Go Professional II

When I received a review copy of this commercial version (Oxford Softworks) of Mick Reiss's highly successful go playing program I was expecting to be asked how well it played, and what it could do. It came as a surprise to be called on to recognise the song of a Chinese bush warbler.

This is mainly a program which plays go. The standard is about as good as you can get at present. I find actual grades hard to judge, but Go Professional plays at a similar level to Many Faces of Go or Handtalk, it does not try to swindle you as much as Handtalk, and plays quite correctly for much of the time. For all three programs I can give a 9 stone handicap and win by over 100 points without difficulty, but killing every stone on the board is very difficult (I have not managed that against Go Professional yet). Anyone below 10 kyu can expect a decent challenge.

As to the extras, there are facilities for setting up network games, so as to be able to relay games from one computer to another, but as far as I can see the program will not work alone as an internet client. It can read sgf files, but is relatively fussy about their format. If you collect recent professional games by clipping themn out of postings on rec.games.go there will often be spurious characters (especially carriage returns) in the file, and Go Professional seems to digest these slightly less well than Many Faces. There is no facility for adding comments or variations.

But the recommended price is a little over half that for Many Faces, and you do get a choice of whether your cursor will be an umbrella or a carrot. And if you don't like the Chinese bush warbler there is some Japanese classical music, but I was not able to identify that.

review by Matthew Macfadyen, Autumn 1999

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