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KGS 18 kyu. Player extraordinaire.

MrShin has inspired me, so Iíve picked Cho Hunhyunís latest 100 games to memorize.


So far, so good. Iíve memorized the first 4 moves in one of the games already! Cool ^-^


Edit: agh, make that the first 3 moves in one of the games. *sigh*


MrShin: You do know that it's better to work on ONE game at a time? I honestly hope you're kidding. I'd wait until you can memorize one game easily before working on more than one. :-p


Oh, I know. I have a set of 100 games, but I'm memorizing one at a time. As of this evening (3/17/2005), I've managed to memorize 9 moves of game one!


nachtrabe: How are you going about memorizing them?

MrShin: I would recommend about 10 moves at a time. I don't know why, but 10 seems to work. Probably because humans are base 10. :-p Work on moves 1-10, get those then do 1-20, etc. Take breaks in between, to make sure you have them down. Work on it until you get 100% accuracy (no stopping to think). Also, I'm not sure if remembering the move numbers is good or not. It certainly makes it easier, but I abandoned that approach since it seemed like a cope-out. Hehe, we should just make/move this discussion.

Bill: I would suggest memorizing a whole game at one time. The main reason is that the moves hang together. Seeing later moves helps make sense of earlier moves, and that helps to memorize them. Anyway, it is seeing these relations between moves and the meaning of moves that make memorizing games beneficial.

Oh, if you do memorize 10 moves at a time, start at the end of the game.

Ph34r: A whole game at a time?! Is that even possible? The idea of starting at the end of the game (and working backwards, I assume), is very interesting. Would you also then study it by asking yourself: "Ok, White moved here, where would Black had moved before which caused this reaction?" And try to guess the move?

Bill: After I had been playing about a year I found I could remember about the first 100 moves of my games a few hours later. I think I could have remembered a whole game with prompting only a few times. OC, memorizing someone else's game is not as easy. Still, once you have played over a pro game, you should be able to remember most of it with some prompting. Then do the same the next day, etc. It should take only a few days, trying to remember a whole game every day, to memorize it, not three weeks or a month, which is what you could do with 10 moves per day. As for starting from the end, I mean back up 10 moves and memorize them, then back up 20 moves, etc.

Alex Weldon: I wouldn't worry too much if you have a hard time remebering games. Memorization ability comes with playing ability. To beginners, strong players' abilities to remember games seem almost supernatural, but it just has to do with understanding the game - natural moves are natural to remember, so all you have to do is remember the moves that surprised you. After just one time clicking through a pro game on Gobase, I can usually get 90% of the moves right on the second time through. The mistakes I make are usually from reversing the order of a couple of moves, or else moves that I really didn't understand when I saw them the first time.

So, if playing skill helps memorization, does the reverse hold true? I don't know. I guess you'll find out.

Grauniad: Can Bill or Alex advise which games a kyu player should try to remember (in the hope of improving)?

Alex Weldon: There's not much point in studying the games of a pro with a complicated, fighting-oriented style because you won't understand it, and the moves will be particular to that game, rather than having general application. Pick someone who favours thick, steady and natural moves. Players who focus on good shape are also useful to study from. See professional players' go styles for ideas.

(Hicham): I would strongly advise you to learn one game at a time. The point of this excercise is to play better go, so just simply memorizing some moves will not do. What will help is memorizing a game and then be able to replay it over and over, so you understand the flow of the game better. Then when you can replay the first game without trouble, you can start at memorizing the second game. I also think that this kind of study is more useful to dan players than to double digit kyu players. If you want to learn something from pro games, replay the same game a couple of times. You will see that after a while you will be able to use the kifu less and that your memorization skill has improved. It might not be the best way to improve, but it sure as hell will not harm your game in any way, so go ahead and try if you really want.

Calvin: When I was starting out, I memorized in chunks of 50. I still only go to first yose. (Why memorize yose when you should be counting directly?) But you should be warned that this might not make you noticeably stronger in any measurable way. I've done hundreds by now, just because it's fun, but I can't claim that's gotten me more than, say, 2 stones. That's not to say I've learned nothing, but I think that any benefit I may have gained is currently eclipsed by other weaknesses such as tactical reading. I look at it as fun and a long-term investment. When I really want to get stronger and not just have fun, I study tsumego. Most everything else is inefficient as a kyu. But going through a lot of pro games does help you appreciate other pro games more. Appreciation isn't strength, though---you can appreciate art without being able to create it, or sports without being able to play them. But if you want to create art, you better clean off those brushes, and if you want to play sports, you better hit the gym. It's the same with Go. Studying pro games makes you more of a "Go-oligist" than a player, unless you are already very, very strong.

nachtrabe: Warning, 13k speaking... I like to study an entire game at once, memorizing 25-50 moves at a time (whatever "feels right" for that game). Like some others here, I also like to stop when we get into the endgame. No memorizing move numbers--memorize the flow of the stones and try to understand how they "talk" to one another rather than abstractly being able to say "the eighteenth move of the game was this..." with no regard for the actual board. I like to think of it as poetry--I may not understand all of the symbolism or even all of the words used (kind of like reading poetry in a foreign language), but you can still appreciate the beauty and structure on some level, even if it is not as deep as someone with a better grasp on that same language.

The more you memorize, the more of the structure of that language will become apparent, and the easier the games will be to memorize.

As to the games you memorize... choose ones that interest you or ones that are by pros you like. I like complex games, not because I get anything out of them in terms of my play, but simply because I can sit back in awe of the moves and appreciate the sheer power that the professionals show (and I think that it helps make me braver about playing away). That said: I don't expect studying such to make me stronger, I simply do it because I enjoy the game.

Bill: Calvin asks a rhetorical question: "Why memorize yose when you should be counting directly?" Well, OC, why memorize at all? Just learn to make the right play.

Counting may be cut and dried, but it need not be. The endgame is largely about fighting strength. In addition, yose are typically confined, so that the endgame offers a kind of laboratory for studying tesuji.

Ph34r last edited by MrTenuki on July 9, 2006 - 00:58
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