Don't take a stone from the bowl until your move is decided
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Taking a stone from the bowl before you have decided your move is considered by some to be a bad habit, by others not. Nonetheless, it is often a good idea to wait until your move is decided before you take a stone from the bowl. There are several reasons for this:
- It will help you not to make impulsive moves, and to think and concentrate. If you have a stone in your hand, you are tempted to play it.
- You may be tempted to flick the stone in your hand and play around with it, thereby distracting yourself as well as your opponent.
- If you change your mind, your hand may hang over the board, blocking your opponent's view.
- There is a chance that you might drop the stone on the board.
- It avoids other bad habits like rattling the Go stones.
A possible way to avoid this habit is to hold another object, such as a squeeze ball, in your hand while thinking about the move. That way, you restrain the impulse to reach out and play the first move that comes to mind.
This applies to online play as well. Many awful mistakes on Internet chess and Go servers have been attributed to leaving the hand on the mouse before the move has been decided.
Leaving your hand on the mouse often causes accidental clicking and can encourage impulsive play.
gaius: actually, I have a tendency to take out a stone while thinking (or even while my opponent is thinking) and start playing around with it for extended periods, often continuing this bad habit throughout the game. The worst part is that half the time I end up fumbling up and having to pick up the stone from the ground... kind of humiliating, maybe I should stop this habit ;)
Aria: It helps to give yourself something else to play with - I think this is the original reason that go players started frequently carrying fans. If your hands have something to fidget with gracefully, they won't be tempted to pick up a stone until you are ready.