Forever in the shadow of DieterVerhofstadt/TeachingExperiences
I recommend the 5x5
I introduced the game to a complete beginner today after work. I chose a 5x5 board, and only explained capturing. The first game took about 3 minutes, and my friend lost every single stone. The second game followed immediately; another 5x5 board played online against another complete beginner. With a little coaching, my friend won. After another two 5x5 games with me, I felt he was catching on.
So .. it is good to begin playing quickly, and encouraging to play peers.
Understanding of connection, then life and death evolves nicely over a few 5x5 games. Also the 5x5 games go quickly.
I did not once hear "I just don't know where to play" as I so often hear during early 9x9 games.
Three hour game
I don't mind slow games. If a beginner wants to read as much as they can, they probably should be allowed (even encouraged) to do so.
So I recommend the ocassional three hour game, but I suggest at least a few one hour games in betweeen.
Teaching a 30k? on KGS. Knew rules, did not understand liberties. Continued to play self-atari after multiple warnings. Finally, I had to stop the game and make sure self-atari was understood, and specifically tell the person not to do it again.
Why do they have a hard time with this? It is not hard to see imminent capture. They need to slow down and count liberties, it seems.