Go

Some time ago, I don’t remember exactly when, I discovered a website to play Go. I saved it as a bookmark to play later, and then forgot about it.

Last Sunday, however, looking for something on Wikipedia, I found an entry about the game (look at it to know what I’m talking about) and I read the complete article. I was so excited I read again The Interactive Way To Go, a very interesting tutorial, and then started looking for a computer program to play Go. I found GNU Go, but it is text based (I would like something in fancy colors), so I continued my search. Ummm… Actually, maybe I could use cgoban in combination with gnugo

Yesterday evening I continued my training with Tel’s Go notes (another good source of information) and late at night I found a free Go server. I had to install a Java plugin to play, but then I enter the wonderful world of Go. Once you login you can look at active games (observing games is important to learn), and you can join multiple chatrooms and, of course, play games!

My first Go game

I played against a bot, and won by 36.5 points! Then I played against another robot, and he resigned. Hopefully, because I was getting bored. It’s not I’m very good at it (I’m rather mediocre), but Go (compared to chess) is a game that few computers can play well. It is far more exciting to play against humans. My problem is that I’m very bad at strategy, and an awfully slow player. My friends know that. I can stay hours thinking about my next move, because I’m so undecided. I hope playing Go will help me improve my character.

Ok, now the question: “Why am I so excited about Go?”

I like Go because it has simple rules. You learn tactics by observing and playing, and every time you get better. There are also ranks, like in Karate. A newbie like me will be usually 30 Kyu (on KGS I’m currently 28 Kyu) and professionals will have 1st Dan (till 9th Dan). You can play with an advanced player with handicap, so it is always a fair game. With chess, for example, you can’t. One paragraph that I like about Go:

A similar comparison has been drawn among Go, chess and backgammon, perhaps the three oldest games that still enjoy worldwide popularity. Backgammon is a “man vs. fate” contest, with chance playing a strong role in determining the outcome. Chess, with rows of soldiers marching forward to capture each other, embodies the conflict of “man vs. man”. Because the handicap system tells Go players where they stand relative to other players, an honestly ranked player can expect to lose about half of their games; therefore, Go can be seen as embodying the quest for self-improvement—”man vs. self”.

(from a b Pinckard, William, Go and the Three Games, Kiseido Publications, retrieved 2008-06-11 in Bozulich 2001)

If someone is interested to play. I have a user in KGS. See you there! 😉

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One Response to Go

  1. xesc says:

    I found a very interesting tutorial with a lot of puzzles to solve every day: http://www.321go.org/ 🙂

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