American Go E-Journal » Go Spotting

Go Spotting: All Is Fair In Love & Go

Thursday September 3, 2020

Andrew Okun reports that Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone’s book This is How You Lose the Time War and its inclusion of Go features in a new tor.com article called All Is Fair in Love & Go: Strategy Gaming in This is How You Lose the Time War. In the article, author Em Nordling states that “Go, in the context of Time War, is time travel. It isn’t just the 19×19 coordinate options that lend the game its complexity (though the 3^361×0.012 = 2.1×10^170 potential moves don’t hurt), but the positionality, the contingency. With the meaning of each move changing over time, its narrative is not linear. Where most strategy games unfold with the grace of a plotted story, Go moves map like a messy history, where meaning is made only in hindsight, where brilliance can turn obsolete and banality groundbreaking.” The book was first featured in Go Spotting by Adam Anaya in June of this year.

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Go Spotting: The History of Home

Wednesday September 2, 2020

Tyler Keithley, president of the Southwest Missouri Go Club, reports that the second episode of The History of Home Narrated by Nick Offerman includes a mention of Go at 48:27 in a transition between explaining the historical importance of board games and the modern pastime of playing video games, and is again mentioned by Twitch streamer Sonja Reid (OMGITSFIREFOXX) around 50 minutes and 30 seconds into the episode.

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Go Spotting: Windy City Blues

Sunday August 23, 2020

Ted Terpstra reports that in Sara Paretsky’s 2009 collection, Windy City Blues, there is a 13-page story called “The Takamoku Joseki” beginning on page 246, in which her female private detective, V.I. Warshawski, solves a murder mystery at a Go gathering of Japanese, Korean, and American Go players at an apartment in Chicago.

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Go Spotting: Distinguishing humans from computers in the game of go: A complex network approach

Monday July 13, 2020

EJournal reader Mel reports that other readers may be interested in an article from the October issue of EPL (Europhysics Letters) focusing on telling the difference between human and computer players. He notes that the article is not free to read, but the abstract is available.

Distinguishing humans from computers in the game of go: A complex network approach
https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1209/0295-5075/119/48001
Abstact:
We compare complex networks built from the game of go and obtained
from databases of human-played games with those obtained from
computer-played games. Our investigations show that statistical
features of the human-based networks and the computer-based networks
differ, and that these differences can be statistically significant
on a relatively small number of games using specific estimators. We
show that the deterministic or stochastic nature of the computer
algorithm playing the game can also be distinguished from these
quantities. This can be seen as a tool to implement a Turing-like
test for go simulators.

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Go Spotting: Beyond the Visible – Hilma Af Klimt

Wednesday June 10, 2020

Larry Russ reports that in this documentary about the Swedish artist and mystic Hilma Af Klint, from about 1:15 to 1:30 at the beginning of the documentary there is a Go board with bowls in the room where the speaker is being filmed. The documentary can be rented to view online here.

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Go Spotting: This Is How You Lose the Time War

Saturday June 6, 2020

Adam Anaya reports that “Go is referenced many times in this creatively entertaining novella. ‘She decides she would describe it using terms from Go: You place each stone expecting it may do many things. A strike is also a block is also a different strike.'” This Is How You Lose the Time War was written by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone, and was one of NPR’s Best Books of 2019.

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Go Spotting: The Order of the Stick #1203

Sunday May 31, 2020

“There’s an amusing Go reference in the latest Order of the Stick, a Dungeons and Dragons style strip I’ve followed for years,” reports Mark Gilston. The storyline involves one of the characters finding a Go stone, whereupon another character recognizes it as a piece from a lesson that devolved into some confusion over what the game of Go was called in the vein of Abbot and Costello’s Who’s on First? Read it here.

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Go Spotting: The Rise of the Phoenixes

Monday May 11, 2020

“The one minute trailer for the 2018 Chinese historical drama The Rise of 
the Phoenixes: Season 1 references Go four times,” reports Joel Sanet. “The first time shows a beautiful woman looking downward then cuts to a single black stone wobbling on an otherwise empty go board. The second time shows two men talking. One says, ‘Are you going to let one stone destroy your entire Go Board?’ The 3rd time shows a man placing the 3rd corner stone but it’s white! (Were the rules different back then or were the film makers just being lazy?) The 4th time is similar to the 3rd. The 3rd and 4th time go appears are preceded, separated, and followed by action scenes so at the least it is being used metaphorically. Hey, that’s better than just window dressing!”

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Go Spotting: the Economist

Saturday May 2, 2020

Dave Weimer reports that the April 25th to May 1st issue of The Economist includes an obituary for mathematician John Horton Conway on page 82, who died at age 82. He taught at Cambridge and Princeton, and was famous for inventing the Game of Life, which was widely played after it was published in Scientific American in 1970. He discovered “surreal numbers” and made contributions to a variety of fields in mathematics. “He seems to have been a bit eccentric,” says Weimer. “The following passage caught my attention: ‘Or, ensconced in some hallway nook, he would just observe a game. It had been while watching Go players that he realized each game contained many sub-games; and this had led him, first, to surreal numbers, and second to the light-bulb thought that playing games was not a distraction from mathematics. It was mathematics.'”

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Go Spotting: New York Times obituary for Nobel prize winner Phillip Anderson

Thursday April 2, 2020

The obituary for Philip Anderson, a Nobel prize winning physicist, appeared in the New York Times March after his death on Sunday at the age of 96, report E-Journal readers Dan Kastenholz and Larry Russ. Anderson was a professor at Princeton University and consultant at Bell Labs in New Jersey, which had an active Go scene in the 60s and 70s. He received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1977, and his obituary – authored by Scott Veale – ends with a mention of his being a “first degree master of the Japanese board game Go.” An anecdote describes a conversation Anderson had with economist W. Brian Arthur in the 1990s: “‘Well, I play a bit of Go,’ he said,” Professor Arthur recalled. “I pressed him. ‘Are you any good at it, Phil?’ ‘Yes,’ he said. ‘How good?’ ‘Well, there are four people in Japan who can beat me.’ Then a long silence. ‘But they meditate,’ he added.”

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