Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Going Going Gone

Serendipity found me at the Pancake Manor last night, waiting for Scrabblette, at the same time as the Brisbane Go Club was meeting. Actually, it wasn't entirely serendipitous. I visited the Go club about 20 years ago, and was very impressed that the Pancake Manor allowed them to play there. So a few years ago I investigated the possibility of playing board games there, and it's OK with them as long as we're buying stuff from them and not using up tables that lots of other people want. For example, it would be poor form to occupy large tables with games on a Friday night when there's lots of party people out. That's fine, because gaming in the presence of drunks terrifies me. Anyway, because of their good attitude I'm happy to go to the Pancake Manor any time. And luckily, Scrabblette has to work late on the same evening as the Go club meets.

So I wandered down to the players and there was a guy standing there who said hey you want a game so I said OK I'm not very good and he gave me 9 stones and we played a game of Go. Of course, this guy was the club president who coaches the dan players. He's like the sifu. I would be flogged by a 15 kyu player, let alone someone who knows what they're doing. What should I do in this difficult situation?

Option 1: Play as if I'm playing an equal opponent and be annihilated.

Option 2: Play defensively and be very badly beaten but at least have some points.

Given that I don't know ANYTHING about attacking moves, I decided to take Option 2 and see what happened. I defended the corners, and apparently managed to keep him out. I did try pushing from one corner to my stone in the middle of that side, but the attack got split into two and the central group died.

Eventually (after only about 20 minutes, we played fast) my opponent pointed out that I had 52 points of territory and he had 180 or so, and there was no hope for me. He said I should have played more aggressively. Fair comment, but my counter was that if he wanted he probably could have taken some of those 52 from me as well. I don't even know how to defend against a 3-3 invasion and a couple of my corners were open to it. So I was pretty pleased with my points, feeble as they were.

He did suggest I read a book on tesuji, which was a useful suggestion. Back when I was reading about Go I thought my next step was to learn joseki, but tesuji sounds like it will be more practical at my level of ability. I'd better study up so it's not completely boring to play me. I have the Go application installed on Facebook if you want to challenge me.

1 comment:

ekted said...

Yes. Learning to read ahead is much more important for a beginner than learning openings.