Thursday, March 1, 2012

Thursday Go Tips!

So we're going to start yet another tradition on this blog!  On Mondays, I'll introduce you to a new professional player, and on Thursdays, we'll discuss some ways you can get better at Go.  I'm no professional, but I've been playing Go for over 9 years and have been teaching on and off for awhile, so I could offer some helpful hints.  Some tips are rank specifics, while others are applicable to just about anybody.  Let's roll up our sleeves and get to it!

One-Color Go
Today's tip will present a bit of a challenge for you.  I'd like you to grab a partner and try out a game of "One-Color Go."  It's exactly as the name suggests: you would play as normal, except both players play with the same color stones.  How do you keep track?  You'll have to memorize where each move is, or else you'll mess up.  You play as normal, but you automatically lose if you forget where your stones are.  At first, it takes a great amount of concentration.  I was able to partly do it when I was 12 kyu, but got really confused once we got to the endgame.  It became more of a test of wills than anything else.  What one-color Go is good for, though, is to help you concentrate on memorizing your shapes.  "But I play bad shapes all the time!  How is memorizing that going to help me?"  It'll help you when you go to study standard shapes (joseki) or do tsumego problems and find it easier to visualize moves or memorize sequences.  Playing Go relies on the strength of your visualization muscles, so you should give them a workout.  Plus, once you become good at one-color Go, you'll be able to impress your friends and possibly defeat stronger players evenly if they don't have your powers of memorization!