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 Post subject: What Handicaps Do You Play With?
Post #1 Posted: Sun Jul 21, 2019 11:24 pm 
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Hello Life in 19x19 members,

I was unsure whether to post this in the "Beginners" sub-forum, since I am a beginner and this is a question. I posted here in the "General Go Chat" sub-forum because the question is directed towards members of all ranks and the question is not done for my improvement. I have not found a thread on this forum regarding this question so I have created this thread. If a thread does already exist on this subject, please let me know and I would be for the removal of this thread.

When searching for an opponent to play, what handicaps, if any, do you prefer? To elaborate, when searching for an opponent to play, do you prefer even games without handicaps, games with handicaps for your opponent, games with handicaps for yourself, or a distinct preference not listed?

On IGS, I am in the Beginner Class, the lowest rank; my only options for handicaps are even games and up to nine stone handicaps for myself. I have been playing even ranked games for the most part but I plan to change that to playing against even opponents and against stronger opponents where I have up to a nine stone handicap. If I increase in rank, I plan to allow my opponent’s handicap to be up to nine stones. My intention behind this is so that I can disregard ranks and play for the sake of playing.

You are welcome to share your preference of opponent rank and handicaps, as well as your reasoning behind your preference.

Sincerely,

FinisVitae

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 Post subject: Re: What Handicaps Do You Play With?
Post #2 Posted: Mon Jul 22, 2019 5:17 am 
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FinisVitae wrote:
Hello Life in 19x19 members,

I was unsure whether to post this in the "Beginners" sub-forum, since I am a beginner and this is a question. I posted here in the "General Go Chat" sub-forum because the question is directed towards members of all ranks and the question is not done for my improvement. I have not found a thread on this forum regarding this question so I have created this thread. If a thread does already exist on this subject, please let me know and I would be for the removal of this thread.

When searching for an opponent to play, what handicaps, if any, do you prefer?


You will learn different things from playing with high vs low handicaps. You should also play some even games with opponents only slightly stronger but it will take a lot more of such games for you to learn much (unless games get reviewed)

From high handicap games you learn "how to keep stones connected". But high handicaps otherwise distort the game.

From low handicaps, 3 or 4 stone games, you will probably learn fastest. Low handicaps do not distort the game so much, you begin with a little "influence". Yes, your opponent, being only 3-4 stones stronger will be making mistakes, but those will be mistakes at a higher level than you are currently at. Will not be making the mistakes of your level and will be able to punish you when you make them (so you learn not to). As you improve, you keep on playing against opponents 3-4 stones stronger.

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 Post subject: Re: What Handicaps Do You Play With?
Post #3 Posted: Mon Jul 22, 2019 8:24 am 
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The right handicap is one that gives each player about a 50% chance of winning. You can usually find one that does that. :) I have even given a handicap of 40 stones on a 19x19 board! (I won by 10 pts. ;))

For teaching games White usually gives a smaller handicap. That way White does not have to beat Black up. And Black's errors are usually easier to explain. :)

Since you are a beginner, you will be advancing rapidly, and should not worry too much about proper handicaps. :)

Good luck! :D

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 Post subject: Re: What Handicaps Do You Play With?
Post #4 Posted: Mon Jul 22, 2019 1:44 pm 
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Hi,
I accept games from -4 to +4 handicap.
Above that, the global relationship between stones is no more part of the game.

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Post #5 Posted: Mon Jul 22, 2019 2:03 pm 
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Above that, the global relationship between stones is no more part of the game.
:scratch: The big picture is always the game.

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 Post subject: Re: What Handicaps Do You Play With?
Post #6 Posted: Mon Jul 22, 2019 4:17 pm 
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How much of a beginner? That is, are you interested in go enough to have done some background research on how folks tend to advance their skills? There is a proverb, “Lose 100 games quickly.” I recommend losing 1000 games quickly but that is only my opinion. Again, my opinion, the best way to lose all those beginning games is by playing with other people over a real board. Learning online is enjoyable but a board and stones is much more fun. I hope you live someplace where you can locate other go players.

Welcome to the forum.

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 Post subject: Re: What Handicaps Do You Play With?
Post #7 Posted: Tue Jul 23, 2019 12:16 am 
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When I play online, I play with the proper handicap (number of stones = difference of ranks), but the rank difference doesn't exceed 3 stones.

When I play on a real board as black, if my opponent accepts it I play with handicap = (difference of ranks)/2 approximately. Of course I lose much more often than I win.

When I play on a real board as white, I let my opponent choose whatever handicap he likes.

I generally avoid games with more than 4 or 5 handicap stones because high handicap games are too different from "normal" games.

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 Post subject: Re: What Handicaps Do You Play With?
Post #8 Posted: Tue Jul 23, 2019 8:28 pm 
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bogiesan wrote:
How much of a beginner? That is, are you interested in go enough to have done some background research on how folks tend to advance their skills? There is a proverb, “Lose 100 games quickly.” I recommend losing 1000 games quickly but that is only my opinion. Again, my opinion, the best way to lose all those beginning games is by playing with other people over a real board. Learning online is enjoyable but a board and stones is much more fun. I hope you live someplace where you can locate other go players.

Welcome to the forum.


Isn't 1000 games a bit much to learn the game? Most people would be 1 dan at that point.

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 Post subject: Re: What Handicaps Do You Play With?
Post #9 Posted: Wed Jul 24, 2019 12:14 am 
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Handicap games are great! I'll play +/-9 stones. I would play with more handicap stones but get confused about where to put them after 9!

I think I actually prefer handicap games... the mad rush when you have to make up 9 stones!

And nothing is better than putting someone several stones stronger than you in a desperate situation haha

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 Post subject: Re: What Handicaps Do You Play With?
Post #10 Posted: Wed Jul 24, 2019 12:51 am 
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negapesuo wrote:
Isn't 1000 games a bit much to learn the game? Most people would be 1 dan at that point.


I doubt so. I have clicked on "user info" of twenty random 1kyu players on IGS and found that a comfortable majority had more than 1000 losses. A few of them had more than 10000 losses.

On the other hand, I agree that people cease to be beginners well before 1000 games.

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 Post subject: Re: What Handicaps Do You Play With?
Post #11 Posted: Wed Jul 24, 2019 8:20 am 
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When I started at my go club, I was a 9k who was taking 9 stones against the 1D and 2D players there. I was frustrated at having to play with so many stones on the board. But the handicap system exists for a reason. And I think the handicap system is a good way to keep weaker players competitive and not loose heart (not to mention keep the higher ranks from being too bored to play with the lower ranked people). For example, let's take two scenarios.

1. A 9k plays a 1D even and gets obliterated. Then 9k gets stronger, maybe gets to 7k. When he plays the 1D he still gets completely molly-whopped. In this scenario, it is easy for the kyu player to think that he will never get good at the game and then give up.

2. A 9k plays a 1D with 9 stones. He loses once or twice, but then gets to a point where he can win 50/50 with 9 stones. Drop to 8 stones. Eventually he can win 50/50. Drop to 7 stones. The kyu player is getting stronger and it is reflected by having to take less stones. Every time a stone is removed the kyu player gets a sense of pride and accomplishment in his game and wants to continue to take stones.

The second scenario is how my go experience went, to the point where in 2 years I was able to take a couple of even games off of the 1D. And I learned how to use thickness and attack. Because with anywhere between 3 and 6 stones handicap, you will be able to locate weak groups and lean on them and learn how to push them around to make profit (points), and learn that you don't have to kill to win, just take more territory.

Best of luck!


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 Post subject: Re: What Handicaps Do You Play With?
Post #12 Posted: Tue Jul 30, 2019 5:29 pm 
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When I started to play go at the local go club, I was a beginner/DDK (DDK= double digit kyu, in my case around 18k). I played whatever handicap the others (better players) thought was fair.
After some games, I more or less established a rank. Typically for a beginner, you sometimes play a good game and win (perhaps even by a large number) or play badly and have a huge loss. Still, I mostly played the handicap for my (more or less) established handicap.

I am now a little bit stronger, SDK (SDK= single digit kyu). I now prefer games, both at the club and online, of no more than + or - max. 4 stones. Else, the game seems to progress in an awkard manner, I feel. Preferably +/- max. 2 stones for a 'normal'game.

Some other club member/DDK preferred this: no handicap, but negative komi for white.
Advantage: the game progresses 'naturally', while the outcome still does justice to the difference in strength.
Of course, a mix (part handicap, part negative komi) is also possible.
You may want to try this.

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 Post subject: Re: What Handicaps Do You Play With?
Post #13 Posted: Wed Jul 31, 2019 3:56 pm 
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I’m around ~8k [OGS], on OGS I play (slow) correspondence exclusively (lots of games running), and currently 3-4 games/week In Real Life with a local ~16k player.

When playing with weaker players I prefer appropriate Handicap (resp. as much as they want), thus making for challenging and exciting games.

When playing stronger players, usually I get Handicap, but mostly I actually accommodate to the opponents’ preference, taking handi if they want, playing Black or even if they prefer that, knowing that the games will be challenging for me either way.
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Recently my regular Real Life opponent mentioned above (~16k) decided to forego his 8 stones Handicap and just play Black, and what shall I say, he did extremely well … sometimes the games were quite close (W+5 or W+10) and sometimes he lost by ~20–40 stones, which IMO is still quite good, given our rank difference. But it could also be that I play more recklessly/experimentally in those games, so I’m not sure its ALL his well-playing.

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