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 Post subject: Why is go so frustrating?
Post #1 Posted: Thu Mar 28, 2013 10:28 pm 
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I have played games all of my life and it is apart of who I am. I love to compete and practice whatever I do. Yet of all of the games and sports I have played I think none of them are as devastatingly frustrating as go. While I enjoy playing teaching games with better players and like to play on a real board, but playing online in a ranked match just kills me.

I have been playing on Asian servers recently and there are quite a bit of sand baggers there who for some reason really enjoy playing at a lower rank and beating up on less experienced players. Getting so frustrated at go has made me put it down several times. Yet, I really enjoy go, it is the most beautiful game around and I really like studying it. There is just something about go that makes it so dreadfully frustrating. Those last few moves knowing there is nothing you can do to turn around the game, or that one careless play that ruins the whole game.

There was a post earlier about the fear of playing games, I think this directly stems from this frustration. No one wants to get upset or angry over go but it is so easy to do so. What is worst is that especially at this pre-dan level what people really must do is play a lot of games. Yet, with this frustration we are hesitant to do so, especially online which is where most Western players only opportunity to play is most of the time.

How do you deal with this?

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Post #2 Posted: Thu Mar 28, 2013 10:46 pm 
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In golf, all you have to do is to hit a small ball a number of times so that it goes into a cup in the ground. But that can prove to be incredibly frustrating.

A good game is frustrating, but not too frustrating. :mrgreen:

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 Post subject: Re: Why is go so frustrating?
Post #3 Posted: Thu Mar 28, 2013 11:11 pm 
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Changing attitude helps. The only one you fight playing online is you and the game has no meaning. Why you should bother? If you lose don't get angry, take a deep breath and think about how and what can you learn from the game you have played and forget the rest. Don't be attached to your feelings the game creates because they are not important.

I like to compare go to Buddhist sand mandala. It is beautiful but with one move of your hand you can "wipe the slate clean" and start over. For me there is a beauty in this ( - so why to be angry about it?). And still - game of go has no meaning, so just take it easy, relax and create another mandala just to destroy it after completion.

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Post #4 Posted: Thu Mar 28, 2013 11:28 pm 
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Subotai wrote:
There is just something about go that makes it so dreadfully frustrating.
...or that one careless play that ruins the whole game.
That's right. Go can be very unforgiving.
It's not enough to be OK at one, two, or even ten or more things. On an average game,
say we each play somewhere between 100 to 150 moves. Small mistakes sometimes are OK.
We play OK moves, occasionally good moves. But that's not enough. We must stay focused
all the way to the very end. One mistake after fighting and working so hard for
about 300 moves, 3 hours later (slow game), game over. Very frustrating indeed.
Subotai wrote:
How do you deal with this?
This depends on your goal.


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 Post subject: Re: Why is go so frustrating?
Post #5 Posted: Fri Mar 29, 2013 2:20 am 
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Try to step outside of the game.

So just look at the game as if it is someone else playing but instead ask yourself what would I play when for example black. And then just play this move. If you detach yourself from the games you will be less frustrated.

Also detach yourself from your rank if thats a problem. Play on servers where you can create a new acount easy and set your rank (like tygem). This makes it easy to be detached from your rank while still playing people of equal strength.

Good luck,

Otenki

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 Post subject: Re: Why is go so frustrating?
Post #6 Posted: Fri Mar 29, 2013 4:38 am 
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It often isn't sandbagging, it is a broken rating system and a different style of play.

Subotai wrote:
How do you deal with this?


Resign more often. This will massively reduce your frustration. If you spend most of your time in lost positions, where you don't see a way to recover, it is only your fault. A resignation ends the pain and you don't have to torture yourself and your opponent by playing on.

Get used to lose a rank or two.

Don't consider your peak achievements the new normal - if you beat a 1 dan the first time you still might be a 4 kyu.

Resist the urge to track your record across different systems, they are often not comparable, I was at one point 17k at IGS and shortly after 3k at KGS, which felt great, but if you go from KGS to IGS (or any other asian server) it might be a bit frustrating. An ongoing jubango in the local club or at least considering your track record separately in each place are much better indicators.

Get better. People with 20k games playing as 15 kyu are surely experienced but most likely not good at all. If you start to resist and get better you will see their game falling apart at one point.

If you really meet sandbaggers be happy, you get to play much stronger players in an even game.

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 Post subject: Re: Why is go so frustrating?
Post #7 Posted: Fri Mar 29, 2013 5:57 am 
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Bill's comparison to golf is quite apt (and not just because they sound similar).

1- A game is composed of dozens of decisions that all interact: In golf if you take a risky shot, miss and end up in the woods...you spend time recovering, and spend the rest of the round trying to make up for the lost strokes. In go if you make a mistake, you have to deal with a weak group that's sitting there on the board, or trying to come back from a territorial disadvantage.

2- There is a huge amount of skill difference between the top and bottom levels: Quite simply a professional golfer doesn't even look at a course the same way a beginner, or even businessman turned semi-serious weekend golfer does. I've spend a decent amount of time playing and learning golf, and the shot that would be the best I have in a given round a pro would hit on average...and he would hit it with spin that makes it stop on a dime. Likewise a professional go player will go off considering more things at a much earlier point than I would in a game of go.

3 - The skill difference is quantified both in handicap and in game results - Both games give a number for your score, both games are played to completion (unlike say...football where if you are ahead you can just burn off the clock). Both games have a robust handicapping system. You don't just lose a game, you know exactly how much you lost by, and you aren't just worse than someone, you know exactly how much worse than them you are. When you couple this with the massive range of skills that are out there it can be incredibly frustrating. You know that there are people out there you have quite literally no hope of beating short of them suffering a physical ailment at the board. Not just that...you know that if you study full time for five years there will still be people out there you have no hope of beating.

4 - Past a certain point, simply playing is not enough to improve - This is probably even more frustrating to the younger "RPG" generation used to playing games where simple grinding is enough to get past any challenges, but I think to an extent it is universally frustrating. Quite literally you must work at getting stronger, and part of that work means studying, practicing, and pushing your limits even past the point where it is no longer fun. Whether it's working hours of tsumego in your head, or spending time at the driving range making sure your three-quarter stroke sand wedge is hitting precisely 60 yards with precisely the right amount of loft - you will have to focus on certain elements of the game and refine them. You can't just go out and play.

Now, beyond that there are a couple more things that I think are specific to go (or at least apply to a much lesser extent to golf):

5 - It is (for most considerations) a strictly mental game: If someone beats you at football or basketball, you can write it off "Oh, they're stronger than me" or "Oh, they're taller than me". For go players what do you have? "Oh, they're smarter than me"? or at the very least "Oh, they reasoned things out that I didn't"? For the particular demographic that go seems to attract, this is a really hard pill to swallow (also as experienced go players can attest, it's patently false, but that doesn't mean the sentiment doesn't come to mind).

6 - There is a very limited (or non-existent) component of luck: Luck is a fantastic equalizer that helps keep games fun. Golf has this, backgammon has this to a large extent. The idea that even though you know the skill difference the weaker player might win if he gets lucky is compelling - the outcome is in doubt even without a handicap. What's more the outcome may be in doubt even late in the game (if they hit a lake in golf, or you get a lucky roll of doubles in backgammon). In go though this is nearly eliminated it can feel like hitting your head against a wall when playing a stronger player. You have no chance of winning, you never had a chance of winning, etc.


As far as how to remove this frustration -- Don't frame go as a competition against others! There's an old saying "Golf is the game you can truly never win, only play." If you think of go as "I need to beat whoever my opponent is" you will likely continue to find yourself frustrated, because as mentioned earlier, there will always be someone out there who is much stronger than you. If instead you think of go as a journey where you compete against yourself to play better, you can revel in your progress, and enjoy the games for what they are -- games.

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 Post subject: Re: Why is go so frustrating?
Post #8 Posted: Fri Mar 29, 2013 7:37 am 
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We are all human beings (except for Roze of course!) and as such we all 'suffer' more or less from a self-serving bias when we assess our own and others' success. We attribute too much of our success to our 'ability' and too much of our lack of success to bad luck, a moment's thoughtlessness, distraction, etc.

If in fact you expect to and actually do win more than about 50% of your games, that does not make you a great player - it makes you a sand-bagger! That disastrous move that threw away the game? Probably half the time the game was already lost, you just didn't bother to count (I know I don't :blackeye: ).

We would all like to become better than we are. The frustration comes when we keep convincing ourselves that it has already happened and the real world keeps not-so-gently reminding us, "Not yet!" :sad:

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 Post subject: Re: Why is go so frustrating?
Post #9 Posted: Fri Mar 29, 2013 8:21 am 
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One choice is to acknowledge the endless path that is Go, acknowledge your humble place on that path, and enjoy the journey, focusing on the step by step progression. Wins and losses are just the patter of rain as your true goal of traveling the path continues. Be honest about your limitations, embrace them, and accept there is no other way. losing streaks and winning streaks are ephemeral and balance in the end.

ez4u wrote:
...We would all like to become better than we are. The frustration comes when we keep convincing ourselves that it has already happened and the real world keeps not-so-gently reminding us, "Not yet!" :sad:


The other choice, my preference, is to avoid the issue by giving in to that self-delusion :cool:. I believe I understand the game deeper and can read better than I demonstrate. It's just all these little things that get in the way. I misread. My opponent gets us into a joseki I didn't know. I'm curious, so I chase groups into my territory because I think I can kill it and I want to know for sure. If I lost out of curiosity, surely that doesn't count? There's all this go power in me I'm just not quite harnessing yet. So every blank board I believe is a chance to demonstrate this stronger level of go in me. This is the start of the winning streak that propels me to Dan. And if not, the next one is. Maybe the next one. Well, the next one...


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 Post subject: Re: Why is go so frustrating?
Post #10 Posted: Fri Mar 29, 2013 9:30 am 
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Subotai wrote:
I have played games all of my life and it is apart of who I am. I love to compete and practice whatever I do. Yet of all of the games and sports I have played I think none of them are as devastatingly frustrating as go. While I enjoy playing teaching games with better players and like to play on a real board, but playing online in a ranked match just kills me.

I have been playing on Asian servers recently and there are quite a bit of sand baggers there who for some reason really enjoy playing at a lower rank and beating up on less experienced players. Getting so frustrated at go has made me put it down several times. Yet, I really enjoy go, it is the most beautiful game around and I really like studying it. There is just something about go that makes it so dreadfully frustrating. Those last few moves knowing there is nothing you can do to turn around the game, or that one careless play that ruins the whole game.

There was a post earlier about the fear of playing games, I think this directly stems from this frustration. No one wants to get upset or angry over go but it is so easy to do so. What is worst is that especially at this pre-dan level what people really must do is play a lot of games. Yet, with this frustration we are hesitant to do so, especially online which is where most Western players only opportunity to play is most of the time.

How do you deal with this?


We all share your frustrations more or less. One way of dealing is to follow your own statements. "I enjoy playing teaching games with better players" This is good, and therefore, you should look forward to meeting sandbaggers for serious games with stronger players. The game and your play is what is important - not the rank.

"Those last few moves knowing there is nothing you can do to turn around the game..." should not be played. Simply resign - no decent person is enjoying the game at that point, you certainly are not, and the only person who could be happy is a sadistic winner - and why do him any favors

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 Post subject: Re: Why is go so frustrating?
Post #11 Posted: Fri Mar 29, 2013 2:19 pm 
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Subotai wrote:
How do you deal with this?

I deal with it by not playing.

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Post #12 Posted: Fri Mar 29, 2013 4:50 pm 
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palapiku wrote:
Subotai wrote:
How do you deal with this?

I deal with it by not playing.


Alternative suggestion:

Log onto KGS as a guest and beat up weaker players.


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Post #13 Posted: Fri Mar 29, 2013 6:20 pm 
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I'll begin with this 1-liner.

Go is a game of progress, not success.

And now for the extrapolations :ugeek:

It's a bit like learning a new language. At first you know a few words, but you need to know how to make a sentence. Once you learn how to make a sentence, you learn how to have a short conversation. Eventually, you can do a full conversation. As with everything else, you memorize many words (it helps to know the part of speech to which each word belongs, as it will help you know its function) and practice putting them into sentences over and over until you are able to have a conversation.

Or like learning a martial art. You begin by learning individual techniques such as punches, kicks, holds, and throws. You learn which techniques to use in which situation. The more the techniques are practiced, the better you become at applying them. Eventually you are able to defend yourself in a fight.

In Go, one learns the rudiments of fuseki (opening), chubansen (middle game), and yose (endgame), plus concepts such as capturing races, life & death (making groups capturable or uncapturable), tesuji (logical moves), joseki (exchanges between Black and White that offer an advantage to each side), et al. Depending on the situation suggested by the relative arrangement of stones already present in a location on the board, one move - whether it be, for example, a 1-point jump, a 2-point knight's jump, or a kosumi (45º jump from 1 intersection to the next between two stones of the same color) - can have different functions. You practice the techniques for each situation over and over until you are proficient enough to play strong opponents.

I kid you not. Getting good at Go is like cutting and polishing a diamond. It takes a loooong time, but the end result is well worth it.

Here is an article by "Kaz" Furuyama, a Japanese Go player who often teaches on KGS, on The Importance of Basic Foundations of Go".
http://kazsensei.seesaa.net/article/251428407.html

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Post #14 Posted: Fri Mar 29, 2013 7:50 pm 
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Uberdude wrote:
Alternative suggestion:

Log onto KGS as a guest and beat up weaker players.

That too :)

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Post #15 Posted: Fri Mar 29, 2013 8:33 pm 
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tekesta wrote:
It's a bit like learning a new language.

Perhaps not coincidentally, most people seem to find learning a new language very frustrating too.

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Post #16 Posted: Fri Mar 29, 2013 11:44 pm 
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billywoods wrote:
Perhaps not coincidentally, most people seem to find learning a new language very frustrating too.
Actually, most people can learn a new language -- or 3 new ones, or 5... I don't know the limit -- completely effortlessly at birth.

Up to a certain age, maybe 10 or 13, I also don't know exactly when,
most people still can learn a few new languages quite easily.

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Post #17 Posted: Sat Mar 30, 2013 2:05 am 
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I deal with the frustration by trying to tell myself that a loss is more valuable than a win assuming I played my best. That's because you tend to learn more from a loss than a win.

And if that cliche doesn't work, I spend some time dismantling bots. Believe it or not, but that is a decent stress reliever.

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Post #18 Posted: Sat Mar 30, 2013 3:43 am 
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EdLee wrote:
Actually, most people can learn a new language -- or 3 new ones, or 5... I don't know the limit -- completely effortlessly at birth.


You just don't remember the effort.

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Post #19 Posted: Sat Mar 30, 2013 3:56 am 
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tapir wrote:
You just don't remember the effort.
Actually, I don't remember much of what happened before I was... 3 ?

However, I don't see the frustrating effort in very young children
learning to speak their native language. Or, for example, people in Europe,
speaking what, 2, 3, 4 languages fluently, at a very young age.

It is possible that we all find it extremely frustrating as children to learn our native language.
It is possible that those in Europe who can speak multiple languages fluently also found it
an extremely frustrating process.

Do you? Do you think -- sorry -- do you see evidence that most young children find it frustrating
to learn their native language? Or, for those children who can fluently speak multiple languages say, before 10,
do you see their frustration in the process?

If you do, please enlighten us. Because I don't see any shred of evidence for it.


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Post #20 Posted: Sat Mar 30, 2013 4:16 am 
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