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“GOAMA”, International Go Newsletter
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72nd issue
goama72.sgf (goama72.sgf)

1. An interview with Arkadij Bogatskij, the author of Bigo Assistant
2. Commented game: Takemiya Masaki vs Yasuda Yasutoshi, 2007
3. New photos from Korea
4. The most exciting game of the week
5. Gifts for our readers!
6. Announcements: EGC- 2008 in Sweden

Dear friends!
We are glad to present you the 72nd issue of the "Goama" newsletter, including:

1. An interview with Arkadij Bogatskij, the author of Bigo Assistant
2. Commented game: Takemiya Masaki vs Yasuda Yasutoshi, 2007
3. New photos from Korea
4. The most exciting game of the week
5. Gifts for our readers!
6. Announcements: EGC- 2008 in Sweden


An interview with Arkadij Bogatskij, the author of Bigo Assistant

- When and how did you start to play Go?
- It was 32 years ago. In August 1975 in Russia they started to publish a series of articles in "Science and life" magazine. That time it was one of the largest magazines on Soviet Union and it taught Go thousands of people. I read the rules but did not understand them. Few weeks later, during the break in our Mechanics-Mathematics University, I noticed two students, who were playing renju. I decided to make my breaks useful too and studied the rules of Go again. I started to play Go a lot – during the lectures, between the lectures and after the lectures too. I explained the rules to my friends. One of them - Yurij Pljusch is 5-dan now.
- How did you create Bigo Assistant?
- I start thinking about this idea in the middle of 80's. Later, in 1990-1991 I made a special program for storing josekis and filled it with 10 000 variations from Yamabe Toshiro's dictionary. At the end of 90's my son Dmitrij ( A.D.: He is currently the strongest master in Ukraine) helped me a lot and write the first version of Bigo Assistant (http://bigo.baduk.org). We were inputting games together with Dmitrij, using our Bigo OCR program, which can extract sgf files from scanned pages of any Go books and magazines
In 2005 we made an online version of our program: http://fuseki.info.
- Let's imagine, that someone decided to study josekis seriously. What will you advice him: to find the Dictionary of basic josekis by Ishida or buy your program?
- I studied that book a lot at the middle of 80's and even rewrite every page of it on paper. That time it was very difficult to find Go books at all. It's a great book, but some variations there, especially 4-4 josekis are outdated.
I will recommend using our program instead. You can find not only the josekis, but also thousands of games, played by each variation. It's also important to know rare patterns, trick moves and their punishments. In the full version of our program there are lots of games played by top amateurs on Go servers, so it’s easy to find such an unusual stuff
- Lots of our readers are floating in fuseki. How do you think, is it possible to improve this stage by replaying pro games and which masters will you recommend studying first?
- I believe that it’s the main method of improving all stages, not only the opening. It's useful to study games, played by one fuseki, or by one master. For beginners I suggest to study games of Takemiya (san-ren-sei's father), Kobayashi Koichi, Rin Kaiho and other top Japanese of 70-80's. 2-3 dan players and stronger must pay attention on recent games with modern patterns.
We upgrade our database often and it's much easier to study new patterns by using Bigo Assistant.
- Do you recommend using your program while playing online? I heard that some people have such habit.
I don't see any bad sides of this method if we talk about non-competitive Go. It's useful to check variations you meet in your games in our database, but I recommend making such work after the game – without time pressure.
- Long time ago Hane Yasumasa, 9-dan counted the wining percentage for games, played by each opening and found out that the High Chinese opening is the most powerful one. I know, that it's possible to get such statistic, using your database. Can you help us to count, which openings are leading nowadays?
- Yes, with pleasure. I will use the statistic from Bigo Assistant Pro Edition, which includes 63935 pro games. In total Black won 50.6% of all games, White - 45,1%. The sum is smaller than 100%, because some games have missing results.
San-ren-sei. 3555 games in total, Black won 46,2%, White won 50%
Kobayashi opening 2524 games in total, Black won 47,3%, White won 50,3%
Low Chinese opening 2423 games in total, Black won 50,8%, White won 47,6%
High Chinese opening 1351 games in total, Black won 52,3%, White won 46,2%
We may see that the High Chinese opening is still leading and it's hard to say, why it is so rare nowadays
- In your database you have games from different Go servers. Are they different? For examples, what is the difference between KGS games and games played on CyberOro?
- I did not think about it, but it seems, that Korean and Chinese players, who "live" on CyberOro are more aggressive, comparing with Europeans and US players on KGS.
We can also notice, that online and offline games are different. We can see much deeper strategic plans in offline games with hard thinking control.
- Chess grandmaster Sveshnikov fights with Chess Assistant owners, because they use his games without permission and without paying him for including them. Can you tell us such stories about your program?
- Such situations did not happen yet. I know that games are copyrighted in Japan, but we are not selling our program on Japanese market, so we were not involved in such conflicts. It's easy for us to collect recent pro games, but we have some problems with collecting games, played on Go servers. Only KGS gives a free access to games archive, other servers are trying to hide them. It's hard to understand why. On IGS, for example, it’s possible to save a game record only few minutes after the end of game. In the middle of 90’s I made a program which can grab games, played by top players and save them on disk. This robot was sitting on IGS, without making any harm to other users, but suddenly they decided to ban him. They explained this reason: "The server was made for people, not for robots!"

Useful links:
Bigo Assistant store:
Online version:

P.S. Arkadij Bogatskij will play for Ukraine during the Korean Prime Minister cup in October, 2007. We wish him a good luck on behalf of our readers!


Commented game: Takemiya Masaki vs Yasuda Yasutoshi, 2007

You may find the commentary at the attachment.
We took this game from the collection of the commented games on Go4Go. If you like to receive more commented games, you can subscribe the service here:
The price of the yearly subscription (500 games: Pro, KGS, Top European and US tournaments) is $50 only. There is also a 6-months plan available.


New photos from Korea

An Dalhun's 7-dan wedding
Korean Baduk league
Lee Changho vs Choi Chelhan. Special game on Taebegsan Mountain (on the border with North Korea)


The most exciting game of the week

35th Korean Myeongin, league
2007-09-11: Lee Sedol 9p (Black) vs. Kim Jiseok 4p (White) B+R
Lee Sedol, 9-dan played a powerful game. He sacrificed some stones in the opening and used his walls well for attacking

Year 2007 Korean League
2007-07-21: Cho Hanseung 9p (Black) vs. Lee Changho 9p (White) W+R
Lee Changho, 9-dan pushed the ladder 7 times, which was not working, but he used his stones for killing another group
Another example of such technique:


Gifts for our readers!

Arkadij Bogatsij ("BAM0" on KGS) decided to offer a 10% discount for Goama readers, applying for the Premium version of the Fuseki.info account.
http://fuseki.info/ is an online version of the Bigo Assistant Profi software. There are 48 803 pro games inside (3 282 games in Demo version)
It's possible to view and study games according to players names, dates, fusekis and josekis.
You may use your discount by entering the coupon code "Goama", while upgrading the demo account to premium one.
It’s a great database! Highly recommended by "Goama" experts!

You can also get a 10% discount for ordering Go (or other board games) books or equipment from http://www.thetradingcentre.co.uk/
Just enter the coupon code "Goama1"!

Contact us, please, if you have your own Go shop or products and would like to set a special discount for "Goama" readers.


Announcements: EGC- 2008 in Sweden

It is possible to register now for the European Go Congress 2008 at the EGC website: egc2008.eu .
The website has lots of information on accommodation, travel, interactive maps, photos and other things and more will be coming up soon. There are already well over 200 participants registered. Early registrants have the widest choice of accommodation. Goama readers who register before November 1st will get the lowest entry fee, which was valid till the end of September. This amounts to a 12.5% discount on the entry fee. Write "Goama discount" in the accommodation window when registering. The organizers are happy to answer any queries sent to info@egc2008.eu .


Enjoy the newsletter!
The IGN "Goama" editor's team

You are welcome to republish any text material from the IGN "Goama" without commercial purposes: please note the source and put the link to http://gogame.info/.

To obtain republishing rights for commented game records, please contact:
A.Dinerchtein ("breakfast" on KGS), editor-in-chief
E-mail: diners@freemail.ru
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