Friday, April 20, 2007

Confirmed summer book offerings from YMI

Pong at Yellow Mountain Imports sent me an email confirming the summer availability of at least these five titles/collections.
His email seemed to suggested that other books may be added to this list.

For those who can't wait until summer, goplayer2006 sometimes offers these books on eBay. Take note of the shipping charges as his books ship from China.

In Other News: SUPs know that the ukulele is not a toy
SUP is an acronym for Serious Ukulele Player(s); but I'm still a beginner and a chording strummer with this fun instrument.

If you'd like to see what it's capable of in the right hands, watch the video below (may not appear through the RSS feed of of Tyler Gilman (left side) performing at Ukulele Puapua in the Pacific Beach Hotel of Hawaii.

These days, a lot of ukuleles are manufactured in China but the quality has been going up well beyond the typical tourist-trash models that one usually finds.

For example, Hamano ukuleles, made of solid mahogany and not laminates, have distinguished themselves as quality copies of the early top-caliber Martin ukuleles. Not surprisingly, they command prices of $250 to $300 (which is considered to be inexpensive for a solid mahogany ukulele).

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Yunzi manufacturing and books from Yellow Mountain Imports

Long-time (well, in terms of internet-time) readers of my blog had seen seen the collage of photos, courtesy of Pong Yen, from the Yunnan Go Factory where boards are made. I think that's the second-most popular post of this blog in terms of independent hits. We all love taking a peek into the kitchen.

Some of you have also seen the manufacturing video from the Yun-zi Company. The video is old and you don't see the actual process until somewhere in the middle.

Pong Yen at Yellow Mountain Imports recently visited the same manufacturing facility and took these close-up shots. It's interesting to see how the Yunzis are closely consistent in size and how they turn white as they cool.

News of upcoming books at YMI
Start saving-up you cash for after-school reading.

Pong mentioned to me that they will have a whole new set of Go books available at Yellow Mountain Imports beginning in the summer. Last year, they started their book offerings with the complete game collection of Go Seigen (aka Wu Xingyuan) which was a big sales hit.

He didn't mention what the titles would be, but we had corresponded about the books that were mentioned in the July archive of becci's blog, Studying Weiqi in China. Although these are all written in Chinese, they are supposedly accessible even for those who don't read the language.

Image courtesy of Studying Weiqi in China

Saturday, April 14, 2007

SOM Regret

I have no doubt that I'm improving at Go because I more often find myself experiencing SOM Regret almost immediately after setting a stone down on the grid.

That's SOM as in Sub-Optimal Move.

It's an observable difference after one advances from a totally-clueless player to a just-plain-clueless one. When you're totally-clueless player, you hardly have an idea as to whether the move you just played is truly sub-optimal until about four to eight moves later when your position is completely laid waste. In contrast, when you become a just-plain-clueless player, you realize your folly much sooner and spend the next moments praying that your opponent doesn't see the opportunity that you just handed to him/her.

The proverb goes, "You are two stones stronger when you are watching a game."

In my humble opinion, the proverb could be rewritten as, "You are two stones stronger shortly after playing a move; then you drop down to your usual strength, or less, just before you play the next one."

Results of the 2007 Winter Poll

So, the question for the 2007 Winter Poll was aimed primarily at those of us who haven't yet reached that touchstone rank of shodan, however we choose to define it. The question was:

Since you started playing Go, how long do you think will it take to reach amateur shodan?

Here's a tabulation and charting of the results. You can click on the images to enlarge them.

About 50% of of the respondents said that they're not on a timetable; and I actually think that's a good thing for amateur players who want to really enjoy the game. The next two popular responses were 5 years and 2 years. 61 respondents (9.8%) doubted that they would ever achieve shodan.

Interestingly, 15 respondents (2.4%) expected to achieve it in six months. That's rather aggressive but one never knows.

The 2007 Spring Poll

There's hardly been anyone who doesn't experience some sort of rush when playing Go since it is, after all, a battle of minds. So, I thought I would examine our states (mental and, as manifested, physical) when playing Go.

Your five choices should cover the general spectrum. Enjoy the new ChiyoPulse poll!