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.
American Go E-Journal
Wednesday January 2, 2013
Monday December 31, 2012
Monday December 31, 2012
by Gabriel Benmergui
From time to time students ask me “What can I do to improve?” This is a funny question because I suspect what they really want to know is “What can I do to improve that doesn’t involve solving problems?”
When this subject comes up, someone invariably says something like “I know at 5-dan who never picked up a problem book.” I know a few of these cases, too, and understand that the comment is not really about recognizing that player’s natural skill but as proof that solving problems is not required to improve at go.
There are many factors that contribute to a player’s skill. Unless you’re one of those rare cases of raw natural talent, trying to convince yourself that solving problems is not one of those factors is simply laziness.
An informal poll I once conducted revealed that over 50% of players don’t do any problems at all on a weekly basis. And of those that do, only 10% do enough to reasonably expect any improvement. The good news is that this means that solving problems gives you an absolute edge over the vast majority of players.
Let’s not ignore the elephant in the room: solving problems can be terribly boring. It doesn’t have the excitement of a game and there is no companion or rival. Also, the benefits are hard to measure with precision in the short run, and no matter how diligent we are and how many problems we solve correctly no-one will praise us.
Solving problems, more than any other training activity, requires effort. But you can be assured that when you do put in the effort, you will reap the benefits. How much you want to work is up to your personal ambition, and nothing else.
My Advice: Ignore whoever or whatever tells you that solving problems is a waste of effort. Effort equals results.
Gabriel Benmergui lives in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Argentinian Champion in 2011 and 2012, he has studied go in Korea and now runs the Kaya.gs Go Server. photo by Ivan Vigano
Sunday December 30, 2012
The Myeongin, the Korean equivalent of the Japanese Meijin title, is a best-of-5 match. After losing the first two games to Baek on December 17 and 18, Lee came back to sweep the remaining three games and capture the 41st title of his career.
Many consider Baek to be Lee’s natural enemy, because Baek’s powerful fighting style usually works well against Lee’s, as shown by their 6-4 record in Baek’s favor before the tournament.
This is the second time Baek has placed second in the Myeongin, losing last year to Park Yonghun 9P. Baek will be off the go scene for nearly two years, due to compulsory military service beginning on January 7th, 201. His departure comes at the end of a strong year following wins in the BC Card Cup and the Asian TV Cup.
- Adapted from GoGameGuru’s report; edited by Ben Williams
Sunday December 30, 2012
“Go was just featured on a U.S. TV series!” writes Alicia Seifrid. The game was featured in the ABC series “Last Resort,” episode 10 (“Blue Water”), which aired last Thursday, December 13. “The series is about a renegade U.S. submarine crew on an island in the Indian Ocean,” explains Seifrid. “In this episode, a Chinese diplomat named Zheng visits the crew offering humanitarian aid. He meets with Captain Chaplin, who is wary of what strings might come attached with the aid. Zheng offers Chaplin his grandfather’s go board as a gift. When Chaplin says he prefers chess, Zheng says ‘In chess, the victor is the one who annihilates his opponent’s armies. In weiqi or go, victory goes to the one who can control the most territory with the fewest armies.’” Later in the episode, they play a game against each other, and Zheng catches Chaplin in a trap, “exactly what Chaplin fears might be the real-life situation if he accepts Zheng’s aid,” says Seifrid. She sent along this screencap of the board during their game, noting that “Chaplin is black and Zheng is white.”
Saturday December 29, 2012
There is still time to register for the US Youth Go Championships, which will be held Jan. 19th on KGS. All AGA members who are under 18 are eligible, and there will be prizes awarded every five ranks. Think you might be the best 22 kyu out there? Try your hand in the 21-25 kyu bracket. All games will be even within rank brackets of roughly five stones. All dan level games will be further subdivided by age – under 18 and under 12. Winners will receive a beautiful etched glass trophy, 2nd place in each bracket gets a Sai plushie. Everyone who enters will be eligible for AGF scholarships to either the AGA Go Camp or the US Go Congress, first come first served. The scholarships are worth $400 at camp, or $200 at congress. You may enter at a rank higher than your official AGA rank, but may not enter at a lower one. The registration deadline is Sunday, January 13th. To register, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, rank, birthday, AGA ID, KGS ID, and citizenship. -Story and Photo by Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor. Photo: Young players at the 2010 Go Congress.
Saturday December 29, 2012
During the Edo period a go club, like a tea ceremony room or a kyoka poetry meeting, was a place where rank, station and sex were irrelevant: what mattered most was the skill of the participants. Such people came as close to forming a genuine meritocracy as was possible in class-conscious Japan in those days, and this must have been a large part of go’s appeal to new players.
The fact that go requires deep concentration over relatively long periods of time naturally leads to absent-mindedness in everything unrelated to the game at hand. The absent-minded go player is a stock joke in Japan like the absent-minded professor in the West. A fine example of this is the old story called Go Doro, ‘the Go Burglar,’ several versions of which are preserved in the public story-telling tradition of the Edo and Meiji periods.
Two friends who were addicted to go and were pretty evenly matched used to play every night until very late, so wrapped up in their games that they were oblivious to everything around them. This was a great nuisance to their families, but the worst part of it was their habit of smoking, for they were always spilling hot ash and making holes in the tatami as they lit their pipes from the burning coal in the tobacco tray.
Their wives kept scolding them about this until they had to quit playing altogether. But they couldn’t keep from thinking about go and wishing they could play again. One evening they hit upon a plan. “Let’s just stop smoking while we play! Instead, we”ll go out and have a pipe after each game!”
It’s a splendid idea, but of course they forget about it as soon as they get into their first game and start fiddling with their pipes. After a while one of them notices something. “Oy!” he calls out. “There’s no coal in the tobacco tray!” The wife thinks to herself “If I put a coal in the tray they’ll start burning holes in the tatami all over again. I’ll find something red and bring that instead.”
So from the kitchen she brings in a small red vegetable called a snake gourd and carefully pokes it down into the ashes of the tobacco tray, where it looks just like a bit of burning coal. The men don’t notice a thing, and after a while the wife goes to bed, satisfied that she has nothing more to worry about. On and on the two friends play, frowning and muttering at the go board, sucking away at their pipes and having a great old time.
Later that night a burglar sneaks into the back of the house. He stealthily fills his bag with everything he can get his hands on and hoists it over his shoulder. Just as he is about the take off he hears the click of a go stone. The burglar plays go too, so when that sound comes his curiosity is aroused. With the bag still slung over his shoulder he tiptoes toward the room where the two friends are playing and peeks through the door.
At first he just stands there, watching, but then moves close, bit by bit, until he’s right beside them. One player is about to make a move. the burglar simply can’t control himself. “That’s no good!” he exclaims, putting down the bag. “You ought to play on the other side!” A typical kibitzer’s remark.
Both men are studying the board. “Hey, onlookers are supposed to keep quiet,” says one. “This happens to be a crucial moment in the game.” He glances up briefly. “Who might you be, anyway?” he asks. Click goes a stone onto the board.
All three study the move. It’s a tense moment.
“I’m a burglar,” comes the reply.
“Hmmm…” Click goes another stone. “I see…” Click. “Well, make yourself at home…”
Originally published in Go World #45 (Autumn 1986); click here to find out more about Go World. graphic: cover of GW#95; a surinomo by Utamaro entitled Gods Playing Go. Date unknown. Recalling the Ranka theme, Utamaro depicts (from left to right) Juroujin (the god of Longevity), Benzaiten (the Goddess of Good Fortune), and Bishamonten (the God of Riches) engaged in a game of go (from the collection of Erwin Gerstorfer).
Friday December 28, 2012
The SmartGo Books app has just added four more e-books for a total of 52 books in English. The latest titles include both volumes of Cho Hun-hyeon’s Lectures on Go Techniques, Yilun Yang’s Tricks in Joseki and In the Beginning from the Elementary Go Series. And for those who prefer Japanese or Spanish, Michael Redmond 9P has translated his Patterns of the Sanrensei into Japanese, and the Spanish version of Yuan Zhou’s How Not to Play Go, translated by Brian J. Olive, has just been added. Readers can switch between English and the other language, or see both languages, “perfect for brushing up on your Spanish or Japanese,” says SmartGo’s Anders Kierulf. 38 Basic Joseki and The Endgame are also in the works, Kierulf adds.
Thursday December 27, 2012
Expressing “heart-felt thanks” to the Nihon Ki-in, the Seattle Go Center on December 21 signed a new lease agreement with the Nihon Ki-in that runs through 2016, with an option to renew through 2021. The agreement ended a dispute over the possible sale of the Center (Nihon Kiin Urged Not to Sell Seattle Go Center 3/4/2012 EJ), “providing for our continued management and occupancy of the Iwamoto Building in support of our mission to promote the game of go and encourage cultural exchange in the spirit of Iwamoto-sensei,” the Center said in a press release. “To a large extent,” the release noted, “this new agreement simply formalizes the understanding the two organizations have always had, and ensures that misunderstandings will not occur in the future.” Nihon Ki-in President Norio Wada was singled out for praise by the Center, which said that the new agreement “not only formally extends the relationship between our two organizations, but reaffirms our ties to one another, (and) was only made possible by the vision and leadership the Nihon Ki-in provided throughout this process.” Saying that the Seattle Go Center “remains deeply grateful to the Nihon Ki-in for its support, generosity, and guidance since the Seattle Go Center’s inception in 1994,” the Center pledged to “strive to justify their faith in us, now and far into the future.”
photo: Attorney Deborah Niedermeyer 14k and Notary Daniel Cooper 3d watch Seattle Go Center President Andrew Gross 2k sign new lease. Photo by Brian Allen.
Thursday December 27, 2012
Moscow Cup Final: The Moscow Cup Final, played from 12/22-23 in Moscow, Russia, was won Andrej Cheburkahov 5d, second was Natalia Kovaleva 5d and third was Vjacheslav Kajmin 2d… La Carboneria: The La Carboneria, played on 12/22 in Sevilla, Spain, was won by Adrian Arellano 6k, second was Nicolas Ballesteros 7k and third was Adrian Dominguez 9k… Three Dragons: The Three Dragons, played from 12/22-23 in Kyiv, Ukraine, was won by Volodymyr Kokozei 4d, second was Dmytro Yatsenko 5d and third was Andrii Denysenko 1k… Dnipropetrovsk Region Championship: The Dnipropetrovsk Region Championship, played from 12/22-23 in Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine, was won by Kostiantyn Lopatenko 3d, second was Andrii Vdovin 2d and third was Dmytro Shevchenko 2d… Velikogoricki jesenski go-turnir: The Velikogoricki jesenski go-turnir, played on 12/22 in Velika Gorica, Croatia, was won by Mladen Smud 1k, second was Lovro Furjanic 1d and third was Daniel Zrno 2k… Gosente Winter Tournament: The Gosente winter tournament, played on 12/33 in Riga, Lativa, was won by Dmitrij Kravchenko 3k, second was Anita Juzova 4k and third was Martins Livens 4k… Ukrainian Meijin Title Match: The Ukrainian Meijin Title Match, played from 11/18 to 12/23 in Kyiv, Ukraine was won by Artem Kachanovskyi 7d (r), second was Andrii Kravets 6d.- adapted from EuroGoTV, which includes winner reports, crosstabs, game records and photos. Edited by Taylor Litteral