Kristof Kovacs

Software architect, consultant

Go – the Shoguns' strategy boardgame

Goban

Imagine what would Chess be like if it would have simpler rules, yet even more complexity.

Well, that game is Go.

Its rules are very simple. In a nutshell, one player plays with the white stones, the other one with the black ones. They take turns putting stones on the 19x19 board, and they try to engulf the other player's stones with their own. Engulfed groups of stones are taken off the board. Whoever has more territory surrounded at the end of the game, wins.

Yet, despite the simple rules, go's complexity exceeds that of chess. A good illustration is that while computers now beat every human in Chess (even grandmasters), they can only achieve a hard amateur's level in Go.

Some say that Chess is simulation of a battle; while Go is a simulation of a full, multi-front war.

If you're interested, have a look at the British Go Association.

Meditation

Meditation

We who use our brains for a living, tend to spend too much time with our consciousness "uploaded" into "systems": computer code, business structures, plans, laws, analysis...

Sometimes we need to bring our minds back to focus. To find an origin, a zero point in our lives, a (0, 0, 0). Sometimes we have let our souls regroup.

There are many kinds of meditation, depending on the tradition it comes from (Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, etc...), but they are all quite fundamentally similar. The one I'm practicing is Vipassana meditation, that is rooted in the Theravada Buddhist traditions.

If you want to see a fantastic video about the topic, see Your Brain at Work, from David Rock, on Google Tech Talks.

Yoga

Yoga

Our mind and body is like two sides of a coin, one can't work without the other.

It's interesting how sport can relieve stress, isn't it?

Yoga makes me feel better. Practicing the postures, the breathing exercises... It makes me healthier in body, mind and spirit. Yoga lets me tune in, chill out, shape up.

Interestingly, yoga is not a spiritual thing for me. It's just body movement.

If you want to learn some easy yoga poses that will help a lot, especially if you work at a desk like I do, then have a look at these short demonstrations!