Sunday, January 16, 2011

How's the Go going?

Several people have asked me recently about my endeavor with the game of Go. I will try to answer as best I can. I became a member of the American Go Association and received several past issues of Go World magazine. I tried to spend some time everyday studying the game and played online at the Internet Go Server (IGS). Frankly, I was surprised every time I won a game. I am a very bad player, so there must be many players worse than I! Most of the games are faster than I would prefer and I do not care for 2D, but there are few players here. In an interview with GM Peter Svidler on he was asked:

Mustiz: Which logical games other than chess do you like?

"I barely play anything else – in my childhood I tried Go, but due to the absence of anyone to play against my interest soon faded."

While studying the game, I came across what was described as "the move of the year." I did not understand the move and certainly had no idea what made it 'the move of the year'. This bothered me greatly. Realizing I needed personalized instruction, but not wishing to pay for it over the internet, I became frustrated and took a break for awhile. I left the position with the 'move of the year' on my board for months, looking at it as if meditating...

I learned that the time I spent on Go had not been for naught, as it has rekindled my interest in chess. I am first and foremost a fan of the game of chess, and, as such, have been enjoying my study of the game more than ever. I believe it is because chess is something with which I am familiar. I have watched the game evolve for the past four decades and am enjoying the continuity. Although I enjoy playing over a game of Go by the Masters, they are foreign to me, and not only because most of them are Oriental. The best player in the west is Michael Redmond, and I enjoy watching his games, but he's almost as foreign to me as Harold Larwood. I knew nothing of him until reading that the book that made the greatest impression on GM Svidler was, the biography of Harold Larwood. I learned he is a famous Cricket player. Having played baseball for over a decade in my youth, taking up Go would be similar to my now turning to Cricket, I suppose. I have an understanding of baseball; not so with Cricket.

So I will continue to study and play the great game of Go, but only for enjoyment. It really is hard to 'teach old dogs new tricks' as the brain begins to ossify. It is extremely difficult to improve my understanding of the game of Go, but I will continue to do so because, 1) I enjoy it & 2) I believe it is helping my brain to learn something relatively new.

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