Category: Websites

Review: BadukTV by GoGameGuru

I’m happy to announce that I have finally gotten the opportunity to sign up for GoGameGuru’s (GGG) BadukTV English service! Needless to say, I am thrilled with it! I’ve only made it through two lessons in their “Becoming a 5 Kyu” video series and I am loving it! Not only am I learning a lot, but it’s really incredible to be able to watch material that is not game commentary and actually aimed at weak players like me!!!! Ahhh!!! So wonderful!!!!

Now, before I go into why I think BadukTV by GGG is awesome, let me clarify something. Some of you got a chance to watch a BadukTV video that I posted recently, but I want to remind everyone that they are completely different services. The BadukTV English that I posted is from the BadukTV channel that features English speakers and is currently free. BadukTV from GGG on the other hand, is a paid service that focuses on providing popular Korean BadukTV episodes that have English subtitles.

“Wait wait wait Ben. Why the hell would I pay for something when I can get it for free?”

Well it’s actually quite simple:

  1. The problem with free material is that you never know when you’re going to get new material and whether or not it’s even going to be helpful to you.

  2. There is no guarantee that the quality of material will be up to par.

  3. The material is most likely going to be more advanced than the typical kyu player will be able to really handle.

In other words, let me ask you this: How many videos or lectures have you seen out there that is a lecture series with titles like “Becoming 5 Kyu” or “Level Up to 3 Kyu”?

That's What I Thought

Let’s face it. There are plenty of material out there with strong players reviewing professional games and trying to go through the variations. And sure, BadukTV from GGG has those lectures too for stronger players; however, when it comes to videos of professionals lecturing on material that’s relevant to kyu players who are anxious to get stronger, the Western hemisphere is lacking in this area and BadukTV by GGG helps to fill that empty void many of us long for.

And just in case I haven’t sold you on their English service, they also have:

  1. BadukTV OnDemand - TV programs that you can stream whenever you want. They don’t all have subtitles, but like someone reminded me, go transcends all language barriers and you might find yourself understanding more than you expected!

  2. BadukTV Live - Watch BadukTV live as if you had it as part of your cable service!

  3. BadukTV Mobile - Watch BadukTV programs right from your mobile device!

Bottom line: If you’re one of those people who wished that that the Western hemisphere could have a channel dedicated to go, you definitely need to check this out. They are providing an incredible service and I hope you’ll join me in supporting them in their efforts! Be sure to check out their site here for more information!

P.S. And if you have any other questions about the service, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below or contact me and I’ll be sure to answer your questions to the best of my ability!

Category: Websites

Website Review: Go Teaching Ladder

Go Teaching Ladder Main Page Screenshot

Rating: 4 /5 Ponnuki

Synopsis:

  • A fantastic resource for game reviews when you don’t have time for real-time reviews.
  • It’s FREE!!!!
  • The reviews are not instantaneous, but what you’d expect from a volunteer based service?

Detailed Review:

GoTeachingLadder is a fantastic resource for players want to have their games reviewed.

As it is a completely volunteer based service, one cannot expect the same level of reviews that you might receive from strong players online; but this does not diminish the value of this website.

The process for submitting a game for review is very simple:

  1. Click the link for submitting a game.
  2. Fill out the form.
  3. Verify that the information is correct.
  4. Submit your request.
  5. Enjoy your game review when you receive it!

One of the things about GTL that makes it so effective is the fact that they allow you to ask specific questions about your game so that you can be sure those aspects are given the attention you desire. If it weren’t for this aspect, the value of the reviews would be diminished greatly.

The only downside to this resource is the fact that the wait time can be up to a couple weeks at a time depending on your reviewer. While you should expect nothing less from a volunteer based site, this can diminish the value of the game reviews since you may not quite remember the lessons as vividly as shortly after the game.

For more information and common questions, visit their FAQ page here!

Category: Websites

Website Review: Tel's Go Notes

Review:

Tel’s Go Notes is an excellent website that serves as an amazing companion to the interactive Go tutorials that exist out there on the web. It’s purpose is to provide a one stop solution to clarify a lot of mental misconceptions. A very simple example of this is: What is the object of the game? Many of you will scoff at this question and say “Territory… duh,” but when we look over your games you’ll find that you actually spend significantly more time trying to kill your opponent’s stones than build territory. (This is not a terrible thing, but it’s something you’ll need to eventually grow out of).

Tel does an excellent job of taking a lot of basic concepts and explaining them in a simple and straightforward manner. This is one of the best websites to quickly get a great overview of topics such as life and death, elementary territory building, and what makes a “good” connection. To be honest, even a number of the beginner books I purchased don’t cover such topics nearly as well (in terms of clarity and just the right amount of explanation).

In terms of criticisms, I only have two (and they are just slight nuances). First, the diagrams (particularly on the home page) are kind of small for my liking. They get the job done, but I think they can definitely be larger. For sections such as “what is a ladder,” an embedded sgf file would remove the necessity for all those diagrams. Second, I think the navigability of the site is a little tough. My suggestion would be to have navigation bars on the top and bottom of the site in order to ease maneuvering around the website. Again these are but slight nuances in light of a great website.

Synopsis

Although we have plenty of sites trying to teach Go, this one is a one-stop website for beginners that will provide what you need without filtering through a bunch of advanced concepts. Top notch.

Website Review: Empty Triangle

Review

Please turn your attention to one of the most awesome Go related artwork that exists out there. As you peruse through E3A, you’ll find the characters humorous and absolutely relatable as you progress in Go. The layout is simple and unique with the artistic nature of chidori. Nothing much more needs to be said, so go check it out!

Some favorites…

#006 Completely lost again

#045 Snowsuji

#49 Weakness

#58 Skill

Synopsis:

I absolutely love this site and recommend to anyone playing Go! Can’t wait till the shop is up!

Website Review: Sensei's Library

Review:

Sensei’s Library is Go’s wiki database. It encompasses pretty much any Go information that you could possibly want. It has a lot of great tips and is great for players of all levels and types. Since it’s a collaborative website, the clarity of the information is not always as consistent. This is not a huge problem though, since most of the articles I’ve perused through so far have been pretty solid.

My favorite part is the fact that if there is ever a term in the article that is confusing, they generally have already anticipated such confusion and hyperlink it to its definition. And trust me, I’ve been confused plenty of times (e.g. shicho (a ladder)… ponnuki (the diamond shape made from a one stone capture)….).

Conclusion:

Sensei’s Library will definitely be on my list for places to hit whenever I’m confused or don’t know where a term is, and it should be in your repertoire as well.

Website Review: The Interactive Way to Go

Interactive Go Website Screenshot

Rating: 5 / 5 Ponnuki

Synopsis:

  • Presents information in a simple and easy to understand method for brand new players.
  • Utilizes interactive diagrams to help reinforce what you’re learning.
  • Available in 30+ languages.
  • It’s FREE!!!!
  • The best online tutorial available online for players!

Detailed Review:

Prior to discovering The Interactive Way to Go by Hiroki Mori, I had attempted to read various articles on the rules of go here and there; but none of them ever really made sense to me and this inevitably delayed my discovery of how incredible this game is. Fortunately for me, I eventually stumbled upon this treasure trove that allowed me to finally jump head first into the world of go.

To start, the website’s strength is in its simplicity. The technological requirements are minimal and do not require any fancy computer hardware in order to use it. As a result, one should not expect an extremely flashy website with fancy animations everywhere. In addition, it has a simple user interface that makes it easily accessible to practically any user.

In regards to its content, this is the best aspect of this site because it takes you to the ABSOLUTE basics. It takes a step-by-step approach to teach you the concepts and does a fantastic job simplifying a majority of go terminology into concise sentences that are easy to understand. In case you are not aware, the lowest go rank is considered to be 30 kyu. This rank assumes that you already have an idea of basic concepts like atari, ladders, and so forth. With this tutorial, you start out as a mere 50 kyu, so one can deduce that this tutorial spares no effort in catching you up to speed! Another aspect that I really appreciate about this website is its step-by-step approach.

Like any other good tutorial, this site does not hesitate to utilize diagrams to further illustrate its concepts. However, what makes this tutorial truly shine are the interactive problems. As if the explanations and diagrams were not already sufficient, these interactive problems are embedded into the lesson so that to further illustrate his point and reinforce what you are learning.

Interactive Go Problem Screenshot

While it may be frustrating at times since the answers are not given, I assure you that the solutions actually exist. Whenever you get stuck, I would recommend going over the written explanation and diagrams again before using trial and error to figure out the solution.

Bottom line: The Interactive Way to Go is a top notch tutorial that every player who even has a remote interest in learning go should check out!

Last updated December 6th, 2012 (Rank: 6 kyu)