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Servers | KGS | An Interview With The Creator Of, Vasily Yevstygnyeyev


2011-09-12 Expert: DanielTom Rate: (5)  7 ratings

An Interview With The Creator Of, Vasily Yevstygnyeyev

Q: Can you tell us about yourself? (How old are you? Where do you live? What do you do for living?) And when did you first learn about Go?

A: I am 29 year old, and I am a professional software developer. I am currently living in China (Sichuan/Chengdu).

The first time I learned about Go was in April of 2006.


Q: What attracts you in Go?

A: Infinity.


Q: How did the original idea for come about?

A: At first, I was missing game sources, especially of recent games of Lee Sedol. Consequently, I started researching this topic, since the end of 2008.


Q: How and when did the project start?

A: I realized that I need to open web, otherwise the research would be wasted.

The Project started suddenly at the end of Feb 2010. I bought the domain name, and I spent ~10 days to make the first version of the website.

Considering the whole process, I can say that it was a very agile development. It is very hard to keep simplicity from visual side and from program logic normal complexity.


Q: Where do you get the games from (your sources)? Do you add the game records to the database manually?

A: The sources are various, depending on the tournament.

I have friends who also help me to add games to the database.

European Go players have also contributed their games: Artem Kachanovskyi, Cornel Burzo, Timur Sankin, and others.


Q: A couple of years ago there was a dispute between Lee Sedol and the Korean Baduk Association concerning kifu copyrights: Lee believed that the players should be the ones to have the copyrights for the game records, and not the Hanguk Kiwon.

What do you think about this problem? Should there be any copyright of game records at all?

A: This topic is very hard to discuss. I noticed many posts at GoDiscussion, LifeIn19x19 and Senseis on this subject. It can differ from country to country, depending on the laws. I can add that, in my opinion, if a player comments on other players' or his own games, it should be worth some reward. Of course, copyright can be applied to such games with comments. Otherwise, it is not applicable.

Q: A few months ago, started to include games played on Online Go Servers (like KGS). How did you go about making that addition?

A: Mr. William Shubert has allowed me to add games and use the logo of KGS.


Q: Can you tell us more about the features already implemented in the website?

A: The available features include:

User feature (messages, upload own games, favorites);

Share games in different format picture, animated picture, iframe, social networks;

Tournament navigation /Pro games navigation/KGS games navigation. Search by player's name;

Integration with twitter, weibo (gokifu account);

File encoding detection (Korean, Japanese, Chinese, Cyrillic, Western encodings, etc) making them to UTF-8 (which any go editor can display correctly);

Go file formats handling UGI->SGF, GO->SGF, GIB->SGF , NGF->SGF;

Export games to printable format, PDF (1 diagram - 100 moves, average game 2 pages);

Transparent Chinese language (all web is switching to Chinese, including the players' names and results)

Currently the website supports 14 languages (any help or corrections are welcome!).

Extended SGF specification (WC,BC  country tags), which allows me to show the country flag of the players for the games.


Q: Has the popularity of your website at present exceeded your original expectations? Where do you go from here?

A: There were no expectations about popularity. People are getting more and more interested in the website.


Q: Is there anything you might like to add?

A: The technical side of the questions:

The main web engine is PHP, JavaScript, HTML, MySQL.

The tools and other stuff written Perl,Python,C/C++

Editors  geany/vim/gedit/notepad++.


A few more questions (abridged) from our readers:

'noth1ng': Hi. My questions: will you be working on any other Go projects in the future? Do you think it's better to develop Go in life or in the Internet?

A: Yes, I will make more Go projects in the future (gaming engine). When it comes to Go development, it is better to use both ways. They do not exclude each other.


'fromBJ': Vasily, would you please share with us your next 2-3 year plan for

A: The plan is very straight forward:

a) Improve the quality of navigation of tournaments<,

b) Tight integration with EGD. As experience show, tournaments such as the EGC2011, SportAccord Mind games, BRNO 2011 Cup, France 2011 Open,  etc, are very interesting topics to cover<,

c) Match existing/new gokifu games with recent tournaments results;

d) More filters in search;

e) Top Viewed games;

f) Enhance use experience (similar games/suggest games);

g) Pattern search;

h) Extend on-line collection.


 'WinPooh':  How many different games does your base contain at the moment?

A: At the moment the number is 20-000 on The total collection is around ~70K games.


'Nefeste': Do you plan to develop filters to make it easier to find proper games to view? Maybe some functionality "already viewed games"?

A: I am definitely going to add filters.


'breakfast': How many visitors per day do you have?

A: Currently the number is ~4-000-000 Page Views since October 2010. I don't care much about the numbers.  (Everyone can improve or achieve their own targets by viewing games.) The true purpose of the website is to share game information with people.


6k ( ID ) 2011-09-14 09:09
Can you add some api or auth-connect so we can connect our web user to gokifu account.
3k ( RU ) 2011-09-13 12:09
Actually very hard work to maintain this kind of site, especially to find, upload games etc. There so much of different sources (different blogs, tournaments sites, wbaduk, egd, kgs, oro and other servers, japan on-line newspapers, etc..) every time you dont know where you can find the game.. On some sites there are photo report, on other difficulties to view sgf, site features has only download mode. If the Goal of GoKifu is to be the only place where you can find all major games all over the world its hard to achieve this goal. Wish you luck, Vasily, thank you for your answers and efforts to making nice online resource
2011-09-12 11:09
What are his comments on depleting the world supply of Y's with his name? Also, Gokifu is awesome.

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