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 Post subject: When you teach GO which rule set do you use?
Post #1 Posted: Tue Nov 03, 2015 11:18 am 
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Hello all,

At the risk of starting a fire storm. My question is when you teach GO what rule set do you use? Do you teach Japanese territory, Chinese -area, or AGA? (not that you mention the name to the students)

I ask for two reasons primarily. One was another recent question on AGA rules and the pass rule. And the other as I try to make it easy to teach newbies I wondered aloud about using Chinese scoring. Some of the newer players were against it. I tried to explain that since playing in your area does not count against you it makes it easier for new players to play against each other possibly and count points... No one in our small club was for it....

So we will continue to use basic Japanese style rules. I recommend the Interactive Way to GO and it is printed on the back of our club cards where it says learn GO!

Thanks for the feedback. I will bring wood for the torches.

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Post #2 Posted: Tue Nov 03, 2015 11:43 am 
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Japanese rules are what I teach.

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Post #3 Posted: Tue Nov 03, 2015 11:58 am 
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Japanese, no superko restrictions enforced. Typically, this will be on a 9x9 so points are relatively easy to count (and a low number as well). If folks are really interested in other rulesets, I'll then describe Chinese and AGA (in that order).

Bruce "Play continues until 1 (or both) players are disgusted and stop" Young

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Post #4 Posted: Tue Nov 03, 2015 12:24 pm 
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The Capture Game

The rules for placing stones and capture are the same as for regular go. No ko rule is needed. :) Suicide is not allowed. Passing is not allowed. The first player to capture a stone wins.

You can start on the 5x5 with the student taking Black. Once they win a few games, move up to the 7x7. Later you can move up to the 9x9 or larger boards.

Comments:

Before I tried it I thought that the capture game encouraged the bad habit of playing to capture stones. However, it is easy to make life in the capture game; all you need is a two point eye. The ease of living makes the game fairly strategical, even on the 7x7 board, as you can't just count on territory as you can in regular go. Furthermore, the idea of territory arises naturally when the dame are filled. At that point it is possible to count the score and determine who wins without playing the game out to the bitter end. Thus the game soon becomes one of making territory instead of capturing stones.

You can alter the game by requiring more captures to win. As more captures are required the game becomes more like regular go. For instance, in Capture Two a two point eye is no longer alive, as the opponent can sacrifice a stone to reduce it to a one point eye, which can be captured. In Capture Four the opponent can sacrifice three stones to capture a three point eye. In Capture Seven the opponent can sacrifice six stones to capture a four point eye. Etc., etc. After Capture Four or Capture Seven the student can usually move up to regular go. A ko rule can be introduced for Capture Two.

One variation that you might make for Capture N games (N > 1) is to allow a player to return a captured stone instead of making a play on the board. That can be an advantage if you otherwise might have to fill an eye that you need for life. It makes the game more like regular go, as a captured stone is equivalent to a point of territory.

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Post #5 Posted: Tue Nov 03, 2015 12:26 pm 
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BaghwanB wrote:
Japanese, no superko restrictions enforced. Typically, this will be on a 9x9 so points are relatively easy to count (and a low number as well). If folks are really interested in other rulesets, I'll then describe Chinese and AGA (in that order).

Bruce "Play continues until 1 (or both) players are disgusted and stop" Young




"Play continues until 1 (or both) players are disgusted and stop" Like it, well said.

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 Post subject: Re: When you teach GO which rule set do you use?
Post #6 Posted: Tue Nov 03, 2015 12:28 pm 
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Bill Spight wrote:
The Capture Game

The rules for placing stones and capture are the same as for regular go. No ko rule is needed. :) Suicide is not allowed. Passing is not allowed. The first player to capture a stone wins.

You can start on the 5x5 with the student taking Black. Once they win a few games, move up to the 7x7. Later you can move up to the 9x9 or larger boards.

Comments:

Before I tried it I thought that the capture game encouraged the bad habit of playing to capture stones. However, it is easy to make life in the capture game; all you need is a two point eye. The ease of living makes the game fairly strategical, even on the 7x7 board, as you can't just count on territory as you can in regular go. Furthermore, the idea of territory arises naturally when the dame are filled. At that point it is possible to count the score and determine who wins without playing the game out to the bitter end. Thus the game soon becomes one of making territory instead of capturing stones.

You can alter the game by requiring more captures to win. As more captures are required the game becomes more like regular go. For instance, in Capture Two a two point eye is no longer alive, as the opponent can sacrifice a stone to reduce it to a one point eye, which can be captured. In Capture Four the opponent can sacrifice three stones to capture a three point eye. In Capture Seven the opponent can sacrifice six stones to capture a four point eye. Etc., etc. After Capture Four or Capture Seven the student can usually move up to regular go. A ko rule can be introduced for Capture Two.


Thank you for the tips. I do sometimes teach capture GO first. I find that some students want to play the real game and do not wish to play capture GO. I am always looking for ways to capture the interest of people trying the game.

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 Post subject: Re: When you teach GO which rule set do you use?
Post #7 Posted: Tue Nov 03, 2015 12:29 pm 
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I have a teaching method, but I don't explicitly teach the rules.

If they're complete beginners, I teach capture go. Then I teach first to capture 5 stones. Then I teach whoever captures more stones wins. Then I discuss passing and "territory." I use Japanese rules, but it really feels more like Chinese rules.

If they're strong enough where they recognize a second line stone in atari is going to get captured, then we move to 13x13. Then when they're start making some sense of balanced connection in their stones we move to 19x19. I've found this method is fairly easy way to teach and doesn't overload the learner.


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Post #8 Posted: Tue Nov 03, 2015 12:38 pm 
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MMaestro wrote:
If they're complete beginners, I teach capture go. Then I teach first to capture 5 stones. Then I teach whoever captures more stones wins. Then I discuss passing and "territory."


You don't need to wait to explain territory. It arises automatically in Capture One, when the dame are filled without a capture. :)

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Post #9 Posted: Tue Nov 03, 2015 1:43 pm 
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In the nutshell, my idea is to: teach what you play and play what you teach. Let me elaborate.

First of all, I think that the rules are being made too much hassle of. Learning alone from a short pamphlet - maybe it matters. Learning with a competent teacher, I don't think they do. Also, let me differenciate between two kinds of "teaching" - and I think people lump them into the same bucket. To me it makes a difference in how I approach the process.

  • SHOWING the game to somebody
    A guy walks into the club, sees us playing, and says: "hey, looks neat, how does it go?" An appropriate response is to say a few words, if he still cares, get a 9x9 board and show a few things, then get him to play other newbies for a while - and see if he comes again.

    This is - to me - "showing" go, quick and dirty. 9x9 is sort-of ok, rules are whatever the club uses - it avoids confusion. This means - 100% of the time in my experience - japanese-style rules. Eventually, if the newbie keeps at it, a level will be reached in which the different rule sets will become relevant and/or interesting, and this issue will be tackled then - if ever.

  • TEACHING the game to somebody
    Taking a newbie you know is dedicated and guiding/teaching him all the way to dan level - or as far as your skill and your time allows. It is a much more serious process than just "showing."

    For this, I prefer 19x19 right from the start, and also whatever rules are used in the club, which is - 100% of the time in my experience- some kind of japanese-style rules. Eventually a level will be reached in which the different rule sets will become relevant and/or interesting, and this issue will be tackled then - if ever.

In BOTH cases - I definitely try to stay away from any "shortcut" versions of Go like capturing game (and even 9x9 if I can avoid it.) Such things make it easier on the teacher initially, but later on can take a lot of effort to undo bad habbits and wrong ideas. So if you plan to spend half hour with the newbie and then toss him into the kiddie pool to fend for himself - this might be good enough. But if you are more serious and want to make more impact - it is worth to put in some more effort and do it right from the start.

So, this is what I think and do. But it might be I am simply not doing it right.

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Post #10 Posted: Tue Nov 03, 2015 1:52 pm 
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Bantari wrote:
In the nutshell, my idea is to: teach what you play and play what you teach. Let me elaborate.

First of all, I think that the rules are being made too much hassle of. Learning alone from a short pamphlet - maybe it matters. Learning with a competent teacher, I don't think they do. Also, let me differenciate between two kinds of "teaching" - and I think people lump them into the same bucket. To me it makes a difference in how I approach the process.

  • SHOWING the game to somebody
    A guy walks into the club, sees us playing, and says: "hey, looks neat, how does it go?" An appropriate response is to say a few words, if he still cares, get a 9x9 board and show a few things, then get him to play other newbies for a while - and see if he comes again.

    This is - to me - "showing" go, quick and dirty. 9x9 is sort-of ok, rules are whatever the club uses - it avoids confusion. This means - 100% of the time in my experience - japanese-style rules. Eventually, if the newbie keeps at it, a level will be reached in which the different rule sets will become relevant and/or interesting, and this issue will be tackled then - if ever.

  • TEACHING the game to somebody
    Taking a newbie you know is dedicated and guiding/teaching him all the way to dan level - or as far as your skill and your time allows. It is a much more serious process than just "showing."

    For this, I prefer 19x19 right from the start, and also whatever rules are used in the club, which is - 100% of the time in my experience- some kind of japanese-style rules. Eventually a level will be reached in which the different rule sets will become relevant and/or interesting, and this issue will be tackled then - if ever.

In BOTH cases - I definitely try to stay away from any "shortcut" versions of Go like capturing game (and even 9x9 if I can avoid it.) Such things make it easier on the teacher initially, but later on can take a lot of effort to undo bad habbits and wrong ideas. So if you plan to spend half hour with the newbie and then toss him into the kiddie pool to fend for himself - this might be good enough. But if you are more serious and want to make more impact - it is worth to put in some more effort and do it right from the start.

So, this is what I think and do. But it might be I am simply not doing it right.


A very interesting post. How do you know someone is serious, the first time you sit down? I have had some people educated, interested but once they started actually playing realized it just is not for them. It could have been the teacher, the club, the game itself. I admit I do use capture go sometimes initially. But quickly get them to play on a 5x5 a real game. I do know different teaching styles appeal to different people.

I may be a good teacher for some but not for others. : )

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Post #11 Posted: Tue Nov 03, 2015 2:20 pm 
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goTony wrote:
How do you know someone is serious, the first time you sit down?

Good question.

In my experience, sometimes you can tell. Like when there is a chess player you know - chances are he is into board games and won't be scared of by complexity of Go on 19x19 - it might even be a selling point for him! Or your long-time friend who heard you speaking about the game so much he has finally decided to learn it too. Or anybody else you think will make ti worth-while to put more effort into.

Sometimes you might know even when somebody unknown walks into a club - for example, if he did some effort himself, like looked it up on the internet before showing up. Or when you see the same noobie observing games at a club for a few weeks before finally approaching you for a lesson - chances are he already finds it interesting and has some dedication. Or when he says he played it in college a little and loved it, but forgot all he ever knew. Stuff like that.

Sometimes you start with 9x9 and a few words, but you notice the deeper interest and immediately switch to 19x19 and more serious "lesson."

To make it more complicated, it also hinges a little on your own situation and mood. Do you feel like putting some extra effort into a newbie, or do you just want to quickly fulfill your obligation to "popularizing Go" and then go play some more games yourself? No problem.

The bottom line is:
There are many ways you can tell. It does not mean you are right all the time. To me, the role of the teacher is to be attentive to such things and try to respond to the need of the pupil rather than following some formulaic cookie-cutter approach. And I think it is a good idea to keep an eye at where the pupil is going rather than where he is at right now. Which is why I rather do 19x19 from the start than 9x9, even if the hurdle is higher this way. And if everybody around uses japanese-style rules, this is what I teach, even if arguments could be made that chinese-style rules might make it slightly easier.

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Post #12 Posted: Tue Nov 03, 2015 4:14 pm 
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goTony wrote:
How do you know someone is serious, the first time you sit down?
To ponder:
  • You don't.
  • Are they still there a year later.
  • Are they still there 10 years later.


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Post #13 Posted: Tue Nov 03, 2015 4:46 pm 
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EdLee wrote:
goTony wrote:
How do you know someone is serious, the first time you sit down?
To ponder:
  • You don't.
  • Are they still there a year later.
  • Are they still there 10 years later.

Agreed.

Or... they never come back.
And 10 years later - they are still not there.

And that's OK too! Go is not for everybody. ;)

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Post #14 Posted: Tue Nov 03, 2015 5:24 pm 
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I don't teach any rules. I tell them the idea is to capture territory and I mention the capture rule without pushing it too hard - because I don't want them to think that is the primary goal. I don't mention ko until it comes up in a game. As for scoring, I use Japanese rules but make sure I answer a move if they try to play in my territory, so as to avoid issues with "well, its dead so there is no need to play". Later I will point out that I could have ignore their moves in my territory.

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Post #15 Posted: Tue Nov 03, 2015 10:03 pm 
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Usually, I teach area scoring. When necessary (because the beginner already uses both), I teach both area and territory scoring. When the newbie is already familiar with only one scoring system and the teaching is about strategy and tactics, I teach rules consequences when they become relevant (i.e., usually how to remove stones without losing points).

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Post #16 Posted: Thu Nov 05, 2015 12:02 am 
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Chinese because it's my preference.

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Post #17 Posted: Sat Nov 07, 2015 5:05 pm 
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My 2 cents.

I usually refer to japanese rules:
1. much becouse I like Japanese rules and their style
2. lately there is a lot of people thinking that Japan is fashionable and is favourably oriented towards all that is Japanese (japanese culture, zen, cousine, etc) so it is good to present GO as Chinese game "developed in Japan".
I don't mean that this is the truth, only that it is good presenting it in this way

Still, I don't really think that there is only one "best way" good in all situations, as there is not a single Joseki.
Let me give you two "full board position" for better understanding: ;-)

Usually me and the good fellows of the Go Club spend 2 days at the annual Game Convention near home.
Bantari wrote:
Go is not for everybody. ;)

so I usually try to came in contact with as much people as I can.

My "kakari" to passers-by that curiously look to me and my goban* is
*usually saying genial things like - I know this game: it is Checkers! (...or, Othello or Chinese checkers) :rambo:

This is GO, probably the oldest game here around: more than 4.000 years old!
I can teach you the rules in 5 minutes if you want.
...and btw Othello is there on that tables on my right and Checkers is here on the left
:salute:

I try and mostly avoid saying: I can teach you to play in 5 minutes... :mrgreen:

Those who are interested enough to lend my the 5 minutes will end knowing the basics for:
1. placing stones,
2. killing stones and groups*
3. don't suicide and
4. Ko

Then I propose playing a 9x9 game to get a better grasp of these basic rules and of the way and right time for passing and ending the game by agreement and the japanese way of counting points.

If I can see some interest I show that when passing is made in the correct time the count of the points won't change also adding stones to the enemy territory - maybe Chinese rules are better for this part- it is a useful demonstration of the way of closing the game by passing.

I do not teach, by purpose, the "2 eye" rule for unconditionally live groups, since:
a. the smarter will have the joy to understand it themselves
b. it is not a "rule" but a theorem derived from the rules as I suggest casually when it happen during the game

On the other hand when someone shows up at the club we usually make a better and longer presentation of the game and propose some 9x9 game (Japanese rules) just to strengthen the memorization of the rules.
When I have been that host, 2 guys played a 19x19 Malkovich for me, commenting their moves while playing:
it was very helpful for me.

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Post #18 Posted: Mon Nov 30, 2015 12:28 pm 
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i generally teach aga without pass stones, and focus on territory scoring over area.

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Post #19 Posted: Mon Nov 30, 2015 12:53 pm 
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phillip1882 wrote:
i generally teach aga without pass stones, and focus on territory scoring over area.


Better, then, to teach Japanese or Korean rules. AGA rules are area rules, and eliminating pass stones introduces complications.

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Post #20 Posted: Mon Nov 30, 2015 1:29 pm 
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Galation wrote:
I do not teach, by purpose, the "2 eye" rule for unconditionally live groups, since:
a. the smarter will have the joy to understand it themselves
b. it is not a "rule" but a theorem derived from the rules as I suggest casually when it happen during the game


Indeed, I've come to suspect that the most confusing thing for beginners is not that 2 eyes is alive, but that one eye is dead. Just like they tend to miss ko and ataris, I think beginners may subconsciously assume that their opponent can't play there since the stone played appears as if it wouldn't have any liberties. One eye really seems to be the anomaly, over two and zero eyes which easily behave as expected.


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