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 Post subject: Think and Grow Old
Post #1 Posted: Mon Jun 25, 2018 9:03 am 
Lives in gote
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After another hiatus, I find myself becoming interested in go again.

I had sworn off it, as I was concerned about the amount of time it tends to take. I've become increasingly serious about musical composition, and have been devoting myself to it almost to the point of monasticism. However, everybody needs a diversion now and then. Go is just the thing: like a drug, it makes one forget reality for a while, and unlike other drugs it can refresh the other parts of one's mind.

Those of you who know me, either in real life or online, will know that I've often espoused various kinds of mental saws from checklists to the "compass". Well, I've finally come around to ditching that kind of crutch completely. One reason is my experience with chess. About two years ago, I started playing chess again, and approached it by playing over lots of master games and examples. I managed to achieve my highest-ever ratings and become a city champion, which is not bad for somebody in their mid-40s. I still play chess a lot. And what worked for me was a) having a large number of games in my experience and b) learning to play each position on its own merits (I was influenced in that by a book called Move First and Think Later). To cut to the chase, I've started to wonder if the same approach could work for playing go.

I dusted off my board and stones, and have begun playing through Ishida/Davies: Attack and Defence. While the verbal text is helpful, I find it is making a deeper than expected impression on me to play over the examples with my go set. It's not as tedious as I expected, either. In fact, in some ways I am recapturing the joy that I felt in the very first year that I played go, which was a time before 24/7 Internet access. In those days, if I wanted to play go, I had no over choice than to play over games from a book. I was young and foolish, and the more I gained access to the Internet, the less time I spent playing with my real set. For sure, playing many games has helped me to reach a moderate standard, but I lost the habit of acquiring new ideas and data in a physical way. Instead, I read a lot of books for the verbal text and played over online databases - but I didn't spend much time at with real stones. If only I had known...

Another change is that I've become better at handling defeat. You have to lose a lot to be successful at anything. I'm making some headway professionally as a composer now - but a large part of that was encountering some very painful setbacks in 2016. The setbacks gave me motivation and caused me to try harder. It has been paying off.

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 Post subject: Re: Think and Grow Old
Post #2 Posted: Mon Jun 25, 2018 10:45 am 
Judan

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Welcome back, Tami! :D

Tami wrote:
About two years ago, I started playing chess again, and approached it by playing over lots of master games and examples. I managed to achieve my highest-ever ratings and become a city champion, which is not bad for somebody in their mid-40s.


Congratulations! :salute:

Could you say a bit more about Move First and Think Later? Sounds interesting. :)

About playing things out on a real set, you may find this note of some interest: viewtopic.php?p=215012#p215012

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 Post subject: Re: Think and Grow Old
Post #3 Posted: Mon Jun 25, 2018 11:32 am 
Oza

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Bill

There have already been two threads on this book and I think you contributed to at least one.

The one I started was called Recognition vs Understanding: forum/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=6327&hilit=hendriks

The points you have made in the other thread you refer to seem validated by the latest Harvard research in "Make It Stick". To learn and retain, as opposed to memorise briefly and forget, it is important (the book says) to make learning effortful. This can seem counter-intuitive, apparently, because it seems to slow down the learning process, but in fact it gives the subconscious brain more to chew on and when you are asleep it can lay down more pathways in your brain, making the info easier not just to recall but to use in flexible ways. That's a vox pop way of putting it, but I will stick my neck out even more and say that I think the word "effortful" is very misleading. For two reasons. One is that the MIS book seems to be telling us that short burst of learning (e.g. 15 minutes) are much better than 1-hour lectures (and should also be "interleaved", i.e. followed by 15-minute sessions on quite different topics.

The other reason is that effortful conjures up a massive exercise - get the coffee jug on and prepare for an all-nighter. That doesn't square with the 15-minute burst, of course, but also effortful in this context seems also to cover relatively trivial effort, such as just thinking about what you've just heard/read, or rephrasing it, or maybe doodling about it.

As I understand it, playing a sequence over on a real go board seems to count as "effortful" enough. But sitting at the board and playing over a game for 2-3 hours is not efficient. After 15-20 minutes you should stop and do something else fairly different.

This squares with the experience of Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger who nursed an ambition to learn a difficult Chopin piece (First Ballade) well enough to give a recital in a concert hall, despite having given up piano practice several decades earlier. He did just 15 minutes practice most mornings but achieved his goal at age 56 in a relatively short space of time. He wrote a very entertaining book about it (Play It Again). He also talks about on this video:

https://www.theguardian.com/music/video ... opin-video


Last edited by John Fairbairn on Mon Jun 25, 2018 11:59 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Think and Grow Old
Post #4 Posted: Mon Jun 25, 2018 11:36 am 
Judan

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John Fairbairn wrote:
Bill

There have already been two threads on this book and I think you contributed to at least one.

The one I started was called Recognition vs Understanding: forum/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=6327&hilit=hendriks


Post first and forget later? :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: Think and Grow Old
Post #5 Posted: Mon Jun 25, 2018 11:42 am 
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Move First, Think Later is a very thought-provoking book, and some of its concepts apply as well as to go as they do to chess. I think any go player who had enough background in chess to understand the analogies could get something out of it.

Hendriks' main thesis is that the attempt by most teachers and writers to describe chess using human language is fatally flawed; it reduces the actual richness of the game (which can really be only described on its terms) and the precise calculation on which it lies to pseudo-logical post-facto didactic explanations that pretend to explain but largely just obscure. "<This move> is <good/bad> because it <follows/violates> <standard proverb>" is the general template, as are attempts to ascribe some sort of narrative to a game or sequence that makes it seem simpler than the complex system that it is.

The provocative title is mostly marketing; Hendriks' real point is that we as players should try to keep our thought processes in the domain of the game itself, rather than lifting them up into the realm of English/etc. language and manipulating them there. It might be more accurately but less pithily put as "move first, justify in English later".

(I see now in preview that there has been plenty of previous discussion, so I'll stop here.)

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 Post subject: Re: Think and Grow Old
Post #6 Posted: Mon Jun 25, 2018 1:28 pm 
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Like I like to say:

Dont argue, play!

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 Post subject: Re: Think and Grow Old
Post #7 Posted: Mon Jun 25, 2018 4:00 pm 
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In a nutshell, the main takeaway I got from Think First, Move Later is that while words can help you to understand what's going on, the actual understanding itself is abstract. The various factors in any given position can be described verbally, but still have to be apprehended on their own terms. The one sentence that struck me most forcefully goes something along the lines that a lot of people buy chess books (for chess you might like to substitute go, music, shogi, draughts, etc.) for their verbal content - for the pearls of wisdom that Nimzowitsch or Kageyama hands down, but ultimately it is the chess games themselves that are the content.

I realise that I've more or less said the same as dfan above. All I can add is that once a concept is within grasp at some level, it tends to present itself automatically. That much is obvious, I guess, but what I do think is interesting is that one can have levels of comprehension, even of simpler things. Take, for instance, such ideas as leaning attacks and splitting attacks. I thought I knew what they meant for nearly 20 years now. But as I've studied examples of them with real stones on my go board, I've found myself appreciating better that go is about relationships between groups. The appreciation is emotional in essence: I noticed a feeling of delight and satisfaction in watching how playing in one place completely altered the outlook in another. I'm sure there is something significant in that.

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Post #8 Posted: Mon Jun 25, 2018 6:14 pm 
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Hi Tami,

Welcome back and Happy summer.

Some Cho Chi-kun fan already crystalized the clip...
Tea-suji (proper aspect ratio)
And a little Q&A:

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 Post subject: Re: Think and Grow Old
Post #9 Posted: Tue Jun 26, 2018 12:50 am 
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Without any considerations of improvement, the aesthetics of a physical Go set are really important and of course taken to a high level in Japanese culture, for example. In some instances, it's probably part of what attracted some of us pre-internet players to the game in the first place. I wouldn't be surprised if playing exclusively online does cause some kind of deprivation of the wider aesthetic enjoyment (eg the simple pleasure of the click of stones and grain of the board), whilst providing the familiar rush of excitement.

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Post #10 Posted: Tue Jun 26, 2018 3:53 am 
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Hi dust,

Yes. Chess, checkers, xiangqi, shogi, backgammon, card games, etc.
Settlers of Catan, Ticket to Ride, etc.

Hardcover book v. e-book :study: :)

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 Post subject: Re: Think and Grow Old
Post #11 Posted: Fri Jun 29, 2018 3:24 pm 
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I learned a couple of interesting sequences today:

Click Here To Show Diagram Code
[go]$$c Of interest to Tami
$$ ---------------------------------------
$$ | . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . |
$$ | . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . |
$$ | . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . |
$$ | . . . , . . . . . , . . . . . , . . . |
$$ | . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . |
$$ | . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . |
$$ | . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . |
$$ | . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . O . . |
$$ | . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . |
$$ | . . . , . . . . . , . . . . 2 , X . . |
$$ | . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 . . . |
$$ | . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 . . O . . |
$$ | . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 . . |
$$ | . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . |
$$ | . . . . . O . . . . . . . . . . . . . |
$$ | . . . , . 8 7 . . , . . . . . , . . . |
$$ | . . . . . O . . O . . . . . . . . . . |
$$ | . . . . . . . a . . . . . . . . . . . |
$$ | . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . |
$$ ---------------------------------------[/go]


Click Here To Show Diagram Code
[go]$$c Of interest to Tami
$$ ---------------------------------------
$$ | . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . |
$$ | . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . |
$$ | . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . |
$$ | . . . , . . . . . , . . . . . , . . . |
$$ | . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . |
$$ | . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . |
$$ | . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . |
$$ | . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . O . . |
$$ | . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . |
$$ | . . . , . . . . . , . . . . O , X . . |
$$ | . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . X 7 6 . |
$$ | . . . . . . . . . . . . . O 9 4 O 5 . |
$$ | . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 8 . |
$$ | . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . |
$$ | . . . . . O . . . . . . . . . . . . . |
$$ | . . . , . a 1 . . , . . . . . , . . . |
$$ | . . . . . O 2 . O . . . . . . . . . . |
$$ | . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . |
$$ | . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . |
$$ ---------------------------------------[/go]


Of course, these diagrams are very artificial - you can find detailed examples in Attack and Defence [sorry, but I just had to Anglicise the spelling]. I liked the way Black forces his way out on the right or gets a little life, and I was interested to see how the peep works on the bottom. (Depending on context, you get the aji at A in the first diagram or can start a fight with a in the second). These are good examples of the kind of thing that I've always known about at a very shallow level, but haven't really thought about properly until now. Okay, this is not much, but it's more concrete than it used to be. This is the kind of benefit that I've feel that I'm getting from playing through examples on a board rather than just reading them - they've going into my memory better.

I used to believe that it was better to do things mentally, but I'm starting to believe the opposite now. After all, you can't learn to play the organ just by reading about it, so why should you be able to learn to play go just by reading about it? Tangible experiences are easier to remember, at least to start with.

I'm going through a slightly frustrating period in my KGS games. I am currently at 3k - a little bit below my old level. I frequently get good positions, but various things are still rusty and I tend to have difficulty with meeting overplays. It is difficult for me to resist the urge to "punish" and so I have been ending up responding to bad moves with bad ones of my own. I feel the hardest thing is when the opponent escalates the situation by piling overplays onto overplays. It is surprisingly hard to take the calm approach of actually letting them have something in exchange for a bigger profit, instead of being provoked into a winner-takes-it-all pig-wrestling contest. There have been games in which I have managed to win, but have come away feeling somewhat disgusted. I suppose I should lighten up about that: even my optimum level will never be all that high - but still...

I've fixed the tea-stealing tesuji clip in my signature. When I first saw it I thought it was outrageously funny. The look on the poor game recorder's face!

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 Post subject: Re: Think and Grow Old
Post #12 Posted: Fri Jul 06, 2018 4:19 am 
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Click Here To Show Diagram Code
[go]$$B Application 1
$$ ------------------
$$ | . . . . . . . . .
$$ | . . O X O . . . .
$$ | . . X O . . . . .
$$ | . . X O O . . . .
$$ | . X X X O . . . .
$$ | . O X O . O . . .
$$ | . . O O . . . . .
$$ | . O . . . . . . .
$$ | . . . . . . . . .[/go]


In a recent game, the above corner shape occurred after I had invaded a corner. I was thrilled to see that I could live by using a technique that had come up in many of the patterns discussed in James Davies's Life and Death.

Click Here To Show Diagram Code
[go]$$B Application 2
$$ ------------------
$$ | . 5 . 4 . . . . .
$$ | 9 3 O X O . . . .
$$ | 6 7 X O . . . . .
$$ | 8 . X O O . . . .
$$ | a X X X O . . . .
$$ | 1 O X O . O . . .
$$ | . 2 O O . . . . .
$$ | . O . . . . . . .
$$ | . . . . . . . . .[/go]


The presence of the hane at 1 means that when White plays at a, Black can simply capture three stones in a row, which makes the second eye. I recall that this idea is the reason why a hane can make a door shape (ordinarily dead) much more resilient. It worked for me in this corner shape, too. Isn't it just GREAT when you notice a way to apply something you've recently been studying? I won the game, but actually having had the opportunity to apply something like this for real gave me much more pleasure.

I put Attack and Defence onto the backburner for a few days because the feeling I was getting from my online forays was that I really, really need to improve my L&D skills drastically.

I have been working through the Davies book on Life and Death with my go board, and in the process I have been falling in love with the game all over again. The reason is that I am finding great delight in the play of the stones in the various patterns. I'm doing a chapter at a time, which usually takes about 15-30 minutes, and I am focussing on understanding as well as possible the reasons why techniques work or fail.

This maybe a whole new beginning in the game for me. In the past, I was misguided. I attempted to memorise saws (e.g., with a two-space notcher 5 die and 7 live) without bothering to study them attentively, and I attempted to "burn" patterns into my brain through repetition. I somewhat regret introducing the notion of "force feeding" on Sensei's Library many years ago, but that's by the by. It did not help that much of my go material, bought while living in Japan, was somewhat haphazardly organised. It seems to me that many Japanese problem books take the repetitive rather than the systematic approach to learning.

So what I'm doing now seems much smarter: attempt to understand the principle and learn to recognise it. But by principle, I do not mean the verbal part (5 die and 7 live) but rather the non-verbal principle - the making or destruction or eyes - contained within each shape. And by grasping such abstract truths, I am confident that I shall enjoy more experiences such as that described at the beginning of the post.

And, again, while I don't need a go board to be able to follow what James Davies writes in such a book as Life and Death, I am nevertheless finding that physically playing out the moves helps with "stickability". We remember what we do. This point is something I got from reading advice from chess pros - wasn't it GM Nigel Davies who said something along the lines of "And who moves pieces around on the board? Amateurs don't, but masters do"? Anyway, there is pleasure in playing out a tesuji rather than just reading it out "blindfold".

However, I don't advocate throwing babies out with the bathwater. I don't dispute that mental reading practise is very useful - it's only that I have come to believing that physically playing out the moves in order to achieve a firm understanding of the principle (the abstract one, not the verbal one!) ought to come first.

I do similar things with musical study, by the way. I often subject Bach and others to the microscope as a way of improving my own compositorial skills. Again, it's all about the quest for understanding the underlying mechanisms rather than just copying them that I'm interested in.

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Last edited by Uberdude on Fri Jul 06, 2018 4:53 am, edited 1 time in total.
added [go] tags

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Post #13 Posted: Fri Jul 06, 2018 4:39 am 
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Hi Tami, missing [go] tags. :)

Click Here To Show Diagram Code
[go]$$B Application 1
$$ ------------------
$$ | . . . . . . . . .
$$ | . . O X O . . . .
$$ | . . X O . . . . .
$$ | . . X O O . . . .
$$ | . X X X O . . . .
$$ | . O X O . O . . .
$$ | . . O O . . . . .
$$ | . O . . . . . . .
$$ | . . . . . . . . .[/go]
Click Here To Show Diagram Code
[go]$$B Application 2
$$ ------------------
$$ | . 5 . 4 . . . . .
$$ | 9 3 O X O . . . .
$$ | 6 7 X O . . . . .
$$ | 8 . X O O . . . .
$$ | a X X X O . . . .
$$ | 1 O X O . O . . .
$$ | . 2 O O . . . . .
$$ | . O . . . . . . .
$$ | . . . . . . . . .[/go]

Also:
Click Here To Show Diagram Code
[go]$$B var
$$ ------------------
$$ | . . . . . . . . .
$$ | . 2 O X O . . . .
$$ | . 4 X O . . . . .
$$ | . . X O O . . . .
$$ | . X X X O . . . .
$$ | 1 O X O . O . . .
$$ | . 3 O O . . . . .
$$ | . O . . . . . . .
$$ | . . . . . . . . .[/go]

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 Post subject: Re: Think and Grow Old
Post #14 Posted: Fri Jul 06, 2018 4:40 am 
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What's your answer to white 2 here?
Click Here To Show Diagram Code
[go]$$B
$$ ------------------
$$ | . . . . . . . . .
$$ | . 2 O X O . . . .
$$ | . . X O . . . . .
$$ | . . X O O . . . .
$$ | . X X X O . . . .
$$ | 1 O X O . O . . .
$$ | . . O O . . . . .
$$ | . O . . . . . . .
$$ | . . . . . . . . .[/go]

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Post #15 Posted: Fri Jul 06, 2018 4:55 am 
Judan

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As the proverb / Rin Kaiho says, "Go is move order".

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Post #16 Posted: Fri Jul 06, 2018 6:48 am 
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Tryss wrote:
What's your answer to white 2 here?
Click Here To Show Diagram Code
[go]$$B
$$ ------------------
$$ | . . . . . . . . .
$$ | . 2 O X O . . . .
$$ | . . X O . . . . .
$$ | . . X O O . . . .
$$ | . X X X O . . . .
$$ | 1 O X O . O . . .
$$ | . . O O . . . . .
$$ | . O . . . . . . .
$$ | . . . . . . . . .[/go]
[quote="Tryss"]What's your answer to white 2 here?

My answer is that while preparing the diagram in a hurry I forgot there was a stone on the outside:

Click Here To Show Diagram Code
[go]$$B What a difference a stone makes
$$ ------------------
$$ | . . . . . . . . .
$$ | . 2 O X O . . . .
$$ | . . X O . . . . .
$$ | . . X O O . . . .
$$ | . X X X O . . . .
$$ | 1 O X O . O . . .
$$ | . . O O . . . . .
$$ | . O . . . . . . .
$$ | . . X . . . . . .[/go]


Thanks, though, for pointing out the errors with the diagram in its original state. I'm still trying to get back up to speed with using L19 again and mistakes can easily happen.

I was just happy to find a way to live during my game. I can see now that 2 is a bigger point than 1 and so Black should start there, as it happens, but I'm still rusty, I'm starting over, and I wanted to make a different point, which was about the pleasure of being able to put the things one practises into a real game.

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Last edited by Tami on Fri Jul 06, 2018 6:53 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post #17 Posted: Fri Jul 06, 2018 6:50 am 
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Tami wrote:
Tryss wrote:
What's your answer to white 2 here?
Click Here To Show Diagram Code
[go]$$B
$$ ------------------
$$ | . . . . . . . . .
$$ | . 2 O X O . . . .
$$ | . . X O . . . . .
$$ | . . X O O . . . .
$$ | . X X X O . . . .
$$ | 1 O X O . O . . .
$$ | . . O O . . . . .
$$ | . O . . . . . . .
$$ | . . . . . . . . .[/go]
Tryss wrote:
What's your answer to white 2 here?

My answer is that while preparing the diagram in a hurry I forgot there was a stone on the outside:

Click Here To Show Diagram Code
[go]$$B What a difference a stone makes
$$ ------------------
$$ | . . . . . . . . .
$$ | . 2 O X O . . . .
$$ | . . X O . . . . .
$$ | . . X O O . . . .
$$ | . X X X O . . . .
$$ | 1 O X O . O . . .
$$ | . . O O . . . . .
$$ | . O . . . . . . .
$$ | . . X . . . . . .[/go]


Thanks, though, for pointing out the errors with the diagram in its original state. I'm still trying to get back up to speed with using L19 again and mistakes can easily happen.


Okay that makes a lot of sense. I was also thinking: what am I missing? :)

You've convinced me to get L&D back out of my drawer and start doing it 1 chapter/day, too. Thank you!

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Post #18 Posted: Fri Jul 06, 2018 7:01 am 
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Ian Butler wrote:
You've convinced me to get L&D back out of my drawer and start doing it 1 chapter/day, too. Thank you!


:salute:

It's the kind of book one is tempted to dismiss as being a "beginner's book" when one gets into the SDKs, but I'm starting to see it as one of the very best L&D books available. The reason being that it's systematically organised and easy to follow. I've never really had a great handle on its contents, but I'm going to study it until I do, and I won't be surprised if that helps me to get past the 1k barrier at which I was stuck for such a while. (Right now, though, I'm in favour of the short-term target of de-rusting sufficiently to reach 2k again.)

Incidentally, can anybody please tell me whether Cho Chikun's L&D Encyclopedia is organised according to a recognisable plan? I'm thinking of buying it as practise material, but I don't want to be confronted with several thousand problems with a "lucky dip" of themes. That might help once one knows the structure of L&D inside out, but first I want to be able to know a one-space notcher or a straight J when I see one.

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 Post subject: Re: Think and Grow Old
Post #19 Posted: Fri Jul 06, 2018 8:01 am 
Judan

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Tryss wrote:
What's your answer to white 2 here?
Click Here To Show Diagram Code
[go]$$B
$$ ------------------
$$ | . . . . . . . . .
$$ | . 2 O X O . . . .
$$ | . . X O . . . . .
$$ | . . X O O . . . .
$$ | . X X X O . . . .
$$ | 1 O X O . O . . .
$$ | . . O O . . . . .
$$ | . O . . . . . . .
$$ | . . . . . . . . .[/go]


Here is my answer.
Oh, detritus!

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 Post subject: Re: Think and Grow Old
Post #20 Posted: Fri Jul 06, 2018 8:22 am 
Lives in sente

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Tami wrote:
It's the kind of book one is tempted to dismiss as being a "beginner's book" when one gets into the SDKs, but I'm starting to see it as one of the very best L&D books available.

It's the opposite with me! I tried reading Life And Death at around 10k thinking of it as an introductory book, and it made my head swim so hard (once it got past the simple examples) that it nearly put me off go entirely. It's been a long time since I looked at it; I should give it another shot now.

Quote:
Incidentally, can anybody please tell me whether Cho Chikun's L&D Encyclopedia is organised according to a recognisable plan? I'm thinking of buying it as practise material, but I don't want to be confronted with several thousand problems with a "lucky dip" of themes. That might help once one knows the structure of L&D inside out, but first I want to be able to know a one-space notcher or a straight J when I see one.

The Life and Death Encyclopedia is "just" a big collection of a bunch of positions with only intermittent organization. All About Life and Death, also "by" Cho (I guess these books tend to be ghostwritten, but I don't know about this case) is a much more systematic presentation of corner and side shapes, and incidentally is what I abandoned the Davies book in favor of.

If you like learning from videos, and don't mind paying for it, Guo Juan's Internet Go School has many excellent lectures on a lot of corner and side shapes, along with several hundred problems in her online spaced repetition system (which also costs money). Personally speaking, this is how I finally learned these patterns, but everybody has their own style of learning (and budget).

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