Quantcast
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Go pros play chess to relax

4000 years and counting

“In Go, you have 361 possible first moves to pick from. In chess, you have 20.”
“In Go, you have 361 possible first moves to pick from. In chess, you have 20.”

"I am the president of the club. It’s a loosely formed group that meets Tuesday nights for the last,” the man laughs, “40 years. We meet at Twigg’s Coffeehouse [4590 Park Boulevard at Madison] and play from 6:30 to 11 o’clock.” Speaking is Ted Terpstra, 66, of the San Diego Go Club.

The game of Go is thought to be 4000 years old. It is the oldest game still played in its original form. And it is, according to the American Go Association (AGA), the most popular game in the world. A tournament Go board features a grid of 19 horizontal and 19 vertical lines. Two players — one using black stones, the other white stones — alternately place their stones on the intersections of aforesaid horizontal and vertical lines.

Follows is from the AGA website: “Go is the simplest of all games... Try to surround territory and to avoid being surrounded... Go is the most complex of all games. There are many more possible Go games — 10 followed by more than 300 zeroes — than there are subatomic particles in the known universe... All moves are possible at all times, adding even more to the complexity.”

I ask Terpstra to tell me about the best Go player he’s ever taken on. “Last year at a tournament. They imported great Japanese professionals, some of the best in the world. I got to play a simultaneous game with a 9 Dan professional.

“He was playing 18 games at once. I had a 9 stone handicap and he just killed me. He cut off one of my groups, so I resigned. That’s the protocol, when you’re too far behind, don’t play it out forever. Then, he swept part of the board away and said, ‘Well, you know, 20 moves ago, if you would have gone here, here, and here,’ he re-created his last 20 moves. ‘You could have saved that group.’”

Terpstra says his parents were normal, blue-collar people living on the South Side of Chicago. “I went to the University of Chicago, then took my first job at Princeton working at the fusion reactor.” He moved here in 1995, works as a computer programmer at a fusion reactor in La Jolla. He’s married, has four grown kids, and lives near Mission Bay.

Before Go, Terpstra was a practiced, experienced chess player. I asked him to compare the two games.

“For the past ten years, a computer has been able to beat the world’s chess champion. A computer can barely beat me, and I am nowhere in the hierarchy of great Go players.

“There’s a professional ranking and then there’s the amateur ranking. If you just learned the game, you’re probably a 25 Kyu. As you get better, you go up to 1 Kyu, and then there is this hop from Kyu to a Dan player. I am a 5 Kyu: a decent player, but not a very serious player.”

I ask, “Where’s the jump between amateur and pro?”

“In China, Korea, Taiwan, and Japan, they have a formal system where you try out to become a pro. At 16, in Japan, you would try out, and if you became a pro you wouldn’t do anything for the rest of your life except play Go.

“There’s a Bobby Fischer of Go. His name is Michael Redmond. He must be in his 40s now. He went over to Japan when he was 16, and he plays at the 9 Dan professional level over there. That’s as high as you get. There’s maybe 100 Japanese who are 9 Dan.”

“What was it about Go that called you away from chess?”

Terpstra says, “I liked being able to handicap a game. Couple of years ago I had a 90-year-old Go partner. Every Thursday afternoon we’d get together. I gave him a 3 stone handicap. We played evenly, each winning 50 percent of the games.

“Chess, you start with the board full of pieces and you take them off. In Go, you start with an empty board and you’re creating as you go along. They say Go professionals play chess to relax,” Terpstra laughs. “In Go, you have 361 possible first moves to pick from. In chess, you have 20 possible first moves.”

“Tell me about the club.”

“We have beginners all the way up to players who are 2 and 3 Dan. Occasionally, we have someone visiting from Japan. Last year we had two 7 Dans visiting. Maybe three or four times a year I invite all the Go players over to my house to sit around and play, maybe have a glass of wine.”

Interested readers are invited to contact Ted Terpstra at 619-384-3545 or via email at [email protected]

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

Thai island fashion direct from Koh Phangan

“I love clothing that makes me feel like a fairy in the woods.”
Next Article

A hashtag is not sufficient this week

Why are we are surprised when our culture throws up chaos and violence?
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

“In Go, you have 361 possible first moves to pick from. In chess, you have 20.”
“In Go, you have 361 possible first moves to pick from. In chess, you have 20.”

"I am the president of the club. It’s a loosely formed group that meets Tuesday nights for the last,” the man laughs, “40 years. We meet at Twigg’s Coffeehouse [4590 Park Boulevard at Madison] and play from 6:30 to 11 o’clock.” Speaking is Ted Terpstra, 66, of the San Diego Go Club.

The game of Go is thought to be 4000 years old. It is the oldest game still played in its original form. And it is, according to the American Go Association (AGA), the most popular game in the world. A tournament Go board features a grid of 19 horizontal and 19 vertical lines. Two players — one using black stones, the other white stones — alternately place their stones on the intersections of aforesaid horizontal and vertical lines.

Follows is from the AGA website: “Go is the simplest of all games... Try to surround territory and to avoid being surrounded... Go is the most complex of all games. There are many more possible Go games — 10 followed by more than 300 zeroes — than there are subatomic particles in the known universe... All moves are possible at all times, adding even more to the complexity.”

I ask Terpstra to tell me about the best Go player he’s ever taken on. “Last year at a tournament. They imported great Japanese professionals, some of the best in the world. I got to play a simultaneous game with a 9 Dan professional.

“He was playing 18 games at once. I had a 9 stone handicap and he just killed me. He cut off one of my groups, so I resigned. That’s the protocol, when you’re too far behind, don’t play it out forever. Then, he swept part of the board away and said, ‘Well, you know, 20 moves ago, if you would have gone here, here, and here,’ he re-created his last 20 moves. ‘You could have saved that group.’”

Terpstra says his parents were normal, blue-collar people living on the South Side of Chicago. “I went to the University of Chicago, then took my first job at Princeton working at the fusion reactor.” He moved here in 1995, works as a computer programmer at a fusion reactor in La Jolla. He’s married, has four grown kids, and lives near Mission Bay.

Before Go, Terpstra was a practiced, experienced chess player. I asked him to compare the two games.

“For the past ten years, a computer has been able to beat the world’s chess champion. A computer can barely beat me, and I am nowhere in the hierarchy of great Go players.

“There’s a professional ranking and then there’s the amateur ranking. If you just learned the game, you’re probably a 25 Kyu. As you get better, you go up to 1 Kyu, and then there is this hop from Kyu to a Dan player. I am a 5 Kyu: a decent player, but not a very serious player.”

I ask, “Where’s the jump between amateur and pro?”

“In China, Korea, Taiwan, and Japan, they have a formal system where you try out to become a pro. At 16, in Japan, you would try out, and if you became a pro you wouldn’t do anything for the rest of your life except play Go.

“There’s a Bobby Fischer of Go. His name is Michael Redmond. He must be in his 40s now. He went over to Japan when he was 16, and he plays at the 9 Dan professional level over there. That’s as high as you get. There’s maybe 100 Japanese who are 9 Dan.”

“What was it about Go that called you away from chess?”

Terpstra says, “I liked being able to handicap a game. Couple of years ago I had a 90-year-old Go partner. Every Thursday afternoon we’d get together. I gave him a 3 stone handicap. We played evenly, each winning 50 percent of the games.

“Chess, you start with the board full of pieces and you take them off. In Go, you start with an empty board and you’re creating as you go along. They say Go professionals play chess to relax,” Terpstra laughs. “In Go, you have 361 possible first moves to pick from. In chess, you have 20 possible first moves.”

“Tell me about the club.”

“We have beginners all the way up to players who are 2 and 3 Dan. Occasionally, we have someone visiting from Japan. Last year we had two 7 Dans visiting. Maybe three or four times a year I invite all the Go players over to my house to sit around and play, maybe have a glass of wine.”

Interested readers are invited to contact Ted Terpstra at 619-384-3545 or via email at [email protected]

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

A queercore cacophony

The Gay Agenda, Evening’s Empire, Wayne Riker, Timothy H, The New Regime
Next Article

Thai island fashion direct from Koh Phangan

“I love clothing that makes me feel like a fairy in the woods.”
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer News — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Set 'em Up Joe — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close