Yesterday I started taking weekly group lessons with Solaris on KGS. So far we have a group of four students. We will meet once a week for two hours. Solaris will be sending us homework via email which will include some life and death problems and a joseki to study for the following week. One of the reasons I have chosen to participate in the group lessons is because I think a lot about studying, and intend to do so, but I haven't done enough of it. Paying for a regular group lesson seems to be an economical way to motivate myself to study and to play regularly. I anticipate it will also feel less isolated than private lessons, which certainly are great, and have their place, and I may take them again at some point.
Our first lesson with Solaris involved a six stone teaching game with one of the students. The game took about 40 minutes. We spent the remainder of the class reviewing the beginning of that game. We used the situations that arose to discuss the strength of groups in comparison to each other, and to examine possible moves for each side. We didn't go very far into the game, but the opening was quite enough to provide material for discussion.
I came away from the game with a new appreciation for the outside vs. the inside, especially in a handicap game. This was well illustrated by showing the difference for black between enclosing white and allowing her to live small along the side, vs. stealing the base and forcing her to run to the center.
Solaris works with groups of from four to six players, preferrably of a similar level. Our group ranges from 8k through 1k, so we probably have a greater than optimal spread of ranks. At 8k I am the weakling in the group, but I don't feel out of place because I know a few things about theory from having taken professional lessons for five and a half years ending four years ago. More about that in a future entry. There's so much I haven't written about yet.
I started out fairly quiet in the group yesterday, but spoke up more as I found myself suggesting the optimal moves a few times.
If you are interested in group lessons, or private lessons, with Solaris please visit his online go school.