Go Dojo

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Wilcox's Go Dojo

Table of contents

Go Dojo is a computerized interactive tutorial with detailed, lucid explanations and frequent comprehension tests, written by Bruce Wilcox. Wilcox has released two installments for Go Dojo: Sector Fights and Contact Fights. Both can be purchased using [ext] PayPal and delivered either by postal mail or email that accepts 1MB+ attachments. Wilcox is the author of EZ-GO.

Contact Fights

[ext] Contact Fights consists of four levels of lessons: elementary, novice, intermediate and advanced. Contact Fights occur when stones come into contact, that is when stones are played either adjecent to existing stone (a touch) or diagonal to an existing stone (a shoulder hit). At each level, several rules and a concept are introduced. After each rule, a short test on the material is provided. A summary test and one or more sample games, with through commentary on correct and incorrect moves, complete each level.

Wilcox presents five rules that for handling stones in contact. Following these five rules result in the strings of stones in contact become stable. For Wilcox, seeking stability is the most fundamental level of play. The most basic methods of achieve stability are the stretch and the hane. At the elementary level seven rules are presented to determine which stability seeking moves to reject. Novice level play adds six rules of preference order for stability seeking moves. The concept of a group supplements the elementary level concept of a string.

Contact Fights occur when players struggle to build walls, influence, and avoid having their contacting stones fall into one of the other two areas of behavior. Proverbs like "Play hane at the head of two stones" or "When crosscut play extend" come from contact fights. The Contact Fights chapter is broken into 4 levels of study (from beginner through dan level). Each has teaching, rules to learn, quizzes to test your understanding of the rules in board situations, and whole games at a variety of levels wherein you get tested continually on the application of a range of rules and see commentary of play and misplay involving those rules. Contact Fights is 1400 pages. As described by the author.

Sector Fights

[ext] Sector Fights are battles over containment, be it of a potential territory or a weak group. Sector Fights happen throughout the opening and midgame and their results are crucial. A 1900 page Dojo installment primarily about strategy. As described by the author.


American Go eJournal

From the American Go eJournal [ext] 6 October 2003 Bruce Wilcox, famous for his book "EZ-GO," is at it again. He's just released new go software called "Wilcox's Go Dojo: Contact Fights." "Contact happens often throughout a game and most players screw it up royally," Wilcox says. "One sees dan players making mistakes with rules a 20 kyu could master. Obviously there is a need for a thorough training on the subject and this is it!" The Dojo is a computerized interactive tutorial on fighting that targets four levels of play, identified in classic Wilcoxian as "Squirm with the Abysmals" (beginner to 20 kyu); "Commit with the Acolytes" (to 10 kyu); "Study with the Ascendents" (to 1 dan) and "Marvel with the Adepts" (to professional). Each level covers how to see the board and what rules to follow, with interactive tests and a printable crib sheet, as well as a built-in viewer that can display SGF games. Wilcox's Go Dojo: Contact Fights is available on CD (Windows only) for $15 plus $2 S&H (no S&H for orders delivered by email accounts accepting a 500kb zip file). Also available in PDF: 'EZ-GO Oriental Strategy in a Nutshell', an updated version of the original print book, available for $25 including S&H. For ordering details email brucewilcox@bigfoot.com

British Go Journal:

[ext] Review

Sensei's Library Members

AshleyF: I just started using it this morning. Very interesting. Similar browsing idea to Bob Myers' [ext] Igowalker™. I've only gone through the first section so far but the Contact Fights material is very interesting as well; quite precise; much like EZ-GO. It almost feels like the priciples were designed for a game engine and then retrofitted for human consumption! It's cool though - I recommend it. Consider it Basic Instinct heuristics for those of us still on the path to making such thing second nature.

Petri Actually much of these theories have been designed for go-engine. Bruce W is one of the pioneers in computer go. Much of this theory was developed when Bruce W started out in computer go and had problem of not knowing the game. If you ever read wilcox-reitman papers you will find articles that have some of this explained as applied in computer go. ACM archives is one place whre you can find them.

kritz This program is scary good for a 15k. A slap on the side of the head.

Petri I did go through the sector fights "book". It is quite bit better than the contact fights book. It gives you kind of advise you can actually understand - a problem that you may not have as I do, mere 10k/KGS, with some go books: Like A is not good and as an explanation is a 20 move sequence I could never play nor do I see what is wrong about that.

So, explanation does make sense and can be understood by players like me and they do open your eyes to some mistakes which at least I make constantly. And yes, much of this information can be found from other books but expressed quite differently. For example Co-operation of stones is handled to great detail with multitude of examples. If you compare same subject say from InTheBeginning, Sure same advice is given but with mere two/three examples.

Great thing is sample games of the GreatWall fuseki and neatly explaining how it works with the theory presented in this e-book. I will certainly experiment with it now, and lose bunch of games just see if I can learn something from it.

On down side is:

  • early parts of the book in problems you are not supposed to know even a single jump escape from containment. So what I would see as an correct answer is wrong cause "has not been shown yet" ==> reader is assumed to be a beginner.
  • And as mentioned somewhre else about EZ-Go book: Uses non familiar language.

Overall. I think it bit expensive, but depending how good you are and how you like the style writing Bruce uses it may well teach you more than what you would get from spending same amnount of money on other books.

andsok75?: I think both books are very valuable.

After reading Contact Fights my rank on kgs improved from 14k to 12k in a month simply because I started responding to contact and playing more sensibly when in contact. Also his rule about 5 liberties was a real godsend. Before reading Contact Fights I could never figure out when I should stop extending solidly. Somethimes I would extend to 7 or more liberties and just lose sente, sometimes I would leave my group with 4 or less and get in trouble. Reading Kageyama's book didn't help with that at all. Contact Fights on the other hand answered my questions and now I play confidently in such situations. I recently observed a game on kgs in which vic1000 extended solidly until he had 5 liberties exactly; he then played elsewhere.

As for Sector Fights, it's a real treat. I have never experienced so much go wisdom in a single book. What's more, it is extremely practical as well. Just to give an example, in one of my games I played several single skip running moves and my opponent tried to cut. Before Sector Fights, I always felt uneasy about single skips but now I just played out one of the routine sequences that Bruce shows in the book, and I ended up solidly connected and attacking his weak stones on the other side. There is so much basic information in this book that I will undoubtedly return to it again and again.

TsuQ (3k KGS)?: I have gone through this set several times now. Sector fights is largely about weak groups and how to deal with them on both sides, including naturally quite a bit about running. Contact fights is about dealing with what to do when stones come in contact, which in this case includes diagonal moves such as the shoulder hit.

I was around 6k when I got this set. I think the most valuable aspect of it is the rule-based decision making presented in the earlier parts of both books (the highest levels get more into general ideas.) You may not want to follow the rules systematically, but they give you an excellent idea of when you need to make sure you aren't getting yourself killed or about to have your shape broken. Using the two parts together is especially valuable when in situations where you may not be able to both respond to a contact situation properly at the same time as correctly handling the sector fight implications.

There are also some interesting specifics which are covered. In sector fights, my favorites were the analysis of the one space jump and how it works as a sacrifice running move, and the strategic advantage of the running fight with one weak group between two opponent weak groups. In contact fights, it would have to be first, the value of a double hane, and when it may be playable, and the analysis of the crosscut.

Go Dojo last edited by Dieter on September 20, 2021 - 13:49
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