American Go E-Journal » YOUR MOVE: Readers Write

Your Move/Readers Write: Where’s the 2015 Go Congress?

Sunday August 24, 2014

Where’s the 2015 Go Congress? “I’ve heard that the next Congress will be in Seattle or in Minneapolis,” writes Wayne Nelson. “Which is it?”
St Paul/Minneapolis, AKA the Twin Cities: see 2015 Congress Website Launches 8/14 EJ.

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Your Move/Readers Write: Congress Player Profiles a Big Help; More Clossius!

Wednesday August 6, 2014

Congress Player Profiles a Big Help: “I have really been enjoying reading the go player profiles (US Go Congress Player Profiles: Chen, Liang, Lee & Chiu 8/4 EJ, & US Go Congress Player Profiles: Sun, Ko, Koh, Lin, Teng & Ye 8/5 EJ) for the upcoming Go Congress,” writes Dennis Wheeler. “It’s really going to help me get a better idea of who these top level US players are as I watch their games.”
It’s going to help him as a Congress game recorder for the EJ, too; watch for our live broadcasts starting Saturday afternoon with the Pandanet-AGA City League Finals and then the US Open starting Sunday morning. 

More Clossius! “The Clossius commentary (Clossius in the Land of Baduk: At Home Abroad 8/5 EJ) was great,” writes Chris Uzal. “I hope that is not the last one.”
We’re pleased to welcome Shawn Ray as a regular EJ contributor; look for his next column soon!

Your Move/Readers Write: Phil Straus on losing to a computer

Friday July 18, 2014

“I said for decades that I did not think I would ever be beaten by a computer playing go,” writes Phil Straus 2D in response to Go Spotting: IEEE Spectrum 7/16 EJ. “I was wrong. I was first beaten by a computer program on KGS sometime in the last two years. Laurence Sigmond and I watched Deep Blue beat Garry Kasparov at the Philadelphia Convention Center in 1997. To pass the time between moves we, of course, brought a go board. I showed the go board to Hans Berliner, one of the iconic chess programmers. He looked at it, and just shook his head. He said ‘maybe in 20 years.’ I was even more pessimistic. Go looked impossible in 1997. We were both wrong.”
Straus is a former president of the American Go Association. photo: Rémi Coulom and Crazy Stone. Photo: Takashi Osato/WIRED

Your Move/Readers Write: Impressive Ge; Looking for Spanish Go News

Wednesday July 2, 2014

Impressive Ge:  “7 Dan is impressive,” writes Chris Uzal about our profile of Canada’s Yongfei Ge (2014 WAGC Player Profiles: Americas & Oceania 6/29 EJ). “Playing go in the womb is even more impressive: ‘Yongfei Ge 7D is a 30-year-old software architect from Scarborough. He’s been playing for 30 years…’”
That would be impressive indeed! In fact, Ge is 45 and has been playing since he was 15.

Looking for Spanish Go News: Uzal also asks “Where can I find go news in Spanish? I work for a local Spanish newspaper. I have enough influence to get go stories published. I’d like to see more on the Latin American players.”
Send your tips on where to find go news in Spanish to us at journal@usgo.org and we’ll pass it along.

Your Move/Readers Write: Nauseating Profiles; Clarifying Calculated Mistakes

Thursday June 26, 2014

Nauseating Profiles: “Reading the journal is part of my morning routine,” writes Chris Uzal. “Most of the time it is interesting, sometimes it’s not. Can’t win them all, of course. One of your articles today crossed over into the nauseous zone. This morning’s article about “player profiles” (2014 WAGC Player Profiles: Asia 6/24 EJ) is easily among the dumbest stories I’ve ever read. You want to inspire kids to play go? Articles like this is certainly not how you do it.”
Sorry you didn’t like the profiles; our intention is simply to introduce EJ readers to the players who will be competing at the upcoming WAGC, which we’ll be covering in greater depth starting at the end of next week. Thanks for taking the time to respond!

Clarifying Calculated Mistakes: “Just a quick reply to Michael Redmond’s comments on the Chess Life article!” (Michael Redmond 9P on “Calculated Errors” 6/24 EJ) writes Ed Scimia of About Chess. “I’m a lifelong chess player, and I can clarify a couple things that Michael brought up in his commentary. His concept of ‘calculated mistakes’ does exist in chess endgames as well: it is, of course, much easier for humans to play simplifying moves to reach an endgame situation they are certain is a win than to play the ‘perfect’ line according to a computer or deep human analysis (which may be much more complex and therefore tactically dangerous). In chess, nobody would consider those “sub-optimal” moves to be errors either, as long as they clearly lead to a win. In these situations, though, a player would be said to be winning by much more than a half-pawn. That advantage is enough to say that one player’s position is slightly better, but not enough to be certain they can actually win with best play from both sides (remember that in chess, a draw is a common and natural outcome for many games). I hope that helps!”

Michael Redmond 9P on “Calculated Errors”

Tuesday June 24, 2014

“The Chess Life article (Your Move/Readers Write: ‘Catching Chess Cheaters’ 6/23 EJ) says that ‘One interesting statistic is that players make 60 percent to 90 percent more errors when half a pawn ahead or behind compared to when the game is even,’” writes Michael Redmond 9P.

“How would you compare half a pawn in chess to a point advantage in go? I don’t know how big an advantage that is for chess masters, but I think that Regan’s observation that the players’ assessment of a game position — and the assumed emotional value — is affecting their ability to think is also true of go players, but to a lesser extent, depending on how big a half pawn is.”

“The article seems to imply that while the player at a disadvantage might have reason to play a high-risk/high-reward move, the winning player must try to play the correct move always. He uses this reasoning to conclude that the players are actually making errors. I suppose that chess, being a race to kill, does not allow for calculated mistakes, but this seems to be less true of go, and could indicate a difference in the endgame stage of the two games.”

“In go, there can be calculated ‘errors’ by the player with an advantage. As a go game nears its end, the leading player can often calculate a win without playing the optimum moves. My opinion is that top go players will sometimes choose technically incorrect moves when 2.5 points ahead, a calculated choice to simplify the game. Such calculated ‘mistakes’ by the winning player are usually minor, and two to three mistakes can add up to a one point loss in actual play when compared to the correct endgame sequence. Anything more than that is probably a ‘real’ mistake.”
photo: Redmond at the 2010 WAGC; photo by John Pinkerton

Your Move/Readers Write: ‘Catching Chess Cheaters’

Monday June 23, 2014

Chess Life recently published a fascinating article, ‘Catching Chess Cheaters’ centered on using computers and statistics to detect cheating in chess,” writes John Pinkerton. “It covers many related topics of interest to go players such as rating inflation, comparing players of different generations, the statistics of move quality, and computational complexity theory. One interesting statistic is that players make 60 percent to 90 percent more errors when half a pawn ahead or behind compared to when the game is even. It’s believed to be a cognitive effect, not the result of high-risk/high-reward play, because it’s seen in both the player ahead and the player behind.” Graphic courtesy Chess Life; cover photography by Luke Copping

Your Move/Readers Write: Jansch & Renbourn Redux

Sunday June 22, 2014

“Anders Kierulf (@SmartGo) suggested that I should send you the attached cover art of albums for a well-known partnership in British folk-blues circles, featuring games of go,” writes JF Derry.
The E-Journal’s British correspondent, Tony Collman, covered this in his July 14, 2013 report, Go Spotting: Brit Folkies Bert and John.

Your Move/Readers Write: More on the NU Mag Print

Saturday June 14, 2014

“I do not have a copy of the actual story (Go Spotting: Northeastern University Magazine, 6/7 EJ)”, writes Erwin Gerstorfer, “but at least I can tell you something about the depicted print.” The print is from an Oban Triptych titled Kinki-Shoga no Zu (The Four Accomplishments) by Chikashige Morikawa, who was active in the second half of the 19th century, and was published in October, 1881 by Komori Sojiro.

Your Move/Readers Write: Go-moku, not Go in HBR; Classified Ads Work

Thursday June 5, 2014

Go-moku, not Go in HBR: “The board in the Go Spotting: HBR article (6/2 EJ)shows a position of the game ‘five in a row,’” writes Nin Lei. “It is not a go game position. If you pay attention, you will see there are a few areas where four consecutive black stones (in any directions) are blocked by white. The more obvious give away is that they play the game in the center of the board.” David Doshay adds that in the game of Go-moku “the word ‘go’ means 5, not the game we play.” Thanks to everyone who caught this and wrote in.

Classified Ads Work: “I purchased my first go set on Friday thanks to the classified ad in the E-Journal,” writes Daniel Acheson. “Thank you!”
Classifieds are free; email them to journal@usgo.org