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Erfael
July 18th, 2003, 11:59 PM
I posted this in the fantasy book club as the game was mentioned in our book of the month, but I though i would put it here as well:
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If anyone is interested in strategic board games (chess, checkers, shogi, xiang-qui) or if you think you might be, you may be interested in learning go if you don't already know about it. The rules are super-simple(far simpler than any form of chess). The game is endlessly elegant.

I found the game a few years back in a game store and started studying it in earnest about 6 months ago. Previous to that I had been an avid chess player. Since learning go, I haven't looked back.

In addition to spreading music to children, I have now also made it a mission in life to try to spread the game of go to as many people as I can in hopes that at least some of them will pick it up and spread it further.

For a brief and simple introduction to the game, I would refer anyone who is interested to Go Interactive Tutorial (http://playgo.to/interactive) . If any of you are further interested, I would be happy to teach you anything that I know(completely free) through the Kiseido Go Server(KGS) online where I am also erfael. Please PM me if you are interested

Vladimir
July 19th, 2003, 01:11 AM
yeh I've played it a few times or 10... still can't figure out who won any of them tho

btw if you want people to start playing Go you introduce them to to the game via the Hikaru no Go (http://animenfo.com/animetitle,719,jahmbq,hikaru_no_go.html) anime/manga.. I know tens of people who started with go because of that one :)

Erfael
July 19th, 2003, 01:44 AM
Ya, it seems that Hikaru is the way to get 15 year olds to play. Older people don't take to that as well. On KGS, I have been least impressed by the Hikaru no Go crowd...rather immature, but it's a start.

At any rate, a company has picked up HnG for publication in the US, so it's no longer available in any legal way on the net, so I won't encourage people to go after that. Perhaps as it starts being released people will pick it up. From what I hear, it did wonders for the game in Japan. Hopefully it can have a similar effect here in the States. After months of record growth, the American Go Association is up to 1,700 members. I'd like to see that continue to rise.

Well, Vladimir, if you're at all interested, there is info on counting score on that interactive tutorial site or I'd be willing to give a lesson or two. Just let me know. Erf.

Bear
July 19th, 2003, 02:46 AM
I got a Go board a few years ago, and I've always enjoyed playing. Incredibly simple, yet infinitely in-depth. I've gotten a few people I used to play chess with into it, and every once in a while we'll hit up a coffee shop and play some games. Good fun.

Erfael
July 19th, 2003, 02:57 AM
I'm very happy to hear that, Bear.

I would also like to mention that if anyone lives in Eastern North Carolina who plays, please let me know. My area seems completely bereft of go players. Erf.

Bear
July 19th, 2003, 12:44 PM
I can sympathize, Erf. It took me a while to find anyone who played that I hadn't shown the game to.

nicba
July 19th, 2003, 02:53 PM
Aaaargh! I just went through the interactive Go tutorial. What a complicated game!

It's really simple on the surface, but I can already guess that it would take a long time to learn to play it well. It makes chess seem easy by comparison!

But thank you very much for the tutorial. I've often wondered about the rules for Go, and how to go about playing it...

/Nicolai

Erfael
July 19th, 2003, 08:58 PM
nicba, if you liked what you saw even a little, I would urge you to play a little before giving up on it. That particular tutorial, while the best i've been able to find on the net so far, doesn't present a couple of the things especially well and mentions a few things that probably shouldn't be mentioned to a beginning player. The game is really not as complicated as it may seem in the way it it played. The strategy can get complicated, but that's the fun of it. The actual mechanics are not so bad at all.

While chess is all about variation crunching, go is a game that can largely be played through "feel." It's more visual and spatial than chess. Good moves in go can be felt on sight once you get used to them.

While most people hit a point in chess where they can get no better without a lot of study and practice, most go players, so long as they continue to play thoughtfully, will always get better until the very high levels where things may require a more intensive study.

Erf.

Lifino
July 19th, 2003, 10:03 PM
In highschool I had a number of friends who played. We would all congregate over at J.J.'s house after school. There was a board there and for over two years people would play while I was there, but I simply ignored them. I didn't ever take the time to even watch the game, even though I was a pretty hardcore chess adict at the time and knew enough about Go to know that it was supperior to chess...

Then one night after some RPG ended way too early some people started up a game, I watched and learned a little of the strategy. I played winner. I won. I then became a fan and soon an avid player, for over six weeks after that first game I played on a regular basis(perhaps 3-10 games a week) and I did not loose once! I became the feared player, though really it was mostly luck.

I lost the interest in college. It is much easier to find a chess player than to teach someone to play Go to the point where it is worth playing against them...

Erfael
July 20th, 2003, 12:03 AM
Lifino, it is easier to find a chess player, but since go got its hooks in me, I just don't have the will to play chess...it's just so constrictive. There is little to no creative aspect to it to compare to the opening stages of a go game. I would be careful of saying that go is a superior game(many chess people will get angry with you, though in many ways I agree). Chess is simply a game that focuses on a far narrower slice of strategy, simply calculation and the evaluation of one situation versus another.

Whenever I sit down at a chess board any more, I feel like there is nothing that the game has to offer any more. Computers can play chess at least as well as the top players in the world now and with chess databases, games are almost completely decided off the board.

Computers have gotten nowhere near this skilled at go. The best programs now play, at best, around a mid-level amateur level when you first play them. After a few games, you learn that almost all of them have some weakness that lowers their strength even more. Computers simply can't figure the value of one move versus another in any reasonable way in go.


Next year I will be trying to teach it to all of my violin students in some form or another to try and interest some kids in it. Maybe it will stick with a few. Erf.