Print Story ATTN GO RULE WRITING INFIDELS
Diary
By Idempotent (Sun Oct 23, 2005 at 11:29:20 PM EST) (all tags)
If you're going to write down the rules of Go, please do so in a manner which allows people who do not know how to play Go to learn how to play Go.

This should include carefully defining all the terms, and maybe using some of this new-fangled "numbered list of short sentence" technology to list the rules concisely, instead of writing four pages of waffle.



My SO and I decided that, after the 24 incident [1], we should probably ease up on the DVD watching thing for a while. And what better to fill an evening than social interaction over a game? But probably best to play one which neither of us knows. We choose Go, because of it's uber-game reputation and because we're intellectual types for whom Chess just doesn't cut it.

I suspect the rules supplied with our cheapo board were rewritten to avoid a copyright violation. But what's the excuse for all the rules listed on the net?

Vague rules are probably OK if you're learning with someone who already knows the rules. But when neither of the players knows them, it's important to have unambiguous rules, otherwise you could be playing completely the wrong game.

For example, it would be nice to have a definition of territory. Yep, I know, squares bounded by an unbroken line of stones. But how big? How do you get the nice neat lines in the pictures when you can put a stone anywhere? What's to stop the other player putting a stone in your territory?

I suspect the plan now is to download some player software (for Mac OS X -- any suggestions?) and learn it like that. But then one of us is going to be at a disadvantage, unless we play it together when the whole point is to get away from computer screens. And we still won't know precisely what the rules are.

The rant ends.


[1] You see, the problem with series on DVD is that there is no built-in throttle on viewing. This meant that she got addicted and we had to watch them lots and lots. I just got mildly annoyed by a plot where things happen not because they make sense, but because they're the most unexpected thing to happen. One Sunday we watched five! [2] Also, once we stopped for the night, she then looked up on the internet what happened in the next episode. I am not putting series two on the rental list!

[2] You USians have 20 minutes of adverts per hour? How do you tolerate that? Still, at least it gave a more efficient viewing of "an hour".

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ATTN GO RULE WRITING INFIDELS | 33 comments (33 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
Try here by spiralx (2.00 / 0) #1 Sun Oct 23, 2005 at 11:49:24 PM EST
This was good for me.

Know what you mean about DVD watching... my gf and I tend to have marathon weekend sessions where we watch a dozen episodes or so...


That looks much better, thanks! by Idempotent (2.00 / 0) #3 Sun Oct 23, 2005 at 11:59:20 PM EST
DVDs are dangerous things. At least we don't have a TV so the sessions can't extend because there's "something else good" on afterwards.

[ Parent ]
OH, YOU DON'T HAVE A TV? by Rogerborg (2.00 / 0) #9 Mon Oct 24, 2005 at 01:23:54 AM EST
Amazing, you managed to go at least three days without mentioning that!  I guess you really are getting something special from your broad at the moment.

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Metus amatores matrum compescit, non clementia.
[ Parent ]
Maybe, by ambrosen (4.00 / 1) #10 Mon Oct 24, 2005 at 01:35:37 AM EST
Hmmm. I think it has been longer than that. by Idempotent (2.00 / 0) #11 Mon Oct 24, 2005 at 01:47:32 AM EST
Certainly longer than most people go between mentioning stuff they watched on TV.

Like it or not, TV is kind of a feature in our world, and is going to get mentioned one way or the other.

[ Parent ]
It must be so tiresome for you that we do that by Rogerborg (2.00 / 0) #12 Mon Oct 24, 2005 at 01:50:03 AM EST
You know, with you NOT OWNING A TV and all.  I do apologise.

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Metus amatores matrum compescit, non clementia.
[ Parent ]
Actually, I don't give a toss. by Idempotent (2.00 / 0) #14 Mon Oct 24, 2005 at 01:52:59 AM EST
Also, now I re-read it, that diary entry could have been written by someone who has a TV. There's nothing in it to suggest I don't have one. See how much it matters to me?

Maybe because you're an annoying bastard who lords his supposed superiority over everyone else, you assume others are like you? And more evidence to show that you make amusing comments first, read the article later. A policy which I wholeheartedly support, of course.

[ Parent ]
Oh, DO YOU NOT HAVE A TV then? by Rogerborg (2.00 / 0) #15 Mon Oct 24, 2005 at 01:55:47 AM EST
What was that, fifteen minutes this time?

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Metus amatores matrum compescit, non clementia.
[ Parent ]
Dude, by Idempotent (2.00 / 0) #16 Mon Oct 24, 2005 at 02:00:11 AM EST
you made the first mention.

How's the Wizards and Hobbits thing going? Polished your shiny helmet recently?

And guess what, you've just brought up your W&H thing. Don't you ever shut up about it? Or are you just getting confused about all your dupe accounts?

[ Parent ]
LOL WHAT? by Rogerborg (2.00 / 0) #23 Mon Oct 24, 2005 at 03:31:52 AM EST
We've always been at war with the TV.

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Metus amatores matrum compescit, non clementia.
[ Parent ]
Look, by Idempotent (2.00 / 0) #24 Mon Oct 24, 2005 at 03:38:06 AM EST
if you're not going to read my diaries and comments carefully, how on earth can you expect me to do so?

[ Parent ]
I forgive you by Rogerborg (2.00 / 0) #25 Mon Oct 24, 2005 at 03:48:03 AM EST
You know not what thou dost.

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Metus amatores matrum compescit, non clementia.
[ Parent ]
Speak English, man! by Idempotent (2.00 / 0) #26 Mon Oct 24, 2005 at 04:21:05 AM EST
Did we conquer your puny country for nothing?

[ Parent ]
No by Rogerborg (2.00 / 0) #31 Mon Oct 24, 2005 at 06:34:09 AM EST
You did it all for the nookie.

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Metus amatores matrum compescit, non clementia.
[ Parent ]
Go is simple really by gazbo (4.00 / 1) #2 Sun Oct 23, 2005 at 11:50:29 PM EST
If you put your stone down such that it forms a straight line with one on your colour at each end and the rest of the line being your opponents' colour, you flip your opponents' stones over and they count as your points.

The only exception is if you try to do this across a diagonal while in knid.


I recommend always assuming 7th normal form where items in a text column are not allowed to rhyme.

Almost. by Idempotent (4.00 / 1) #4 Mon Oct 24, 2005 at 12:00:35 AM EST
You forgot the all important anti-clockwise goat muffling rule. But apart from that, your accuracy rivals most badly photocopied rule sheets.

[ Parent ]
Trouble is, by ambrosen (2.00 / 0) #7 Mon Oct 24, 2005 at 12:58:32 AM EST
they haven't bundled it since Windows 3.1. Hearts just isn't the same.

[ Parent ]
Red rag to a bull by GoStone (4.00 / 1) #5 Mon Oct 24, 2005 at 12:06:59 AM EST
You want to learn to play Go? Don't start with the rules. The rules are there to cover weird situations you won't encounter as a beginner.

Some introductions to the game:

British Go Association
Nihon Ki-in
Gobase
Senseis Library



I wondered when the Go mafia would show. by Idempotent (2.00 / 0) #6 Mon Oct 24, 2005 at 12:18:01 AM EST
I'll check them out this evening, thanks for the links.

I did find the Gobase one, but that wasn't terribly helpful either. I think there's a big disconnect between what is seen as useful by an experienced player, and what is actually useful to someone who knows nothing and is attempting to learn with someone who knows nothing. Unfortunately, I do need to start with the rules, because what else is there in this situation?

Go on, answer the territory question. You know you want to.

[ Parent ]
Territory by GoStone (4.00 / 1) #8 Mon Oct 24, 2005 at 01:22:53 AM EST
Go has very simple principles from which all else follows in a logical manner. Territory is not one of those principles, but an emergent phenomenon. Nevertheless it is so key that you can't play a decent game without understanding it. Also some rules explicitly involve territory, mainly because that is a more elegant method of calculating the score. Unfortunately it is also putting the cart before the horse for beginners.

To cut a long story short, only trial and error and experience will tell you whether an area is territory or not. It depends if:

  • it can live
  • your opponent can live inside it

If an area is too small or the wrong shape to make two eyes then it isn't territory. If a territory is too large your opponent will be able to make life inside it and it will disappear.

Your opponent can always play inside your territory if she wants, but if your territory is good there will be no point doing so, because her stones will be captured and add to your score.

This is what defines the end of the game. You don't want to play in your territory as that removes points, nor do you want to play in your opponents territory as you will be giving her points. If there is nowhere else to play it is the end. 



[ Parent ]
Chickens and eggs. by Idempotent (2.00 / 0) #13 Mon Oct 24, 2005 at 01:50:09 AM EST
You need to understand the rules before you can understand the rules.

Thanks for explanation. I now understand the concept, and why they didn't bother finishing the explanations in the rules. All a bit of a red herring -- just concentrate on the stones and what can and can't capture them.

You may now have this month's 4.

[ Parent ]
We could play a practice game. by GoStone (2.00 / 0) #17 Mon Oct 24, 2005 at 02:10:34 AM EST
Check your mail!


[ Parent ]
Very kind! by Idempotent (2.00 / 0) #19 Mon Oct 24, 2005 at 02:34:47 AM EST
Check your mail!

[ Parent ]
Unconfirmed rumour: by spcmanspiff (2.00 / 0) #30 Mon Oct 24, 2005 at 06:05:18 AM EST
If you eliminate the ability to pass, so that the only way to end the game is for one player to be completely obliterated from the board (by being forced to fill their own eyes & thus die), the winner will always be the one who has the most territory where the game would normally end.

At least, that's how I think about territory: A shortcut to calculate the eventual winner in a game where only captures count for points, but that must be fought to the bitter (and boring) end.

[ Parent ]
Interesting idea by GoStone (2.00 / 0) #33 Mon Oct 24, 2005 at 11:26:26 PM EST
as long as play stops the moment one player has been eliminated.


[ Parent ]
Cheapo board by DesiredUsername (2.00 / 0) #18 Mon Oct 24, 2005 at 02:19:22 AM EST
It is easy to get overwhelmed by the possibilities when you are starting and if your board is cheap it probably only has 19x19, which is too big for a beginner. Start with 9x9 which not only limits the possibilities but also shortens the game considerably. Your goal at the this point is just to understand the simplest tactics and a Go proverb applies: Lose your first 50 games as quickly as possible.

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Now accepting suggestions for a new sigline
Two sides, 13x13 & 9x9 by Idempotent (2.00 / 0) #20 Mon Oct 24, 2005 at 02:35:50 AM EST
So it is small enough.

I reckon playing a few games would help considerably. But only if I've got the rules right!

[ Parent ]
Aha by DesiredUsername (2.00 / 0) #21 Mon Oct 24, 2005 at 02:40:13 AM EST
Have you found Sensei's Library? The rules there seem clear to me, but I already know them so that's not saying much.

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Now accepting suggestions for a new sigline
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I have now! by Idempotent (2.00 / 0) #22 Mon Oct 24, 2005 at 02:54:23 AM EST
The stumbling block was that the rules which came with the game said "it's all about territories", then failed to define them or explain them usefully. So basically I was under the impression that I was missing something very important.

Fortunately, GoStone has cleared this one up.

[ Parent ]
THE OS X Go player: by MohammedNiyalSayeed (2.00 / 0) #27 Mon Oct 24, 2005 at 04:30:16 AM EST

is Goban. Accept no substitutes.

As for the ads, I just refuse to watch them. With some 500 channels of crap, there's always something on, somewhere, that isn't an ad. Whether or not any of it is worth watching is an entirely separate question, but that's why Allah made the Xbox, PS2, and DVDs. Allahu ackbar.


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You can build the most elegant fountain in the world, but eventually a winged rat will be using it as a drinking bowl.
Thanks! by Idempotent (2.00 / 0) #28 Mon Oct 24, 2005 at 04:40:20 AM EST
That looks very shiny.

500 channels. That's quite something. Still, good old Allah!

[ Parent ]
tivo. by garlic (2.00 / 0) #29 Mon Oct 24, 2005 at 05:08:36 AM EST
you know you want to.


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Goban is sweet by debacle (2.00 / 0) #32 Mon Oct 24, 2005 at 10:57:08 AM EST
When you have nothing else to play.

IF YOU HAVE TWO FIRLES THOROWNF MONEY ART SUOCIDE GIRLS STRIPPER HPW CAN YPUS :OSE?!?!?!?(elcevisides).

[ Parent ]
ATTN GO RULE WRITING INFIDELS | 33 comments (33 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback