[Computer-go] 50k-100k patterns
malf at aracnet.com
Sat Aug 11 07:20:45 PDT 2012
This has been a most interesting discussion, thanks to all that
participated. As far as tricks, hard and deliberate practice, or focus
goes, I would like to share an observation from Guo Juan: The only
difference between an IGS 3k and a 3d is the 3d knows more tricks. To
get beyond 3d you have to learn something about the game.
On 8/11/12 5:52 AM, Don Dailey wrote:
> On Sat, Aug 11, 2012 at 2:38 AM, Sam Stewart <sstewart at lclark.edu
> <mailto:sstewart at lclark.edu>> wrote:
> Hello all,
> As a student and mathematician, I am particularly interested in the
> complex process of accumulating, understanding, and remembering
> difficult information. In regards to the most recent posting by Don,
> while I agree that there is initially some "low hanging fruit" in
> most areas, these options quickly disappear as we become better.
> Breaking the barrier between amateur and expert is particularly
> difficult and is rarely achievable through "quick tricks".
> There is nothing here I disagree with. The sophistication of the
> "tricks" increases but probably calling them "shortcuts" and "tricks"
> was not the right terminology. Some of them seem like cheap tricks
> but really they are just mental reorganizations and the recognition of
> patterns which already have a solution or partial solution. I know
> in chess almost any position seems reasonable and suggests moves to my
> mind - but when I first learned the game it was just a random
> configuration without any clue of what move to play.
> The *hard and deliberate* practice I simply called focus - I do not
> believe it necessarily has to be unpleasant but it is hard work.
> Sometimes you can enjoy hard work but without doubt you have to push
> yourself against being lazy.
> Instead, we improve in proportion to the amount of /deliberate and
> strenuous /practice we invest. As Mark described, he knew the steps
> needed to improve drastically, but opted for the easier route. Why?
> Because deliberate practice is often grueling, repetitive, and
> exhausting; we prefer tasks which are within our purview.
> Having programmed since age ten, and then up into my college years,
> I can say from personal experience the largest jumps in ability
> occurred when I concentrated on my weakest areas. For example, while
> initially doing web programming, I decided to learn the iOS SDK. Of
> course, this required studying Objective-C (really just C and some
> compiler macros) which does not use automatic memory management.
> Needless to say, as a fifteen year old coming from Python, Java, and
> PHP, this was a hurdle. I spent hours finding obvious memory leaks
> before I could even display something onscreen. The process was
> laborious but I finally gained competence /over a three year
> period/. I emphasize this statement because there was no shortcut.
> Although the authors on this list hold no such misconceptions, I
> cannot count the number of times people have approached me asking
> how to write iPhone apps. I always answer, "you'll need lots of
> time, patience, and diligence….then start practicing".
> The mental jump from managed languages to manually managed languages
> shed light on the "low level" details of programming which I had
> missed previously. The /deliberate /practice in an area of weakness
> enabled me to "level up" in the end.
> On the other hand, I have also played jazz piano for about five
> years. Like Mark, I have taken the lazy route, even though I have
> played through hundreds of songs. As with most classically trained
> musicians, I found sight-reading and memorizing an explicit
> transcription of a standard far easier than practicing the numerous
> chords and modes required for free-form improvisation. Only now, am
> I painfully practicing the many chord voicings I glossed over years
> ago. In sight-reading the music, I allowed my skill to plateau by
> sticking to the "stuff I knew".
> Similarly, I am a better programmer than mathematician. While
> varying across individuals, I find programming intuitive, or as Mark
> said "Learning to program never felt like work". On the other hand,
> many concepts in mathematics require abstract and flexible thought.
> Hence, since I find math more challenging than CS, I purposely fill
> my schedule with math courses. Pushing myself in a weaker area will
> ultimately render me a better computer scientist.
> In summary, the /key /difference between amateurs and experts is
> /*hard and deliberate* /practice. In order to move from novice to
> professional, you must not only practice, but you must focus on
> honing your "pain points". While I wish there were other options
> available, my own experience has lead me to this conclusion.
> However, I'm not the only one who holds this opinion. I'd like to
> offer this paper I read a few years ago which speaks to this issue
> precisely. I've also pasted some relevant sections below:
>> Our review has also shown that the maximal level of performance
>> for individuals in a given domain is not attained automatically as
>> function of extended experience, but the level of performance can
>> be increased even by highly experienced individuals as a result of
>> deliberate efforts to improve.
>> There is a relatively widespread conception that if individuals
>> are innately talented, they can easily and rapidly achieve an
>> exceptional level of performance once they have acquired basic
>> skills and knowledge. Biographical material disproves this notion.
>> In their classic study of expertise in chess, Simon and
>> Chase (1973) observed that nobody had attained the level of an
>> international chess master (grandmaster) "with less than about
>> a decade's intense preparation with the game" (p. 402).
> This discussion has been quite entertaining and I look forward to
> any comments or further thoughts,
> Sam Stewart
> Lewis & Clark College
> On Friday, August 10, 2012 at 2:05 PM, Don Dailey wrote:
>> On Fri, Aug 10, 2012 at 4:38 PM, Mark Boon
>> <tesujisoftware at gmail.com <mailto:tesujisoftware at gmail.com>> wrote:
>>> On Fri, Aug 10, 2012 at 8:15 AM, Don Dailey <dailey.don at gmail.com
>>> <mailto: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
>>> > 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
>>> > 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
>>> 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
>>> way of studying really worth anything was life-and-death. All the
>>> 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 better.
>> 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
>> 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 focused.
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