The AGA’s crackerjack web team has been as busy as elves with updates to the usgo.org website. Here are a few highlights to check out over the upcoming holidays. The new “Learn To Play” page is a great intro for absolute beginners. All the tournament pages have been updated, especially the calendar — which has a much cleaner, more accessible look – but also the pages for major tournaments and championships, tournament resources and tournament crosstabs, which includes crosstabs for major events from 2008-2013. The “Fun and Miscellaneous” page has some great new stuff, including links to History and Culture, Go Around The World, Learn Overview, and Rules of Go. The ratings page now includes a tournament ratings status page. And following on the heels of the just-concluded SportAccord World Mind Games, there’s now a handy chart showing the International Go Federation’s global relationships and events. Greg Smith heads up the AGA’s website team, which includes Roger Schrag and Tom Hodges, with support by Karoline Burrall, Jason Preuss, Jonathan Bresler, Paul Barchilon, Roy Laird, Terry Benson and Thomas Hsiang. There are a few spots available on the team for qualified and committed volunteers: email email@example.com for details.
American Go E-Journal
Thursday December 26, 2013
Wednesday December 25, 2013
The British Go Association will host the 2014 European Youth Go Championship in conjunction with the British Go Congress from February 28 through March 3 in Bognor Regis, a resort town on England’s south coast. The EYGC will be split into three age groups: under 12, under 16, and under 20. The British Go Congress will include a lightning tournament, the British Open, a teaching event, and pair go. British Go Association (BGA) members can enjoy discounts for all British Go Congress events. Discounted rates on accommodations are available for all players who make reservations through the official EYGC website. To register for either tournament or for more information including a full schedule, prizes, and the latest news, please visit the official European Youth Go Championship home page.
—Annalia Linnan; for complete listings, check out the European Tournament Calendar; photo courtesy of British Go Association
Wednesday December 25, 2013
Austria: The Austrian Women’s Championship finished on December 21 in Go7 with Katrin Unger 5k in first, Lisa Mayer 6k (left) in second, and Chuandi Zhou 6k in third. Hungary: Pal Balogh 6d took the Hungarian Championship Final on December 15 in Budapest. Behind him were Dominik Boviz 4d and Peter Marko 4d. Serbia: Also on December 15, Nikola Mitic 5d bested Dusan Mitic 6d at the 39th Serbian Championship in Kragujevac while Dejan Krstic 4d placed third.
– Annalia Linnan, based on reports from EuroGoTV, which include complete result tables and all the latest European go news; photo courtesy of EuroGoTV
Monday December 23, 2013
The fifth season of the British Online League was won by Edinburgh’s first team for the second year running with fellow Scots, Glasgow, winning the second division, and earning promotion to the first next year. Their place in the second division will be taken by the demoted Central London Go Club’s B-team, where they will be joined by third division winners Milton Keynes, while Edinburgh’s second team move down into the third division.
The league was organised on behalf of the British Go Association (BGA) by John Collins, who also captained the St Albans Kyus, winners of the Wooden Spoon, and was played in the British Room on KGS. Registrations are now being taken for the sixth season, expected to start at the beginning of March 2014. Click here for full league standings.
Report by Tony Collman, British correspondent for the E-Journal. Photo: Martha McGill, Edinburgh first team captain, courtesy of BGA website.
Go Spotting: Upgo.info to Crowdsource Game Play Globally; Weichi in Age of Wushu; China Adopting Go to Foreign Policy Strategy?
Monday December 23, 2013
Upgo.info to Crowdsource Game Play Globally: “Upgo.info is angel funding meets go tournaments meets Mechanical Turk,” explains one upgo founder. “A start-up is only as strong as its best go player,” says another. Video explains how the site will “use the latest in big-data technology,” maximize the untapped strength of Japanese retirees and “crowdsource game play” globally.
Thanks to David Doshay for passing this along.
Weichi in Age of Wushu: Go plays a key role in Age of Wushu, a popular MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role-playing game), reports Taylor Litteral. “Age of Wushu takes place in ancient China during a time period where martial arts legends are born,” says Litteral. “Weiqi — or go — stakes its claim as being one of the four cultural life skills which is advanced by answering go problems, and Age of Wushu players can even play weiqi against each other.” In the picture an npc (non-player character) tells the player about weiqi.
China Adopting Go to Foreign Policy Strategy? “China is playing the classic game of weiqi, wherein it slowly expands influence through steps that are not a threshold to violence and do not trigger a forcible response,” says Douglas Paal, director of the Asia Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, in a recent Bloomberg news report about how “China Adopts Board-Game Strategy to Blunt U.S. Pivot to Asia.” The foreign policy strategy emerging from China’s new leadership “may include a series of incremental steps calibrated to blunt U.S. influence across Asia and sow doubt about America’s commitment to its allies in the region,” the report suggests.
Thanks to Chris Roose for passing this along.
Sunday December 22, 2013
A team of researchers from UCLA and Osaka University are developing a way to learn go with “augmented reality” goggles. Players using an actual physical board will “see” highlights on certain intersections as the game proceeds in real time. Check out the Youtube video to see how it’s supposed to work. The authors – S. P. Chuang at UCLA and Kikoshi Kiyokawa and Taruo Takemura at Osaka University – believe many beginners get discouraged because it is hard to apply lessons from books on the real board in actual play. On the other hand, computer play lacks the aesthetics of placing real stones on a real board, which also deepens the learning process. ARGO aims to integrate the best aspects of “real” and “virtual” experience. The video illustrates four functions. “Fuseki Tutor” uses Kombilo to search a database of 80,000 professional games, identify moves that pros have used, and “project” them onto the board, while “Joseki Tutor” uses Kogo’s Joseki Dictionary in a similar way. As play moves into the middle game phase, “Go Engine” mode allows the player to connect with an open-source program such as GNUGO or Fuego for next-move recommendations. ARGO can also attempt to count the game and provide estimates of the current “score.” The authors also claim that ARGO enables online play with a real board by transmitting the player’s next move to the server.
At first glance, ARGO appears to set forth on a potentially promising path. We’ve all encountered and experienced “bewildered beginner syndrome,” in which new players have no idea what to do next. A few recommendations can help to move the game along so that protracted helplessness does not become part of the experience. In years to come, players may look back on ARGO’s little green dots as we now recall Pong and the Commodore 64 — quaint relics of a primitive era. One can easily imagine color-coding good moves, best moves, pitfalls, trick moves and so on. Future players may “right-click” on recommended moves view possible outcomes while a narrator talks them through each variation. For now, ARGO is probably mostly of benefit to new players by providing them with specific options to think about. Cynics may say that ARGO also makes it easier for players to “cheat” with a program that is stronger than they are, especially online, but anyone with two computers can do that already.
Unfortunately, the 60 MB download does not seem to include easy instructions; and of course one would need a pair of AR goggles. Nothing has been posted or revised for several months and we were unable to reach the developers for comment, so it is hard to know whether this project will move forward or remain “vaporware” for now .Visit Chuang’s Github site for the latest information.
- Roy Laird
Saturday December 21, 2013
Chinese-American physicist Anthony Zee mentions go in his book Fearful Symmetry:The Search for Beauty in Modern Physics. First published in 1986, the book is an attempt to explain to the layman how modern physics strives to produce the simplest possible explanation of nature and describes the rallying cry of fundamental physicists as, “Let us worry about beauty first, and truth will take care of itself!”. At page 16 (2007 edition) he writes:
“It is easy to produce complicated behaviour with a complicated design. As children, when we take apart a complicated mechanical toy, we expect to find a maze of cogs and wheels hidden inside. The American game of football is my favourite sport to watch, because of the variety of behaviour exhibited. But the complex repertoire is the direct result of probably the most complicated set of rules in sports. Similarly, the complexity of chess is generated by its rather complicated rules. Nature, whose complexity emerges from simplicity, is cleverer. One might say that the workings of the universe are are more like the oriental game of Go than chess or football. The rules of Go can be stated simply and yet give rise to complex patterns. The eminent physicist Shelley Glashow has likened contemporary physicists to kibitzers at a game whose rules they do not know. But by watching long and hard, the kibitzers begin to guess what the rules might be.”
The book’s title is, of course, a reference to William Blake’s poem, The Tyger.
Report by Tony Collman, British correspondent for the E-Journal. Thanks to spotter Pat Ridley, editor of the British Go Journal. Photo: cover of 1999 edition, courtesy of Princeton University Press.
Friday December 20, 2013
The US team has advanced from the preliminary tournament in first Zhu Gang Cup World Team Go Championship, which runs December 19-26 in Guangzhou, China. “Mingjiu Jiang 7P led the effort with a perfect 3-0 performance on Board 1,” reports fellow team-mate Zhaonian (Michael) Chen 8D. The sixteen teams in the final tournament have been finalized and includes many of the best players in the world, including Gu Li, Chen Yaoye, Lee Changho, and Park Jungwan.
Friday December 20, 2013
Just in time for the holidays, SmartGo Books has released half a dozen new titles, including two exclusives. The two volumes of “Lee Chang-Ho’s Endgame Techniques” are published by Yutopian, “but they never made it into print,” says SmartGo’s Anders Kierulf. In Volume 1, Lee, known for his extremely strong endgame play, takes a systematic look at many common patterns, while Volume 2 contains endgame tesuji problems. Also included in this release are “Cross-Cut Workshop” by Richard Hunter and “200 Endgame Problems” by Shirae Haruhiko (both Slate & Shell), as well as “The Basics of Go Strategy” by Richard Bozulich (Kiseido, also includes the German text by Brett & Stein), an extended and revised version of the classic “Strategic Concepts of Go”. Click here for a list of all 86 SmartGo books now available, or check out the free SmartGo Books app for iPad and iPhone.
Friday December 20, 2013
Maeda Ryo 6P, the popular Japanese professional who’s a regular attendee at the annual U.S.Go Congress, is organizing a 3-week intensive go camp in Osaka again next year, running from June 29 through July 19. “We had 32 attendees from 11 countries all over the world this year, including Iraq and Bahrain, and it was a blast,” Maeda (right) says. “After the long day of training and lectures, they were still playing till midnight! There was lots of laughter and great spirit; we had such a great time.” Osaka Go Camp activities include intensive training by Kansai Kiin professionals, the opportunity to play go at the Kiin with professionals, play against top amateurs and former inseis, as well as sightseeing, cultural trips and making new go friends. Register by the end of February for a 5,000-yen discount. The camp is sponsored by Kansai Kiin and the Osaka University of Commerce. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more info or to reserve your space. Maeda photo by Peter Mooyman