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Subject: Superb software for introducing very young children to Go rss

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Robert Munro
United Kingdom
Southampton
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www.gochildgame.com/en/
I've found this excellent software for assisting me in intorducing my young children to the game. It uses problems that are accessible to a three year old and very gradually increases the difficulty with a very child orientated reward system built in. More advanced students of the game can just set the difficulty level in the hundreds to find a suitable challenge. It's a Chinese site but has a English interface - I much prefer the downloadable rather than web 2.0 version.
 
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Billy McBoatface
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I took a look. It looks great - I've taught my 7 year old to play go (she could play a full game by age 4), but my younger daughter never had the patience to learn. Maybe she will like these web pages, I'll show them to her next chance I get.

Edit: Some of the problems are a little odd though. There will sometimes be several groups you could capture, but only one gives you the "win" result. Are there instructions somewhere that I'm missing?
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Robert Munro
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I'm not certain which problems you have in mind but I think you have to determine what can be achieved with the stones available in the bottom left during the liberty counting stage problems. I have not come across any instructions yet but it seems fairly intuitive. My daughter will be moving on to the illegal moves problems soon and it will be interesting to see whether she can figure out what's expected on those.
 
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Billy McBoatface
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The first couple sets of problems give you a handful of stones and a board; you place stones until you have captured some enemy stones.

But I found several problems where there are more than one chain of enemy stones to capture, but only one chain gives you a win.
 
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Robert Munro
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I (and more importantly my kids) see the point of those problems as identifying the group which is capturable with just (say) three stones. In other words they are liberty-counting or 'which is the weakest' exercises.
 
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Billy McBoatface
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I showed this to my younger daughter. She is 4 and has a normal attention span and is not that great at spatial reasoning. Between the two, me trying to teach her to play go has been a failure in the past. (My older daughter is the opposite in these two ways, and could beat a beginner adult in 9x9 before her 5th birthday).

I think this site has some great and some really bad things. The great thing is that the high repetition of simple concepts really pounds things home in a good way. After 2 days, 10 problems each day, repeating problems (with explanations from me) whenever she makes a mistake, the 4 year old can now show how to capture a group (assuming the opponent always passes), can spot an eye, and can even show how to capture a one-eyed group...that's great progress!

But the bad is that the interface is incredibly clunky and slow. Some clicks take seconds to register, and if you multi-click they "stack up" so often she'll miss information and muddle the system up as she click-click-clicks while waiting for things to happen. I've mostly taught her to click once then WAIT for something to happen, but this backfires when she clicks an illegal move - which gives no result at all, so she waits and waits.

So I think the site is great, and the teaching system so far works well, but the interface is so bad that you really need an adult there giving constant advice not just on what is being taught, but also on how to deal with the UI.

I'd love to see something similar done with a decent UI. It could be really incredible. I'll also report back later, to see if this can get my daughter to where she can actually play a game of go.
 
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Robert Munro
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You mention problems for the interface of 'the site.' Did you try the web based version 3 or the downloadable version 1? I suggest that version 1 has a lot more going for it at the moment.
 
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Billy McBoatface
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Oh, sorry, I thought you were talking about the web based version. I run Linux so for me the web based version is much more convenient. If the downloaded version is better, I may try it on my wife's laptop, but it's hers so I don't like to occupy it very much.
 
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Mike Bazynski
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the version 1 seems a whole lot worse than the web3 as you have no choices at all what problem shows up, and it doesn't say anywhere which type of a problem it is...
 
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