New to Go

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Post by HelluvaDemo »

I just started playing about a week ago, and I still don't get it. I've been practicing go problems in this site, and I get most of them right. However, when it comes to a real game, I still can't use what I have learned or recognize the patterns.
I'm also weak at opening. I don't know when to attack or when to make territories.
Can someone give me some advice please.

{Posted by HelluvaDemo}

Post by AngelMarie »

I started playing only several days ago myself, and after reading/doing an online interactive tutorial, I downloaded the glGo software and started playing the computer of that program. I lost the first many games miserably (of course) even on the smallest board size, and easiest computer difficulty (without any handicap), but as discouraging as my initial losses were, I kept playing a lot, and by learning to observe how my pieces got captured and how I got cornered or cut off, as opposed to just playing, ignoring it and taking it as a loss repetitively, I noticed a day or two ago that I was really starting to understand the game a lot better.

Maybe these small revelations I had will help you out...

Pretty much all of my losses were due to a) careless defense on my part, and b) careless offense without any forethought.

In other words, I was so excited about just playing the game at first, I didn't care WHY I was loosing. I didn't stop and take a minute to find out why this or that piece got captured, or what I could've done to avoid it.

The more I played, the more I realized that Go is pretty much about three things: observation, foresight and strategy... in approximately that order. All of the strategy in the world falls to pieces quickly without observation and foresight. Likewise, guessing with fair accuracy what your opponent will do next, will do you little good if he or she is going to chop off your head while you're looking at how to sever his or her little toe.

(I think I saw a go proverb somewhere about this... that, in so many words, white is always looking to capture a lot more stones than black is trying to claim as territory. The Japanese have a handy expression about this too... "What's the use of worrying about your beard when your head is about to be taken?" But without strong observation skills, white will sneak up behind you in no time, and while you're trying to capture three pieces or points elsewhere, will suddenly clear out a whole group of your black.)

Finally, my own weakness is going to be my greatest handicap. As long as those weaknesses remain without my understanding that they exist, what they are and how to fix them, I will never be more than amateur-level skill-wise. So I started playing games myself versus myself, and analyzing what I was doing, using the knowledge of the game I got by playing against the computer. Even if my future opponents are a lot better than I am, if I go around making the same elementary mistakes every game, I've just severely handicapped myself. If there are any mistakes of carelessness or foresight on my part that can be corrected by simply playing games against myself, then by all means, I would think it would be very important to correct those first before I worry too much about getting slaughtered by someone else.

I haven't played anybody human yet (save myself ^^; ) but... I'm certain that by at least eliminating what mistakes I can out of my game beforehand, even if I get slaughtered when I finally do start playing others, I'm sure to not loose by nearly as much as I otherwise would have.

So basically, study what's going on when you loose pieces or get trapped in a small area. How did it happen? Where did that "setup" begin? Can it be gotten around or avoided? ... just look at what you're playing, and especially play a computer or yourself a lot where you can actually replay those parts of the game when they go wrong, to better understand how to deal with particular situations. Then I'd say, play others more when you've eliminated a lot of those repetitious mistakes. Once you've fixed everything you can on your own, you'll actually need to play others to get new information about your own weaknesses, which you can then try to fix.

... hopefully this doesn't sound too bad coming from someone who is ranked at "22k?" (eg, default newbie setting for someone who has never played) online. ^_^; But that's how I stopped loosing so much. I can actually win a decent portion of my me-vs-pc games now. I don't know much (if anything) about advanced play/strategy or anything, but I'd say that this is pretty good advice anyhow.

- Gozuki no Angel

{Posted by AngelMarie}
Posts: 8
Joined: Wed Dec 30, 2009 8:51 am

Re: New to Go

Post by dkiller »

I think playing a computer is not a good way to start it is better to go on and ask for help
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