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 Post subject: I just played (and of course lost) my first match.
Post #1 Posted: Wed Dec 12, 2018 1:11 pm 
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I've been reading about Go, I know the rules, maybe even something of the basics, so while I knew I wouldn't actually win a match, I figured I might at least hope to understand what was going on. Well, I was wrong. Here's how it went.

I made a mistake when I set the challenge, should've put at least ten times the amount of minutes per move. The way it went, I was just frantically reacting (and doing quite the poor job at that). You know when, in the second episode of HnG, everyone is mad at Hikaru and he just starts screaming to the sky? That's how I felt by the end.

In all honesty, though, I don't feel I would have been less clueless had I had more time to think. And now I know exactly how a friend of mine felt after watching Primer. But I won't give up. I will move ahead—somehow.

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 Post subject: Re: I just played (and of course lost) my first match.
Post #2 Posted: Wed Dec 12, 2018 1:48 pm 
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Ah, the remembrance of a first game.
Let us know how you proceed!

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 Post subject: Re: I just played (and of course lost) my first match.
Post #3 Posted: Wed Dec 12, 2018 4:10 pm 
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Long thinking time is only useful when you're already a veteran, because your experience and knowledge help you discriminate what to think about. On the other hand, when you're a beginner, every move seems playable, because you don't even know what a bad move looks like. Plus, a game of Go lasts typically hundreds of moves, so thinking about each move as much as you would in Chess or whatever is just NOT realistic.
There's a saying in Go: "Lose your first hundred games as fast as possible". What this means is that, at first, you shouldn't think about your moves for more than a few seconds, and just try whatever comes to mind and see what happens, to give you a chance to learn from experience. Believe me, after losing your stones the same way over and over, you'll end up seeing a pattern. And when that happens, you won't fall for it anymore. Then, you'll have to see through your second biggest failure pattern and so on, discovering "bad moves" in order of scale, gradually cultivating your instinct from your growing experience... Until only a few moves per turn will finally seem playable (or "likeable") to you: that's when you'll be able to consider your options and make use of longer thinking time settings, since the set of continuations you'll have to read will be manageable.
Also, I would suggest that you play on smaller boards for the time being, because they are shorter to play and it's easier to understand "what's going on" on a 9x9 board than on a 19x19. For one thing, options to choose from are a lot more limited and you won't get distracted by any wishy-washy strategy since 9x9 is all about tactics, which is what you should work on first. Finally, big mistakes and "losing moves" will be a lot more obvious on that scale, which means you'll be able to learn more consistently from your games.
To play on 9x9 boards online and have fun, I recommend you use Goquest app (look it up), although you could also use your web browser. After a couple of test games, you should be paired against beginners like you. And once you get tired of 9x9 boards, you can use your account to play on 13x13 too. But for 19x19, maybe don't: instead, OGS has a beginner friendly community and should be a good place to start.
Well, I guess that's all :p
Good luck, and don't forget to have fun! :)

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 Post subject: Re: I just played (and of course lost) my first match.
Post #4 Posted: Wed Dec 12, 2018 5:06 pm 
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There is one way to use thinking time that for a few new players can be important - count the liberties of your own and your opponent's groups over and over, as they change with each move, particularly try to be aware when groups are in atari. For most beginners I've taught, they naturally pick up liberty awareness without explicit conscious effort, but for a few people, their brain doesn't automate it that well until they first go through a phase of having to consciously check for groups in atari. And if your brain isn't yet doing it automatically, doing so *does* take time, and is a sensible reason not to play *too* fast.

The same goes for learning more complex shapes and patterns. Learning mostly by experiment rather than by pure analysis at first is great, but also don't play mindlessly - as with almost any new skill, "attentive practice" is the zone you want to spend most of your time in.


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 Post subject: Re: I just played (and of course lost) my first match.
Post #5 Posted: Wed Dec 12, 2018 5:21 pm 
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Good job, for a first game. You managed to save one group, and to stop playing while you still had two eyes.


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 Post subject: Re: I just played (and of course lost) my first match.
Post #6 Posted: Wed Dec 12, 2018 10:09 pm 
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You did fine for your first game. For comparison, here's my first game on KGS, I'd played a few games elsewhere first. 10 years later I was British champion.



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 Post subject: Re: I just played (and of course lost) my first match.
Post #7 Posted: Thu Dec 13, 2018 9:06 am 
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sybob: I will!

Dontbtme: I really see the wisdom in your advice, but I will try to find the sweet spot between playing (and, well, losing) often and actually enjoying the game. Otherwise, if I'm just moving frantically, randomly, I think I will just get stressed, it would feel too much like a chore and that would keep me from progressing. As you say, I will try to have fun. Oh, and sure, I will be playing only on 9x9 boards for the time being. Thank you very much for the help, Dontbtme.

lightvector: Yes, it's like what I wrote above, if I try to play mindlessly, I will just get stressed out long before I start learning. I know that learning won't always be fun, but it's better to solidify my interest, so to speak, before I take the rote route. And you're spot-on: it's about attentive practice. Thank you very much for the advice.

Pio2001: That's my silver lining, then! Thank you very much, Pio.

Uberdude: Marianna was... Ruthless. I tried to move through your game at the same rate of my match yesterday and her captures caught me by surprise as well. But I hope experience will teach me how to read. Anyway, I'm glad to know you kept going and succeeded, Uberdude. Thank you very much for your post.

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 Post subject: Re: I just played (and of course lost) my first match.
Post #8 Posted: Thu Dec 13, 2018 9:15 am 
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By the way, I've played my third match (second one's still ongoing on DGS), this time without a time limit, and it was a wonderful experience. Now I have a feeling for why someone would dedicate his entire life to learning Go.



Last edited by lucasfelix on Thu Dec 20, 2018 7:36 am, edited 1 time in total.
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 Post subject: Re: I just played (and of course lost) my first match.
Post #9 Posted: Thu Dec 20, 2018 7:35 am 
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After the horrorshow that was that first match, and all the beatings that I took afterwards, I won in my eleventh game. She did win the rematch by 64.5 points, though. But still! :)

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 Post subject: Re: I just played (and of course lost) my first match.
Post #10 Posted: Thu Dec 20, 2018 9:08 am 
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Hello lucasfelix,

Do you know the book '81 little lions'?
It is an e-book in .pdf format and an introduction to (advanced) beginners to the 9x9 board.
I expect you would like it.

If you google around, you can probably find it. Or search this site perhaps.
It is free.
If you can't find it, send me your mail address, so I can forward you a digital copy.

Have fun.


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 Post subject: Re: I just played (and of course lost) my first match.
Post #11 Posted: Thu Dec 20, 2018 9:54 am 
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sybob wrote:
Hello lucasfelix,

Do you know the book '81 little lions'?
It is an e-book in .pdf format and an introduction to (advanced) beginners to the 9x9 board.
I expect you would like it.

If you google around, you can probably find it. Or search this site perhaps.
It is free.
If you can't find it, send me your mail address, so I can forward you a digital copy.

Have fun.

Hello sybob,

Found it! Thank you very much for telling me about it!

My best to you!

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