American Go E-Journal » YOUR MOVE: Readers Write

Your Move: Select Your EJ Frequency

Saturday February 23, 2013

“Is it possible to sign up for one email per week that has all the msgs concatenated together from the previous week?” wonders Bill Chiles.
Absolutely; just go to “UPDATE YOUR PROFILE” at the bottom of your E-Journal and select the frequency you prefer.

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Your Move/Readers Write: PA Go Club Correction

Friday February 22, 2013

“I am the go instructor for the Penn State University course mentioned in the article “Penn State Course Studying Go for Insight into Military, Cyber Threats(2/20 EJ), writes Paul Wright. “The university press release was sent out with some incorrect information regarding myself and the name of the go club I represent. The correct name of the go club is ‘The Schlow Library Go Club’ and my role in the club is that of ‘Coordinator.’ The Schlow Library Go Club meets every Saturday at 1:30 in the Sun Room at Schlow Centre Region Library. For more information about the Schlow Library Go Club, please see our Sensei’s Library page.”

 

Your Move/Readers Write: Why It’s Better to Fall in Love with the Game

Sunday February 10, 2013

“There is a persistent problem with the thinking behind many go articles (The Spirit of Play: “I’m Stuck” 10/29/2012 EJ, for example),” writes Terry Benson. “Everyone eventually gets stuck at some level and can’t get higher. Their game might change, but it doesn’t get better. Whatever rank they are will be their high water mark. That’s go and that’s life. There are limits in our brains which we can test but not break.

“So anyone who plays only because they are ‘getting better’ sooner or later will stop playing. Hopefully, before they give up, they’ll realize that go is a great game with many types of puzzles to solve and a wonderful way to connect to other people. They’ll switch from ‘I have to get better’ to playing for the pure enjoyment of stones, wood, patterns, and the thrills of the contest.

“What we need in this country — and indeed in the world — are millions of people playing go the way millions play tennis or golf or run. Most of them will be duffers; 35 handicap golfers, 9-minute milers, and, in go, 25 kyus. And their level of play will seem horrid to ‘serious’ players. But they are playing and they should be encouraged to play simply for the joy of playing.  If they are having fun in the confusion of 25 kyu – leave them alone, especially if they’re kids! We know how often a won game gets away, even from stronger players. In some ways the game is even more fun at 25 kyu because literally anything can happen.

“There’s nothing wrong with wanting to get better or trying to learn something new. There are levels of play that some people will find more satisfying than others. But improvement is a short term rationale. It’s far better to fall in love with the game.”

Benson, a 1-dan, has been playing go for 52 years and has served as president of the American Go Association, Managing Editor of the American Go Journal and is currently President of the American Go Foundation. He directed the video/webcast of the International Go Symposium 2012, where he gave a talk on promotion of the game. 

Your Move/Readers Write: Responding to ‘SGFs and iStuff’

Tuesday February 5, 2013

“Regarding Roy Laird’s article, ‘SGFs and iStuff’ (2/1 EJ),” writes Eric Anderson. “Please — if you’re going to do a comparative product review, please spend the effort to investigate the features. Otherwise, you’re using your powerful and respected platform to spread casual (and misleading) opinions, and it’s really quite unfair to your readers. Specifically — ‘Seems worth the extra cost unless you really need to import large databases.’ Um, no. SmartGo Kifu is an excellent problem and game collection, combined with a Go playing engine. It includes a form of SGF editor; but that editor is not particularly suitable either for recording games or for constructing problems — at least, not compared to EasyGo, which is specifically (and very well) designed to do … SGF editing. Bulk file import and export is only one of the features you’d want in an SGF editor; other features include tree-editing capabilities (ever tried fixing a recording mistake in SmartGo Kifu?), problem editing (ever tried entering un-numbered initial conditions?), and variation analysis. Don’t take my word for it. Here’s an independent review. Although at first sight EasyGo looks like a close-cousin to SmartGo Kifu, it is not. They share a goal though: analyzing games, exploring variations and solving problems. But they focus on different sets of features, and work very different. That review — only six paragraphs long — is much more insightful and thorough, and helpful to readers, than your ‘Seems worth the extra cost…’”
“All that seemed necessary was to copy the linked-to sgf on the web page onto my desktop,” suggests Kirby Smith. “Then I could use the ‘edit’ mode of the KGS interface (CGoban3) to view it and its commentary. I recall that The Many Faces of Go will also open these. Thanks for your journal’s many interesting articles.”
A number of readers also suggested this solution, which works great for desktops, but Laird’s review was specifically referring to smartphone apps available for Apple products.

 

 

Your Move/Readers Write: Android for SmartGo?

Thursday January 17, 2013

“I want an Android app for the smart go books!” writes Lee Frankel-Goldwater.
“I’d like an Android version for SmartGo Books too,” responds SmartGo’s Anders Kierulf. “And I keep getting requests from people for Android versions of SmartGo Books and SmartGo Kifu. However, when looking at the costs of maintaining another platform, both in $$$ and in time that could be spent improving the iOS apps, it’s not so clear. Several articles (The shocking toll of hardware and software fragmentation on Android developmentWhy we’ve decided to stop producing TNW Magazine for Android) highlight some issues with adding Android support. I’m not ruling out possible Android support in the future, but my current plan is to improve iOS support and add a Macintosh version before I consider adding any other platforms. Meanwhile, if you’re desperate for SmartGo Books, an iPad mini may be the ticket.”

Your Move/Readers Write: Programmers Advocating Go

Sunday January 6, 2013

“Recently I’ve discovered some information about programmers advocating go to their peers,” writes Steve Colburn, an IT professional and go organizer in Rochester, NY who’s also on the AGA website and EJ team. “The first one is a video from the Game Developers Conference in which Frank Lantz from the NYU Game Center gives a talk about Life and Death and Middle Pair: Go, Poker, and the Sublime  (reported in the 10/30 EJ). The second part is part of the Clojure community. The head of the community Rich Hickey advocates the playing of go to people who code in this language. I know of a few active Clojure programmers (Eidogo and IGS programmers) who are all go players. At this year’s Clojure Conj, Zach Tellman gave a talk about Playing Go with Clojure  right before the keynote. It’s great to hear go being publicized like this to our peers and those who do not know about go.”

Go Spotting: NPR reporter on why you should “lose your first 50 games quickly”

Wednesday January 2, 2013

In a December 29 NPR story about differences between the way that the West and the East think about the process of intellectual struggle, Planet Money correspondent Robert Smith (r) notes that “I learned how to play the board game Go…And one of the things they tell you right at the beginning is to lose your first 50 games quickly; that the whole notion of learning this game is to start by losing a lot. And it reminds me a little bit of this, this theory that it’s going to happen, so you need to embrace that. That is the important part.” Click here to hear the story: NPR Reporters On The Stories That Stuck In 2012; the story — by science correspondent Alix Spiegel – begins at 1:05 and Smith’s comment is at 2:45. Thanks to Eric Osman for passing this along.

Your Move/Readers Write: “The Go Burglar” a GW Favorite

Friday December 14, 2012

“I have every issue of Go World except the newest one,” writes Debbie Siemon. “I learned go in 1982 when I was 25 and was addicted right away. I used to lay out my Go Worlds on the rug in our condo and look at the colorful artistic covers (yes I was really in love with the game) When Tim and I read The Go Burglar by William Pinckard in the autumn 1986 issue (GW 45) we loved it and often quoted the theme when talking to other new or old go players. We could relate to the idea of being so immersed in the game that really nothing else mattered. You could burn the carpet or tell a burglar to sit down and make himself at home. When I saw the ‘Favorite Go World Story Contest’ (“My Favorite Go World Story” Contest Announced 11/26 EJ), I thought of that story immediately. Then I was happy to see that issue 45 is available as a sample from the American Go Foundation. I am sure all go players will enjoy the article. I have always loved getting my Go Worlds in the mail or at the Congress. I will miss it. I am glad we still have our E-Journal to catch up on our daily go news.”

Your Move/Readers Write: Go World Index Update

Monday December 3, 2012

“Thanks for mentioning the Go World Index (“My Favorite Go World Story” Contest Announced 11/26 EJ)” writes Jochen Fassbender.As the GW indexer I’d like to call your attention to the fact that GWI is updated till #125, not #122, with some of the material in later issues already indexed. Users may also want to check out the GWI broad terms page which allows a hierarchical top-down approach to finding one’s favorite articles. And there is an updated cumulative table of contents through #128. It will be interesting to see which articles may be the top favorite ones in the “My Favorite Go World Story” Contest, especially because there are many dozens of excellent articles. Also, many gems of early GW issues may not be known today.”

Finding the Move: Remembering Go World

Sunday December 2, 2012

By Keith Arnold
In a time when Newsweek cannot make a “go” of it as a print publication, it is hardly surprising to see the end of Go World. Still, a visceral sentimental sadness is hard to shake. Those of us who go back to the days of Go Review, or at least the pre-internet years, will doubtless find this passing much more of a milestone than younger folk. In the not-so-distant days when there were just a few new books a year, the quarterly arrival of Go World filled my weekend mornings as I carefully reviewed title matches and eagerly devoured the months-old ‘news,’ stale perhaps but as fresh as an English speaker could get at the time.

So it’s hard for me to choose just one favorite Go World story (“My Favorite Go World Story” Contest Announced 11/26 EJ) from a magazine that was such a constant companion, in the car, in my briefcase, consulted whenever life lulled.  But one of my favorite moments as a go player is Go World related, although, luddite that I am, I must confess it occurred using “Go World on Disc” and not the paper version.

I was reviewing a game of Shuko’s (still my favorite player) at home on the computer.  I was a keen, improving player at the time, and even if I might be stronger now, I am not sure I am as sharp.  The program allowed you to guess the next move by clicking on an empty intersection – if you were correct, the move would appear, along with any comment from the magazine on that particular move. It was Shuko’s play in a complex fight and I stared at the board, trying to find a way for my hero to win. I read for some time, finally made my decision, and clicked on the spot. Nothing. I looked again. I still liked my move, so, stubbornly, I clicked again on the same spot. Still nothing.

Usually when this happened I would try other moves, with increasingly lazy speed till I happened on the right move or gave up in frustration. But this time I just stared at the screen and finally hit the key for the next move. With the digital stone, a comment appeared. “Shuko regretted this move.  He should have played at ‘a’” which was…my move!  I will never forget jumping up and down with excitement at finding the right move when the pro had not. And it was not even one of Shuko’s famous blunders. I was thrilled.

Don’t get me wrong, I was and am still a weak go player, and this is the only time that I, like a duffer golfer whose one good drive keeps him coming back, can ever recall doing this. Thank you Go World for all the pleasure you have given us over the years, and for that one glorious moment that made them all sweeter.

Arnold runs one of the oldest chapters in the American Go Association, the Gilbert W. Rosenthal Memorial Baltimore Go Club, which has sponsored the Maryland Open go tournament every Memorial Day weekend for 39 years.