Wednesday May 29, 2013
When Glenn Fiedler first came to go in 2004, he was immediately taken with the aesthetic side of the game, the black and white stones, their biconvex shape, the sound they make hitting a wooden board. “I especially loved the way go stones wobble and how stone placement becomes irregular as the game progresses, because the go stones are just slightly larger than the grid,” he told the EJ. Playing on a computer, though, was not the same experience. “When I play go on a computer it feels like I’m playing on a magnetic board. In real life, I don’t want to play on a magnetic board. I wanted to make a go board that I could play on the computer that felt like I was really playing go.” The desire led the Australian Fiedler to a career change. He became a network game programmer with a specialization in physics and started developing methods of synchronizing physics simulations across multiple computers. “I ended up inventing new techniques and talking at GDC (Game Developers Conference) about how to network physics simulations. And all the techniques I invented were originally thought up because I wanted to network a simulation of a go board and stones!”
Now, after finishing work on his latest project at Sony, “God of War: Ascension,” Fiedler has finally turned his attention to programming go. The idea is not to provide an AI opponent, but instead provide a beautiful and compelling simulation of an actual 3D goban and stones that other developers could include in existing go software like SmartGo or Many Faces of Go, Fiedler said. It is a painstaking step-by-step effort he is chronicling in a blog on his website, Gaffer on Games. The blog lays out the code and the physical reasoning behind it. Fiedler hopes to make some commercial use of the software eventually, though it will be hard to do. In the meantime, that’s not what’s on his mind. “I’ve had some time to work on my dream project after almost 10 years. It’s really satisfying.” -Andy Okun. Diagram of a stone from Fiedler’s blog: Gaffer on Games.
Wednesday May 29, 2013
A recent article on the Business Insider website extols the mathematical benefits of the game of go, which is the 6th of 13 Things That You Can Do To Make Your Child A Genius At Math.
The article asked professional mathematicians what got them started in math. “There is no better way to train your brain, said one respondent, than the game [of] Go.”
Can you tell who is ahead in the go position that the article displays? (Assume Black to play and a komi of 6.5.) The full article appears here. Thanks to Chris Sira for sending the link.
Wednesday May 29, 2013
Incumbent Paul Celmer has been nominated to retain his seat as eastern region representative. No nominations for western or central region candidates have been received yet. Nominations close June 15 and should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Qualifications and procedures are here http://www.usgo.org/aga-board-elections.
Monday May 27, 2013
Reigning British Champion, Andrew Kay 4d, and fellow Cambridge University graduate Andrew Simons 4d, have emerged as the finalists for the British Go Championship from this weekend’s Challengers’ League. Simons is the Terry Stacey Grand Prix 2013 title-holder (awarded for best tournament results over the year to the British Go Congress last April). The pair will meet for the best-of-three final at a time and place yet to be fixed, to decide who will take the title of British Champion. As both players intend to travel to Asia over the next three months, the final will probably not take place before August. When it does happen, it is likely to be followed live in the British Room on the KGS go server, with professional commentary.
In the Challengers League, which ran from Friday till Monday, each of the eight most successful players from the Candidates’ Tournament (see the EJ from May 10th), held earlier this month in Edinburgh, played one game against each other, with 1 hour 45 minutes main time each and 15 stones in 5 minutes repeating overtime. Under British Go Association (BGA) rules, the current title-holder was required to play in the Challengers’ League on the same terms as the other seven, and in fact Kay also waived his right to be entered automatically, winning his place at the Candidates’ Tournament as the others did. He said of this decision, “I’m always keen for an opportunity to play a high-level game of go with a reasonably long playing time and I like Edinburgh”. The other six challengers, in order of score, were: Alex Kent 2d, Alex Rix 2d, Des Cann 4d, Boris Mitrovic 2k, Francis Roads 1d, and Tim Hunt 2d.
The Challengers’ League was held in the Nash Room and elsewhere at the International Student House, London and the British Championship 2013 is organized by Jenny Radcliffe on behalf of the BGA. Ms Radcliffe also expressed pride at the excellent showing by Alex Kent, whom she herself taught to play in Durham less than 10 years ago. Click here for full results. -Story and photo by Tony Collman. Photo: Andrew Simons (l) vs. Andrew Kay (r)
Saturday May 25, 2013
The fifth annual Kido Cup was held in Hamburg, Germany May 18-20. The three day event, including a main tournament, top group, and kids tournament, has become the largest go event held in Germany. In addition to the tournaments, this year’s Kido Cup also featured numerous side events, including six visiting pros from Korea playing teaching games and giving game reviews. Lukas Podpera 5d was the champion at the main tournament among a field of 198 players. Full main tournament results are available here. Fan Hui 2p, a pro from China living in France since 2000, won the top group with a 6-1 record. Top group results are available here. Arved Pittner 5k from Berlin won the kids tournament. Full results are available here. Story by Jan Engelhardt, photo by Joachim Beggerow.
Saturday May 25, 2013
The preliminary rounds for the first Mlily Cup concluded May 24th, in Beijing, China. The cup is organized by the International Go Federation (IGF) and the China Qiyuan, and sponsored by Hengkang Jiaju Technology Company. The cup is held every other year, thus supplementing the other IGF-organized biannual tournament: the Bailing Cup. With a top prize of RMB 1.8 M (about USD 280K), Mlily ranks near the top of all international titles. Just as in Bailing, the Mlily Cup takes on an “open” format: All professionals may enter in the preliminary rounds; as may all amateurs after winning online selection tournaments. Ryan Li won the selection tournament from North America, and was the US amateur representative. Jujo (Zhujiu) Jiang 9P entered as an American pro; while Rui Naiwei 9P entered as a Chinese pro. All three lost in the first round. The popular Joanne Missingham 6P(Hei Jia-jia) entered as a Taiwanese pro, and won her section of 11 players, to move on to the main tournament. - Report by Thomas Hsiang. Photo from the Mlily website: Zhang Xuan 8p (l) has been one of the top female players in China. She is married to Chang Hao 9P. Joanne Missingham 6P (r) is leading a new generation of strong young female players; she is representing Taiwian.
Saturday May 25, 2013
An article in the May 23 issue of the magazine Foreign Policy entitled “Pulp Liberation Army” surveys the strange and terrifying underground world of Chinese military fantasy novels. One such novel, 2066: Red Star Over America, “portrays the United States in the throes of a Cultural Revolution, where bands of marauding U.S. students fight battles in the country’s ravaged countryside. China is the world’s top superpower, and an earthquake has sunk Japan, erasing it from the map. The protagonist, a Chinese Go player and diplomatic envoy, tries to return civilization to a crumbling United States.” Go player to the rescue! Read the full article here. Thank you Matthew Curran for sharing this.
Friday May 24, 2013
The AGA Summer Go Camp will be held at YMCA Camp T. Frank Soles in Rockwood, Pennsylvania, from July 20 to July 27. “Go Camp was a wonderful experience,” writes Sathya Anand 1k, who attended last year, ” I feel my understanding of the subtle complexities of go has been heightened considerably. I loved that everyone in my immediate vicinity had the same passion for learning that I had. I learned a boatload of joseki, as well as the ability to pinpoint where I needed to improve.”
“I loved the fact that everyone there was a go player just like myself,” writes Shawn Ray 4d, “I had fun doing activities with everyone while also studying go. I feel like I improved a good bit because the teachers broke me of my bad habits, and I think that really helped me focus my moves, and to play on a higher level.”
“If you’re a go player between the ages of 8 and 18, and would like an opportunity to study with a professional teacher for a week, the AGA Go Camp is for you,” says Camp Director Amanda Miller. Yilun Yang 7P will be the teacher this year. He has trained many notable players, including Rui Naiwei 9P and Chang Hao 9P. Anyone who played in the US Youth Go Championships can get a $400 AGF scholarship to the camp. If you didn’t play, but need financial help to attend, you can apply for a needs based scholarship here. Please visit the camp website for registration information, or email the camp at email@example.com. -Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor. Photo by Amanda Miller: Campers at last year’s event, in Black Mountain, NC.
Thursday May 23, 2013
With the publication of Falling in Love with Baduk: Play a Game in One Week, The Korea Baduk Association has taken yet another important step to support Western go. Written in both Korean and English by Dahye Lee and Jihee Baek, two young Korean pros, this is a book aimed at beginners, and especially Westerners. “People with different skin colors and different languages can understand one another when seated across the Baduk board,” they write. “It thrills us to imagine a view of Easterners and Westerners playing the game together.” This is a valuable book for serious newcomers of any age. Basic principles are broken down into seven simple lessons, presumably one per day, with dozens of problems illustrating each day’s lesson. Ms. Lee will attend this year’s US Go Congress and will participate in the AGA’s first teacher training program. The book is ideal for classroom situations too, and can be used as a manual for non-players who find themselves running go programs at libraries or schools. The book is available as a free download from the AGF website here, it is 86 mb, so expect it to take a little time.
The text in Falling in Love with Baduk appears side by side in Korean and English, following a style developed by Korean publisher Oromedia. Perhaps Oromedia had an uncredited role in developing this book. Oromedia’s Speed Baduk series (9 volumes) has been all-English, but their other books feature side-by-side presentation of the same material in English and Korean. Examples include Korean Style of Baduk, the Think Like a Pro series ( 2 volumes), the 100 Tips for Amateur Players series (3 volumes ), Inspiration of Pro and Creative Life and Death (2 volumes), all available from Yutopian. Here, as in the other bilingual books, it’s fun to see what the authors have to say in both languages on the same page, especially for language learners. The English text uses Korean terminology for concepts lacking an English equivalent, rather than the terms of Japanese origin that Western players learned from the first generation of English go books. For instance, the position known as “atari” is called “dansoo.” The emergence of Korean-based synonyms may further bewilder newcomers who are already struggling to grasp the vast, abstract nature of the game itself. But in the end, it all adds to the ineffable richness of the game. The worldwide community of players has been unable to agree on a single set of rules. There is not even agreement on what the game should be called; we are unlikely to produce a universal lexicon any time soon. Confused readers can always consult Prof. Chi-hyung Nam’s Contemporary Go Terms, if they have one handy, but the question remains – if you want to tell your opponent that their stone is about to be captured, what should you say? -Roy Laird