American Go E-Journal » Tools: books, software & hardware

SmartGo One: new SmartGo for iPhone and iPad releases today

Thursday April 7, 2022

Five years in the making, the all-new version of SmartGo for iPhone and iPad will be released today. SmartGo One includes an improved user interface, more features, better integration, and stronger computer play. “One app for all your go needs,” says creator Anders Kierulf. “Whether you want to learn the game, play against the computer, solve problems, or read go books, it’s all there.” SmartGo One is “is SmartGo Kifu and Go Books rolled into one, and taken to the next level.”

Kierulf says every part of SmartGo has been improved, including:
• Stronger computer play, based on KataGo, and thus much stronger than previous versions of SmartGo.
• Better problem solving: problem solving flow is much better, with improved statistics, and you can add additional problem collections.
• File management: Folders, game collections, sync using iCloud Drive, open ZIP files, and more.
• Additional features include dark mode, syncing, books, player biographies and easy board rotation.
Click here for a full comparison. 

The books from Go Books are all integrated into SmartGo One, so if you bought books in Go Books, you can read those in SmartGo One.

SmartGo One is a free download, and all the game recording and organizing features are available for free, as is computer play up to 13×13. Advanced features, computer play on 19×19, and updates to the complete GoGoD collection (current 114,000+ game records and 4,400 mini-biographies) are available via a modest $12/year subscription (with a 14-day free trial). To get a full month free, use this link.

Kierulf also notes that a Mac version of SmartGo One is in the works.


Finding the “Weird and Wonderful” in go

Wednesday February 16, 2022

“As go players we all study the game in our own way, be it leisurely or with near-scientific precision. We attempt to distill the moves and find their essence in recurring, understandable patterns. But every once in a while we are struck by a move we have never seen before. A move that is so out of the ordinary that we cannot help but marvel at it. A move to remember.”

Weird and Wonderful, Volume 1: Extraordinary Moves by Professional Go Players is a collection of such moves from professional games. Chapters include such things as miraculous tesujis that resurrect dead groups, ladders that don’t work but are played out anyway for strategic purposes, and dragons that bite their own tail. And there’s more: impossible-looking invasions, endless loops to escape defeat, and rare sequences that look so bizarre they make you laugh. “If you want to study professional play and marvel at the creativity of human go,” the authors – Kim Ouweleen and Peter Brouwer – promise, “you will enjoy this book.”

More than a year in the making, “Weird and Wonderful” is the first in what’s planned to be a 3-volume set; the second will cover unusual joseki and trick plays, and the third will highlight spectacular go problems. While the book can delight all go fans, Ouweleen and Brouwer  say it’s perhaps best appreciated by those ranking roughly 10kyu and stronger.

“Weird and Wonderful”can be purchased in print directly from Kiseido and the European distributor Schaak en Gowinkel het Paard, and can be purchased as an e-book from SmartGo
– Edited by Hailey Renner


New from BOARD N’STONES: Aji’s Quest and Fukui’s creative problems on 5×5 board in English

Tuesday November 30, 2021

Aji’s Quest

First serialized as online comic by author Collette Bezio, Aji’s Quest has now been published in print by BOARD N’STONES, the English branch of primarily German-language Go books publisher Brett und Stein Verlag. Aji has been playing Go for a whole month…and he still sucks at it! Can the mysterious Master Tenuki turn him into a champion in one easy lesson? Enthusiastic, cheeky, a little impatient, but certainly not hindered by any prior knowledge, Aji allows himself to be sent by Master Tenuki on a quest to the top of mountain Moyo. After all, he wants to become 27th Dan as soon as possible. Along the way, he experiences bizarre adventures.

ISBN 978-3-940563-87-3, 184 pages, 2021

Keep Fit! With the 5×5 Board

Fukui Masaaki’s little creations show that much of what is complex and profound in Go can be found in the tight confines of the 5×5 board. The problems cover endgame moves, aspects of life and death, attacking and defending, judgments based on calculating territory, the presence or absence of ko threats, and even things pertaining to the realm of middle game fighting. John Fairbairn said once about this book: “… the whole book, by Fukui Masaaki 8-dan, is rated low kyu to high dan, but a nice touch is that the individual problems within each section are not rated, so that you have to assume that each could be be a dan problem.” Now this lovely book has been available as English edition by BOARD N’STONES.

ISBN 978-3-940563-92-7, 126 pages, Fukui Masaaki, 2021

-report by Gunnar Dickfield


KGS and OGS partner for AI review

Monday November 1, 2021

KGS is launching a new client with built in AI analysis. The effort is a partnership with OGS and will give both servers access to greatly expanded capacity for AI analysis. OGS users have had AI review available for the past couple years, but as demand increased, their cloud servers needed more capacity. Lead programmer Akita Noek wrote the code and implemented AI services for KGS in consultation with the AGF.

KGS, as always, will be free, and all users will now get a brief AI analysis after their games, with the top three mistakes highlighted and variations shown. Users who would like a full interactive analysis for the game can choose from a $5 monthly plan with 5 million deep reading operations or a $10 plan with 15 million operations. The service only works in the full Java version of the KGS client (cgoban) and is not available on ShinKGS or GoUniverse.

To download the new client visit the KGS AI page here or download from the KGS home page here.

A user guide for the service is here.

-Paul Barchilon, AGF Vice President


Buddhist Philosophy and the Game of Go published by Slate and Shell

Friday May 21, 2021

Buddhist Philosophy and the Game of Go is the second, enlarged edition of the book titled Reflections on the Game of Go, written by William Cobb in 2005. This book contains a clear explanation of the basic principles of Buddhist philosophy using Go as examples. A large number of the entries have been published in the American Go Association’s journals as “The Empty Board”.

-report an image provided by Laurie Crammond


SEVEN: The Go Super Match released by BOARD N’STONES chronicles seven Namhae island matches between Shin Jinseo 9P and Park Junghwan 9P

Monday April 5, 2021

BOARD N’STONES, the English-language branch of primarily German-language Go books publisher Brett und Stein Verlag, has published a new book covering the seven games played between top Korean professionals Shin Jinseo 9P and Park Junghwan 9P last autumn in the Namhae Beautiful Island Super Match. The seven games – played in selected locations around the island – were characterized by a combination of scenic and cultural landmarks and the highest level of Go play. With his 7-0 win against Park Junghwan in the Namhae Super Match, Shin Jinseo established himself as Korea’s top player. This book tells the story of these seven games. The new book is easily available through most online book stores, click here to visit the publisher’s website.


New Go server for beginners allows players to visualize influence

Tuesday March 16, 2021

Color Go Server, a brand new Go server geared towards beginners, promises to inject a little fun and a lot of learning into beginner play. The programming includes basic Go server features, allowing players to play, watch and review games, and chat. On top of the basics and allowing players to customize their colors and themes, CGS allows players to visualize areas of influence and includes optional aids such as viewing liberty counts, highlighting Ko and Atari, and viewing potential results in real time. “Even if the rules of Go are easy to understand, the final goal, to control a bigger territory than the opponent, remains hard for beginners to visualize. CGS will help new players to learn the game rules in a more intuitive way,” says Max Moussalli, creator of CGS.

The server launched in January and is available in 19 languages. CGS allows players to play real-time or correspondence games in a web browser without requiring downloads. Learn more about CGS by visiting the Color Go Server website.


Chinese Weiqi Association publishes Chinese-English Dictionary of Weiqi Terms

Friday February 26, 2021

Bob Bacon reports that earlier this month, several Chinese news organizations such as Xinhua Net and SINA English reported that the People’s Publishing House and the Chinese Weiqi Association have jointly published the Chinese-English Dictionary of Weiqi Terms. With 643 definitions over six chapters, the dictionary took seven years to compile and was first used during the World Weiqi Summit in Rizhao, China in 2019. “‘As a spiritual symbol of Chinese culture, as well as an internationally recognized public product with positive effects, Weiqi has special requirements in terms of language. It has its own way of thinking, terminology paradigm and communication mode. An important aspect of the Chinese Weiqi Association’s goal is to promote a unified and standardized Weiqi language,’ said Lin Jianchao, chairman of Chinese Weiqi Association.” Informal sources indicate that while the resource is not yet available publicly, it will be made available soon.


Spanish translation of A Go Guide From a Beginner completed for the Multilingual Go Book Project

Monday February 22, 2021

The Spanish translation of the Multilingual Go Book Project’s book joins the already existing English, French and Greek translations and is now available. This is yet another step in the project’s goal of making Go content more accessible to new players in their native language. Like with the previous versions, the book can be downloaded for free from the project’s webpage and the addition of the Spanish language is accompanied by a full re-upload of the latest corrections of the English version. 

The Multilingual Go Book Project was started by H. Kapolos in order to provide instructional material to new players for free in their native languages. There are currently 20 printed copies of the book in English, which are available to be distributed for free. Anyone interested in receiving a copy can contact the project via the contact form on its website or through its Facebook page.


English translation of How to Play Go the AI Way published by BOARD N’STONES

Thursday December 24, 2020

BOARD N’STONES, the English-language branch of primarily German-language Go books publisher Brett und Stein Verlag, has published a translation of Yamada Shinji 6p’s book on AI techniques, which became available in Japan in December 2019 only. “How to Play Go the AI Way!” is intended for amateur players who would like to learn and employ the modern AI style. The style may seem confusing because there are so many tactics that differ from traditional thinking, but the study of the new techniques introduced by AI has already lead to their rapid spread and adoption. Today they are applied by pros almost as a matter of course. This book summarizes the findings from the study of AI techniques and explains them using illustrative diagrams. The new book is available through most online book shops. Credits for translation go to Peter Gebert.

-report by Gunnar Dickfield