Need More Study

So yesterday wasn’t as eventful as I’d like, I got to play Keith in a full on handicap game and that was fun…. but then I had to leave early so no more Go that night… I also forgot to bring my Kifu book from YMImports so bummer that.

Today was interesting though. I got to play one timed game (regular and speed) with Todd. Definitely have a long way to go… And then I got to play two more games that were quite challenging. I made some careless errors and reads that cost me the game, but I think I’ve learned a lot from it. I’m still too unfamiliar with what to do and how to read things… so more studying to do.

Weekends = Minimal Go

Come to think of it, I barely have any time to study or play Go on weekends… particularly playing it… I’m not sure whether that’s a good or bad thing… but anyhow, my first book on Opening Theory Made Easy is now finished! Muahaha…. I will get that review up asap. Meanwhile, onto the other books!

Website Review: Empty Triangle

Review

Please turn your attention to one of the most awesome Go related artwork that exists out there. As you peruse through E3A, you’ll find the characters humorous and absolutely relatable as you progress in Go. The layout is simple and unique with the artistic nature of chidori. Nothing much more needs to be said, so go check it out!

Some favorites…

#006 Completely lost again

#045 Snowsuji

#49 Weakness

#58 Skill

Synopsis:

I absolutely love this site and recommend to anyone playing Go! Can’t wait till the shop is up!

Chaotic Fusion

It’s funny sometimes, how everyone thinks that they can compartmentalize portions of their lives: work, school, family, relationship, friends, and hobbies. We reserve parts of ourselves to deal with the independent portions, yet we all have moments where one compartment overflows to another. This brings to question how realistic compartmentalizing everything is.

The problems, the stress, and the conflicts we run into end up being nothing more than local battles. Fights destined to take place at the corner or sides of the board due to simple stone interactions. The commentaries that would come from each move exists in our world as well, “You did this wrong. How stupid could you be? Didn’t we discuss why you shouldn’t do this already? What were you thinking?”

Eventually we all hit this point I’m feeling right now, where attempts at fusing everything into one solid mindset comes to a halt. Nothing looks clear, and you’ve lost sight of everything. I’m frustrated with the progress of things and can’t shake the irritation I have. It’s at this point that I think it’s time to take a sabbatical and get away from it all. I don’t mean to run away or go on vacation, but to simply take a step back from it all. Although many of us have our various aspects of our lives, the one thing for certain is that we cannot ignore our own personal goals. There’s a time limit for each and every one of us, and it would be disappointing for us not to give our lives the meaning we desire it to.

I played a game of Go this morning. It was supposedly against an 18 kyu (there was a question mark), but I just couldn’t hold it together and resigned in the end. Everything seems to be clashing, and it’s probably time for me to take a step back from it all for now. After all, trying to compartmentalize our lives is anything but futile. Like the Go board, every play affects the whole board.

Company Review: Yunnan Arts

Review

Yunnan Arts is a local (Virginia) business, owned by Mike and Wen, who sells Go equipment to the public. I had the pleasure of meeting with them last week and experiencing their products while playing some awesome Go with Mike.

To start, here’s a brief overlay of the equipment I got to see and experience personally. (Note: The Go Congress has recently passed so a lot of their wares have already been sold and the new shipment had not come in yet).

Here are some of my favorites:

Dragon Bowl Design

Pink Flower Design - Cloisonne Enamel Bowl (Side View)

Pink Flower Design - Cloisonne Enamel Bowl (Aerial View)

Green Floral Design - Cloisonne Enamel Bowl

Marble Go Bowl

The following is a table/bowl set that are sold separately. I know it’s not clear in the photograph, but the red stripes on the table and board here are actually tiny stripes of red, black, red, black, etc. It looks super cool…. I only wish my camera could have taken a clear shot of that… but I had no luck with that.

The following is a photograph Mike and I decided to take for fun. They are the four sets of stones we had the leisure of playing with:

From left to right: Yunzi, Slate & Shell, Jade Set (Green), Jade Set (White)

As a quick comparison of all the stones, they all handle well as is expected. The jade sets were very interesting to play with since they have a different feel, but definitely one I will eventually add to my collection. Slate and shell is by far my favorite (to be more accurate, shell is my favorite). Is that a surprise? Absolutely not. I will have to say though, that slate is not the best black material. I know it’s tradition and it’s been paired together, but Wen put it perfectly when she said that the set was like a beautiful women marrying an ugly man. There just is a staggering difference between the two. Haha.

Conclusion

I had a magnificent time being able to get to know Mike and Wen and experience their products. Their products come directly from manufacturers in China so you know you are getting genuine equipment.

Even though I have not had the pleasure of ordering online from them yet, their products are top notch and I can’t wait to add their Go equipment into my collection!

Lightbulb.....

So I had my second private lesson today, and I have to say I felt like such an idiot as we were going over my games. It’s funny how blatantly obvious my idiotic decisions and rationales are when pointed out. I’m still falling into the typical traps of a new player (e.g. focusing on local areas, having no purpose, wishful thinking, etc.) Argh…. I think I’m going to have to come up with a handout for beginning Go players to look over once a day to help them out.

One of the most critical aha moments that went off in my head today is the fact that I don’t and can’t quite read ahead worth crap. It’s definitely one of the reasons that I make the poor plays that I do. This is probably one of the reasons I hate half of the books that I’ve reviewed so far. They have so many complicated diagrams, but in reality there is probably more substance since they are probably assuming you can read it out in your head no problem. So far, I’ve been actually replaying variations on an actual board. This is useful to an extent, but I have to be able to play the simulations out in my head.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this month, I’m trying to break the double digit kyu (DDK) by October 8th. It probably is near impossible to do so, but here’s my crazy game plan:

  1. Finish the following books:

    • Opening Theory Made Easy by Otake Hideo 9 dan
    • Whole Board Thinking in Joseki - Volume One by Yi-Lun Yang
    • One Thousand and One Life-and-Death Problems by Richard Bozulich
    • Understanding Dan Level Play by Yuan Zhou
    • Tesuji by James Davies
  2. Replay 25 moves of a professional game (that has commentary) everyday.

  3. Play one serious game (not a bot) everyday where I don’t rush and try my hardest.

It’s like my teacher said, “It’s not hard to rise levels at the stage you’re at, you just have to stop doing all these irrational and inefficient moves.” Time to topple over these obstacles.

Weighing Your Priorities

Priorities by xkcd

So as someone who has officially left the comfort zone of school (I don’t consider grad school an umbrella to hide under anymore), one of the questions I’m hit the hardest with deals with whether or not I’m going to end up becoming a “Go junkie.”

The deal is: I see Go as a pillar to understanding fundamental principles in life. It’s true. Go may not be the most ideal way to sustain yourself, but the life lessons that a person can derive from it is worth far more in my opinion. That is not to say that Go will be the sole focus of my life however. I’m going to job hunt, focus on spending time with people important to me, and expand other job-related skills since I’m hoping to open a business someday. Go is just something I view as critical to self-growth, so it does rank high in my priorities; but I won’t let it consume my life.

For all those who are striving to live in reality right now, weigh your priorities as well. I am one of the most enthusiastic players that would encourage people using go as a tool to learning life lessons and self-improvement. However, if it gets to the point that it is damaging other portions of your life, it may be time where you ask yourself whether or not you are falling into the folly of focusing on the local battle of the board.

Don’t forget that the Go board is often reflective of your life. Focusing on go alone while letting the rest of your framework go to hell will only come to haunt you later on. No different from trying to control a single corner while letting your opponent consume the rest of the board.

UMBC Go Club = Back in Business!

So the last two days have been fraught with trying to figure out the position of Go players in Baltimore. Long story short, I have decided to take up the challenge to reinvigorate Go on-campus and increase membership! Also, for all those who read, lookout for an official tournament in October! More details to come soon enough!

Coming up!

So I’m back from a three day hiatus. A lot has happened over the last couple days, and you can look forward to the following posts:

  1. Company Review: Yunnan Arts
  2. Weighing My Priorities
  3. Equipment Reviews!
    And in case you are wondering, the guides are under way!

Journal Log #5

So I’ve logged quite a few games today. Three online, and one in person.

The first game was with a 22 kyu to whom I lost by resignation. The game really turned around when I let him undo a move that would’ve killed an extremely large group, and from that I guess I really don’t think I like the whole idea of undoing a move. It’s one thing if you’re playing a teaching/friendly game with someone (especially when it’s in person). This is online and KGS with no teaching aspect though, and that should mean one thing: war.

Go is a intense philosophical games with one of its most unique aspects being that once you place a stone down it is written. Just like your life, you can only work forward and never backwards (unless one of us invents a time machine, but then we’ll have to discuss time-dimension theories).

The second game was with an estimated 21 kyu who resigned. I think it may have been a bit premature on his part, but I did manage to practically kill two of the largest groups, so I guess he must have felt hopeless. Although if you ask me, there was still two corners to establish and plenty of center territory left. I don’t blame him though, as a mere 20 kyu, the 19x19 board can still seem overwhelming sometimes.

My final online game was against the LiberyBot 14 kyu who beet me by 17.5 moku. If I recall correctly, I misread one large group’s life and thus died. Thus resulting in my defeat.

I also played against my cousin tonight (13x13), and lost after misreading one of the ladders. To sum it up, he had some friendly stones along the way, and diverted the course from what would have led to my own stones. sigh…

So after intense sessions of go today, I’m a bit frazzled as to how I will improve. I definitely need to improve my ability to read life and death… other than that… I dunno… I guess we’ll see won’t we.