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Thursday December 16, 2010

Continuing its 40-plus year practice publishing some of the best go books in English, Kiseido recently brought three new titles to market. The latest installment in the Mastering The Basics series is Attacking and Defending Moyos, in which authors Richard Bozulich and Rob van Ziejst  lay out the fundamental principles of building territorial framework, and attacking the opponent’s framework, then illustrate using examples from professional games, ending with 151 problems.   300 Life and Death Problems may sound familiar, but we’re not referring Volume One of the Graded Go Problems for Dan Players series. The problems in Volume One start at about 5K, and the level of difficulty increases to about 3D.  This is Volume Four of the same series, with problems beginning at 4D and taking the reader all the way through to 7D. Coming soon: two more top-level problem books, 300 Tesuji Problems and 300 Joseki Problems, Volumes Five and Six to complete the seven-volume series. Kiseido founder and publisher Richard Bozulich produced the first advanced instructional books in English in the 1960′s. With this series he has completed a continuous course of study from beginner to 7D, starting with The Elementary Go Series (seven volumes) and Graded Go Problems for Beginners (four volumes) and continuing with Mastering The Basics (seven volumes) and Get Strong At Go (ten volumes.). Altogether, his carefully crafted course of study occupies nearly two feet of shelf space and offers an accessible path to the top for anyone willing to work their way through these thirty plus volumes. And lastly, Kiseido has also published the book that go art lovers have been waiting for — Japanese Prints and the World of Go, a collection of 75 go-themed ukiyo-e.  Extensive commentary provides an understanding of how each piece fit into its time and place.
- Roy Laird



Sunday October 24, 2010

The Many Faces of Go iPad app, “Igowin HD” is now available in the iTunes app store.  The app plays with an adjustable AI strength ranging from 18 kyu to the full-strength Many Faces of Go engine of “about 1 dan on 9×9 and about 3 kyu on 19×19,” says author David Fotland. Users can set their strength, or have it adjusted automatically by the app, which plays on 9×9, 13×13, or 19×19 boards.  Handicap and opponent strength can be adjusted or chosen automatically. “It includes an sgf editor that supports variations, comments, and marks, so you can analyze your games when they are finished,” Fotland adds. You can try out a variation and continue the game against the AI from a new position.  Games can be saved and restored, or emailed as attachments.  At any time you can ask for a score estimate or a hint.  This is the seventh mobile app from Smart Games, all under the Igowin brand.  Igowin Tutor is a free introduction to the game.  Igowin 9×9, Igowin 13×13, and Igowin Pro let you play go against the AI.  Igowin life is for practicing solving life and death problems, and Igowin Joseki is for learning Joseki.


YOUR MOVE/Readers Write: The Return of the Elegant Hedgehog

Sunday October 24, 2010

The Return of the Elegant Hedgehog: “I suppose that by now, everyone knows that in the recent best selling book The Elegance of the Hedgehog there is a mention of the game go as well as Hikaru No Go and The Girl Who Played Go,” writes None Redmond.
Though we did report this previously (GO SPOTTING: The Elegance of the Hedgehog 5/4/2010), it’s worth noting again. The mention is on pages 112-114 of Muriel Barberry’s captivating, lovely and philosophical novel, and includes this passage: “Any game where the goal is to build territory has to be beautiful. There may be phases of combat, but they are only the means to an end, to allow your territory to survive. One of the most extraordinary aspects of the game of go is that it has been proven that in order to win, you must live, but you must also allow the other player to live. Players who are too greedy will lose; it’s a subtle game of equilibrium, where you have to get ahead without crushing the other player. In the end, life and death are only the consequences of how well or poorly you’ve made your construction. This is what one of Taniguchi’s characters says: you live, you die, these are consequences. It’s a proverb for playing go, and for life.”



Saturday October 23, 2010

The legendary Sakata Eio 9P died Thursday, October 21 at the age of 90. Perhaps best-known in the West as the author of the indispensable Killer of Go, Sakata — nicknamed “The Razor” — became a professional go player in 1935. In his first title match — the 1951 Honinbo – Sakata was under pressure to win the title back for the Nihon Ki-in and though he won the first three matches, Hashimoto Utaro fought back and won the final four games to keep the Honinbo title. Afterwards, Sakata went on to win a couple of small titles which were the start of a meteoric run of major wins in which he won almost all of the titles in Japan except the Honinbo. In 1961 he once again challenged for the Honinbo, this time winning and taking it from Takagawa Kaku, who had held the title for nine straight years straight. Sakata then captured the Meijin in 1963, making him the first player to simultaneously hold both titles, which at the time were the biggest titles in Japan. Sakata’s strongest year was 1964, when he won 30 games, lost just two and held seven major titles: Meijin, Honinbo, Nihon Ki-in Championship, Asahi Pro Best Ten, Oza, Nihon Kiin#1, and NHK Cup. Sakata’s professional career waned in 1965, when he lost the Meijin to 23-year-old Rin Kaiho. Sakata challenged two years in a row but could not win the Meijin back and though he then lost the Honinbo to Rin as well, Sakata went on to win many other titles, including the Judan and Oza. In addition to Killer of Go, Sakata’s books in English include Modern Joseki and Fuseki, The Middle Game of Go, and Tesuji and Anti-Suji of Go. In his LifeIn19x19 memory of Sakata’s 1986 visit to the U.S. Go Congress, Keith Arnold recommends “the late Nakayama’s essay regarding a game between Sakata and Shuko – a wonderful game and a wonderful story that truly makes you feel like you are in the room with him. The moment when he exclaims in frustration ‘This shows how hopeless I am at go’ and his genuine anger when the players at the next board burst out in laughter is priceless. As was he.”
- Chris Garlock, adapted from Wikipedia

Categories: World


Saturday October 9, 2010

Tuttle, the mainstream publisher of three books on go by Peter Shotwell, has added another title, but this time, he is only the co-author, while the principal author is none other than Richard Bozulich, the architect of the Kiseido catalog. Winning Go, like his Kisedo publications, is a problem book. But whereas other problem books usually focus on a a single subject — joseki, tesuji, life-and-death — Winning Go gives us a little of everything. Problems from all aspects of the game are organized into one book, designed to help kyu-level players discover their strengths and weaknesses, with suggestions for further study. Personally, I prefer the Kiseido format, where several problems appear on one page, and you turn the page to see the answers. Here the answers appear below the problems–cheaters beware! If you have made it solidly into the SDK range, you should easily solve most of the problems; but it’s a unique resource for advanced beginners. I’ve been playing a friend some nine-stone games, and I’m putting it on his Christmas list. — reported by Roy Laird



Monday September 20, 2010

Dae Hyuk Ko 7d (l) won the Cotsen Open last weekend in Los Angeles, California, besting a very tough Open section in which a lot of hard-fought games were played over the course of the two-day tournament. More than 150 players turned out for the 20th annual competition, one of the biggest and richest on the annual American Go Association tournament calendar. The popular event, founded and run by longtime local go fan and entrepreneur Eric Cotsen, is also a unique tournament, the only one to feature free shoulder massages from roaming masseuses, a free catered lunch on both days, a club competition with a $1,500 prize pool and full refund of registration fees to players who attend both days of the tournament. Another highlight was the online pro-pro game Sunday morning between Yilun Yang 7P and Yigang Hua 8P in China, which Yang then commented on afterward. In addition to being available to review player games, Yang ran a competition to correctly solve life and death problems that had players clustered over boards throughout the playing area working on the problems. This year’s tournament also hosted a planning meeting for the 2011 U.S. Go Congress, which will be held July 30-August 6 in nearby Santa Barbara, California and already has close to 100 pre-registered. The American Go E-Journal once again broadcast top-board games on KGS, some of which were commented by Jennie Shen 2P; EuroGoTV also hosted a live video feed of Board 1.
RESULTS (Open Section): 1st: Dae Hyuk Ko 7d ($1,000); 2nd: Juyong Ko 7d ($500); 3rd: Deuk Je Chang 7d ($250); 4th: Curtis Tang 7d ($125); 5th: Seung Hyun (Kevin) Hong 7d ($75); 6th: Rui (Ray) Wang 7d ($50). A 3d-5d: 1st Haibo Zhou $500; 2nd Brett Kelly $250; 3rd Jack Shih $125. B 1k-2d: 1st Aaron Ye $400; 2nd Ross Wolf $200; 3rd Sammy Zhang $100. C 2k-4k: 1st Clark Brooks $500; 2nd Alex Chau $250; 34d Jay Chan $125. D 5k-8k: 1st Roger Schrag $200; 2nd Alf Mikula $100; 3rd Ezana Berhane $60. E 9k-11k: 1st Daniel Davis Jr. $100; 2nd Jiayue Li $80; 3rd Reese Anschultz $50. F 12k-18k: 1st Gordon Castanza $80; 2nd Scott Nichols $60; 3rd Luis Armendariz $40. G 19k+: 1st Shuai Weng $60; 2nd Bryan Liu $40; 3rd Alex Ledante $30. Club prize: 1st Santa Monica Go Club $1000; 2nd Orange County Go Club $300; 3rd Yu GO Go Club $20.
CREDITS: Eric Cotsen, Sponsor; Casie Rizer, Organizer; Chris Hayashida, TD;  assisted by La Nida Cedeno, Lauren Madison-Jamar & Patricia Wang with special thanks to Alex Ledante; Friday set-up volunteers: Sue Gisser, AJ Laprix, Bobbie Rizer, Samantha Rizer, Sara Bergman. Photography by Tony Lau. E-Journal broadcasting team: Chris Garlock, Managing Editor & lead broadcaster; Chris Burg, Board 2 broadcaster & video stream manager; Nick McNelis, Board 3 broadcaster; Richard Dolen, Board 4 broadcaster; KGS, broadcasting host; EuroGoTV, video stream host. photo: reviewing the final round game between Dae Hyuk Ko 7d and Curtis Tang 7d; photo by Chris Garlock

Categories: Cotsen Open

2010 COTSEN OPEN Photo Album: Sunday Morning, September 19

Sunday September 19, 2010

Clockwise from top right: kids work on solving Yang’s life and death problems; Juyong Koh 7d (l) and Seung Hyun Hong 7d review their Round 3 game; group effort on solving the life and death problems; Yilun Yang 7P plays Yigang Hua 8P from China live online; Congress Directors Lisa Scott & Andrew Jackson discuss the 2011 U.S. Go Congress with local players; young players review their game. Photos by Chris Garlock



Monday September 13, 2010

Alexandra Urban’s Badukbooks is back in business. Badukbooks specializes in a veritable treasure trove of Korean go books, many never seen – or very hard to find – in the West. A wide range of material, from the Baduk Nara book series for beginners to life and death books – choose from the just-published Hye-Yeon’s Creative Life & Death I, the 4-volume Sahwal series or the 20-volume Classic Life & Death collection – to Lee Chang-ho’s 2-volume “Brilliantly Beautiful Endgame,” and the “New Moves, New Shapes” yearbooks from 1999 and 2000. Though many of the books are in Korean, some are in English, and each are clearly marked on the site. After a year-long hiatus, Urban says she’s back in Korea “this time at least for 3 years,” and is willing to try to track down any Korean go book Western players are interested in.



Monday August 23, 2010

There’s theory and there’s practice. In go, practice means studying problems. Kiseido is five volumes into an ambitious seven-volume series of problem books for dan-level players originally published in Japanese by the Japan Go Association. Now available: Graded Go Problems for Dan Players; 300 Life-and-Death Problems, 5-kyu to 3-dan; 300 Tesuji Problems, 5-kyu to 3-dan; 300 Joseki Problems, 1-dan to 3-dan; 256 Opening and Middle Game Problems, 1-dan to 7-dan. These problems are designed to develop your intuition and to provide exercises for developing your ability to analyze positions deeply and accurately. “These are not problems that you can skim through in a couple of days,” Kiseido warns. “Each problem requires serious thought to obtain the maximum benefit.” Click here for details and to order.



Wednesday August 4, 2010

Born into the famous Matsuoka go family, the pressure on Shigeko Hane 1P (r) to succeed as a professional from an early age – she learned when she was 6 years old – was intense. “Winning was the #1 priority,” Hane told the E-Journal in an interview Sunday afternoon in the E-Journal office at the U.S. Go Congress. Now, as the wife of former Kisei, Honinbo and Tengen title holder Naoki Hane 9P and mother of four — Ranka 1k, Rinka 4k, Ayaka 1k and 3-year-old Kazuya, of whom great things are also expected – she says she just wants “to enjoy the game.” As a go teacher at an elementary school in Aichi Prefecture, she says she emphasizes the “positive aspects” of their play to encourage them. “Mental toughness is very important to getting stronger,” she says, “all the top professionals absolutely hated to lose as kids. Many of them are famous for breaking down in tears after losses as young players.” While a person’s true temperament can be difficult to determine in real life “it comes out right away in go,” Hane says, “go reveals your real character immediately. Husband Naoki Hane 9P, for example, is calm and steady, like his father Yasumasa Hane 9P – who she accompanied to the Go Congress – and when he came home after winning the Honinbo in 2008 and 2009, “he was the same as always, not jumping up and down, eating the same meals.” And when he lost the title this year, “he was just the same. So I think he really enjoys go for what it is, instead of worrying about winning and losing.” Hane says she’s been “really impressed with how many players at the Congress are recording their games; in Japan very few people do this.” She was also startled that the roomful of hundreds of players at the U.S. Open was “so quiet I could hear the whirr of my video recorder; in Japan tournaments are much noisier.” One way she judges how effective lectures are is by the audience participation, and she noted that at the Congress, “everyone’s really engaged. You must be doing everything right.”
- report by Chris Garlock: photos: Shigeko Hane 1P watching her daughter Ayaka play in the U.S. Open (upper right, by Garlock); Yasumasa Hane 9P, Shigeko Hane 1P, translator Yoshi Sawada (l) and E-Journal Managing Editor Chris Garlock (r) (left, by Todd Heidenreich)