Thursday, December 4, 2008

On the Subject of Go

Since Dave started it, I thought I'd post a few thoughts on the game of Go as well.

I was a pretty serious Go player in my mid- to late-20s, a member of the New York Go Association and I played in several tournaments, ranked at the 1-3 kyu level when I last played. It's been a number of years since I've played seriously or consistently, and I'd definitely welcome the opportunity.

It's been said that while chess is a game of attack and defense, Go is a game of market share, and I think there's a lot of truth in that. Like Dave, I appreciate the level of philosophy and the detail of execution behind the game, as well as the mixture of incredible simplicity and incredible complexity the game offers. You can literally learn the rules of Go in ten minutes or less, and spend the rest of several lifetimes, I suspect, dealing with the consequences.

While the chess-mastery-via-software problem has been mostly licked for several years now, to the best of my knowledge, there's no computerized approach to Go that has yielded a ranking above double-digit kyu level.

Now, that's interesting.

(And yeah, a decent Go game on my N810 would rock.)


Bart said...

You are ways behind recent computerized Go developments. Monte Carlo based algorithms on distributed computers now reach about 2-3d strength. Some recent matches have MoGo winning games against professional players while only getting 9 stones.

pel said...

I'm not entirely certain that that rating would be accurate.

Giving mogos rather 'interesting' (totally disregarding the yose since it is so focused on a certain win) style and the fact that 9 stones is quite a lot of handicap I think it is a bit hard to make a fair judgment of its strength.

Its esoteric style might also be problematic for a 'mere' 2-3 dan player.

Or maybe I should just shut up since I'm barely shodan myself :)

Lefty said...

I was going to comment on "only getting nine stones". Nine stones, unless the game's been revised since I played, are all you can get.

(And I never found a game involving a nine-stone handicap worth playing: it confuses the board too much...)