For this week's go meditation, I am featuring my game from the Pumpkin Classic that I had the pleasure of visiting for a round. This game was an interesting challenge for me since it had been a while since I had played a game in person, let alone play a handicap game. As this is a handicap game where I play White, I hope that my thoughts throughout the game will help you understand better why players sometimes make the moves they do in handicap games. Enjoy!
This past weekend I had the pleasure of attending the NOVA Pumpkin Classic Tournament and seeing many friends there. And though I originally planned on playing in the tournament that day, I ended up being on call for work and thus planned on only attending to see friends and show my support.
Upon arrival though, I got convinced to play in the first round since we had even numbers. And while I would have liked to have played for more rounds, it was simply not possible for me to do so with a possible work call coming at any moment.
On the upside, I did get to play a round against an opponent I had played against in the Baduk Open Championship. I had decided to self-promote to 1k this time and was giving her a 2 stone handicap. The following is the game record (which I will be sure to review in a future Monday Go Meditation).
Today I added another notch to my losses. It was a 2 stone handicap game against a 1k and I completely goofed at the end. No reason I shouldn’t have won, but I just couldn’t see it through.
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And the funny thing is that this trend seems to be consistent with other things I tried to switch my attention to momentarily (like League of Legends). Part of me wonders whether I’ve acquired some sort of “losing” mindset; but on second though, it’s rather unlikely since I know that starting off any game being like “I’m going to lose anyways” is a recipe for disaster.
As this is the first day in my quest to return back to my origins, I shouldn’t be surprised that things are not much different than yesterday. There’s a big mix of frustration, loss, and clarity all at the time. And to be honest, it feels as if stumbling through the dark blindly reaching for anything I can hold on to to feel like I’m making progress. I have no idea if it’s going to get me where I want to go, but it certainly seems to beat standing still.
On the bright side, I’m glad I’m not gambling any time soon.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
For this month's go meditations, our theme is Novice November! For many of you, I'm sure you found this blog when I was already a solid single digit kyu and working my way up the ladder. However, this was most certainly not always the case. xD So to remind some of you who only see where I am now, I thought it would be fun if we did a throwback of games back when I was a fledgling double digit kyu. With that said, let's turn back time to when I had just started go and played my first KGS game against a human opponent as a 15 kyu. Enjoy!
Description: This book can be considered a broad coverage of the following: opening principles, lots of handicap go advice, brief survey of tesujis, and a brief survey of endgame. The material is quite dense and contrary to what many descriptions say about this book, I vehemently disagree with the recommending this book for beginners. It is suited for intermediate to advanced players. Beginners steer clear of this book!
For today's go meditation, I thought we would go ahead and take a break from even games and feature a handicap game! This game features my friend Bonscott and a very difficult game for White. In fact, if not for a few crucial moments, Black had played remarkably well and was not allowing White any easy opportunity to catch up. Though the game is decided by a cut that both of us initially miss, it was a tough game for White and Black should be very proud of the game below. Hope you enjoy!
Description: In the final installment of the Elementary Go Series, Yoshiaki and Bozulich lay down some basic principles for how one should play handicap go as black. In addition, there is advice on how to handle games as White along with practice problems to reinforce some of the lessons.
For today's go meditation, we continue on with handicap go! Here is another game from my kadoban with Paul. In this game, there is a lot of interesting exchanges and swings in the game; but it ultimately boils down to White ending a ko fight too early that leads to my demise.
And we're back to handicap games! In my kadoban with my friend Paul, it seems we are at a stalemate with 3 stones. Today's game is one where you will see how difficult it is to truly silence an opponent's stones in addition to how speed of development at the opening can poise White to even out the battlefield.