American Go E-Journal » Your Move: Readers Write

Your Move/Readers Write: Remembering the No Exit Go Club; Why the Western Mass. Go Club doesn’t meet in a library

Saturday June 29, 2019

Remembering the No Exit Go Club: “When I got married in 1980, my wife and I found an apartment in Rogers Park,” writes Bob Barber (Your Move/Readers Write: No Exit update? 6/26/19). “I had no idea that this was THE neighborhood where non-Asians played Go. I spent countless happy Monday nights at the No Exit, (which) hosted go players for decades. It was a coffee shop, complete with Open Mike, poetry readings, lots of tie-dyed. A great place to hang out. And inhale some cigarette smoke. The focus on Go now has moved a few miles north, to the Evanston Go Club, ably run by Mark Rubenstein.”

Why the Western Mass. Go Club doesn’t meet in a library: “Thanks for the article (The Traveling Board: One library at a time 6/28/2019) about playing in the public library,” writes Eric Osman. “The only reasons that the Western Mass. Go Club doesn’t meet in the library are 1) We love to drink coffee and eat dessert while we play and the library doesn’t allow food and drink 2) We play on Thurs. eve later than the library is open.”

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Your Move/Readers Write: No Exit update? LeeLa Zero go bot site

Wednesday June 26, 2019

No Exit update? “I played at the No Exit club a few times many years ago, but had no idea it was gone (Go Spotting: Remembering the No Exit)” writes Dewey Cornell. “Perhaps someone could add a few sentences of explanation for readers who do not have insider knowledge.”

LeeLa Zero go bot site: “I would like to inform you about a new website zbaduk.com you can use to play against the go bot ‘LeeLa Zero’ from your webbrowser without registration,” writes Bram Vandenbon. “But even more important, if you do create an account, then it also offers a ‘smart review’ tool, which uses a powerful GPU server to review your game records. The website can also be used on smart phones and tablets. And you can store your games online.”

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Your Move/Readers Write: Why we play Go

Monday June 24, 2019

By Mark Rubenstein

Why do we play this game? Some might say it’s just for fun, but I believe it goes deeper than that. I think many of us have discovered that Go is more than a game; it’s a space where we can experiment with a way of thinking that helps us engage more fully in life.

When we play Go, the fundamental question we are asking throughout the game is; what’s important? Every move we play, we ask ourselves; where is the most important place for me to be playing now? Every time our opponent makes a move, we ask ourselves; is that move important? What does he want? Why is he playing there? Do I need to respond to that move? Do I agree that what he finds important is also important to me? These questions resonate deeply within us, even when they are only being asked in the context of a game of Go. They trigger a way of thinking that we find engaging and meaningful.

Some people say that you can see aspects of someone’s personality in the way they play Go. I think there’s some truth in that. Do you live and let live on the Go board? Do you try to kill everything? Do you shy away from a fight? Are you willing to sacrifice unimportant stones? I think as we ask these questions on the Go board, we also see their application in our daily lives. If these questions only applied to the game of Go, I don’t think we would all find ourselves as deeply interested in and enamored of the game. I think these questions tap into something more fundamental in our nature, and stimulate our desire to express our personalities more fully in the world.

As we review our games, we are replaying our thoughts and feelings. We aren’t looking for the perfect move we missed; we’re looking for the thought that kept us from seeing that move. The game story is not a list of the moves that were played; it’s a narrative of a conversation each player is having with himself and his opponent.

In this new era of AI, I fear that we are orienting ourselves to a narrow goal; to win the game. Of course, we all want to win games. But there’s much more to each game we play than just winning; there is the discovery of what we find important, and how that affects the course of the game… and maybe the course of our lives.

Rubenstein runs the Evanston (IL) Go Club 

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Your Move/Readers Write: Even the Gray Lady and her pundits know about Go

Tuesday February 5, 2019

by Terry Benson

In an Op-Ed in The New York Times on Wednesday Jan 30th, columnist Thomas Friedman noted the success of AlphaGo and correctly reported on AlphaZero learning from itself in declaring that the word for the year should be “deep.”  Computers are taking us “deep” and in Friedman’s opinion our institutions are not prepared for it.

Go players were shocked by AlphaGo’s success – we were toppled off the mountain – and we are trying to process what we’ve learned about Go.  What happens when machines can run – not faster – but longer processing years of experience in hours and finding deep patterns – one thing we’ve always considered the essence of being human and of our very human game?

For Friedman, the power of AI machines in the hands of “bad actors” (as he characterizes some whole governments) by going “deep” is scary.

Go players know to look at the whole board and see the flow of the stones. We lose if we get caught paying attention only to our own corner or blindly following our opponent – a crafty machine – around the board.  How can we go as deep?  How can we see what the machines cannot? In game terms, how can we keep control of the evaluating function: our right to decide what is important for people, what should be known, what should be shared, and who will be in control of the machines.

It’s too late to pull the pull.  It’s not possible to put this new genie back in the bottle.  The ancient warning is the same: be careful what you wish for.

Benson, president of the American Go Foundation, is a former president of the American Go Association and former editor of the American Go Journal.
The E-Journal welcomes your thoughts and comments about the game of go and all things related. Email us at journal@usgo.org

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Odds & Ends: Yin to rep N.A. at Qionglong Mountain Bingshend Cup; Go set source? ; Poughkeepsie players wanted

Wednesday October 31, 2018

Yin to rep N.A. at Qionglong Mountain Bingshend Cup: Stephanie Yin, 1p won the recent qualifier for the Qionglong Mountain Bingshend Cup against Wan Chen, 5d and will represent North America at the event.

Go set source? “I was wondering if there were any websites, or locations, that hadn’t yet made it on the ‘Buying Go Equipment and Supplies‘ page,” writes James. “I’m interested in buying a new set, but Yellow Mountain Imports has informed me that they’re uncertain of when the items I inquired about will be back in stock. Due to them offering me a potential wait time of two months, and with even that not necessarily being enough, I am forced to look elsewhere. After numerous obvious scam sites and ‘Unavailable’ legitimate postings, I thought I’d try asking here as the only alternatives remaining seem to be buying something considerably more expensive or something comparable to my current lower-grade set. Any assistance you may offer would be greatly appreciated. While online is my preference, I am not opposed to driving if you know of any shops within 1 – 3 hours drive from Victorville, CA. I tried Chinatown in Los Angeles recently, but that turned up nothing.”

Poughkeepsie players wanted: “I have been trying to find local players in the Poughkeepsie, NY area and have not had any luck,” writes David. “It seems the majority of events/clubs are too far from my home for me to attend.”
Email your suggestions to journal@usgo.org

 

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Your Move/Readers Write: The Einstellung Effect

Saturday September 22, 2018

“In response to Bill Cobb’s message of the importance to play moves out of our comfort zone (The Empty Board: Philosophical Reflections on Go #10 9/19 EJ),” writes Eric Osman, “I offer the following: A 7d player on kgs alerted me to the concept of Einstellung, which is the propensity we have for solving a problem in life (or on the go board) by using the methods we have learned, even though for this particular problem there’s a better way!”

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Your Move/Readers Write: Where to score a scoresheet; Connecting to other go players

Monday September 17, 2018

Where to score a scoresheet: In response to Glen Hart’s query about “Where to score a scoresheet?”, Jim Hurley sent 2018.09.16_Go Game Record copythis link where he’s posted some printable game recording files.

How many Nakayama? “I’m wondering how can I find out how many books Nakayama Noriyuki  wrote in Japanese,” wrote  Kent Olsen recently. Richard Hunter sent along this Japanese Wikipedia link, which includes books and essays Nakayama authored, as well as those he edited or ghost-wrote for others, like Kajiwara and Takemiya.

Connecting to other go players:
David in Poughkeepsie recently posted that he’s looking for other nearby go players. “I find one current AGA member in Poughkeepsie and two others lapsed within the last five years,” says AGA Chapters Coordinator Bob Gilman. “If David is willing to share his email address, I would be happy to write to email these individuals, tell them of his interest in playing, and provide his email address to them should they wish to get in touch with him. I am happy to provide such a service to other go players interested in making contact with other players in their area.” Reach Gilman at bobgilman.aga@gmail.com

 

 

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Your Move/Readers Write: More thoughts on Go vs. go

Sunday September 16, 2018

Avoiding grammatical confusion: “While the style sheet (Your Move/Readers Write: Go or go? 8/20 EJ) may be consistent and logical,” writes former EJ editor Terry Benson, “the reason I continue to capitalize Go and have (most of the time) for nearly 50 years is to distinguish it from the verb and grammatical confusion. Chess, checkers, and backgammon don’t have that problem… or the many puns on the name of our game.”

Makes sense but maybe not sensible: “That public domain games like chess, poker, and backgammon are not capitalized, and therefore Go should not be capitalized either, makes sense,” writes Janice Kim. “Identifying Go as public domain, however, seems less important than identifying it as a game. It may be a specific, overarching concern when the word ‘go’ is in the top 20% of words used in English, has dozens of definitions as different parts of speech, and is used to signify the game only by a small portion of the people who play that game. In the meantime, a look at Merriam Webster online indicates that Go the game is often capitalized, and Wikipedia capitalizes it. These aren’t the definitive guides to proper grammar, but it’s indicative of how widespread and accepted it is to capitalize the word ‘Go’ when referring to the game. Luckily in this case the ease of specifying what one is referring to, is not come by an uncomfortable practice such as using male pronouns arbitrarily or exclusively. It’s nice that we have a word, Go, that can be used universally to signify the game. It makes sense that the E-Journal chooses not to capitalize it, but we can assume that there is little ambiguity for average readers of the E-Journal. Meanwhile, people will probably be capitalizing it in other places, not until Go reaches household popularity with consistent agreed-on grammar usage, but as long as there is a word ‘go’ that means something else.”

Logical but lacks clarity: “In the ‘go’ vs. ‘Go’ debate logic is on the side of the E-Journal’s position in favor of the lower-case spelling,” writes Fred Baldwin. “The name of our favorite board game is a common noun like ‘chess’ and ‘poker,’ not like ‘Risk’ or ‘Monopoly.’ Unfortunately, ‘go’ as a noun is easily confused with one of the most commonly used verbs in English. We should avoid any typographical convention that makes a sentence, a headline or a poster unnecessarily difficult for a reader to understand without having to make extra effort. So I favor ‘Go’ on the grounds that writers and editors should not hesitate to break rules for the sake of clarity. Apparently, the New Yorker, a magazine known for its attention to clear writing, agrees. As a distinguished U.S. jurist, Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., once wrote: ‘A page of history is worth a volume of logic.’ Or, as a not especially distinguished U.S. Senator once said: ‘Sometimes a man has to rise above principle.’”

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Your Move/Readers Write: How many Nakayama? Poughkeepsie go players wanted; Thought experiment idea; Where to score a scoresheet?

Tuesday August 21, 2018

How many Nakayama? “I’m wondering how can I find out how many books Nakayama Noriyuki  wrote in Japanese,” writes Kent Olsen. “I would like to start a Go Fund Me page to get some of them translated.”2018.08.21_6-ways-to-turn-thought-into-action-630x354

Poughkeepsie go players wanted: “I have been trying to find local players in the Poughkeepsie, NY area and have not had any luck,” writes David. “It seems the majority of events/clubs are too far from my home for me to attend. The only go club relatively close to me is the New Paltz Go Club, but on your website there are times listed, yet no meeting place. I have tried getting in touch with the organizer of the club but I have not heard back from them. I get the feeling that the club might not be meeting anymore. I am writing this e-mail in the hopes that you might be able to help me find some local players.”

Thought experiment idea: Philosopher/scientist Pat Conover, who’s “currently working with issues of logic and consciousness,” writes to share a thought experiment “y’all might want to take on for the fun of it, to drive the creators of artificial intelligence crazy, or just to expand reflection on how go masters construct and integrate tactical and strategic aji.” Imagine an elliptical shaped board with about half again as many points as a standard go board, Conover says, “with three carve out spaces: a triangle, a pentagon, and an approximate circle, irregularly placed in the ellipse. Set up a Go Prime tournament or tournaments with allowed pauses for players to take notes, express feelings and considerations, etc. Let some observers construct narratives that could be of interest to scientists and philosophers.”

Where to score a scoresheet? “Do you know where I can find a printable score sheet (such as a PDF file), possibly with a primer on how to score a game (proper notation, etc.),” asks Glen Hart.

Email responses to us at journal@usgo.org

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Your Move/Readers Write: Go or go?

Monday August 20, 2018

“Thank you for all your hard work at Congress,” writes Bob Barber. “Although I don’t play anymore (much), I like to keep up with my pals and the world of Go. Speaking of which, I noticed in a recent New Yorker (July 23, page 47), this: ‘…and gigantic sets of chess and Go.’ For what it’s worth, I (and the New Yorker) think Go should be capitalized.”
The style here at the E-Journal is not to capitalize. Our colleagues at BoardGameGeek summarize the reason  nicely: “We capitalize the names of published games like Twilight Struggle because they’re proper nouns. But according to Webster’s, we don’t usually capitalize the names of public-domain games like chess, poker, and backgammon.”

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