Gotools 1.3 for PC by Thomas Wolf: review

Nick Wedd passed this program on to me for review since he had been involved too much in its production to be able to give an unbiased assessment.

The central tool of this program is a life and death problem solver, which is capable of getting the right answer to problems considerably more difficult than any other program I know of. It uses this capacity in several ways:

You feed in a problem and it solves it for you. Before starting to solve the problem, the program will add stones so that the surrounding wall is completely solid, and you get a chance to modify the way it has done this. There are various settings as to how thorough the program will be, but on its maximum setting it will explore everything. On my 60MHz pentium the program works through about 100 variations per second, which is between 10! and 11! per hour, so if you set it a problem with more than 11 places to play it becomes an all night job. At its less eevere settings it will work more quickly, and will still find the sort of moves 1 kyus miss but 3 and 4 dans normally spot.

This facility probably has some value as a study aid for players up to around 3 dan who want to know what they should have done in games.

The other main thing the program does is to generate problems for you to study. It comes with 12000 problems already prepared for you, and divided according to difficulty, and will produce more if you want. These problems look a good deal less like actual game positions than the ones in most problem books, but are new and inteeresting precisely because they involve unfamiliar shapes.

The program runs under DOS, and feels rather home made. It is not wonderfully robust - the copy protection caused it to crash on my machine, and it twice crashed after a couple of hours working on tricky problems I set it - but the central tool is powerful and it provides a large collection of problems in an unfamiliar style.

review by Matthew Macfadyen, Spring 1996

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