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 Post subject: Odd handicaps
Post #1 Posted: Sun May 09, 2021 11:01 pm 
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Sometimes black is allowed to choose where handicap stones are placed. The only time I tried this, I lost badly. I would guess the levels involved at 4d and 10k; he absolutely murdered me at 6 stones in our first game, then suggested 9 stones with free placement for the second.

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[go]$$c What I chose, & White considered reasonable.
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$$ ---------------------------------------[/go]


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 Post subject: Re: Odd handicaps
Post #2 Posted: Mon May 10, 2021 8:58 am 
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I have encountered newbies who refuse to accept handicap stones as if it is a question of pride or some kind of sadly misplaced masculinity and dominance complex carried over from shooters or street fighting games.
It is a delicate balance for someone in a teaching position, kick their butts totally and hope they see the reason for handicaps and risk deflating enthusiasm or just play along and hope they see something interesting.

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 Post subject: Re: Odd handicaps
Post #3 Posted: Mon May 10, 2021 11:34 am 
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Pashley wrote:
then suggested 9 stones with free placement for the second.

Free placement is common with Chinese rules, see more on https://senseis.xmp.net/?FreeHandicap

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 Post subject: Re: Odd handicaps
Post #4 Posted: Mon May 10, 2021 12:57 pm 
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Free placement is well known in Japan, and there is even a book about it. But in practice it seems, when pros are playing amateurs, to be limited to two-stone or maybe three-stone, competitive games.

At higher handicaps the thinking seems to be that such games are (or should be) teaching games, and the that traditional handicap arrangements work best to teach weaker players what they really need to know.

A variation is to play with no handicap stones but take a giant komi. I once played Takemiya and started to put down four handicap stones, but he wiped them of the board and said, "Take 40 points komi instead." I happily did so just for the novelty of it, but I also thought it would make it easier for me to win and so I wouldn't learn much from it. In fact, I think it is the single game I have ever learnt most from. The size of the territories he mapped out was breathtaking but I couldn't see any way in, nor could I see any way to match his expansiveness. I didn't learn anything specific. It was rather that I got a unique (for me) insight into the literally wider world of go. I lost by a few points in the end, but felt as if I had won.

Small reverse komi with small handicaps is fairly common among pros in e.g. teacher-pupil games, and here too free placements are not uncommon.

There is also a wide range of game of the type where, just once in a game, you can force your opponent to do something detrimental, e.g. koko se - play here! These are more like bar games but pros play them with each other.


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 Post subject: Re: Odd handicaps
Post #5 Posted: Tue May 11, 2021 5:18 am 
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bogiesan wrote:
I have encountered newbies who refuse to accept handicap stones as if it is a question of pride or some kind of sadly misplaced masculinity and dominance complex carried over from shooters or street fighting games.
It is a delicate balance for someone in a teaching position, kick their butts totally and hope they see the reason for handicaps and risk deflating enthusiasm or just play along and hope they see something interesting.


It might be best to prioritise those who have a more productive attitude from the beginning and purposefully defeat strongly anyone who insists on playing without a handicap. Sure, you might lose some players every now and then, but it ensures that those who do play or join are of a temperament that is productive to a go playing group of people overall. Thinking in the v ry short term, worrying only about making this beginner want to play go right now, might feel good momentarily, but I feel strongly that it makes sense to think that in the long run it would end up with less people playing go as people leave the game after getting a false emotional idea when or people not even bother to approach (you don't necessarily see those people). If anything should understand this of all the board games I'd think it should be go players. But I've felt mostly the opposite. It's like the concept of having a 'full-board picture' over short term tactics, oft-quoted when compared to European chess, is quite ironically consistently undermined or reversed when it comes to the strategy used to develop go. Out of desperation? Pessimism from a false perception that mindsports can't compete with video games for people's attention? This long-term strategyless approach is a gripe I've had for years . . .

However the primary reason I think winning harshly against such a person is actually good; that person could be a gem in pebble's clothing. Sure some sillier one's might carry over their macho-shooter game attitude from the beginning for the wrong reasons indeed; egotistical. They will likely not return soom. But there are those, the more sensible, macho in the sense of being an adrenaline junkie where purposefully feeling the print of the go stone from a higher level player is simply an intellectual form of risk taking they normally do, their shooter game being another form. In this case this seems to me the kind of person you actually want playing go, a healthy attitude to add to the overall go environment, as good as the person who accepts the handicap.

Another reason to prioritise the handicap taker or crushing loss enthusiast (me perhaps), if the stability of the go environment is not one's concern. If you insist on giving an arrogant person a handicap or you go easy on them, they are returning purely on the basis of their victory due to ego. These same people are more likely to suffer from online go anxiety in the future, and other problems . . . It's best to let them feel the pain right away rather than put those in such an unhealthy psychological state prone to more go blues. Crushing them in their early games is the most humane thing you could do. Play the arrogant person harshly and the humble person gently.



And this is another gripe I've had for similar time with the attitude I've seen most often when comes to teaching beginners. The focus always seems on how to make beginners stronger, and how to make them stronger faster. As if it's a race to get stronger. As if rank is more important than the primary purpose of go--winning your games. Winning your games through language of go. Winning through playing a weaker player, winning through handicap, no form of winning is less valid than winning through skill or playing a more more skilled player, as long as all conscious entities are aware of all aspects; perfect information. We insteel rank obession into the minds of beginners from the start. Perhaps rank anxiety also partly arises from being to egotistical to admit to oneself that you want to cry over losing a game and instead decide to be angry over some amorphous, distant metric somewhat ralelating to our wins and losses over time but that's another issue . . . Winning through skill and skill alone is purely the realm of the professional. And even for the professionals there are exceptions. We need to chill.

I disagree with the concept that it's just a game, just as the meaning of life is likely perpendicular to the 'official' reason of passing on genes, the meaning of is trying to win through the language of go. The meaning of life is to live in the language of a human. And higher than that, in the language of an emoto-wannabeintelligent being, to show solidarity with other such beings in the universe, some of whom can take out the wannabe part, are all certainly playing go at some point in their history, and higher than that, through the language of all spiritarts.

In that sense it would probably be good to always use free placement at first when teaching a novice just to observes their personality type and then suggest that a handicap according to traditional placement makes sense teach them more. No opportunity to study the beginners temperament should be able overlooked, no cognitive stone unturned . . .

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