How Much Do You Have to Hate Someone Not to Proselytize?

Francis Schaeffer on the Origins of Relativism in the Church

One of My Favorite Songs

An Inspiring Song


Thursday, November 26, 2009

Learning to Play Go

It will not take you long, if you look around this blog (which takes a beastly long time to load, if you don't have a high-speed connection, which I don't, which has been pointed out to me by none other than Mrs. MOTW), to find that I have something of an interest in chess (if you click on the link, you will find, amusingly, that they describe chess as "the Western board game." It is probably Indian in origin...) and go.

I would not ever wish anyone to get the impression that I am any good at either. As a matter of fact, I consider myself very much the beginner in both. Perhaps slightly less of a beginner in chess, but a beginner still.

I am trying to learn these games because they serve two purposes: genuine relaxation--I don't know about other people, but for me, in order for something to be truly diverting, it must fully engage my mind--and mental exercise. They are simultaneously means of having some fun and keeping my mind sharp--or at least sharper than it would otherwise become as I age.

There are bajillions of good books on chess in English. I am currently slowly making my way through Edward Lasker's Chess: The Complete Self-Tutor. At the rate I am going, I should be done in a year or so. And then I will probably want to re-read it. It is fine. As a matter of fact, it is excellent. But it is only one of dozens upon dozens of good chess books that are available in English.

Finding the right go books has been more of a struggle. The Tulsa library has two: Cho Chikun's Go: A Complete Introduction to the Game and Kageyama's Lessons in the Fundamentals of Go. Cho Chikun is supposed to be one of the greatest go players in history, and I'm sure he is, but I frankly found his book largely incomprehensible. Kageyama's was easier to understand, in a way, but probably too advanced for a rank beginner. I got the impression that it might be a good book to come back to after I've been playing for a few years.

Recently, though, I picked up Janice Kim's Learn to Play Go: A Master's Guide to the Ultimate Game. This is what I was looking for: basically, go for dummies. I honestly think that if you don't start to "get" the game after reading this book, you are not seriously trying. People that have grown up in countries where go is a commonplace may have, perhaps, internalized the game so completely that they don't quite realize that their explanations are inadequate to some Westerners. Mrs. Kim's book is not like that. She assumes--correctly, in my case--that not only do you know nothing, you cannot see the blindingly obvious, and proceeds from there.

There are four more books in the series, two of which are already on my shelf, but it will be a little while before I get to them. Even though it takes, proceeding at a leisurely pace, less than a week to read, there is quite a bit of information in the first book, and I would suggest that anyone wishing to take up the game via this book read it, play some go (you can find links to online go servers on the Oklahoma Go Player's Association website), and then come back and re-read the book--and then repeat the process one or two more times. That is what I plan on doing, and then I will go on to the next book in the series.

You might be thinking, "MOTW, who the dickens cares?" and I don't blame you. But somebody might...

You might also be wondering, "MOTW, why are you blogging on Thanksgiving Day?" I'm not. I wrote this days ago and put it in the pipeline to be published automatically, which is what I do with an awful lot of my posts.

No comments:

Post a Comment