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Hellooooo... Any Go players out there? (Baduk, Igo, wei-chi..)

Bert Bates
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Joined: Oct 14, 2002
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Ok - here we have this huge collection of brains and talent all collected together at the world famous JavaRanch site.
Does anybody on this site play Go? You know GO, the most amazing game ever created? The one game computers can't play to save their pathetic little silicon lives?
Anybody trying to design a Go program?
Just curious...


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Jim Yingst
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Joined: Jan 30, 2000
Posts: 18671
I've played it a few times (maybe twenty games on a full-size board, and about as many on 13 x 13). Also read this and this, long ago. My kyu rating is too high to be measured accurately. It's a pretty cool game, but the sort of thing I would spend way too much of my time doing if I let myself fall into it.


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Michael Ernest
High Plains Drifter
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Joined: Oct 25, 2000
Posts: 7292

I haven't played since grad school, but I did have versions for the Mac and NeXT way back then -- I *think* we had a version we wrote for the Amiga, but I'm probably misremembering writing a Go-moku program...long time ago now.
For a full-size board (19 x 19), that 361 spots to open with, so what is that 361! permutations to consider for predicitve analysis? We're just now outdoing the best human minds on chess: a mere 64 spots to cover and a paltry (guessing quickly) 24 possible opening moves for both sides, not including resignation. It'll be a while before a computer can sort all that out on brute force.


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J. Yan
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jun 14, 2002
Posts: 34
It is very time-consuming to play Wei-Qi, which was the most intelligent game played among nobles and elites in ancient China. I used to play it a lot when I was in middle school, but eventually I ended up just playing Chinese Chess and cards for fun. If I play Wei-Qi very seriously twice a day now, I will have trouble falling in sleep
Axel Janssen
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Joined: Jan 08, 2001
Posts: 2164
I love GO. Its much better than chess!!!
Unfortunatedly my only rival died 4 years ago in a tragic accident. The only of my friends who died at such an early age.
Efforts to enthuse others for the game failed until now. We started when we yet went to school. At that time one has simply more time to play such games.
Thinking about it, I might look for some sort of a club here. Don't know my kyu rating. I had only 1 serious rival in my life.
Jim Yingst
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Joined: Jan 30, 2000
Posts: 18671
Axel - you could also look into internet game servers. Dunno what's the preferred server among serious players these days, but I note that yahoo games seems to have a reasonably active Go section.
I've played a few of the free or shareware programs that were available, and found they were often good enough to challenge me, at least. Except that often they don't know when to stop, so if you use Japanese counting you can convert a losing game into a winning game simply by letting the computer stupidly keep filling in its own territory.
Never wrote a program for it myself, but thought about it, and did a little reading on the topic. I was also interested in pente (ninuku-renju), which is much more amenable to competerization. It has a comparable number of theoretically possible moves, but it's much easier to filter this down to a list of 2-10 moves that might actually accomplish something. Plus the games are much shorter, which (back in meatspace) made it a lot easier to convince other people to play it. When I was living in a dormitory, I could just set up the game board in the front lobby, and the pretty glass pieces would attract passers-by ask what it was, and then try a game. Soon enough, you've got a group of people watching the game, waiting to play next.
[ January 06, 2003: Message edited by: Jim Yingst ]
Bert Bates
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Sheriff

Joined: Oct 14, 2002
Posts: 8829
    
    5
Yeah ! Go players !
There are quite a few Go servers now. Yahoo is good, but my two favorites are 'igs' and 'nngs'.
Igs is where the best amateurs in the world play, and sometimes pros play there too. It can be a little harsh, but it's great to watch such strong players. (btw beginner's play there too!)
Nngs is smaller, but it's a very friendly place, and players of all strengths are there.
This being JavaRanch and all, one thing that is of interest to me is writing a really good client program for these Go servers. IMHO the best client out there is called 'winigc' - it is of course a windows program... sigh. There are a few Java clients but they just don't match up to Winigc - a Go client as good as winigc would TOTALLY ROCK !!!
Writing an actual go playing program that is halfway decent is a huge goal in the AI community. In fact there is a $10 million dollar prize for the first Go program that can beat a 1 dan. (Plus such a program would sell about a gazillion copies in the east.)
I must admit that Go can be addicting, but if you keep it under control it is indeed the best game in the world... as Go players are fond of saying:
Life imitates Go
Jim Yingst
Wanderer
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Joined: Jan 30, 2000
Posts: 18671
Life imitates Go
Which reminds me - I finally remembered the name of the other Go-related book I read:
The Protracted Game: A Wei-Ch'i Interpretation of Maoist Revolutionary Strategy
An interesting study of the relationships between effective Go strategies and the military strategies of Mao and his followers. Contrasted with the more Chess-like strategies employed by Western opposition. Jason Menard would probably eat it up.
By the way, I'm mildly surprised David Weitzman hasn't chimed in yet, as Go seems like the sort of thing he'd probably enjoy...
Plus such a program would sell about a gazillion copies in the east.
Well, there would certainly be a gizillion copies in circulation in the east. :roll: Dunno how many would be sold.
I doubt Java would be a good choice for a go-playing program. But it does seem like it should be possible to make a decent client. What are the names of the top contenders so far from the Windows and Java worlds? I may have to look into this.
Go 3-dan
Cool. I'm assuming that's an amateur ranking, right? Or are you just slumming here between tournaments?
Bert Bates
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Sheriff

Joined: Oct 14, 2002
Posts: 8829
    
    5
Did a little further research on Go clients for the various servers. The best single link I've found to open up a cornucopea of clients is: www.pandanet.co.jp/English/
Winigc can be found there along with various Java based clients. IMHO winigc is the one to measure against.
I'm sure you're right about the distinction between 'sold' and 'in circulation'... seems that is a problem the world around :roll:
'The Master of Go' and 'Shibumi' are yet two more really great Go-related books.
If anyone would like to get started using these clients and servers, let me know - I'd be happy to help!
As to the ranking, yes it's true I am an amateur, the pros are hustled off to dojos at the age of 6 to spend 8 hours a day studying the game... just not possible in the west. Only a handful of westerners have ever been pro status, and only one of those has made any sort of mark.
In terms of writing an actual Go program, I guess I think that Java would be a great choice of language. I say that because to me it wouldn't matter how fast a program played, if it played well, the algorithms would port. Java seems very expressive to me, and OO seems like the only way to keep such a complex system under control.
 
Don't get me started about those stupid light bulbs.
 
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