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...limping and learning...

Alexandre Correia
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Day 1554. April 3, 2021. Lagos...

Besides the random game with my daughter in the last two weeks, there was one other game I did manage to "play".


Playing always asynchronously, during the two or three minutes I could sneak during the day, the 19x19 match with a blog reader continued. We haven't made much progress since the last time I wrote about it, as we've both been busy. Or maybe I should say I haven't made much progress. My teacher's white stones are whooping my naivete into submission, the same way a 3rd-grade teacher would use the wooden ruler for an educational slap on the hand.

From gallery of ZombieBoard


The Battle for the SW corner of the board raged on from humble beginnings, spreading almost as far as the northern borders. And every time I tried to plan ahead in the capturing business, I found out the hard way that planning two or three moves ahead is nowhere near enough in this game!

What would you do to escape white's domination?

Spoiler (click to reveal)
From gallery of ZombieBoard

...the Battle for the SW.

I needed to up my game somehow.

So I picked up the book Learn to Play Go by authors Janice Kim and Jeon Soo-hyun, whose names are always followed by their respective strengths in the game. 1 Dan for Janice and 9 Dan for Jeon.

From gallery of ZombieBoard

Learning about life and death.

I'm still in the basic capturing and connecting techniques part of the book after reading the game's fundamentals. Which for a game this simple, there's still a lot of "fundamentals" to grasp.

The book is filled with illustrations depicting everything that's written. And at the end of every chapter, there's a series of Try it Yourself problems (with answers), so you can test yourself on the lesson learned. I have no idea about other Go books, but for me at least, that British Brain-Trust Awards splattered in the cover for Game Book of the Year 1996 seems to be spot on. Even the whimsical illustrations spread out along the book feel totally thematic with the game's abstract nature.

From gallery of ZombieBoard

The many names of Go(d).

From gallery of ZombieBoard

Illustrative abstraction.

From gallery of ZombieBoard


The other way I'd planned to speed up the learning curve was by following through with the Youtube suggestion that Marshall mentioned last time. I browsed the content on In Sente's channel, but before I reached the tutorial playlists, I stumbled on a review of The Conquest of Go, Steam's offer on the classical game.

The review was positive, but what struck my curiosity was the mention that The Conquest of Go was connected to the Online-Go servers. And judging by the reviewer's excitement, it looked like Online-Go was a significant hub for go in the digital land. I promptly left Youtube, headed to The Conquest of Go, created an account in the Online-Go servers, bypassed the AI campaign, and started looking for open 9x9 tables. As soon as the first table popped up, I grabbed a seat and placed my first stone.

From gallery of ZombieBoard

Ladder of Humbleness.

Five games later, I had achieved the impressive result of two resignations and one loss by timeout. Two of my opponents didn't even bother starting a game with me once they realized who they were up against! A newb!

But at least I had found what I was looking for. More tables to play. No matter how many books you read about a subject, there's no better teacher than a hands-on approach. So I signed up for a tournament on the 9x9 ladder, where I could play at my own pace.

Currently in the 1349 position. I'll report back when, and if, I limp my way up a tenth of the ladder.

From gallery of ZombieBoard

The long road ahead with Go.

One year ago: ...tough apples...

Photos & Images: ZombieBoard
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