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Now living in Atlanta, GA, USA, I learned Go in 1992 at the [ext] Long Island Go Club but do not play for several months at a time due to two children and a career in software development.

Ranking: AGA 3 kyu, [ext] current rank on KGS, [ext] current rank on OGS.

I travel to China occasionally and take the opportunity to take lessons and buy Chinese problem books.

Favorite Books

Study Method

Reading is my biggest weakness, so when I come out of go hibernation, I do easy problems. The key is to do this every day. After about two weeks, the pattern recognition areas in the brain are in proper shape. After about a month, my opponents start to compliment my killing skills.

Advice to the Beginner

  1. Learn the rules. This is easier face-to-face so hopefully you can find a club.
  2. Create an account on KGS and go straight to the beginner's room. This is free.
  3. Take some lessons to learn the fundamentals. Audio Go Lessons offers a step-by-step series - 10 hours of structured, professional instruction for about US$20 which is a bargain.
  4. Enjoy the game. Play 9x9 games in the beginner's room and then 13x13 before trying 19x19.
  5. When you ready to learn more, look at pages for beginners and consider getting some books such as Learn To Play Go Series or Elementary Go Series.
  6. Get software to playback a recorded game. I use SmartGo but there are plenty of free options. You can use this to review professional, commented and your own games.

Real World Lessons Learned From Go

  • Ko - A ko is like a negotiation in that it is offering a trade. A key idea from ko is that you should get something even if you don't win the ko. Similarly, in negotiations, always try to get something even if you don't win. Didn't get the promotion, then ask for a raise instead. No? Then ask for approval to attend a training conference, more vacation, or other perk.
  • Efficiency - Sometimes you make a brilliant move that kills a large group and your opponent immediately resigns. But most of the time it is about making each of your moves slightly better than the opponent's. Life is mostly the sum of lots of small decisions. Aim to maximize those small decisions.
    • Consistency of goals - decisions should be in conjunction with earlier decisions.
  • Honte/Aji - Often the best decision is to prevent problems before they happen. Not as exciting, but necessary in order to be able to do the exciting stuff later.
  • Study and Review to get better - You get better faster by taking the time to review how things went, identifying your weak points, and studying to prevent the same mistake in the future. Slow down now to go faster later.
  • Lose your first 100 games as fast as possible - There are lessons learned in loses and you get exposure to new techniques by playing those who are stronger than you. Don't be afraid to fail. Don't be afraid to look stupid.
  • Obvious Truths are often only obvious in hindsight - When giving your game to a pro to review, they will often point out a simple move - a shape move or linking two weak groups - that is so effective that obviously it is the only move. Why would anyone even consider anything different? Yet, you played another move in your game. Remember the same when listening to a podcast - while the speaker may be saying things that seem obvious, were they really so? Maybe you learned a new truth just now.

Darrell last edited by Darrell on November 6, 2022 - 17:05
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