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Subject: Guess what! Newbie seeking advice! rss

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Mike James
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I just started playing GO last night. I downloaded a nice little app on my phone, and I am pleased to report that I am getting my ass handed to me...by the level 1 AI.

Please, don't misunderstand me. I don't mean this in a negative way. In fact, I'm rather enjoying myself. I lose a game and have no idea why. I win a game and I am equally baffled. I am beginning to see some patterns form, and some things to watch for.

I started on the 9x9 board, thinking it would be easier to learn on. I guess it is, but it feels so claustraphobic. Is this natural to feel?

I have a question regarding score keeping. On the app, it has tthis weird system with half points. How do you get a half point? Also, when I add up the final score, it NEVER equals a difference of 96.5. What's the deal here?

Any help would be, well, helpful.
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John Di Ponio
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I highly suggest picking up a guide to go. Here is a good one to start with:

http://www.amazon.com/Go-Beginners-Kaoru-Iwamoto/dp/03947333...

The book is pretty cheap and will get your understanding of GO into your head.

Is the game hard to learn? No, certainly not. There are only a few rules to get down and after that, the board is your canvas. I am not saying I am great at Go, but I do enjoy the game and was helped out quite a bit with guides like the one listed.
 
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Karan R
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Step 1: http://playgo.to/iwtg/en/
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Billy McBoatface
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Half points are because of komi. Usually, white gets bonus points to make up for going second. Most rule sets make these points be 6½ points; the extra ½ is added because it prevents ties.

Hope this helps!
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Russ Williams
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9x9 is certainly smaller in feel than 19x19. But it is a good size to start with to get a feel for basic knowledge and skills in capturing, life & death, etc.

The half point is part of the "komi" given to white to compensate for black's advantage for going first. Giving a non-integer komi guarantees that the score cannot end in a tie.

Have fun! I suggest simply keep playing a while, discovering stuff - you can never go back to that virginal state of newbie-ness. But soon you'll probably want to read a bit about basic life and death shapes and so on - there are many good info sources in books and also web pages, whichever you prefer.
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Russ Williams
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wmshub wrote:
Half points are because of komi. Usually, black gets bonus points to make up for going second.

Unless I'm deeply confused, you mean white, not black.


PS to OP: Sensei's Library is a very exhaustive source of Go info. E.g.:

http://senseis.xmp.net/?Komi

http://senseis.xmp.net/?PagesForBeginners
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Bryan Thunkd
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michaeljzerby wrote:
I started on the 9x9 board, thinking it would be easier to learn on. I guess it is, but it feels so claustraphobic. Is this natural to feel?
I detest the 9x9. I understand that it's great for teaching, although I didn't learn on it... but it's all about fighting and doesn't really leave a lot of room for positional play that you'll see on the larger board. It's probably a good idea for you to play on it for a while though...


michaeljzerby wrote:
I have a question regarding score keeping. On the app, it has tthis weird system with half points. How do you get a half point? Also, when I add up the final score, it NEVER equals a difference of 96.5. What's the deal here?
Typically there is 'komi' which is at minimum a half point, simply to preclude ties. In an even game without handicap stones the komi given to white is 6.5 points to offset black's advantage for going first.

Not sure where you're getting 96.5 from... can you explain the reasoning behind that number?

Edit: I've been ninja'd! I type too slow!
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Billy McBoatface
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russ wrote:
wmshub wrote:
Half points are because of komi. Usually, black gets bonus points to make up for going second.

Unless I'm deeply confused, you mean white, not black.
Errr...I was just testing you all. Yeah, that's it.

Corrected.
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nukeu666 wrote:

Step 2:
-The beginner pages at Sensei's Library: http://senseis.xmp.net/?PagesForBeginners
-With physical books, I've heard a lot of good things about the "Learn to Play Go" books, by Janice Kim and Jeong Soo-hyun

Although, as long as you're having fun, a lot of those steps can be replaced with "just keep playing".
It's usually slower, though.

As russ said, the 9x9 board is a good size to start and get the basic understanding down. That's because you can get from the initial moves to the game end faster, and therefore, see the connection between the moves you made and the final shapes much easier.
Go usually shines more on larger boards, but those take up much more time to play, and for a beginner, often feel too arbitrary.
I would recommend that you play more 9x9 till you feel you have a better grasp on the game.

Have fun!
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Mike James
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Thunkd wrote:
michaeljzerby wrote:
I started on the 9x9 board, thinking it would be easier to learn on. I guess it is, but it feels so claustraphobic. Is this natural to feel?
I detest the 9x9. I understand that it's great for teaching, although I didn't learn on it... but it's all about fighting and doesn't really leave a lot of room for positional play that you'll see on the larger board. It's probably a good idea for you to play on it for a while though...


michaeljzerby wrote:
I have a question regarding score keeping. On the app, it has tthis weird system with half points. How do you get a half point? Also, when I add up the final score, it NEVER equals a difference of 96.5. What's the deal here?
Typically there is 'komi' which is at minimum a half point, simply to preclude ties. In an even game without handicap stones the komi given to white is 6.5 points to offset black's advantage for going first.

Not sure where you're getting 96.5 from... can you explain the reasoning behind that number?

Edit: I've been ninja'd! I type too slow!


The app I downloaded said that was what I lost by a couple of times. If I'm not mistaken, and understand the scoring properly, that's impossible on a 9x9 board.

I'll keep chuggin' away!

In regards to books and articles...

Is it necessary to read them? I'm an avid reader, but when it comes to games, I feel like it should be visual. Will I be able to develop and discover these strategies on my own, or will I be lost without them? I'm not opposed to reading, I just don't want to ruin the gaming experience by getting too caught up in all the jargon and whatnot.
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michaeljzerby wrote:
Thunkd wrote:
michaeljzerby wrote:
I started on the 9x9 board, thinking it would be easier to learn on. I guess it is, but it feels so claustraphobic. Is this natural to feel?
I detest the 9x9. I understand that it's great for teaching, although I didn't learn on it... but it's all about fighting and doesn't really leave a lot of room for positional play that you'll see on the larger board. It's probably a good idea for you to play on it for a while though...


michaeljzerby wrote:
I have a question regarding score keeping. On the app, it has tthis weird system with half points. How do you get a half point? Also, when I add up the final score, it NEVER equals a difference of 96.5. What's the deal here?
Typically there is 'komi' which is at minimum a half point, simply to preclude ties. In an even game without handicap stones the komi given to white is 6.5 points to offset black's advantage for going first.

Not sure where you're getting 96.5 from... can you explain the reasoning behind that number?

Edit: I've been ninja'd! I type too slow!


The app I downloaded said that was what I lost by a couple of times. If I'm not mistaken, and understand the scoring properly, that's impossible on a 9x9 board.

I'll keep chuggin' away!

In regards to books and articles...

Is it necessary to read them? I'm an avid reader, but when it comes to games, I feel like it should be visual. Will I be able to develop and discover these strategies on my own, or will I be lost without them? I'm not opposed to reading, I just don't want to ruin the gaming experience by getting too caught up in all the jargon and whatnot.
Nah, you definitely can just keep playing. It gets faster if you go check a book, or a page (or ask here ) when you have a question you don't really get.

As for the scoring, if you can, posting a image of the final board might help us determine what happened, and why that score is there.
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Bryan Thunkd
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michaeljzerby wrote:
The app I downloaded said that was what I lost by a couple of times. If I'm not mistaken, and understand the scoring properly, that's impossible on a 9x9 board.
It's not impossible. There are 81 points on the board, but obviously some of those are going to be filled with stones, so there aren't 81 points available as territory. However, if you fail to make your stones live, the stones that die become prisoners which count against your score.

So in the worse case scenario where you fail to make anything live, then all the stones you've placed on the board will be considered dead at game end and will count against your score. Additionally, those spots will also be considered points for your opponent as territory. It's not required to actually play the entire sequence out and remove the stones from the board. If you both agree that they can't live, then they are just considered dead stones, and in the scoring phase they are removed from the board. Many Go apps don't actually show those stones being taken off the board though.

I suspect that perhaps you have a lot of stones on the board that you didn't realize are actually unable to live. Are you familiar with the concept of eyes and that a group with two eyes is unkillable? If you have a group where it is impossible for you to make two eyes, then it is already considered dead (with a few esoteric exceptions that would only confuse you right now).
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Mike James
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By the way, thanks for all the quick responses! It really says something about the community of dedicated players out there
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Mike James
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Thunkd wrote:
michaeljzerby wrote:
The app I downloaded said that was what I lost by a couple of times. If I'm not mistaken, and understand the scoring properly, that's impossible on a 9x9 board.
It's not impossible. There are 81 points on the board, but obviously some of those are going to be filled with stones, so there aren't 81 points available as territory. However, if you fail to make your stones live, the stones that die become prisoners which count against your score.

So in the worse case scenario where you fail to make anything live, then all the stones you've placed on the board will be considered dead at game end and will count against your score. Additionally, those spots will also be considered points for your opponent as territory. It's not required to actually play the entire sequence out and remove the stones from the board. If you both agree that they can't live, then they are just considered dead stones, and in the scoring phase they are removed from the board. Many Go apps don't actually show those stones being taken off the board though.

I suspect that perhaps you have a lot of stones on the board that you didn't realize are actually unable to live. Are you familiar with the concept of eyes and that a group with two eyes is unkillable? If you have a group where it is impossible for you to make two eyes, then it is already considered dead (with a few esoteric exceptions that would only confuse you right now).


I can't say that I am familiar with the live and dead pieces. I roughly understand eyes, but not too well.

I thought the final score was all stones on the board + all the spaces surrounded by only your stones.
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Phelan
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michaeljzerby wrote:
Thunkd wrote:
michaeljzerby wrote:
The app I downloaded said that was what I lost by a couple of times. If I'm not mistaken, and understand the scoring properly, that's impossible on a 9x9 board.
It's not impossible. There are 81 points on the board, but obviously some of those are going to be filled with stones, so there aren't 81 points available as territory. However, if you fail to make your stones live, the stones that die become prisoners which count against your score.

So in the worse case scenario where you fail to make anything live, then all the stones you've placed on the board will be considered dead at game end and will count against your score. Additionally, those spots will also be considered points for your opponent as territory. It's not required to actually play the entire sequence out and remove the stones from the board. If you both agree that they can't live, then they are just considered dead stones, and in the scoring phase they are removed from the board. Many Go apps don't actually show those stones being taken off the board though.

I suspect that perhaps you have a lot of stones on the board that you didn't realize are actually unable to live. Are you familiar with the concept of eyes and that a group with two eyes is unkillable? If you have a group where it is impossible for you to make two eyes, then it is already considered dead (with a few esoteric exceptions that would only confuse you right now).


I can't say that I am familiar with the live and dead pieces. I roughly understand eyes, but not too well.

I thought the final score was all stones on the board + all the spaces surrounded by only your stones.
That is what is called "Chinese Scoring". It's the simplest, and does not require the knowledge that Thunkd mentioned above.

With that said, some apps might use one, others might use the other.

I think that his explanation of the score you reported is quite likely to be true: the app might be using "Japanese Scoring", which is "captured opponent stones* + all the spaces surrounded by only your stones".

Edit:
* with "captured opponent stones" also including stones that are declared to be dead, without the capturing moves being played out.
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George Leach
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Just so you know (except for a few esoteric situations) Chinese and Japanese scoring give the same victor and by the same relative amounts. Most Westerners use Japanese scoring but Chinese scoring is often cited as the 'better' and more understandable method.
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Virre Linwendil Annergård
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Thunkd wrote:
michaeljzerby wrote:
I started on the 9x9 board, thinking it would be easier to learn on. I guess it is, but it feels so claustraphobic. Is this natural to feel?
I detest the 9x9. I understand that it's great for teaching, although I didn't learn on it... but it's all about fighting and doesn't really leave a lot of room for positional play that you'll see on the larger board. It's probably a good idea for you to play on it for a while though...


I think it depends on what type of gamer you are, I have no trouble with the 9x9*

However the person that I played my first game with also detest the 9x9 (so we only play 19x19) as he wants the strategy of the full board, but he want the feeling of the full board to enjoy all the thinking. (I do play 9x9 in Igowin and SmartGo Kifu against the computer, and I really need to log into KGS and play people not bots)

* = Well it does start to feel small after alot of 19x19.
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virre wrote:
I think it depends on what type of gamer you are, I have no trouble with the 9x9*

However the person that I played my first game with also detest the 9x9 (so we only play 19x19) as he wants the strategy of the full board, but he want the feeling of the full board to enjoy all the thinking. (I do play 9x9 in Igowin and SmartGo Kifu against the computer, and I really need to log into KGS and play people not bots)

* = Well it does start to feel small after alot of 19x19.
After you've learned the game well enough to feel comfortable on the 19x19 I see no reason to ever play on anything else, unless you're teaching the game.
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Jugular wrote:
Just so you know (except for a few esoteric situations) Chinese and Japanese scoring give the same victor and by the same relative amounts. Most Westerners use Japanese scoring but Chinese scoring is often cited as the 'better' and more understandable method.


One of those "esoteric" situations that comes up is if a beginning player continues to make moves to rescue a dead group while the other player passes. In such a situation, there could be a significant difference in score.
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Thunkd wrote:
virre wrote:
I think it depends on what type of gamer you are, I have no trouble with the 9x9*

However the person that I played my first game with also detest the 9x9 (so we only play 19x19) as he wants the strategy of the full board, but he want the feeling of the full board to enjoy all the thinking. (I do play 9x9 in Igowin and SmartGo Kifu against the computer, and I really need to log into KGS and play people not bots)

* = Well it does start to feel small after alot of 19x19.
After you've learned the game well enough to feel comfortable on the 19x19 I see no reason to ever play on anything else, unless you're teaching the game.
Couldn't disagree more. I like playing 9x9, 13x13, and 19x19 for different reasons, and I still play them all the time. They involve different skills and goals.
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Russ Williams
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There are sometimes 9x9 and 13x13 tournaments, which are a fun change of pace!
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I think I like the sound of the Chinese system a bit more. I wouldn't mind some explanation of living and dead stones. Does the website one of you gave talk about that?

Well, I know I'm not a fan of the 9x9. It feels far too aggressive for me. I tend to play games very deffensively. I think I might jump into the 13x13 to get a feel for what the full size board might be like.
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michaeljzerby wrote:
I think I like the sound of the Chinese system a bit more. I wouldn't mind some explanation of living and dead stones. Does the website one of you gave talk about that?
Yeah. The first link that was put in is an interactive tutorial that takes you step by step into learning rules and moves, and might help you visualize better.
The second, to senseis, is a collection of resources for beginners. It has a link to this: http://senseis.xmp.net/?IntroductionToLifeAndDeath
It has definitions with diagrams of living and dead stones, plus a few exercises to make sure you understood the concepts.

michaeljzerby wrote:
Well, I know I'm not a fan of the 9x9. It feels far too aggressive for me. I tend to play games very deffensively. I think I might jump into the 13x13 to get a feel for what the full size board might be like.
Yeah, it's definitely an aggressive board. It's good for practicing fighting and tactical skills. The 13x13 starts showing a bit of the strategy feel you'll get fully in the 19x19 standard board.
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Mike James
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Phelanpt wrote:
michaeljzerby wrote:
I think I like the sound of the Chinese system a bit more. I wouldn't mind some explanation of living and dead stones. Does the website one of you gave talk about that?
Yeah. The first link that was put in is an interactive tutorial that takes you step by step into learning rules and moves, and might help you visualize better.
The second, to senseis, is a collection of resources for beginners. It has a link to this: http://senseis.xmp.net/?IntroductionToLifeAndDeath
It has definitions with diagrams of living and dead stones, plus a few exercises to make sure you understood the concepts.

michaeljzerby wrote:
Well, I know I'm not a fan of the 9x9. It feels far too aggressive for me. I tend to play games very deffensively. I think I might jump into the 13x13 to get a feel for what the full size board might be like.
Yeah, it's definitely an aggressive board. It's good for practicing fighting and tactical skills. The 13x13 starts showing a bit of the strategy feel you'll get fully in the 19x19 standard board.


Love the website! Super helpful! Thanks to all who suggested it!

I suppose seeing live and dead shapes is a key. I can tell it takes practice.

If two newbies are playing, they won't see all these live and dead shapes. When scoring, does it matter if you recognize life and death?
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To clarify, scoring at the end of game.
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