American Go E-Journal

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