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Subject: When to stop for a newbie rss

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Chris Tettamanti
United States
Henderson
Nevada
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How do you know when to pass (stop placing stones)....as a beginner, there may be open areas that look inviting, but are harmful to one's score. Are there any tips to this problem?
 
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W M Shubert
United States
Lexington
Massachusetts
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This is the hardest part for beginners to get.

It may be helpful to play with Chinese scoring; ignore captures, you score is stones on the board + territory. Then you can just play until every dead stones is removed from board and your eyes are so small that any more moves will take away your eyes. This makes the game longer than needed, but after once or twice playing that way you'll probably get a good feel for when to stop.

Note that if you try this using Japanese scoring, all these "extra" moves at the end can change the score.
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Maarten D. de Jong
Netherlands
Zaandam
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Chris Tettamanti wrote:
How do you know when to pass (stop placing stones)....as a beginner, there may be open areas that look inviting, but are harmful to one's score. Are there any tips to this problem?

Okay, here's a few tips from another newbie.

The first and foremost thing you should realise is that the idea of 'harming your own score' exists independent of the rules you chose to follow. Give or take a few odd situations which you shouldn't fret over at your level, any stone you place which does not constitute an efficient move (where the efficiency is something we are told deus ex machina) will harm your score. This is because although the absolute scores will vary considerably depending on the ruleset used, the difference between White and Black is nearly always equal, give or take a point (which arises precisely from those odd situations). So if one ruleset is harsh on the newbie for making silly moves, then so is the other, otherwise the same difference could never arise throughout the game. It is just that one ruleset manages to hide it better than the other, thus giving the impression that matters are more forgiving. In short: stop worrying about this as the question is in itself not useful.

So when to stop? Well, if there isn't someone around to teach you, the best bit of advice to give is play it out, meaning two things:
— fill out all empty spots on the board until all groups are demonstrably alive because they posesses two or more true eyes, at which point both players will pass (you don't fill out true eyes for obvious reasons);
— and then calculate the score based on the amount of stones you have plus the amount of empty points only surrounded by your stones.

After you've played a few games you will easily see that some territories cannot be claimed to the point of creating a structure with two eyes in it. Such territory is then simply left to the surrounding player as 'no longer contested'. Not sure about a group's viability? Play on, then. Both players pass even though they're not sure that was the best course of action? Well, likely only a stronger player might have wormed his way out of a situation—that is practically the definition of being a stronger Go'er. But since the end is arrived at through consensus, your game is done. You may have given away victory, or your opponent might have... But you'll have to accept that as a newcomer you have no real way of telling whether you made the right decision.
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Bryan Thunkd
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Florence
MA
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Stop when there is nothing more to attack, nothing more to defend, and no more profit to be made. Pro tip: you will get this wrong. That's okay, it's how you learn. After you fail to defend a group that needed it, you'll learn a lesson about when stopping is bad. And after your opponent explains/crows about how you had something more, you'll learn another lesson. And after you lose a game because you kept filling territory until your opponent had a slight lead in points you'll learn when stopping is good. Rinse. Repeat. Eventually you'll get a feel for it. Unfortunately there isn't any set formula for it, every position is different and it's just something you have to do until you start "getting" it.
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Russ Williams
Poland
Wrocław
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wmshub wrote:
It may be helpful to play with Chinese scoring; ignore captures, you score is stones on the board + territory. Then you can just play until every dead stones is removed from board and your eyes are so small that any more moves will take away your eyes. This makes the game longer than needed, but after once or twice playing that way you'll probably get a good feel for when to stop.

Note that if you try this using Japanese scoring, all these "extra" moves at the end can change the score.

Or play with AGA scoring (i.e. pass stones: if a player passes, they give a stone as a prisoner). If you disagree about the life/death status of a group, just keep playing until it's clear to you both (possibly because the dead group has been literally captured and removed from the board, or the live group clearly has 2 separate secure eyes).
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