American Go E-Journal

The Empty Board: Philosophical Reflections on Go #10

Wednesday September 19, 2018

by William Cobb2018.09.16_empty-go-board-with-bowls-and-stones-water swirl

A big part of life is experiencing things you have never experienced before: flying in a plane, hiking to a mountain top, being in a snow storm, visiting a country where you don’t speak the language. We think of such things as enriching our lives, making life more interesting, and fun besides. There’s an obvious parallel to this in go: the game has a virtually infinite range of possibilities, but some players seem resistant to getting outside their already familiar circumstances. There are a lot of things that many of us have seldom if ever experienced: playing tenuki in response to an approach move in the opening, knowing what to do when the opponent attaches to a 3-4 point stone, being confident about the best way to continue after the first dozen or so moves, consistently judging the status of small groups accurately, knowing where to invade common positions, etc. In this regard, we’re like people who are perfectly happy to have never seen the ocean or a snow-capped mountain. The world is full of amazing and wonderful things; we’re happy to spend time, money, and energy exploring and becoming familiar with as many of them as we can. We should have the same attitude toward playing go. Just playing won’t get you to a lot of the amazing amount of beauty and fascination the game offers. You’ve got to get outside the familiar patterns you already know. This is why it makes no sense to refuse to read books, take lessons, or study the games of stronger players. There’s a truly amazing world out there. We need to spend some time and effort exploring it and not just stay inside the familiar area we already know. Don’t just buy books—read them. Don’t just look at the results of pro games—play through them. Don’t just play the same opening moves—try some you’ve not used before. You’ll discover that go is even more fun than you thought.
photo by Phil Straus; photo art by Chris Garlock

Go Classified: Demo board; Gobans & stones for sale; go teachers wanted

Wednesday September 19, 2018

Demo board wanted: “I’ve been scouring the Internet for one of those old, large, magnetic go boards that can be stood up on an easel,” writes Dirk Knemeyer. “I have learned that they are no longer easily available because the teaching methods in go have largely moved on from these large easels to computers and projectors. It seems likely that there are unused, unwanted magnetic go boards in closets or attics of go clubs around the U.S.” and Knemeyer is interesting in buying one. Reach him at dirk.knemeyer@gmail.com

Gobans & stones for sale: large lot of gobans, standard/undersize/custom boards, agate and Yunzi stones, portable complete sets, all for $300.  Local pickup in West Virginia only, no shipping, near I-81 less than two hours west of the Baltimore and Washington DC beltways.  Email gerratt5@aol.com or call 304-820-3167 and leave message anytime for photos.  Cash, Paypal, or credit/debit card OK.

Go teachers wanted: An Oakton VA family is currently looking for a teacher for a 5-year old beginner; contact Mr. Zhang at zhiyuanz@gmail.com; a Fairfax County, Virginia non-profit weekend Chinese-language school is looking for a go teacher for a class with 6-12 students; contact Ms. Liu at 6yichunzi@gmail.com

Categories: Go Classified,Main Page
Share

AGA chapters reaping rewards of building membership

Monday September 17, 2018

AGA chapters have been accumulating “tons of points” since the launch of the Chapter Reward Points program, reports Steve Colburn. The program operates similarly to an airlines or credit card rewards program; chapters are awarded points when AGA members affiliated with that chapter do things that earn points – sign up as full members of the AGA, play rated games, etc  – which can then be used by chapters to get reimbursed for activities related to the promotion of American go. “For example, if you have 35,000 points, that covers your chapter membership for the year,” Colburn says. Click here for program details, including that the formula for calculating point awards gives a bonus award to small and medium chapters to encourage their growth.  “I hope that your local chapter can benefit from this program,” Colburn added.

Your Move/Readers Write: Where to score a scoresheet; Connecting to other go players

Monday September 17, 2018

Where to score a scoresheet: In response to Glen Hart’s query about “Where to score a scoresheet?”, Jim Hurley sent 2018.09.16_Go Game Record copythis link where he’s posted some printable game recording files.

How many Nakayama? “I’m wondering how can I find out how many books Nakayama Noriyuki  wrote in Japanese,” wrote  Kent Olsen recently. Richard Hunter sent along this Japanese Wikipedia link, which includes books and essays Nakayama authored, as well as those he edited or ghost-wrote for others, like Kajiwara and Takemiya.

Connecting to other go players:
David in Poughkeepsie recently posted that he’s looking for other nearby go players. “I find one current AGA member in Poughkeepsie and two others lapsed within the last five years,” says AGA Chapters Coordinator Bob Gilman. “If David is willing to share his email address, I would be happy to write to email these individuals, tell them of his interest in playing, and provide his email address to them should they wish to get in touch with him. I am happy to provide such a service to other go players interested in making contact with other players in their area.” Reach Gilman at bobgilman.aga@gmail.com

 

 

Go Spotting: 101 Two-Letter Words

Monday September 17, 2018

“During a recent Scrabble game, someone showed me this book,” writes Ted Terpstra.2018.09.16 2-letter words book2018.09.16 2-letter words book cover

Categories: Go Spotting,Main Page
Share

NC championship set for Sept 22

Sunday September 16, 2018

The North Carolina State Go Champion will be determined in a day-long tournament on September 22 at Umstead State Park in north Raleigh. Competitors from across the state will vie for the title, with prizes and trophies awarded in multiple divisions. The State Go Champion wins a cash prize along with a trophy. All AGA members are eligible to play. However, to be awarded the title of “North Carolina State Champion” you must be an amateur go player who resides in North Carolina at least 50% of the year. Students are eligible.

PREREGISTRATION IS REQUIRED for first round pairing and an early start. To participate in the first round you must register before 8:00 PM Friday, September 21st. This is an AGA rated tournament; you must be an AGA member to play. Register here.

ICYMI: Ethan Wang wins first official AGA state championship in PA; Tianfu Cup Prelim crosstab posted; Summer of Outreach in Seattle; Janice Kim in NM; Kissinger on AI and go:

Sunday September 16, 2018

Sometimes folks send in reports late, sometimes those reports just get lost in the EJ in-box, but eventually we do catch up…

Ethan Wang wins first official AGA state championship in PA: The Penn Go Society had the2018.09.16 PA state championship distinction of holding the first tournament under the new AGA State Championship system. Held April 28-29 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, more than 40 players attended the event at the Wharton Center for Student Life. In the Dan division, Chase Fu came in first and Ethan Wang and Yu Liang tied for second. In the Kyu division, Alexander Qi took first and Jino Choung and Evan Springer tied for second. $1000 in cash prizes were distributed.  “The Penn Go Society looks forward to next years state championship and looks forward to seeing other states join this system,” said Benjamin Sauerhaft Coplon.

Tianfu Cup Prelim crosstab posted: The crosstab for the 2018 Tianfu Cup Preliminary is now up, and includes the game records. Thanks to TD Jeff Shaevel, Steve Colburn, Dennis Wheeler and Todd Heidenreich for their work getting this done.

Summer of Outreach in Seattle: July was busy for the Seattle Go Center outreach crew, with events on three weekends.  July 1, players from Seattle Go Center and South Sound Go Club staffed a table at the Seattle Storm women’s professional basketball game during the Storm’s “Japan Night” event, and introduced the game to approximately 50 young sports enthusiasts. The following weekend, July 7 and 8, we were at the two-day “Japan Fair” in Bellevue, WA, where Dave Snow’s collection of Hikaru no Go hangings attracted attention from young adults who were in middle school when HnG was new.

2018.09.16-Bart-Jacob-05-01Bart plays go in Cape Town: “While on holiday in Cape Town, South Africa, I was able to stop by the Cape Town Go Club and play a few games,” writes Bart Jacob. “I am on the right side of picture, along with Christian, Sam, Chris and Michael from Cape Town.”

Janice Kim in NM: On September 1, Janice Kim 3p, offered game reviews for players in Albuquerque and Santa Fe. In commenting on game records brought in by local area players, she introduced her overall thoughts about how to play and how to study. She said that she finds players in the US are strong in the opening game but tend to be relatively weak at life and death. She stressed the importance of being able to visualize a sequence in your head. As an exercise, she put up a common joseki on a board, then took it off and asked one of the players to put it up using only black stones. Here’s an example (right). She said that in playing a game she looks for an “I win” move. To find such a move, you must have a good assessment of the overall game status, i.e., you must count. If you judge that you are ahead, the next step is to ask yourself, “How can I possibly lose this game?” and then to take the necessary steps to lock it up. If you judge that you’re behind, “agitate.” You must take risks. “If you lose, it doesn’t matter whether you lose by a half point or twenty.”
- Bob Gilman, Albuquerque Go Club

Kissinger on AI and go: “AlphaGo defeated the world Go champions by making strategically unprecedented moves—moves that humans had not conceived and have not yet successfully learned to overcome,” wrote HENRY A. KISSINGER in “How the Enlightenment Ends” in the June Atlantic. “Are these moves beyond the capacity of the human brain?” Before AI began to play Go, “the game had varied, layered purposes,” Kissinger continues. “A player sought not only to win, but also to learn new strategies potentially applicable to other of life’s dimensions. For its part, by contrast, AI knows only one purpose: to win. It “learns” not conceptually but mathematically, by marginal adjustments to its algorithms. So in learning to win Go by playing it differently than humans do, AI has changed both the game’s nature and its impact. Does this single-minded insistence on prevailing characterize all AI?” And, reflecting on AlphaGo Zero’s mastery of the game on its own, Kissinger wonders “What will be the impact on human cognition generally? What is the role of ethics in this process?”

 

Your Move/Readers Write: More thoughts on Go vs. go

Sunday September 16, 2018

Avoiding grammatical confusion: “While the style sheet (Your Move/Readers Write: Go or go? 8/20 EJ) may be consistent and logical,” writes former EJ editor Terry Benson, “the reason I continue to capitalize Go and have (most of the time) for nearly 50 years is to distinguish it from the verb and grammatical confusion. Chess, checkers, and backgammon don’t have that problem… or the many puns on the name of our game.”

Makes sense but maybe not sensible: “That public domain games like chess, poker, and backgammon are not capitalized, and therefore Go should not be capitalized either, makes sense,” writes Janice Kim. “Identifying Go as public domain, however, seems less important than identifying it as a game. It may be a specific, overarching concern when the word ‘go’ is in the top 20% of words used in English, has dozens of definitions as different parts of speech, and is used to signify the game only by a small portion of the people who play that game. In the meantime, a look at Merriam Webster online indicates that Go the game is often capitalized, and Wikipedia capitalizes it. These aren’t the definitive guides to proper grammar, but it’s indicative of how widespread and accepted it is to capitalize the word ‘Go’ when referring to the game. Luckily in this case the ease of specifying what one is referring to, is not come by an uncomfortable practice such as using male pronouns arbitrarily or exclusively. It’s nice that we have a word, Go, that can be used universally to signify the game. It makes sense that the E-Journal chooses not to capitalize it, but we can assume that there is little ambiguity for average readers of the E-Journal. Meanwhile, people will probably be capitalizing it in other places, not until Go reaches household popularity with consistent agreed-on grammar usage, but as long as there is a word ‘go’ that means something else.”

Logical but lacks clarity: “In the ‘go’ vs. ‘Go’ debate logic is on the side of the E-Journal’s position in favor of the lower-case spelling,” writes Fred Baldwin. “The name of our favorite board game is a common noun like ‘chess’ and ‘poker,’ not like ‘Risk’ or ‘Monopoly.’ Unfortunately, ‘go’ as a noun is easily confused with one of the most commonly used verbs in English. We should avoid any typographical convention that makes a sentence, a headline or a poster unnecessarily difficult for a reader to understand without having to make extra effort. So I favor ‘Go’ on the grounds that writers and editors should not hesitate to break rules for the sake of clarity. Apparently, the New Yorker, a magazine known for its attention to clear writing, agrees. As a distinguished U.S. jurist, Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., once wrote: ‘A page of history is worth a volume of logic.’ Or, as a not especially distinguished U.S. Senator once said: ‘Sometimes a man has to rise above principle.’”

Go Spotting: PBS’ Space Time

Sunday September 16, 2018

Space Time: “Recently the very succesful PBS series ‘Space Time’ did two episodes on entropy, where they used the game of 2018.09.16_space-timego to explain how entropy works,” writes Guillermo Molano. You can find the first episode here.
Thanks also to Daniel Gentry, David Kent and Peter St. John for spotting this.

Categories: Go Spotting,Main Page
Share

Cotsen Open website back up; pre-register for full benefits

Saturday September 15, 2018

The website for the 2018 Cotsen Open is back up. The tournament is on October 13th-14th; pre-registration will close on2018.08.01-cotsen-open Tuesday, October 9th, at 11:59pm. Day-of registration will also be available for $25. Pre-registration comes with benefits, including $20 entry fee and free food truck lunch on both days. As always, everyone who pre-registers and plays in all 5 of their matches has their full entry fee refunded. Also on tap: the Kogi food truck both Saturday and Sunday and Yilun Yang will do his pro game on Sunday.