Tuesday, October 20, 2009
It's tough to start playing go. I mean beginner-beginners, people who have literally just started playing, like not having played ever.
I can remember how frustrating it was, even after 10 games or so. The problem with go is that you have to know how to play it reasonably well (mid 20k?) to even be able to know when to stop playing.
I recall that, as I finally got to that level, the game became tremendously more interesting. Before that, the only word that describe it is frustrating.
I had a game challenge out the other day, and this new player with no rank at all took it up. I've avoided these people since they are often high level players starting new accounts, and they destroy me. This time is just a new player, and by new, I mean brand new.
Presumably this player new about making two eyes (which isn't a core rule, but an emergent one, resulting from the three core rules), because he/she was intent on making eyes. Just two corners for the first 54 moves.
The game was effectively won for black at move 10 or so, in a way that does not require great reading to know.
Once I realized this was a brand brand brand new player, my first concern was in trying to disuade discouragement. This is difficult.
Once you get a player over the 'beginner's hump', then they're hooked.
The KGS scoring thing was unable to deal with the game when we initially double-passed (I passed like 20 times during the game, in an attempt to demonstrate that it was done). Because territory borders were not firm, if I marked the stray dead pieces as dead, it would mark the live white stones in the corner as dead too.
We had to keep playing just to seal the borders.