Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Go as a tool for connecting with friends

Hey everyone it's been quite a while since I've posted on here.

I've been traveling to Nashville to help my friend launch his new Album called "The Vow" 

and the funny thing is there was a young man there who came to meet us there from Germany named Hartmundt, and I asked him if he played any board games and he said he played a game called Go.

I was so excited.

You never know where the skills you learn will take you in the world or who they will allow you to connect with.

as a result I've been more interested in Go again lately so you may see me on KGS for the next few months more frequently.

I hope to see you all soon.

- Daniel

by the way what do you think of this Fuseki?

I'm white lol.

I actually one by 4.5 points at the end of this game. yeahhhhh sometimes I don't play orthodox lol.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

An Interview with OwheeMud

Today I got to talked to the awesome OwheeMud, we talked about the difference between Chinese and Western thought, as well as how he uses anecdotes gathered from his scientific explorations of games with many many new plays to help new players. He had a challenging beginning when he started playing

Me : What was so awful about learning the game of go for you?

I often relate that playing go was very frustrating.
It seemed that I was playing against magicians who made moves I did not anticipate.
Ultimately, I determined that I was having trouble because I was making decisions based on bad data
instead of relying on faulty memory of prior experience, I sought out more useful "objective' information about the status of the game.

Specifically, recollection of prior experience is very subjective ... personal

but counting liberties to find and track shifts power,
and to force myself to take actual notice of weak points at the ends of groups of stones was "objective data"

much more useful than my analytical mind
so, when I introduce the game to a  new player, I have three topics

1. strategy based on the ideas of positions of advantage
2. The nature of the three terrains of all go boards, open, broken and confined ground
3. Technique for analytical review of our prior games to see what was not seen, understand what was not understood, and to change the prior frustrating experience into a useful experience

Ultimately, it seems to be about reading the board more successfully than our opponents.

Me: Can you tell me a little about the difference between Classical Chinese Scholarship and Western modes of investigation?

There has been a fundamental difference between Western and Eastern, or Chinese social class structures.

In China, the merchant was held in low esteem. The foundation of society has been the land owner peasants who produced goods.

All that was controlled by the Imperial Government. In the West, the rise of the middle class wealth gave those groups influence with political classes.

I can recall the correct spelling, but the bougeuse had the money which the kings, etc. needed to borrow.

Second, In China scholarship was pursued for one reason, prepare to take competitive examinations to be accepted for imperial Civil Service.

The examinations were essay questions testing a scholars' grasp of the Confucian Classics.

Being able to make use of those memorized passages was the path to success.

In the West, the Scientific Method was discovered by the Greeks and led to the development of property and ideas.

The Scientific Method is about close observation of fact, careful measurements of the topics, consideration of explanation for the observations, and then testing those theories or explanations by experimentation.

I play the game by the Scientific Method...

Eventually, I have accumulated a lot of useful experience
And now my subconscious has the means to play creatively
Basically, my studying the board and games objectively, I have now acquired an informed understanding of the basics of the game.

That's what I show to new players

The means to solving the puzzle which hides the game.

Me: Can you give an example of one of these findings?

The easiest example is "The Ladder."

White will eventually die here.

A new player can see a ladder in a game and understand the result when it happens.
One player runs out of room and liberties.

Another way to see that is to anticipate what will happen by measuring the power of opposing groups.

With or without a ladder breaker, the result is for-seeable without ever having seen a ladder before.

Me: How many of these analytical data points have you found in your research? Do you keep a list of them? or is it something that exists only in your mind?

No, it is entirely anecdotal, but I play many, many teaching games... experience seems to bear my ideas out.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Being you in go!

One part of go that I have always found fun is the infinite possibilities.

In my most recent game I chose this as my opening ( I'm black )

It may go against all conventional wisdom and theory and best practices,

but playing this way contributes to the fun of the game for me and keeps me from getting stuck in a particular way of thinking and being.

If you were totally unrestricted in your playing style, what would you choose?

Do you take time to play moves just because you want to see where they go or what else is possible with them?

I wonder what adventurous moves you could play today :)

Here's how the game ended by the way 

White won by 49.5

I wonder what I could choose today to have even more fun?

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Lee Sedol Vs Alpha Go Poll

In march 2016, this year, a series of 5 games between Lee Sedol and the up and coming super computer AlphaGo will be played.

Many people believe that AlphaGo has cracked Go and that it will beat Lee.

If AlphaGo wins, the dreams of many programmers will be fulfilled in terms of what AI can accomplish, however the spirits of many go players will be crushed under the weight of AI dominating human capacity.

In either case, the game is ushering in much new excitement in the go world and bringing more people's curiosity to the game.

Furthermore, it is bringing in a new age to the Go world, a world where go players will possibly have an even higher challenge than beating Lee Sedol. 

Some worry that with the age of computer go, many will be able to fake their ranking by playing against a computer on one tab and playing against humans on another tab to use the computer's strength to artificially sky-rocket their rank.

My heart is bent on Lee Sedol, who, for the first time in years, is finally getting the chance to be seen as the underdog in an event.

What results do you expect will happen?

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Ben Go Zen

As I stared intently at the blank page of my blog, the canvas of my craft, intent on coming up with an original, useful, profound new idea for a post, I realized with a sudden jolt that I am not the only Go blogger in the world.

I began to wonder how and why other bloggers started so I emailed a fellow blogger and asked him about it. Here's how the interrogation interview went.

Me: Hey Ben, Thanks for agreeing to write a guest post for my blog, how did you first get involved in Go?

Ben: My first exposure to go was during my childhood years when I went to a Chinese school every Sunday. Although we had a club there at the time, I was into Chinese Chess and had little interest in learning what go was since no one in my family knew how to play it. After a few years, I came across Hikaru no Go like many Go players. My interest in Go was piqued a bit more. Interestingly, around this time my younger brother tried to pick up the game and learn the rules. Unfortunately, the pamphlet we had did not explain the rules very well, and we gave up trying to figure it out. It wasn't till I graduated school that I finally took the time to figure out what Go wall about.

The Inspiration? Criminal Minds: Season 1: Episode 1: Extreme Aggressor. Having the game framed in a psychological and philosophical perspective gave me the final push I needed to dive head first and finally become involved in go.

Me: That's really neat, what made you decide you want to blog about it?

Ben: In my search for go resources, one of the blogs I came across was ChiyoDad. Reading his experience and journey entertained and motivated me. So, soon after I started playing, I decided I would try to record my own journey since I enjoyed writing and thought it would be great if I could be one of the few blogs who would start as a DDK and enter the world of dan players.

Me: Wow, that really resonated with me, many of your experiences echo my own. I also was drawn to go through Hikaru no Go. Thanks you so much for your time.

If you would like to read Ben's blog you can check it out here at bengozen.com
Or if you'd like to check out ChiyoDad's blog, also mentioned in the post find it here

Friday, October 17, 2014

The Power of Giving

In this article I want to give you THREE tips that will help you get teaching games from higher ranked players.
Has a much stronger player ever given you a teaching game? It might take them 5 minutes to teach you what it would have taken you weeks to learn alone.

1. Identify 20 players who you admire.

This step is important in defining what kind of player you want to become. What do you love about these people? Is it their rank? Is it their personality? Is it their style? Is it their spirit? 

2. Watch their games, and, when weaker players ask them for help, offer to help them.

This accomplishes 3 things. 

1. From watching their games, you learn 
2. When the people you admire see you explaining things to people who were asking them for help, they will be more willing to help you since you are taking work/stress off of them. 
3. You are contributing to the go community as a whole by helping weaker players learn.

3. Make helping you, benefit the people who teach you.
There are a couple of ways to do this.

1. Ask them to do something that will establish them as a helper and allow them to explain something they love. You could send them a message like, "Hey, every Tuesday me and 20 others have a guest lecturer come and teach a lesson, We were wondering if you'd explain why you always start Tengen, Last week 'Insert Big Name Go Player Here' taught 'Insert cool lesson here.' We record the lessons and you can take a look at them on 'List personal blog/website here.'

This provides the opportunity for the person you admire to talk about something they love in front of a captive audience, and also to further their prestige at the same time. Also a great way for them to become noticed by higher level players as a helper. 

No matter what level you are at, there is always someone weaker you can help, and no matter how strong you are, there is always someone stronger who can help you. 

When you give to people weaker than you, you establish the ability to give to people stronger than you by providing them with a chance to help many others in a big way. 

If you have any questions of how to apply this, leave me a comment!

Monday, May 5, 2014

The Conversation of Go

Do you know the feeling of competition that ensues between two go players? Each player is clawing to get that little bit of extra territory. You can almost feel upset when the enemy player places a stone down, as you realize the area he is taking for himself, angrily you attack back trying to take that territory, out of envy.

I recently noticed this behavior in myself. This feeling that every game was an argument between two players, the only way to win was secrecy and betrayal. I didn't care how the other person saw the match, I just wanted to beat him. but did it have to be this way?

As I hit the "auto match" button, I decided to think about my game as though it were a conversation. Instead of taking territory away from me, my opponent was asking a question. When he played 3,4 he was saying "Can I have the corner, or the wall?" then I could respond. "I would like some of this corner, you can have the wall." Then he might respond by tenuki, playing at the other end of the map. That would be like saying "Hm, This side of the map looks nice, you could build up your position over there, or we could work on dividing up this side."

And what this did for me, was it made the game much more friendly. I started to feel like the person I was playing against was a friend, instead of an enemy. I also found myself understanding his movements better, and when he made unreasonable moves I would ask myself "what is he asking for? doesn't this seem unreasonable?" then I could offer a compromise "You can't take away all my territory there, see you wont be able to escape, but maybe you could use this move as a good ko threat later." Or I could just say "No, you can't have that."

I challenge you to try this out, or let me know if you already think of the game this way. Please comment and tell me how you think of your opponent and his moves.