Teaching me Go

Dobe asked about Peter and games. I have a couple of things to say in that area, but I’ll start with this one.

Peter taught me to play Go when I was a kid. The way he taught me went kind of like this:

He would play a stone.

I would look at the board and not know what to do.

He would tell me where the best place to play was.

I would play there.

He would then make a better play of his own that cancelled or countered the play I had just made.

After several repetitions of this, it began to feel to me like (a) he was really just playing himself, while I watched (I wasn’t really participating); and (b) the moves he was telling me to make were only leading me into trouble.

I’m sure none of that was intentional on Peter’s part; he was trying to share this wonderful game with me. Not his fault that his approach to teaching it to me pushed some of my buttons.

But I never really got into Go. Even though several of my friends have gotten into it over the years.

I was pleased recently to pick up a Go book belonging to someone or other (Kevin, maybe?) and to be able to follow it; it was a detailed introduction to liberties and how to tell whether a group is alive or dead, and it made a lot more sense to me than it did when I was a kid. (My feeling as a kid was that Peter would point to a group of stones and tell me “Those are dead,” and I could never understand how he knew that; it always seemed kind of mystical and vague to me.)

Still, the traditional boardgames (chess, Go, Othello, checkers, etc) were never my strong suit, and knowing that I could study my whole life and still never be all that good made me more or less uninterested in playing Go.

But I know it was always one of Peter’s great loves.

What ended up happening to Peter’s big solid wooden Go board? Do I have it in the garage? Dobe, did you end up with it? I hope it’s somewhere where it’ll be used.

…At some future point I’ll write about pinochle and/or poker. But not tonight.

One Response to “Teaching me Go”

  1. Dobe

    Sorry Jed, I do not remember what happened to the GO board. I’m sure if I’d seen it, I would have saved it, so I’m sure if it was there, someone saved it.

    The last couple times I played at Peter’s, we played on the computer screen (Many Faces Of GO), so I don’t remember, but I don’t think he had it in the later years…

    BTW, check out: http://www.sentex.net/~mmcadams/teachgo/ for (IMO) a great new way, possibly the BEST way, to teach and/or learn GO…


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