American Go E-Journal » YOUR MOVE: Readers Write

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!”

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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

Your Move/Readers Write: The Order of Things

Sunday June 1, 2014

“It always irritates me that reading the weekly Journal in the natural direction, from top to bottom, is reading backwards in time,” writes Roland Crowl. For example, “Powers’ Report #2 before Powers’ Report #1; results of a competition before announcement of its beginning. Please present material chronologically.”
The E-Journal is compiled automatically from WordPress via MailChimp in chronological order from newest to oldest posts; this works best for the daily edition, as we publish the daily posts with the latest news first, but in the weekly compilation, as Crowl notes, this can sometimes result in reports that are in reverse chronological order. Other than reading the weekly from the bottom up, our best suggestion would be to switch to the daily EJ to be sure to receive the reports in chronological order. To change your subscription preferences, just click on “Update Your Profile” at the bottom of the E-Journal and select the appropriate frequency. 

Your Move/Readers Write: Earliest Indication of Go in North America? & Another Turn-Based Site

Saturday May 3, 2014

Earliest Indication of Go in North America? “I was just reading the latest copy of the Archaeology Magazine, May/June 2014 and I came across an article by Samir S. Patel about the early Chinese work camps in North America,” writes Sam Zimmerman. “In the article on page 41 they showed a picture of ‘gambling pieces’ (right) from a British Columbia camp of the 1850s-1860s. They certainly look like they are wei-chi stones and they may be the earliest indications of the game being played North America. I have contacted Archaeology Magazine in hope so getting more information.”
See also: ‘The Archaeology of Internment’  5/9/2011 EJ 

Another Turn-Based Site: “In your latest newsletter you mentioned that Yahoo was ceasing its online gaming site (Website Update: Yahoo Go Gone 5/2/2014 EJ) and listed several sites where you could play turn-based go,” writes Jim Hopper. “You failed to list a site located at ItsYourTurn.com which is also a nice place to play people all over the world a variety of games including go. Check it out.”
- graphic from Archaeology Magazine courtesy Doug Ross, Simon Fraser University

Your Move/Readers Write: More on Disco A-Go-Go

Friday April 25, 2014

“I got dressed to disco music this morning (Go Spotting: Disco A-Go-Go! 4/23/2014 EJ),” writes Phil Straus. “Thank you.”

In that same story, we said that “Perhaps a Japanese-speaking reader can translate the spoken section halfway through.” Reader Pieter Mioch came through for us:
Through the go board the stones make (bring about) ever changing variations
Go is like a scaled down version of life

goban wo bankai ni ishi ga kamoshidasu senpenbanka
go to wa jinsei no shukuzu no yo na mono desu.
碁盤を媒介に石が醸し出す千変万化
碁とは人生の縮図の様な物です。

And according to Tony Atkins in the UK, Chris Linn is the stage name for Christer Lindstedt, a 2-dan who plays at Gothenburg. His last tournament play was at the 1998 Grand Prix d’Europe, where he placed 49th, just one place ahead of Atkins. Linn formed the Gothenburg Association of Songwriters in 2002.

Your Move/Readers Write: Taking the Cake

Wednesday April 23, 2014

“As always, I enjoy receiving the E-Journal’s news,” writes Jean de Maiffe. “One thing I missed in the article about the Syracuse tournament, however (Jason Bates Tops Syracuse “Salt City Tournament” 4/20 EJ) was credit for the problem cake with the credits for other supporters of the tournament. Items like the cake, the go vest made and worn by a long-ago lovely, female teacher of the year whom I have not seen in years and years, and the go doodads that AGF offers. These sorts of personal efforts are, I think, very interesting and can add cachet to any club’s doings.”
We agree and apologize for the oversight; Syracuse Go Club organizer Richard Moseson’s wife, Chris, “always makes the problem cake,” Moseson says. Still black to move, by the way.