Archive: 5/2013

Book Review: 1001 Life and Death Problems

Overall Rating: 5 / 5 Ponnuki

Basic Information

  • Title: Mastering the Basics, Volume 2 - One Thousand and One Life-and-Death Problems
  • Authors: Compiled and edited by Richard Bozulich
  • Publisher: Kiseido
  • Publication Date: February 2002
  • Page Length: 244 pages
  • Number of Problems: 1001 problems (what else did you expect? =D)


  • New and refreshing approach to teaching life and death.
  • Appropriate for 12 kyu and stronger.
  • Recommended for casual players.

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A New Perspective on Handicap Go

Over the last couple months, one of the things I’ve been really wrestling with is my aversion to handicap games: regardless of which side I was on. I can’t really pinpoint the reason for this fear of playing handicap games, but it was leading me down a path where I was starting to avoid playing handicap games all together.

There’s a quote that my brother has on his phone: “Life begins where your comfort zone ends.” Although I was not thinking of go when he first showed it to me, it recently dawned upon me that “getting stronger in go begins where your comfort zone ends.”

Credit to DespicableMeForum

At that moment, any negative emotions I had about handicap go was instead replaced by excitement for the possibilities that lay beyond the world of handicap go. It’s not such much that I want to become an expert in handicap go, but there is so much to be learned through playing it that it could mean wonders for my growth. Oh the possibilities…

Friday Go Forward: Week 15


As this is my first week back since my vacation, it has been a relatively light week that has consisted of me trying to get my feet wet again in the world of go. Like I mentioned before in a previous post, I’m working on hard on really gaining a better understanding of what I’m capable of maintaining consistently without burnout.

Playing ranked games has been a little weird and disappointing since I can’t seem to hold my own at the moment, but I’m trying not to let it bother me too much since I am a bit rusty and loss through very clear and obvious mistakes. So as long as I work hard to become more disciplined about how I play each move, my games should improve without much effort.


  • KGS - 6 games ( 2 wins : 4 losses )
  • DGS - 2 ongoing games
  • Nova - 4 ongoing games


  • 20 tsumego problems each day.
  • Worked on Mastering the Basics: 501 Tesuji Problems.
  • Started on Mastering the Basics: The Basics of Go Strategy.

Lessons Learned

  1. Avoid blitz games and games 25 minutes or less since I am a thinker. Fast games will come when my fundamentals are more solid.
  2. Really need to stop the bad habit of “Let’s play here and see what happens.”
  3. Got to keep working on thinking of games as if I’m playing myself.

Book Review: 501 Opening Problems

Overall Rating: 4 / 5 Ponnuki

Basic Information

  • Title: Mastering the Basics, Volume 1 - Five Hundred and One Opening Problems
  • Authors: Richard Bozulich in collaboration with Rob van Zeijst
  • Publisher: Kiseido
  • Publication Date: August 2002
  • Page Length: 256 pages
  • Number of Problems: 501


  • A great basic book about opening problems that utilizes proverbs as directions instead of vague statements.
  • Appropriate for 10 kyu and stronger.
  • Recommended for serious players.

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Reminded of My Hatred for Blitz

Earlier today, I thought it would be a good idea to get back in the groove of things by playing a quick 10 minute game. I think it was going okay, until my time ran short and then I made a blunder and lost a big group. That might have been okay, but then I thought that it would be an even better idea to play a blitz game with 10 seconds on the clock. Worst. Idea. Ever.

As I was bombarded by the painstaking beeping of the clock reminding me I’m running out of time, my opponents would just play any crazy invasion they could think of just to burn time and hope for me to make an error. Fortunately for them, the strategy worked quite well and I made more than my fair share of blunders. Sigh.

So once again, I am painfully reminded of how I need to remember my own advice and stick with longer games. Short games are fun when it’s casual and with friends, but blitz games against strangers leaves a rather bitter taste in my mouth that I would like to avoid from now on.

What a terrible way to come back to ranked games on KGS. And to top it off, since I haven’t played a ranked game in so long, the two losses caused me to drop a rank. Whomp whomp… But no matter, I know that I am not a 6k anymore. It’s just a temporary blip on the radar that will be insignificant once I get back in the groove of things.

A Slow and Steady Return

While I already miss the awesome weather, incredible scenery (aka awesome beaches with super clear water), and not to mention amazing food, I am glad to be back!

When I first left for my vacation, I thought that I would be itching to get back into go. To my surprise, it is still taking me awhile to really get back into my routine. I’m still feeling a little apprehensive; but on the upside, I am starting to feel excited at the prospect of playing again! So, good news on that end!

In the past, I used to come off of these breaks with an intent on studying like there was no tomorrow. This time though, I intend on taking it one step at a time and really figuring out where my groove is with studying and playing. My goal is to become the strongest player I can possibly be. If these last couple years have taught me anything, it is that consistency is the best route to doing so. So I’m hoping that I can avoid burnout with this slower, but hopefully more solid approach.

I apologize for not having a Monday Go Meditation ready for this week, but it seems that it may be a little bit before I get that back up and running since I’m out of games that have good material for a review. Just more motivation for me to finally start playing ranked games on KGS again. =)

Friday Go Forward: Week 14


  • DGS - 2 ongoing games
  • Nova - 5 ongoing games


  • Life and Death - 40 Problems


It only seems appropriate that my training has been winding down as I prepare to completely vacate from go for a whole week. Although I thought it would be rather difficult to break the habit of obsessing over go constantly, I have found that simply decreasing my exposure to go as already begun to lift a burden off of my shoulder. In that regard, it seems that the prospects of this vacation doing me some good are looking pretty good.

As you might guess, there will be no Friday Go Forward next week since I won’t be doing anything; but you can still look forward to Monday Go Meditation! Meanwhile, I wish you all the best of luck with your own games! Till then!

A Full Brain

I had an interesting conversation with frozensoul today. For all my efforts at figuring out what’s wrong with me, something I had not considered is that my head is filled to the brim with go material. I am constantly playing and trying to cram more information, but it may be time for me to just completely stop playing and studying.

Wait what?

Hold your keimas and relax. I’m not going to disappear from the go world. It’s just that I am coincidentally going on vacation next week.

I originally planned to bring a few go books and then study the hell out of them, but it seems that this may be the prime opportunity for me to completely vacate and recover. No playing. No studying. If anything, I’ll be meditating on everything and planning to come back with a fresh mind and a new perspective.

Like an addict, it makes me cringe at the thought of not doing anything go related for a whole week; but I think that frozensoul’s prescription may just be the medicine I need to get back in the game.