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 Post subject: FuriousGeorge's Study Journal
Post #1 Posted: Mon Mar 20, 2017 8:52 am 
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Hey everyone!

Just started learning Go about a month ago. I had gotten fed up with grinding in video games, constantly sinking hours into practicing something that would become obsolete whenever the next big thing came out. I was looking for something deep and competitive I could learn and play that would LAST. I've never liked Chess, but as soon as I found Go I was hooked.

I collected every link I could find on Go and started here: http://www.playgo.to/iwtg/en/ which was a fantastic primer and introduction to a lot of the terminology (Atari, Hane, Keima/Knights Move, Aji, Ko, etc.)

The most difficult concepts for me were Ko and Ko fights (when and where they're good, whether to avoid or pursue), and reading into fights (whether things were alive or dead).

I watched a few pro games and quickly became lost as to why things were good and bad and decided to table those until I had a better basic understanding of the game.

I learned the basic concept of the 3rd and 4th line (territorial vs influential) and started looking at joseki but had difficulty grasping and committing to memory.

I created an account on OGS and started playing 9x9. I often didn't have time to play full on games, but the correspondence feature on OGS allowed me to start playing immediately. I've found that the computers on OGS make for a great on-demand strong opponent, so I've specifically targeted each of the AIs in my goal progression.

Short-term goals:

- Play as many games as I can
- Learn basic openings
- Get better at fights
- Keep learning the terminology
- Keep studying basic concepts
- Use basic joseki in real games
- Do tsumego problems? (I've heard mixed things on their effectiveness in real games.)

Long-term goals:

- Get into SDK's.
- Beat GnuGo
- Build up a knowledge of 'good' and 'bad' shapes.
- Play more live (non-correspondence games)

REALLY long term goals:

- Achieve dan rank (ONE DAY!)
- Beat Fuego and Leela

I'll be posting my games and progress. Any observations or pointers would be greatly appreciated!

You can find me here: https://online-go.com/player/429040 and I'll be creating an account on KGS soon.


Last edited by FuriousGeorge on Wed Mar 22, 2017 4:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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 Post subject: Re: FuriousGeorge's Study Journal
Post #2 Posted: Mon Mar 20, 2017 9:17 am 
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Rank: OGS 24 kyu
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My first game played to completion against a human (I had been poking at GnuGo in the meantime).

Result: W+28.5

Lessons learned:

- Reading is important. Don't assume your stones are safe just because you've made a wall.
- Attacking without a plan is foolish.



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 Post subject: Re: FuriousGeorge's Study Journal
Post #3 Posted: Mon Mar 20, 2017 11:15 am 
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Rank: OGS 24 kyu
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Third attempt at a 19x19 with GnuGo.

I'm not sure if it's worth fighting all the way to the end, or to resign when it seems like there's no way out. At what point do you call it? Part of me wants to see it to the end, but the other part feels like its futile to die a slow death like that...

For this game I wanted to:

- Try some new joseki, or even just joseki in general.
- Work on my fighting skills in a full game context (didn't go so well).

Lessons learned:

- Don't just follow joseki, try to understand the result you want out of it.
- Have more of a plan for an invasion rather than just forcing a response.



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Post #4 Posted: Mon Mar 20, 2017 11:48 am 
Judan
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Hi George, welcome.

Approximately how many games have you completed do far ?

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 Post subject: Re: FuriousGeorge's Study Journal
Post #5 Posted: Mon Mar 20, 2017 11:54 am 
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Welcome!
I can recommend getting igowin 9x9 (or similar programs that track your "rank", giving you handicap). I played a few hundred games against it when I started playing and it gave me a good head start on tactics / fighting (can't really learn good strategy on 9x9).
It took me from ~20k to 10k in a month or so.

GoQuest on your phone is even better since you play against real people and it also tracks your progress.

Good luck!

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 Post subject: Re: FuriousGeorge's Study Journal
Post #6 Posted: Mon Mar 20, 2017 12:43 pm 
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Thanks everyone!

EdLee wrote:
Approximately how many games have you completed do far ?


Only about 11 right now :( I'm finding that correspondence games are quite slow. Even though I've been playing for about a month, it's only been a few moves at a time. I'm looking to find a time where I can play uninterrupted games from start to finish. I have yet to find it, but I'm still looking.

coderboy wrote:
I can recommend getting igowin 9x9 (or similar programs that track your "rank", giving you handicap). I played a few hundred games against it when I started playing and it gave me a good head start on tactics / fighting (can't really learn good strategy on 9x9). It took me from ~20k to 10k in a month or so.

GoQuest on your phone is even better since you play against real people and it also tracks your progress.


Thanks, I'll have to work in some more 9x9s to improve my fighting skills. I was worried about spending too much time in 9x9 fights outside of the 19x19 context (having to consider other stones etc), but I'm probably waaaaay to low a level to be worrying about that right now.

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Post #7 Posted: Tue Mar 21, 2017 12:50 am 
Judan
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Hi George,

Nice hint:
Quote:
9x9... I played a few hundred games against it when I started playing
Enjoy. :)

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Post #8 Posted: Tue Mar 21, 2017 1:19 am 
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EdLee wrote:
Hi George,

Nice hint:
Quote:
9x9... I played a few hundred games against it when I started playing
Enjoy. :)


9x9 lasted a perfect length of time for me to play a game every time I started a recompile of the project I was working on at the time :)

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 Post subject: Re: FuriousGeorge's Study Journal
Post #9 Posted: Wed Mar 22, 2017 8:44 am 
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I've taken the advice and focused on crunching out the 9x9's as fast as I can. They're quite fun, and they've revealed some glaring weaknesses in my fighting.

I've gotten absolutely destroyed by some players for having tunnel vision and not which pieces are in danger, or reading out the moves, but I also beat GnuGo for the first time ever. I'm not sure it's really a good test of that AI, as it seems to play fairly passively in a 9x9 where human players brawl like mad.

I've also been able to gather some Tsumego collections with the intent of forming a habit of working through them a little each day. I'm currently working through 'Graded Go Problems for Beginners'. I've got all 4 volumes now.

The general advice I've seen is to try and solve Tsumego problems in your head rather than poking around on a digital board to see what works. Does anyone have any other Tsumego advice or any recommendations on which collections to start with?

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 Post subject: Re: FuriousGeorge's Study Journal
Post #10 Posted: Wed Mar 22, 2017 9:51 am 
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FuriousGeorge wrote:
Does anyone have any other Tsumego advice or any recommendations on which collections to start with?


(Love the handle!)

Glad you decided to do this. Reading your first post, I think this is probably much more valuable for you than studying joseki or fuseki -- but ultimately, you have to do a little bit of everything!

I think you are right that you should be trying to solve them in your head. One of the main purposes of these problems is to improve your reading skills so that you get better at playing out sequences in your head during games.

I find tsumego apps particularly useful because I can work through a couple of problems during short breaks in the day (waiting in line, etc.). In particular, I like GoProblems and EasyGo (both on iOS). I've used GoProblems for a while, but just found EasyGo and like it a lot. EasyGo has a very nice system for re-presenting problems to you at different time intervals so that you can re-work the ones that you found hard or failed to solve. It also has a mechanism for loading in your own problems. I haven't had a chance to do this yet, but my plan is to try load in the problems associated with some of the books that I'm working through.

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