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 Post subject: The Rebirth of Chaosrider
Post #1 Posted: Sun Jun 24, 2018 11:50 am 
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It is my hope that this thread will help both me and others. I'm going to describe (not more than one post per day!) the process of getting me Go-ing again. I'm hoping that this will be useful to other "re-entrants" (and perhaps even new players), and that others will make comments that are helpful to my own advancement.

To recap, I've been away from any serious attention to Go for years (10-ish years). I got Igowin (free download) and played against it incessantly for a couple of days. I knew I needed some training software. I wanted Bruce Wilcox's Go Dojo, since I had it in the Old Times and loved it, but it's not available in any conventional sense. Fortunately, I found a copy of the BW Dojo that I had already purchased a long time ago. It was complete and fully functional, and has been my constant companion for most of the last 24 hours.

In the Old Times, I had just scanned through the BW Dojo looking for "tips and techniques". Now, I'm going through every line and every exercise in detail, as if I knew nothing. And I DO know nothing, compared to what there is to learn!

I read all of the intro stuff, even the "How to play Go" section. I just finished Elementary Contact, and that final test/example was extremely informative, both to watch, and as a diagnostic for what I need to work on more. I did OK on the final test, but not great. 77% for a B-.

What I now know is that one of my biggest historical deficiencies is that I never really understood what contact WAS. BW emphasizes UNDERSTANDING the concept of contact well, rather than just rote "good move" memorization. That's exactly the kind of teaching technique that works well for me.

At this point I'm seeing new (to me) things that I need to learn, at a rate about 1000X higher than I am actually learning new things! I now understand the value of studying commented games, which I never did before. But I'm going to completely finish the BW Dojo before I move on to other training scenarios. Unless I can find someone locally who wants to play (Incline Village, Nevada, USA), which would be just awesome.

I'm glad to be back!

:clap:

TCS


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Post #2 Posted: Sun Jun 24, 2018 1:55 pm 
Honinbo
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Hi TCS,

Congrats on your path of discoveries. :)
Quote:
I never really understood what contact WAS.
Very curious: what did you think it was ? :study:
( What did you think your understanding of it was,
and how is it different from your current understanding ? :) )

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 Post subject: Re: The Rebirth of Chaosrider
Post #3 Posted: Mon Jun 25, 2018 12:33 pm 
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Thanks!

I understood what contact meant in the fuzzy conventional sense, but I didn't understand the detailed definition that BWD uses. And, hence, I had trouble understanding why it was telling me that my choices for moves on the test were wrong. I wasn't using the Dojo properly, going from start to finish, like I am now.

I'm already into previously uncharted territory (for me), but my improved (although not complete) understanding of contact as roughly "one stone away" was sufficient for me to now understand WHY some of the choices I made were wrong. 77% on the Elementary Contact test this time around. I'm not even sure that I finished it on previous attempts. I'm now immersed in the Novice Contact section, and learning more by the hour.

This is going to be a long journey, but when you ENJOY the journey...what's wrong with that?

:cool:

TCS

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 Post subject: Re: The Rebirth of Chaosrider
Post #4 Posted: Mon Jun 25, 2018 1:42 pm 
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One of the things that BWD does extremely well is that it repeats important terms and rules many times, with the understanding that you won’t get it all the first time. And it lets you continue anyway, and with the repetition of the terms and rules, you start to remember them. Along these lines, in Elementary Contact, the lessons and tests are designed around not having to “read” potential outcomes; you’re just learning to recognize patterns. Perfect for my learning style!

A great example of this is what I now call the “Rule of Five” for deciding what to do in a contact situation, based on how many liberties your groups and the groups of your opponent have. Less than five liberties, and your group needs to be beefed up in a contact situation. More than five liberties and you are “super-stable”, and “must” take sente. Exactly five, and you can Go either way. This concept alone was extremely illuminating for me.

Going back to my Igowin games after sort of learning the elementary contact rules, I made a complete hash of it; my performance went DOWN, because I was applying the rules badly. I’m improving again, but continuing through that decrease required a leap of faith. I remember that that experience killed one of my earlier go learning attempts; don’t let it kill yours!

I must confess that it was incredibly heartening for me to see Igowin make blunders sometimes. It does, although initially I didn’t see any. Seeing that made the games seem more fair, somehow.

One thing that was surprising was that when I got good enough so that the Igowin “polarity” flipped, and I went from a long period of playing black, to playing white, I just lost it. For some reason that change turned me into a blithering idiot; I couldn’t apply what I already knew to playing as white. It’s purely psychological, and I’m starting to get over it, but it’s a very real effect. For those of you transitioning from 10 kyu to 7 kyu on Igowin, just be aware of this effect, and don’t let it deter you from continuing.

I live in the small town of Incline Village, Nevada, which is on the shore of Lake Tahoe, outside Reno. It’s small enough that there may not be any other Go players here, but the town is smart enough that there may well be some. I’m going to go to the Grill at the Chateau for a light meal on 3PM every Wednesday. If anyone wants to play, I’ll always have my board with me. I’d be honored to learn from better players, and happy to teach anyone who wants to learn from me.

:bow:

TCS

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Post #5 Posted: Mon Jun 25, 2018 2:41 pm 
Honinbo
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Hi TCS, Thanks. :)

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 Post subject: Re: The Rebirth of Chaosrider
Post #6 Posted: Mon Jun 25, 2018 4:02 pm 
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I learned to play Go in Santa Barbara almost 50 years ago. My father taught me when I was about 14.

I lived in Santa Barbara from 1967 until 1972, when I moved to Pasadena to go to Caltech after high school. Goleta, actually, not Santa Barbara proper.

A wonderful place to grow up at the time!

Good memories!

:D

TCS

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Post #7 Posted: Mon Jun 25, 2018 6:09 pm 
Honinbo
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Hi TCS,

Very small world indeed! Please see PM. :)

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 Post subject: Re: The Rebirth of Chaosrider
Post #8 Posted: Fri Jun 29, 2018 1:57 pm 
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Back in the Neolithic age when I was being taught how to be a teacher, we covered a fair amount of learning theory. One of the things that I learned in that process was, when you have a big learning elephant to eat, don’t try to study it and understand every point in detail on the first pass. If it’s something you care about, plan to go through the material several times. On the first pass, just go through it, and move forward even when there are things you don’t understand. Much learning is holographic in the sense that you’ll get a lot of general understanding from the initial (and relatively quick) pass. On subsequent passes, things that didn’t make sense to you on the first pass, become easily clear.

My apologies to the member here who suggested that I should review professional games for inspiration, to which I responded that I didn’t see how that would help. You were right, and I was wrong. After re-booting MFG, and re-learning the basics of how the program works, I decided to look at a pro game, really just on a lark.

Revelation! I had decided that I was going to step through it at whatever pace seemed interesting, without worrying about understanding each move in detail. I could SEE who had sente, and who was on defense, just by watching the pattern of the flow. I’ve reviewed maybe half a dozen pro games now (MFG has zillions of them!), and while I still step through it fairly quickly, I’m starting to watch more carefully when I see a developing pattern that looks interesting. In a couple of cases, I’ve even stepped back, so that I could watch an exchange in “slow motion”.

I love watching Ko fights! :D

So, I have expanded the “Go-cycle” that I use for my training now:

1) Play a game with Igowin
2) Study another section with BWD
3) Review a pro game with MFG
4) Drop in here and see what’s Going on.

I’m an economist (among other things) and while watching one of the pro games, I realized that move selection is closely related to the notion of “opportunity cost” in economics. The value of a move isn’t just determined by the specific outcomes that follow. The cost of a move is the value of the best DIFFERENT move that you could have made instead. I’m sure the revelation will help me a great deal. Also by watching the pro games, it became clear that I had been too obsessed with INITIATING contact. I had started to reach that conclusion anyway, but the pro games have made it obvious.

Of course, EVERYTHING is obvious…after you see it…

:cool:

TCS

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