Over the Summer holiday of 2005 I got into playing Go, a board game originating in ancient China. The board consists of a grid of 19 by 19 lines, onto the empty intersections of which black and white take turns to place their ‘stones’ (smartie shaped playing pieces). The aim of the game is to surround more of the board than your opponent, and stones are captured by surrounding them with your stones. The rules are very simple, yet the game is very challenging to master; Go is one of the few remaining games at which humans are much better than computers. For more information on Go please see the wikipedia article or this tutorial.
The picture on the right shows the board about half-way through the final of the 1980 European Championship between Matthew Macfadyen (black) and Jürgen Mattern (white), which Macfadyen won. There is also a bigger version (280 KB) available which is prettier: it has a wood-grain effect board and shadows.
The above picture was produced using Jago. Jago enables you to play Go over the internet, or on your computer if a human plays both players. However, Jago only makes a pretty GUI; if you want to play Go against the computer you need a Go engine, such as GNU Go.
A book I found useful when learning Go was The Game of Go by Matthew Macfadyen (ISBN 1-85868-722-5). This included 12 problems at the end to which there were hints, but no solutions. The solutions were supposed to be at http://www.jklmn.demon.co.uk/Carlton, but this website has ceased to exist. I therefore decided to put my answers on the web. I can't guarantee that they are perfect, if you have any comments or corrections please email me. Each solution includes the game tree as an XML and SGF file for you to download and explore using a Go client, such as Jago. The indentation of the solutions mirrors the structure of the game tree, so boards at the same level of indentation are different options for the same move number.
The problems are all on 9 × 9 boards and black is to play. The first six problems involve capturing secure-looking white stones, and the second six require rescuing hopeless-looking black ones. GoChallengeProblems.zip (72 KB) contains all the problems as png images and the solutions in both xml and sgf format.
I play online at KGS with the username Uberdude. Check out my rank graph.
In May 2012 I joined Alexandre Dinerchtein's Insei league on KGS. (He also does Wbaduk and KGS news and a Social network for Go players).
I am a member of the Cambridge University Go Society and was its president for the year 2006-7.