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 Post subject: Improvement from Turn based games
Post #1 Posted: Tue Aug 03, 2010 4:07 pm 
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Hi, I'm pretty new to turn based Go and I was wondering if anyone with more experience could say whether turn based Go was a particularly good way to improve or not. On the plus side I've got time to read things through but on the negatives, well I guess it's just so slow (!) and that might have some sort of warping effect. I don't suppose it matters hugely because I enjoy it but I'm curious. I mean, if I stopped playing real-time Go for a year and just spent a hour or two every day thoughtfully playing games on DGS or OGS would I get better or worse?

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 Post subject: Re: Improvement from Turn based games
Post #2 Posted: Tue Aug 03, 2010 5:36 pm 
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It is not a good way.

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 Post subject: Re: Improvement from Turn based games
Post #3 Posted: Tue Aug 03, 2010 7:54 pm 
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It lets me get in more games than I would get to play otherwise, since I can squeeze in a move any time I have a free moment, so I guess it can't hurt.

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 Post subject: Re: Improvement from Turn based games
Post #4 Posted: Tue Aug 03, 2010 9:19 pm 
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DrStraw wrote:
It is not a good way.

Except for when it is a good way.

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 Post subject: Re: Improvement from Turn based games
Post #5 Posted: Tue Aug 03, 2010 11:37 pm 
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CnP wrote:
I was wondering if anyone with more experience could say whether turn based Go was a particularly good way to improve or not.

I did this. I did not play on KGS for 8 months and only played on OGS. I did this because it was recommended to me to play slow games and I get too many interuptions to sit down much for real-time games.

I only played a few games at a time on OGS and used the games as study materials - studying the joseki, fuseki, shapes, etc. And I would try lots and lots of variations. Sometimes I would spend over an hour on a single move. I ofter hear that a key step to improvement is to review your own games. Well, in turn-based, you don't have to wait until the end. Something you get in turned-based that you don't get in real-time - when you make a mistake you get to curse yourself as you stare at it every day for the rest of that game. And every day you vow to yourself that you are never making that stupid mistake ever again.

I definitely improved over that time. Of course, I've was doing other things as well - L&D, following the Malkovich games. When I recently started back on KGS, after shaking off a litte bit of rust, I found that I play faster and with more confidence.

It is probably not the best way to improve, but it is workable. I see some people with 30-50 concurrent games - do that for fun, not to improve.


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 Post subject: Re: Improvement from Turn based games
Post #6 Posted: Tue Aug 03, 2010 11:40 pm 
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DrStraw wrote:
It is not a good way.


Please elaborate. ( I'm not trying to challenge you, I'm genuinely curious )

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 Post subject: Re: Improvement from Turn based games
Post #7 Posted: Wed Aug 04, 2010 6:46 am 
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I had played on DGS and OGS for nine months and my strength deteriorated 2-3 stones (from 7k to 9-10k). After I had stopped I got back to my original strength.


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 Post subject: Re: Improvement from Turn based games
Post #8 Posted: Wed Aug 04, 2010 7:13 am 
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It is very personal how much Turn Based games help you, compared to real time games.

In general I think Turn Based will not work for real beginners as for them the quantity of finished games played is important for them to get experience.

Once you are no beginner anymore (10 kyu KGS or stronger imo.) It depends on your preference.
In general the invested time is a better measurement. If you invest an hour on carefully deciding moves in turn based games, it will help you about the same as spending an hour playing 2-3 full games real time.

In real time games you sharpen your intuition more. In turn based games you have to be more careful and have good reading skills, because your opponent has all the time he needs to find the flaws in your shapes.

If a Turn Based player and a Real Time player of equal rank, were to meat in a tournament the time settings of the tournament will give one, or the other, the advantage. In a 30 min game the Real Time player has the advantage, because he can rely on his good intuition, while the turn based player has not enough time to read out enough. With more time (90 min) the tables would probably turn, and the Turn Based player will have time to read deeper and find the flaws in the intuitive moves played by the Real Time player.


Personally I just don't like to spend months on games, just to end up losing half of them ;-)

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 Post subject: Re: Improvement from Turn based games
Post #9 Posted: Wed Aug 04, 2010 8:16 am 
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Real-time games are definitely much faster for improvement, but I've found correspondence games to also be helpful.

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 Post subject: Re: Improvement from Turn based games
Post #10 Posted: Wed Aug 04, 2010 2:33 pm 
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Thanks for the advice everyone. It's interesting to hear what happened to people who tried just playing turn based Go and of course the other advice. I guess it's a personal thing as to what I get out of it. I probably play too many bad moves on instinct for example, which turn based play might help me see (if I don't play on instinct there). I've also been counting more accurately, thinking more about endgame moves (and still probably playing as poorly as usual!). But it sounds like real time play is important too (!).

Right now I only have time for turn based or Blitz games on a regular basis (but hey, if I haven't got the time I can't complain if I don't improve, right?). In theory this might work for me, developing intuition and reading. Plus, if I ever get a smart phone I can play my turn-based moves at work (when the boss isn't looking :D )

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 Post subject: Re: Improvement from Turn based games
Post #11 Posted: Wed Aug 04, 2010 3:55 pm 
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Joaz Banbeck wrote:
DrStraw wrote:
It is not a good way.


Please elaborate. ( I'm not trying to challenge you, I'm genuinely curious )


Well, most turn-based games are played over several weeks, if not months. Most people do not play too many at one time. This means that you are not likely to be finishing games at a very high rate if restricting yourself to a server such as DGS. If your goal is to improve then you are presumably doing other forms of study at the same time and so there is an excellent chance that you will be stronger at the end of the game than at the beginning, especially if you are DDK.

You are unlikely to be able to study your mistakes in detail until the game is over and so you will not be studying many games. You are not playing many games so you will not be exposed to many different situations and patterns. Both of these are detrimental to progress and you need to be able to be exposed to and study many different situations in a short time if you are to improve steadily. This can only be achieved through completely games at a much faster rate.

Of course, if you use DGS like I do and have very short time limits then it is a completely different matter. But most people don't.

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 Post subject: Re: Improvement from Turn based games
Post #12 Posted: Wed Aug 04, 2010 4:09 pm 
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Well, I agree that if you only play correspondence games, that is not a good way to improve. However, I think that it is an at least interesting addition to other go activities, and if done right, can help with improvement. I believe that doing it right involves treating each move as a whole-board problem for itself.

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 Post subject: Re: Improvement from Turn based games
Post #13 Posted: Thu Nov 04, 2010 6:17 am 
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There are things you can learn only in turn-based games: I learned resigning on OGS.

If I just bounce around 10 minutes on KGS I can simply try out this and that, but when you have to look at a hopeless game for half a year that was just too much for me. That's why I started resigning when I see no way to recover.

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 Post subject: Re: Improvement from Turn based games
Post #14 Posted: Thu Nov 04, 2010 6:56 am 
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If you look up and learn variations of some joseki or L&D position for example, it will surely be very helpful.

But some people regard it as cheating if you look up some joseki or L&D position from a book during the game :)

(sidenote: I am not one of them but what I would regard as cheating would be getting help on the specific position from a stronger player).

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 Post subject: Re: Improvement from Turn based games
Post #15 Posted: Thu Nov 04, 2010 9:10 am 
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When I play a lot of games quickly I begin to see recurring patterns where certain moves lead to bad outcomes. In correspondence games, the game takes so long I lose track of the history of the game and can't see patterns of play between different games.

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Post #16 Posted: Fri Nov 05, 2010 9:36 am 
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Thunkd wrote:
When I play a lot of games quickly I begin to see recurring patterns where certain moves lead to bad outcomes. In correspondence games, the game takes so long I lose track of the history of the game and can't see patterns of play between different games.


That's interesting. I think the recurring patterns should relate more to the shapes rathen than the sequence developing them.

I understand what you are saying as the following: When you get a bad (or good) result from a fight, you want to remember which sequence has led to that result, as a learning process. Since the offline games take too long, when the fight is finished you have alredy forgotten the moves that initiated it. This approach is concentrating on sequences (as opposed to static shapes).

I am not sure but I have doubts it's the correct way of learning. As a learning process, I would tend to rely more on shapes and rather than sequences. Once you know the shapes, you can decide on each move regardless of the immediately previous move(s) because you will know which shape you want to reach. Otherwise, you will tend to repeat the sequences in an automatized manner, which will lead to three bad consequences:
1-playing overplay or underplay moves (in a given board position) just because they are part of the standard sequence
2-confusion if the order of moves slightly change
3-losing the game

This is my understanding but I believe it is very much discussable.

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 Post subject: Re: Improvement from Turn based games
Post #17 Posted: Fri Nov 05, 2010 1:07 pm 
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entropi wrote:
I would tend to rely more on shapes


So I'll notice from one game to the next that I died in a similar way. And then I'll look at the position and say why did I die? And a lot of the times the answer is because I had a bad shape. So I'll try and see why it is a bad shape and what a better shape would be. It's not so much about sequences as it is positions.

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Post #18 Posted: Fri Nov 05, 2010 2:36 pm 
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Thunkd wrote:
entropi wrote:
I would tend to rely more on shapes


So I'll notice from one game to the next that I died in a similar way. And then I'll look at the position and say why did I die? And a lot of the times the answer is because I had a bad shape. So I'll try and see why it is a bad shape and what a better shape would be. It's not so much about sequences as it is positions.


I believe that's a better approach, but I am no expert. It would be nice if an experienced teacher could elaborate on that.

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 Post subject: Re: Improvement from Turn based games
Post #19 Posted: Sat Nov 06, 2010 1:12 pm 
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Also, on DGS at least you can setup your account so the last dozen (any number you want) moves are numbered, so it's as easy to see sequences as reading a Go book.

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 Post subject: Re: Improvement from Turn based games
Post #20 Posted: Sat Nov 06, 2010 2:29 pm 
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I just do not have the patience for turn based games. I feel a little bit sorry about that, because I think you can get a lot out of turn based games due to the possibilies that are not there in real time games, like looking up positions in databases and trying out variations on the board.

On a sidenote: What I did observe is that tenuki-ing seems to occur more often, which I find a bit strange. But maybe this was just me and my opponent.

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