[Computer-go] 50k-100k patterns

Don Dailey dailey.don at gmail.com
Fri Aug 10 14:05:05 PDT 2012

On Fri, Aug 10, 2012 at 4:38 PM, Mark Boon <tesujisoftware at gmail.com> wrote:

> On Fri, Aug 10, 2012 at 8:15 AM, Don Dailey <dailey.don at gmail.com> wrote:
> > I'm not real big on natural talent either.  I know it exists but it is
> > somewhat over-rated.   The people who are really good at anything
> invariably
> > worked pretty hard to get there - and the natural talent aspect may
> simply
> > be internal drive - the ability to focus on what needs to be done.    So
> I
> > do believe that some people have more talent than others but maybe it's a
> > bit over-hyped.      Bobby Fischer is said to have been absolutely
> obsessed
> > with chess as a boy - an obsession you don't usually see in an old man or
> > woman.    Was he talented?   I'm sure he was,   but this insane obsession
> > was probably more important to his success than his natural talent.
> Erik Puyt (Dutch 5-dan) once summed it up nicely: "when people say
> you've got talent, what they mean is you're (still) young".
> I do think talent exists. The same way some people are more
> intelligent than others. But starting young and working hard at it is
> needed by everyone to become good at anything. Nobody gets it for
> free.
> >  And even just putting in a lot of time is not the same as working hard
> at it.
> I'm a bit of a lazy type. As a teenager I spent a lot of time studying
> Go. But I found that some types of study felt harder on my brain than
> others. Replaying professional games, while certainly helpful, was a
> lot 'easier' than doing life-and-death problems, which I hated doing.
> Later I heard some successful professional players claim that the only
> way of studying really worth anything was life-and-death. All the rest
> comes relatively easy through just playing. I would characterize
> replaying pro games as  'putting in time' while life-and-death was
> 'working at it'.
> I started computer programming when I was 18-19 years old. I knew
> straight away this was my future as all the studying felt easy
> compared to studying Go, even though I was a little afraid I had
> started too late. But it turned out child prodigies in programming, or
> whizz-kids as they were called, only existed in movies at that day and
> age. Learning to program never felt like work.

Being lazy could be a good thing - it is in programming!     How many times
have I started to code something up,  realized how much work it was going
to be, then stopped myself and said,  "there must be an easier way!"
And lo and behold,  there usually is.

I think this works with everything.    In Chess my master friend was big
into organizing your thinking and making things easier - usually with
clever rules.     Very often just one tiny piece of knowledge can save you
years of figuring it out for yourself.    In one opening I played he said,
 "it's all about the black squares - if you control them you win."     An
aha moment for me as I was busy computing variations and doing things the
hard way.

So I believe than in many ways being "lazy" can be an asset - if you are
always trying to figure out an "easier way" to do it you will do much

Have you ever heard of "square of the pawn?"     Or when being checked by
the knight in the endings when there is very little time on the clock there
are certain squares you can move the king to which guarantee you cannot be
checked for 2, 3 or 4 moves - depending on where you move and these are
trivial patterns.       Also, the say really intelligent people are
internally taking shortcuts,  they get way more accomplished with very
little effort.

And I did a simple thing when I was improving in tournament chess.   I just
happened to notice that 90% of my losses were due to trivial blunders.   I
went up something like 400 ELO  just realizing that.   It was a lazy way to
get 400 ELO without studying hard or anything else,   I just made it my
determination and goal not to blunder and before every move I did a quick
superficial check, nothing fancy and yet  400 ELO!     Everyone thought
that I had been studying and learning and getting much better.

This is actually a general principle of almost any endeavor:  "stop
screwing up!"    If you play tennis you know that at the club level you
don't win games,   you lose them.     Get the ball back with any
consistency and you are suddenly a half way decent club player - even if
you don't do it with much style or grace.

So I don't think study has to be painful and hard - in fact true "hard
work" can be very pleasurable.   But it does have to be productive and


> Mark
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