Yep, you are correct! It was a 9x9 fight. I like how easy to learn and to improve is this board size.
I plan to soon move to a 19x19, but first I want to be able to beat Leela Sjeng with no handicap or if that turns out to be impossible with my time constrain to study, the least handicap I can (1 or 2, not sure till what I can improve yet).
It was fun to read your question, but even funnier to read all the answers you already got. They nail it, and I believe they explained better than I can.
I understand the competitive spirit we might develop. But as a learning tool, there is no better partner. They don’t complain, they are always ready for you, they play fast, their schedule fits whenever you want, and so on…
I had the pleasure to play a few correspondence games here with friends. I chose “unrated” to start because I was more interested in some kind of teaching game, not a competition. It was a great experience.
But I feel that I need a lot of work to start competing yet.
I find this quote amazing. It is a really good way to see it. When we think about improving ourselves, it certainly allows us to play against bots or humans and still enjoy.
Also, being from a computer science background myself, I tend to look to computers with too much respect. Maybe sometimes I even humanize them.
It is no secret that I have a “son”, I’m the author of the chess engine Xadreco that plays freely against you at lichess.org site. Feel free to check “him” there. I made it when I was still a kid, and it is growing since 1988 together with me, with me learning new programming techniques, and so on… Only when you have such attachment for a long-range project you understand how cool it is to see a bot starting its “life”.
Bots are a great supplementary study tool, but I hold firm to the opinion that they are not a suitable replacement for a human opponent.
The main problems with playing against only bots (especially if it’s always the same bot!) are that beginner bots can reinforce bad habits and most of us kyu players simply cannot understand the moves of strong bots.
I guess the question I want to raise is - when a beginner player plays a many-stone handicap game against a high-level AI (the sjeng version of Leela is 4 dan out of the box with no training) - what is that beginner actually learning?
The reason I’m concerned is - in a handicap game (whether it’s 9x9 or 19x19) - all the stuff that one needs to learn about the opening/transition to midgame flies out the window. Black starts off established at all the key points and White starts invading/reducing right out of the gate.
So, rather than learning about the stages of the game, and focusing on how strategy changes based on situational awareness, Black spends the whole game contact fighting with White. So yes, one might get better at contact fighting and learning some of the tactics necessary in Mid Game, but you leave out all this other important stuff.
The problem is - if that beginner takes those skills into an un-handicapped 19x19 game - then someone with a better understanding of opening priorities and direction-of-play will just take the lead in the first 50 moves, and the beginner will be making risky invasions for the rest of the game trying to even the score.
So, yes, I can see the benefit of that type of learning if that is one facet of a larger, more comprehensive program. But if that is the only thing you’re focusing on at the expense of everything else, you might be painting yourself into a corner…
My 2 cents - your mileage may vary - void where prohibited - some cars not for use with some sets…
High handicap games against strong opponents teach you to connect your stones.
Speaking from personal experience, this has been a harder concept to learn than opening theory which I picked up in a couple hours from Sibicky videos.
Nobody walks the same path on this journey, we all find twists and obstacles at different points and in different shapes.
The trick is to not take it too seriously. Once you know a handful of basic approaches and responses and one or two simple 3-3 invasion responses that you like, just go with the flow. For any kyu stronger than 20k, no game was ever lost in the opening, so just try to keep an eye on the developing shapes / influence over the whole board…
We do it because every once and a while someone like Lee Sedol appears and their example of valor empowers the rest of the human race. Providing us the spiritual fuel to strive to go farther and try harder than logic or common sense would allow. To push boundaries, defy reason, and to become more than we ever thought even possible
I know your son! He is a fine young man and has taught me some wonderful lessons about Chess. It is so cool to meet his progenitor. I am a huge fan of your work
I feel strongly about this as well. Beginners should not spend much time on handicap games. If you want to get good at something, you should practice that specific something. Learning to beat waffles at Go is not the same as learning to beat pancakes at Go
yebellz hit the nail on the head! Opening theory is crazy and super hard to learn. BHydden, maybe you have a natural talent for opening theory? I’m 2000+ games in on the 9x9 and still working out the kinks to my opening moves . You deserve a pat on the back, seriously
I’m not a 19x19 guy, but I do read about popular Go figures from time to time. What you just stated goes against what I remember reading. That the first 50 moves of a 19x19 usually decides who wins. Are you sure this isn’t the case in SDK, Dan, and Pro level games?
9x9 is very different, the opening determines everything at all levels.
For pros and maybe high dans the first 50 moves could indeed develop a lead that may last the whole game. For all kyus, and I would venture most dans, typically the last player to significantly blunder loses regardless of who had an advantage in the opening.
Isn’t the handicap system a direct measure towards your strength? And Isn’t it more fun to take of a stone in handi cause you earned it rather than constantly being crushed by someone who isn’t trying and is only playing trick moves?
even and handicap games are very different.
Its possible to be very good at even, but unable to give 5 stones to 10 ranks weaker player
Player who has additional stones may play very passive - if he would play so passive on “even” he definitely will have not enough territory
Stronger player will have to do trick moves in order to break this
I would agree with Tony. Also try and forget about the rating. Plus though it seems counter-intuitive. Getting beaten by better players will improve your game faster than beating up players who are not as good. Then you learn very little beyond getting way with moves a better player would punish you for.
If you get hung up on ratings then you will avoid playing or depressed when you lose.
Playing up is the best way to improve, but remember that if everyone does it then nobody gets a game… it’s important to also play down sometimes so that others can learn from you like most things in life (and Go), balance is key.