Monday, March 12, 2007

Replaying Shusaku Games With Mom

One of my young online Go playing friends suggested that I replay the games of Shusaku. He worked his way through the book "Invincible", and he credits that with his rise to dan status. I don't expect it to do the same for me, but I figured that it would probably help my sense of shape and wouldn't be a total waste of time given how much time I now have on my hands to enjoy Go.

It was suggested that I play the games out on a real board. Last week I was planning a trip to visit my mother overnight so I packed my go board and took "Invincible" along. As luck would have it I got stuck due to inclement weather and ended up staying for two nights instead of one. With no internet connection I decided to start replaying the games in ernest and got through the first seven games while I was there.

Now for the interesting part... 37 years ago I tried to teach my mother how to play Go. It didn't hook her the way it did me, but then I didn't really know how to teach the game back then. My mother just celebrated her 80th birthday, and works Sudoku puzzles to keep her mind active. Go would serve the same purpose if she were interested in it. Mom was watching me replay the games and started asking questions. I suggested that she play with me and take white since I was still enough of a child to want to be the young Shusaku. We played out one of the games looking for the next moves on the diagrams. In local situations where continuations were fairly obvious Mom could anticipate the moves and we talked about them.

We enjoyed our game together, and I actually think it might be time to teach Mom how to play on a small board. Back when I tried to teach her I didn't even know that boards smaller than 19 x 19 existed and I didn't know any other way to teach than to give a nine stone handicap after explaining about two eyes.

I have decided to take the review of the Shusaku games off the real board while I am at home and do them with Smart Go since there are over 400 Shusaku games in the collection. I am using the automatic replay feature at 3 second per move, which gives me enough time to try to anticipate the next move locally or to at least anticipate a tenuki.


O_Scientist said...


Yes, can teach her on 9x9 and see what happens. One new method I have learned, is to give 9H on 9x9 and tell B to kill every W stone.

It's a good way to learn about breaking eyes and such.

Enjoy replaying games and teaching her!


ChiyoDad said...

Watching and kibbitzing Shusaku's games reminds me of an old pastime on KGS: Mystery Shusaku Theater 3000.

Johan Rex said...

When you finish "Invincible" it would be interesting to read your thoughts on it since I'm about the same strength as you. I have read that stronger players find it very useful but I don't know at what level it would be too advanced.