Ranked Games and My Slow Brain

Lately I’ve noticed that I seem to have trouble finding time to play ranked games. On the other hand, whenever a friend asks to play a game, I always manage to scrounge up the necessary time to play. After some thought, I believe it is for any of the following reasons:

  1. With ranked games, I have this subconscious fear of not playing my best and losing.

  2. When playing against friends, the burden of playing to win is lifted from my shoulders. As a result, even though the games take just as long as a ranked game normally would (or even longer), I’m at ease playing them because I don’t have a problem resigning the game if anything were to come up.

  3. Continuing with that idea, I think part of me is fearful that I will be unable to complete a ranked game in its entirety. In my defense though, I have lost a game on time before because I was interrupted and needed to take care of some things. So the idea of losing a ranked game because of anything other than skill makes me shudder.

Also, I’m at this weird point in my growth where my abilities are directly proportional with how much time I spend thinking about a move. Although this may sound common sense to many, I have heard that there are a number of players who can think all day long but will still come up with the same types of moves regardless. An obvious example of this would be joseki. Some players play joseki faithfully by the book because it says that the result is even. For me, it seems that the longer I spend thinking about a move, the more likely it is a better move than what I thought of previously.

Recently, I have found myself spending more and more time in the opening trying to figure out how certain moves or potential responses will affect the game as a whole. As a result, I am finding myself in byoyomi even as early as the middle game sometimes. Since it’s such a new way of thinking for me, it is a very laborious and intensive process that takes a while for my brain to trudge through. Can’t wait till it becomes more innate and engrained into my go…