1. Discussions Referenced From Main Page
agro1986 Where can I get an external source for the statement "Go is the second most played game in the world, behind Chinese Chess"? Also, where does Western Chess rank?
-  There are in fact several boardgames with a longer known history. The oldest board game found so far is a version of "The Royal Game Of Ur" which was found in egypt and is estimated to be about 4800 years old.
- Zarlan: But isn't it the oldest game that is still played?
- (Sebastian:) There are some versions of ancient games commercially available, but the problem is that, while we have the board, we only can guess the rules. In Go, we can assume that the rules were pretty much the same as they are now.
- Yes, my first sentence was not complete. I have adjusted it slightly. Go is certainly the oldest game still actively played, as well as the oldest game in its original form.
- Chris Hayashida: Is "original form" verified? I seem to remember that there were starting places for black and white stones, the board size was different, and things like that. Maybe it's nitpicking. I still think it's the oldest board game still around, though.
- Coconuts: Well, consider handicap stones and different size boards used today (9x9 or 13x13). These games, while they are different from the standard, accepted "professional" Go, are still Go. Starting places and different board sizes affect how the game is played to be sure, but I think we can still call it the original form of Go because the rule core is the same.
- Bass: Mancala is sometimes cited as the oldest game still played in its original form (although nowadays one prefers a "board and stones" to "holes in the groud and balls of dung"), but naturally is is impossible to tell its age accurately. Estimates seem to vary between 1500 and 3500 years.
- zinger: Backgammon is also very old. I have heard estimates of 2000 years. As to its "original form", I have no idea.
- Anniepoo: Pachisi ("Parcheesi" or "Sorry" in the US) is an ancient Indian game.
-  This information is pulled from the AGA E-Journal dated 1/17/05.
2004 World Prize Money Rankings
- Cho U, Japan $1,040,000 US
- Hane Naoki, Japan $646,000 US
- Yamashita Keigo, Japan $524,000 US
- Yoda Norimoto, Japan $519,000 US
- Lee Changho, Korea $496,000 US
- Lee Sedol, Korea $334,000 US
- O Rissei, Japan $318,000 US
- Kobayashi Koichi, Japan $297,000 US
- O Meien, Japan $232,000 US
- Gu Li, China $213,000 US
-  I'd like to meet one of these 4 year olds. Most of the ones I know don't have the attention span needed to learn tic-tac-toe, or for that matter to play anything that actually has rules.
- Read Milton Bradley's Go in Japanese education for information on children 4 years of age playing go. As for my own thoughts, a little Go might help that attention span.
- It depends on the 4 year old of course. I taught go to the daughter of a friend when she was 3 years old. She is 4 now and sometimes plays 9x9 on KGS and let me tell you, most of her opponents do not want to know that she is only four years old. She plays mostly by pattern recognition but what she plays is certainly go. It is interesting to teach someone so young - she seems to learn in a completely different way compared to adults - generally she plays much better shape than adult beginners, but is more prone to falling apart tactically. As for attention span, 19x19 is a no-go. 9x9 and 13x13 are fine, even though I have to endure the occasional pokemon story when she loses concentration.
- Bob McGuigan: Cho Chikun beat Rin Kaiho in a five stone handicap game when Cho was 6 years old. Cho had just come to Japan to begin his professional training. It is safe to assume that he was around amateur 5-dan at that time.
- Hyperpapeterie: The wikipedia article on Cho has him at 10kyu when he first came to Japan, and losing to Kato Masao with nine stone handicaps in those years. The bio of Cho at My Friday Night Files makes it sound plausible that the game was not meant so seriously, so it would not have truly tested Cho's strength. (Wikipedia doesn't cite its sources for that section, so it would be quite useful to know if you had concrete evidence contradicting its claims).
- Velobici: Wikipedia...using the Internet to disprove contention that a sufficient number of monkeys with a sufficent number of typewriters... See Cho's biography section The Early Years at My Friday Night Files. Complete with a link to his 1962 games and the game record From the site: One day after arriving in Japan, 2nd August 1962, there is a '100-dan' party for the Kitani school. Cho, taking 5 stones, beats Rin in a game played at that party. There was a huge crowd but he was quite unfazed and took the game very seriously, arms folded and thinking for a long time. Eventually someone had to go up and nudge him into playing quickly. While Rin may have been playing somewhat casually, its clear that Cho was playing in earnest. You might want to play a professional some time at 9 stones to see how strong they actually are. I have played a professional at 6 stones, as one of eight simultaneous games. The professional granted me the game. He did not play complicated or tricky moves, just honte and I managed not to make so large a mistake that he felt compelled to show me my error on the board. I have no illusions that I could play him one on one at six or even nine stones. Go the the US Go Congress in North Carolina (August 12th - 20th 2006) to see how strong professional are. Its not so far from your location.
- Hyperpapeterie: Thanks for the game record, as I only saw it after posting the original comment. Now someone can go tell wiki about its error.
- Dart: My five year old nephew has ADHD, and I taught him to play. Granted, he's only five, but he was sitting there saying "oh no, I can't let black get in here" and "haha I have you now". He understood the rules of capture, but not much else. It was still a sight that; I myself, couldn't believe.
- Migeru: I'm teaching go to my girlfriend's child, who is under 3, and I will keep a log, in case you guys are interested.
-  JohnAspinall: With respect to "It is believed that there are more possible game variations than atoms in the universe.", why is this fact qualified with "It is believed that"? IMHO, this fact is a lot more certain, because it is a lot more quantifiable, than facts about human learning.
- WillerZ: Hmmm -- we can only detect atoms in our light cone, and we don't know where 90% of the universe's mass comes from. Yes, both variables are quantifiable and to an extent both quantified; but I don't like to state things as facts unless they are certainly true...
- JohnAspinall: Even if we don't know where 90% of the universe's mass comes from, it doesn't matter. The game combinatorics are orders of magnitude larger, enough to swamp a single decimal order of magnitude (your 90%). We don't have to know the exact numbers in order to make a simple, declarative, certainly true, statement about relative size.
- ilan: The original statement compares completely different things. It would be more correct (and interesting) to determine whether there are more possible go games or total number of atomic states for all the atoms in the universe (this should essentially be A^(number of atoms in the universe), for some constant A).
- Ilan, that would not actually be interesting at all, although it might be "correct." The atomic states would win by an unimaginable magnitude. If you just think about it for even a moment, you realise there's no point in such a comparison. Maybe to compare with the the atomic states of all the atoms in a drop of water (or really a smaller volume than even that) might be interesting. Anyway, isn't the whole thing just one of those gee-whiz type comparisons? "Wow! There's so many possibilities!" Wouldn't it be simpler to say just that there are lots and lots of possibilities? :) Or the specific number, given that it's mathematically findable. X to the Y power or something?
- It may be interesting to compare it to something relevant in information theory, such as the state space produced by a 4096 bit cryptographic key. I have heard Go has 1x10^750 possible variations, which is a vastly larger state space than, e.g., the number of potential output chains from Mersenne Twister (but probably not Yarrow).
- ilan The original comparison is a descendent of the paper "The Sand Reckoner" written by Archimedes in about 220 B.C. where he gives a pretty upper bound for the possible number of grains of sand that can fill the universe. To save you the trouble of looking it up, the upper bound he gets (in modern notation) is 10^63 grains of sand in a spherical universe with radius about one light year.
2. Other Topics and Suggestions
dej2; How about this for a fun go page http://www.nihonkiin.or.jp/lesson/knowledge-e/index.htm
Robert Pauli: Isn't it interesting to see Nihon Kiin pages with almost no Japanese terms ?
This should be the entrance page to the Nihon Kiin site
I really like this quote, from the English Nihon Kiin site:
''Go is a game that you can enjoy all your life, from childhood to old age. Strangers can immediately become friends through playing a game of Go.
Communication between people in our modern society is lessening, but Go can make a big contribution to communication transcending the family, teachers and pupils, seniors and juniors. That's because it's a marvellous game in which differences of age or sex or nationality are irrelevant.''
ilan: "Communication between people in our modern society is lessening." That statement is completely untrue. Anyone who posts an opinion to the contrary confirms that I am correct.
ProtoDeuteric: I agree with ilan entirely. In fact, I believe that the trend is going the opposite direction; communication in our modern society is increasing. New forms of communication are created daily and it is possible for several people on one side of the world to speak with several people on the other side of the world. The communication technologies are also becoming increasingly available to more and more people. Go deserves merit for many things, but saving the world from lack of communication is not one of them.
George Caplan Ilan and ProtoDeuteric are obviously talking about the ease of communication via various modern forms, such as the internet. I agree with the original poster (Quicksilvre) this is a beatiful sentiment. I think what they mean by "communication" is making true and deep connections with others in a socially cooperative sense, not in a flame-war nitpicking sense. The greater communication justifiably lauded above often leads, not to greater understanding, but to electronic fiefdoms of staked out positions. And, in that sense, "communication" is lessening because more talking does not necessarily mean more listening.
Zarlan: I agree that a lot of communication on the internet is rather worthless. A lot of it is good though. Still, talking on the internet isn't quite the same as talking in real life. Also I disagree with ProtoDeuteric:
Go does increase communication. In cyberspace and "meatspace" as you communicate with your opponent, teacher, pupil, friend, rival or fellow deshi in go-communities, be it a Go club, a Go server or Sensei's Library.
ProtoDeuteric: Zarlan, we do not disagree at all. We are on the same side.
Brent: I wonder what connotations the Japanese conception of "communication" has? I don't know anything about Japanese culture or language... anyway, I agree that with modern technology, the amount of communication, both potential and actual, has increased dramatically. I am not sure that the quality of human communication has improved, though. But I wouldn't go so far as to say it has gotten worse, mostly because I think it has always been poor to begin with -- we humans seem to have a fundamental fear of relating and communicating on a deep level.
I must say I was somewhat skeptical of the idea of "Go as communication" when I first encountered it (the AGA sent me a frere copy of the book of the same name, by Yasutoshi Yasuda 9-dan), but after reading the book, and watching my own students play and interact, I have to admit there is something to it...
ilan: To get back to the original assertion, I find that statements of the form "Things aren't as good now as they used to be..." are usually made by older people who don't realise that it is they who changed, not the world. Back in my day, people knew this.
ProtoDeuteric: Ilan, I have found different, but not opposite, results from my experiences. Indeed the older people have changed throughout their lifetime, seeing the world differently as a result, but the world has also changed due to technology, use of resources, new discoveries, acceptance of new ideas and the relaxation of morality and social stigmas. Even people's experiences affect not only the people, but also the world itself, for experiences are interactions with the environment around you.
ilan: Agreed that the world changes, but I am referring to those who claim that it is for the worse, when most evidence points to the contrary, along with the underlying implication that the human race is itself is somehow deteriorating.
Bill: I used to think as you do, Ilan, but now that I am older, I know better. ;-)
Morten When I was a child, my dad appeared to be omniscient. When I turned into my teenage years, I realised that there were gaps to his knowledge. Between the ages of 18 and 25, I thought he was the most ignorant man in the world. When I turned 30, I was amazed at how much he had learned in the previous 5 years...
Now that my eldest son is 9, I will of course be able to do better...?
ilan: Apparently, the rumours of your death have been greatly exaggerated: http://www.twainquotes.com/Father.html
Morten Great minds think alike, it appears...
Seriously, I never knew that this saying had been attributed to anyone. Goes to show that even at my age, I can still learn new things. Of course, the things I used to learn used to be much better .... ;-)
Dieter: In those younger days I was less nostalgic.
ilan: Nostalgia isn't what it used to be.