Tag Archives: Go

Hone your strategic thinking at the Library

The Library's Go set features a heavy bamboo board and natural stone playing pieces.

The Library’s Go set features a heavy bamboo board and natural stone playing pieces.

When two tigers fight, what is left is
one dead tiger and one wounded one.
-Chinese Proverb

Go is a board game that originated in China more than 5,000 years ago. Like chess, Go has always been regarded as a tool for developing strategic thinking, but the mentalities required for success in the two games could hardly be more different.

Chess is a metaphor of decisive battle. Each player strives to capture the opponent’s king by annihilating his capacity to resist. This means that the strategic sense developed by chess is one where the object is total victory.

In contrast to chess’ emphasis on calculation, Go emphasizes judgement. Therefore, Go seems to resemble business or international relations more than warfare. The object is not to destroy, but to build territory. In Go, patience is essential, and greed is punished.

Go writer Peter Shotwell writes that “Japanese executives learned to look at the national and international corporate worlds as Go boards and designed many of their strategies accordingly…One should try to win, but that had to involve allowing the opponent to win something too, because all-out fights might destroy both competitors.”*

The Library has a new professional quality Go set, in front of the reference desk. We hope this set will inspire some of our students to learn about this rich and beautiful game. Intrigued? Check out this short tutorial on the rules:


If you are interested in learning to play Go, contact Harold Henkel at harohen@regent.edu for suggestions on getting started.

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*Peter Shotwell, Go! More Than a Game, (Ruland, VT: Tuttle Publishing, 2003), xi. http://library.regent.edu/record=b1545173~S0

 

Join the Library Go-playing community in 2015

 

“There is chess in the western world, but Go is incomparably more subtle and more intellectual.” -Lee Sedol, World #1 ranked player

“There is chess in the western world, but Go is incomparably more subtle and more intellectual.” -Lee Sedol, World #1 ranked player

“The board is a mirror of the mind of the player as the moments pass. When a master studies the record of a game he can tell at what point greed overtook the pupil, when he became tired, when he fell into stupidity, and when the maid came by with the tea.”

-An anonymous Go player

To be successful in any important undertaking, you need a strategy, so why not include learning the world’s greatest strategic game in your resolutions for 2015?

Go, which originated in China more than 2,500 years ago, has been called a gift to the world from Chinese civilization. Go offers even novice players benefits in strategic thinking not available from other games, even chess. Principal among these are patience, judgment, and balance. As in life, moderation is essential for success, and greed is punished.

To encourage the Regent community to learn and play this great game, the Library has placed a new Go set on a table in the reference area. This set features large stones in traditional jujube wood bowls and a 9 x 9 board, the size used in China, Japan, and Korea to introduce the game to children and beginners.

For more information and recommendations for learning to play, contact Harold Henkel at harohen@regent.edu.

Games in Academic Libraries

by Jason Stuart, Reference Librarian

Relax while improving you understanding of strategy by playing Go at the Library.

Relax while improving you understanding of strategy by playing Go at the Library.

Games in academic libraries… really? It seems like a topic more suited to public libraries, and some may even disagree with their place in that context. But there are times when games are appropriate in academia, and some of them may surprise you.

First though, a bit of definition of what is meant by games. This article takes the broad stance of referring to games: classic card games, social games (e.g. charades), board games, role-playing games, video games, and just about anything else one might consider a game.

Games as learning

Can games teach? Sure they can! Instead of a library tour, why not a scavenger hunt? Unlike other media, games typically put the player in the midst of dilemmas and have them actively engaged rather than passively observing. This mode of learning opens up a wealth of possibilities.

But what do they teach? Well, card and board games can be used for math and game theory. Video games can go even further, covering many subjects, such as chemistry or history. Video games also often contain the important element of narrative. Just as with books and films, video games are imbued with philosophy, culture, and a variety of beliefs and concepts just waiting for analysis by academic researchers such as psychologists and anthropologists. The narrative element in video games can be used by literature and communications students for studying story-structuring.

Games as quality of life enhancers

Playing a game allows students to have fun, interact socially, and take their minds off things; they also provide an outlet for channeling frustration and relieving stress. Unlike tests, papers, and projects, which generally permit only one or two attempts, games take pressure off the player by allowing as many attempts as necessary to achieve success.

Funding issues

Even faculty and students who agree that games have a place in academic libraries may also feel that the cost of collecting them will reduce the available funds for more important resources. So how do academic libraries typically acquire them? Well, some schools can justify the cost because they offer courses on game design or games and learning. Otherwise, grants and especially donations are common. Sometimes even student organizations devote some of their funds to purchasing games. Where there is a will, there is a way.

 Further Reading

Kim, Bohyun. “Harnessing the power of game dynamics.” College & Research Libraries News 73, no. 8 (September 2012): 465-469. Education Source, EBSCOhost (http://0-search.ebscohost.com.library.regent.edu/login.aspx?direct=true&db=eue&AN=79730290&site=ehost-live)

Salter, Anastasia. “Games in the Library,” Chronicle of Higher Education, December 13, 2011. http://chronicle.com/blogs/profhacker/games-in-the-library/37667.

Go comes to the Library Reference Desk

When two tigers fight, what is left is
one dead tiger and one wounded one.
-Chinese Proverb

Expand your horizons by learning Go.

Expand your horizons by learning Go.

Go (Chinese: wéiqí, Japanese: igo, Korean: baduk, common meaning: “surrounding game”) is a board game that originated in China more than 2,500 years ago. Go is widely understood to occupy the position in China, Japan, and Korea that chess does in the West.

Go and chess are both preeminently games of strategy, but the nature of play and the temperament required for success could hardly be more different: While the object of chess is to checkmate the opponent’s king, the object of Go is to control more territory on the board. Chess favors daring and calculation, Go patience and judgment.

It has become widely appreciated in the West that that some understanding and experience with Go can provide insights into the psychology and strategic thinking of countries where Go is part of the cultural heritage. Peter Shotwell, for example, writes that “Japanese executives learned to look at the national and international corporate worlds as Go boards and designed many of their strategies accordingly…One should try to win, but that had to involve allowing the opponent to win something too, because all-out fights might destroy both competitors.”*

The Library has placed a Go set on the Reference Desk that we hope will act as a catalyst for some of our patrons to learn about this rich and even beautiful game. Go will not only teach you another way of looking at strategy and success, but also provide an experience of one of the great arts of China, Japan, and Korea.

Intrigued? Check out this trailer for a forthcoming documentary about Go:

If you are interested in learning to play Go, contact Harold Henkel at 757-352-4198 or harohen@regent.edu for suggestions on getting started.

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*Peter Shotwell, Go! More Than a Game, (Ruland, VT: Tuttle Publishing, 2003), xi. http://library.regent.edu/record=b1545173~S0

R U Global—Resources for World Leaders: Go! More than a Game

Go! More than a Game, by Peter Shotwell
Reviewed by Harold Henkel, Associate Librarian

When two tigers fight, what is left is
one dead tiger and one wounded one.

-Chinese Proverb

Go is widely understood to occupy the position in China, Japan, and Korea that chess does in the West. Like chess, Go is a strategic board game whose origins and language lay in warfare. In every other aspect, however, the two games could hardly be more different, and while it is widely appreciated that some understanding and experience with Go can provide insights into East Asian philosophy and psychology, the game’s reputation for complexity stands as an obstacle for many potential players in the West.

To give a thumbnail comparison of the two games, while the object of chess is to checkmate the opponent’s king, the object of Go is to control more territory on the board. Chess is a game of aggression and domination; winning usually requires the destruction of the opposing army. Go is a game of patience and balance. Chess is about calculation; Go is about judgment. Winning consists not in destroying one’s opponent, but in achieving a comparative advantage. Above all, chess is principally a game of tactics, Go of strategy.

Go is known for the beautiful patterns created in the course of a game.
Go is known for the beautiful patterns created in the course of a game.
Go, it must be admitted, is not an easy game to begin playing, but with a little effort, it is not at all impossible for adults to learn and enjoy. (As with so much else, children pick up the game much faster.) There are a number of helpful books for beginners, but I would recommend starting off with an excellent two-part introduction to the game on YouTube. After viewing these tutorials, take a look at the Wikipedia article before moving on to a Go: More than a Game. You should read no more than the first two chapters, before starting to play (I forgot to mention you need to find a partner for this project!) as you read more of the book. It is only by playing the game that you will start to “see” the strategic concepts of Go.

Go: More than a Game is a clear textbook of Go that will take new players from beginning to intermediate proficiency. The author, Peter Shotwell, is an expert on the relationship of Go to Eastern and Western philosophy, literature, and history; and nearly a quarter of the book is taken up with those subjects, as well as how the game has affected the mentality and outlook of its players. For example, in explaining the influence of the game on Japanese business culture, Shotwell writes, “Japanese executives learned to look at the national and international corporate worlds as Go boards and designed many of their strategies accordingly…One should try to win, but that had to involve allowing the opponent to win something too, because all-out fights might destroy both competitors.” Readers with some background in mathematics, as well as film goers who saw A Beautiful Mind, where a lost Go match at Princeton ultimately leads to John Nash’s discovery of the Nash Equilibrium, will also be interested in the discussion of Go and game theory.