Archive: 11/2013

Friday Go Forward: Week 43

Friday Go Forward: Week 43

Overview

As a one man team, it was only a matter of time before I was unable to keep up with the content I’ve been wanting to create. So though it pains me to do so, Monday Go Meditations and Weekly Go Wednesdays will be going on a break for a while until I can find a way to bring it back into my crazy schedule. I will still be keeping up with this weekly progress report, but otherwise you can expect to see a more traditional blogging style appear over the next month.

And for those wondering about my reviews, those are ongoing as well and I will be posting them as I finish them, so no worries there! For those who celebrate Thanksgiving, hope you had a great one and I’ll talk to you next week!

Games

  • KGS - 0 games
  • DGS - 2 ongoing games
  • Nova - 3 ongoing games

Reading Material

  • Worked on Changing One’s Conceptions: Awaji’s Aphorisms.

WGW 29: Why I Never Counted

Weekly Go Wednesday, Issue #29

As I’ve been working through my own issues or burnout and sense of confusion, I realized that a large cause of it is due to the fact that I have consistently avoided counting and making board position evaluations during my games for the entire time I’ve been playing. It’s finally caught up to me, so I thought I would write about this in hopes that it will help you avoid this in the future as well.

Here are my top excuses for why I didn’t want (or think I needed) to count:

1. “I am supposed to find the best move anyways and constantly strive to maximize my return, so counting or estimating territory is not needed if I’m simply outplaying my opponent.”

While there may be some merit to this type of thinking, it is flawed as a whole. If you’re constantly trying to maximize each move without considering how it impacts the board as a whole, how can your move be considered “maximally efficient” when it does not work in the whole board context?

2. “I don’t have time to estimate territory. I’m busy finding the best move.”

Just like in the first excuse, you can’t find the best move if you’re not aware of what it is you need to do to win. In addition, you have to keep in mind that go is more than winning local battles or establishing strong positions in a local context. Go is about how your positions work together _as a whole. _And whether you like it or not, estimating territory or judging the board position is key to forming the winning strategy.

3. “It is better to just find out the score at the end. After all, it’s more exciting and suspenseful when it’s a surprise right?

I’m sure everyone has had that experience of feeling like the game is close when in actuality you have like a 20-30 point lead. It’s a pretty good feeling right? After all, you actually ended up having a big lead instead of it being a close game! However, I’m sure there are just as many (if not more) occasions where the complete reverse happens. You thought you were putting up a good fight and it turns out you were losing since move 140. It’s a complete bummer isn’t it?

So if what I’m saying is making any sense at all, and you’re wondering how you can start incorporating counting into your games, here are a couple of ideas:

  • Play longer games. After all, you’re going to need time to get used to judging the board position at first. It might take some getting used to and may take longer than you might like, but with practice you should get faster over time. And before you know it, it won’t take much effort or time to figure out what’s going on on the board.
  • Practice estimating positions with an experienced counter. In other words, it’s not enough to simply estimate positions with a stronger player. After all, my counting skills might be worse than someone who is 8 kyu. So find someone who is strong at counting and get them to help you out. (For those who have no idea where to start, my sensei frozensoul on KGS excels in this area and can be a great help.)
  • Remember that you’re “guesstimating” and not calculating. Especially when just starting out, it’s really important to remember that our ability to count will be off by a decent amount at first. In addition, you don’t need to be accurate down to the last point. If you can even get a relatively accurate read on who’s ahead or behind and where the largest areas are coming from, that will be an excellent start. After that, it’s all about refining your technique till you’re a counting master. =)
    If you have any advice or ideas, be sure to leave a comment below. Hope this helps!

All Work And Little Time for Go

I had a feeling this would happen sooner or later, but it seems that that time is now: work has really taken over my life. On the upside though, for those who don’t really know much about me, I really enjoy what I’m doing and I’m learning a lot. So it’s not a bad thing for the most part. The only part that kind of sucks is I don’t really have the time I want to have to devote to go.

No worries though. I have no plans on disappearing from the blog any time soon. If I need to take a sabbatical, I’ll make sure to post about it before I do so that it doesn’t seem like I dropped off the face of the earth. =) In the meantime, I’ll be focusing on trying to work on my reviews and the books I have waiting for me to read and review. Until then, best of luck in your studies and in your games and hopefully you’ll see me online from time to time!

Monday Go Meditation: Game 37

For this week's go meditation, we take one last stroll down memory lane when I gain one more stone and become a 12k! Unfortunately, my level of play in this game seems to be far weaker than the game I showed last week, but it should still be a great example of DDK level play.

I hope that you've enjoyed this month's theme of Novice November and was able to pick up a few things along the way regarding DDK play and how to try and fix them. If you have any questions at all, please don't hesistate to leave a comment below or contact me! Till next week!

Read More

Friday Go Forward: Week 42

Friday Go Forward: Week 42

Overview

Can’t seem to make up my mind about how I’m writing this summaries, but perhaps this is due to my own confusion lately. There hasn’t been too much going on this week, but I have become aware of a few weaknesses of mine that are definitely holding me back and I’ll have to address them over time. Meanwhile, I will try to simply survive the onslaught that is work and the rest of my life. Hope your week went better than mine!

Games

  • KGS - 2 games
  • DGS - 2 ongoing games
  • Nova - 3 ongoing games

Reading Material

  • Worked on Changing One’s Conceptions: Awaji’s Aphorisms.
  • Started working on Breakthrough Attacking Power.

Videos

A Nervous Wreck

My head has been all over the place lately, so I’ve been taking a step back from things and just trying to clear my head. So one of the things I did was remove myself from spending time watching amateur games and focus more on professional games. In the process of doing so, something became painstakingly clear to me: I’ve become a nervous wreck.

While I was going over the first game in Breakthrough Attacking Power: Yamashita Style, something interesting happened to me. I had just played out a sequence and noticed that the position felt disadvantageous*. Before I knew it, my brain starting firing panicking neurons and I was feeling like the game was lost. Now keep in mind that I’m reviewing a professional game, so it’s not like I’m even playing. Yet for some reason, I was still feeling this panicking feeling? And on top of it, I thought a disadvantageous position was equivalent of a loss game? Not good…

In case I really don’t know what the proper remedy is for this situation just yet. I’ll probably be upping my dosage of meditation and introspection, and I think I might continue reviewing professional games at the same time to give myself real examples of games that seem disadvantageous that are still perfectly playable. Either way, I definitely need to take a step back and really reassess things.

*To clarify, it’s not that it was actually disadvantageous, Black had just taken a lot of territory early on and White was primarily focused on a power game. Sigh. This just goes to show you how bad it’s gotten for me. My style of go is not even territorial! Haha. Oy vey how far I’ve fallen… xD

WGW 28: How to Play as White in 2 Stone Handicap Games

Weekly Go Wednesday, Issue #28

Welcome to a continuation of my series on how to play as White for beginner/intermediate players. Just like before, I would appreciate any additional insight from stronger players below to supplement my thoughts here. With that said, onwards we go: 2 stone handicap games.

Concern #1: “Black has two corners!! Ahh!!! Must overplay like crazy to catchup!”

First and foremost, two star points does not equal two corners. Black just has two positions setup on the diagonal corners. So stop panicking and breathe. What you have to remember is that it is only a 2 stone handicap. Yes. Only two stones. If you forgot what it means to give your opponent handicap stones, let me remind you: you are stronger than them. So play normally and establish your positions as you typically would.

Concern #2: “But it’s TWO STONES!!!!!”

Yes. I heard you the first time; but let me remind you that the two stones you are so worried about is a double edged sword. As you know, people’s strength can fluctuate a stone or two depending on the time and day along with the style being used; so what that means to you is that you need to realize that your overplays have a pretty good chance of being punished properly. As a result, you need to remember to just play calmly. Your opponent’s mistake will show itself eventually.

Similar to playing as White in even games, here are a few things to remember:

  1. Be patient. Two stones might seem like a lot, but there it is not a huge barrier to overcome. Play solidly and wait for your opponent to make an overplay and then things will start to turn in your favor.
  2. Two stones can be a double-edged sword. This is particularly true of two stone handicap games because there is no saying whether or not you will be playing one stone weaker or your stone will be playing one stone stronger. So avoid huge overplays because there is a good chance that your opponent will be able to punish it properly.
  3. Feel honored to play as White. I have a feeling this piece of advice will be staying throughout this series, but you really should feel honored to have the opportunity to prove your strength as White.
    I hope that this helps! Please be sure to leave a comment below if you have any additional comments or questions!

Bewildered Burnout

Over the last few days or so, I have to admit that I have started to feel more and more burnt out when it comes to go. For a while, I couldn’t quite grasp why I was feeling this way. After all, I haven’t been studying a lot nor playing a lot, so what was the cause?

Well, after a lot of introspection, I came to the conclusion that I have hit rock bottom when it comes to failing to judge the board as a whole. Years of not counting and avoiding making positional judgments have finally caught up to me. However, I know that if I continue down this path, I’ll probably actually burnout and could lose the immense enjoyment I get from this game.

Ever since my blog started back up last year, I’ve been trying to tear through book after book in hopes of compiling a really comprehensive book review library. So naturally (with the exception of First Kyu and Lessons in the Fundamentals of Go), I have only read each book once and no more. However, I think it’s time that I slowed down and revisited Positional Judgment and The Direction of Play again. It might slow down my reviews a bit, but it’s probably imperative that I do so. Here’s to hoping this works.

Monday Go Meditation: Game 36

For this week's go meditation, we continue our walk down memory lane. I am a 13 kyu this week and played a game that was very surprising for me. To put it in another sense, I had a hard time believing that I had really played such a game as a 13k! In fact, this game puts some of my games as a SDK (i.e., single digit kyu) to shame. Haha. It makes me wonder what has happened to my go and whether there is something to be said about how I used to play versus how I play now. So much to think about… Anyhow, I hope that you will enjoy this game and find this game as surprising as I did! It seriously is an impressive game for two 13 kyus!

Read More

Book Review: The Fighting Styles of Kato Masao and Seo Bong Soo

Master Play: The Fighting Styles of Kato Masao & Seo Bong Soo

Description: In this X volume of the Master Play series, Yuan Zhou does a magnificent job taking amateur players through what is actually considered “fighting style” in the professional world of go. Due to the chaotic nature that go can take in crazy cross-cuts and blown out battles, it is no surprise that many kyu players might consider themselves “fighters,” but once you read this book, it might open to your eyes as to what fighting really means.

Read More