I’d imagine that you can’t really enjoy go if you’re a complete beginner, because without basics it’s hard to even understand what’s going on in the game. On the other hand I think it’s hard to have fun playing go on high dan level, because reading and evaluating everything becomes tedious.
If that is true that there should be a golden rank at which go is the most fun to play. Is that true? And if so then what rank is the golden one?
I think for people that make it to a high-dan level, they actually enjoy the reading and evaluation, as that is the nature of the game.
Maybe some people will feel more anxiety or tedium as they improve, but I don’t think that’s a universal phenomenon. I don’t believe a “golden rank” exists, and the suggestion seems to rely on shaky assumptions.
I agree that being a beginner is not much fun because a)you do not have a very complete understanding of the game and b)as a result you tend to lose many games and that is never fun.
I also think that high dans have to work more and the game is harder for them. This also does not sound very fun, but I’m sure most of them enjoy working hard. This view is corroborated by Ben Lockhart AGA 7dan, who expressed to me once that he misses the days of being SDK.
That being said, I think the rank where I am now (3k-6k) is great fun. You understand enough to enjoy the game. You can play moves that you want without fear of humiliation.
When both players are 25k. Not knowing anything about the game, how could you not have fun? That sense of discovery and surprise… i was most absorbed in my earliest games, mostly because I didn’t know what I was doing.
The stronger you become, the more tedious it is… you lose the sense of wonder. Yes, you can still appreciate a good or even spectacular move, but it’s more like reading a novel instead of actually experiencing the events.
The rank where I stop worrying about my rating is the most fun for me.
Assuming 2000 Elo in chess leagues is more or less equivalent to the division between 1kyu and 1dan, then I’d say 1400-1800 Elo and whatever Kyu rank corresponded (SDK?) would be the most fun for the most people playing Go.
Below that, the game seems too opaque to be truly enjoyable from a strategic and tactical standpoint, and above that the game is much more like work and requires a lot of memorization and dedication to improve or even maintain that rating.
I’d second that being SDK is fun, and in my opinion, more fun than being brand new.
When I was just starting, I’d lose by a huge margin and have no idea why. I’d think I had some territory surrounded, and that I was doing well, and then my opponent would push through my walls and completely wreck me. I didn’t have fun with that. Now, I know enough about the game to make (mostly) reasonable moves, and if something goes wrong, I usually know why. There’s still plenty of room for improvement, and it’s not uncommon that a game will go a completely different direction than I’d like it to.
I also took a multi-year break in my playing, which probably helps with the fun factor. Last time I was playing regularly, I’d made it to the upper end of SDK on IGS (8-10k, I think), but improving felt like a grind. Coming back fresh and ready to learn has upped the fun level for me considerably.
I might say that the most “fun” rank to be at is one where you’ve got some idea what you’re doing, but can still see definite avenues of improvement. Learning and getting better at things is fun. Achieving goals is fun. More than being at or playing games at any specific skill level, I think that sense of progress is what I enjoy most, and I’m happy to be enjoying it, for the moment, around 5k.
I’m only 15k, so I don’t have the full perspective on it, but I think go is a game you can appreciate at many levels.
In a typical game, there will be a few situations that are at the edge of my current capability, and I will be happy to solve them knowing that I would have failed at the same situation just a few months ago. And, there will be a few situations that I just can’t handle yet and give me an appreciation for the road that’s still ahead. And, it seems to me that the game is rich enough that one could say the same thing at whatever level they are - even pros are realizing how little is known about the game when they start playing top AIs
To me is just a matter of get the right motivation. I remember when I first started it was just playing for fun without a clue of what was happening and that was good enough for me; then I wanted to reach 10 kyu, and then improve a little more to the next rank, take them down one by one. I stopped playing and then returned last year starting back at 10 kyu and my current goal is to reach 1 dan. I’m not sure what will happen when I do but I don’t think I will continue much more after that, as it is a lot of effort for me, but who knows?
I will say however that I feel that around the ~1dan level is a nice rank to be, because without getting way too into the game - deep reading, trick moves, whole repertoire of joseki to remember - you can play interesting games and enjoy them while understanding and learning some bits here and there.
The more I become aware of all the things I still don’t know the more I enjoy the game when I run into them. Compared to when you are a beginner and learning new and exciting things all the time, this too is like re-learning, re-discovering the whole game from a wider perspective.
After all, there’s so many times I can play the same kind of pincer or the same opening before it gets a bit repetitive, so I try something slightly different, but not just wildly because I can, but aware that in such a tiny variation there are yet so many possibilities to explore. I guess this is still true for beginners but the sweet spot for me is still around 1 dan.