Friday, July 08, 2005

Teach and Be Taught

One thing that has struck me in the go world, is how willing stronger players are to share their knowledge with weaklings such as me. An amazing number of players on KGS have helped me out, reviewing my games, giving pointers towards getting stronger, so many people giving lessons in the teaching ladder room. So much knowledge and such willingness to share.

Naturally, I have been reciprocating the favor towards weaker players. And I have discovered that I very much enjoy teaching people, endlessly talking about go, helping some one get stronger, give them insights about their play and how to improve it. I have joined The Go Teacher account on the Dragon go server. It is a group teaching account, teaches players from about 12k to 30k. It has been enjoyable to teach there, but it also has been very valuable and teaches me a lot. It helps to deepen my own understanding. It is very useful to verbalize things you were only aware of on a more intuitive level. Not only that, but reading through the comments of the other teachers has helped me too.

I take paid lessons too, with Sendol and zalmoxe. Sendol is an amazing teacher. I love the way he can change the whole board situation by putting just a few stones differently. He also is fond to point out the huge move I missed, first time playing it out and showing me why. After that, every few moves he might go back to it. 'Still'. Makes me more aware of looking for moves like that. And more aware of how bad it was to miss this particular one :-)

Fun to compare teaching styles, most people seem to develop their own style over time. Where one of my old teachers tended to use a lot of yelling when she got excited, another one wouldn't do more than say 'tsk' at a particularly bad move, making me think for myself why this was a less than optimal move. Yet others will say 'This is no good.', taking away my move and showing how much more effective just one space to the left would have been.

Today, I managed to beat The Many Faces of Go for the very first time on level 10 (the strongest level). I hadn't been playing it at all for ages, somehow robots just aren't as much fun as playing humans. But I was curious to see how I would do against it, since I felt that I had gotten a bit stronger since then. And yes, I have gotten stronger. I beat it by thirty something today, and didn't even have to focus that much on the game. It was a day time game, with the compulsory 5,000 kid interruptions. So I am happy about knowing that I can beat TMFoG now, guess I can start using it for handicap practice. Although that is more fun on people too. I might just keep using it for problems and joseki study.

Talking about problems, I have done at least ten thousand problems since January this year. Of course, a lot of those are simple ones (Korean Problem Academy and such), but it still feels like a quite respectable number. Guess I should do my daily problems for today, haven't done much yet. I also want to work more on memorizing that Honinbo game, I have 200 moves or so down.

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