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.
Wednesday May 29, 2013
Incumbent Paul Celmer has been nominated to retain his seat as eastern region representative. No nominations for western or central region candidates have been received yet. Nominations close June 15 and should be sent to email@example.com. Qualifications and procedures are here http://www.usgo.org/aga-board-elections.
Friday May 24, 2013
The AGA Summer Go Camp will be held at YMCA Camp T. Frank Soles in Rockwood, Pennsylvania, from July 20 to July 27. “Go Camp was a wonderful experience,” writes Sathya Anand 1k, who attended last year, ” I feel my understanding of the subtle complexities of go has been heightened considerably. I loved that everyone in my immediate vicinity had the same passion for learning that I had. I learned a boatload of joseki, as well as the ability to pinpoint where I needed to improve.”
“I loved the fact that everyone there was a go player just like myself,” writes Shawn Ray 4d, “I had fun doing activities with everyone while also studying go. I feel like I improved a good bit because the teachers broke me of my bad habits, and I think that really helped me focus my moves, and to play on a higher level.”
“If you’re a go player between the ages of 8 and 18, and would like an opportunity to study with a professional teacher for a week, the AGA Go Camp is for you,” says Camp Director Amanda Miller. Yilun Yang 7P will be the teacher this year. He has trained many notable players, including Rui Naiwei 9P and Chang Hao 9P. Anyone who played in the US Youth Go Championships can get a $400 AGF scholarship to the camp. If you didn’t play, but need financial help to attend, you can apply for a needs based scholarship here. Please visit the camp website for registration information, or email the camp at firstname.lastname@example.org. -Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor. Photo by Amanda Miller: Campers at last year’s event, in Black Mountain, NC.
Thursday May 23, 2013
With the publication of Falling in Love with Baduk: Play a Game in One Week, The Korea Baduk Association has taken yet another important step to support Western go. Written in both Korean and English by Dahye Lee and Jihee Baek, two young Korean pros, this is a book aimed at beginners, and especially Westerners. “People with different skin colors and different languages can understand one another when seated across the Baduk board,” they write. “It thrills us to imagine a view of Easterners and Westerners playing the game together.” This is a valuable book for serious newcomers of any age. Basic principles are broken down into seven simple lessons, presumably one per day, with dozens of problems illustrating each day’s lesson. Ms. Lee will attend this year’s US Go Congress and will participate in the AGA’s first teacher training program. The book is ideal for classroom situations too, and can be used as a manual for non-players who find themselves running go programs at libraries or schools. The book is available as a free download from the AGF website here, it is 86 mb, so expect it to take a little time.
The text in Falling in Love with Baduk appears side by side in Korean and English, following a style developed by Korean publisher Oromedia. Perhaps Oromedia had an uncredited role in developing this book. Oromedia’s Speed Baduk series (9 volumes) has been all-English, but their other books feature side-by-side presentation of the same material in English and Korean. Examples include Korean Style of Baduk, the Think Like a Pro series ( 2 volumes), the 100 Tips for Amateur Players series (3 volumes ), Inspiration of Pro and Creative Life and Death (2 volumes), all available from Yutopian. Here, as in the other bilingual books, it’s fun to see what the authors have to say in both languages on the same page, especially for language learners. The English text uses Korean terminology for concepts lacking an English equivalent, rather than the terms of Japanese origin that Western players learned from the first generation of English go books. For instance, the position known as “atari” is called “dansoo.” The emergence of Korean-based synonyms may further bewilder newcomers who are already struggling to grasp the vast, abstract nature of the game itself. But in the end, it all adds to the ineffable richness of the game. The worldwide community of players has been unable to agree on a single set of rules. There is not even agreement on what the game should be called; we are unlikely to produce a universal lexicon any time soon. Confused readers can always consult Prof. Chi-hyung Nam’s Contemporary Go Terms, if they have one handy, but the question remains – if you want to tell your opponent that their stone is about to be captured, what should you say? -Roy Laird
Thursday May 23, 2013
The deadline to register for this year’s Young Kwon National Online Tournament has been extended until midnight on Wednesday, May 29. This means there are still six days to register for the tournament! Sponsored by Young Kwon of Pearl River, NY, the tournament offers nearly $3,000 in total prizes! More than 60 players have already registered. Click here to register and here for details on schedule and rules. Join the wide range of strengths already represented and make this tournament better and even more exciting! The five-round tournament will take place June 1, 2, and 8 on KGS in the AGA Tournaments Room. For those who aren’t going to play in the tournament, be sure to check it out and watch a few games – a tournament with nearly 20 players 5D and stronger promises excitement!
Wednesday May 22, 2013
With just 73 miles left to go in his 200-mile Coast to Coast walk across northern England, E-J Managing Editor Chris Garlock took a tsume-go study break Wednesday on a fence stile outside Richmond (using SmartGo for iPhone).
“Everyone along the way has been so friendly, hospitable and generous,” Garlock says, “just like those who have contributed to the American Go Foundation” in support of the walk (the fundraising drive is almost up to $1,500). “We’re into Yorkshire now,” Garlock adds, “and the going is a bit easier, with soothing strolls through pastures and woodlands in place of Cumbria’s mountains and bogs.” - photo by Lisa Garlock
Tuesday May 21, 2013
Go Congress co-director, Gordon Castanza, has compiled a list of 60 diverse activities that are “sure to fascinate those who want to see the attractions of the Seattle-Tacoma-Olympia area,” says Castanza. “From aquariums to arboretums to beaches, parks and zoos, the Pacific Northwest has something for even the most fastidious visitor. Find the trolls of Fremont, the wonders of the Chihuly glass sculptures, the gastronomical delights of 5 species of oysters from the bays of Puget Sound, and the dizzying vistas of the Space Needle. So get a group together and eat your box lunch while reveling in the panoramic views of the Olympic Mountains to the west or one of the many volcanoes (Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Rainier, and Mt. Baker) of the Cascade Range to the east. You will find the ‘Non-Players’ Activities’ list on the Congress web page here. The activities are self-propelled and self- guided.” Day off tours for players are also posted on the site, and players can of course engage in the the non-player activities as well. Local residents will be available to help people make plans. Photo by Gordon Castanza: “The architecture, and the layout of the Seattle Chinese Garden is the same as in Seattle’s Sister City, Chongqing, China. These rocks not only come from, but also imitate the mountains around Chongqing, which is in Sichuan Province.
Tuesday May 21, 2013
There is a new IGS client available, GoPanda 2, which is being distributed as a standalone application. Version 2.1.0 was released May 15th. “Aside from a ton of bugfixes and new features, we also moved away from java as the supporting technology” report the developers. “The new client handles like a native app, and doesn’t rely on any specific browser being installed anymore. It’s still missing some features, but we will be adding new things constantly.”
The Pandanet/AGA City League plays Round 7 for the A & B Leagues and Round 5 for the C & D Leagues. Observers can watch live on IGS starting at 1pm EST/10am PST on Sunday March 26th. For more info on the league, click here.
Pandanet encourages players and observers to try the new client during their games on Sunday.