American Go E-Journal » YOUR MOVE: Readers Write

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.”

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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.

Your Move/Readers Write: Feng Yun 9P Remembers Chen Zude

Saturday November 24, 2012

“Chen Zude was a man of many accomplishments and a pillar supporting go in China,” writes Feng Yun 9P. “I remember him well. (Chinese Professional Go Player and Pioneer Chen Zude Dies 11/3 EJ) Mr. Chen was among first three 9-dan professionals in China (the other two are Nie Weiping and Wu Songsheng). He was not only a great go player who led the Chinese go players to catch up to the Japanese in the 1960′s but also a great leader of the Chinese Weiqi Association as well as of other mind games such as chess and xiangqi (Chinese chess). Mr. Chen is also well known as an author of many go books, especially his autobiography, Striving for Excellence, which at the time he thought would be both his first and his last book because he had been diagnosed with cancer. He continued his fight with cancer for thirty years. When I established my go school in New Jersey, Chen Zude wrote a letter of congratulations (right), which is posted on my website. Mr. Chen is a teacher and a go player who is well remembered by all players!” Feng Yun’s Member’s Edition game commentary this month — Chen Zude vs. Miyamoto – was especially chosen in memory of Chen Zude and will be published in the December 18 EJ. 

 

 

Your Move/Readers Write: Perfect Rules Are Possible

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.”

 

Go Spotting: Girl vs. Monster; Xbox LIVE’s Path of Go; Tenjou Tenge

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 journal@usgo.org

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.

Your Move/Readers Write: Spoiling a Masterpiece Unnecessarily

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).

Your Move/Readers Write: Other Ways of Getting Unstuck

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 journal@usgo.org