Life In 19x19
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A Go guide from a Beginner ...
http://www.lifein19x19.com/viewtopic.php?f=17&t=16283
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Author:  JethOrensin [ Thu Dec 13, 2018 2:00 am ]
Post subject:  A Go guide from a Beginner ...

The book was written from a beginner's perspective and the target group is people that:
a) have never heard of the game (so it contains the basic rules ) and
b) DDK players that want to rise to SDK (so it also contains more advanced material, beyond the basic rules)

The book can be downloaded for free, it is offered in two languages (English and Greek) and it has 192 pages of content. The book contains more than 700 diagrams that are explained in as much detail as possible.

Download it from here either in greyscale or full colour:
https://www.gobook.eu/

Image

Author:  Pio2001 [ Fri Dec 14, 2018 3:55 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: A Go guide from a Beginner ...

Hi JethOrensin,
Thank you for sharing this huge work with the community !

I have read it until page 17, in English. My quick remarks after this short reading :

-The 17x17 size doesn't exist anymore.
-The table page 14 is unclear. The dead stones appear in both columns without explanation, and the beginner won't understand the multiplication by 2.

I think that the bare rule of play should be summarized in a separate part, near the beginning , without strategic concepts. I know that this is not something that we can see in any book for beginners, for two reasons :
-go is traditionally taught by a strong player, rather than through a ruleset.
-the most widely used ruleset (the japanese rules) are so complex that no beginner can understand them.

But here, if I understand properly, the goal is to have the game being discovered by people who live far from clubs and with no other resources than the Internet.
I have seen, at work people who had tried the game, but could not understand the rules, so they eventually gave up.

In practice, the problem with the japanese rule is that it demands dead stones to be removed before counting. But beginners can't identify dead stones. Therefore they are unable to finish any game without the help of a stronger player. This is a huge problem : how can you get interested in a game if you can't play it ?

In this context, I think that the chinese rule is better. But the AGA rule and its translations in France and UK is probably the best ruleset: it can be understood by a beginner (no need to assess life or death, we count all stones on the board), while still using territory, that is used everywhere on the Internet, and especially in go software, that the reader might try.
The French version is excellent, and should be suited for being learned without help, once re-translated in english: http://www.jeudego.org/_php/regleGo.php
I have written a more detailed version (see attached file, in french), without the explanations about eyes and seki, but with more explanations about capture. It might need to be rewritten before being included in a free project, because it contains parts copied from other sources.


About the rest of the book, I see that you introduce general strategic concepts before capturing tactics. This is very unusual, but I agree that in a book aimed at people outside clubs, it is very important to show that go is not just "capture one stone and you win".
Here are two examples.
One year ago, I was doing an initiation with a friend, and we had to introduce the game to 10-20 people at once, for about one hour. We were using the atari-go method. People were asking a lot of questions and we were running from table to table, doing the best we could. Then, an elder woman told me "I don't see any interest in this game". I didn't know what to answer, so she developed "this game is just idiotic ! I prefer playing cards." At that time, I didn't pay much attention, but later, I realized that we certainly omitted to explain that the "first capture" game was not really the game of go ! This woman could not guess.
Another story : at work, I introduced the game to my colleagues, and I always keep a 9x9 board in a drawer for pauses. After some week, a colleague, who is also a chess player asked me "what's the interest of go, compared to chess". This time, I was prepared, and I answered that what we were playing at work was NOT real go, but just mini-go on a mini-board, without any strategic aspect.

However, though I've not really read the next chapters of your book, I have the feeling that advanced concepts are introduced before basic ones. Maybe it would be useful to insert some exercises about liberties, atari, suicide, and then eyes, in the early chapters.
My reference books for beginners are Baduk For Beginners (Kim Sung Rae and Sung Ki-Chang) and also Learn to Play Go vol 1 & 2 (Janice Kim and Jeong Soo-Hyun). The later features much less exercices, but has a good example game in volume 1. It is important to have an annotated example game in a book for beginners.
Maybe it would be interesting to see in which order the basic concepts are introduced in these books, while keeping in mind a general view, in order to avoid giving the impression that go is just a capturing game.

Attachments:
R├Ęgle du jeu.odt [633.02 KiB]
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Author:  9think [ Sun Dec 16, 2018 8:40 am ]
Post subject:  Re: A Go guide from a Beginner ...

Hi Haris,

Thanks for sharing, I am halfway through the book (chapters 1 to 4) now and I'm enjoying it! Really liked chapters 3 and 4, Let's play and Joseki and Fuseki, they have a good reading flow.


Small corrections so far:
- page 66, left image - I think there should be "Playing A, B or C"
- page 96, apporach instead of approach

Author:  Vio [ Tue Jan 15, 2019 2:26 am ]
Post subject:  Re: A Go guide from a Beginner ...

Pio2001 wrote:
-The 17x17 size doesn't exist anymore.


Wrong. Still played today in Tibetan areas on this size.

Besides this your comments are full of insights, even if many of them could generate a lot of debates!

About when to introduce concepts ahead of the rules it's a main concern as beginners are mainly focused on seeing what is happening (like seeing an Atari)instead of elaborating strategies, and we all know how teachers have a hard time to restrain themselves to sink the newcomers under a whole bunch of theory.

Author:  JethOrensin [ Tue Mar 28, 2023 6:15 am ]
Post subject:  Re: A Go guide from a Beginner ...

I am very sorry to say that I had honestly forgotten that I had made this topic, so all these years I had missed your posts. I realise that I am very late to my own party, but I want to sincerely apologise for that.

Since then the book has received some significant feedback in its formating (gone are the excessive boldings and italics) and valuable corrections (hopefully only a few diagrams were incorrectly made or the text was not corresponding properly to it), as well as a lot of full and partial translations (notably French, Brazilian Portuguese, Spanish, Catalan and soon full versions in Romanian and Russian) and I have to say that words cannot describe how greatful I am for the people that helped on those translations.

On your points:

Pio2001 wrote:
About the rest of the book, I see that you introduce general strategic concepts before capturing tactics. This is very unusual, but I agree that in a book aimed at people outside clubs, it is very important to show that go is not just "capture one stone and you win".


I have to admit that I haven't read too many beginner's books (the only beginners I learned from was Janice Kim's series "Learn to play Go" - all my other Go books in my library are more advanced) and I was never sure what the convention was, so I went with my own instinct on what a new player needs and that was "basic rules, basic shapes, an example of a Game (because too many rules, without a practical example might be thought as boring), then how to start the game (so Joseki and Fuseki), then how to proceed in the game (thus Attacking and defending) and then bigger shapes and vital points and their importance (so Life and death).

Initially I thought "hey, that's not too much. I am not a great player either, so how much will that take? Around 70-80 pages?" and then I realised that even putting a fraction of my limited knowledge of those topics on paper would demand a LOT of pages and diagrams.

Pio2001 wrote:
We were using the atari-go method.


I've never played it, which explains why it is not in any of my considerations. Same goes for 9x9 which I've tried and find it very constricting and a very poor introduction to the grand scale/majesty of the 19x19 game.


Pio2001 wrote:
-the most widely used ruleset (the japanese rules) are so complex that no beginner can understand them.


I've never thought about that, since I find Japanese rules very simple and the Chinese rules baffling (in the few times I attempted to read up on them).
on a similar note, this is why my book only has just two half-page mentions on scoring and nothing else. Scoring just never occured to me as a real problem, since I've never played a game on a real board (I live in a small village. Noone else plays Go here).

Similarly a lot of better players at the time took offense that I mentioned that "seki is a rare case" ... but it is true that all those years, it has rarely happened in one of my games and in my level. Maybe in dan level games it is easier, but for a beginner it is really a rare case.

So, sometimes our own experiences can narrow our field of view, so thank you for pointing out the scoring problem :)

Pio2001 wrote:
Maybe it would be useful to insert some exercises about liberties, atari, suicide, and then eyes, in the early chapters.


I really thought about this and opted against it for two reasons:
a) Every book I've read does that and I am not sure that it is done properly or if it is really a good idea or if it throws off the reader.
b) I honestly prefer the concept of "here is the idea, go play a game and try it" instead of sating that curiocity immediately with a problem
c) I was out of space and out of time ... I couldn't find a place to fit them, I'd have to write "chapter intros" for each chapter and I'd have to create them (and I am not that good of a Go player, let's be frank here) in order to avoid plagiarism. All the other diagrams (650+ of them) in the book are of my own creation and from my own games. Reading, reviewing and researching all that was quite a bit of work, but creating new problems would have been an another level. And how could I check that I didn't accidentally make a problem that was the same or similar from another book? I couldn't so I decided to not risk it.

Thank you very much for your time and your very eloquent suggestions and I apologise again for being so late in responding.

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