June 6, 2006
Lately I haven’t been playing much WoW, but I have been playing a lot of Go. It’s a mentally challenging game, and I can look forward to a lifetime of learning and fun. Jessica is going to be giving me a goban for my birthday, and that has increased my interest in playing the game.
I first started playing go when I was a teenager. I played it on Yahoo! Games. I enjoyed it. I was better at go than I was at chess. But, I got distracted.
The next time I got serious about the game was a couple of years ago. I downloaded a program similar to Goban (the one I use now), and started playing against GnuGo. I also played a little on the KGS.
Sensei’s Library is a wiki devoted to go. Its maintainers have even gone so far as to create wiki markup that gets formatted as images of go positions (complete with ways to annotate the board). It is an indispensable resource for any go player.
Goproblems.com is a site full of exercises. People upload scenarios designed to teach and then one can work through all of the exercises using a Java applet. The site has time trials at different ranks from 30 kyu all the way to 6 dan. I have learned a lot from the exercises here.
Naturally, when I started playing again, I started frequenting these sites again. I noticed a banner on one of them for the Go Teaching Ladder. This is a phenomenal resource. Weaker players can record their games in SGF and then submit them for a review by stronger players. Most of the reviewers are at least 15kyu or stronger, and some of them are very good teachers. The best part is that all of the reviews are available for download. So, one can go download an SGF and watch somebody else’s game along with comments by a stronger player as to what would have worked better.
I read a half-dozen games last night, and it has already improved my 9x9 game significantly, and now I don’t feel like a chump when I play 19x19 (a full- sized board). I’m sure I could have read it somewhere else, but there’s something powerful about reading the proverbs and strategies in the comments of an actual game. It puts the proverbs in context.
I’m sure I will be blogging more about go in the future. It’s not pink, but it is my obsession.