Saturday, July 14, 2007

My First Audio Go Lessons SGF

I have been viewing the audio go lessons quite often in the past couple months. The only thing I don't like about the site is that you only get to view each lesson you purchase for a month. This isn't going to keep me away though. You can view your lessons as often as you like during the month that you have access to them, which does encourage a measure of restraint concerning how many lessons you purchase at one time. I can understand the reasons why audiogolessons is set up that way. Some people might be tempted to be dishonest and build up a library of lessons and then share them with others, robbing the professionals of the income they deserve, so it makes sense to create a distribution model which makes it less likely that people would do such a thing. Still, my ideal setup would be a flat monthly fee for all the video you can watch similar to what is available for technical educational videos at

Having honestly purchased a lesson I would like to have a way to review the material whenever I want. There are a number of ways to accomplish this. I could take notes, make screen shots, or make an sgf. Initially I had done some screen shots of some of the early "Step By Step lectures". It was my plan to incorporate them into doc files with notes that would maintain the flow of the lesson. But I never got around to putting those pages together, so I decided to make an SGF of a lecture which is due to expire soon to see if this method would work out better for me.

I picked "Common Opening Lecture 3" for my first sgf lecture file. It took me somewhere between between two and three hours to create the file working in chunks of time rather than all at once. I got my money's worth right there. Where else can you get two hours of entertainment for one Euro?

The Common Opening #3 is the one where black ends up with a shimari consisting of a small knights move approach to a 3-4 which is facing a black hoshi stone while white has both hoshi points on the opposite side of the board. Picture the shimari in the right bottom corner facing up to a black hoshi stone.

This was a particularly good lesson for me to transcribe because as black I always begin with komoku in the upper right often resulting in a downward facing shimari with a black hoshi below it. This lesson showed how to handle the variations that result in a white play on the 3rd line below the starpoint between the black shimari and hoshi. This is definitely a lecture I need to devote time to studying.

I found the process of creating the sgf file more than just clerical. It was a study process in itself. As much as this file will be useful to me for review, it was useful in its creation as well. I don't think that it would be nearly as useful for study without having seen and heard the lecture because it doesn't follow the flow of the lecture since varitions sometimes appear in the file before they are referred to in the lecture. An sgf file isn't a movie afterall.

I am not sure if it is possible to do, but I think the most valuable way to review such a file would be to create a set of hyperlinks within the file that would take you from one part of the file to another in the same order as the lecture.

I highly recommend Audio Go Lessons to anyone who has not tried it yet. They have some free lessons you can sample. Give it a try.

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