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 Post subject: Re: Ian Butler's Journal - Some struggling
Post #201 Posted: Sun May 19, 2019 5:37 am 
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Ian Butler wrote:
Anyway, all I want to do with the remaining 10 games of the Yunguseng season is to re-capture the joy of playing Go. That's all I'm interested in now.

Today, more by accident than it being planned, I found myself on OGS for some reason and I had about 40 minutes before I had to leave, so I played a game. For the first time in a while, without any stress.
I played quite okay, I think. It was against a 7 kyu.

Has anyone suggested 'The Inner Game of Tennis' by Tim Gallwey to you yet? Because I'm sure you should read it ;)


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 Post subject: Re: Ian Butler's Journal - Some struggling
Post #202 Posted: Wed May 22, 2019 12:46 pm 
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Thanks, yakcyll, for the suggestions. I might try to get my hands on the book, it does look promising.

Anyhow, a decision has been made.
I quit playing/studying Go.
It doesn't really bring me pleasure anymore.
I think it's time to let it go, instead of clinging to it needlessly.

There is much I could say about it, a lot of thinking that's gone into it, but this is not the place for such private insights and thoughts. Suffice it to say that it'll be very good for me, and that I've learned everything I needed to learn from Go. I don't quit go out of frustration, anger or with sadness. Instead letting it go follows a very natural flow I'm on that will only make me a better me.
So thank you all for sharing this journey with me, for the many helping hands, and I'm sure we'll see each other again. Because quitting doesn't mean never playing another game in my life. Most definitely not.

The only thing I haven't figured out yet is the Yunguseng. I'd like to finish the season, but like I said, playing is not giving me any pleasure at the moment, so I don't know yet. Usually I try to finish what I start, but then again, maybe there are people who'd like to be in that would get much more out of it than me, so I'll have to sleep on it.

Ciao ;)

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 Post subject: Re: Ian Butler's Journal
Post #203 Posted: Wed May 22, 2019 11:10 pm 
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Ian, what about that go club you were running?

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 Post subject: Re: Ian Butler's Journal
Post #204 Posted: Wed May 22, 2019 11:47 pm 
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Bon voyage! :D

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 Post subject: Re: Ian Butler's Journal
Post #205 Posted: Thu May 23, 2019 3:54 am 
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Uberdude wrote:
Ian, what about that go club you were running?


If I can answer in his stead, I believe it survived for a couple of weeks/months but then slowly died. Ian has been running a Go class in his school though, which is still alive and kicking!

Taking the matter away from his particular case, I think we can all relate to the stress Go can bring, if you decide to invest in improving at it. It can be quite overwhelming to see hundreds of online players on different servers who are considerably stronger than you and know they vanish in comparison with top pros, who themselves are no match for AI bots. To find your own place in that realm of strength is not an easy psychological feat. Myself I'm rather at ease with my level these days and enjoy playing (online), reviewing my games with Lizzie and writing about my findings. I think that's objectively easier at 2-4 dan than at 7 kyu.

Ian and I agreed that (winning at) Go doesn't have a very long lasting effect, definitely not of the magnitude physical activity, be it sports or walking in nature, can have, or playing music with a band, which we both enjoy (much more). Go can be quite ambiguous in the sense that it has a very rich intellectual and cultural aspect on one hand, but on the other hand often happens in social isolation and even when teaming up with other go players, there's an inherent nerdiness about it which can be off-putting. I for one never really enjoyed tournaments all that much and the experience has discouraged me to ever participate in a congress.

Still, I have never quit the activity and it's unlikely I ever will.

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 Post subject: Re: Ian Butler's Journal
Post #206 Posted: Thu May 23, 2019 4:40 am 
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What do you mean by nerdiness? That go players think/behave in a strange way so you don't want to interact with them?

(Personally I don't think that go players have anything special, but maybe I am special myself so can't judge objectively.)

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 Post subject: Re: Ian Butler's Journal
Post #207 Posted: Thu May 23, 2019 4:55 am 
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jlt wrote:
What do you mean by nerdiness? That go players think/behave in a strange way so you don't want to interact with them?

(Personally I don't think that go players have anything special, but maybe I am special myself so can't judge objectively.)


Rather that most of them were uncomfortable interacting beyond collectively staring at a board position. Which wasn't so much of a problem during the games as at the dinner party. If I managed to squeeze a conversation out of my fellow table guests, it would mostly be of the kin "I had a winning position after the opening, but then I screwed up". There were exceptions, for whom Go was not a barely manageable escape out of social isolation, but yet another intellectual discovery. But as they were rare, they were often at the other end of the table.

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 Post subject: Re: Ian Butler's Journal
Post #208 Posted: Thu May 23, 2019 5:08 am 
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During a dinner with go players, it is quite inevitable that go is one of main topics of conversation. I imagine that if you have dinner with table tennis players, then part of your conversation will be about table tennis.

Anyway I didn't notice they particularly lack social skills (but maybe the sample of go players I interacted with is too small, or maybe I lack these skills myself).

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 Post subject: Re: Ian Butler's Journal
Post #209 Posted: Thu May 23, 2019 5:48 am 
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I'm lucky enough that the Go players I know in my area are quite a sociable bunch in general (in fact, this is one reason that I've stuck with it so long this time around instead of moving onto something else after a year like I usually do when I come back to it). But I'm sure it's true that the average Go player is less sociable in person than the average person. Then again, so am I. :)

The whole competition thing drives me nuts, and still does after decades of participating in it in both chess and Go. On the one hand, these games are incredibly beautiful, and I want to just understand them and appreciate them, the way that I appreciate the mathematics of quantum mechanics after taking a few courses even though I will never apply it in real life. On the other hand, for me there is no getting around the fact that the way that you demonstrate (even to yourself) mastery of these games is to actually play them well, by which I mean complete games with other people, from beginning to end. Otherwise it is like learning all about cooking by reading lots of cookbooks without actually making any food. The play of the game itself is the whole subject.

Even friendly games give me a little stress, online ranked games a little more so, and tournaments are the worst. For me, I've felt that the way forward is to learn to derive less stress from competition, rather than compete less, because in the end, competition is what a game fundamentally is. But it's still not easy!

For me the Yunguseng Dojang has been a very nice steady influence inducing me to take the game seriously but not obsess about individual wins and losses. But I can see how it might not work that way for everyone. In the end everyone has to do what's best for their own happiness.

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 Post subject: Re: Ian Butler's Journal
Post #210 Posted: Thu May 23, 2019 6:44 am 
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Knotwilg wrote:
jlt wrote:
What do you mean by nerdiness? That go players think/behave in a strange way so you don't want to interact with them?

(Personally I don't think that go players have anything special, but maybe I am special myself so can't judge objectively.)


Rather that most of them were uncomfortable interacting beyond collectively staring at a board position. Which wasn't so much of a problem during the games as at the dinner party. If I managed to squeeze a conversation out of my fellow table guests, it would mostly be of the kin "I had a winning position after the opening, but then I screwed up". There were exceptions, for whom Go was not a barely manageable escape out of social isolation, but yet another intellectual discovery. But as they were rare, they were often at the other end of the table.


jlt wrote:
During a dinner with go players, it is quite inevitable that go is one of main topics of conversation. I imagine that if you have dinner with table tennis players, then part of your conversation will be about table tennis.

Anyway I didn't notice they particularly lack social skills (but maybe the sample of go players I interacted with is too small, or maybe I lack these skills myself).


My experience in the US has been quite the opposite. Here I have found that go players are in general quite highly cultured, with dinner conversations covering a wide range of topics, usually not including go. (OC, being relatively cultured may be a low bar in the US. :lol: )

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 Post subject: Re: Ian Butler's Journal
Post #211 Posted: Mon May 27, 2019 7:43 am 
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Bill Spight wrote:
Bon voyage! :D


Cheers ;)

Uberdude wrote:
Ian, what about that go club you were running?


School Go Club I'll of course continue. But I'll be moving to a new school next year. If all goes well, I'll probably start a Go club there, too. Still a wonderful game to teach children!


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 Post subject: Re: Ian Butler's Journal
Post #212 Posted: Thu May 30, 2019 8:55 am 
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Knotwilg wrote:
Go can be quite ambiguous in the sense that it has a very rich intellectual and cultural aspect on one hand, but on the other hand often happens in social isolation and even when teaming up with other go players, there's an inherent nerdiness about it which can be off-putting. I for one never really enjoyed tournaments all that much and the experience has discouraged me to ever participate in a congress.

I agree -- where playing Go is concerned. I, too, found the tournament part of Go congress to be kind of stressful, and less appealing than the learning/lecture events. And that underscores what I like about the group I play Go with every week: while we are all competitive, most of us are learning together, thanks in no small part to the stronger players who take the time to review games, teach beginners, etc. That's a more social side, and it does temper the isolating aspect of staring at a board for 2 hours :)

(Thanks EdLee!)

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 Post subject: Re: Ian Butler's Journal
Post #213 Posted: Wed Aug 21, 2019 10:43 am 
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Well, a few months (weeks? something in between) after deciding to quit Go, I can look back at it and say it was a very wise decision, for me.

Why Go was/is for me
Go is still an incredibly entrancing game. Even now, having stopped playing, I watch a (pro or high amateur) game every now and then and it fascinates me to no end. It's brilliant in its simplicity and complexity both at the same time.

The approach to the game, rather than the game itself, is very valuable for many a different thing. It improves concentration, some amount of problem solving, patience (in some cases),...
That's why I will always try to keep playing Go with children in my work environment. As a teacher I find Go to be a unique tool, suitable as a single activity for all children, a good alternative to chess for some of them and as a true discovery for a few of them.

Why Go wasn't/isn't/ for me
Too much computer. Too few opportunities (for me) to play in real life.
Too competitive. I've always thought I didn't mind losing. I was wrong. In many, many cases I don't mind losing. In Go, apparently, I do. I'm also not a very competitive spirit. My favorite boardgames are cooperative ones, and when playing table tennis / badmintion / football / ... with people, I'm usually the one saying: let's not count score and just give it our all and have fun. Competitiveness takes the joy out of many things and I think it sucks a bit out of the joy of Go for me. Unfortunately, unlike with sports or whatever, it's kind of hard to say: let's not score. The game is so abstract it's basically about winning or losing. Not who played the nicest move or something :D (though that is a Go variant I would love)


That's basically all.
I mostly miss the people I met through Go.
I miss the thrill of studying and understanding the game better.

But I'm far better off with more time for reading (novels),music (my home studio just got a little bigger with drum recording mics), and simply enjoy the outdoors and life in general.


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 Post subject: Re: Ian Butler's Journal
Post #214 Posted: Tue Sep 10, 2019 3:36 am 
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Great to hear you are doing good! Maybe someday you will find the inspiration again to play Go again (the Ian Butler way ;), and we can play a game again. And if not, i wish you all the best.

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 Post subject: Re: Ian Butler's Journal
Post #215 Posted: Wed Oct 09, 2019 10:43 am 
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Thank you, rikuge :)

Anyway, since Go is still a great game and I had some spare time today, I went over the Meijin match where Shibano won over Cho U. I also went over a Takemiya game over a real board, was fun.

Then I went on OGS and decided to offer a teaching game to a 16 kyu. My way of enjoying a game of go without any stress and actually being able to help someone with some tips and tricks :cool:
I might do that more often, maybe once a week or once every 2 weeks or so. Might be fun to do. I'll see ;)


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 Post subject: Re: Ian Butler's Playing Journal
Post #216 Posted: Sun Oct 20, 2019 1:29 am 
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Okay so the last few days I've managed to play a few games. (mostly non-teaching)
It was sort of a test and I had but one objective: see if I could play without caring of losing and winning.
So far it's been a success. The games I played were all in good fun and even when it looked bad, I still enjoyed myself.
It's early to tell (can always change back) but I think that maybe I can finally play Go without caring to improve further. Before I tried to not care about rank, but still wanting to improve (and ranks just show that best, so inadvertly you will look at rank more often).
Now I franky don't care if I get better (or worse :p)
I'm at a level where I can enjoy the game a lot, so that's perfect.

But even if I don't necessarily want to get better, there are a few things I want to be mindful for. I'm not sure yet how often I'll play, but if I do, here are the things I want to watch out for in the next few games:

1. Local L&D
A go game is just a collection of puzzles. I enjoy that. If I get in a local L&D in a game, I want to take my time and try to solve that puzzle.

2. Play solid
"Good shape" is a very complex concept, so I wish I could play good shape, but honestly I have no clue what that is, besides the few basic "good shapes" that I know. So instead I want to develop a solid play style. Make moves which can be considered slow or something non-optimal, but which make for solid play. At this level this'll hardly mean the end of the game, maybe you give up a few points by being not extremely efficient.

3. Play away
Don't spend too much time in 1 area. It's a facet of Go that I really like so I want to keep pushing the edges here.

4. Creativity
And lastly, I want to play creatively. I used to be a fairly creative player when I was a low DDK (at least I think so), but then the urge to get stronger and always find the "correct" move narrowed the go board for me. I want to re-capture that creativity, and make sure everything can happen on the go board. Even if that means I play worse. The Go board should be my oyster ;)


Anyway, here is the game I just played.
Moments I "enjoyed" the most:
- lower right L&D, I knew he had to make ko, he didn't. Then he died in gote, I played away, read it out.
- upper left: before, I would've been discontent with the result there. White got the corner, I just got a few stones on the outside. Now I liked it.
- lower left: I liked the ko, but I knew I couldn't win it. Was fun trying to come up with original ko threats. Only I didn't find any, haha.
- upper right: I knew I was okay, because I counted liberties and read out some variations. Granted, maybe I'm wrong and there was something there, but I felt I had it totally under control and that felt cool. Confidence :rambo:



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 Post subject: Re: Ian Butler's Playing Journal
Post #217 Posted: Mon Oct 21, 2019 12:23 pm 
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Nice game!

Quote:
4. Creativity
And lastly, I want to play creatively. I used to be a fairly creative player when I was a low DDK (at least I think so), but then the urge to get stronger and always find the "correct" move narrowed the go board for me. I want to re-capture that creativity, and make sure everything can happen on the go board. Even if that means I play worse. The Go board should be my oyster ;)


Finding ways to be more creative is possibly my favorite part of Go. I've thought for a while that getting stronger is really just an expansion and contraction of candidate moves. That is, you can either get stronger by considering more potentially good moves, or less potentially bad ones. Considering less potentially bad moves is how we normally study - x is a mistake, y is not as good z, etc. Considering more potentially good moves is just as valid of a way to rank up! The fact that it reignites my fascination with the game is the best kind of side effect :)

Sometimes, when I'm feeling like I'm not seeing many options and want to play more creatively, I'll peek at a pro or bot game, find something really weird, and just look at the move for a minute. I'll be thinking, 'Wow, you can do that?' If I try to interpret the idea and apply something similar myself, the next game or two I play is inevitably quite crazy (and very fun! :D ).


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 Post subject: Re: Ian Butler's Playing Journal
Post #218 Posted: Mon Oct 21, 2019 12:54 pm 
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TelegraphGo wrote:
Nice game!

Quote:
4. Creativity
And lastly, I want to play creatively. I used to be a fairly creative player when I was a low DDK (at least I think so), but then the urge to get stronger and always find the "correct" move narrowed the go board for me. I want to re-capture that creativity, and make sure everything can happen on the go board. Even if that means I play worse. The Go board should be my oyster ;)


Finding ways to be more creative is possibly my favorite part of Go. I've thought for a while that getting stronger is really just an expansion and contraction of candidate moves. That is, you can either get stronger by considering more potentially good moves, or less potentially bad ones. Considering less potentially bad moves is how we normally study - x is a mistake, y is not as good z, etc. Considering more potentially good moves is just as valid of a way to rank up! The fact that it reignites my fascination with the game is the best kind of side effect :)

Sometimes, when I'm feeling like I'm not seeing many options and want to play more creatively, I'll peek at a pro or bot game, find something really weird, and just look at the move for a minute. I'll be thinking, 'Wow, you can do that?' If I try to interpret the idea and apply something similar myself, the next game or two I play is inevitably quite crazy (and very fun! :D ).


That's a nice angle!

Usually, thinking about what would be ''the'' correct move is opening up more possibilities than narrowing them down. Bad play usually equates with mindless automatic play without much thinking.

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 Post subject: Re: Ian Butler's Playing Journal
Post #219 Posted: Wed Oct 23, 2019 11:20 am 
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Wohoow! I just played a very exciting game. This was really awesome.
So I'm trying to get to enjoy my Go again, and also find where I belong at the moment for games. I started with an account I made earlier and played some 10-11 kyu games on OGS, as I need to get in shape again!

Today I played my first SDK again, an OGS 9 kyu. I messed up completely at the top! It was dramatic, and I was so close to resigning.
And then I thought: let's just go for it! (I was white)

Nearing the endgame, I was aware that I was behind some, but only like 10 points or so.
So I just decided to try and bring my A-game in the endgame, really focus, grab those sente, big moves. He tried to live in my upper left corner where it wasn't possible, I let him die in gote (and that gave me another point), not reacting to him when I could read out it was dead anyway

In the end, I win by 7.5 points. I can't believe it.
This was a very fun game. With big mistakes, though :D

I might even review it later, to see what I can learn from it. If you spot something major, I'd of course appreciate it ;)


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 Post subject: Re: Ian Butler's Playing Journal
Post #220 Posted: Wed Oct 23, 2019 11:32 am 
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Nice to hear that your attitude towards Go is becoming more relaxed!


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