Archive: 2/2013

Friday Go Forward: Week #3


  • KGS - 4 games (1 wins : 3 losses)


  • Essential Life & Death (Vol. 2) - Pages 36 - 82


  • Shape Up! - Chapter 6 and 7
  • Dictionary of Modern Fuseki: Korean Style - Patterns 1 - 6


Although I did manage to end my losing streak this week, I am still traversing the depths of my broken go. This week has been rather unfruitful in regards to training and playing games, but it is probably for the best. With the two days of the North American Go Convention under my belt though, I’m starting to feel like I might be getting somewhere. Not to mention, this week has been full of surprises and I have a good feeling that this may be the start of something really incredible. This is not just in reference to my playing ability, but also in regards to the entire spectrum of go and its impact on my life. More on it when the time is right, but for now, I can assure you that I will not be taking any breaks from go in the near future. =)

North American Go Convention - Day 1

Introduction — Day 1Day 2Day 3Day 4Day 5Conclusion

The day got off to a rather dreary start as I spent about an hour in rainy traffic trying to make my way down to the event. After grabbing a quick bite to eat, I found myself standing outside the building wondering how to get in. There was construction going on and with all the doors locked down I was running around trying to figure out how to get in for about 10 minutes. Thankfully someone was kind enough to let me in on their way out.

As I rode the elevator up to the 9th floor, I was a little anxious as I expected a bit of a crowd since I was running late. Although I think the real concern for me was missing the opportunity to play a teaching/game with the professionals. When I arrived however, there were only around six to eight people in the waiting area. For those who aren’t aware, the North American Go Convention (NAGC) is a two part convention that started out in New Jersey and made its way down to DC. With the traffic and crummy weather, the bus was unfortunately running late and thus everything was pushed back. So all my rushing to get there on time was for naught. xD On the upside, it gave me a chance to settle down and catch my breath.

While sitting in the waiting area, I couldn’t help but overhear as people were talking about their strengths and how long they’d been studying. There were a few Korean players and a couple Chinese players. The two younger players (around my age) had apparently started studying when they were around 5 years old and were 7 dan and 4 dan respectively. You can only imagine how I felt when I realized that I was the only kyu player in the room. Haha.

As if things couldn’t get worse, one of the moms asked me later on how strong I was. After all the conversation in the room about how the children were dans and had started studying go since they were young, I think she just naturally expected me to say I was X dan. When I responded that I was 6 kyu, she gave me a quizzical look as if she had never heard of the rank. In fact, someone even asked, “So wait, is 6 kyu higher than 1 kyu?”

“Dear lord,” I thought, “They don’t even recognize the kyu levels.” hangs head in shame

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Numb and Detached Go

Weekly Go Wednesday, Issue #17

As players pursue to gain another stone in strength, unless they are some kind of genius, they will eventually hit roadblocks and obstacles that will cause them to become frustrated and possibly even numb and detached from their go.

For those who have never experienced this before, each move you play feels as if you are plodding towards your impending doom. With each move your opponent makes, the anxiety of feeling behind creeps up on you almost every game. In some cases, you just feel at a loss for what to do anymore. And with each defeat, the cycle continues to spiral down and down.

As someone who is going through that phase right now, I will be the first to admit that it is a really difficult situation to be in. On one hand, you desperately want to improve in order to deepen you appreciation for this magnificent game. On the other hand, your spirit has become stiff and numb as you start to forget what it felt like to enjoy a game of go.

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Not Out of the Woods Yet

For my final game in ASR, I’m happy to report that it seems my losing streak has come to an end. Although based on previous experience, the single win is nowhere near indicative of whether the streak will truly end or whether it is simply an anomaly amongst the actual pattern of continued losing.

Contrary to how things used to be though, I don’t feel particularly relieved that I won. In fact, it seems that I still feel the weight of some invisible force pressing down on me. Hard to say whether this is good or bad, but it still seems that I am not out of the woods quite yet. There is still a bit of soul searching to be done.

In regards to my training, I do want to clarify that even though it sounds like I’ve been trying to change it every few days, the reality of it is that I have gained a better understanding of where my time is best spent. So in regards to what I had planned for February, nothing has really changed. My goal to study Korean material continues to go on and the only real change that has been made is that I no longer have the goal of staying in Alpha class for the ASR League. By eliminating this goal, I’m hoping to spend more quality time on the rest of the goals I had for February.

On a more upbeat note, the North American Go Convention will be starting tomorrow! To be honest, I’m not quite sure what to expect; but I’m excited to find out what is in store for me. So be sure to be on the lookout for those posts in the near future!

Lee Sedol Moving to US?!?!

For those who have not heard the news, there is talk of the possibility of Lee Sedol coming to the United States (Source: GoGameGuru). For those who are not aware of who Lee Sedol is, he is one of the top professional players right now. While many of us in the Western hemisphere could only dream about the possibility of even seeing one of his games live in person, the mere thought that I could possibly meet him in person and (in the ultimate of possibilities) actually get lessons from him is just….


Although even if that ends up becoming true, it won’t happen for at least another three to four years. So, guess I have a bit of work to do until then huh? After all, I wouldn’t want him spending time trying to teach me obvious mistakes that I myself notice.

With that potential awesomeness aside, my losing streak continues to thrive as I wrap up my final ASR games. Just one more left to go. After that, it’s time to do a serious assessment of my training regimen.

Friday Go Forward: Week #2


  • KGS - 12 games (1 wins : 11 losses)
  • Tygem - 7 game (0 wins : 7 loss)


  • Essential Life & Death (Vol. 1) - Complete
  • Essential Life & Death (Vol. 2) - Pages 8 - 35


  • Shape Up! - No Progress


I am having a rough week. Besides a nice solid win, it’s been nothing been getting demolished. I feel that my reading is improving a bit, but overall I think my go has sunk to a 10k level. I’m not sure where my head is anymore. It’s not so much that I’m on tilt and just losing strings of games, but it’s more like I’m getting numb and have completely lost my focus. An absolutely terrible state to be in for go.

After some discussion with frozen, I also think it’s best that I forgo my ASR League duties for the month. I still plan on playing one of my classmates twice before dropping (you know who you are =D), but otherwise I think it’s time that I spent my time elsewhere to prevent me from taking a break from go. I’ve seem to hit a rather large roadblock that is rather daunting at the moment. =(

It’s definitely been a tough week, but I will confront my demons and try to continue moving forward. After all, it is precisely these moments that we are given an opportunity to prove our resilience and capacity to grow to the next level. Here’s to the uphill battle that I’m about to embark on. Wish me luck.

Look Both Ways Before You Play

Weekly Go Wednesday, Issue #16

Crossing by Matt Eaton

As every player progresses, one of the skills that clearly shows signs of improvement is the ability to read ahead. Whether it is only one or twenty moves more, this gives a player a significant advantage if he/she is able to read further than his/her opponent. However, one of the things I’ve noticed in my own progress is that the attempt to read out longer sequences can sometimes causes you to forget a the most important purpose of reading: analyzing multiple variations.

During the opening of a game I played recently, I chose a rather complicated joseki that was dependent on having the ladder in my favor. After much thought and reading, I confidently concluded that the ladder worked in my favor. As my opponent played out the joseki, I delightfully plodded along as I thought that my opponent had not read thoroughly enough and that I would soon greatly profit from his mistake. When the time came to play out the ladder, I watched in horror as my opponent chose the opposite direction… which conveniently worked in his favor.


Whether you like it or not, being able to read 100 moves in a sequence is only good if you can do it for multiple variations quickly. We are all aware of that time is almost always a factor so we must be careful of how we manage our time. As a result, here are some tips for how you can increase the effectiveness of your reading abilities:

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Minor Training Adjustment

Upon trying to continue my study of Lee Sedol’s book, I have realized that it will be impossible for me to properly study it. While it is easy to simply replay the moves, I realized that simply going through the motions was not doing me any good. I want to try and absorb as much of his explanations as much as possible, and frankly with my schedule I simply don’t have the time to do so unless I let everything else in my life go to a complete mess. =D So I’ll be shelving the book for this month, but no worries, that is all the training adjustments that will happen for this month. Onward I go!

Slightly Winded

Man…. it’s only day four of February’s training regimen and I can already feel the weight of it bearing down on me. On top of that, I’m playing even more even games with players 5+ stones stronger than me and getting crushed left and right. Not feeling bad about myself or anything, but definitely slightly winded. The good thing is that I think I’m starting to become more immune to losing, but we’ll have to wait and see if that’s true. =D

As I continue to try and analyze the gaps in my ability, I’ve found that watching other people’s games has been helpful in reinforcing my understanding of the game. While I find myself wanting to yell at the screen when people choose a variation that is in favor of their opponent, the experience is quite humorous as a whole and helps me to see the gaps in other players’ knowledge; which in turn helps to fill mine.

Nonetheless, it seems I’m a track to straight losses in ASR; but hopefully I can rack up enough points to stay in the class. Here’s to hoping!