Wednesday, July 31, 2013

GO ... an ancient and endlessly fascinating Board game

Having actually spoken to one another about this topic, I agree ( good thing, eh? ) that Benjamin and I have come to a better mutual understanding of the issues. In the conversation he convinced me that I had said, as an opinion, one particularly unkind thing about George Martin, and I have removed it from the post. We are moving on. I hope you can move with us.

One of the things that Benjamin and I do when we get together is play the ancient Chinese game of Go. Read about

I played this game on a regular basis many ( over 35 ) years ago, and not at all since. The game rivals ( many say surpasses ) Chess in complexity, but is, by far, simpler to learn and begin playing. On a flyer ( realizing Benjamin was pretty bright and believing he liked competition ) I suggested Go to Benjamin. We have been playing, more or less, ever since.

We seem to be evenly matched. He wins, I win, each of us pouts ( not really, we're just unhappy ) when the other wins. We seem to be close to evenly matched; neither of us usually wins by a wide margin.

An aside:

It is interesting to note that the culture of China is very concerned about saving face, abhors embarrassing the other, so winning by a wide margin is frowned upon. It is also possible to estimate the margin of victory as one is playing the game. Neither Benjamin nor I are good enough to estimate the margin of victory as we play, but we usually have a close match because we're evenly matched, not because we're shaving points for the sake of saving the other's face.

I have found several Android applications that play Go; they will let me play with another human being using my tablet as a Go board and stones, or they will play against me. The applications all work basically the same way, but the play of each of them is different. They are, of course, very good, and, when choosing which application to play, I feel very much like I'm choosing a specific opponent. One is clearly weak, the other quite strong, and the last very difficult to beat.

I have been practicing by playing against these digital opponents for a while. Benjamin has not done that and he and I continue to be approximately evenly matched ... as measured by our won/loss record against each other. What does that say? I'd rather not figure it out, I think.

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