Tai chi and weiqi...

Tai chi and weiqi...

Postby global village idiot » Wed Dec 28, 2016 6:19 pm

Much like tai chi, I've taken up the game of go (weiqi in Chinese/baduk in Hangul) after a long hiatus.

The hardest part for me is finding players. My daughter plays it but only because I taught her. There is one in my tai chi class who is even rustier than me; and after playing him last night, I'm not even completely sure the game he thought was go is the same one everyone else thinks it is. I've put up flyers in a couple coffee shops on the courthouse square in the town where I work, but no takers - I'll hit up the Chinese take-out places and the sushi restaurant next.

I find the game fascinating, even though I am very much at the "low amateur" level of play. There are people whose understanding of the game is far deeper than mine, and I have a feeling I'm never going to achieve that level, though I may become passable.

In his article "Go and the 'Three Games,'" (link here: http://www.kiseido.com/three.htm), William Pinckard does a good job of analyzing the game from a philosophical and historical perspective, touching also upon the other two games of classical Japanese antiquity, backgammon and chess. I like the way he compares chess to the Indian Mahabarata, a legendary battle similar to Troy, which is central to Hinduism. It may indeed have been the hint for the game's invention.

I see go in some ways as a mental version of tai chi, in that it is an exercise in focus, attention to detail, balance and give/take, but beyond this I don't see them as being any more intimately related - they merely have similarities. If there are deeper philosophical connections between them, I suspect this is because they are products of a culture which encourages and prioritizes their similar attributes, but not that they are related by conscious design. After all, you could make comparisons between chess or xiangqi (its Chinese variant) and Shaolin boxing, but those comparisons would be equally superficial.

Anyone here play this very abstract but engaging game? What are your thoughts?

gvi
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Re: Tai chi and weiqi...

Postby ChiDragon » Wed Dec 28, 2016 8:54 pm

gvi

Weiqi is 圍棋
圍 means to besiege. The game has black and white pieces. The object of the game is to use the one colored pieces to surround the other colored pieces. It is considered to be the aggressor. The opponent, the defender, is to prevent from having one's own pieces being besieged by the aggressor. The one who captures the most pieces of the opponent wins.
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Re: Tai chi and weiqi...

Postby BBTrip » Wed Dec 28, 2016 11:24 pm

Greetings GVI,

I love Go.
Love, love, love it!!!

I’ve been playing for years.
I play with a group of friends. I play against software on my computer and sometimes play others online. Too enlarge our group we introduce others to the game. Sometimes one or two even stick around.

I use to subscribe to magazines, Go clubs. Yeah, I was Go crazy at one point.
When I hear about certain things in the News, I often associate that news with Go strategies.
Like, when Sony bought the historic MGM Hollywood Studio many people said they paid too much.
I thought no, they are taking a corner on a go board. As you know corners and sides are very important to take first because, with board edges, they are easier to defend with fewer moves with less pieces.

Here’s a website that may be of interest:
https://gogameguru.com/

It has many links to a lot of other Go sites.
And if you get desperate for a game you can find someone to play online.
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Re: Tai chi and weiqi...

Postby global village idiot » Thu Dec 29, 2016 12:06 am

ChiDragon,

Thanks for the explanation!

I first started playing in Korea in 1990, basically by getting my butt kicked with clocklike regularity. Koreans call it baduk, and they - especially the young men whom I played with - play as aggressively as they do everything else, slamming the stones on the board and trash-talking like you'd see in a Chicago pick-up basketball game.

I've won several games over the years, but they all pale in comparison to the first time I captured a few stones from a cocky player's stone in a move called "snapback" in English. It's called "Uttegaeshi" in Japanese; and if it has a name in Hangul, in actual fact it's mostly curse-words (if my opponent's reaction means anything). I got my butt handed to me in that game but the look of surprise on my opponent was priceless - in his confidence he didn't see it coming and frankly it surprised me too.

Anyway, thanks for the explanation - looking forward to learning more!

gvi
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Re: Tai chi and weiqi...

Postby BBTrip » Thu Dec 29, 2016 7:03 am

Greetings ChiDragon,

ChiDragon wrote:...The one who captures the most pieces of the opponent wins.


Could you point me to where you got this information?
Is this the way you determine the winner when you play with others?

In today’s game, capturing the most stones doesn’t always determine the winner of the game.
Say, you capture 3 stones and your opponent captures 0.
You could still lose.

Captured stones plus territory points determines the winner.

If I am wrong, please don’t hesitate to correct me.
I'm really interested. :)
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Re: Tai chi and weiqi...

Postby ChiDragon » Thu Dec 29, 2016 5:35 pm

BBTrip wrote:Greetings ChiDragon,

ChiDragon wrote:...The one who captures the most pieces of the opponent wins.


Could you point me to where you got this information?
Is this the way you determine the winner when you play with others?

In today’s game, capturing the most stones doesn’t always determine the winner of the game.
Say, you capture 3 stones and your opponent captures 0.
You could still lose.

Captured stones plus territory points determines the winner.

If I am wrong, please don’t hesitate to correct me.
I'm really interested. :)


Greetings! BBTrip
I know what you are saying.

I should have had said the object of the game is to surround and capture the pieces of the opponent. I guess that is the best strategy in the middle of the board. There is a difference between surround and surround and capture. For instance, the black pieces may be surrounded by the white pieces but not captured. It means that there are only limited territorial space. However, if all the black pieces had been captured, then all the spaces will become territorial spaces. Thus this is object of the game.

The next best strategy is to surround the corners of the board to have a better control of the territorial spaces.


Edited to add:
I am sure I had made a fool out of myself didn't I? :oops:
Last edited by ChiDragon on Fri Dec 30, 2016 2:49 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Tai chi and weiqi...

Postby global village idiot » Fri Dec 30, 2016 12:47 am

BBTrip,

It's funny you mention that website. I'd discovered it right around the time its owner had ceased filling orders, which - and isn't this just my luck - was right when I was going to get a set as a Christmas present for my tai chi instructor.

I ended up getting something for him from Amazon which I suspect was far inferior to what I'd have picked up from him.

http://www.usgo.org puts out a pdf for beginners which I printed up and gave to my daughter, and I'll give another to my "Go buddy" at tai chi. Meanwhile, I downloaded something called "igowin" which has a 9x9 board that's fun to play out joseki on, or otherwise solve quick little puzzles.

I gather there are "Go snobs" for lack of a better term, who think that a $10,000 kaya board and slate/shell stones is the only way to have a meaningful experience playing the game, but I'm not one of them. I do believe, however, that playing with another human being is very nearly essential.

Playing against a computer is like doing push hands with a factory assembly-line robot.

As to the importance of the corners and the sides, what would you say to the idea that the reason lower-kyu players are given their handicaps near the corners is because they are easier to defend, and not necessarily because of any inherent strength in them? I ask this because while this is true, the more experienced player must perforce learn to consolidate his territory in the center and keep his opponent "boxed in," as it were. Corners and sides are strong defensively, but of limited use if you actually want to win.

In this way, you can almost see how one's play morphs and flows, with experience, from the corners and sides (with inexperience), to a balanced game between peers, and ultimately the center against less experienced players who are in their own corners.

It's easy to make more of the game than it is, and it lends itself easily to flights of imaginative visualization.

gvi
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Re: Tai chi and weiqi...

Postby BBTrip » Fri Dec 30, 2016 9:17 am

ChiDragon wrote:I am sure I had made a fool out of myself didn't I? :oops:


I don't feel like you did. :)
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Re: Tai chi and weiqi...

Postby BBTrip » Fri Dec 30, 2016 10:14 am

Greetings GVI,

global village idiot wrote:...I gather there are "Go snobs" for lack of a better term, who think that a $10,000 kaya board and slate/shell stones is the only way to have a meaningful experience playing the game, but I'm not one of them. I do believe, however, that playing with another human being is very nearly essential.


Yeah…I’m with you. I’m not one of those snobs who enjoys playing on the stylish hand carved Kaya boards with its luscious high quality Shell stones. Nope, not me.
Nope, nope, nope.
I have nothing else to say about that.

But…I’m not going to refuse an invitation to play a game on an exceptionally rare kaya board--crafted by a master board maker. That would be rude. Right?... :)

Playing against a computer is like doing push hands with a factory assembly-line robot.

Jokes aside, you make a valid point. Playing a computer is different than playing against a human opponent.

For me playing against a computer--I use it to train.
Kind of like training on a Wing Chun dummy or Punching bag.
Except the computer wins a lot more than dummies or punching bags.


As to the importance of the corners and the sides, what would you say to the idea that the reason lower-kyu players are given their handicaps near the corners is because they are easier to defend, and not necessarily because of any inherent strength in them?


I think both views apply. Go Handicap-points can make it easier to defend the corner & they have great outward influence toward the middle.
Otherwise they would be of lesser benefit as a game handicap-point.

You can of think of corners & sides in a Go game kinda like the feet in Taiji.
"from the feet
thru the legs,
guided by the waist..."

I believe there's even a move in Go called a sweep that denies a middle group a stable base on the board edges.

I ask this because while this is true, the more experienced player must perforce learn to consolidate his territory in the center and keep his opponent "boxed in," as it were. Corners and sides are strong defensively, but of limited use if you actually want to win.

In this way, you can almost see how one's play morphs and flows, with experience, from the corners and sides (with inexperience), to a balanced game between peers, and ultimately the center against less experienced players who are in their own corners.


Again, you make some very valid points.

I’m not a strong enough player to go into all the potentials of opening moves.
But, I am of the opinion that it is important in the game of Go to learn how to take territory.
And to learn how to take it at the beginning of learning the game.

With that in mind,
If instructed early, to use your attack to defend/build territory.
Your placed stones attack while simultaneously building an impenetrable wall.
That wall exerts influence in a particular direction.

The sooner you can learn to see (or Listen to) the walls influence and it's direction,
(Listen for that in a game), the better you’ll be when you learn other subtler skills.

I find it similar to the Taiji concept of attack defend, yin yang, soft firm, etc.
Which could quickly lead to the object of the game: take more territory than your opponent.
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Re: Tai chi and weiqi...

Postby global village idiot » Fri Dec 30, 2016 6:39 pm

...the computer wins a lot more than dummies or punching bags.


it could be said, though, that the dummies and punching bags never lose either.

I think I understand what you're saying about the corners/sides of the board and the feet in tai chi. It could be we're thinking much the same thing, whereas I'm hampered somewhat in my ability to communicate it.

And I'm right there with you - turning down an invitation to play on a high-end board would represent its own kind of low-brow snobbery, wouldn't it?

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,

- Kipling

In its own way, while we can appreciate the feel and aesthetics of good equipment, that equipment is just so many place-holders and representations of the information set that is the game itself.

gvi
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Re: Tai chi and weiqi...

Postby ChiDragon » Sun Jan 01, 2017 7:13 pm

global village idiot wrote:BBTrip,

As to the importance of the corners and the sides, what would you say to the idea that the reason lower-kyu players are given their handicaps near the corners is because they are easier to defend, and not necessarily because of any inherent strength in them? I ask this because while this is true, the more experienced player must perforce learn to consolidate his territory in the center and keep his opponent "boxed in," as it were. Corners and sides are strong defensively, but of limited use if you actually want to win.

gvi


The reason lower-kyu players are given their handicaps near the corners is because they are easier to defend and the inherent strength in them. Corners and sides are strong defensively with a high potential to win.

Here is the reason why:
Image

In all three cases, each case had captured nine "+" or space. In the corner, it took six(6) black pieces to control the territory. On the side, it took nine(9), and it took twelve(12) in the middle. Hence, it is not a matter of experience but it is the point of difficulty. It seems to me by using less pieces of stone to capture the same amount of space is to way to go.
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