Dangling a Stone Above the Board While Thinking


Jan de Wit: I used to do this a lot when I was playing chess. Somehow, I always managed to point out to my opponent the lines of play I was worried most about. It didn't help me become very good at chess; I guess that's why I'm playing Go now. So remember the proverb "Play where your opponent wants to play".

If you contraposit this very roughly you end up with: Don't do what your opponent wants you to do.

Don't show your opponent what you are thinking about!

TakeNGive: A friend of mine, with whom I have an indefinite jubango running (he recently beat me back to three stones handicap), does this a lot (dangling stones above the board). About once every other game, a stone or three falls from his grasp onto the board. Grrr! (He also rattles incessantly. I regard it as a way to improve my concentration. :-)

Tim Brent: Does this ever lead to the "bomb tesuji"? (for those who do not understand - dropping the stone and scrambling the position).

Ben Finney: One of my teachers has an effective method of proving to the offender how annoying this is: take one of your own stones and "help" them by weaving it about in a similar manner, obscuring their line of sight. They will either realise sheepishly what they are doing, or take offense, at which point you have an ideal opportunity to suggest that neither of you should do it any more.

ian: Why not try getting them to read Sensei's Library? You could even helpfully point out a section that might interest them. Personally I agree with the player at the top, candidly point out to them that they are revealing their thoughts on the state of the game.

Skelley: A lot of beginners like dangling. Tell them that it seriously affects their playing strength because: "If you hover your hand over the board, you can't see the whole board properly and you'll miss important moves."
P.S. Slapping their hands helps too, especially with children, but make sure their parents are not around ;)

Grauniad: As noted elsewhere, the KGS client encourages this bad habit by displaying a stone as you move the mouse over the board. Should we ask the KGS client author Bill Shubert to change this behaviour? Or should we simply train ourselves to keep our hands off the mouse until we have decided on a move?

Matt Noonan: I think that when you are playing online, grabbing the mouse is the same as grabbing a stone. Keep your hand out of the bowl until your move is decided!

Jenny Radcliffe: It's very embarrassing - someone I play who's quite near my own strength does it a lot. We aren't playing teaching games and I can't for the life of me work out how to _tactfully_ tell him it's a pain in the butt.

Hu: There are three approaches. 1) You can gently and steadily escalate as Ben Finney suggests above, step by step, until he gets the message, all the while smiling and being ready to explain or apologize overly profusely as soon as he notices or objects. 2) The direct approach, gently applied: ask him if he is enjoying the games, then ask him if you could talk to him about how the game is played, ask him if he would like to make it enjoyable for you as well, ask him if he is aware of something he is doing, and then ask him directly please don't dangle. If that doesn't work, ruthlessy apply 1) until you are holding both your hands directly in front of his face. 3) Take a stronger member of the club he respects into your confidence. Have them play a game with him and then they can directly and loudly confront him and shame him into behaving. Then if he does it to you again, simply ask him to respect you the same way he respects the strong player. He has no right to treat you the way he is.

Confused: Why not simply ask him politely to stop, because it disturbs your concentration?

William Newman: "Please don't hold your hand over the board that way, it makes it hard for me to see the board." Works for me. I don't know whether it would help with the social awkwardness described above, of feeling you can't quibble with a stronger player. I'm 3 dan AGA, and typically players stronger than 3 dan already know better than to hold their hand above the board indefinitely. Thus, while I probably end up saying this to a someone every month or so, they're almost always weaker; and many of them are beginners that I've taught the game to. But I personally would be receptive to an opponent, whether much weaker or not, asking me to stop behavior which I'd never thought about but which, once I thought about it, clearly could be annoying.

Incidentally, last year I taught a strong (IM) Chess player to play Go, and he really liked to dangle stones while thinking, so evidently it's not considered important to avoid this in Chess. Maybe it's because it's so much easier to remember the board in Chess, so that seeing the board isn't so important? Strong Chess players can play games (sometimes several games) blindfolded, but I doubt many Go players could manage that...

Not sure about that, I remember a discussion on the tournamentrules of chess. Some Guy was complaining that his opponent couldn't lift up a piece he was about to capture from the board whilst considering which piece to capture it with. Apparantly it was extremely distracting, the lawyer rules fiends agreed with him. IanDavis

tderz: Chess players can play games (sometimes several games) blindfolded, but I doubt many Go players could manage that... Hmm. it's just the question which Go board size should we compare with Chess : 9x9?, 8x? I am pretty sure that's manageable and will try it again. I remember playing blind 9x9-Go with another one - slightly weaker - also playing blind. Eventually he resigned because of "confusion, couldn't see it anymore", whereas I was only "seeing" that I was losing until then. I think it helps very much for 9x9 (blindgame or not) if you are more a tactical player on the 19x19. Most of Joseki, Fuseki or position-evaluation advantage from the big board seems lost on 9x9. Hence, the more positional player (19x19) is relatively weaker on a 9x9, esp. in blindfold games. one colour Go might be an intermediate step for practising blindGo.
If I were dangling the stones above the board it would distract myself in the first place. If others are taking the Go stone in their mouth or to their lips before playing - it's disgusting but not very disturbing.

axd: There a saying like "stone in hand wants to be played", but couldn't find it.

(bogiesan): when I am teaching go, I am specific about discouraging the habit of dangling. A quick illustration why it is both rude and risky is easily accomplished by waving my stone under their nose and dropping it into a formation from a height of 12 inches. I tell my students there is a saying, "Play go with determination if not confidence. Decide where you wish to play. Pick up your stone. Place your stone. Now it is my turn."

Dangling a Stone Above the Board While Thinking last edited by on June 24, 2012 - 23:35
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