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 Post subject: Best games for beginners
Post #1 Posted: Tue Dec 22, 2020 12:38 pm 
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Hi,

I was considering having a list of pro games that were engaging. At a beginner level, what I'm looking for is, sure, games that aren't overly subtle, but also games that, for some reason, are a historic reference. I'm a... fan? of the 3rd Honinbo, 2d game (The Atom Bomb Game), and I suppose AlphaGo 2d and 4th vs. Lee also qualify. But I don't know which other games could be engaging.

So, any ideas? Of specific games, not players.

Thanks. Take care.

[EDIT / PS: For another example, Fujisawa Rina's first victory in a mixed tournament would probably qualify]

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Post #2 Posted: Tue Dec 22, 2020 1:58 pm 
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Here is a knockdown dragout fight. It would need some commentary, OC.



Also see this game, a masterpiece, which I have commented, including comments aimed at beginners. :)

https://lifein19x19.com/viewtopic.php?p=70790#p70790

To quote myself: ;)

Here is an interesting game, a masterpiece, in fact. :) I have already posted it with TV sportscaster-like comments, but I have added several comments aimed at beginners. The earlier comments are marked with ***, the beginner comments with *. You may find it helpful. :)


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 Post subject: Re: Best games for beginners
Post #3 Posted: Wed Dec 23, 2020 1:43 am 
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Okay, games with handicap are definetly a game apt for beginners, specially if commented. And I thank you for all of it (both games, the comments...). I'll print them on the 26th, I guess, and work them out.

But what's the context? How do I explain a recent arrival to the game that those games changed something? The 3rd Honinbo was during the atomic bomb, and ended up giving us the Go Centers in the West. The 43rd Kuksu was the first female victory in a major game, and Fujisawa Rina's victory some weeks ago the signal that that first victory hadn't been a chance encounter between a Chinese player who had something to prove and an association in its second generation. You could possibly point to the Ear Reddening one as a signal of things to come...

What makes those games significant to the history of Go? Or history in general, actually. The 3rd Honinbo might have been a minor local game and the moment would have made it significant nonetheless.

But the target "audience" I have in mind is people who don't yet know who Genjo and Chitoku are, who might know about Shusaku because there are websites about something of an animated series... There's a link between Go and the "real" world, and I want to link to that.

Which gave me another idea: triple ko.

Thanks. Take care.

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Post #4 Posted: Wed Dec 23, 2020 4:11 am 
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I don't want to sound like a party-pooper, but I'm not sure you are going to find wat you want. You are certainly not going to find anything suitable unless you define your target audience more rigorously.

In its simplest form the idea boils down to a book of "100 Famous Games." As I'm sure you'd expect, that idea has been around for a very long time, in both go and chess. Wu Ruizheng published a "Collection of Immortal Games" for go in 1690, in China. Irving Chernev tried countless variations on the theme in chess, and who remembers him or his books now?

I was asked to produced something like this for Slate & Shell. I did some research. It's easy to come up with a list of candidate games. But when you look in detail it's like sand sifting through your fingers. It's the game format that seems to be the problem. For example, a game famous for having first move on the side can certainly raise an eyebrow of interest, but after move 1 it becomes like any other game. Similarly, a game famous for a blunder by a meijin means you have to wade through 250 moves of not very special go before you get to the interesting position.

If you restrict the games to those that have a story attached, those that are "engaging", like the Ear-reddening Game, you end up with a very short list, you list have the same problem of wading through a not specially interesting game to get to the interesting point. And as with the Ear game you get problems of really understanding the go-specific point of the story. The eponymous move, like much to do with Shusaku (thanks to his PR-wizard acolyte Ishigaya Koasku) the move is vastly overrated and hard for a beginner to appreciate. The real go point of the game, that it was considered a masterpiece by Genan to keep the score down to B+2 in a no-komi game, is often overlooked. But even if you incorporate that element, does it mean anything to a beginner, who has no idea what a no-komi is or feels like?

It was considerations like these that led to abandonment of the S&S project. What emerged instead was The Go Companion. It did include some famous games (for example, the Nine Dancing Dragons), but by freeing myself of the shackles of games format I could range much more widely. In the case of the Atom Bomb game, for example, I gave a very long exposition of that event under the wider heading of Go in Wartime Japan, but I don't think I gave a single diagram let alone the whole game. That book has proved popular, but it was not aimed at beginners (or children). If I'd had to limit myself thus, I think I would have found it too hard.

If beginners/children are the audience, the nearest analogue I can recall is small music books I devoured in primary school on the Lives of Great Composers. In retrospect, I have found it significant that these books were about composers and not players. Perhaps that indicates that go "players" should be similarly downgraded. There is after all a good case to be made that nearly all of them are mere nerds. But even if you wrote a book about the lives of great go players, getting readers to engage with their games is a LOT harder than getting children to listen to Mozartian ditties such as Alla Turca, or Lieutenant Kijé's Sleigh-ride, where no music theory is needed for enjoyment.

I think therefore you may find it easier to focus less on games and more on highlights. If I look back on a long go career, some of the things that I would list as highlights, in special order, would be: the atom bomb, New Fuseki, AlphaGo, the friendship between Genjo and Chitoku, Huang Longshi and his alleged murder, Shuwa coping with the fall of the Shogunate, Go Seigen, Tibetan go, sunjang baduk, traditional Japanese go boards (lined using swords), go manuals going back over 1,000 years, go in the Cultural Revolution, go for blind people. Several of these are in New in Go, which is also a repository of further such ideas. What these boil down to is not games but the well-tested journalist maxim: there's nowt as interesting as other folk.


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Post #5 Posted: Wed Dec 23, 2020 8:03 am 
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John Fairbairn wrote:
In its simplest form the idea boils down to a book of "100 Famous Games." As I'm sure you'd expect, that idea has been around for a very long time, in both go and chess. Wu Ruizheng published a "Collection of Immortal Games" for go in 1690, in China. Irving Chernev tried countless variations on the theme in chess, and who remembers him or his books now?

I do! And I still see Logical Chess: Move by Move, The Most Instructive Games of Chess Every Played, and Capablanca's Best Chess Endings recommended to improving players (and rightfully so).

Chess definitely has an advantage over go (at least in English) when it comes to collections of lightly-annotated instructive games meant for beginners. I've thought some about why this might be. It helps that a chess game has a much smaller number of moves, and generally a nice narrative through-line rather than a collection of a half-dozen simultaneous topics that are constantly rising and falling in priority while subtly influencing each other; it's easy to write a few-pages annotation of an instructive chess game with the theme "Black falls behind in development and White gets a successful attack", or "Black demonstrates the power of the two bishops", but go games can rarely be summarized so tersely.

I've read through at least twenty collections of chess games cover-to-cover, but always run out of steam around 10 games in whenever I try to make it through Invincible (not to mention Relentless, Lee Sedol's series, Genjo-Chitoku, and Games of Shuei, all still sitting on my shelf). Someday I'll learn to play through a go game...

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Post #6 Posted: Wed Dec 23, 2020 8:29 am 
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I have had the privilige of getting lectures from InSeong Hwang. His lectures are usually about some specific topic and he often shows positions from games of famous players to illustrate that topic, but I cannot remember him showing those games in full. I think this shows good judgement, because showing the full games would take a lot of time and it would detract from the lecture topic.


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Post #7 Posted: Wed Dec 23, 2020 9:51 am 
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John Fairbairn wrote:
I don't want to sound like a party-pooper, but I'm not sure you are going to find wat you want.


No worries.

Quote:
If you restrict the games to those that have a story attached, those that are "engaging", like the Ear-reddening Game, you end up with a very short list,


I... know? I know very little of the continental traditions and events. My list so far includes the Ear Reddening game (and I'm not convinced of that one), the 3x ko and Nobunaga's death, the 3rd Honinbo (the comments I have are those in The Early Years and a smattering of videos), the 43rd Kuksu and the 15th Hiroshima Al cup (one coin, two sides), the last game of the Meijin, and the even games of AlphaGo.

It really isn't much, and it leans heavily to the modern era; also, the more the better. But I do think they're a nice place to begin and tease someone into Go history. I might be wrong. I'm also doubting about including some of the games on the Godokoro intrigue.

Quote:
The real go point of the game, that it was considered a masterpiece by Genan to keep the score down to B+2 in a no-komi game, is often overlooked.


I think I read something about this, by you, but I can't place the source. If not, then Invincible.

Quote:
But even if you incorporate that element, does it mean anything to a beginner, who has no idea what a no-komi is or feels like?


Not really. But then, this happens with everything else in the game. I don't think *I* understand Komi properly. But it can help introduce handicaps (old and new), for example.

I'm starting from the point that a DDK can barely understand a game (much less Shusaku, Go Seigen...), but I'm hoping that by introducing them to the human part of Go, the "non-geek" part, they might get a glimpse that interests them.

Quote:
What emerged instead was The Go Companion. It did include some famous games (...), but by freeing myself of the shackles of games format I could range much more widely. In the case of the Atom Bomb game, for example, I gave a very long exposition of that event under the wider heading of Go in Wartime Japan, but I don't think I gave a single diagram let alone the whole game.


The Go Companion is in my wishlist. It's one of those books that's always second in the queue: when next I have money I'll... And then I either don't have money or I can't find it. Oh, and S&S. I really got burned with them. I need search for the book itself, because the moment I glimpse one of their covers I change the website. But it's possibly what I was searching for when I got "400 years..."

Hm... I'm not sure if I gave the wrong idea. I do not plan a book. I'm not even sure what I'm planning could be published. I'm in no illussions I can write a good Go book myself; I plan on combing through and selecting from public information and what books I have, to get a... Booklet? Maybe. I don't intend to publish anything but the index (maybe, maaaaybe, if it got permission, but I'm getting so very ahead of myself I can't even see the footprints). It's for private use. And without move replay / analysis behind what might be a 5 minute skim of the general idea.

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I think therefore you may find it easier to focus less on games and more on highlights. If I look back on a long go career, some of the things that I would list as highlights, in special order, would be: the atom bomb, New Fuseki, AlphaGo, the friendship between Genjo and Chitoku, Huang Longshi and his alleged murder, Shuwa coping with the fall of the Shogunate, Go Seigen, Tibetan go, sunjang baduk, traditional Japanese go boards (lined using swords), go manuals going back over 1,000 years, go in the Cultural Revolution, go for blind people. Several of these are in New in Go, which is also a repository of further such ideas. What these boil down to is not games but the well-tested journalist maxim: there's nowt as interesting as other folk.


Agreed. And if we turn the goban upside down we can use swords even some more. In fact, with Genjo-Chitoku and Go Seigen-Kitani Minoru we might into nerd friendship shonen stories (love the book, BTW).

Thanks for your pointers. Take care.

PS: I seem to be unable to access GoGoD. I thought it was a glitch but it's been there for some weeks, now. Also, is there anywhere I can get your Bibliography? Amazon lists some of your books, but not always (and not all Amazons are equal).

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Post #8 Posted: Wed Dec 23, 2020 10:24 am 
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Quote:
PS: I seem to be unable to access GoGoD. I thought it was a glitch but it's been there for some weeks, now. Also, is there anywhere I can get your Bibliography? Amazon lists some of your books, but not always (and not all Amazons are equal).


Maybe you've been trying an old address. It snow https://gogodonline.co.uk/ and is working OK AFAIK.

The latest bibliography listing I've made is as follows. The Amazon links, if any, will be on the GoGoD site. Where to get the old S&S books I have no idea, but I am well into preparing a new edition of Kamakura for on-demand printing.

[QOUTE]
This is not a definitive list of everything I have written about or translated in go over 50 years. It is only the most recent books.

*
Available in paper form as on-demand printing via Amazon/Kindle Direct Publishing:

The Incident Room: A bedside book recounting the most famous or important incidents involving go rules, ranging from bizarre to stroppy to plain daft.

The First Teenage Meijin: An account of the 2019 Meijin title match in Japan in which Shibano Toramaru became the first teenager to win a major title. All five games are fully annotated by combining several professional commentaries, but Game 5 with Cho U, considered to be of especially high quality, is supplemented with a move-by-move evaluations by two AI bots. These confirm the high quality. A detailed history of the Meijin title and tournament is also provided.

Meijin of Meijins: The Life and Times of Honinbo Shuei. A full-length biography of perhaps the past player most admired by modern pros. A text-only companion volume to Games of Shuei.

Games of Shuei: 121 commented games involving Shuei and 12 commentaries by Shuei on games by his pupils. Shuei’s own games are given in chronological order and cover his entire career. A special focus of the book is heavy discussion of his style, one of the things most admired about him, especially by followers such as Go Seigen and Takagawa Kaku. Games are also given its their historical setting and add some material, such as biographies of other players, not given in Meijin of Meijins (but that book should be used for details of Shuei’s own life). This book has some 50% more games than the original e-version (see below), and is also reformatted into Go Wisdom format, with full Go Wisdom appendix first introduced in the following book.

Genjo-Chitoku: Friends and Rivals at the Pinnacle of the Go World. All the 86 games between two players of Meijin strength during the Golden Age of Go. Almost all commented, in the new colour enhanced Go Wisdom format to encourage and facilitate repeated private study.

Peerless Pioneer: Games of the Great Senchi, Yasui VII Senkaku – commentaries on six games by the great Edo player hailed as the “Father of Modern Go.” There is also a German edition (Die Partien des Grossen Senchi Yasui VII Senkaku), published in 2017 by Brett und Stein Verlag, ISBN 978-3-940 563-25-5 (translated by Gunnar Dickfeld).

*

The following were all published by Slate & Shell and may be harder to track down now that Slate & Shell have ceased paper publications. But several have been converted to digital form by them for SmartGo.

The Go Companion (with T Mark Hall). A pot pourri of articles on just about every aspect of go. A sort of bedtime book of go.

The Go Consultants (with T Mark Hall). Detailed coverage of a famous consultation game featuring the actual thoughts of the players, including Go Seigen and Kitani Minoru.

Kamakura. Extensive commentaries on the entire ten-game wartime match between Go Seigen and Kitani Minoru, with long biographical sections.

Final Summit. Similar treatment for matches between Go and Takagawa Kaku.

9-dan Showdown. Similar treatment for matches between Go and Fujisawa Hosai.

The Meijin’s Retirement Game: Honinbo Shusai versus Kitani Minoru. A detailed commentary on a famous game, but also includes extensive discussion of the Kawabata novel Master of Go based on this game.

Old Fuseki vs New Fuseki: Honinbo Shusai plays Go Seigen. A detailed commentary on a famous game, but also includes extensive discussion of the famous Shin Fuseki-ho book, and thus New Fuseki theory.

Power/Brilliance. Two books combined, each including commentaries and historical background on (a) The Insha Game: Honinbo Shusai versus Karigane Junichi, and (b) Jowa’s Three Brilliancies: Honinbo Jowa plays Akaboshi Intetsu.

*
Available for SmartGo (gobooks.com) interactive books on PCs, Apple and Android devices:

The Life, Games and Commentaries of Honinbo Shuei (three separate volumes). The original, though much smaller, source of the paper books on Shuei mentioned above.

The Go Consultants. A version of the original Slate & Shell paper edition.

Go Seigen’s Ten-Game Matches, Volume 1. Four selected games from the original thirty games in the Slate and Shell paper edition of 9-dan Showdown.

Gateway To All Marvels. A major treatment of the most influential go book ever produced, the Xuanxuan Qijing. All 466 problems from every known edition of this ancient Chinese classic are given, their names are explained, the various solutions are given and discussed (including many mistakes by pros), and the ancient accompanying texts are translated and annotated, including the Go Classic in Thirteen Chapters. The themes and key techniques of all the problems are also discussed and indexed.

Unfinished Symphony. Extensive commentaries on the shortened ten-game match between Go Seigen and Karigane Junichi, with comprehensive historical background.

New Ways in Go. A complete translation, with notes, of Honinbo Shuho’s classic Hoen Shinpo.

Today We Have a Splendid Feast. All the surviving problems from the 17th century graduated tsumego course devised by the Meijin Inseki, Dosetsu. An introduction describing Dosetsu and the story of the book is included.

Wonders of Life and Death. Honinbo Shusai’s 1910 tsumego classic, Shikatsu Myoki, with an introduction by me as the editor. It includes 120 problems (with solutions), most original and many taxing and ingenious.

Honinbo Tournament – The Early Years. The Honinbo Tournament is go’s oldest annual tournament. This book describes in detail how it came about, and goes carefully through each of the early years in the 1940s and 1950s. The games of each title match up to Term 6 are given with rich commentaries (32 games), showcasing also the most famous players and anecdotes.

*

Also available in Kindle e-book editions via Amazon are:

The Life, Games and Commentaries of Honinbo Shuei (three separate volumes). The original source of the present paper book.

Inoue Genan Inseki. A short biography of one of go’s most fascinating characters.

Gateway To All Marvels. See the SmartGo interactive version above.






































https://gogodonline.co.uk/

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Post #9 Posted: Wed Dec 23, 2020 11:44 am 
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John Fairbairn wrote:
Maybe you've been trying an old address. It snow https://gogodonline.co.uk/ and is working OK AFAIK.


Ah, yes. I remembered there was an old site, but the links I was finding of late where with also the old address, so I guessed the old one was a .com or something. Thanks.

Quote:
The latest bibliography listing I've made is as follows. The Amazon links, if any, will be on the GoGoD site. Where to get the old S&S books I have no idea, but I am well into preparing a new edition of Kamakura for on-demand printing.


Fantastic. Thank you.

Take care.

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Post #10 Posted: Fri Apr 16, 2021 11:55 pm 
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Great theme for a beginner, I was lucky to find it!!

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