By William Cobb
I was chatting with the young man to whom I am teaching go the other day and I remarked that he was beginning to make a lot more plays that were like those of a real go player. His reply was that that might be true but in fact he felt like most of the time he had no idea what was going on. It struck me immediately that I feel that way a lot of the time also. Moreover, often when I did think I knew what was going on I was mistaken. This feeling of being caught up in a rapidly shifting and somewhat puzzling situation is an inescapable characteristic of the game of go. This, of course, is another of the many ways in which playing go is like living life. Hopefully, with time and experience you begin to get some idea of what is going on in life. You recognize more of the actual opportunities facing you and you get a more realistic idea of what you are likely to be able to do in particular situations. Plus you also develop a better sense of what to expect from others.
Lately we’ve all been dealing with a host of realities we had not really been expecting though we knew such things were possible. It is very frustrating, not unlike playing an even game against a player who is much stronger than you. The new restrictions on living are too much like being told you can play a game of go but you have to hold the stones two inches above the board, drop them, and not move them afterwards. It would be hard to enjoy playing that way just as it is hard to enjoying living the way we have to now. Actually, the present situation has made playing go seem more like a very orderly activity—certainly one that involves virtually no frustrations. The lack of clarity about what is really going on in a game is now rather comforting in comparison with just living life.
photo by Phil Straus; photo art by Chris Garlock