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 Post subject: At which level should you get to a Go Club?
Post #1 Posted: Sat May 08, 2010 12:26 am 
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This may seem like a strange question but this relates to my own experience.
I learnt the game online on KGS and tried to reach my local Go club when I was 15k or so.
I used to play even games online and was suddenly offered (and losing) 9 stones handicap.
It's not that it's bad but it was different from what I used to do. The fact that I couldn't find even opponents and the missing ability to review the game in details afterwards led me not to return to the club and continue to practice online.
I went back there beginning of the year when I was 7k KGS and I must say it was much more enjoyable even if I still play regular handicap games (but usually not up to 9 stones).
Today, I'm going to the club maybe once a month to play some face to face games.

Therefore my belief is that either:
1/ You're young and potentially have friends already settled or planning to come together with you to the go club, and you can learn the game at the club and build up from there
2/ You join the local go club when you reach SDK from online play (if you can / enjoy it, of course)

What are your experience / beliefs regarding playing in clubs?

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 Post subject: Re: At which level should you get to a Go Club?
Post #2 Posted: Sat May 08, 2010 12:48 am 
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When I got interested in go, there was no internet, let alone go servers, so joining a club was pretty much the only option. Luckily there was one club with a dozen or so players in Finland, so it was possible ;-)

Fortunately there were strong players, who were able and willing to go through games from memory (I still remember my astonishment when after my first game on a full board my opponent asked if I wanted to go through it, and after receiving a baffled 'yes, but...' from me he proceeded to replay the whole game with comments and variations).

I think I have learned a lot from the live games against dan players. One of the things that especially comes to mind is good shape - when I returned to go after almost 25 years break, one of the comments I received after my first live game was that I play exceptionally good shape for my level. I attribute that to the strong players that taught me at the local club when I started (I know that at least Vesa is reading this forum, so thank you!)

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 Post subject: Re: At which level should you get to a Go Club?
Post #3 Posted: Sat May 08, 2010 1:01 am 
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The level is irrelevant, people of all levels should go to a Go club (and also feel welcome). Before the Go club at my hometown I visit once a week died off after several crucial members stopped going, I would always try to pay a visit when I had time even though I was the strongest player by over 9 stones and it was certainly not an experience that would help me improve. But that's not the point of going to a Go club; it's to meet new and old people who share similar interests with you, to create new friendships and just socialize with people who share an interest with you.

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Post #4 Posted: Sat May 08, 2010 5:15 am 
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Araban wrote:
The level is irrelevant, people of all levels should go to a Go club (and also feel welcome). Before the Go club at my hometown I visit once a week died off after several crucial members stopped going, I would always try to pay a visit when I had time even though I was the strongest player by over 9 stones and it was certainly not an experience that would help me improve. But that's not the point of going to a Go club; it's to meet new and old people who share similar interests with you, to create new friendships and just socialize with people who share an interest with you.

Perfect!

One caveat, It depends on the people at the Go club. If they are friendly, it doesn't matter your level. Otherwise, you may need some other purpose, such as simple competition and then you need to be close enough in strength to have a reasonable handicap.

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 Post subject: Re: At which level should you get to a Go Club?
Post #5 Posted: Sat May 08, 2010 5:34 am 
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I think that if there is a club nearby you should always give it a try.
If you get kicked around even with 9 stones from their weakest player(s)
that should be great motivation to get stronger. you can also try to get some
other people who just started or want to start playing to come as well.
in most cases clubs are happy to see new members and are willing to help you get better.

I played my first game at a local club where the weakest player was 7kyu EGF
they did not even have 9-9 boards, so I got to play (and lose) a lot of 9 handy
games on the "big" board during the first 2 month or so. by playing online I soon
began to catch up and the handicap began to reduce.

At the club(s) where I play now on a regular base there are always some beginners so
new players are usually not a lot behind when they want to join. and almost everyone
at the club is happy to help weaker people. Last club meeting I spend a couple of hours
discussing the game of a 10 kyu member that he had printed out and brought with him for analysis.

The important thing is that the other people make you feel welcome at their club
even if you are weaker. Without a nice atmosphere a club where you are not the weakest
player is also no fun.

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 Post subject: Re: At which level should you get to a Go Club?
Post #6 Posted: Sat May 08, 2010 5:56 am 
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Actorios wrote:
It's not that it's bad but it was different from what I used to do. The fact that I couldn't find even opponents and the missing ability to review the game in details afterwards led me not to return to the club and continue to practice online.


Assuming the club was friendly (as all clubs should be!), you can look at this the other way - having had the unusual chance to play against someone much stronger, would they be willing to help you review the game? Stronger players may remember a lot of the game even if you don't, but even if they remember very little they can likely explain your major mistakes. This is probably just as useful as reviewing your own games online without this guidance.

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 Post subject: Re: At which level should you get to a Go Club?
Post #7 Posted: Sat May 08, 2010 6:55 am 
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All levels.

If the people at the club aren't friendly, then don't go at any level (that is, until you can bring in a critical mass of people to displace the mean ones).

Of course, the idea is that everyone should be welcomed and encouraged to get better.

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 Post subject: Re: At which level should you get to a Go Club?
Post #8 Posted: Sat May 08, 2010 7:56 am 
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Actorios has a point. I've had similar experiences. The club members were friendly enough but they were there to play games with one another, not the new DDK. In my case, they would quickly play a 9x9 or 13x13 game with me and then get on with their normal routine of playing each other. Who could blame them? I didn't mind and was grateful for the games, but I always felt like I was intruding.

It's difficult to feel like you're really part of a club if there's no one close to your level. The reason why no one would play a full-board game with me was not because I couldn't handle it but because it would've taken away from their normal playing time. Playing games is the key element in socializing for Go clubs, and it isn't much fun if the reason other members are giving you a game is because of obligation.

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 Post subject: Re: At which level should you get to a Go Club?
Post #9 Posted: Sat May 08, 2010 8:44 am 
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Self-fulfilling: if low/mid-kyu players don't go to clubs, low/mid-kyu players won't go to clubs.

At any level you should absolutely go, just be polite and grateful if stronger players give you a game. Otherwise, be happy just to watch games, and also keep an eye out for other weaker players to come along. Beyond that, it is up to you to determine whether you're comfortable hanging around.

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 Post subject: Re: At which level should you get to a Go Club?
Post #10 Posted: Sat May 08, 2010 9:20 am 
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Helel wrote:
If on the other hand you're very introverted and think of friends as enemies just waiting to happen, then I think you probably just as well could stay with the internet option.

Yep, that's me. I've never been to a go club (even though there are plenty of 'em in my town) and have no plans on goin' either. I guess some people just not meant to socialize with the others on every occasion. I still have my fun with the game though, so I'm fine.
P.S. And, of course I save 3 bucks every time I'm not going so that's profitable in a way :)

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 Post subject: Re: At which level should you get to a Go Club?
Post #11 Posted: Sat May 08, 2010 9:26 am 
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Gene wrote:
Yep, that's me. I've never been to a go club (even though there are plenty of 'em in my town) and have no plans on goin' either.


Nothing wrong with that. A given club's environments are not everyone's cup of tea, and you are by no means obligated to go. I would say generally that everyone should give it a try, but I don't know you and perhaps you know you genuinely wouldn't like it, so no use in wasting your time (and $3 :) )

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 Post subject: Re: At which level should you get to a Go Club?
Post #12 Posted: Sat May 08, 2010 7:24 pm 
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deja wrote:
Actorios has a point. I've had similar experiences. The club members were friendly enough but they were there to play games with one another, not the new DDK. In my case, they would quickly play a 9x9 or 13x13 game with me and then get on with their normal routine of playing each other. Who could blame them? I didn't mind and was grateful for the games, but I always felt like I was intruding.


These days, I always enjoy playing beginners more than my peers or stronger players. Maybe because I still remember being a beginner myself, and I want them to know that they are not intruding :)

I don't go to the primary club in town, but to a smaller weekly outreach of the club. Its supposed to be an outreach to introduce the game to beginners, but often the regulars just want to play each others. These days, I find myself going late, so they'll all be in games, and I can be free teach the passers-by.


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Post #13 Posted: Sat May 08, 2010 7:27 pm 
Oza

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Gene wrote:
P.S. And, of course I save 3 bucks every time I'm not going so that's profitable in a way :)

I no longer mind paying the club fee once I realized that when I do, they cover the parking lot fee -- so its like I get to play for free :)

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Post #14 Posted: Sat May 08, 2010 9:44 pm 
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I just try to go to a club for the first time. If I like it, I come back often. If I don't, I stop by occasionally. I've travelled a lot, so I've been to some different clubs. Where I'm at currently, most of the people are weaker and it's kind of far to drive, so I just stop by occasionally. When I was in grad school, there were a number of people that were better than me, so I went as often as possible...

I guess it just depends on if you like it or not.

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Post #15 Posted: Sat May 08, 2010 10:25 pm 
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magicwand <----go club player
if you are thinking about korean go club i will tell you how it is.
go club is a place for strong 5d+ level players who has no job no income manytimes no house.
they need money from newcomer who is willing to play for money.
they will lose some game on purpose, and when you think you can win they will start to take money from you.
i dont blame them for doing that because most of them are bums who live in the club 7 days a week.
when i go ..i usually dont lose. but i dont mind losing few games.
if you go to korean go club they will play you if you play for money.
so you must be able to withstand 9 stone from strong players.
if not...they dont want to play you.
so have some money to donate and be strong enough to play taugh 9 stone.

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 Post subject: Re: At which level should you get to a Go Club?
Post #16 Posted: Sun May 09, 2010 3:40 am 
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My local go club is modest (let's say 5 regular members, most of the time we are 3). Most of us have the same level (between 5k and 10k), so the games are always nice, but I think we won't improve much.

I think that in a go club, you improve up to your limit or to the level of the stronger player. I was reluctant to go there when I was far weaker than them, but little by little, I came to their level and feels really happier to go. I don't regret forcing myself to go when I was weaker. I take now far more pleasure to play in my club than to play online, where you have nearly no exchanges with your opponent.

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Post #17 Posted: Sun May 09, 2010 5:50 am 
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About one and a half year I showed up four times at my local go games evening. At that time I was around 25k (beginning of October) to 20k (end of October). The weakest player there was 5k, so the average difference between me and them was around 20 stones. Although all of them were nice and patient, you could feel that it was no fun - neither for the regular players nor for the newbie - to get crushed easily in spite of nine handi stones. I decided not to go back there until I am 4k KGS (or 7k EGF which is about the same) which will allow meaningful games for everyone.

judicata wrote:
Self-fulfilling: if low/mid-kyu players don't go to clubs, low/mid-kyu players won't go to clubs.

That's true of course, so it depends on how many potential players there are on that level. If I knew that the probability is high that there are players of similar strength as myself, I would give it a try, but if I knew that there will be no such player, it would be useless to show up.

Magicwand wrote:
they will lose some game on purpose, and when you think you can win they will start to take money from you.

Good to know. That smells like cheating. It's another reason to feel put off.

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Post #18 Posted: Sun May 09, 2010 6:34 am 
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judicata wrote:
Otherwise, be happy just to watch games, and also keep an eye out for other weaker players to come along. Beyond that, it is up to you to determine whether you're comfortable hanging around.

Watching, concentrating on what is going on and what will be played next is a great way to get better, if you are comfortable with hanging around.

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Post #19 Posted: Sun May 09, 2010 2:55 pm 
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Players of all strengths gain from a go club. There is no strength difference that cannot be covered by handicap and smaller boards. Besides, small boards are interesting for themselves.

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Post #20 Posted: Sun May 09, 2010 4:15 pm 
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The issue is not so much what ought to be the case or what benefits someone could gain given the right conditions, but what actually happens with low-level kyu players at clubs with members so far above their playing ability. It would be nice if there were more club members like xed_over, but I think he's probably unique. It takes a special dedication to devote your club time to teaching others.

So how many of you are like xed_over and devote your club time teaching weaker players?

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