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My dear fellow programmers/developers, how you kill your time while you're not coding? Some people go jogging, some listen to their favourite tracks, some catch movies, some read, and the list goes on and on.

   

For me, one of the stuff I enjoy doing is Go. So what the heck is this Go, you may ask (of course if you're already playing and enjoying it, you won't need to ask me). Go is an ancient board game carrying the 5000 years history with it, while still keep getiing improved on the rules and styles of game opening, counterattacks, and etc. It's a board game played by two players, one of them playing with black stones, and another white, with black playing first.

   

Just why so much fun with Go? Why bother about knowing this since I'm not interested? Well, I guess you will get hooked to it once you start learning the beauty of Go, and the fun of indulging in games with others. It's played on a board with 19x19 grid lines. I won't tell you too much of the nature of it and the gameplay, as I will be listing out some great sites for you to explore.

   

It's more fun when you explore more on your own, isn't it?

   

I started learned about the existence of this game since childhood. That's when I was watching drama series from China, and I found the game interesting and fascinating. But nowhere near my place has people playing it or selling the game set. Maybe it's just not as popular yet. So I ended up learning Chinese Chess, which I enjoyed playing it to a certain extend, and even challenge classmates and neighbours. And later on, I get bored with it, and my friend introduce me to a world of Chess (International Chess), and I get hooked up to Chess very quickly. I even participated in inter-school tournaments, which later on had my interest spread to District Level, and finally founded our very first Chess Club in school. Well, we managed to get a teacher-in-charge and quite a number of new members. We even organized our very first Inter-Class tournaments. But due to it's close to year-end and getting near to our final year exam, the school has suggested us to postpone the tournament.

   

Soon, when I was in high school, my younger brother, who introduce me to a Japanese comic series, Hikaru No Go and get me addicted, as I finally can get my eyes on a comic that's talk about Go. Thanks to my father, who bought us a computer, and connected to Internet, we managed to search for Go online. To our surprises, there are a lot of Go resources available in both English and Mandarin.

   

Since then, my interest has made me dedicated my time to Go, and I reach the stage where I almost flung my high school studies, and spending most of my time in studying Go. I gotten pretty excited when I know a friend who gave me a set of Go board with stones from China. I began my journey half on Go board, half on computer Go board, and getting all my learning materials printed off from Internet.

   

When I went to college (Ngee Ann Polytechnic in Singapore), and I began astounded by the power of Internet speed there, and having gotten myself a notebook, which is a must for IT students, I started sourcing for not only PDF books but also SGF format "books" and game records, as well as other ebook formats to learn how to play Go. Until one day, the friend (I regard him as an elder brother of me) rang an alarm and asked me to stop playing and focus on studies if I were to continue be friend with him. So I heeded to his advice and no longer learning Go. Until I finally graduated, I started in touch with Go once again.

   

I ended up knowing a friend from Taiwan, and have him gathered a series of Go learning books used in China and so-called for training kids to be professional players, my brother brought it back from Taiwan for me, during his trip there. So I ended up learning Go again after many years of no-Go days. It has been about 6 years I never learn or play any Go. Then I finally setup Go forums for Chinese and English speaking players, and requested a Club Room on KGS (Kiseido Go Server - http://www.gokgs.com/) and started having a lot of players playing inside the room. I even play in office with my fellow co-workers and teaching them the basics.

   

And then I changed job and play alone, but I enjoyed myself pretty much interacting with various level of players, and we even have joined Hong Kong room invitational friendly tournaments, though we lost, that's a great experiences to everyone.

   

However, due to my part-time degree studies, I once again give up Go for a few years until recently I'm quite confident I wont be distracted by Go and would in fact helps in my studies, and I picked up Go from scratch again, and spread my love in Go to colleagues. And I started watching the anime of Hikaru No Go again, and getting very involved.

   

Due to my busy schedule, I seldom play on KGS now, but I will try to spend some time over every weekend (if I'm free) to play some games of Go. I play on those 1 move per day Go server like Dragon Go Server (http://www.dragongoserver.net) and Northwest Go Server (http://nwgo.braindog.org) most of the time. It's still fun for me, even though I make more mistakes now, and lost quite a number of games.

   

Playing Go not only kill time and train my mind, it also helps in my studies and my work as a programmer, try it and I'm sure you'll love it!

Posted on Tuesday, July 5, 2011 3:28 PM Go | Back to top

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