Archive: 5/2013

Friday Go Forward: Week 17


This week has been a little light in regards to playing, but I got a chance to participate in the MD Open (which I will post about tomorrow) and gain some really valuable insight from my sensei frozensoul. Some of the ideas are still sort of jumbled and not clearly integrated in my play yet; but this week has felt like a big shift for me in terms of my perspective of the game in addition to taking one step closer to sharpening my blade.


  • Tournament - 2 games (2 wins: 0 losses)
  • KGS - 1 game (0 wins : 1 loss)
  • DGS - 2 ongoing games
  • Nova - 2 ongoing games


  • 20 tsumego problems each day.
  • Finished Mastering the Basics: The Basics of Go Strategy.
  • Started and working on Mastering the Basics: Ko.
  • Working on Kage’s Secret Chronicles of Handicap Go.

Lessons Learned

  1. Being able to treat forcing moves as light stones has made a world of difference in my play.
  2. I am starting to understand how to exploit aji in conjunction with forcing moves and probes.
  3. Being able to estimate territory (even to only some accuracy) has really helped me figure out what I need to do to possibly win the game.

One More Thing...

Uncle from Jackie Chan Adventures

As an addendum to my post on Tuesday, I realized yesterday that in addition to seeing the board in more of a global perspective than ever before, I have actually acquired a rather moderate level of counting / estimating territory.

I know it might seem rather mundane to most of you, but counting and estimating territory has always been one of the things I have dreaded and avoided at all costs. Granted, my counting and estimating is far from anything praise worthy; but if I set my mind to it, I am now able to estimate territory within a reasonable standard deviance of error.

On top of that, I was also opened up to the whole concept of how a board is considered “an even position.” It’s always baffled me as to how a position could be considered “even,” but my lesson with frozensoul definitely helped to shed some light on why certain moves that are normally considered slow are actually good moves strategically when the whole board is considered.

Hopefully I’ll be able to explain these ideas and concepts better in the future; but for now, hopefully that helps to shed some insight into my new paradigm shift. =)

No Turning Back

In the past, the go board was fragmented in my mind. Depending on the tide of the battle or how certain frameworks were developing, my brain would divide the board into various areas of focus. As a result, I very quickly lost sight of the bigger picture and had a difficult time figuring out what to do next or executing any particular strategy well. In fact, the only time I believe I was able to strategically dominate my opponent is when they jumped head first into a framework I was familiar in utilizing (e.g., the Chinese opening).

To say that I’ve never experienced the zen of seeing the whole board at once would be untrue, but it wasn’t until my most recent lesson with frozensoul that I had a shocking awakening that would cause my world to dramatically shift. Games no longer seem like isolated battles that gradually add up to a greater theme. Instead, every move now seems to contribute to the entire picture.

For those who are wondering, this mindset of true “whole board thinking” is rather taxing for me. It is far from being instinctively engraved in my brain. I still fall victim to kyu tunnel vision from time to time; but deep down, I can already tell that I have crossed into a new world where there is no turning back.

Book Review: 501 Tesuji Problems

Overall Rating: 6 / 10 Ponnuki

Basic Information

  • Title: Mastering the Basics, Volume 4 - Five Hundred and One TesujiProblems
  • Author: Compiled and Written by Richard Bozulich
  • Publisher: Kiseido
  • Publication Date: October 2005
  • Page Length: 292 pages
  • Number of Problems: 501


  • My least favorite of the entire series so far.
  • Lacked the explanations that makes the series so great.
  • Appropriate for 5 kyu and stronger.

    Read More

Friday Go Forward: Week 16


In case it wasn’t apparent to everyone, this week has been entirely centered around boxing analogies along with handicap go. There hasn’t been as many ranked games as I might have liked, but the amount of go I’ve been playing/studying seems to be harmonizing much better with the rest of my life. Still fine tuning a number of things, but just glad to not feel overwhelemed by go anymore.


  • KGS - 2 games (2 wins : 0 losses)
  • DGS - 2 ongoing games
  • Nova - 3 ongoing games


  • 20 tsumego problems each day.
  • Worked Mastering the Basics: The Basics of Go Strategy.
  • Started reading Kage’s Secret Chronicles of Handicap Go.

Lessons Learned

  1. When attacking, strike at the vital points while maintaining strength and not overextending yourself.
  2. It’s okay to let things live or give your opponents points, as long as you are getting more in return.
  3. Don’t over think your moves in turn based go. Rather than spend hours staring at the screen trying to make the perfect move, you will learn and gain more by playing more games and learning from your mistakes.

An Eye Opening Day...

I just finished the arc in Hajime no Ippo where Takamura fights for his second world title. In an effort not to spoil it for anyone who plans on reading or watching the show, all I will say is that his faithfulness to his fundamentals was incredibly moving. No matter what the situation, people’s faith in the fundamentals is what allow them to pull themselves out of the most difficult situations.

Aside from that though, I’ve had one of the most eye opening lessons to date. My whole perspective on moyos and just go in general has completely changed. Granted, integrating this new perspective into my play will probably be terribly exhausting for awhile; but ho ho ho…. this could change everything…

One Two... Parry... One Two... Endure...

Lately I have been on a Hajime no Ippo kick and can’t seem to put it down. With each match that I read, I’m severely reminded of how much they endure in order to be crowned the victor at the end of each match. Of course, some of their battles are won in a one round KO; but for the most part, the victor rarely comes out unscathed and is often sweating profusely and breathing heavily when holding is victory pose.

Being the go player that I am, I couldn’t help but draw connections between the two sports (albeit physical vs. mental, but you get my point). Too often, I have found that players are often looking for the easy win. The one-sided match where only a miracle might possibly save the opponent. And I’ll be honest, I have been and still am (to some degree) guilty of that. After all, it feels good when you’re knocking your opponent around and in full control of the game.

However, the pursuit of that type of dominating game is unhealthy for a go player. More often than not, the constant attempt at trying to throw that KO punch will be met with a timely counter that reverses the position and knocks you out before you know it. It is a terrible mindset that will only corrode your go as time goes on.

Instead, we must strive to be patient. Use your strengths and strike while maintaining a manageable level of risk. Endure your opponents attacks and the dips that will inevitably come with most games. All you need to remember, as you parry the board against your opponent, is that you don’t need to win by KO or by 30 points. You only need half a point to be the victor.

Diving into Handicap Games

As I dive further into handicap games, I’m beginning to gain an appreciation for them. Instead of being something I used to detest and feel powerless to play against, I see each game (regardless of whether I’m Black or White) as an opportunity to prove that I can elevate my game another notch.

When playing as Black, my goal is to maintain a proactive role while keeping an eye on the connections between my groups while ensuring that my attacks are generating profit at the same time. I do not let overplays scare me into spreading myself out to thin which only serves to White’s advantage. In addition, I always try to remember that I don’t need to kill White in order to win. I am already ahead, as long as the territory I gain is more than White is getting, my victory will be assured.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, when I’m white, my goal is is to aim for any weaknesses in my opponent’s strategy and position and exploit them while trying to catch up one point at a time. Contrary to my prior approach to playing white in handicap games, the goal is not to make numerous overplays in hopes of the opponents making some tragic mistake.

In addition, one of the hardest things I have found about playing White in handicap games is that the feeling of being behind can become very difficult to handle at certain points in the game. In fact, I feel like for most of the first half of the game, it’s pretty much an uphill battle the entire time. The crucial point in victory often comes when there are more stones on the board and you can utilize your reading and planning abilities to finally turn the tide.

Anyhow, those are my findings for now. Looking forward to see what else awaits me in the depths of handicap go!

A Calm Plateau

Over the last few days, something that has been bothering me is the fact that my rank graph has completely plateaued. While I know that I can match stronger opponents in even games sometimes, it was bothering me that I did not have the rank to show for it.

After some thought though, I have realized that my anxiety at letting KGS define my strength is rather stupid. First of all, I just don’t have enough time to play the ranked games required to possibly show whatever improvements that I may have gained. On top of that, it’s not as if KGS’ ranking equation is the best in the world. So with that in mind, what am I worried about?

In addition, I’ve also come to terms that my style has always been more of a wild fighting style. It’s not that I was never interested in the calculated wins where the win margin was 10 points or less; but my style always led to games that would be decided by 30 points or more. In fact, I think I continued playing that way in order to avoid actually counting since the advantage would be so clear there would be no need to count.

And so, regardless of the fact that I may be a KGS 5k for some time, I have decided to play all of my opponents with my weakest style from now on: calm and calculated. (Don’t get me wrong. If the opponent offers an opportunity for me to strike, I will unleash a tornado of fury upon them.) I will lose a lot, but I have a feeling that this is my biggest obstacle before I leave the world of kyus.

Watch out shodans. I’ll be knocking at your door before you know it.