teaching Go

The goal of this website and the accompanying YouTube channel is to encourage, excite and inspire you to take your first steps towards playing Go.

Although long established across China, Japan, Korea and most other Asian countries, Go is still relatively unknown and unplayed in the West. That being said, most European countries have their own national Go Associations, mostly voluntary and charitable organisations, set up to promote and publicise the personal and social benefits of learning and playing Go. The American Go Association also does a great deal of work in this area and there are also similar groups across Latin America and the rest of the world.

These Associations, organise events and tournaments and maintain the ranking systems that enable players to understand their current playing strength and what progress they have made in the game.

As a 7 Kyu, UK-based Go player, I have played Go for over forty years now since I first encountered it with my brother in the mid-1960’s. For a while back then, the game was lumped in with the popular fascination with ‘exotic ideas from the East’ and ‘psychedelic culture’ and for me the game still carries some of those cultural elements.

However, I now simply believe that playing Go is just good for people. There is a Go aphorism that says:

“People play Chess to show how clever they are…people play Backgammon to show how lucky they are…but people play Go to find out who they are!”

If true, and in my experience it certainly is, then actually Go teaches us something quite deep about how we are in the world. I know that when I am calm and relaxed, I play better Go. I can tell during a game when I am becoming frustrated or agitated. I can feel when my opponent is confused, irritated or puzzled by a move. The process of learning and teaching Go, has actually taught me something about learning itself.

Its for this reason that I set up ‘ten minutes to GO’. I wanted to be able to spread my Go knowledge as far and wide as possible.

People might say, well why would you want to learn from a 7 Kyu player when you could study with a 3 or 4 Dan level player? My answer is that, in my experience, most Dan level players, or at least those who are not professional teachers, actually know too much. They have long ago forgotten what it is like to be a complete beginner between 30 and 25 Kyu and they simply end up confusing their students with too many alternatives and variations. I know, because it happened many times to me on my pathway into Go.

So what I offer is a simple way of connecting to the game, through a community of other beginners, who can play with you, learn with you, share their triumphs and defeats with you and join you on that road.

There is no money involved in this. Outside of the professional world, money has nothing to do with Go. Through this website, my YouTube channel and a private Facebook group, I can help guide you through your first steps into Go and then with a gentle push, see you on your way.

All I ask, is that you are prepared to give ten minutes a day to practicing and playing Go and that if anyone ever asks you what you are doing you simply reply:

“Oh this is Go… do you have ten minutes and I will show you.”

How to make use of Ten Minutes to GO

To take advantage of the teaching I offer on Ten Minutes to Go, you will need the following in place.

  1. You will need a Facebook account so that you can be invited to join the TmtG Facebook group.
  2. You will need access to a computer or tablet on which you can play games.
  3. You will need to create an account on the Online Go Server – OGS so that you can be invited to join the TmtG online gaming group.
  4. You will have the time, energy and desire to lean to play Go and participate in a learning community with other beginners.
  5. Once you have all this in place, then message me via the TmtG website and I will get in touch and make sure you are all set-up.
  6. Get a grasp of the basic rules of Go. There are dozens of online resources for this including web pages and YouTube videos.
  7. Once you have been through a couple of these, go online at OGS and start to play some games against the ‘beginner bots’ These are AI Go opponents set up to play 9×9 games against new players. (Log into OGS, click on the second tab along that says ‘Play’, Select a 9×9 board size and then click on ‘Computer’. Your opponent should be ‘amybot-beginner (31K), don’t worry about the other settings at the moment, just make sure that the Game Speed is set to ‘live’.)
  8. Play some games, as many as you can. You will lose the first few but try to figure out why. Most importantly, each game you play creates a game record that I can log-in and take a look at and help you identify how and where to improve.
  9. Have fun!
  10. Tell your friends what you are doing and invite them to come and play Go as well!