Journey Entry: #04

As I’ve been recount­ing my expe­ri­ence at Go Con­gress, I can only chuckle as I look at how dif­fer­ent things are in com­par­i­son back to then. At the time, not only was I feel­ing over­whelmed by every­thing I was fac­ing in life; but I was feel­ing a bit burnt out by go as well. Per­haps it was as sim­ple as try­ing to do too much at once, but I believe that it was a result of hav­ing unre­al­is­tic expec­ta­tions for myself.

What do I mean by that? Well, as all seri­ous go play­ers are aware, one of the major mile­stones in a go player’s jour­ney is cross­ing the thresh­old of kyu to dan. And while it is true that I may have already crossed that thresh­old, part of me was always wor­ried that I wasn’t as strong as other peo­ple thought I was. Or worse, maybe I was even weaker than even what I thought. As a result, you can see my that my KGS ranked has drifted down to 4k and has lit­tle to no ranked games. Because at the end of the day, it was eas­ier for me to have a lower rank on KGS and know inter­nally that I was stronger than the other way around (aka find­ing out I hit some ceil­ing in my rank).

I’m sure it sound weird and stu­pid to some of you, but that’s the truth of it all. Sim­ple self-protection from what real­ity may hold. Haha. Of course, by doing so, I’ve cre­ated a ceil­ing that might just not exist. So now that I know it, I plan on play­ing more ranked games in the near future. But since it’ll take some time for me to build up to it, I’ve found a nice inter­me­di­ary solu­tion thanks to Satoru: GoQuest (Apple  / Android ).

On the sur­face, it looks like your typ­i­cal 9x9 app; but from what I heard, this app has got­ten pretty pop­u­lar in Japan recently. It has a mix of oppo­nents (i.e., human and bots); but what really takes the cake, is that appar­ently some pro­fes­sion­als even play on it as well. So while I have no way of con­firm­ing that rumor, I kind of like the idea that I may have a chance of get­ting demol­ished by a pro when I play. Haha. (Here’s my invi­ta­tion code for those inter­ested who want to try it out: n1ek8du)

And finally, I’m fig­ur­ing out a way to inte­grate game com­men­taries back into my rou­tine now. So if all goes well, be on the look­out for Mon­day Go Med­i­ta­tion to come back next Monday!

Go Congress 2014 — Day 4

Pre­ludeDay 1Day 2Day 3Day 4 — Day 5 — Day 6 — Day 7 — Conclusion

Today was the offi­cial rest day for Con­gress. In other words, this meant that there would be no tour­na­ment matches so that peo­ple could go and explore New York if they wanted. As you might sus­pect though, there was a group of peo­ple who were here for go and just that alone. So in honor of these ded­i­cated play­ers, they had a “Die Hard Tour­na­ment” for these players.

When I arrived at Hotel Penn­syl­va­nia, I found Nate and the gang hang­ing out.


Con­tinue read­ing

Go Congress 2014 — Day 3

Pre­ludeDay 1Day 2Day 3 — Day 4 — Day 5 — Day 6 — Day 7 — Conclusion

When I woke up, I sat in silence for a while as I thought about what I was going to do. Although some would sim­ply shrug off the for­feit and con­tinue play­ing in the tour­na­ment, I couldn’t stand the idea of con­tin­u­ing in the tour­na­ment. And with my brother in town and my girl­friend com­ing up to visit the sec­ond half of the trip, my mind was made up.

When I arrived at Hotel Penn­syl­va­nia, I went and offi­cially with­drew myself from the tour­na­ment. I know that this deci­sion might not sit well with some of you, but it was really the best deci­sion for me as a whole. While it would have been great to have played in the tour­na­ment, with­draw­ing from the tour­na­ment freed up my sched­ule to spend time with my brother (and girl­friend even­tu­ally) while also allow­ing me the free­dom to do what­ever I wanted (i.e., spend­ing time with professionals).

Any­how, I then entered the tour­na­ment room to see if any­one was up and around. As I walked around, I found Diego and Guru­jeet in the mid­dle of an intense game.


I vaguely remem­ber catch­ing Nate and Michael before the round started and wish­ing them the best of luck. And before I left, I went ahead and signed up for three simuls that day. After all, I could play in tour­na­ments any­time I wanted back at home, it’s the pro­fes­sion­als that made Con­gress as epic as it is.

Con­tinue read­ing

Weekly Progress Report: #02


I am proud to report that I am start­ing to hit my stride. Not only have I been keep­ing up my train­ing reg­i­men with lit­tle to no effort, but I even increased the min­i­mum require­ment because the prior reg­i­men was get­ting too easy for me to do. Even now I’m con­sid­er­ing upping it again, but I’ll stick with it another week and prob­a­bly start sprin­kling in other books in order to keep my inter­est perked up.

In addi­tion, as many of you have noticed, I actu­ally started releas­ing Go Con­gress posts a lot ear­lier than what I orig­i­nally fore­casted (i.e., Sat­ur­day). And I’ll be con­tin­u­ing to release them one day at a time as the day per­mits.* And in case any­one is won­der­ing, I do plan on doing com­men­tary on all my games from Con­gress (includ­ing any lessons learned from the pro simuls). So for all those who have been wait­ing, that means exactly what it sounds like: Mon­day Go Medi­a­tions is back in business.

*I like to restrict my post­ing to once a day in order to give every­one proper time to read the posts and com­ment if they wish.

Train­ing Regimen

  • Com­plete 4 pages of prob­lems (approx­i­mately 20 prob­lems) from Jump Level Up daily.


  • Jump Level Up 1 by Baduktopia
  • Vital Points and Skill­ful Finesse for Sabaki by Yoda Nori­moto, 9p


  • KGS —  2 games (1 teach­ing and 1 free game)

Go Congress 2014 — Day 2

Pre­ludeDay 1Day 2Day 3 — Day 4 — Day 5 — Day 6 — Day 7 — Conclusion

The next day I woke up late. Since I knew that my games took a long time, I fig­ured that it would be best for me to grab break­fast before head­ing off to the match. After all, the worst thing that would hap­pen is that I would have less time. Right?

When I arrived, I found every­one sit­ting and play­ing their matches. As I looked down the pair­ings list, I noticed that my name was already marked with results. F? My opponent’s name cir­cled? What the heck? Does that mean what I think it means?

As I scanned the list, I saw there were quite a few oth­ers as well. So I rushed off to find the tour­na­ment direc­tor, and sure enough, it was what I feared: forfeit.

Con­tinue read­ing

Go Congress 2014 — Day 1

Pre­ludeDay 1Day 2Day 3 — Day 4 — Day 5 — Day 6 — Day 7 — Conclusion

The first offi­cial day of Go Con­gress! Woot! Need­less to say, I was up bright and early and on my way to the hotel.

The tour­na­ment was sup­posed to start around 9:00am, so I stopped by the hotel cafe to grab a quick break­fast (which ended up being a crois­sant and an orange juice) since I wanted to make sure I got there on time.

When I arrived, the simuls and events were mostly filled; so I made a men­tal note to myself to aim to arrive ear­lier in the future if I wanted to get in a simul game.

As every­one shuf­fled in, we all waited for the tour­na­ment pair­ings to be put up. And while we were all try­ing to relax and enjoy sim­ply being at Go Con­gress, there was def­i­nitely a bit of anx­i­ety through­out the air as this was our first match of the tour­na­ment. After all, every­one was hop­ing to start off the tour­na­ment with a win.

Before we knew it though, we all went off on our sep­a­rate ways to find our oppo­nents. My oppo­nent was an Asian girl named Kelly who was prob­a­bly around fourth or fifth grade. After sit­ting down and set­ting up my iPad (for record­ing the game) and get­ting my head­phones ready, we fid­dled around with the clock for a bit to make sure we had the right time settings.


Con­tinue read­ing

Go Congress 2014 — Prelude

Pre­ludeDay 1Day 2Day 3 — Day 4 — Day 5 — Day 6 — Day 7 — Conclusion

When I woke up that Sat­ur­day morn­ing, I was excited that the day had finally come. My first Go Con­gress ever! Woot!

I had the plea­sure of hav­ing my lit­tle brother come up with me for the first half of the trip. And while pack­ing was more of a has­sle than I antic­i­pated, we were on our way before we knew it.

When we arrived in NY, the first thing we did was check-in to our hotel. Though pretty much every­one was stay­ing at the Hotel Penn­syl­va­nia, I was stay­ing at a Mar­riott about two to three blocks away since I had guests com­ing up to visit. In addi­tion, since I was going to be liv­ing there for over a week, I wanted to get a nicer place any­how since the price wasn’t that much more expensive.

After check­ing in and unload­ing my back­pack, we went to a nearby Japan­ese curry shop that was highly rated on Yelp called GoGoCurry.


My brother got the pork katsu while I tried the grand slam (which was every­thing they had: sausage, chicken, pork, tem­pura shrimp). And while every­thing was deli­cious, I think I’ll opt for one of the reg­u­lar plates next time since the grand slam was a lot more food than I was bar­gain­ing for. (Don’t get me wrong though, it was a fan­tas­tic value for the price!)

With our stom­achs full of good food, we headed off to check-in at the Go Congress.

Con­tinue read­ing

Journal Entry: #03

As I have been work­ing through the var­i­ous obsta­cles in order to make progress on go, one of the issues I’ve con­tin­u­ally run into is the spurts of moti­va­tion fol­lowed by a trench of inac­tiv­ity. To sim­ply write it off as lazi­ness would be the easy thing to do, but I had been unable to put my fin­ger on what it was that I was lack­ing. It wasn’t until recently that I real­ized what I was miss­ing: relent­less com­mit­ment to my goals.

Recently, my girl­friend told me about a book that she was read­ing: Lone Sur­vivor. For those who haven’t heard of it, it’s a story about Oper­a­tion Red­wing (which resulted in “the largest loss of life in Amer­i­can Navy SEAL his­tory” that is told from the per­spec­tive of the only sur­vivor: Mar­cus Lut­trell. And though I’m not even close to fin­ish­ing it, it already is start­ing to leave a last­ing impact on me.

As I lis­tened to Lut­trell talk about his train­ing and what he went through to become a SEAL, I couldn’t help but feel rather pathetic as he described the bru­tal tri­als that he had to endure. And we’re not talk­ing about just phys­i­cal tri­als, but espe­cially the men­tal ones as well. And as I reflected on my own life and pur­suit of my goals, it dawned on me that my so-called “drive” was pathetic. And I don’t mean this in some sort of self-pitying way, but in a self-enlightened sense where sud­denly it was clear where my prob­lem was: I quit too eas­ily.

In the U.S. Navy SEAL’s code, there is an excerpt that par­tic­u­larly resounded with me:

I will never quit. I per­se­vere and thrive on adver­sity. My Nation expects me to be phys­i­cally harder and men­tally stronger than my ene­mies. If knocked down, I will get back up, every time. I will draw on every remain­ing ounce of strength to pro­tect my team­mates and to accom­plish the mis­sion. I am never out of the fight.”

While my pur­suits are not mil­i­taris­tic, there is a lot that I can learn from this men­tal­ity. Too often have I resigned games due to feel­ing over­whelmed against the odds (even though it was not the case). And too many times have I let myself quit or pro­cras­ti­nate because there was no one to tell me not to or encour­age me to keep going.

Well screw all of that. I refuse to let a minute go by where I don’t give any­thing less than my all. And so with that, I’ll com­mit to the fact that I will have my Go Con­gress posts fin­ished by this Sat­ur­day. No more wait­ing, it’s get­ting finished.

Weekly Progress Report: #01


This week is the mark of some­thing new, yet old at the same time. I am going to do my best to draw on all my exper­i­ments in the past and forge another road for myself once again. I’m not sure what lies ahead of me, but I’m ready for what­ever life has to throw at me. Let’s do this!

Train­ing Regimen

  • Solve 12 prob­lems from Jump Level Up every day.


  • Jump Level Up 1 by Baduktopia
  • Vital Points and Skill­ful Finesse for Sabaki by Yoda Nori­moto, 9p