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.

These are critical moments in our paths as players. More often than not, these are precisely the types of lows that will either push you to abandon the game or to dig deep and come back with a fresh spark that will propel you forward once again.

When the time comes for you to face the depths of detached go, here are some tips and ideas to get you out of it:

  1. Watch/Read Hikaru No Go again. I don’t know about you, but even though I’ve seen/read it over ten times at this point, it never gets old. =) And in all honesty, I think it does the trick a lot of the time. And for the few who don’t care for the anime, I’d recommend going back to whatever sparked your interest in go to begin with.

  2. Get out of competitive go mode. In other words, play go with friends for the sake of FUN, not competition. This should lessen the pressure of the games and give you some time to recover from your detached go.

  3. Turn your attention to a different mode of go. For example, if playing games have become a chore and the losses keep getting you down, take a break from that and focus on studying some go theory or practicing tsumego instead. In other words, try and do something to keep go in your life while avoiding the detached playing and negative emotions that come with defeat.

  4. Watch other people’s games. This can be helpful in jostling you out of your funk since you are seeing the game from a different perspective. In particular, I would recommend watching dan level games. And if you need a little cheering up, watch a game between players weaker than you and you’ll find yourself seeing things that the players are completely missing. This should help to remind you how far you’ve come in your journey as well. =)

  5. Study professional games. Similar to the second tip, this will get you away from amateur go and maybe even give you the spark to have the epiphany of the century. XD

  6. Take a break from go. In the off chance that nothing works for you, there are times where you simply need to take a break from go. This is important to prevent go from becoming nothing more than an negative memory that you want nothing to do with anymore.
    The key thing to remember is that you are looking to find a way to make go fun once again. As long as you do that, you numb and detached go will certainly become lively once again.