Friday June 28, 2013
Not So Fast, Mr. Kaufman: “A glaring error in Josh Kaufman’s chapter on go in ‘The First 20 Hours: How to Learn Anything… Fast!’ (Expert On “How to Learn Go in 20 Hours” 6/18 EJ) underscores the danger of ‘fast learning’ espoused in Mr. Kaufman’s book,” writes Daniel Chou 6D. “The go chapter lists Chinese characters for go in both traditional and simplified glyphs. However, there is a typo in the simplified glyphs that translates to ‘Restroom Board Game’!? A mistake like this undermines Mr. Kaufman’s credibility for his method of learning go quickly,” Chou says. “Kaufman criticizes Malcolm Gladwell’s ’10,000-hour to mastery’ rule-of-thumb and asserts that few people would commit to that level of effort. He claims that anyone could learn the basics of any subject quickly by applying the methods described in his book. But if he could not even get the Chinese characters for go right, why should anyone continue reading to learn the basics of go in 20 hours? Although I am excited that a popular non-fiction book devoted an entire chapter to go, I wish Mr. Kaufman and his editor spent a little more time on due diligence to fact-check the Chinese characters for go.”
Fotland’s Freebie: “Many Faces of Go creator Dave Fotland has created Igowin, a great little freebie that plays on a 9×9 board, and, when you get to the 1-2 dan level, is difficult to beat,” reports Peter Freedman. “I think it’s strength goes up to 5 dan.” Download Igowin here .
American Ing’s New Website: American Ing reports that they’re moving to a new web page. The Ning website will go down July 1st.
Tuesday June 4, 2013
“Kudos for your ongoing, seemingly tireless work,” writes Sunnyvale Chapter founder and organizer Jean de Maiffe. “You’ve certainly learned and grown over the years.” However, de Maiffe says, “I have a small quibble for you. I think The Power Report (June 2 EJ) would have been more effective if it were in chronological order. Putting the Honinbo information first makes rather weak the statement, ‘This win may have given him [Takao] some momentum for the Honinbo title match.’ I think that statement would have been more powerful if it were foreshadowing Takao’s later success in the Honinbo.”
Tuesday April 30, 2013
“Thank you for posting the history of the German go pro who died in Guatemala (Remembering German Go Professional Hans Pietsch 4/26 EJ),” writes Brazilian go organizer Roberto Petresco. “I knew the history and perhaps I heard about it when it happened, but I had no idea of the details nor (had I seen his) face. I am happy to know his memory is being preserved with events organized in his memory. Imagine how go would be in Germany if he had the chance to keep working.”
Tuesday April 9, 2013
“I wanted to show the students of the school club that I advise the winning artwork from one of the International Children’s Go Art Painting Contests,” writes Richard Moseson, “but I can’t find where it is. I found this article (Soo, Ganeva, and Ye Top Children’s Art Contest 8/27/2012 EJ), but the link to ‘the top 20 pieces’ is dead. Can you tell me where I can find some of the art?”
For now, your best bet is on the Go Symposium’s International Go Art Contest page. Graphic: “Having fun with Go,”Hana Richelle Tan, Manila, Philippines
Monday April 1, 2013
“And a Happy April Fools’ Day to all the eJournal team! (Exciting Crop of New Go Books Discounted 50% Today Only 4/1 EJ)” writes Jean DeMaiffe. “ I can hardly wait to fill in my go library with your excellent selection of discounted books today. I cannot begin to tell how excited I am to see that someone has finally written a definitive book on the value of the 1-1 point in the opening. I can’t wait to share it with my students.”
Thursday March 28, 2013
“A good program for playing go on Mac is Goban,” (Your Move/Readers Write: Mac Go? 3/25/2013) suggests Porter Howland. “It also works very well as a stand-alone .sgf reader, and I believe it can be used to play online. Goban and its underlying game engine are both open source and distributed freely under the GNU General Public License. Currently, the GNU Go engine is not the strongest; newer engines implement recently discovered algorithms that are more efficient. For example, the Many Faces of Go game engine by David Fotland.”
“For a real beginner, you can’t do much better than Anders Kierulf’s Go Kifu, for iPad (about $10),” writes David Erbach. “For desktop machines, Goban has the gnugo engine behind it, with a very nice interface. It’s plenty strong for a program, but doesn’t have Kifu’s tutorial mode, so it’s not quite as nice as a teaching tool.”
In addition to GNU Go, Ke Lu suggests PANDA-glGo; they’re both available on the IGS Pandanet site. Peter St. John flagged Wikipedia’s listof computer go playing programs and of course there’s always the AGA website’s go software page.
There was also a response posted in the AGA Google+ Community (which now has 164 members) from Ryan Case, suggesting Sen:te software.
Thursday March 14, 2013
That (Folding Board Query 3/8 EJ) looks a lot like the folding Agathis boards — B101, B102 & B104 — currently available from Kiseido,” writes Paul Barchilon. “Samarkand used to sell them too. I had one that lasted fairly well, though it did have metal hinges. I made it sit flat by putting little felt circles on the four corners. The lines eventually came off around the center, but that was after several years of frequent use. They used to sell the same model with a fabric backing, which is probably the one Ramon saw. One could inquire from Kiseido about this, and show them a copy of the photo.”
“That board looks like one that I’ve seen for sale at Uwajimaya, a Japanese grocery and market in downtown Seattle,” adds Dennis Wheeler. “Or it’s also possible that its from Shiga’s imports in the University District (near the Seattle Go Center). I’ll try to remember to stop in to see what they each currently have to offer the next time I’m nearby and report back again.”
Wednesday March 13, 2013
A number of years ago, our family made a habit of renting a cabin in New England during the summer, and part of the ritual was having Don Wiener come to visit us. Needless to say, the days Don was there became a total immersion in go (and second-hand smoke). I got used to being punished repeatedly at any number of handicap stones, but I learned so much from watching his magic at work. It was only after Don drummed into my head that it wasn’t magic, but my own stubbornness that resulted in total collapse time and time again, that I began to appreciate the value of defending weak groups, an essential ingredient to begin to become stronger. I am grateful for those lessons.
Don and I shared another common interest – a love of music. Besides his speed-typing talent alluded to in a previous article, Don was a very capable pianist. One of the few other people I know who had a goban under their Steinway, he had won several national awards in the Piano Guild, and could blaze through a Chopin Etude.
And a word about Don’s attitude about go and life. Don was the ultimate go hippie who believed in the power of go to reflect one’s personal choices. While some people like to say that go is a metaphor for life, Don preferred to say that “life is like go!”
Finally, you haven’t heard snoring unless you experienced a night with Don in the guest room. On one of these occasions, my daughters came into our room in the middle of the night fearful the cabin was about to crumble. I mean, the joint was rocking! Imagine the 6:00 Express rumbling through the station during an earthquake and you have some idea of the magnitude of Don’s snoring.
So a final fond farewell to Don-san san-dan, as he was known when a mere 3-dan. I am grateful for having known him. We had whole lot of good times together, and… I still believe it was magic.
- Haskell Small; photo by Phil Straus
Friday March 8, 2013
NJO Game Records? “Does anyone have access to the SGF for Andy Liu’s win over Mingming (Stephanie) Yin at the New Jersey Open?” asks EJ reader Robert P.
Due to unavoidable scheduling conflicts, top-board games were not broadcast or recorded this year; the E-Journal hopes to broadcast the NJO in 2014.
Folding Board Query: “I was wondering if you have any more info on these boards (Whence the Seattle Portable Set? 9/2/2012 EJ),” writes Sergio Miranda Elmaleh. “I am considering of buying one of these and I was wondering what the durability of the folding seam is.”
We never did get a response to the original report; if anyone has info, please email us at email@example.com and we’ll pass it along.
Sunday March 3, 2013
iPad/iPod/iPhone user alert: In “SGFs and iStuff” (2/1/13), I looked at some issues related to viewing sgf files on iPods, iPads and other mobile Apple products. I managed to confuse some readers, so please note that I was referring specifically to apps for mobile devices, not desktop-based software. One reader disagreed at some length with my conclusion favoring Smart Go Kifu (SGK) over EasyGo, so I took a closer look at the two apps. The reader raised some specific questions: What about when you’re recording a game and realize you skipped a pair of moves? How do you place un-numbered stones when setting up a problem? I found that both apps have these functions. He also offered a link to a review from last April with information that is, in some cases, incomplete or inaccurate. SGK actually does keep problem statistics, but only for one user (EasyGo can track multiple users.) SGK only imports one file at a time, but that file can contain many games or problems; just concatenate them into one file on your desktop, using software such as the freeware Kombilo. EasyGo does offer one unique feature — a “time line” type graph that shows where the next comment will be. You can test it in the free version if you like. On the other hand, SGK’s problem collection is better. I’ve been studying a lot of problems lately. I find it is the perfect time filler when you’re waiting in line, riding the train or otherwise briefly idle. If you guess the wrong answer in EasyGo, you get a big red X that tells you to try again. SGK’s response is more thorough. Your wrong move says “1?”, and the other side’s best response appears, so you can play out failed variations and see why they don’t work. (If you don’t even get a “1?”, you know you’re not even close.) When you’re right, your stone says “1!”, but you still have to finish the variation to get credit, and if you go wrong along the way, you’ll get a “?” to let you know, and you can play it out and see why. With so many other features — a playing engine, a collection of 40,000 pro game records and a “Guess Next Move” function , to name a few — SGK still seems clearly worth the higher price. When I’m finished studying SGK’s >2000 problems, I’ll probably pick up EasyGo too, for the problem collection; or I may just get one of the classic problem books that’s available through Smart Go. Or both.
- Roy Laird