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.

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