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 Post subject: Re: Beginner to 5 kyu in 6 months?
Post #21 Posted: Mon Oct 06, 2014 10:06 am 
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What is interesting to me is what is the difference between people willing to take this approach and those who aren't?


The point about embarrassment levels made above as an extension of this sentence is valid, but I think there's another possible answer and it's to do with how you get your fun out of the whole exercise. Most people willing to adopt this approach - that is, to immerse themselves directly in the game and learn somewhat haphazardly by picking things up as they go - seem to get their fun out of the game itself. People who eschew this approach and who try to impose a rigid structure on what is learnt seem, to me, to get their fun instead out of immersing themselves in the study process. Which is better is an open question, though the former seems more congenial to the majority. Maybe in the long term, also, the former is better because you always have the game to look forward to. With the "method acting" kind of approach, is the play not sterile once you've mastered the method?

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I think that's more like vocabulary. Maybe a better analog of grammar would be opening theory. A speaker with poor grammar is understandable but crude and nonconforming


My vote for the go analogue of grammar is suji/haengma (or at least for the syntax part).

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 Post subject: Re: Beginner to 5 kyu in 6 months?
Post #22 Posted: Thu Oct 09, 2014 1:01 pm 
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I got to 9 kyu KGS in 4 months.

As Bill said though, it was through immersion. I started replaying and memorizing pro games from day one because, well, I found it fun. I also really like doing problems. Playing the game, strangely, isn't as much fun (at least online -- it's much more fun to play in person!).

I doubt I will reach 5 kyu in 6 months, but I did lose a couple of weeks along the way to real life butting its ugly head in. Also, I chose to invest 2 weeks focusing on reading books, and I think most of that was a waste of time. For someone a little more dedicated than me, who is a little more efficient and disciplined, 5 in 6 seems well within reason.

Added in edit:

I think, actually, a person could attain far, far higher than 5 kyu in the same timeframe. Children often do in Asia, correct? I don't believe that age has a dramatic effect on go learning, as long as you are between 10 and 65. I think time investment, discipline, and, most importantly, Deliberate Practice, are the keys. An adult, theoretically, should be able to learn as fast as a child does, but he/she would have to have a good support structure: plenty of free time, little need to worry about monetary resources, dedication/discipline, and a cleverly designed training program. (I still want to know how much better Hushfield is after his trip to China!)

Most of the people I know here in DFW that are interested in Go are adults, and most adults simply do not have the time needed to invest to achieve high skills. Locally, there is also a paucity of Deliberate Practice drills or even detailed training regimes of any sort for Go. So if you do have the time, it's extremely difficult to know how to invest it in the most efficient manner. As we all know from the game itself, efficiency is key. It is like an avalanche - a few stones at first build into greater and greater power - then suddenly the side of a mountain is falling on you. Simply playing the game is not enough. Simply doing tsumego is probably also not enough. There must be a system, and the better designed that system, the more efficient it is, the better and faster the results will be.

Anyway, I'm only 9 kyu, so I feel like I'm speaking out of turn. I haven't proven my assumptions; I, indeed, have very little evidence of them except for pointing to my middle-aged self, and I could easily be a statistical outlier. (Although: I'm not a genius. I'm not even particularly good at math. My chances of being an outlier seem slim.)

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 Post subject: Re: Beginner to 5 kyu in 6 months?
Post #23 Posted: Fri Dec 05, 2014 4:44 am 
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SamT wrote:
Locally, there is also a paucity of Deliberate Practice drills or even detailed training regimes of any sort for Go. So if you do have the time, it's extremely difficult to know how to invest it in the most efficient manner.


Western go is, I think, largely self-taught. And there lies one of the problems.

An anecdote about (in fact) a 9 kyu. She asked me in the middle of a busy club session what she needed to do to improve. I asked "strengths and weaknesses?", at which she pulled a face - clearly not the required approach! Anyway, she said the issue was "my weakie groups die", and I told her she was actually quite good at defending her weak groups, but needed to understand more about the direction of play.


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 Post subject: Re: Beginner to 5 kyu in 6 months?
Post #24 Posted: Fri Dec 05, 2014 7:18 am 
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Charles Matthews wrote:
SamT wrote:
Locally, there is also a paucity of Deliberate Practice drills or even detailed training regimes of any sort for Go. So if you do have the time, it's extremely difficult to know how to invest it in the most efficient manner.


Western go is, I think, largely self-taught. And there lies one of the problems.



I claim no expertise, but I agree with you. Western Go is in need of a beginning-to-end (30 kyu to 1 Dan Pro*) systematized learning method.

I believe if such a corpus existed in an accessible language (such as English), then refinements could easily be made to the actual training /method/ (timing, volume, review, etc) to noticably increase skill acquisition.

From my point of view, right now there's enough material out there that you can get to 7-9 kyu in 3 months if you work hard, but finding a way forward after that is tricky. (YMMV)

--
* I realize that "Pro" is essentially a title and not a real rank of play, but I've heard that Pros are typically 3 stones stronger than even IGS 9-dans, so it seems like that should be the theoretical target to me.

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 Post subject: Re: Beginner to 5 kyu in 6 months?
Post #25 Posted: Fri Dec 05, 2014 7:41 am 
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At one of his workshops Yang Yilun, chinese pro 7p living in the USA, was asked whether everyone could get to dan level. Yang answered that with good teaching most people could get to 5d but not very many could get to 6d or higher. He was speaking of American ranks so perhaps his comment was consistent with European ranks (3d and 4d or higher) mentioned above.

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Post #26 Posted: Fri Dec 05, 2014 7:56 am 
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Matthew Macfadyen 6d and former British Champion said something similar, essentially that any reasonably intelligent person should be able to make 4d with some effort, but 5d or more requires something special. I'm not sure I agree though, I know plenty of intelligent people who have put in a lot of effort and aren't that strong. Maybe they didn't have good teaching, or it was the wrong sort of effort, but even if they ticked all those boxes and still don't make 4d or whatever I don't think you can say they are not intelligent, but just their way of thinking doesn't grok Go so well.


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Post #27 Posted: Fri Dec 05, 2014 1:50 pm 
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Uberdude wrote:
Matthew Macfadyen 6d and former British Champion said something similar, essentially that any reasonably intelligent person should be able to make 4d with some effort, but 5d or more requires something special.


The version I heard included having some talent for the game, which makes more sense.

If you are actually "good at go" by the standards of social players, then you get to 10 kyu-ish if you can have games against experienced players. You are then a club player and what you can get out of clubs and amateur tournaments (and server go) can cover enough of the game to get to 4 dan with strenuous effort. You are then still not playing the same game as people who can earn a living at it. But actually I think 3 dans and 4 dans may have the most fun with go.

I started to understand Matthew's teaching rather better when I realised it is essentially all aimed at explaining the 4 dan/5 dan boundary. Not easy for me to grok. One point is about when you do make a heavy group. (Bear in mind that kyu players basically all play too heavily, so this is like correcting an overcorrection.) Another remark was about reading: "playing against 4 dans who go down lines you know they know they haven't read out". All this is a bit too snaky for me. Or too much Sakata, not enough Go Seigen.

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 Post subject: Re: Beginner to 5 kyu in 6 months?
Post #28 Posted: Fri Dec 05, 2014 2:13 pm 
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Re John Fairbairn's comment above, Kageyama Toshiro, author of Lessons in the Fundamentals of Go, observed that ""Amateurs' go comes from pleasure, professionals' go comes from suffering"

When the great Takagawa approached retirement he supposedly said that he was looking forward to becoming an amateur again.

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 Post subject: Re: Beginner to 5 kyu in 6 months?
Post #29 Posted: Fri Dec 05, 2014 2:31 pm 
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Lee Changho supposedly had "no talent" for the game, at least per the biographies I've read. He still excelled, first in the 90's by learning to be better at basic, simple moves that create predictable responses, letting him read 100 moves ahead in many cases. In the 2000's he had to adjust to the fighting styles out there that muddied the reading waters.

Anyone can learn to read a 60 move ladder with a little work. If your style was able to create predictable responses, that same kind of skill would be applicable to the whole board.

Being a human points calculator and having a razor-sharp endgame: No idea how to do those, sorry.

But it seems to me that anyone could benefit from how Lee Changho was trained. If only we knew how it was done!

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Post #30 Posted: Fri Dec 05, 2014 3:02 pm 
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Hello,

There is also some biological facts to consider. It is not sure than one has all the appropriate biological material (in the brain, eyes, hands, heart... ?) available from the first day one starts a new activity. This can take time for some (still) mysterious processes to build this biological material. It is not just a question of training and (initial) intelligence.

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 Post subject: Re: Beginner to 5 kyu in 6 months?
Post #31 Posted: Fri Dec 05, 2014 3:30 pm 
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SamT wrote:
Lee Changho supposedly had "no talent" for the game, at least per the biographies I've read. He still excelled, first in the 90's by learning to be better at basic, simple moves that create predictable responses, letting him read 100 moves ahead in many cases.


I guess that is a misconception of what he did. Humans cannot analyse go 100-ply deep. No way.

As an aid to positional judgement, I would imagine it is possible for pros to project a long way (like from the middlegame into a countable part of the endgame) some representative sequences, where neither player obviously drops any points. These might be honte sequences, for example.

There can be a corresponding misconception: that deep reading is about understanding how the game will go. Clearly for some "one-way street" sequences it is just that. Otherwise, though, one doesn't play out killing attacks that fail, one doesn't start ko fights for which one doesn't have the threats, and so on. Very often deep reading is about what will not happen if both players find the good moves.


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 Post subject: Re: Beginner to 5 kyu in 6 months?
Post #32 Posted: Tue Feb 17, 2015 8:17 am 
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i went from complete beginner to about 10 kyu in 6 months playing an hour a day. then i went from 10 kyu to about 6 kyu in another 6 months. however, my play hasn't improved since, no matter how often i play it seems, and i've been playing for 7 years.

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Post #33 Posted: Tue Feb 17, 2015 10:16 am 
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I have always felt that the grade around 2 stones higher than my grade at the time is a big deal...


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 Post subject: Re: Beginner to 5 kyu in 6 months?
Post #34 Posted: Wed Feb 18, 2015 10:57 am 
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phillip1882 wrote:
i went from complete beginner to about 10 kyu in 6 months playing an hour a day. then i went from 10 kyu to about 6 kyu in another 6 months. however, my play hasn't improved since, no matter how often i play it seems, and i've been playing for 7 years.


6k seems to be a natural barrier for many self taught.

After that, playing more is just ingraining more of the same (bad) habits into your game. You need to assess your game critically and go to great lengths unlearning those bad habits and implement new tactics. From what I have observed, most players who are blocked at the 6k level:

- hardly ever consider alternatives and just play whatever their (poor) instincts tell them to do
- don't really know what the balances are in terms of stability and development
- have no sense of direction, the sides and corners are not related, there are just familiar patterns here, there and everywhere
- groups will live or die contrary to their nature
- emotions or numbness take the upper hand

all of this may be just as true for the level where I am stuck. I'm merely hinting at some aspects of the game where drastic change may be called for.

Good luck


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 Post subject: Re: Beginner to 5 kyu in 6 months?
Post #35 Posted: Wed Feb 18, 2015 12:45 pm 
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Bill Spight wrote:
Is it possible for nearly all adult beginners who are willing to devote, say, 10 hours per week to go to reach a reasonable level of competence (such as KGS 5 kyu) in 6 months?


Just wanted to answer this. It's only a minority of adults that can put aside that much time for a hobby for that long but you can see it in people taking up a musical instrument as an adult that a small number can put in the hours and consistency necessary to reach a decent level while others never really progress far past the beginner stage because they just don't put the right work in. The ones who get good generally are the ones who know there's no secret or short cut and go into it knowing that they're going to dedicate a lot of time to doing things that they don't enjoy that much (relatively speaking). Other people fail because without external forces pushing them to put the hours into the stuff they dislike doing they just do what they find fun and this will normally hold them back from progressing much beyond the basics.

I think with the level of dedication in question, stronger players to play and stronger players for review and you can afford a few books then it'd be fairly unusual for someone not to get to 5k KGS.

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 Post subject: Re: Beginner to 5 kyu in 6 months?
Post #36 Posted: Wed Feb 18, 2015 1:23 pm 
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If you're stuck at a level, it's safe to assume you're in a rut and need some work to get out. And doing more of the same won't change a thing, so you're going to have to do something different.

Self-analysis is never easy, though. You're the one blindly making the same mistakes as always, so it'll be very hard to objectively spot your flaws. Due to the sheer depth of go, it's quite possible to be blind to your own major flaws. It's really a huge help that you can reach more competent players on the internet, in these modern times. When hearing of the privations of older people, who predate the internet a lot more than I do, I feel enormously fortunate that it exists now.

If ten hours a week for six months is fair for beginner to 5k, what's fair for 5k to 1d? The same? More hours per week? More months? Inquiring minds wish to inquire!

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Post #37 Posted: Wed Feb 18, 2015 4:16 pm 
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Charles Matthews wrote:
But actually I think 3 dans and 4 dans may have the most fun with go.


??!

Let's see your fun-o-meter.

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Post #38 Posted: Wed Feb 18, 2015 4:24 pm 
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There's also talent. These days it's often repeated that deliberate practice is key but i've come to realize that with the same amount of well guided practice gifted people grow faster and usually reach higher.

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Post #39 Posted: Wed Feb 18, 2015 4:56 pm 
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daal wrote:
Charles Matthews wrote:
But actually I think 3 dans and 4 dans may have the most fun with go.


??!

Let's see your fun-o-meter.


You wouldn't believe how much fun I'm having.

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 Post subject: Re: Beginner to 5 kyu in 6 months?
Post #40 Posted: Thu Feb 19, 2015 1:22 am 
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Shaddy wrote:
daal wrote:
Charles Matthews wrote:
But actually I think 3 dans and 4 dans may have the most fun with go.


??!

Let's see your fun-o-meter.


You wouldn't believe how much fun I'm having.


Oh, I would - but are you playing go?

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