Differences Between Amateurs And Beginners

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HandOfPaper: Sometimes beginners fail to notice when they have (salvageable) groups in atari. Can anyone comment on the kyu level (on average, I guess) by which this disappears?

Mef: Well, I'm supposedly about 3 kyu, and I still can't spot atari all the time...

Charles A better indicator would be awareness of snapback shapes, ahead of time. There are just a few basic patterns. A dan-level player should really always be aware of a snapback coming.

HandOfPaper: First of all, one question, Charles: do you mean notice a snapback coming a few moves ahead or at the last chance to connect out when the group only has 2 liberties left? When should the amateur notice? Something else I've heard of (from Zahlman) as an example of a difference between beginner play and amateur (and high-level beginner) play is the way that saving a group from death takes on significantly global considerations at higher levels while, at lower levels, saving a group from death remains a local problem.

Alex Weldon: There's already a page about this. See Rank and What You Know

HandOfPaper: Then should I take this down? What's the proper thing to do here? I apologize, but I am new to Sensei's Library.

Mef: I think this page could still serve a purpose, for instance, they say lose you first 50 games as fast as you can so then your can start learning...well what is it that you learn in those first 50 games (i.e. separating a complete beginner from now just a player)?

Andrew Grant: You learn a number of important principles, mostly so fundamental that most go players have forgotten that they need to be learnt:

1) Every move must have a reason, even if it's a silly reason. If you ask a beginner "Why did you play there?" and he/she answers "I don't know", they haven't progressed beyond the complete beginner level yet.

2) You only get one move per turn. A favourite answer of complete beginners to the question "Why did you play there?" is "Well, if I play there and then there and there and there, I can capture those stones." It may not be correct to capture the stones even if you could, but that's a higher level consideration. The important point is that White isn't going to ignore all those moves and let the beginner play three or four moves in a row.

3) You have to be able to read at least one move ahead. At its simplest this means not playing stones into atari because you hadn't realised you were doing so (once you learn to play stones into atari knowingly, as a deliberate sacrifice, that's a different matter altogether, and a sign that you're leaving the beginner level). At a slightly higher level it means things like not running out of an atari on the second line because you can see that it's futile.

4) You need to appreciate that filling in your own territory is a bad idea. This is related to learning to read ahead, since if you can see (by reading) that your territory is secure, you won't be tempted to put more stones in it.

Can anyone think of any other principles to add to this list?

George Caplan I throw a few concepts in here, based on the following assumption. What we are suggesting here is when a player becomes a player, not a beginner. To the horror of many double digit kyu players, I am thinking that the list started by Andrew applies around 12 or 13 kyu.

5)You know when the game is over, even if you do not know who is winning. You understand when the territories are mapped out, dame is filled and at least think no further invasions are possible.

6)You have an understanding of what ko is, and therefore, avoid them at all costs.

7) You begin to appreciate the value of joseki, and therefore, overappreciate the value of studying them.

8) When a pro or teacher shows you the correct move in a situation something inside you immediately recognizes that it is correct, even though you would not have been able to find the move in a million years. You cannot explain why it is right, but you have developed an understanding of the game that acts like a little light bulb when you see it.

I realize that these are a little tongue in cheek in presentation, but I think they are valid.

9) You realize that every stone played affects the entire board, not just the little area around the stone, or the area between the stone and the edge of the board.

Velobici: Seems to be at least two different levels here between what is being described as beginners and amateurs: compare 2 You only get one move per turn. with 9 You realize that every stone played affects the entire board. Seems we should split the list into at least two lists.

Velobici: You start to see diagrams or pictures that are the end result of sequences rather than seeing the sequence itself.

DrStraw The title of this page is nonsense - there is no such thing as a professional beginner.

Malweth: I disagree. The page title is using the title of "Amateur" as a more encompassing term of "Go Amateur" which might exclude a "Beginner." A "Go Amateur" could be considered "a serious student of the game," or "one familiar enough with the game to play seriously without being professional." A beginner cannot be considered "Amateur"

The word history of "Amateur" indicates that it is of the French, meaning "a lover of" and is used to mean "one who takes part in an activity for the love of the activity and nothing else." This must exclude the Beginner who has yet to find this "love of the game."

Chris Hayashida: Word roots aside, I agree with Dr. Straw. Can we change the name to something like "What Beginner Need to Know to Get Better" or "The Difference between 30k? and 29k*" :)

George Caplan The title does not bother me, I think I get it, but I also get the complaints. How bout "A Beginner Becomes a GoPlayer? when..."

Andrew Grant: Having just come back to this page after a few days, I'd say that George's point 5 was valid, but the rest are either (maybe intentional) jokes, or way above the level I'm describing. Players at the level I'm talking about, for instance, are barely aware that the ko rule exists, and have never even heard of joseki.

George Caplan Well, I was trying to be a little funny, but the kind of funny that has truth as part of the punch line. I guess I was reading more into Andrew's rules then he intended, because I thought they were more profound - particularly the one move at a time issue. This can be read as a simple rule issue, or as a fundamental flaw in many a kyu players' plan. To me, to be an anointed "amatuer" or "go player" you must know ko and joseki, and I think the initial reaction is, in fact, to be petrified of the former and infatuated with the latter. My rule 8 is probably too advanced - I did not write 9.

See also:

Differences Between Amateurs And Beginners last edited by tapir on August 13, 2014 - 22:31
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