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 Post subject: The Story of a Loser
Post #1 Posted: Wed Jan 04, 2017 10:28 am 
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Introduction

Hello

My real name is Jonas but I use Ian Butler as an internet alias generally and it's become my second name, sort of.
I've always been fascinated by Eastern Philosophy, Eastern Music and Eastern wisdom/culture in general.
For instance I play both the Guqin and the Guzheng.
I live in Gent, Belgium.

I've known of Go for a few years, but never played it or never studied it properly.
That is, until my brother gave me a Go board (and stones) as a gift about a week and a half ago.

Here I hope to document my progress as I will go through my first 50 losses as patiently as possibly and hope to improve my game.

Oh and I might explain the title: first of all it's a subtitle in the booklet of Deep Purple in Rock for the song Child in Time - and I've always liked that. Second of all it explains quite well my attitude against Go at the moment. I'm not a very competitive person, I never really mind losing (though I can be hard on myself if I make silly mistakes - not the same, though).
The title also reflects my basic attitude of trying not to take anything too seriously. ;-)
I throw myself in Go with the goal of mastering the game. It may well take decades, I'm fine. The progress itself is liberating, mind-expanding and fun. Already in a week and a half I feel I spend many hours training my mind, increasing my insights. Both in Go and other situations.

Step into the World of Go
So far I've solved some tsumego's with some difficulty, I've been watching Nick Sibicky's Go videos (up to lesson 10 now) and I've played Cosumi - an online go bot.
I plan to keep learning this way, but also join a local go group to play real life persons. I'm also reading through Sensei's Library online. Will look through some books at one point or another, too.

This is a 9x9 game I played against cosumi just today, to start of my documentation.

http://www.cosumi.net/en/replay/?b=You&w=COSUMI&k=0&r=w5&bs=9&l=0&gr=dfffddgcebegdgehdhfbeadicieichecdcfadbeddeeeefggtttt&bm=hfdjed

(It's the lowest chain, made a mistake re-creating it first)

My game was not aggressive, that's not necessarily bad, but a bit too passive and I made a wrong judgement call on the territory. I thought it was about equal but only in the end I noticed white was bigger and I spend a bit too much time defending. By then it was too late.
So another defeat, but once again I learned!

Short Term Plans / Study Material
Plans for the rest of the week:
- Go through all the go proverbs on Sensei's Library, to get familiar with terms and general knowledge
- More Nick Sibicky videos
- Find a Go club/group nearby

Tips, advice, criticism etc are always very much appreciated. Thanks very much for reading!


Last edited by Ian Butler on Thu Jan 05, 2017 1:55 am, edited 1 time in total.
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 Post subject: Re: The Story of a Loser
Post #2 Posted: Wed Jan 04, 2017 11:14 am 
Gosei
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Hello Jonas,

just want comment on your thread title:

Now, with all the strongest professionals losing to the latest incarnation of AlphaGo (alias Magister alias Master), it seems that ALL humans are “losers”, at least if they play against that awesome AI ;-)

Also, welcome!

Groeten, Tom

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 Post subject: Re: The Story of a Loser
Post #3 Posted: Wed Jan 04, 2017 3:08 pm 
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Thank you, Tom.

Very true. A good thing to keep in mind when playing :cool:

To both start off my journey on a positive note AND finish this long and interesting day here's my final game of the day: my first victory against Cosumi on a 9 x 9 grid (had won 5 x 5 before)

http://www.cosumi.net/en/replay/?b=You&w=COSUMI&k=0&r=b14&bs=9&l=0&gr=dfggedccebcbfhbfegcedecgdhchdgdieicifgdcecdbfeeafadafbddffcffdtttt&ds=gg&bm=dcehge

SGF:



Feels good :D

PS I've discovered a Manga (& Anime) on Go called Hikaru no Go. Planning to find it and watch/read. Do you learn much of Go watching and reading this? It'll be fun anyway but it'll be even better to learn from it!


Last edited by Ian Butler on Thu Jan 05, 2017 3:23 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Post #4 Posted: Wed Jan 04, 2017 3:14 pm 
Judan
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Hi Ian,

It's very helpful to embed the SGF directly here, instead of relying on a link to an external site, cutting the middle layer.


This post by EdLee was liked by: Bonobo
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 Post subject: Re: The Story of a Loser
Post #5 Posted: Wed Jan 04, 2017 5:45 pm 
Gosei
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Ian Butler wrote:
PS I've discovered a Manga (& Anime) on Go called Hikaru no Go. Planning to find it and watch/read.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hikaru_no_Go

I think you’ll enjoy it a lot, though I cannot say how much you Go can really learn from it. BUT you’ll definitely learn a lot about how the Go scene of today thinks about Go—hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of today’s players discovered the game through the manga and anime.

Just recently I’ve seen so many “Sai!” comments elsewhere where talk was about the recent (and now solved) mystery player named “Magister” and “Master(P)” which has won 60 games in a row against the strongest players worldwide, and which actually was AlphaGo in disguise, Google DeepMind’s AI that had won 4-1 against Lee Sedol in early 2016 (but of course further evolved than then). You’ll perhaps have read about this here or elsewhere.

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 Post subject: Re: The Story of a Loser
Post #6 Posted: Thu Jan 05, 2017 7:28 am 
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Ian Butler wrote:
Short Term Plans / Study Material
Plans for the rest of the week:
- Go through all the go proverbs on Sensei's Library, to get familiar with terms and general knowledge
- More Nick Sibicky videos
- Find a Go club/group nearby

Tips, advice, criticism etc are always very much appreciated. Thanks very much for reading!


I know you said, you didn't want to take Go too serious but some remarks nonetheless:

Learning Go proverbs is a two-edged-sword. Probably most of them are a viable rule-of-thumb but there are always exceptions and I've experienced that you can play much more freely if you don't fixate on what should be played. Start trusting your own judgement. Make your own mistakes and fail better next time ; )

Watching videos is nice but honestly I believe we watch them mainly for entertainment. I can't speak for Nick Sibicky's videos but I'm guilty of watching a lot of similar style chess videos. The effect is - in my case - more than marginal. It's fun, sure, but in terms of progress it seems a huge waste of time.

Instead of watching a video for one hour you could easily play and review (very important) two games (19*19). Depending on the length of the games you might even have enough time to solve some problems, which I think is the best way of improving in the beginning.

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 Post subject: Re: The Story of a Loser
Post #7 Posted: Thu Jan 05, 2017 11:18 am 
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SoDesuNe wrote:
Ian Butler wrote:
Short Term Plans / Study Material
Plans for the rest of the week:
- Go through all the go proverbs on Sensei's Library, to get familiar with terms and general knowledge
- More Nick Sibicky videos
- Find a Go club/group nearby

Tips, advice, criticism etc are always very much appreciated. Thanks very much for reading!


I know you said, you didn't want to take Go too serious but some remarks nonetheless:

Learning Go proverbs is a two-edged-sword. Probably most of them are a viable rule-of-thumb but there are always exceptions and I've experienced that you can play much more freely if you don't fixate on what should be played. Start trusting your own judgement. Make your own mistakes and fail better next time ; )

Watching videos is nice but honestly I believe we watch them mainly for entertainment. I can't speak for Nick Sibicky's videos but I'm guilty of watching a lot of similar style chess videos. The effect is - in my case - more than marginal. It's fun, sure, but in terms of progress it seems a huge waste of time.

Instead of watching a video for one hour you could easily play and review (very important) two games (19*19). Depending on the length of the games you might even have enough time to solve some problems, which I think is the best way of improving in the beginning.


Thanks for your post.
Yes I know about the proverbs. But on Sensei there are always examples with it and it gets me on term with the right words and terminology.
The videos are probably not the fastest / most efficient way to learn, but it really motivates me to watch them and I rather learn a fun way a bit slower than drill myself hours every day (only to lose interest potentially)

Oh and I take Go quite seriously. My remark was more generally. Don't take life too seriously. Obviously that applies to Go to. But I do want to get better, I do want to learn. :)

That said, I played a miserable game 9x9 just before, lost with 81 points.
Biggest mistake (oooh there were plenty) was not recognising a false eye. Shame on me.
Group in the middle. Wasn't easy to spot for me, only until it was over I noticed it. (not like I would've won anyway, but not the issue here)


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 Post subject: Re: The Story of a Loser
Post #8 Posted: Thu Jan 05, 2017 12:34 pm 
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Okay I found a Go group in Gent, so I'm heading there soon!

Now I'm playing a game against myself on a Go board. Mainly because I often see videos and they see three stones and say: okay this is black territory now. Some of these moves rest on 2000 years of history but I want to try out why they are so. So just trying some stuff out. Rule is I can't think more than 10 seconds about a move (sometimes I go over it but not often) because I'm mainly playing for tactical reasons, not strategic reasons this game (can't have a masterplan when playing myself :razz: )

I'd love it if someone could analyse it up until this point for me. You don't have to spend too much time on it, but some critical things you notice. Also to my beginner's eye it's hard to say whose game this is at this point. Very long I thought black has the upper hand but I'm not so sure now.
Game is not over yet, but decided to put it here first for some review and then continue or start anew if this game is just horrible :cool:


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Post #9 Posted: Thu Jan 05, 2017 2:29 pm 
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Hi Ian,

:w8: You didn't mention that :w6: G4 is also "weaker". :)

:b9: Not so good.

:b15: H3 is better shape.

:w16: L3.

:w26: This hane you must read the cut at R13.
If the cut is no problem for W, you can hane ;
otherwise, extend R12.

:b27: Cut at R13.

:w28: S12.

:b29: B kills himself.

:w30: No. Can you find the correct local W move ?

:b33: B kills himself ( similar to :b29: ).

:w34: No. Can you find the correct local W move ?

:b35: Your comment here: No ; both B and W made many basic mistakes here.
This local sequence is quite wrong ( for multiple reasons ; see above mistakes ).

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 Post subject: Re: The Story of a Loser
Post #10 Posted: Thu Jan 05, 2017 3:33 pm 
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Thanks for your comments on the game.
I think it'd be pretty weird if I hadn't made mistakes, right :D
At your question about :w30: it's P18 so you atari black and he can't run towards the edge, I believe.
:w34: must be S19

Got loads of stuff to work on, good :)
I played my first human adversary on 19 x 19 just now. I also re-created the game (while playing) on CGoban so I will upload that tomorrow. He is a complete beginner but so am I so I learned a whole bunch! I'll review my own game and post it here for some more pointers. I'll have to add some comments in the file first because I was tutoring him during the game so I made some moves to provoke a response or test him if he saw the atari.
All in all a very fun evening and being the better player it was so nice to 1. tutor him to improve his game and 2. wreak havoc inside his territory. Just invade and make some serious damage.

What a great game! :bow:

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Post #11 Posted: Thu Jan 05, 2017 5:09 pm 
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Quote:
At your question about :w30: it's P18
:w34: must be S19
Good!

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 Post subject: Re: The Story of a Loser
Post #12 Posted: Fri Jan 06, 2017 2:04 am 
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Okay so I played a friend of mine yesterday. My first 19x19 against a human being. Hooray!
He is brand new to the game but interested so I showed him some basic stuff and we got to the game.

This was a learning and first game for both of us, so there was some experimenting on the board. After a while it was obvious I saw more than he did so every once in a while I made some slow / redundant moves to give him a few extra moves around the board.
I wrote commentary at some points. I'd love it if someone could watch it over for us. It's also important to me I tutor him well. I gave him some tests during the game to respond to, point out weaknesses etc. While on the other hand I set myself some objectives during the game like: could I invade this area? Let's try.
So he was playing to learn the game. I was playing to both teach him (slow moves, give some room) but also to challenge myself (risky moves, invading). So you'll find white a schizofrenic player at times :)



Best thing, however, is that we both had a lot of fun. So we'll play again. But we decided to play handicap next game. Start him off with 3 or 4 stones on the board as black.

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Post #13 Posted: Fri Jan 06, 2017 2:41 am 
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Try smaller boards with your friend, like 9x9, 11x11, etc.

Enjoy.

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Post #14 Posted: Fri Jan 06, 2017 8:44 am 
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EdLee wrote:
Try smaller boards with your friend, like 9x9, 11x11, etc.

Seconded. If playing 19x19 is fun, go for it, but if you play 9x9 games, you will more easily learn from your games, and we will be able to offer more useful advice.

Trying to give advice about a 19x19 game played by someone just starting out is like trying to offer feedback on an ten-page essay written in a foreign language by someone who just started learning the language a week ago. :) On the other hand, it's not hard to give good feedback on a single simple sentence at a time.

Keep having fun! We all started at the beginning :)

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 Post subject: Re: The Story of a Loser
Post #15 Posted: Sat Jan 07, 2017 2:10 am 
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I see your point. But writing a small book is more fun than writing a single sentence ;-)
I completely understand it's impossible to review in detail but I was looking more for a "you don't use your verbs correctly, try using capitals at the start of a sentence but it's a creative text". Just general stuff.


I'm rather sensitive to computers, both physically and mentally. This past week I just spend too much time on it to learn Go and it caught up with me yesterday. So for my own benefit, I probably won't be playing online go anymore (at least not often), nor watch too many Go videos on the computer. It just makes me feel bad and that's not the way to go.
I'll join a local club to play go face to face and try to get my hands on some books to develop further. It'll be slower, but quality of life is everything.
I'll still use this site for questions and advice and possibly updates on my game. But I just can't get on the computer every day. Need to slow it down a bit :tmbup:

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 Post subject: Re: The Story of a Loser
Post #16 Posted: Sat Jan 07, 2017 7:21 am 
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Ian Butler wrote:
I completely understand it's impossible to review in detail but I was looking more for a "you don't use your verbs correctly, try using capitals at the start of a sentence but it's a creative text". Just general stuff.

OK, here are a couple of things from the start of the game. I hope they are useful!

:w20: is very small. The Black stone at F18 is not going anywhere.

:w22: is unnecessary as the two Black stones are already dead (see what happens if he tries to run out with E19 and/or G19).

:w36:, :w38:, :w40:, and :w42: are all very, very tiny. You're making 1 point of territory at a time, if that (some of these moves, like :w38:, actually fill in what could be your territory and are thus probably worth negative points).

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 Post subject: Re: The Story of a Loser
Post #17 Posted: Sat Jan 07, 2017 8:21 am 
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Thank you for that. So I should play a bit bigger. The reason why I play too small is probably because I feel I leave weaknesses behind. I've had games where trying to play big has had the opponent come in in territory I thought was mine and just wreak havoc.

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 Post subject: Re: The Story of a Loser
Post #18 Posted: Sat Jan 07, 2017 8:37 am 
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Ian Butler wrote:
I'll join a local club to play go face to face and try to get my hands on some books to develop further. It'll be slower, but quality of life is everything.


I love computers, they're central to my profession, but I've found this approach to work the best, too. Enjoy the game!

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 Post subject: Re: The Story of a Loser
Post #19 Posted: Mon Jan 09, 2017 2:53 pm 
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fireproof wrote:
Ian Butler wrote:
I'll join a local club to play go face to face and try to get my hands on some books to develop further. It'll be slower, but quality of life is everything.


I love computers, they're central to my profession, but I've found this approach to work the best, too. Enjoy the game!


I definitely will!
Tomorrow I'm going to see the club, hope it'll be fun!
Meanwhile I've been doing some work on my actual board but also some online games. If I keep an eye on the time and never play over half an hour or an hour it's not so bad.

I also feel some improvement. I see the basic stuff, I can make life and kill groups that are on the verge of creating life. It makes for fun games!

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 Post subject: Re: The Story of a Loser
Post #20 Posted: Sat Jan 14, 2017 3:07 pm 
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Still alive and kicking. Have been to the local go club and it was interesting.
Meanwhile I've also been playing games on OGS, mainly quick 9x9 to improve fighting or correspondence/teaching games 19x19, so I don't have to sit in front of a screen hours in a row.

Not feeling a lot of improvement but when I watch/review older games I see the mistakes more easily so I am getting stronger. Slowly but steadily. Fighting is still a weak spot of mine so I need a billion more 9x9 games.

Fell out a bit with tsumego's so I should probably start that back up. It's just so tough doing them because I hardly ever get it right. Maybe I need more easy ones to start with.

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