American Go E-Journal » Go Spotting

Go Spotting: Numberphile

Monday July 8, 2019

“I noticed this Numberphile video about the game ‘Amazons’ (and featuring the legendary Elwyn Berlekamp) uses Go stones to mark off borders during game play and makes a reference to Jujo Jiang 9p,” writes Daniel Gentry. “I have also had some success in using this game as a tool for teaching new players the value of controlling territory as a separate concept from attacking the opponent’s pieces.”

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Go Spotting: Gugong

Sunday July 7, 2019

Screen shot from the Shut Up & Sit Down review of Gugong (see video below).

In the board game Gugong, set in 14th century China, Greg Kulevich reports, “players are trying to skirt the new imperial decree forbidding the bribing of government officials by exchanging gifts instead. One of those gifts is a set of Go stones and bowls.”

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Go Spotting: “The Untold Story” video

Saturday July 6, 2019

“The Untold Story: Internment of Japanese-Americans in Hawaii” shows internees at the Honouliuli Internment Camp playing go (5:01, 6:35, and 8:22), writes Gordon Castanza.

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Go Spotting: Mono no aware

Friday July 5, 2019

“Hiroto,” Dad said as he shook me awake. “Pack up your things. It’s time.”
My small suitcase was ready. I just had to put my Go set into it. Dad gave this to me when I was five, and the times we played were my favorite hours of the day.

From the story “Mono no aware” by Ken Liu, published in the June 2013 issue of Lightspeed and sent in to us by A. Wadja.

This story is also included in “The Final Frontier,” a recently-published science fiction anthology, edited by Neil Clarke. The story includes go as a metaphor for patience and larger thinking, writes David Bogie. “The Japanese protagonist, young Hiroto, makes sure his go set is among the few articles his family is allowed as they prepare to abandon Earth. While trying to teach go to a young American, Hiroto is told, ‘All the stones are the same…boring. There are no heroes in go!’ The story calmly unfolds into tragedy proving there are heroes in space.”

Go also features in “Shiva In Shadow,” by Nancy Kress (also included in “The Final Frontier,”), which takes place on a star ship visiting a black hole. “Go is proposed as mental and social training intended to bring two scientists closer together as the team attacks a quantum physics discovery,” writes Bogie. “This does not end well.”

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Go Spotting: Go Museum in Kunming

Thursday July 4, 2019

“My son, Liam, went to the Go Museum in Kunming,” writes Rex Weyler. “Thought you might enjoy these images.”

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Go Spotting: Arrested Development & Humans

Wednesday July 3, 2019

On the season finale of Season One of Arrested Development (available on Netflix), Maeby Funke can be seen playing Go with her adopted Korean cousin “Annyong,” reports Greg Kulevich. The Go board they are using appears to be the mass market board sold in bookstores with small plastic stones. The board position is realistic for 20+ kyu players, which is probably the case. However, Maeby places a black stone, Annyong places a white stone, and then Maeby places a white stone, so they are not following the rules of Go.
In addition, six minutes into Episode 2 of the show ‘Humans’ (streaming on Amazon), “there is the end of a Go game and some following discussion,” reports David Doshay.

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Go Spotting: Code Jam 2019

Saturday June 29, 2019

“Google has hosted an annual programming competition for the last 15 or so years in early April,” writes Adrian Petrescu. “This year, the registration page looked like this. By the way, I wonder if any AGA E-Journal readers recognize the position on the board? It’s not, as far as I can tell, any of the AlphaGo games against Sedol or Ke Jie, though maybe it’s one of the hundreds of Master games.”

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Go Spotting: Remembering the No Exit

Tuesday June 25, 2019

Via EJ photog Phil Straus, Howard Rosen sent us this great shot of a mural that “was on the wall by the train tracks near where the No Exit (go club) used to be” in Chicago, Illinois.

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Your Move/Readers Write: On respect and harmony; “Altered Carbon”; “Levar Burton Reads”

Sunday March 31, 2019

On respect and harmony: “The negative tone and harsh criticism of the translator of the Cho Hunhyun book “Go With the Flow” (Empty Board #13 3/24 EJ) caught me by surprise,” writes Hanxi Zhang. “I have read the book in both English and Chinese. To me it is challenging to translate Cho’s abstract thoughts and philosophies from one language/culture to another, and the translator did a decent, if not perfect job. If – as Mr Cobb has often said — Go is all about peace, balance and harmony, I am afraid he has behaved exactly contrary to those virtues. I do not see the point of humiliating the translator, a cultural ambassador, for his imperfect work. In the oriental culture, recognizing people’s mistakes and weaknesses without exposing them in public is considered a virtue. Let’s constantly remind ourselves of these virtues, both when playing Go and in real life.”

“Altered Carbon”: A very plausible Go game shows up in the 7th episode of the Netflix series Altered Carbon at about 40 minute in, and continues to show up in several subsequent episodes. (see our 2/13/2018 Go Spotting: Altered Carbon) 
– Mark Gilston

“Levar Burton Reads”: I just heard the latest episode of the podcast Levar Burton Reads. In it Levar Burton reads Ken Liu’s short story Mono No Aware. The plot centers around culture, and go is ultimately central to the climax of the story. Worth listening to!
– Howard Cornett

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Go in the News/Go Spotting (the catch-up edition)

Tuesday January 22, 2019

Go in Cuba: Chinese board game GO experiences wide popularity in Cuba: The Chinese board-game GO has been played 2019.01.22_Go in Cubasince ancient times, but it remains popular around the world even today. One country with a large GO following is Cuba. CGTN’s Luis Chirino took a look at the rise of the game in Havana.

Mecha Samurai Empire: “Found a short reference to go in Mecha Samurai Empire by Peter Tieryas,” reports  Michael Goerss. “Protagonist is a mecha pilot in a world where Japan and Germany won World War 2 a la The Man In The High Castle. Page 304, ‘I’ve become all too aware of how we are just numbers to those in charge, go pieces on the field that help them on their march to glory. We’re young and disposable.’”

The New Yorker (1): How the Artificial-intelligence Program Alphazero Mastered its Games; “What may be most surprising is that we humans have done as well as we have in games that seem, now, to have been made for machines,” James Somers reports in the 12/30/18 New Yorker.

The New Yorker (2): “It may be that references to go are becoming common enough to make go-spotting too easy,” writes Fred D. Baldwin. “But I liked this passage from The New Yorker (December 24 & 31), ‘China’s Bizarre Program to Keep Activists in Check.'”  The focus is on government surveillance of  Zha Jianguo, “a veteran democracy activist.”  The article’s author includes this quote from an interview with Jianguo: Jianguo views these developments soberly. He has long since shed any illusions of fast social change or enduring media attention. “If I’m sentenced for another nine years, or twelve or thirteen years,” he told me calmly, “I’ll just forget about the outside world and focus on my life inside prison. Family and loved ones—well, those thoughts will be there for a while. It will take time. I’ll read some books, play some Go, get on with my cellmates. I’ll try to make the best out of each day. I’ll think about nothing else, nobody else.”

“Pine Gap”: In Netflix’s episode 6 of the new 6-part sh2019.01.22_Blindspotow ‘Pine Gap,’ a show about US/ Australian/ Chinese military/political/economic relationships, there is a brief monologue by a Chinese character talking to an American about how Chess v.s. Go thinking affects how each country responds to the other, reports David Doshay. “And to drive home the point, a few scenes later the same Chinese guy compliments another person on how well they played ‘the long game.’”

Georg Jellinek: “In a recent Amazon search for the works of German political theorist Georg Jellinek, I discovered that the cover design for the Spanish translation of his Allgemeine Staatslehre (General theory of the state) features go,” writes Colin Grant. “I am not familiar with the text, so I can’t vouch for the felicity of the match.”

Sandra and Woo; Blindspot: “Saw and heard about two different go sightings today, reports Steve Colburn. “One is from a webcomic I read about a young girl and her talking raccoon, Sandra and Woo. The other is from the season premiere of Blindspot (left) which was told to me by my boss. I’ve included a screenshot from the show from Hulu.”

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