Atari Go Teaching Method
The idea and the criticism
The capture game has been used for explaining the basic rule "a chain whose last liberty is filled is removed from the board" and is promoted by the EGCC and Yasuda 9p as a teaching method.
The American Go Association suggests that a common way to develop from atari go into regular go is to change the rule for winning, so that 5 or 10 stones must be captured to win. Then, so that the one who captures the most wins (Prisoner scoring). Then point out that when the only plays left are inside one's own territory, you can just count and see who will win.
Many believe however that this makes pupils focus too much on capturing stones, a bad habit which is difficult to throw off later.
- Stone Counting as Teaching Method - the same goal as prisoner count in a formal sense, but the emphasis is different.
- See also Go Variants as Teaching Method
You are invited to expand this page with some ideas from the
Atari Go Teaching Method / Discussion page and the forum.
It doesn't seem obvious to me that playing Capture Go will lead pupils to become obsessed by capturing stones. Many beginners who did not learn through Capture Go are also obsessed with capturing stones. Properly taught pupils would presumably be able to understand the difference in strategy when moving from one game to another. I have always tried to create a stalemate on the board when using Atari Go - I would then explain to them the concept of territory. Then I would deliberately place emphasis on Go not about being capturing stones, and on the lesson would go. I have not noticed any instance in anyone I taught being obsessed with capture.
I agree. I have an unprovable theory that capture was the first way Go was played, and that surrounding more territory was a natural step once life was "discovered". In my personal experience I find capture go a very natural way to teach beginners about territory.
I would recommend just teaching puzzles rather than competitive games, this is my personal interest.