Fighting Spirit

Weekly Go Wednesday, Issue #10

Tsuna and Reborn by Electra

In almost every game in the universe, as Yogi Berra once said, “It’s not over till it’s over!” Players are always forced to play it out till the end regardless of the how poorly they are doing. Granted, players can always quit in the middle of the game; but this is generally considered to be poor taste. While every game of go can theoretically be played out to the end, the ability to resign as an honorable method of admitting defeat brings about a critical component of a player’s success in the game: fighting spirit.

If you remember a few posts back, I was in a miserable slump where I was on a losing streak and playing one reckless games after another. With each progressing game, every move became less about the fight for victory and more about mercilessly trying to kill groups while weakening my own. It is the worst form of go possible: emotional go that hopes the opponent will make a mistake. shakes head side to side

While the games I played were not necessarily eye-gouge worthy, it ultimately culminated into the shipwreck that is the game below:

Without any context, the game looks as if White resigned a won game for the sake of sandbagging his rank or helping Black gain rank. Yet, the truth is that my vision had become so clouded with defeat that losing the small group in the lower right corner caused me to feel as if I had lost the entire game. I didn’t even bother to estimate territory, which would have clearly told me not to resign. As you can see, my fighting spirit was not only broken; but there was practically nothing left.

If you’ve ever seen, read or watched anything of the epic genre, you’ll notice that no matter how strong, smart, or talented they are, the critical element that always allow them to triumph at the end is their fighting spirit. In other words, when things get tough, their fighting spirit is what allows them to find a way out and ultimately succeed. The same can be said of go: no matter how good you are at the various aspects of go (e.g., life and death, tesuji, endgame, etc.), it is all irrelevant if you do not have the fighting spirit to back it up.

Taking a page from the esoteric school of energy, we are all born with different levels of spiritual energy. With that in mind, it would not be far fetched to believe that the same can be said of our fighting spirits. There are some who are born with an excess of fighting spirit, and others who are extremely meek. Fear not though, this is something that you can change. It will require a great deal of deep introspection and the help of those close to you, but I assure you it can be done.

The key concept to keep in mind is that your fighting spirit is intricately tied to your personality and perspective on life. In other words, you are essentially trying to change yourself. On the upside though, the reward you will gain from this endeavor is one that will not only impact your ability and enjoyment of go; but it is one that will have a profound impact on the rest of your life.

Weekly Go Wednesday was built on the idea of weekly articles to help players improve and understand various aspects about the go. After much thought and consideration however, I realized that most players have little interest in what a low SDK has to say in regards to improving at go. As a result, until I have proven that my methods work and gain a the respected dan rank, this will be the final issue of Weekly Go Wednesday for now. Till next time!