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Amadan

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Currently reading

Inherent Vice
Thomas Pynchon, Ron McLarty
The Best Horror of the Year Volume Five
Ellen Datlow, Laird Barron, Conrad Williams, Ramsey Campbell
Locus Solus (Alma Classics)
Raymond Roussel
Blackout (Newsflesh Trilogy, #3)
Mira Grant, Paula Christensen, Michael Goldstrom
The Way of the Moving Horse - Janice Kim, Jeong Soo-Hyun So first of all - my go game really sucks. I say that I "play go" and that I learned to play a long time ago, but it's been this occasional thing that I get interested in every now and then, and then stop playing for years and years. Like writing, martial arts, and various other activities I have pursued off and on for many years, it depresses me sometimes when I consider how good I'd be if I had actually stuck with it way back when I first got interested, and how unlikely I am to ever really be good now. :(

Okay, enough whining. So, aging, past-my-prime me has decided I want to actually become a halfway decent go player. (Maybe I'll resume chess too...) The Way of the Moving Horse is the second volume in Hyun and Kim's "Learn to Play Go" series. It's meant for beginners. Volume I was for the absolute novice who needs to be taught everything from scratch. In volume II, we actually learn some elementary go strategy and tactics, including bases, jumps, extensions, attachments, invasions, reductions, life and death, eyes, ko threats, and contact fighting.

None of this was new to me, but it was good review. I could usually spot the lesson being illustrated and what the right answer was from looking at the diagram even before reading the text, so maybe there is hope for me. On the other hand, I only scored 75% on the quiz at the end of the book. So I still suck.

But, I am pleased to say that after reading volumes I and II and playing for a week or so, I now almost always beat Many Faces of Go on its "Idiot" setting (18-kyu). Once I am sure I'm good enough that it's no longer a challenge for me at all, I'll spring for the full version, which supposedly can play up to the 1-dan level. I can also beat the BeginnerBots on KGS. Finding human players for ranked games at the crappy kyu rank KGS has currently assigned me isn't always easy.

This series is first of all a very nicely illustrated set of books, with clear diagrams and equally clear step-by-step explanations. For me (the perpetual newbie) the first two books have been concise and elegant and like having a patient tutor walking me through the basics.

The section on "Internet go," written in 1995, might not be quite as helpful, though actually, most of the resources listed are still around, even if no one really uses Usenet anymore and most folks no longer need to be told what the World Wide Web is.

Anyway, on to the next volume. Supposedly all five volumes (plus playing experience) will be able to take you up to about 10-12 kyu. We'll see!