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

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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AlphaGo, KataGo, and the future of AI

Saturday June 6, 2020

Visualization of ownership predictions by KataGo

“There’s something magical about the game of go,” writes Branton DeMoss in a recent blog post. “For thousands of years, it has captured the imagination of those who want to learn what it is to learn, to think about what thinking means. With the recent advent of strong, open source go AI that can beat top professionals, it’s worth tracing the history of the game, why it remained so difficult to beat humans for so long, and what the future of go may hold.”

DeMoss explores the evolution of computer go, and then discusses how AlphaGo differs from the open source Katago. “KataGo attempts to predict a greater number of game outcomes than just value,’ says DeMoss, “in particular, KataGo also predicts final territory control, final score difference, and from each board state the opponent’s next move. As a result of these improvements, KataGo massively outperforms Leela Zero and Facebook’s ELF bot in learning efficiency. KataGo achieves a factor of fifty improvement in training efficiency vs. ELF”.

The creator of KataGo, David J. Wu, answers some of DeMoss’s questions at the end of the article. “I think the AlphaZero-style training loop using MCTS (Monte Carlo Tree Search) is not the last word on [things like] this,” says Wu. “Blind spots are just the most visible of the flaws, but there are some technical and theoretical details you can dig into that start to make it clear that there are some practical problems with how exploration and move discovery work in this loop, some basic theoretical flaws involving mismatches between the neural net’s training distribution and usage, and also some fundamental ‘missing’ capabilities in current bots in terms of using search effectively.” The full blog post can be read here. -Story by Paul Barchilon. image from Accelerating Self-Play Learning in Go, by David J. Wu.

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The AGA’s Ongoing Position on In-Person Play

Saturday June 6, 2020

The AGA believes that the health and safety of its members, and their communities, is a greater priority than in-person play.  For this reason, the AGA is continuing to suspend all AGA-sponsored in-person events.  
The AGA recognizes the value provided by in-person play and the camaraderie of Go communities.  Because of this, we advise our members to follow all local laws as well as the advice and guidance of public health experts when deciding when and how to safely resume in-person play during the Covid-19 pandemic.

As always, the AGA encourages its members to play Go online.  If you are looking for resources, check out this list of where to play go online, as well as this list of online resources, videos, and more.  The AGA is developing more resources to help local Go communities stay connected and eventually resume safer in-person play.  We are also in the early stages of planning online AGA events.  If you have ideas (or online resources) that you want to share – for instance, things that have worked for your community – please consider writing an EJournal story (you can submit stories using this form) or sharing them with us through this form.  We plan to publish some of the best ideas in the near future.

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Membership manager payment problem solved

Monday May 25, 2020

After being alerted to payment issues within the AGA Membership Manager the tech team consulted and patched the issue. The payments are now working again. If you have had an issue in the last month with using the membership manager to make payments, please try again. If there are any continued issues please email webmaster@usgo.org and database@usgo.org to let us know so that we can help you.

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KGS Adds Web Registration

Saturday May 23, 2020

The KGS Go Server just got easier to join and use. The Java client for KGS has been an ongoing problem for some computers and blocked by many schools. The KGS Home Page features a new link to sign up for a free account. Using ShinKGS, a web-based client developed by Justin Kramer, phones, tablets, or computers can now play on the server while avoiding Java completely. 

The American Go Foundation has been steadily working on improving KGS, but mostly behind the scenes until now. “This is the first of many upgrades to KGS that the AGF wants to see happen.” says AGF President Terry Benson. “To make KGS a better go community, we could use help on the open source ShinKGS code.  While so many people are stuck at their computers, go is a great way to stay busy and connected to other people.”  ShinKGS is still missing some features and has a few bugs, a list of areas that need work is here, access to the code is on Github here. GoUniverse, a plugin for the Chrome Web Browser developed by Ilya Kirillov, is  another way to access KGS without Java, and has almost all of the features in the full client. GoUniverse is also open source, and can be accessed on Github here.

KGS has seen a boom in users with everyone staying home due to Covid-19, and many clubs now meet virtually on the site. The AGF hopes to expand that user base by improving services and growing the community. “Many thanks to lead KGS developer Lee Schumacher for his tireless work on behalf of the server. Our thanks also to Oren Laskin, on the development team, and to all the admins who work daily to keep KGS a safe and friendly space for all,” adds Benson. – Paul Barchilon, AGF Vice-President

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BadukPop app adds AI opponent

Friday May 22, 2020

BadukPop has added several improvements in its latest update, including the ability to play against artificial intelligence. The popular go problem app, developed by Hajin Lee 4P and Dan Maas, works on both Android and iOS. The interface was designed to be fun for all ages, including kids, and now features 7 humorous AI characters you can play against. The weakest is Bobby – perfect for people who have just learned to play. Next up is Kevin whose “mind wanders off into deep space – and so do his go moves.” As players work their way up, the AI gets much stronger. “I love playing against Cora,” says Lee “she’s my new rival – I have about a 50/50 win rate against her, and it’s really fun to have a quick game with her now and then.” At the top is Max “a powerful AI that plays at human professional level.”

The app only supports games on 9×9 for now, but 13×13 and 19×19 are coming soon says Maas. A new section of lessons has been added as well. Designed as short sequences to teach new players, you can go from learning the rules to mastering basic corner and side positions. Like everything in BadukPop, the lessons are designed to be quick so one can learn something in just a few minutes, but build deep knowledge over time. Lee goes over the new features on her Youtube channel here. The app is free, but has in app purchases for extra features. Download from the Apple or Android stores, or from BadukPop’s website here. -Paul Barchilon, EJ Youth Editor

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