American Go E-Journal » Go Spotting

Go Spotting: Blade Runner: Black Lotus

Wednesday December 15, 2021

Cylise Snow reports that the anime series Blade Runner: Black Lotus features Go.

– screen capture by Cylise Snow, editing by Derek McGuire

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Go Spotting: Turtle Bun

Sunday December 5, 2021

Colin Williams reports that the Turtlebun store features go equipment in many of its product photographs.

-photo and editing by Derek McGuire

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Go Spotting: The Economist

Friday November 26, 2021

In its November 13 issue, The Economist described last year’s flare-up in the decades-long Sino-Indian border dispute as though China and India were engaged in a match of go. These two powers have largely avoided direct conflict, for they “were focused on building their own core structures,” as go players in the early stages of a match might do as they peacefully lay claim to the corners and sides of the board. At times, India has sought to define its border with its neighbor. But China—as any go player would—resisted, knowing that the unsettled border is one that can be exploited for further advantage. Now, with these two powers entering the later stages of the game where “the board fills up and one player emerges dominant, there should be no surprise for [China] to push the advantage.”

You can read the piece here. The article is behind a paywall which may require either registering an account that will grant limited access for free, or becoming a paid subscriber.
– Paul Adamski, with thanks to Bart Lipofsky and Pete Schumer for flagging this.

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GoSpotting: Aji’s Quest

Saturday November 20, 2021

Ted Terpstra reports that a new children’s book highlighting Go and Go terms, has become available. “Aji’s Quest is a fascinating story of a young Quoll who goes in search of a great Go master, Tenuki, so he can learn to become a Go master himself,” says Terpstra. “During Aji’s quest, he learns much about the game of Go and is tested repeatedly at the board. The book is best appreciated if the reader has a basic knowledge of Go.”

Aji’s Quest is a comic series by Collette Bezio originally released online that is now published in print by Board’N’Stones.

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Go Spotting: GOD, HUMAN, ANIMAL, MACHINE: Technology, Metaphor, and the Search for Meaning

Thursday August 26, 2021

“Imagine sitting down to a game of Go,” writes Becca Rothfeld in The New York Times, “not in a cafe or a park, where you could banter with your adversary or discuss strategy with onlookers, but alone in front of a screen. Your opponent is not a person but an algorithm, AlphaGo, a program created by Google’s machine-learning subsidiary, DeepMind. Squinting into the cool glare of your monitor, you manipulate digital pieces. You touch nothing tangible: You are unable to scrutinize the expressions of your faceless competitor.”

“These, roughly, are the strange and surgical circumstances under which Lee Sedol, one of the best Go players in the world, was vanquished in a best-of-five match in 2016,” Rothfeld writes. “As the essayist and cultural critic Meghan O’Gieblyn reports in her nimble new book, ‘God, Human, Animal, Machine: Technology, Metaphor, and the Search for Meaning,’ one former Go champion watched the game and exclaimed that AlphaGo’s winning maneuver was “not a human move.” Read the rest of the review here.

Thanks to Ted Terpstra for sending this in.

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Go Spotting: Beyond the Visible; Hilma af Klint

Monday August 23, 2021

“I always have enjoyed when people spot and report where a Go set or play has been viewed,” writes Rick Whitehead. “Last night I watched a documentary that I can’t imagine many of this community have seen;  ‘Beyond the Visible; Hilma af Klint’.  We watched it on Kanopy, but I think it’s viewable on a variety of streaming services.  They interview people about this female painter from circa 1910 or so.   One is a German man, an art historian, and in the background of the room next to where he’s talking (in his home) is a nice Go board on a side table with two nice Go bowls.  It’s never mentioned, but quite prominently appears each time they return to his interview. HIlma’s art is quite nice too, and historically relevant.”

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Go Spotting: Go and Polyominoes

Sunday July 25, 2021

by Xinming Simon Guo

My former math instructor, professor George Litman from National Louis University, recently invited me to visit his personal library. There, I found a mathematics book he purchased in 1995: Polyominoes: Puzzles, Patterns, Problems, and Packings. In the preface, the author, Professor Solomon Golomb, mentioned that polyominoes were first observed in patterns formed by 5 connected stones/markers on a Go game board in 1907.

Coincidentally, I also discovered these patterns in 2011 on the Go board, but I didn’t know they were polyominoes. In a Go game forum, I posted a puzzle about the possible shapes formed by 8 connected stones, which proved to be too challenging at the time. So I changed the difficulty level to 6 stones (Hexomino), and found all 35 shapes.

The unexpected discovery about polyominoes has led to the formal integration of these shapes into my Go and Math curriculum. The photo below captures all the shapes of pentominoes (5-stone string):

Photo by Jane online summer camp student Jane, 2020

By the way, there are 363 shapes of octominoes (8-stone string), a number arrived at by adding an extra stone based on 7-stone strings, removing duplicates, and counting the distinct shapes. No formula has been found yet to calculate the number of shapes.

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Go Spotting: Tokyo Olympics Google Doodle

Saturday July 24, 2021

Reader Michael H. reports that the current Google Doodle celebrating the summer olympics in Tokyo is a playable RPG that includes scenes of Go. “Google’s webpage recently updated to celebrate the Tokyo Olympics with the Doodle Champion Island Games. Visitors can play an in-browser old-school Japanese RPG complete with minigames and sidequests. While exploring the game I noticed one room with a floor goban, bowls, and stones – a game of Go! Continuing, I found another room featuring three more gobans – perhaps the meeting place of the local go club. There are two game being played, but although the protagonist remarks that the game looks fun, there is, unfortunately, no one available to play. I was glad to see go included as one of the many references to Japanese culture featured in this Google Doodle.” Visit Google.com to see the doodle and play the game.

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Go Spotting: In the Age of AI

Friday May 21, 2021

Xinming Guo reports that “Go and the story of Alphago are the introduction of PBS documentary In the Age of AI.” Guo plans to share the documentary with schools who participated in the Go and Math Academy’s “Go and Math Project,” and hopes to ignite more students’ interest in STEM. You can watch the full 2-hour documentary on Youtube.

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Go spotting: Counterpart

Friday February 19, 2021

The first episode of Counterpart has J. K. Simmons’ character Howard Silk playing go twice, taking black against the same opponent/friend, and losing both times. The board positions look realistic.
– Howard A. Landman

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