Igo Hiroba 囲碁広場


2021 Fall Semester - Virtual Themed House

Do you want to be a better decision-maker? Do you want to be a storyteller that everyone likes listening to? Believe it or not, the ancient game of Go can help you to achieve these grand goals. How? Once your game is finished, the real work begins. Analyzing, discussing, narrating a game record can lead you on the path of self-improvement, and these activities are inherently social.

The main purpose of the house is to provide a place for discussing self-development and the improvement of decision making skills using the ancient game of Go as a shared experience. It is meant to be a friendly and welcoming place and a home for serious thinking efforts at the same time.

In more detail, the proposed house aims to provide opportunities to

  1. interact and communicate with other students;
  2. have a first-person experience of self-development and improvement through social collaboration;
  3. understand what is lacking from the current AI systems, the cognitive power of narratives;
  4. to learn about an important piece of Asian and Japanese culture.

For thousands of years the game of Go has been recognized for its capacity to make its players better people, for its holistic educational value. The proposed house puts emphasis on the self-expression and communication skills of the participants, and the game is still relevant for these purposes for several reasons.

It is accessible and equalizing, i.e. it is easy to learn and requires no previous experience in board games. The unique handicap system allows players of different skill levels to play each other in a meaningful way. It serves as a common background for communication. Like watching the same movie provides something to talk about, playing the same game gives an interesting topic to discuss.
Progress is measurable. Playing and reviewing games leads to deeper understanding that has precisely quantified numerical measures (self-correcting ratings).

The ultimate goal is that participants will be able to do knowledge transfer, i.e. the ways to achieve the experience of progress can be used in other fields, most notably in mathematics and computing. Several of the objectives above are listed in the syllabus of the MAT230 course (AI, Math and Games: Igo Math), however due to the lack of time and the distorting effect of grading, it is not possible to realize all the benefits of the social game review approach in the classroom.

Activity Plan

Weekly ZOOM meetings for reviewing games played elsewhere (over the board or online). Thus, playing the game is not an activity in the meeting. It is about discussing the strategic plans, tactical achievements and mistakes, ways for improving, finding better moves in specific situations. Here are some guiding questions for a game commentary that can serve as a starting point for a discussion.

Who/What was the opponent? How strong? Where was it played? When? Under what circumstances? Provide game information: komi, handicap, time control. Describe the overall character of the game, Was it a peaceful one? Did it have some fierce fight? For each of your moves (except the most obvious ones, like endgame moves), consider the following questions. What was the purpose of this move? What did you think? What did it achieve? Also, for the opponent’s moves, Was the opponent’s move surprising? Did it change your plans? Regarding the whole game, What was the deciding move? Who had the initiative?

It is a basic Go wisdom that the most efficient way of learning is reviewing games. Also, Go has a very strong review culture. Even after two days long professional games, the players still take time to discuss the game on the spot late in the evening.

There are very good online tools for facilitating such a group discussion (e.g. the game review feature of the OGS server).

The time commitment for sensible participation in the themed house is expected to be no more than 2 hours per week (1 hour review meeting, and 1 hour playing).

Optional Activities

If there are many participants, then it makes sense to have game reviews in a teaching ladder. Players get advice from stronger players and give advice to weaker players. This way the knowledge gap is kept small, minimizing the chance that an explanation is not understood.

Beyond reviewing own games it is often useful and interesting to analyze professional and historical games. Participants may prepare short presentations of game reviews. Alternatively, the presentations can feature different aspects of the game: deeper cultural connections (e.g. as in the book ‘Buddhist Philosophy and the game of Go’ by William Cobb, Slate & Shell 2021.), or software packages that help in learning the game.

2021 Spring Semester - Quarantine Evenings

If you have limited opportunities for social interaction, here is one. Igo Hiroba offers evening Zoom sessions, for puzzles, playing/observing/discussing games or just having a chat about artificial intelligence, computers, life, universe and everything. Beginners welcome!

2020 Spring Semester

Igo Hiroba is the `place’ to learn and play the ancient game of Go, to talk about the personal quest for improving (in anything), discuss latest AI technologies, or simply for having a nice chat over the board.

Igo Hiroba is open to everyone in the AIU community. As the campus is closed for this semester, we move online. To connect to the meetings, please send a message egri-nagy at aiu.ac.jp.

Dates Time Comment
Apr 27 10:00-11:00 One new player.
Apr 30 10:00-11:00  
May 7 10:00-11:00  

More events to come!

2019 Fall Semester

Logical thinking, decision making, handling pressure, being able to recover from failures - skills you need. Undoubtedly. So, where do you practise them? Out there in real life, where stakes are high? Or, comfortably sitting in a cafe, sipping your favourite drink, by playing an ancient yet timeless board game. Your choice. The opportunity is here.

Beginners are welcome! Special fast track programme based on small-board midgame problems is prepared for them. Games are offered on 9x9, or 13x13. For playing on the full board, please contact in advance.

Location: College Cafe (or Student Hall if there is no available table in the Cafe, or outside of Cafe if weather is fine)

Time: lunchtime on the following dates, no need to book, just come to the table where you can see the Go boards

Dates Information
Sept 2 12:00 - 13:00
Sept 4 13:00 - 14:00
Sept 9 12:00 - 13:00 two beginners joined (1 student, 1 faculty)
Sept 11 12:00 - 13:00 one new player, 2 5x5, 4 9x9 games
Sept 18 13:00 - 14:00 1 player
Sept 23 12:00 - 13:00 historical moment: 2 players playing a real game
Sept 25 12:00 - 13:00 1 player
Sept 30 12:00 - 13:00 2 players, 1 new, 1-dan
Oct 2 11:30 - 12:30 1 player, 2 games
Oct 7 12:00 - 13:00
Oct 9 12:00 - 13:00 1 player, 1 game (recorded and analyzed)
Oct 13,14 Igo Playroom at AIU festival more info
Oct 16 12:00 - 13:00 this was not included before by mistake, 1 new player
Oct 21 12:00 - 13:00
Oct 23 12:00 - 13:00
Oct 28 12:00 - 13:00 3 players (2 new)
Oct 30 12:00 - 13:00 2 players
Nov 4 12:00 - 13:00 1 player
Nov 6 13:00 - 14:00 2 players
Nov 11 12:00 - 13:00 2 players
Nov 13 11:00 - 12:00 an hour earlier due to a meeting, 1 player
Nov 18 12:00 - 13:00 2 players, 1 kibitz
Nov 20 12:00 - 13:00 3 players (1 new)
Nov 25 12:00 - 13:00 3 players (1 new)
Nov 27 CANCELLED due to a LiterAkita event
Dec 2 12:00 - 13:00 2 players
Dec 4 13:00-14:00 2 players
Dec 9 12:00 - 13:00 2 players (1 new)
Dec 11 12:00 - 13:00 1 player
Dec 16 12:00 - 13:00 2 players
Dec 18 13:00 - 14:00 an hour later due to Faculty Forum, 1 player

2019 Spring Semester

You can take a free lesson on how to play Igo, or you can give one by showing your skills. You can solve Go puzzles, or simply just have a game and chat about it. Just come to the table with the Go boards. If you wish to secure a slot please email egri-nagy at aiu.ac.jp.

…a bit of thinking will not make you less smart…

Location: College Cafe (or Student Hall if there is no available table in the Cafe, or outside of Cafe if weather is fine)

Time: lunchtime on the following dates

Dates Information
April 15th 12:00 - 13:00 1 player, 2 games and tsumegos
April 22nd 12:00 - 13:00 1 player, 1 serious game with interesting turns and twists
May 6th 12:00 - 13:00 Cafe closed
May 13th 12:00 - 13:00 1 player, 1 spectator, a tutoring and a handicap game, one tsumego
May 20th 12:00 - 13:00
May 27th 12:00 - 13:00
June 3rd 12:00 - 13:00
June 10th 12:00 - 13:00 1 player, 3 handicap games, 4 tsumegos discussing two eyes/false eyes
June 17th 12:00 - 13:00
June 24th 12:00 - 13:00
July 1st 12:00 - 13:00
July 8th 12:00 - 13:00 2 players, 3 games
July 15th 12:00 - 13:00 Cafe closed
July 22nd 12:00 - 13:00 1 player, two games (5x5, 9x9), elementary tsumegos
July 29th 12:00 -13:00 1 player, 5x5 midgame puzzles

after that, sessions will continue in the Fall semester