as well as John Fairbairn’s book on 466 problems from 1347, “Gateway to All Marvels: The Xuanxuan Qijing of 1347.” Kierulf expects that both books should be released before the upcoming US Go Congress.

BadukMovies: Mid-Level Videos and a Great Game Archive

Monday July 15, 2013

Every week for the past year or so, BadukMovies co-founders Peter Brouwer and Kim Ouweleen have added an “episode” to their archive of nearly 80 short videos aimed mostly at aspiring mid-level players. The clear, bite-size chunks of information seem easy to digest, and many of the early ones are free (click on still at right for a sample). You can also subscribe to BadukMovies Pro series for €8/month for exclusive access to additional material. The content is created by Korean 9P Cho Hye-yeon and two experienced authors, Yoon Young-sun 8P and Kim Sung-rae 8P. Another remarkable feature is the pro game database. The “pattern search” function is pretty cool. Place stones on the board, select an area and you can search an archive of more than 47,000 pro games and find all the games where that pattern appeared and see how those games came out. The free lectures are great for mid-level players; it looks like BadukMovies Pro is more advanced.
- Roy Laird

New Site Features Video Go Lessons

Friday July 12, 2013

Jonathan Hop 3d, author of the “So You Want to Play Go?” series, has opened a new website featuring video lectures for go players of all levels. There are several free lessons for new users to try the service out, and then lessons on various topics can be rented for $1.99.   “Currently the site has about 20 lectures,” says Hop, “but little by little I will put more up.  My goal is to make go more of a game that Americans can relate to, and see as fun and personable.  You’ll find lectures for total beginners, as well as those on more advanced topics like invasions and josekis.”   Hop has given  lectures on KGS, and has been teaching players, from total beginners to single digit kyus, for a number of years.  Check out Hop’s site here.

Kiseido Digital Releases DVD of Go World’s Final Issues

Friday July 5, 2013

The last 21 issues of Go World have just been released on DVD, reports Kiseido Digital’s Bob Myers. “We got the message loud and clear,” Myers tells the E-Journal. “The community wanted the final issues in digital form, now. We were happy to respond.” The issues – Autumn 2006 through Winter 2013 – are collected in Go World Archive Vol. IV, available as a single DVD ($49.99), and “continue the great Go World tradition of detailed game commentaries, news, tutorials, and problems,” says Myers. “We’ve included Jochen Fassbender’s wonderful and detailed topical index, jumping you directly to issue and page. Vol. IV also contains an updated full-text search index for all 129 issues, allowing you to instantly find any text in over 8000 pages.”

New Hinoki Site Offers Go Books, Useful Links

Tuesday June 25, 2013

Hinoki Press – publisher of “English translations of top-quality, advanced go study materials” like Yoda Norimoro’s Vital Points and Skillful Finesse – has launched a new website. Go clubs recognized by the AGA can consolidate member orders and receive a 20% discount. The site also provides links to learn how to play go, suggestions on how to study go, and to the AGA website.

Expert On “How to Learn Go in 20 Hours”

Tuesday June 18, 2013

“The First 20 Hours: How to Learn Anything… Fast!” by author Josh Kaufman includes an entire chapter on go, one of the things Kaufman – a bestselling author, learning expert and business advisor – learned using his “systematic approach to rapid skill acquisition.” Covering the history and basics of the game, “It is a good intro from an interested beginner’s perspective,” says EJ reader Howard Cornett. “It is great to see our game as a full chapter in a book about learning something new!” Kaufman notes that “Learning go will require time and concentration. I’m already playing other games, but I have a very limited amount of leisure time. If I want to progress in go as quickly as I’m able, I’ll need to focus.” His summary of “How I Learned to Play Go” may be useful for beginners, teachers and go club organizers, and there’s also some cool go footage in the trailer he made for the book.

Virtual Go a Labor of Love for Games Programmer

Wednesday May 29, 2013

When Glenn Fiedler first came to go in 2004, he was immediately taken with the aesthetic side of the game, the black and white stones, their biconvex shape, the sound they make hitting a wooden board.  “I especially loved the way go stones wobble and how stone placement becomes irregular as the game progresses, because the go stones are just slightly larger than the grid,” he told the EJ.  Playing on a computer, though, was not the same experience.  “When I play go on a computer it feels like I’m playing on a magnetic board. In real life, I don’t want to play on a magnetic board. I wanted to make a go board that I could play on the computer that felt like I was really playing go.”  The desire led the Australian Fiedler to a career change.  He became a network game programmer with a specialization in physics and started developing methods of synchronizing physics simulations across multiple computers.  “I ended up inventing new techniques and talking at GDC (Game Developers Conference) about how to network physics simulations. And all the techniques I invented were originally thought up because I wanted to network a simulation of a go board and stones!”

Now, after finishing work on his latest project at Sony, “God of War: Ascension,” Fiedler has finally turned his attention to programming go.  The idea is not to provide an AI opponent, but instead provide a beautiful and compelling simulation of an actual 3D goban and stones that other developers could include in existing go software like SmartGo or Many Faces of Go, Fiedler said.  It is a painstaking step-by-step effort he is chronicling in a blog on his website, Gaffer on Games.  The blog lays out the code and the physical reasoning behind it.  Fiedler hopes to make some commercial use of the software eventually, though it will be hard to do.  In the meantime, that’s not what’s on his mind. “I’ve had some time to work on my dream project after almost 10 years. It’s really satisfying.” -Andy Okun.  Diagram of a stone from Fiedler’s blog: Gaffer on Games.