How to “Teach” Go

Weekly Go Wednes­day, Issue #45

Intro­duc­tion

Intro­duc­ing go to new peo­ple is a topic that I’m very pas­sion­ate about and it’s some­thing that I think a lot of peo­ple mess up. To be fair, it’s not their fault and they are not inten­tion­ally doing so. It’s just that peo­ple don’t real­ize how the lack or pres­ence of cer­tain teach­ing prin­ci­ples can have pro­foundly dif­fer­ent results.

I come from the belief that one day go will be known by the masses and played by all kinds of peo­ple. I don’t believe that it is a game for “smart” peo­ple and have no inten­tion of see­ing it get shelved as a niche of a game that only “intel­lec­tu­als” play. Every­thing you’re about to read comes from per­sonal expe­ri­ence and/or things that I have actu­ally wit­nessed in real life, so there’s noth­ing the­o­ret­i­cal about it. In addi­tion, I have to empha­size that this “man­i­festo” focuses on peo­ple brand new to go. More estab­lished play­ers are not con­sid­ered below.

With that said, let’s dive right into it shall we?

Prin­ci­ple #1: You are not teach­ing go.

Wait what? Isn’t this whole arti­cle about how to “teach” go? In one sense it is, but you’ll also notice that I put the team “teach” in quotes because I think it puts peo­ple in a com­pletely incor­rect mindset.

When a per­son tries to teach some­thing, I have found that they are always very quick to cor­rect a person’s mis­take. Once they get it in their heads that they are “teach­ing,” there is this sense of supe­ri­or­ity and a desire to raise the “per­fect student.”

What do I mean by “per­fect stu­dent?” Well what’s the ideal sit­u­a­tion for intro­duc­ing a new per­son to go? Easy. They become hooked and become obsessed with the game the way many of us are. How­ever, the real­ity of it is that peo­ple of this men­tal­ity are far and few between.

What most peo­ple often for­get is that go is sim­ply a game to most peo­ple. Like chess, check­ers, or video games, it is just one way to pass the time and enjoy them­selves. It is not some­thing that they obsess over and try to improve at the way most of us do. As a result, the mind­set needs to be com­pletely dif­fer­ent for these people.

Teach­ing go is reserved for try­ing to help a player gain another stone in rank. This is not what you are doing. You are sim­ply try­ing to help some­one learn the rules of go and be able to play a game on their own. It doesn’t mat­ter if their moves are great, or whether or not they make mis­takes, they sim­ply need to be able to play and you will have accom­plished your goal.

To put it another way, imag­ine that board games are like restau­rants in a food court and the prospec­tive cus­tomers’ appetites are their free time and energy. When a per­son comes into the food court look­ing to fig­ure out where to eat, do you think that they are going to eat a three course meal at all the restau­rants to fig­ure out where they want to eat? Absolutely not! They wouldn’t have the stom­ach for it!

So what’s the solu­tion? The sam­ple of course. You offer sam­ples to all prospec­tive cus­tomers because hav­ing them sim­ply take the time to actu­ally try your prod­uct is what you really need. If they like it, they’ll come in and enjoy all your restau­rant has to offer. Or maybe they can’t sit down today, but because the sam­ple you offered was great, they’ll come back another time. And worst case sce­nario, they don’t care much for it; but even in this sce­nario, at least they know what your food is and can tell peo­ple what it is.

As a result, your goal is not to “teach” go; but to instead mar­ket and sell it to any­one will­ing to give you their time and atten­tion. You are not a teacher. You are a go enthu­si­ast who wants to share with every­one why go is awe­some and why they should play it. And the way you are going to do that is not by teach­ing them the game, but by intro­duc­ing the rules to them in a fun and easy way.

Prin­ci­ple #2: Keep it sim­ple stu­pid (K.I.S.S.).

When­ever any­one is learn­ing any­thing new, the most impor­tant thing is that they get to prac­tice, prac­tice, and prac­tice. So what does that mean for us as we show them the ropes of how to play go? Stop try­ing to intro­duce new and advanced con­cepts when they’ve barely grasped how go works.

Case and point. Let’s say you’ve just fin­ished teach­ing some­one how to cap­ture stones. You ask them if they under­stand and they nod. At this point, you might feel com­pelled to the launch into this lengthy expla­na­tion about life and death or ko works; but don’t do it! That is one of the absolute worst things you could pos­si­bly do.

You have to real­ize that think­ing you under­stand some­thing is WAY dif­fer­ent than apply­ing it. I can­not even count the num­ber of times where the player told me that they “under­stood” what I had just explained but had a dif­fi­cult time actu­ally apply­ing it in the game. For exam­ple, once we start play­ing first cap­ture, the board will get slightly com­pli­cated, and if I ask them to iden­tify which group they are able to cap­ture with one move, they get con­fused and can’t find the group! This is by no means their fault, but it illus­trates the point I’m try­ing to make in that it’s easy to think they grasped a con­cept when in fact they really haven’t.

So I have a basic rule to fol­low, avoid the fol­low­ing top­ics when explain­ing the game or play­ing with a new player:

  1. Sui­cide
  2. Ko
  3. Life and Death
  4. Tesu­jis
  5. Komi
  6. Shape Effi­ciency (like why empty tri­an­gles are bad)

This sounds crazy to full-fledged go play­ers, but I have seen count­less begin­ners who play full games on a 9x9 board with­out ever ques­tion­ing those things. They delight and find joy in sim­ply being able to play and apply what they just learned. After all, isn’t it much eas­ier to play a game when there aren’t a bunch of excep­tions to remem­ber? Go has one of the sim­plest rule­sets needed to start play­ing, so why com­pli­cate that?

And to top it off, excep­tions (like sui­cide and ko) are much eas­ier to remem­ber when they are dis­cov­ered by the play­ers them­selves. There have been plenty of times when I was play­ing with a new player when they would stop me and go, “Wait a sec­ond. What about this?” In that case, by all means teach it to them! After all, if they are think­ing at that level, it means they have grasped the other mate­r­ial which is great! Oth­er­wise, let them prac­tice with the sim­ple rule­set as much as they want. After all, you want them to remem­ber how to play the game the next day right?

Prin­ci­ple #3. Give them as many oppor­tu­ni­ties for suc­cess as possible.

When I had a chance to take a break from teach­ing last Sat­ur­day, I saw a clas­sic sce­nario occur­ring on a num­ber of the boards through­out the table: the new player was get­ting demol­ished and the per­son “teach­ing” had a bunch of stones as pris­on­ers. I could only shake my head as my mind screamed, “Are you try­ing to dis­cour­age him from play­ing go?!?!”

I under­stand that there are some play­ers who rel­ish in get­ting crushed and see it as a chal­lenge, but I guar­an­tee you that most peo­ple you will be intro­duc­ing the game to will not be like this at all. In fact, even some­thing as sim­ple as not grasp­ing the rules is often rea­son enough for most peo­ple to walk away from learn­ing a game. So imag­ine what it would be like if you are strug­gling to grasp the rules and get­ting destroyed at the same time. I don’t know about you, but I prob­a­bly wouldn’t be play­ing this game any time soon. And that is pre­cisely what we don’t want.

If you take a moment and think about suc­cess­ful games or apps, they tend to share one com­mon func­tion­al­ity: they have really intu­itive tuto­ri­als that make it very easy to go through because each level of accom­plish­ment is often as sim­ple as a touch or a swipe on your screen. In other words, they make it fun for some­one to pick up the basics so that they can eas­ily tran­si­tion into the more advanced fea­tures later on.

In the same spirit, I strongly believe that go should be taught in the same man­ner. Peo­ple respond well when they feel like they are accom­plish­ing some­thing or doing well at some­thing. As a result, it is crit­i­cal that they are given as many oppor­tu­ni­ties as pos­si­ble to feel that way. By doing so, you will improve the chances that they will actu­ally remem­ber how to play the game the next day and maybe even share it with oth­ers one day.

My Basic Cur­ricu­lum for Brand New Players

Of course, some of you are won­der­ing how I intro­duce new play­ers to the game. While I’m still work­ing out the kinks and plan to even­tu­ally release a detailed cur­ricu­lum, here’s the gen­eral outline:

  1. Start with the absolute basics of the game. Use other games that most peo­ple are famil­iar with to start dif­fer­en­ti­at­ing the most basic rules of go. For exam­ple, in chess and check­ers, you place pieces in the square. In go, we put the pieces on the intersections.
  2. Explain the con­cept of lib­er­ties and give them plenty of oppor­tu­nity of prac­tice for count­ing the lib­er­ties of stones. This is a really easy way to give them oppor­tu­ni­ties for accom­plish­ing things and feel­ing like they are mak­ing progress.
  3. If time per­mits, I give them prac­tice sce­nar­ios for cap­tur­ing stones to fur­ther rein­force the idea of lib­er­ties and cap­tur­ing. So you would make a shape with your stones and sur­round it except for it’s last lib­erty, and then have the per­son play the cor­rect move to cap­ture the group.
  4. We play a cou­ple games of first cap­ture on a 9x9 board. (1) I refrain from using any tesu­jis and con­stantly leave weak­nesses open for the new player to spot. (2) I con­stantly let them undo and encour­age it in fact. (3) My goal is not to win, but to give them con­tin­u­ous oppor­tu­ni­ties to prac­tice and rein­force what we just learned.
  5. If they are still inter­ested in tak­ing the next step in learn­ing about go, then that’s when I explain the con­cept of ter­ri­tory and its impor­tance in deter­min­ing how one wins or loses in go. Peo­ple often have trou­ble under­stand­ing this part, but I make the anal­ogy of war and two par­ties com­ing to sign a peace treaty and they usu­ally understand.
  6. Finally, I give them either 6–9 stones hand­i­cap (on a 9x9 board) depend­ing on how fast they grasped the other con­cepts and play with them. Yes, the hand­i­cap is ridicu­lous, but it doesn’t mat­ter because I’m not try­ing to win. I sim­ply want them to play. If they are play­ing and spend­ing more time on the game, I’m accom­plished my goal.

And just to reit­er­ate from Prin­ci­ple #2, I avoid all the excep­tions to the rules (like ko, sui­cide, etc.) and nuances unless the player asks me about it or it nat­u­rally occurs in a game. But for the most part, I avoid let­ting sit­u­a­tions like ko arise for the sheer fact that I want the player spend­ing as much time soak­ing up and rein­forc­ing the basic rules of go as long as I pos­si­bly can.

Other Advice from My Experience

  1. Don’t kill any big groups. If you’re play­ing a 9x9 board game and you notice that a group only has one eye, don’t try to kill it. In fact, you should actu­ally try to play in a way that makes him live with­out him real­iz­ing it.
  2. If the score is going to end up in the neg­a­tive points, you bet­ter be the one with the neg­a­tive score. As an expe­ri­enced go player, you should not take any plea­sure in crush­ing a new player and leav­ing them with neg­a­tive points. In fact, you should feel ashamed if you let the game become that way. If any­one should have neg­a­tive points, let it be you.
  3. Even if a group only has one eye at the end of the game (9x9), I just let it live and count the points. This is prob­a­bly hard for a lot of play­ers to do, but I hon­estly see no value in point­ing out that their group is dead. New play­ers won’t know that you let it slide and it pre­vents them from feel­ing like they suf­fered a humil­i­at­ing defeat. And to be hon­est, once you’re done show­ing how the game ends and score is counted, you are usu­ally mov­ing on to the next game. So what’s the point?

So to end this long rant, at the end of the day, you have to remem­ber this key fact: peo­ple have no oblig­a­tion to learn, play, or even remem­ber what the game of go is. It doesn’t mat­ter if they never get ranked or never play on a 19x19 board. If you can get them to remem­ber what the game is and vaguely how to play it, you’ve already done an immense ser­vice to the go com­mu­nity. And maybe, just maybe, one day we will live in a world where peo­ple will stop com­ing up to me and ask if I’m play­ing othello.

  • MolokaiCow­boy

    This is a nice piece, Ben; obvi­ously well thought-out. Of course I can’t com­ment much on teach­ing go since I don’t know how to play myself, ha! I think the 9 x 9 board is the equiv­a­lent of the way I taught chess — endgames — because they are some­thing of a micro­cosm of the entire game that’s digestible fro newbies.

    As far as expand­ing the game’s base, at least in the West: Its a bit of a tough sell since chess is still quite pop­u­lar and pretty much ingrained in pop­u­lar cul­ture. With go the ‘move­ment’ is inter­nal, whereas in chess it is more (but not all) exter­nal. The sta­sis of plac­ing a piece and never mov­ing it is some alien to the West­ern mind, whereas the ‘vio­lence’ of chess ‘feels’ more nat­ural (think Amer­i­can foot­ball!). I’ve also read chess appeals to an artis­tic mind; go to a math­e­mat­i­cal mind. Not too sure although that ‘seems’ to have some truth it, in my expe­ri­ence. The fact that com­puter go is not ‘yet’ as strong as com­puter chess would be a plus.

    When I hit the lot­tery I’ll hold a big go match in the US to pro­mote the game. I think Lee Sedol-Bengozen would draw large crowds. ;)

    • http://www.bengozen.com/ Ben

      Absolutely. “Cre­at­ing a micro­cosm of the entire game that’s digestible for new­bies” is def­i­nitely a great way of phras­ing it.

      You bring up excel­lent points about obsta­cles to go becom­ing pop­u­lar in the West, but they are just obsta­cles! With the right vision, maybe one day it will become a real­ity. At the bare min­i­mum, one can always try right? Haha.

      Lee Sedol-Bengozen? Haha. If I ever got a chance to play Lee Sedol, I think that would be a dream come true!

  • Arthur Yeh

    i agree with all of this :) great post man.

    it’s so easy to for­get what it’s like to view go as just a “casual game” some­times when you’ve spent so much time and effort study­ing it. i also think the piece about not car­ing at all about win­ning and let­ting dead groups still count as “alive” in count­ing is great advice for a lot of teach­ers. peo­ple often let their pride get in the way and lose sight of what they’re try­ing to achieve.

    • http://www.bengozen.com/ Ben

      Thanks Arthur! I’m really glad to hear that I’m not com­pletely crazy in my stance on how go should be “taught.” Let­ting go of our pride as go play­ers is def­i­nitely a big piece to prop­erly intro­duc­ing new peo­ple to the game. Here’s to hop­ing more peo­ple can under­stand this and apply it themselves!

  • weiqi­player

    Hi Ben,

    that’s a great post and you are absolutely right: to get peo­ple to know GO you have to use basic teaching-techniques. From known to unknown, from easy to hard, from sim­ple to com­plex. The (basic) rules of GO are so sim­ple. It should be easy for peo­ple to get hooked to it. BUT it’s a lot eas­ier for us to drive them away by for­get­ting that they should have FUN (= feel­ing unbeaten now) in the first place.

    Thank’s for your basic guide­lines about how to “fish” for new GO-players. It’s funny how it always comes back to “know your basics” again and again — in GO and in social behaviour.

    I now see my mis­takes of the past more clearly. Thanks for that!

    • http://www.bengozen.com/ Ben

      You’re wel­come! I know that it’s not always the most intu­itive which is why I thought it would be great if I actu­ally wrote some­thing on it to give peo­ple some sort of guide­lines as to the social and psy­cho­log­i­cal prin­ci­ples that I’ve encoun­tered. Glad that it was helpful!

  • Moboy78

    I’d be happy if some­one thought I was play­ing oth­ello. I just want them to stop try­ing to eat the go stones because “they look like M&M’s”. =P

    • http://www.bengozen.com/ Ben

      Hahaha. That would be hilarious!

    • asdfhh

      Oh god I hear that M&M’s com­ment from lit­er­ally *every* per­son unfa­mil­iar with go who sees me play­ing. I think I might go insane.

      • http://www.bengozen.com/ Ben

        Wait you’ve actu­ally encoun­tered this in real life before?

  • Tomer

    Great post! I’ll take your advice to heart.

    One idea I’ve heard of (which I haven’t tried yet) is to intro­duce the cap­ture rule and then sim­ply say that the per­son who wins is the one with the most stones on the board + cap­tures when the board is full. This first of all would avoid explain­ing about area/territory which I’ve found can be quite unin­tu­itive. Sec­on­dally it (should) quite nat­u­rally intro­duce the idea of 2 eyes as when a player goes to fill one his remain­ing eyes he’ll realise that his oppo­nent will be able to cap­ture all his stones by play­ing in the remain­ing eye. Thirdly as every dead stone would have to even­tu­ally be cap­tured there would be no need to explain dead/living groups.

    I’d love to hear your thoughts since this idea seemed quite good to me, even if it may be a lit­tle convoluted.

    • http://www.bengozen.com/ Ben

      That’s another vari­ant that I’ve yet to try out yet, but I do love the idea since it gets peo­ple excited with the idea of cap­tur­ing stones and vis­i­bly see­ing how they’re doing. It’s some­thing I’ll be sure to add to the list of things to enhance the cur­ricu­lum. Thanks for the great suggestion!

  • Sphaso

    Hi Ben, another fan­tas­tic read, thank you!
    I’ve only taught very few peo­ple (3, 4?) and unfor­tu­nately no one liked it enough :( Your post gives me food for thought in case I get the chance to teach another one.
    If online, I usu­ally direct them to “The inter­ac­tive way to Go”, it’s such a great web­site and so intu­itive. It explains absolutely every­thing regard­ing the rules. I had only one per­son who didn’t make it through, I guess she sim­ply didn’t like it. That’s unfor­tu­nate but under­stand­able.
    You say you shouldn’t teach all the rules at once. This is inter­est­ing. What if in your first game a sui­cide hap­pens? do you let it go? what about a ko? you tenuki and let him have it?
    I agree on not crush­ing your oppo­nent. Unfor­tu­nately for some peo­ple sim­ply los­ing their first game brings them to tears, they think they can beat some­one who prac­ticed for years hav­ing just learned the rules. Do you usu­ally lose on pur­pose on your first games? I think this could back­fire once they start learn­ing a thing or two about Go and real­ize you were just play­ing dumb. Maybe the exager­ated hand­i­cap helps.
    What about cor­rect­ing sim­ple mis­takes like not pro­tect­ing a cut on the sec­ond line etc. at what point do you usu­ally start point­ing that out?
    As a side note, I remem­ber when I started out in chess (at 8 yo) and Go (as an adult) I lost my first 100 games in each, eas­ily, unless I was play­ing against another begin­ner. This might be the key: teach in groups and have them play against each other. What do you think about this?

    • http://www.bengozen.com/ Ben

      Hey Sphaso!

      So to answer your first ques­tion, I always teach the rules if it comes up nat­u­rally in a game. For exam­ple, if they try to com­mit sui­cide, then I bring it up. How­ever, I com­pletely avoid ko because even reg­u­lar play­ers avoid ko sit­u­a­tions because of the com­plex­ity of it (i.e., imag­ine try­ing to explain threats and why your oppo­nent would need to respond to a new player. Oy vey…)

      I need to clar­ify this in the arti­cle in the future, but bot­tom line is no, you don’t try to lose on pur­pose. How­ever, you should not try to win. In other words, if you see a group that’s about to die, don’t kill it. Seri­ously, don’t kill it. And another way to go about this is to make the hand­i­cap so ridicu­lous. Give them 9 stones on a 9x9 board, I assure you it’s very dif­fi­cult to win. Haha.

      Don’t point out mis­takes. That’s only for when they are try­ing to get bet­ter. Your goal is to sim­ply have them play the game. As long as they can play and get through to the end of the game with­out any prob­lem, you have suc­ceeded. Many play­ers will never care to get a rank or find out how good they are. They are sim­ply happy to know how to play. Until they tell you, “I want to get bet­ter. Teach me how to do that.” Avoid point­ing out mis­takes as a whole.

      Actu­ally, let me clar­ify some­thing real quick. There is one “mis­take” that I do tend to cor­rect dur­ing games: which direc­tion to atari. Often the new player will just atari from the first direc­tion that comes to mind, but I often point out that if they atari the other direc­tion, then they can win (this is in regards to first capture).

      If you can get a group of begin­ners to play against one another, that’s awe­some. In fact, that would be my ideal per­son­ally. Because in the end, it’s more encour­ag­ing and fun to learn a game with some­one of sim­i­lar skill.

      Does that help clear some things up? If not, con­tinue ask­ing away and I’ll do my best to answer your questions!

      • Sphaso

        Hi Ben, you cleared a lot of my doubts! I’ll prob­a­bly have the chance to teach some peo­ple at the end of this month. I’ll cer­tainly use your method :)

        • http://www.bengozen.com/ Ben

          That’s great to hear! And if you ever dis­cover any new tricks or ways to improve on what I out­lined above, I would love to hear about it since I know that my method is far from perfect.

  • Gue­su­la­tor

    As some­one who has strug­gled over the past year explain­ing not only GO, but bit­coin to peo­ple, and “teach­ing” peo­ple all about both. I think another key point is to sort of “play it cool” in a way. Being con­sid­ered an “enthu­si­ast” makes you already seem like you need to give some­thing a lot of time and atten­tion to become good at it, thus, peo­ple are less likely to con­tinue giv­ing it that sec­ond shot BECAUSE they think it takes an enthu­si­ast to play it (or to under­stand it). Even a 20k “enthu­si­ast” knows that this is par­tially true, but teach­ing new play­ers about out­lin­ing ter­ri­tory, and then “stay­ing solid/strong” and using a lot of metaphors to explain seem to work better.

    I like to get two begin­ners in a room to play it and once they under­stand cap­tur­ing and sur­round­ing ter­ri­tory, the clas­sic “lad­der and net” exam­ple, and then they are off to the races. Its cool see­ing their eyes light up when they solve the lad­der prob­lem. But I like to ask ques­tions like “OH You just going to TAKE that? Thems fightin words!” Or some­thing like “She just touched your stones, and not in a good way!”

    One of my favourite things to ask when play­ing GO is “Well, how does it look? What looks like yours and mine? How would you fight to keep it? What if I wanted more than I deserve? Should I be pun­ished for it? Should you put up a fight on a stone that looks lonely in your territory?

    I will say, I’m not a fan on 9x9 in teach­ing games, I think 13x13 has a lot more of the “GO spirit” in it, so I like to teach on that, but one thing I try not to do is abuse cut­ting points TOO sev­erly. I will cut, and tell them why I cut, but there are some BRUTAL cuts I see some­times that I just shelf. The clas­sic two stone third line cut is a nice way to show new­bies how to “stay strong”, but cuts more severe than that I try and avoid.
    Any­way, good read, it has me think­ing of ways to retool teach­ing the newbs! Cheers!

    • http://www.bengozen.com/ Ben

      Great point about keep­ing our “enthu­si­asm” in check since it can make the time spent on the game seem rather daunt­ing. For me per­son­ally, I’ve used the rank­ing sys­tem as more of a cool trivia aspect of go to show how play­ers of dif­fer­ent ranks can even out the game with hand­i­cap stones so it can be chal­leng­ing for both sides.

      Most of my teach­ing expe­ri­ence is usu­ally in fairs and fes­ti­vals or sorts, so it’s not as easy to get play­ers to play one another since usu­ally space and equip­ment is lim­ited. In addi­tion, with the time and flood of peo­ple com­ing in and out, the 9x9 board is really the only option since I usu­ally want to give as many peo­ple a chance at learn­ing as pos­si­ble. But I would def­i­nitely love to see what it’s like to get two begin­ners in a room to test out some of your tech­niques as well!

      Thanks for the feed­back and advice!

  • Tim Cox

    I’ve had many peo­ple walk up to me and ask what the game is called. I always won­der to myself “Do they really care?” because they never show up the next week or so forth to show their inter­est. After get­ting the answer, I am sure they for­get about the game later lol

    • http://www.bengozen.com/ Ben

      Inter­est­ing. I do hope to do more ran­dom demos of the game around town when I have a chance, but most of my expe­ri­ence comes from vol­un­teer­ing at Japan­ese or Chi­nese fes­ti­vals where peo­ple have a gen­uine inter­est to learn about the game when­ever they stop by. I’ll be sure to update this guide when I have more expe­ri­ence with sit­ting around in ran­dom places!

  • Todd Lee Rainey

    Love the post; this is espe­cially rel­e­vant to me, as I pretty much have to teach any peo­ple who I want to play in my area.

    I would cau­tion a cat­e­gor­i­cal avoid­ance of life and death; many of the peo­ple I have met and taught Go to are stu­dents, who rel­ish the feel­ing of “high con­cept” stuff. I gen­er­ally teach that “the basic point is, sur­round ter­ri­tory with­out get­ting your­self cap­tured. Then the game gets really inter­est­ing when you involve life and death.”

    Hav­ing said that, you are right that when teach­ing, we shouldn’t rush to kill groups. But hope­fully, they might spot that one of their groups didn’t make a sec­ond eye at the end of the game — for them to dis­cover it with­out it pointed out to them is a pretty big vic­tory, espe­cially if the stakes of the game are very low.

    Oth­er­wise, much of what you said is in line with the best lit we have on edu­ca­tion; peo­ple are most moti­vated to learn when they get hooked on a sub­ject, and that usu­ally hap­pens when there is a clear and easy point of entry. Don’t rule out a career in education! :P

    • http://www.bengozen.com/ Ben

      Thanks Todd! I guess I need to update the guide to clar­ify, but it’s really meant as a skele­ton for some­one to fol­low. I’m a big believer in cus­tomiz­ing the teach­ing expe­ri­ence to every stu­dent. How­ever, with so many peo­ple mess­ing up when intro­duc­ing new play­ers to go, I wrote this arti­cle to give a blan­ket rule for a base­line for peo­ple to build off of. I fig­ured, if peo­ple just fol­lowed what I wrote, noth­ing could go wrong.

      After all, it’s hard to teach peo­ple to be able to iden­tify when some­one is ready for life and death or needs it. So at the bare min­i­mum, peo­ple won’t mess up the major­ity of peo­ple they teach. But once again, I totally agree that the advanced top­ics should be intro­duced depend­ing on the level of inter­est of the new player.

      Edu­ca­tion has always been a field that I’ve had great inter­est in, so it’s really funny that you should bring it up. For now, chan­nelling my pas­sion for teach­ing through go seems to be the best way to bring all my inter­ests together!

  • Dau­rak

    Wow, Thanks a bunch. I def­i­nitely was “teach­ing”, and too much infor­ma­tion. I now remem­ber when I first started and how it was hard for me to remem­ber to place stones on the points of the grid, how cor­ners and edges were awk­ward, and how a bunch of the other con­cepts were learned through prac­tice, and not talk. Thanks so much and I am def­i­nitely going to get into “play­ing” go rather than “teaching”.

    • http://www.bengozen.com/ Ben

      You’re wel­come! I’m glad to help clear up some things. Best of luck with everything!