Friday November 23, 2012
Perfect Rules Are Possible: “I share Terry Benson’s hope that ‘maybe someday the countries of the go world will agree on clear, logical, complete rules’ (Your Move/Readers Write: Spoiling a Masterpiece Unnecessarily 11/5 EJ),” writes Joel Sanet. “I would add to that list ‘perfect.’ For me ‘perfect’ means that there are no unnecessary rules. The AGA rules as they are currently constituted are not perfect. They contain an unnecessary rule forbidding suicide. As many people are aware, suicide can be a good ko threat. A rule that restricts a perfectly good move is a flaw in the rules. As far as I know, the only rule system that removes this flaw is the New Zealand rules. Maybe it’s time for the AGA to join the progressives in New Zealand.” graphic courtesy Sensei’s Library
Getting Stuck is Normal: “It’s normal to experience plateaus as we progress, (The Spirit of Play: “I’m Stuck” 10/29 EJ)” writes Peter St John. “We gradually learn a bunch of little things, without perceptible progress; then those things gel in our minds, and we make a leap up, as if we had been straining at a leash that breaks. But then we slip a bit from the peak of our leap up, and have a new plateau, about at the level of the peak of our last leap up. This shape curve can be seen in rating histories on KGS and in chess. Secondly, ideal progress is to spend time interactively with people about two classes (say, about four stones) stronger than we are (people one or two stones stronger than we are don’t really know why they are stronger; generally, a teacher can only bring you up to a level below himself). The process of keeping up with such strong players, understanding what they are saying and what they are thinking, as we play and analyse with them, makes us strong. Unfortunately, the stronger we get, the harder it is to find much time with people that much stronger; at the top, obviously it’s impossible to improve from 8P to 9P this way, as people two classes stronger don’t exist.”
Saturday November 10, 2012
Girl vs. Monster: Go makes an appearance in the new Disney channel movie “Girl vs. Monster”, reports Tyler Keithley. If anyone’s got more details and/or stills, send ‘em to us at email@example.com
Xbox LIVE’s Path of Go: Shawn Ray from Tennessee recently discovered Xbox LIVE’s go arcade game The Path of Go. Ray notes that “My mother, who is not even a go player, said ‘You know go is getting popular when it is on the X-Box.’” He says the game is “unique and fun,” adding that “the graphics are very well done and the board and stones are beautiful and portrayed in a way that you feel like you are playing with the go stones from ancient times.” In addition to useful beginner-level problems, Ray says there’s “a nice little story line with an interesting twist at the end.” He adds that “While most players who are well versed in the game might find the first few chapters boring and easy, it is worth it once you reach the later stages in order to find out what happens. Also the final boss is not so easy, as I am a 4d and it still took me a couple tries to beat him since we are playing on a 9×9 which forces me to come up with new strategies as I can’t us my normal joseki/fuseki ideas on a smaller board.” Ray has a few minor technical complaints but his main problem is that “since the game is not yet popular, I am finding it very difficult to find an opponent on X-Box Live. Hope we can spread the word and get more go players online!”
See Xbox’s Path of Go The New Hikaru No Go? for our original report in the January 10, 2011 EJ.
Tenjou Tenge: Taylor Litteral spotted a go board in Episode 26 of the anime Tenjou Tenge (at 7:40). The anime is based on the Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Oh! great, which primarily focuses on the members of the Juken Club and their opposition, the Executive Council, which is the ruling student body of a high school that educates its students in the art of combat. As the story unfolds, both groups become increasingly involved with an ongoing battle that has been left unresolved for four hundred years.
Monday November 5, 2012
“What a shame that the Lee Sedol-Gu Li game (Quadruple Ko: Gu Li vs Lee Sedol in the 17th Samsung Cup 11/3 EJ) was left as an unsatisfying draw!” writes Terry Benson. “Starting in the 1920′s and particularly with American rules experts Robinson and Olmstead in 1941, many of those interested in the rules of go have proposed a ‘super ko rule’ to treat all ko’s – even complex ko’s – as we do a simple ko: break the full board repetition with a ko threat. Traditional Chinese rules, Ing rules, AGA rules (now used in France and Britain), and the rules of New Zealand and Australia all have super ko in some form. Only the resistance of Japanese and Korean traditionalists has prevented this simple and logical change. Why should the death of a Japanese warlord in 1582, the day after a triple ko occurred, be the superstitious basis for a rule of go? Lee and Gu created a masterpiece of go that was spoiled by an ugly rule. They could have played it out. With examples like this, maybe someday the countries of the go world will agree on clear, logical, complete rules.”
photo: Lee Sedol 9 dan (foreground) and Gu Li 9 dan (far right).
Sunday November 4, 2012
“I enjoyed the article about being stuck at certain levels (The Spirit of Play: “I’m Stuck” 10/29 EJ)” writes Pierre-Yves Laflèche. “In my experience the 2-kyu (or thereabouts) block has been the biggest one for my students. I’ve found that often, trying to power through with problems or reviews can leave the player frustrated if his efforts don’t pay off. It’s one thing to recommend doing problems and game reviews to improve, but what if the student does that and still isn’t improving? A complex situation like that would best be served by a teacher and lessons, but that isn’t always possible with time and budget constraints. One solution that I’ve offered my students has been to change up their playing style, in an attempt to broaden their go horizons and get out of unproductive or unsatisfying habits. The classic example would be to emulate the great Takemiya Masaki’s moyo play, but that is not the only path. I’d be interested in hearing other possible solutions, as this problem is something I’ve thought about quite a bit.”
Send your responses to firstname.lastname@example.org
Wednesday October 10, 2012
EJ reader consensus is that the game in the “Gangnam Style” video (Go Spotting: Go Gangnam Style 10/8 EJ) is not go, but changgi, or Korean chess. “The player on the right appears to be contemplating moving a piece, not placing one,” points out Peter Drake. “More significantly, there are no bowls of stones visible.” Xinming Simon Guo notes that the pieces are all the same color, and his close-up screen capture seems to settle the question.
Sunday September 2, 2012
Whence the Seattle Portable Set? “In a world of on-the-go go, it is really difficult to find a portable go set that is satisfying to play with,” writes Ramon Mercado. “But I think I’ve managed to find it. I was searching for a set to take to the club meetings on the coffee shop, and to have available for a quick middle-of-the-day game break at work. Thus, one of those magnetic non-standard size sets was not enough; I wanted a full standard-size board. So imagine my excitement when one day a member of the Des Moines Go club shows up with this perfect folding go Japanese-standard board. No hinges or interlocking pieces, and when opened, the lines perfectly aligned. Great sounding wood too! I asked excitedly ‘where did you get this?” and was told ‘This board is from Seattle.’ Apparently the board dated back to the early days of the Seattle Go Center and the board’s owner has never seen anything like it again. After a few months of searching I did track one down on eBay, but I’m wondering if someone could tell me more about this board, what is its relation to the Seattle Go Center, what it’s made of, and most importantly, can someone make more?”
Email information to email@example.com
No Politics: “Please do not include political pieces in future journals,” wrote Mason this week (Ron Paul Using Go Strategy to Advance Agenda at GOP Convention? 8/26 EJ). “There is no place for them.”
The E-Journal is dedicated to covering go-related news without fear or favor. Sometimes that news may have political or social aspects but our focus is always on the game of go and it is never our intent to imply support or endorsement of any particular political or social view.
Saturday September 1, 2012
“My wife Kathy Kline’s book group recently read The New York Times best-seller The Elegance of the Hedgehog” writes Terry Benson. “Pages 112-114 in Muriel Barbery’s book (translated from the French) have a wonderful go reference.”
“The main character is a precocious 12-year-old girl who comments acerbically about the adults around her and knows more about go than the father of a friend who is making a movie of The Girl Who Played Go. She uses go as a philosophic metaphor, saying that ‘One of the most extraordinary aspects of the game of go is that it has been proven that in order to win, you must live, but you must also allow the other player to live. Players who are too greedy will lose: it is a subtle game of equilibrium, where you have to get ahead without crushing the other player. In the end, life and death are only the consequences of how well or how poorly you have made your construction. This is what one of Taniguchi’s characters says: you live, you die, these are consequences . It’s a proverb for playing go, and for life.’”
(Previously reported in GO SPOTTING: The Elegance of the Hedgehog 5/4/2010 and The Return of the Elegant Hedgehog 10/24/2010. NOTE: The novel was adapted into a film The Hedgehog (Le hérisson) released in the U.S. in 2011, starring Josiane Balasko as Renée Michel, Garance Le Guillermic as Paloma Josse, and Togo Igawa as Kakuro Ozu, with a score by Gabriel Yared. Click here to see a trailer)
Thursday July 5, 2012
“All of a sudden, I can’t get Java to work for me with CGoban,” writes Ray. “The message I get is ‘unable to launch application’. Can you help?”
Sounds like there’s a problem with your KGS. We’ve seen this at the U.S. Go Congress when the network drops and we have no connection. Here are the steps we recommend to solve the issue: Uninstall KGS; Update Java to the latest version at www.java.com; Reinstall KGS from www.gokgs.com/download.jsp; Try to download and run the SGF file from usgo.org; If the above steps do not solve the issue then you should download the CGoban 3 without file extension and this will need to open cgoban first then load the sgf file.
“Works like a charm!” Ray reported. “I had removed and reinstalled JAVA to try to fix but totally forgot that KGS was integral too.
I definitely owe you a tall, cool one!”
Wednesday May 23, 2012
“The only time I went to Kyushu, I visited Kumamoto,” writes Bob Barber in response to our May 16 report, The Nakazono Fan Club’s Road Trip to Guangzhou. “I played in a tiny club there. They were pleased to show me a picture of Michael Redmond. Nice memories.”
Wednesday April 4, 2012
“I will be a volunteer in American Samoa from July 2012 through to June 2013,” says David Stephenson. “I’m wondering do you know of any go activity over there? – I can’t detect any from igolocal or other google searches. It would be good to find some over-the-board players.” Email firstname.lastname@example.org