Everything is Connected to Everything

Yesterday I went on tilt and promptly lost four games in a row. After that, with no sleep and a ten page paper on my mind, it was game over for any other games I tried to start. It wasn’t until last night where I finally ended my streak with a win over a 14k.

So the question for new players is: how do we prevent this tilt? It’s something that I hope to be able to write about in length in the future; but for now, I hope that the following perspective will help shed some light for you.

It dawned on me last night that I’ve been spending most of my days trying to improve at Go. There’s nothing wrong with this, except I feel that perhaps I may have neglected other priorities of mine. Why did I do so? I believed that by improving at Go I could derive my own weaknesses and improve myself in the real world. While I have found that I have achieved that so far, the reverse is the same as well. If I can improve myself in other areas outside of the board, it will show up in my play as well.

So what’s the critical point? Everything is connected with everything. You can spend 24/7 studying Go books, but if this devotion takes away from your other priorities, you’ll find that the emotional stress and pressure will eventually impact your game. Focusing solely on Go is like staring at one portion of the board, you may play a perfect corner, but you’ve lost the rest of the board.

And one more thing, I’m going to stop paying attention to my rank. No I won’t naively be ignorant of it, but it’s pointless to keep letting KGS monopolize my own perception of my strength. It makes me feel bummed when I rabbit jump, and frankly there are far more opponents that I want to outclass than simply gaining a stone on KGS. So from this point on, it’s all introspection and getting stronger on my own… regardless of KGS’ estimation of my strength. My opponent is myself, and my opponents are simply there to test my strength and help me grow.

If you’re wondering where my emotional tilt began, it all started with my first game where I did not protect a vital cut and could not regain control of the game past that point. It occurs at Move 47.