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
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!