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The Empty Board: Philosophical Reflections on Go #3

Thursday April 26, 2018

By William Cobb2018.04.26_empty-board-bas relief

In the classical age of go, players would spend several hours or more playing a game. Ever wonder why they did that? What could they have been thinking about? Here’s an experiment for you: Go onto one of the turn based internet go sites, such as DragonGo, and start a game with someone at your level. After the first four moves in the four corners, spend more than a few minutes after each move thinking about the board situation. Print it out and mull it over: where are the biggest plays, are there any weak groups, any ways to start a fight or disrupt the opponent’s plans, what is the balance of territory and potential, etc. Read out (even try out) possible sequences. Spend some time thinking about the game just to see what it’s like. As the game develops notice what it’s like to not be under time pressure trying to figure out what to do. You’ll also discover that there are a lot more possibilities than you had noticed before. You’ll find times when you’re not sure what to do or whether a situation is good or bad and maybe you’ll even see why it might be interesting to read some books and study previous games, especially those of stronger players. Of course, this will also make you more frustrated about playing with only 45 minutes basic time, but at least you’ll get a better idea of what makes go such an interesting game.

photo/art by Phil Straus

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“Twitch Plays Go” this Saturday

Wednesday April 25, 2018

This Saturday April 28, The Surrounding Game documentary and Open Study Room are teaming up with Twitch.tv to host what2018.04.24_Twitch_plays_GO_social_v02 Will Lockhart — with some justifiable hyperbole — calls “the biggest introduction to Go in history!” Twitch is the #1 online gaming platform in the world, with an estimated 100 million users per month. Their first special program on go, “Twitch Plays Go,” will be broadcast live on the main channel - twitch.tv/twitch - starting at 11am PSTApril 28. Twitch’s introduction to go for the greater gaming community will feature a tutorial on the rules of the game, a special showing of The Surrounding Game documentary with Q&A, the first-ever massively-multiplayer online go game, and live commentary on the 2018 Creator’s Invitational tournament and College Go League Championship with organizer Stephen Hu and pro player/Go streamer Hajin Lee.

“We’ll be live in the studio to answer questions from the chat during the show and give commentary afterward on the making of the film,” Lockhart tells the E-Journal. “This is sure to be our biggest screening ever, and an opportunity to expose thousands of new players to the game. We hope to see you there!”

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YiLin Xu 5D & James Peters 5k top Mass. Go tourney

Wednesday April 25, 2018

Twenty-nine players — including the TD who played two out of four games to maintain parity — participated in the 2018.04.25_YiLin Xu_Micah_Feldman_James_PetersMassachusetts Go Association’s 2018 Don Wiener Memorial Tournament on April 15 at  the Boylston Chess Club in Cambridge MA. Players ranged from eight to octogenarian. Strengths ranged from 20 kyu to 5 dan.  Four women played.  First and second place cash prizes were combined and divided equally between  YiLin Xu 5 dan (left), and James Peters, 5 kyu (right), both of whom went 4-0. Third place was awarded to Micah Feldman, 3 dan (middle),  “by our software which sorts the 3-1 winners by how well their opponents fared,” reports TD Eva Casey.

 

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Your Move/Readers Write: Janice Kim and Bill Cobb respond

Wednesday April 25, 2018

Janice on time limits: “More thought-provoking pieces in the E-journal, thank you!” writes Janice Kim. “Many people believe that their Go playing improves given a longer time limit (The Empty Board: Philosophical Reflections on Go #2  4/17 EJ). That’s probably true if the time limits are very short. But beyond familiarity and practice, my thinking is there probably isn’t a discernible difference in quality of the Go playing of most people between having 45 minutes per player of basic time, and doubling that. If people played ‘better’, I’d hypothesize people’s ranks on turn-based servers to be higher than their ranks on real-time servers. Why not try your own experiment?
I’m reminded of one time that I was playing a professional tournament game. At one point, I completely missed an obvious move. I mean I completely missed it in the game, I had to see it in the review to recover from the “blind spot”. I could have sat there for 1 minute or 10 minutes, and I probably wouldn’t have “seen” it, although I was doing plenty of thinking, about other moves. Later this gave me the biggest insight I’ve had into the nature of improving at Go.
To wit: I think the ‘point’ of playing four rounds in the Open, is that it’s a good opportunity for a player to play as much serious Go as comfortably possible, where one is consciously trying to improve in an environment conducive to that. It’s just a side feature that directors can award prizes, and people can win them.
Moving to shorter time limits in the modern professional era is largely about having a broad real-time audience. The players themselves are frequently of the opinion that their best Go is played in about 3.5 hours per person, but I don’t think that most people could tell the difference between those games, and “speed” games on TV, played in an hour.
I know people who are discouraged by the prospect of prizes in tournaments, and I think that’s probably a not-uncommon view, but it’s a difficult one to express. Most directors will see them as an easy essential. I’d probably do something like charge people $20 for every game they lose, to pay for the recorder and the review session.”
Addendum: But seriously. I always liked some tournaments in Korea, where you walked around with a big prize button ribbon on your lapel-region that said how many wins you had, and you self-paired by finding a person with the same ribbon. The prize at the end of the day? Your ribbon. Amazing fun in big venues. It’s also self-selecting if you’re not going to have amazing fun. Not to mention the mysterious smile you could give years later, if you had some colorful ribbon with a big “1″ on it. :)

Bill Cobb on Mott’s comment: “Rick actually supports my point (Your Move/Readers Write: Ratings matter; World ranking data 4/18 EJ),” responds Bill Cobb. “A rating improvement is obviously a kind of prize.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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“More thought-provoking pieces in the E-journal, thank you!” writes Janice Kim. “Many people believe that their go playing improves given a longer time limit (The Empty Board: Philosophical Reflections on Go #2 http://www.usgo.org/news/2018/04/the-empty-board-philosophical-reflections-on-go-2/ 4/17 EJ). That’s probably true if the time limits are very short.

 

But beyond familiarity and practice, my thinking is there probably isn’t a discernible difference in quality of the Go playing of most people between having 45 minutes per player of basic time, and doubling that.

 

If people played “better”, I’d hypothesize people’s ranks on turn-based servers to be higher than their ranks on real-time servers. Why not try your own experiment?

 

I’m reminded of one time that I was playing a professional tournament game. At one point, I completely missed an obvious move. I mean I completely missed it in the game, I had to see it in the review to recover from the “blind spot”. I could have sat there for 1 minute or 10 minutes, and I probably wouldn’t have “seen” it, although I was doing plenty of thinking, about other moves. Later this gave me the biggest insight I’ve had into the nature of improving at Go.

 

To wit: I think the “point” of playing four rounds in the Open, is that it’s a good opportunity for a player to play as much serious Go as comfortably possible, where one is consciously trying to improve in an environment conducive to that. It’s just a side feature that directors can award prizes, and people can win them.

 

Moving to shorter time limits in the modern professional era is largely about having a broad real-time audience. The players themselves are frequently of the opinion that their best Go is played in about 3.5 hours per person, but I don’t think that most people could tell the difference between those games, and “speed” games on TV, played in an hour.

 

I know people who are discouraged by the prospect of prizes in tournaments, and I think that’s probably a not-uncommon view, but it’s a difficult one to express. Most directors will see them as an easy essential. I’d probably do something like charge people $20 for every game they lose, to pay for the recorder and the review session.

 

Rick actually supports my point: a rating improvement is obviously a kind of prize.

Bill

 

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Upcoming Go Events: Rosh Ha’Ayin, Philadelphia, Toledo, and more

Monday April 23, 2018

April 26: Rosh Ha’Ayin, Israel
Go / Baduk Gala Event
Shavit Fragman info@go-mind.com +972-544500453

April 28-29: Philadelphia, PA
1st Annual 2018 Pennsylvania State Go Championship
Gina Shi ginageshi@gmail.com 415-819-0549
Jason McGibbon jason.mcgibbon@gmail.com

April 28: Toledo, OH
Toledo Go Club’s Head○●Strong AGA Go Tournament
David Olnhausen yetanotherbiped@gmail.com
Lynnette Olnhausen aduialel@yahoo.com

May 5: Nashville, TN
Tennessee Go Tournament
Jacob Game morleygame@gmail.com 203-482-9086

May 6: Seattle, WA
Spring Tournament
Brian Allen manager@seattlego.org 206-545-1424 or 206-632-1122

May 6: Stony Brook, NY
Stony Brook Sakura Matsuri Tournament
Joy Abasolo joy.abasolo@stonybrook.edu
Ricky Simanjuntak ricky.simanjuntak@stonybrook.edu

Get the latest go events information.

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