Do you ever lose interest in Go?

It does not seem to be uncommon: A person who may spend hours every day playing Go will then stop playing for weeks, months, even years. Of course there are many different reasons why this might happen; it depends on the individual. Sometimes a person might become too busy with other things to play Go, or simply lose interest in the game.

Yet, quite often these players will resume playing one day. Playing Go is like riding a bicycle, it is something you cannot really forget. Sure, your playing ability might decrease a little (or even increase, in some cases), but you still remember the rules and usually retain most, if not all, of the knowledge you had when you left off.

What is it about Go that keeps us coming back to it? The longing to improve at the game? The intellectual challenge? The feeling of finding a brilliant move, only to realize later how terrible it was? There are many different reasons, but I think a key factor is that Go is fun to play. It is amazing how people can dedicate so much time, even their entire lives to this game.

When I started to play Go, I was so fascinated by it. Every day I would play for 2-4 hours (although I did not seem to improve much; I mentioned eariler that I did not pass 20 kyu for 18 months). It is unfortunate that there are only 24 hours in a day. I soon found I did not have time for Go, and for a month or two I stopped playing almost completely. It seems to me now that every month or two I take a little one or two week break from Go. Sometimes this is because I simply “burn out” from having played too much in the past, or I become preoccupied with other priorities. I learned that the important thing is not to regret the time “lost” but to celebrate when you eventually return.

Even if you are among those who consider Go to be one of the most advanced, prestigious games in existence, it is important to remember that Go is still a game. So if you need to take a “break” because of outside factors and priorities such as family, friends, work/school, etc. – please, take a break. Go is a game that has existed for perhaps over 4,000 years, and the board will be waiting for you whenever you return.

4 Responses to “Boredom”

  1. Paul says:

    I have known many people who have drifted in and out over the years, and had an 18 year gap in playing myself. To my surprise, it doesn’t seem like people get worse when they haven’t played in years. It generally only takes them a game or two to return to whatever rank they held when they were last active.

    • Timo says:

      I had a 25 year break myself. I was very surprised to see that my level was about the same after a couple of games. It’s like riding a bike.

  2. Tyler says:

    I don’t think I ever ‘lost interest’ in playing Go; although I did stop playing for an extended period, just like Paul; but, that was not so much because of burn-out or boredom as it was for lack of anyone to play with! I’ve said before that my wife’s willingness to play and appreciation of the game was a definite factor in favour of my proposing marriage to her! Perhaps that belies just how much of a die-hard lover of the game I am… However, I do not feel that I obsessively play Go the way I have previously been ‘sucked-in’ to a few select video-game titles, when I was younger. Quite the opposite! I think that Go has saved me from such empty ambitions! Although I must admit that I briefly dabbled with playing poker professionally just as Janice Kim has since: I firmly believe that GO and Poker are the pinnacle games of their respective classes, i.e., games of Perfect and Imperfect information, respectively; but, that sounds like a subject for another article unto itself 😉

  3. Evan says:

    An interesting way to get past boredom is mix things up a tad by playing a go VARIANT, it can function as a cross training tool to make you better at standard go but they are great in their own right. My favorite (made up by me) is TREASURE GO, its the last variant listed on Jiao Nato’s go variants site:

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