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561

Hikaru no Go and the game of Go
Topic by: ChiyoDad
Posted: May 1, 2005 - 7:41 PM PDT
Last Reply: August 4, 2006 - 11:29 AM PDT

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author topic: Hikaru no Go and the game of Go
ChiyoDad
post #1  on May 1, 2005 - 7:41 PM PDT  
This is an offshoot of the topic regarding anime that we'll probably never see in America. We were discussing Hikaru no Go and the game itself.

The series rekindled my interest in the game and I've found myself practicing (poorly) and playing (even worse) online. I've just started reading Kaoru Iwamoto's Go For Beginners from the public library and have a discounted copy of The Book of Go enroute.

If anyone wants to see me pulverized (or do such themselves), you'll find me under the same GC moniker on Panda.Net. That is, when my PC isn't pulverizing me in a game of Gnu Go.

Does anyone know of something better for self-instruction?

One of the things I've noticed about this simple game is that very good sets can be rather pricey. Small wood sets with resin stones cost about $35 while the high end sets from Japan and Korea can set you back quite a bit. If you live in the SF Bay Area, your best bet is to walk deep into SF's Chinatown and pick-up and inexpensive starter set (plywood board and glass stones) for about $12-$16.
hamano
post #2  on May 1, 2005 - 9:56 PM PDT  
It's easy enough to make your own GO set if all you want to do is play casually... you won't get a freebie ghost expert advisor, though.

ChiyoDad, I noticed that the HIKAGO manga are out in English now... have you read those? I'm wondering if they have the same "lessons" that were part of the TV show...
ChiyoDad
post #3  on May 1, 2005 - 10:46 PM PDT  
> On May 1, 2005 - 9:56 PM PDT hamano wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> ChiyoDad, I noticed that the HIKAGO manga are out in English now... have you read those? I'm wondering if they have the same "lessons" that were part of the TV show...
> ---------------------------------

I hadn't looked at them that much I had earlier read scanlations of the first three books. I imagine that the official release may have a slightly better translation so I'll browse through them when we next visit our local bookshop.

I know that the original Japanese manga had lessons included. Of course, you don't get to see Yukari Umezawa in the manga (although I understand that she was one of the chief consultants for all aspects of the game).

A number of online tutorials exist but the two that I think are the most helpful for absolute beginners are:

1. The Interactive Way to Go
2. The Fun Way to Learn Go

I got dusted (yet again) in my third online game this evening but I was close because of the komi rule.
jross3
post #4  on May 1, 2005 - 10:49 PM PDT  
> On May 1, 2005 - 9:56 PM PDT hamano wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> ChiyoDad, I noticed that the HIKAGO manga are out in English now... have you read those? I'm wondering if they have the same "lessons" that were part of the TV show...
> ---------------------------------

Not much (but I haven't seen the anime yet). So far, they've only taught pretty basic stuff. There's some Q&A every few chapters and Sai has comments... once in a while... overall not so much.
The first "Rules of Go" page isn't until the middle of the second book. It's not terribly informative: "White and Black take atenate tuns" (Oh, really? That makes it a lot harder for whoever goes first.) After that they start to show up regularly.
If I'm an example, you can't learn Go from this manga. I learned more in ten minutes with the little "igowin" program than I did in three volumes of the manga.
I suppose that if I were to learn some more, I could look at the drawings of the board and searn a little about strategy, but probably not a lot (not without an explanation in the dialogue).
hamano
post #5  on May 1, 2005 - 11:41 PM PDT  
Well, you should just put one of those stickers on your forehead and watch the anime! You can be our guinea pig for GO, just like you are for ramen and curry cooking. Maybe the manga's no good, but we could learn a LOT from you!
ChiyoDad
post #6  on May 1, 2005 - 11:52 PM PDT  
> On May 1, 2005 - 10:49 PM PDT jross3 wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> Not much (but I haven't seen the anime yet). So far, they've only taught pretty basic stuff. There's some Q&A every few chapters and Sai has comments... once in a while... overall not so much.
> ---------------------------------

I'm guessing that they wanted to make readers intrigued by go and not make the manga look like some sort of tutorial.

Even the Go! Go! Igo! sessions at the end of each anime episode are very basic. As you mentioned, you'll learn more playing IGoWin, or reading a tutorial.



> On May 1, 2005 - 9:56 PM PDT hamano wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> It's easy enough to make your own GO set if all you want to do is play casually... you won't get a freebie ghost expert advisor, though.
> ---------------------------------

If you get a set of el cheapo glass stones like I did for $4, you can just print out a 9x9 board on cardstock to practice tactics. Maybe you can add some kana and a planchette and turn it into some sort of a OUIJA board to channel a go-playing obake (ghost).
:-D

Strictly on boards, the more ambitious can tackle a bigger project.
jross3
post #7  on May 1, 2005 - 11:54 PM PDT  
> On May 1, 2005 - 11:41 PM PDT hamano wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> Well, you should just put one of those stickers on your forehead and watch the anime! You can be our guinea pig for GO, just like you are for ramen and curry cooking. Maybe the manga's no good, but we could learn a LOT from you!
> ---------------------------------

Oh, no, the manga's really good - I wouldn't have kept following it for three books if it wasn't good. You just can't count on it for learning Go. It's got the basic rules... but I know the basic rules, and I bet ChiyoDad does, too. Doesn't count for much :-|
I can't even beat the stupid igowin AI.
I still like to play. But all the random clicking brought me back to my one true love: Minesweeper. I am the Mine Master. he hee
ChiyoDad
post #8  on May 2, 2005 - 12:03 AM PDT  
> On May 1, 2005 - 11:54 PM PDT jross3 wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> I can't even beat the stupid igowin AI.
> ---------------------------------

Just reset the game back to 26 kyuu so you get a five-stone handicap. The AI slaps me silly whenever I rise up to 17 or 16 kyuu.

And try varying your play. I learned one sequence that beats the AI (at 26 kyuu) in five moves. Great for my battered ego but I won't learn much if I keep repeating it.
ChiyoDad
post #9  on May 2, 2005 - 8:30 PM PDT  
I just got back from Borders Books & Music where I browsed through Hikago Volume 2. The Go lessons have been translated but they proceed very slowly. At the rate that they're being presented, you'll probably have a basic knowledge of the game and tactics only after you've read the entire series.

So if you want to get a quick start on Go, you're better off reading one of the aforementioned books or online tutorials.
jross3
post #10  on May 2, 2005 - 11:07 PM PDT  
> On May 2, 2005 - 8:30 PM PDT ChiyoDad wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> So if you want to get a quick start on Go, you're better off reading one of the aforementioned books or online tutorials.
> ---------------------------------

You mean one of the ones that's actually made to teach you Go? (*evil sarcastic smile*)
Who would have thought?
ahogue
post #11  on May 3, 2005 - 8:22 AM PDT  
> On May 2, 2005 - 8:30 PM PDT ChiyoDad wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> I just got back from Borders Books & Music where I browsed through Hikago Volume 2. The Go lessons have been translated but they proceed very slowly. At the rate that they're being presented, you'll probably have a basic knowledge of the game and tactics only after you've read the entire series.
>
> So if you want to get a quick start on Go, you're better off reading one of the aforementioned books or online tutorials.
> ---------------------------------

Thanks for the information, ChiyoDad. I used to be a regular Go player for a short time (never anything more than what I'd call a competent beginner, though, if even that), and I've been looking for an excuse to get back into it. Back when I started out there wasn't much available in terms of Go software that would play against you; I had one program (I can't remember which) that would often make the same moves all the time.

But I downloaded Goban recently and recommend it for OS X users. It has a lovely interface, it uses GnuGO to play and seems to play pretty well, and perhaps most important it can be used as a client for IGS PandaNet which ChiyoDad mentioned above. (Another nice feature of Pandanet is the section where beautiful female Go professionals answer reader's questions. (I'm not kidding!))

I have been looking around for newer books that might be useful. The Learn to Play Go series gets great reviews on Amazon, though it sounds as though the first volume might be a waste of time for any but absolute beginners. Anyone seen any of these books? Also wouldn't mind getting my hands on these out of print Graded Go Problems for Beginners, though they might go right over my head at this point.
ChiyoDad
post #12  on May 3, 2005 - 8:59 AM PDT  
> On May 2, 2005 - 11:07 PM PDT jross3 wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> You mean one of the ones that's actually made to teach you Go? (*evil sarcastic smile*)
> Who would have thought?
> ---------------------------------

But of course!

You can't help but wonder if HIKAGO was some diabolical plot hatched by the Japan Go Association (aka Nihon Kiin) to subvert the minds of our youth via manga and distract them from their studies or even greater intellectual pursuits ...


... like Pokemon.
:-D
ChiyoDad
post #13  on May 3, 2005 - 9:21 AM PDT  
> On May 3, 2005 - 8:22 AM PDT ahogue wrote:
> ---------------------------------
(Another nice feature of Pandanet is the section where beautiful female Go professionals answer reader's questions. (I'm not kidding!))
> ---------------------------------

[Pauses to think.]

Umm. How do you really know that they're beautiful female Go professionals? On the internet, you could be anyone.




> ---------------------------------
> I have been looking around for newer books that might be useful. The Learn to Play Go series gets great reviews on Amazon, though it sounds as though the first volume might be a waste of time for any but absolute beginners. Anyone seen any of these books?
> ---------------------------------

I haven't seen the series but I considered buying the first three books. They're not available through the California inter-library loan system so you'll need to buy them. I did find a vendor on half.com that sold new copies cheaper than on Amazon.com. You can also try doing a search on addall.com to see if there are other vendors that offer more substantial discounts.
ahogue
post #14  on May 3, 2005 - 12:12 PM PDT  
> On May 3, 2005 - 9:21 AM PDT ChiyoDad wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> > On May 3, 2005 - 8:22 AM PDT ahogue wrote:
> > ---------------------------------
> (Another nice feature of Pandanet is the section where beautiful female Go professionals answer reader's questions. (I'm not kidding!))
> > ---------------------------------
>
> [Pauses to think.]
>
> Umm. How do you really know that they're beautiful female Go professionals? On the internet, you could be anyone.
>
> > ---------------------------------

Weeell...I suppose that's true but the photographs look convincing enough!

Why would they reserve this section specifically for female players? Got me. Yet another clever strategy to increase Go's popularity?
ahogue
post #15  on May 3, 2005 - 12:40 PM PDT  
I found this Go bibliography which appears to include a lot of in depth reviews of Go books.
jross3
post #16  on May 3, 2005 - 1:31 PM PDT  
I'm sad today :-(
At least you guys are having fun...
ChiyoDad
post #17  on May 3, 2005 - 1:38 PM PDT  
> On May 3, 2005 - 1:31 PM PDT jross3 wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> I'm sad today :-(
> At least you guys are having fun...
> ---------------------------------

Geez! How did you manage to misread the clues on the last two?

I think I'm going to order the first two volumes of Graded Go Problems for Beginners from Kiseido Publishing if I can't find the books at Kinokuniya Bookstore.
ahogue
post #18  on May 3, 2005 - 1:38 PM PDT  
> On May 3, 2005 - 1:31 PM PDT jross3 wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> I'm sad today :-(
> At least you guys are having fun...
> ---------------------------------

Ouch!
ahogue
post #19  on May 3, 2005 - 1:43 PM PDT  
> On May 3, 2005 - 1:38 PM PDT ChiyoDad wrote:
> ---------------------------------
>
> I think I'm going to order the first two volumes of Graded Go Problems for Beginners from Kiseido Publishing if I can't find the books at Kinokuniya Bookstore.
> ---------------------------------

That's a good idea; I hadn't even thought of checking the publisher's site.

Hm. Now I just have to find time to actually play.
Eoliano
post #20  on May 3, 2005 - 1:57 PM PDT  
If you want something simple to illustrate any of the examples in your Go books, you might consider buying a small magnetic board since they are inexpensive, especially if you haven't another person to play with you.

I think Igowin, the free 9X9 version of Many Faces of Go, is a simple, well-designed, software program and it won't overwhelm you, though once you get to 15 Kyu, pay attention! I've been considering buying Many Faces of Go just based on this small program because I think it's is the most user-friendly of the smaller program that I have tried. There are other, larger programs you might try if you haven't already, like Aya, Dariush, and the like.

A couple of tempting places to browse for equipment are Samarkind and Yutopian. If you are truly serious about buying a board, be sure to read as much as possible about the different types of boards. Keep in mind that prices are jumping due to the poor exchange rate and it may be a while before the dollar bounces back, so if you see a bargain, GO for it! ^_^
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