Open Buddha

Open Source Buddhism, Technology, and Geekery
Bay Area, California

Learning Go

gobanI’ve been working on learning to play Go during this last week. Quite a few of my friends are players, including several who met through the local club in Seattle for it. For some reason, I’ve never learned to play over the years even though I’ve been exposed to it here and there. I’ve been a Chess player since I was a child, even being in the Chess Club in my middle school in Utah. I’m not a terribly great player of Chess but I manage to play well enough for sitting down with people and having a game.

I must say that Go is much more difficult to learn that I ever found Chess to be. This may be because I learned one when I was a child but the intricacies of Go are obviously going to take quite a while for me to understand. I’ve played a bunch of computer games this last week and find myself completely bewildered by what is going on in the game. I haven’t learned yet to see the patterns in play or to understand the strategies (nor would I expect to in a week). So I find myself completely bewildered by what my opponent is doing.

I have found a nice client for playing on my OS X machine, which is Goban. This is based on the Gnu Go project. It is nice to see something like this coming out of the open source world. I notice that Facebook has a Go application that uses the Gnu Go code as well, allowing one to play against other Facebook users. Currently, I’m just playing the machines until I both work through some of my introductory Go texts and simply play enough games to make sense of what is going on during the game.

If any of my readers are Go players and have suggestions regarding the game and learning it well, please feel free to comment.