“On your site, you’ve posted a poem about go by Jorge Luis Borges, and asked about his connection to the game (Go Spotting: Jorge Luis Borges on “the astrological game of Go” 10/1/2012 EJ),” writes Scott Enderle. “I am not currently aware of any direct connection, but I think it’s worth mentioning that Borges’ writings explored the idea of combinatorial explosion more deeply than perhaps any literary writer before or since. His story The Library of Babel is a particularly notable example — there’s a fairly recent book about the mathematics behind it, William Goldbloom Bloch’s The Unimaginable Mathematics of Borges’ Library of Babel (click here for a review). So the connection as I see it is more conceptual than historical. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that Borges never actually played the game, but I imagine that he was immediately able to intuit some vague sense of its beauty because of his fascination with other sources of combinatorial complexity.”
American Go E-Journal » Your Move: Readers Write
Sunday February 22, 2015
Monday February 16, 2015
Cambodian Go Contact: “Sensei’s Library has a listing for Cambodia; contact ghislain on KGS,” writes Edward Cherlin in response to the February 6 Your Move/Readers Write: Cambodian Go Wanted posting. “I do not know whether that is a current connection,” adds Cherlin, a long-time go player who’s an adviser to the Cambodian Mathematical Society. Dalsoo Kim, secretary of the Asian Go Federation, also wrote in to ask that “If you find any connection in Cambodia, just let me know for my promotion in that area.” Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thursday February 12, 2015
Canada’s WAGC Player TBA: “The AGA web page says ‘North America will be represented by Danny Ko’ (at the WAGC), but of course Canada also sends a player,” James Sedgwick writes. “Who Canada will send is still up in the air, as our selected rep Ryan Li is no longer eligible due to his now pro status.”
Gambian Go Stamp: “This picture of a stamp, I think it might be from Gambia, was sent to me by my friends at the Beijing Go Club,” writes Gordon Castanza.
Hikaru Cosplay in LA: This year at Anime Los Angeles, held January 9-11, Samantha Davis cosplayed Hikaru from Hikaru no Go. “My friend Kazuki Deng cosplayed Sai (and) we had a little impromptu photo shoot in the hotel lobby.” photo by Cecilia Nguyen.
Friday February 6, 2015
Cambodian Go Wanted: “One of San Diego go club’s members is now in Cambodia, and would like to find other go players there,” writes Ted Terpstra. “I have arranged to play him on KGS, but as we all know, sitting across the board from an opponent is much more fun.” Send your Cambodian go tips to us at email@example.com.
Suggestions? “Looking through the extensive collection of documentaries available on HULU I noticed the movie ‘Word Wars’ about competitive Scrabble players, but saw nothing about our game,” writes David Matson. “It reminded me of the many times that I and others have written to the AGA E-Journal when we notice productive techniques used by communities similar to the AGA for raising funds and/or public awareness. Is there a person working with the AGA or the E-Journal to whom these little suggestions should be directed? If not, perhaps someone on the E-Journal staff who subscribes to Chess Life, for example, might like to occasionally push the AGA into implementing an adapted version of what they feel are the most promising of the many ideas that these other communities find to be successful.”
The AGA always welcomes suggestions on how to promote and publicize go throughout the United States. Send yours to firstname.lastname@example.org, keeping in mind that the AGA is an all-volunteer organization, and won’t be able to respond to every email. Ideas that are easy to implement and/or which you are prepared to lead or coordinate are more likely to succeed.
Saturday January 24, 2015
BGC Bullseye: “Although I left Brooklyn behind several years ago, the description of the Brooklyn Go Club (Go in NYC: An Insider’s Guide 1/21 EJ) is disturbingly accurate,” writes Solomon Smilack. “Thank you for the laugh.”
More on Studying Pro Games: “This is a widely debated and discussed topic (Your Move/Readers Write: How Do You Study Pro Games? 1/20 EJ),” writes Dennis Wheeler, “and one can find numerous discussion threads on this very topic in the Life in 19×19 discussion forum. There also may not be just one answer, as I believe the answers can be as varied and personal as the people who give them. And I too would love to hear opinions from EJournal readers who are professional players themselves.” Wheeler goes on to suggest that “Professional games show us how the game should be played, as opposed to the jumbled misguided (yet fun) mess we often play. Why not try to learn from the best? Or just simply enjoy the beauty of a well played game.”
Tuesday January 20, 2015
How Do You Study Pro Games? “We often hear ‘study professional games to help you improve,’” writes Eric Osman. “But how do you actually do that in practice?” Osman says he plays through pro games on his phone. “At each move, I think for a few seconds about what move I’d make next, then I click to see what the professional did. If the professional’s move differs from mine, I try to see if I can think of a reason the professional’s choice was better than mine.” Osman is a KGS 2k/AGA 2d living in Amherst, MA who’s been playing go since 1976. Send your suggestions/comments to email@example.com
Sunday January 18, 2015
Enjoying Inseong Hwang’s School: “I signed up for January for Inseong Hwang’s school on KGS, the Yunguseng Dojang, and am much enjoying it,” Bob Gilman writes. “Inseong Hwang, Korean 8D, is an excellent teacher with a gift for explaining ideas and game situations clearly. There are now six leagues of six players each in the American section with strengths ranging from 4d to double digit kyu. I highly recommend this for players with a serious interest in developing their skills and enjoyment of the game.”
Correction: this post has been updated to reflect that Inseong Hwang is an 8-dan amateur, not 8P.
Thursday January 15, 2015
Where are the AGA Pro Game Records? “Isn’t it great having these Qualification tournaments?” writes Jean de Maiffe. “I love seeing our young go players battling it out for the honors and opportunities these tournaments provide. One disappointment, though: the text says ‘Click here for results and game records’ but clicking there only provides results. The results are thrilling and all that, and I wouldn’t want to miss them, but I am yearning for the game records.”
To see the games on the tournament results page, just click on the underlined result (e.g. “B+7.5” under Eric Lui) and an sgf viewer will open up with the game record.
Monday December 22, 2014
Gato Go: “This photo (left) is from the Facebook page of one of the Ecuadorian players I met in Quito,” writes Bob Gilman.
Saturday December 20, 2014
“It’s interesting to read about the work of University of Edinburgh to use machine learning to improve the level of playing in computers, (Scottish Neural Network Takes Computer Go to Next Level 12/16/2014 EJ)” writes Nin Lei, Distinguished Engineer and CTO, Analytics and Big Data, STG IBM Systems and Technology Group. “However, the title in their article creates an impression that their research is creating a program that can beat the best human players. If their probability of guessing their next move is only 44%, then their chance of guessing it wrong is 56%. In a sequence of 10 moves, the chance of getting the complete sequence correctly is 0.44 ** 10, which is a very small number.” Noting that checkers “has been solved via machine learning,” Lei says that “it appears it is promising for go as well.” But because machine learning predicates that there is a pattern in the underlying data set, Lei warns that “it could be so complex that machine learning can only attain a certain level of accuracy. It seems to me a program needs to have very high level of accuracy before it can play a good game at strong human level.” Lei also says that “Since machine learning is based on pattern recognition, I wonder if a professional can trick the program by using moves that may not be optimally locally but will create patterns that the program has not seen before. I applaud the work they are doing,” Lei concludes. “It is innovative by using a different approach than the existing strong computer programs. It will be interesting to find out if someday they can come up with an algorithm that can improve the accuracy significantly.”
12/22: the chance of getting the complete sequence correctly has been corrected to 0.44 ** 10 (from 0.56).