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Atari Founder Nolan Bushnell on Go, Pong, Life and Changing the World

Saturday August 4, 2012

A standing-room-only crowd packed into Washburn Hall at the U.S. Go Congress opening ceremonies Saturday night, where – after a brief but entertaining Congress welcome from Congress Directors Paul Celmer and Peter Armenia — Atari founder Nolan Bushnell regaled the rapt audience with tales of how he came to found the company that helped define the computer entertainment industry for years. The talk was the keynote presentation of the ongoing International Go Symposium (see below for Sunday’s schedule).

“Isn’t go a great game?!” Bushnell began, to cheers and applause. “Go allows us to engage both side of our brain,” Bushnell continued, “but it requires humility and patience, both of which are hard for Americans. But wouldn’t the world be a better place if everyone played go?” He then described how he learned go from a fellow chess club member in college, was instantly entranced by the game, and then got interested in arcade games while working in an amusement park. Punctuating his own history and that of the computer game industry with jovial asides – “I turned down an offer to buy a third of Apple for $50,000; I regret that.” – Bushnell described developing classics like the Atari 2600 gaming console and Pong, which drew knowing nods from many in the crowd of gamers, some of whom had brought their favorite Atari game cartridges to be autographed. “Go has been really important in my career,” Bushnell said, as he described the ups and downs of a long and fascinating life. “Just like in a game of go, at the end, you pick up the pieces and start over again.”

Now CEO of Brainrush, Bushnell has gotten interested in education and in the effects of aging on the brain, and he described software his company’s working on that he said has gotten tremendous results by focusing on play instead of the usual approach of “presentation, practice, test.” Bushnell concluded by throwing his arms wide and proclaiming that “I love go players” and confiding that he often plays on KGS (“Often anonymously”) but that he needs “a two-martini account” for those days when he just wants to have fun playing.

International Go Symposium Schedule for Sunday, August 5
A = Attending Congress; S = Skype presentation; also streaming live online. Papers and web links will be posted online after the Symposium; details will be announced in the E-Journal.

Sunday August 5

9:00    Thomas  Wolf  Go Theory S
Basic Seki in Go

9:45    Chen Zu-yan  Poetry S
The Art of Black and White: Weiqi in Chinese Poetry

10:30  Roxanna Duntley-Matos  Education and Community Organization  A
“Playing Under and Pushing Through the Stones”: Privileging Transnational Go Network Formation and Minority Leadership from Lower to Higher Education.

11:15  Peter Shotwell  History
The Origins of Go Strategies in Classical Chinese Grammar

12:00-1:00  Lunch 

1:00-2:30  A Panel Discussion on Go inChinaToday:
Marc Moskowitz  A
Wei Qi Wonders: Conversations About the Game of Go in China (Film)
and
The Challenges of Categorization for an Increasingly Globalized Game

Stephanie Mingming Yin (China1-dan Professional)  A
Experiences in Growing Up in the Profession and Observations on the Chinese Methods of Education  Joshua A. Guarino (Go Congress Japanese-English Interpreter) A
Cross-cultural memoirs

Peter Shotwell  (Go Historian)
Go in China1985

2:30 Hotta Yumi  A
Hikaru no Go creator – Interview
Paul Barchilon  (Vice-President and Youth Coordinator, American Go Foundation: 2006 Teacher of the Year)  Akane Negishi  (Translator)

3:15 Terry Benson  Rules/Attitudes A
Spreading Go – Rules and Attitudes Which Make That Hard

A Panel Discussion on Go on How to Start a Go Program in Your Community
Moderated by Roy Laird, PhD, LCSW-R (Program Director, New York City Children’s Aid Society)

Play Go and Grow: Why Every School and Library Should Have a Go Program  A
Paul Barchilon (Vice-President and Youth Coordinator, American Go Foundation: 2006 Teacher of the Year)

Developing Youth Programs
Peter Freedman, PhD (Portland, OregonChildren’s go organizer); 2011 Portlandand Mexico Children’s Tournament)  A

Teaching Children to Become Go Players
Siddhartha Avila (Program Director, Mexican Youth Go Community; Univ.of Michigan Cultural Ambassador Go Program)  A

The Art of Go in Education and Presentation of the International Children’s Go Art Contest

photos: (top right) Nolan Bushnell delivers Symposium keynote speech; (middle left) Bushnell talks with Congress attendees after the speech, including the EJ’s Steve Colburn (right) and Todd Blatt (left); (middle right): Congress Directors Paul Celmer (standing, center) and Peter Armenia (seated at right) with Chris Kirschner (left) as the Ghost of Congresses Past. photos by Chris Garlock

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Last Chance for Mind Games; 5 Slots Left

Monday July 16, 2012

American go players interested in playing in the upcoming Mind Games in France have one last opportunity to represent the US. “We have four open slots for players in the Men’s Individual and one slot in the Women’s Individual competition at World Mind Sports Games,” reports Chris Kirschner. The Games run August 13-16 in Lille, France. Players are responsible for all costs, estimated at $2,500 – $3,000. The AGA requires that applicants be an AGA member for at least the last year, and WMSG requires US citizenship. Slots will go first to anyone with WMSG qualification points (in point order).  After that, it is first come, first on the list. Email tournaments@usgo.org; deadline is midnight PDT this Thursday, July 19. Those accepted must promptly provide their name as on passport, passport #, date of birth, name of accompanying adult (if under 18), tee shirt size, a short bio of your go life, digital head shot picture (similar to passport size).

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2011 U.S. Go Congress Overview: Reports, Photos, Games & Commentaries

Sunday June 17, 2012

Winners Yongfe Ge Wins U.S. Open; Mingming Yin Wins Strong Players Open
Zi Yang Hu 1P Wins N.A. Master’s Tournament; Board Auction Raises $1,000 for AGF
Yongfei Ge Closes in on U.S. Open Title, Mingming “Stephanie” Yin Wins Strong Player’s Tournament

2011 U.S. Go Congress Crosstabs (includes game files except for the Die Hard)
US Open (includes game files)
North American Masters Tournament
Redmond Cup Junior Division
Redmond Cup Senior Division
Strong Players Open
Die Hard (no game files)

Photos

Brian’s Photos: Selected 2011 U.S. Go Congress Awards
Brian’s Photos: Pro Game Analysis
Brian’s Go Photo: Go Players Hit the Beach
Brian’s Go Photo: Outdoor Lesson with Yilun Yang 7P
Brian’s Go Photo: Li Ting from the Kansai Kiin
Brian’s Go Photo: Jennie Shen 2P Game Analysis
Brian’s Go Photo: Go Congress Moves Outdoors
Brian’s Go Photos: Memories of the Santa Barbara Go Congress
Phil’s Portraits: Familiar Faces
Phil’s Portraits: Sunday, July 31
Phil’s Portraits: Monday, August 1

Games/Commentaries
U.S. Go Congress Game Records, Pro Commentaries, Pairings & Results (thru 8/5)
U.S. Go Congress Game Records, Pro Commentaries, Pairings & Results (thru 8/4)
Congress Game Records Posted (thru 8/3)
PRO GAME COMMENTARY: U.S. Open Round 1, Board 1: Mingjiu Jiang 7P on Dae Hyuk Ko 7d vs. Bill Lin 7d
PRO GAME COMMENTARY: U.S. Open Round 2, Board 1: Maeda Ryo 6P on Yuan Zhou 7d vs. Dae Hyuk Ko 7d
PRO GAME COMMENTARY: U.S. Open Round 2, Board 2: Li Ting 1P* on Calvin Sun 7d vs. Yongfei Ge 7d
PRO GAME COMMENTARY: U.S. Open Round 4, Board 3: Michael Redmond 9P on Chen-Sun
PRO GAME COMMENTARY: NAIM Round 2, Board 4: Maeda & Shen on Hu-Chen

North American Masters: Player Photo Gallery
Strong Players’ Open: Photo Gallery

Reports

The Go Congress Remembers Yoshi Sawada
Getting Frank with MingJiu Jiang 7P
Janice Kim on the 3 Rules of Go
Appreciation for AGA Lifetime Members

U.S. Go Congress EJ Team Recognition
YOUR MOVE: Congress Ratings?
NEW IN PRINT: Roy Laird Visits the Congress Go Vendors
Congress Connects KGS Neighbors

MASTER’S FINAL TONIGHT! LIVE NOW ON KGS
Tam-Zhou to Play Su-Zhang in Pair Go Playoff
106 Clock in for Die Hard Tourney
Pandanet-IGS Announces New Client
Lightning Tourney: 10m, Sudden Death. Start Your Clocks!
Board Election Winners, Congress Results

2011 U.S. Open Underway
U.S. Go Congress: Day 1 Live Broadcast Schedule
Following the 2011 Go Congress on Twitter, KGS, EJ & Website
Party Starts Early for 2011 U.S. Congress
Go Congress Joseki: Congress at a GlanceGo Congress Joseki: Checking In/Registering
Go Congress Joseki: Other Games
Go Congress Joseki: Transportation & Parking
Go Congress Joseki: Arrival/Registration
Sign Up Online for Congress Pair Go!
Excitement Building for Upcoming U.S. Go Congress in Santa Barbara, CA
New GoGoD Released, Coming to Congress
Balwit Named Teacher of the Year
Rare KBA Dan Certificates to be Awarded at Go Congress
U.S. Go Congress Attendance Nears 450; 19 Pros Confirmed

Youth
Battle of the Youngsters: Tang vs. Hu in Master’s Final Friday Night
Redmond Plays Redmond
Sun and Ye Sweep Redmond
Sun and Ye Leading in Redmond Cup
Shi and Ye Top Redmond Cup Qualifiers

 


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2012 WAGC at a Glance: Report/Game Index

Thursday May 17, 2012

The American Go E-Journal and Ranka Online teamed up again this year to provide full coverage of the GAC Trumpchi Cup 33rd World Amateur Go Championship May 11-18 in Guangzhou, China. Round-by-round reports, game records, commentaries, feature stories and photos brought the annual gathering of 56 top amateurs from 55 countries to life for go fans around the world. Below is a handy overview of the coverage in both the E-Journal and Ranka Online; click here for final tournament results (or here for an easy-to-use WAGC Smart Crosstable by the EJ’s Myron Souris, which includes several nifty features, including the ability to place cursor over a player name to highlight all opponent names and results). Thanks to the organizers and staff of the International Go Federation, the China Qi-Yuan and the Guangzhou Qi-yuan for their generous support and assistance. Special thanks to the Ranka/EJ team for all their hard work: (l-r) Yoshitaka Morimoto (Go Weekly), So Yokoku 8P, Ting Ting Chen (translator), Yang Shuang 3P, Chris Garlock (EJ), John Pinkerton (EJ), Ivan Vigano (Ranka), Yuki Shigeno (IGF), James Davies (Ranka), Taro Matsuo (Go Monthly).

World Amateur Championship Set for May 11-17
2012 WAGC Readies for Launch in Guangzhou
33rd WAGC Begins: E-Journal & Ranka Online Team Up for Coverage
WAGC Orientation & Pairings
WAGC Short Takes: Yuan Zhou on Tygem & the U.S. Pro System; Nihon Ki-in Teams up with Cho U on New Go App; In the Gardens of the Guangzhou Chess Institute; A Glimpse of James Davies
WAGC Go Players on Destiny, Predicting the Weather and Managing a Disco Bar
Go Photo: Unwinding at the WAGC
The Nakazono Fan Club’s Road Trip to Guangzhou
31st General Meeting of the IGF
Interview with Igor Popov (Russia)
Interview with Chan Chihan (Hong Kong)
Interview with Chen Cheng-Hsun (Taipei)
Interview with Fang Xiaoyan (China, at right)
Interview with Leslie Perez (Chile)

2012 WAGC Round 1
Overview (EJ) Detailed Report (Ranka)
Game Records: DPR Korea-China (Commentary by So Yokoku 8P); Thailand-Japan (Commentary by Yang Shuang 3P); US-Norway; Brazil-Korea

2012 WAGC Round 2
Overview (EJ)
Detailed Report (Ranka)
Game Records: Finland-UK (Commentary by Kaz Furuyama); Hungary-DPRKorea (Commentary by So Yokoku 8P); Taipei-US (Commentary by So Yokoku 8P); Japan-Netherlands (uncommented) photo: China Go Association President Wang Runan (left) relaxes over a game; photo by John Pinkerton

2012 WAGC Round 3
Detailed Report (Ranka) Game Records: China-Macau (Commentary by Yang Shuang 3P); DPRKorea-Austria; Japan-Korea; Slovakia-Romania
photo: WAGC winner Qiao Zhijian 7d (2nd from left), 2nd-place winner Hyunjoon Lee of Korea (far left), and third-place winner Chen ChengHsun of Tapei (2nd from right), with China Go Association President Wang Runan (3rd from left) and IGF Secretary-General Yuki Shigeno (far right); photo by John Pinkerton

2012 WAGC Round 4
U.S. Beats Japan in Controversial 4th-Round WAGC Game (EJ)
Detailed Report (Ranka)
Game Records
: US-Japan (Commentary by So Yokoku 8P); HongKong-China (Commentary by So Yokoku 8P); Czechia-Taipei

2012 WAGC Round 5
Overview (EJ)
Detailed Report (Ranka)
Game Records: DPRK-Korea (Commentary by So Yokoku 8P); UK-US (Commentary by So Yokoku 8P); Taipei-China (commentary by Yang  Shuang 3P); Czechia-Japan
photo: EJ photographer John Pinkerton; photo by Taro Matsuo

2012 WAGC Round 6
Overview Report (EJ)
Detailed Report (Ranka)
Game Records: Korea-China (Commentary by So Yokoku 8P); Singapore-HongKong; US-DPRK; Germany-Taipei (Commentary by Yang Shuang 3P)

2012 WAGC Round 7
Detailed Report (Ranka)
Game Records
: China-DPRK (Commentary by So Yokoku 8P); HongKong-Taipei; Hungary-Korea; Japan-Slovakia

2012 WAGC Round 8
Detailed Report (Ranka)
Game Records: Korea-Taipei (Commentary by Yang Shuang); Finland-Romania (Commentary by Yang Shuang); Japan-Bosnia; China-Germany

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WAGC Game Report: Round 2

Sunday May 13, 2012

Despite a good opening, the United States’ Yuan Zhou 7d became the second seeded player to suffer defeat when he lost to 13-year-old Chen Cheng-Hsun 7d (at left) of Taipei  in just 152 moves. “I wasn’t prepared to play such a tough player on the first day,” Zhou confided to the E-Journal. “But it’s great to see such strong young players.” When Cheng-Hsun competed in the WAGC in Hangzhou in 2010 he was thinking of going directly from primary school into a professional career. Instead, he took the more normal course of entering middle school, but his playing strength has continued to improve and he would already be serious competition for a lot of professionals.

The game between Nadeem Prem 3d (Brazil) and Leslie Perez 4k (Chile, at right) developed into a contest worth watching, despite the wide disparity in listed rankings. Overcoming the six-stone ranking difference, Perez won handily by 17.5 points to score the tournament’s first win by a woman; her Chinese counterpart, Fang Xiaoyan, the tournament’s only other female player, had already lost her second-round game to Andreas Gotzfried of Luxembourg.

In the Japan-Netherlands game, an early mistake by Mr Nakazono gave Alexander Eerbeek the lead, and he did not seem about to give it back. As the game progressed Mr Nakazono’s expression became increasingly grim, but in the end he managed to kill a large group and Alexander resigned. Japan had had a close call, but had earned the right to face Korea in the next round.

In the Czechia-Germany game, Czechia (Lukas Podepera) launched a fierce attack on a large German group, forcing it to struggle for a minimal life with just two eyes, and kept the pressure up relentlessly until Germany (Benjamin Teuber) resigned. Ten minutes later, Slovenia (Matoh Leon 5d) prevailed over Argentina (Eduardo Lopez Herrero 5d). The winners of these two games will meet in Round 3.

The last game to end, at 4:55, was the one between the North Korean and Hungarian players, Ri Kwang-Hyok (at left) and Pal Balogh. ‘My opponent made a mistake in the opening and I got the lead,’ said Balogh, ‘but I quickly matched him with a mistake of my own. After that I think I was still ahead, but I gave him a chance to attack and he took it.’ Balogh persevered to the end but lost by 9.5 points. Ri Kwang-Hyok, a veteran of the 2010 Asian games, is another player who would be serious competition for many professionals. Although Balogh looked shaken, his final comment was, ‘I feel happy with the way I played.’
- adapted from James Davies’ report on Ranka Online; click here for latest results; Click here for online game records for the following Round 1 games: Finland-UK; Hungary-DPRKorea (Commentary by So Yokoku 8P; Taipei-US (Commentary by So Yokoku 8P); photos by John Pinkerton

 

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Kiseido Releases Modern Master Games in Hard-Copy

Tuesday March 20, 2012

Kiseido has just issued Modern Master Games, Volume One, The Dawn of Tournament Go in hard-copy; it was first released in September 2011 (Modern Master Games & More New Releases from SmartGo Books 9/19 EJ) in digital format by SmartGo Books. A survey of Japanese go from the founding of the Honinbo tournament in the 1940s to the Meijin and Judan tournaments in the 1960s, Modern Master Games was written by by Rob van Zeijst and Richard Bozulich, with historical notes by John Power. It includes 11 games, including the “Atomic Bomb Game” between Iwamoto and Hashimoto, analyzed in detail and tied together with a historical commentary by John Power. The games in this book were played in turbulent times. When the first Honinbo tournament was established in 1941, the war had not yet seriously affected the Japanese go world or the daily life of the average Japanese. But by the time of the third Honinbo tournament, Japanese society was in chaos — bullets were whizzing overhead during the first game of the title match and the atomic bomb was dropped just 10 kilometers from where the second game was being played. After the war, life slowly returned to normal. By the 1950s, the go world was again abuzz. Rivalries were flourishing, and newspapers were establishing new tournaments with abundant prize money. As the post-war go world was reorganizing itself, the matches played were of much consequence — it became more than just winning a title. The results were to determine the organizations that governed the game in Japan until today. The pressures on the players were intense, and it exposed their psychological strengths as well as fragilities. Takagawa’s games in this book show how dangerous it is to underestimate an opponent. It was almost unbelievable to some that the mild-mannered Takagawa, whose quiet and laid-back style, never attacking too strongly and lacking the brilliance of a player like Sakata, could hold the Honinbo title against all comers for nearly a decade. Sakata’s games are good illustrations of the slashing style which earned him the moniker Razor-Sharp Sakata. We also see examples of the depth of his analysis when he makes an unorthodox peep (dubbed the tesuji of the century) against Fujisawa Shuko that entails another tesuji 15 moves later whose consequences also have to be analyzed. The fact that both Sakata and Fujisawa could read this deeply and accurately shows that the level of their play was second to none. Fujisawa Hosai was another important player of this era — his power on the go board was likened to that of a bulldozer. He had a penchant for playing imitation go, but this was, as explained in the commentary on one of his games, a well thought-out strategy that he used to take advantage of the komi system that had been recently adopted. photo: Hashimoto Utaro (l) and Go Seigen (r) in 1947; photo courtesy Go Igo Weiqi Baduk blog.

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SmartGo Books Releases Sakata’s “Killer of Go” and “Single Digit Kyu Game Commentaries” by Yuan Zhou

Sunday October 23, 2011

The out-of-print Killer of Go: Technique and Preventative Measures by Sakata Eio (published by Yutopian) is now back to life in SmartGo Books. “It’s a classic text on the theme of killing stones, featuring advice, game analysis, killing techniques, as well as shape and tewari analysis,” says SmartGo’s Anders Kierulf. The SmartGo Books edition “makes it easy to replay the moves in the diagrams,” Kierulf adds. “Moreover, twenty-seven additional diagrams replace long sequences of letters that were hard to follow in the original text.” SmartGo Books also recently released Single Digit Kyu Game Commentaries by Yuan Zhou. Earlier versions of these six commentaries were originally published in the E-Journal, but the commentaries have been significantly expanded for inclusion in SmartGo Books.

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Yilun Yang’s 2011 Life and Death Puzzle

Monday January 10, 2011

For over a decade Yilun Yang 7P has been creating these annual original brain-teasing life and death problems based on the digits of each

[link]

new year. Here’s the latest; enjoy!
Non-members: get this kind of great content every week, from pro game commentaries to lessons and amateur game commentaries from top pros created just for the EJ! Sign up for the Member’s Edition today and start getting it next week!

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AGA BOARD TO REVIEW 10-GAME RULE

Monday September 13, 2010

In its monthly meeting Sunday, the American Go Association’s Board of Directors had a preliminary discussion of Feng Yun 9P’s objections (AGA’S 10-Game Rule Assailed By Feng Yun 9P 9/6) to the 10-game rule for international eligibility, according to board member and chair-elect Andy Okun. The board agreed to continue the discussion at a special meeting set for this Wednesday, September 15.  “We set the special meeting because we want to have enough time to go in depth into the issues raised by Feng Yun, as well as to the extensive debate her comments sparked on the AGA chapter e-mail list, which we have all been reading,” Okun said. “A number of people want to hear from us on this question and the time we had in the regular meeting wouldn’t have allowed us to do it justice.” Board members have also been following the thread on the topic on Life in 19×19.

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LIFE AND DEATH WITH RYO MAEDA 6P

Monday August 2, 2010

The key to making a living shape is “not two eyes, but six points,” Ryo Maeda 6P said in the second of his four-part U.S. Go Congress lecture series.  He went through various sizes of eyes, saying that most players need to “reset” their thinking.  For example a group with a three-space eye “is not dead, it just has one eye.”  He showed the four-space “mountain” eye, as well as the four-space square eye, which he called “baka” (‘stupid’ in Japanese).  He then went on to the bulky five shape (stupid eye plus one) and the rectangular six, which is alive.  Only the “flower six” (or rabbity six) is dead, but Maeda said not to worry about that shape as it has never come up in one of his games: “before you get in flower six, you do something else.”  Someone from the audience suggested “stupid four plus two ears” for that shape, which was well received.  He also described how to avoid studying joseki by making the rectangular six shape in the corner. Sometimes that shape can “turn into ko, but you don’t die.” Instead of studying and remembering joseki, “which is complicated — you can make one mistake and mess it all up,” just remember the rectangular six.

If you are trying to kill a group, first see if it can be turned into a five-point shape, then look to reduce it from the outside.  Playing from the outside is less risky, than playing the “fancy stuff” on the inside that a professional might use, because if it fails “you can lose.”  Most life and death problem books are geared toward a single answer, but in the Maeda method, “there are many right answers.” Players should “erase everything they know and start with the Maeda method — it’s not too late.”  Translator Yoshi Sawada 6D said that the method is simple, “that’s why his book is only six pages” to much laughter.  As he did in his first lecture on Sunday, Maeda finished Monday’s lecture with two rounds of simul rock-paper-scissors with the audience, with a prize for the last one standing.
- report/photos by Jake Edge

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