Important Philosophical Questions + POLLS


I answered negative from experience: I have had times where I played 4-5 active correspondence games per day, but I would not consider those times to feel as actively engaged with Go as a live game per day would be.


This is a hard poll!

Some I’ve never had, like curly and smiley. Those standard is what we call “fast food fries” here, very different from standard hand cut, what we call “home fries” (at home or in restaurants), which are indeed my favorite.

I love steak cut as well, and I like waffle, but once in a while, it wouldn’t be my forever choice.

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I believe fries cannot really be judged by shape alone. A cold X fry is always going to be worse than a hot yet floppy Y fry, than a hot but crunchy Z fry.

Waffle, curly and crinkle fries are just attempts to increase surface area to compensate for the fries not being fried properly; they’ll get crispy at lower temperatures (and also absorb a lot more oil, by the way).

Thick fries, like steak cuts, are more traditional in my perspective, but as is custom in the Netherlands, I prefer medium thickness. Thick fries are inevitably better than thin fries, as long as the fries are fried properly: it should be properly crunchy on the outside, and fluffy on the inside. Thick cut fries need a higher temperature to achieve that, which is probably why I’ve only seldomly had something like crunchy steak cuts. On the other hand, if fries are too thin, it’s crisp all over without fluffiness inside.


Boil first a bit and toss around in a bowl, so they get a texture on the outside.

I’m too lazy to do it usually, but it works.

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Restaurants seem to be quite consistently too lazy as well…


It depends. If you spend a lot of time reading and toying with the variations for each move, then that is arguably a much more intensive practice than playing fast and with minimal reading.

I can attest to that, since I only play correspondence and I used to be a known liability in the cases that I had to play for the Greek team in Pandanet EU championship. However, after you play a lot of correspondence and you get a good grasp of the basics, getting to improve on the time management is a relatively much easier task compared to improving at Go itself :slight_smile:

None of those, imho, so since there is no “other” I’ll say the very simple recipe.
You peel the potatoes,
Then you wash them and cut them in circles ( imaging the letter O ). If the potato was too big and some of the circles are too large, then cut one of them in half, creating a half-circle.
Put them in water, rinse them and after you dry them in a strainer/sieve put salt on them and stir them so the salt goes everywhere.
Fry them to taste. With that shape they get a unique texture inside and out.
Enjoy :slight_smile:

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You need to find the right balance between getting enough game experience and trying hard to play the best move. For a kyu player, I think that 1 hour of thinking time per game and per player is ideal. More is counterproductive, since you end up reading “wrong” lines repeatedly, which could reinforce bad habits. On the other hand, if you only play 1 game/week, it’s probably better to play 2 games with 30 minutes thinking time instead. Kids in Korea reach pro level by playing mostly fast games.


I’d say that you have to read the bad lines to see why they are bad, right?
That’s more or less how I learned to discern “good shape” from “bad shape”. I’d try out multiple choices for every move on my SGF editor and then pick what I thought was the correct one.

Knowing a good shape is a good thing objectively, but also knowing why a shape is bad, can be also useful, I think. Usually when I play slow teaching games with DDK players I go out of my way to show them bad shape variations and explain why that shape would be bad.

Yeah, but I am no longer a kid, so my brain is not that observant and absorvant anymore. I am past the middle of my lifetime, so I have to adapt :slight_smile:

Yes but to improve you also need to find good moves. The board is big, you will miss many of them, even if you are given unlimited time. Only a teacher or an AI can point them to you.

Another problem is that you may think a move is good because opponents around your level generally don’t know how to punish it. Sometimes you need to play many games until you encounter an opponent finds the right response. Which is why game experience is important.

But you are not aiming at pro level either. Surely a learning method which takes kids to pro level can’t be wrong for an adult amateur.

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I’ll defend a little (I was aware of the above).

Thinking of the last 100 times that you ate fries, how many of those times did you consider their inventor(s)? The manufacture, marketing and distribution of a thing are of at least as much importance as its conception.

p.s. Wavey fries are clearly the objectively superior form; the surface area to volume ratio is higher meaning more crunch and increased sauce takeup.

That is a good point. I don’t have a teacher and I do not like the counter-intuitive AI suggestions so I’ve solved that problem by mostly playing fair games (no handicaps) against people that were 3+ ranks above me, when I was in the process of learning. I worked amazing since I went from 12k to 5k in five months and five more months from 5k to 3k and then I stopped studying to write a book about it.

I am looking forward to resuming that process and I am willing to bet that I can get to 1dan eventually by following that tactic (combined with some books I have that are currently collecting dust) sooner, rather than later.

The way I see it, for my age:

  • Learning from humans is much more stable and more intuitive than learning from AI.
  • Challenging stronger people creates the correct margin of growth, however, handicap games should be avoided because they are stunting someone’s growth by providing an advantage that does not exist in a fair game. (they are usually also not fun for the stronger player)
  • Losing is always more educational than winning.
  • Reviewing a loss is always more productive and winning and moving to the next game.
  • Playing slow is always better in absorving shapes and noticing what is right and wrong and having a chance of remembering it in the future.
  • Dying in a game and losing a group and a game leaves a more lasting impression, compared to not being able to solve an artificial tsumego that is just one in a series of a hundred and has no consequence.

I totally understand that what works for one person, might not work for another person, but the best we can do once the ship of old age has sailed is come up with “good ideas” and test which of them works for each individual. Someone might say this would not work for them and that is totally fine, but I think that we can at least agree that those ideas at least make sense to try them out and see if they are fitting to our style or not. :slight_smile:

The aforementioned solution solved this problem as well.
This means that I lost a LOT of games, but that was beside the point. I had fun and I learned in the process and I am very grateful of the people that took the time to play with me. In some games I managed to put up enough of a fight that it was fun and useful for them as well, I assume. E.g.

I slipped in a life and death problem on move 149, but I was doing ok in the game at that time against a 5dan. I do not solve tsumego, but I learn while losing. Now I rarely die even in live games.

Have you heard about the training they do as young children to be able to get into martial arts or dancing or the Peking Opera School that Jackie Chan trained in? If we try even a fraction of that, we’d break in half like twigs :sweat_smile:

Minds and bodies are similar in that way, that they are more flexible and more open to learning when they are young. If we try the same training when older, we might do more damage than good.

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I fully agree that other factors are vital, so let’s assume that those are similar, and that we are left to differentiate only on shape/style and what that might inherently impart upon the overall quality of the fry.

To clarify things, I never said that playing only correspondence and spending a lot of time on each move was “wrong”, just that it’s probably not optimal and may prevent further progress at some point, unless you play a really large amount of games. This is apparently not the case for you, I see that you have a bit more than 300 games on OGS and a bit more than 300 on DGS. (And I agree that playing against stronger players is a good way to learn.)

And I don’t think you are so old. If I followed correctly your posts, during the years when you studied go seriously, you were in your mid-thirties. On the other hand, one of my friends started learning Chinese in his forties. He had no previous knowledge of asian languages and yet, five years later he was able to speak and write fluently. I’ve also met a guy in his mid-fifties who resumed studying math at university, and who did quite well compared to his classmates. Personally, I am perfectly aware that, being 50+ years old, my brain is not as fast as when I was a teenager, but we are not brain-dead yet. If a hard-working and talented teenager can expect to reach x dan, then a middled aged person with similar talent and spending a similar of time can at least expect to reach (x-2) dan. The main issue being that as we age, we don’t find as much time and motivation as younger people.


In a parallel universe perhaps, but we also have cost. I suspect that wavey fries require more cuts, so more time to produce…whereas simply shoving a spud through a lattice grid for square cut fries is better for the producer, and quite likely generates a lower carbon footprint.

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I’m pretty convinced I play a lot worse when I play correspondence than when I play live, for a variety of reasons, including being less engaged in the game.

I also noticed that since I’ve started playing correspondence games on OGS, I play a lot less overall. I’ve successfully replaced my habit of playing engaging live go games with a new habit of playing a few thoughtless moves a day in correspondence games.

All in all, it looks like playing on OGS has been quite detrimental to my practice of go.


I was reading something about qigong etc, and the writer, an experienced taichijuan teacher, was saying that all other martial arts practitioners were held apart because all of them (kungfu etc) become weaker and slower as they age. But taichijuan by default isn’t about power or speed, it’s about practice and experience, so him getting older by default meant he was getting better.

Now, this might or might not be accurate, but at 40, I’m holding on to this consolation.


In case you remember the 2004 Olympics, do you generally remember it as a successful sports event?

  • Yes
  • No

0 voters

What poor city had to follow up the glorious majesty of Sydney 2000? :sweat_smile: