American Go E-Journal


Sunday December 5, 2010

It was only a matter of time. The e-book revolution has come to the world of English-language go books. Translator Bob Terry has just published not one, but two books available only on the Kindle, Amazon’s e-book reader.  The Startling Beauty of the Game of Go contains 200 problems from every aspect of the game, the “cream of the crop” from Kido magazine, the resource of choice for Japanese players for decades, while Amazing Happenings in the Game of Go — also drawn from the pages of Kido — “is packed with material that has rarely been seen in the West,” Terry tells the E-Journal. “It’s part almanac, part teaching manual, part travelogue, part cultural treatise and part game collection,” adds Terry, noting that this is just Volume 1 and that “each volume totals more than 1,000 pages” with “more than 30 games, with 15 fully annotated” between the two volumes. Terry — who’s also working on iPad versions of the books — is the translator of the hard-copy Heart of Go series, Shuko’s two-volume The Only Move series, Takemiya’s This Is Go The Natural Way, and other works.

Steganography, our vocabulary word for this installment, refers to a process by which information is encoded in other information. In ancient times, considerable ingenuity was required; Herodotus reported in 440 BC that one ruler concealed a message by shaving a slave’s head, tattooing a message on his scalp, and sending him to deliver them message when his hair grew back. More recent uses include watermarking intellectual property online and hiding information in e-mail attachments, a sort of digital “invisible ink.” If you like this kind of cloak-and-dagger stuff, you may enjoy a 2005 article we recently found and posted at The Bob High Memorial Library, entitled “A General Methodology and Its Applications to the Game of Go.” The authors have developed Stegogo, a program that encodes information in game diagrams. Reading this article, go author and scholar Peter Shotwell was reminded of an old mystery novel he had read, The Chinese Lake Murders, where crucial details were found encoded in a game diagram. Click here for a brief article Shotwell contributed to the Library that provides more detail; you’ll find articles there that explore many other facets of the game as well, including a recently-posted short version of Shotwell’s Appendix V of the Origins article–the one that revamps early go history.