Archive: 7/2013

Nothing But Go

It occurred to me recently that it seems that all I do is nothing but study, play or write about go. Though I would love that to be the case, I can assure you that it is not the case. I am like any other working soul in society: I have a 9 to 5 job, I live on my own (which means I have to cook, clean, and do all those non-go related chores xD), I have other interests (e.g., web design, coding, tennis, sports, etc.), and I have more familial responsibility than most might care to have. Nonetheless, I have somehow managed to squeeze in go in between all the other things that I care about. Why am I writing about this? Good question.

In most players pursuit to gain another stone, it seems there is an illusion that in order to do so, you must devote all your time and energy the way an insei does. Whether you believe me or not, nothing could be further from the truth.

The reason why I know I can say this with absolute certainty is that most players’ goal is to simply surpass the kyus and successfully live amongst the dan players. In other words, not become a professional. With that in mind, the first step to continuing progress is to realize that progress in go is rarely (if ever) made in leaps and bounds. Similar to building a house, it is important that every level be built with the most solid foundation possible. Otherwise, when the house gets to 4 to 5 stories high, it won’t take much for the whole thing to come crashing down.

For those who aspire to be professional players, I applaud your tenacity and ambition. In fact, I would have to admit that even I am secretly hoping to rise to the level of a professional. So believe me when I say that the importance of our growth through one solid step at a time is more critical than anyone else. After all, professionals play at a level where the slightest mistake (such as the timing of one forcing move over another) can make the difference between winning and losing.

To those frustrated with their progress, remember that go is a never ending journey where new ideas will constantly be born. The moment we think we know what we’re doing and have some new “sure-win” strategy, someone will come along and blow it away. So just keep at it with an unrelenting discipline to study (even if only for 10 minutes a day) and to focus on playing inspired games where you learn something rather than simply winning. Once you’ve grasped that, the depth and bottomless pit of wisdom that go has to offer will open its doors to you.

Demolished with a Silver Lining

Last night I played a fun game against my friend Nate, but was definitely demolished by the end of the game. A 40 point loss… hahaha. Thought I admit that there was definitely a degree of disappointment in myself for playing so terribly, there is a silver lining in my complete failure.

So my experiment failed miserably, but I am sure that the experience I gained with be valuable in the future. In addition, I am happy knowing that my mistakes were not reading mistakes this time around. Though I may have made plenty of strategic and whole board errors, reducing the number of reading mistakes should prove to be very lethal once I take care of my flawed strategies. For those wondering about the kifu, it’ll be featured on a Monday Go Meditation in a couple of weeks.

Meanwhile, I have also decided to take my sensei’s advice and take the time to really watch Battousai’s 3D Tygem Series. Perhaps I can follow in his footsteps and gain sudden insight into the game through watching the series. Not sure how it will go, but I’ll be sure to let you know if anything changes.

Book Review: The Endgame

The Endgame Cover

Description: In this installment of the Elementary Go Series, Ogawa and Davies attempts to lay out the basic tactics, strategies, and techniques required to fully master the endgame. While an excellent reference for players with an understanding of endgame, this may prove to be slightly advanced for someone brand new to endgame.

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Need More Even Games...

I had a chance to go to one of Yuan Zhou’s Monthly Go Workshops yesterday, and I was severely reminded of I have been severely lacking when it comes to playing even games. There will be more on the workshop later on this week, but I’ve been looking at my games lately (from DGS and Nova) and realized how they all consist of handicap games. This is not a bad thing by any stretch of the means, but it has certainly caused my go playing to become slightly lopsided since I’m either a lot more reckless as White or simply focused on attacking as Black. Not very good for training a calm go style you know? xD

On another note, my studying has been going pretty well. I have been reading a lot of books (if it wasn’t clear as day already), and am really loving the Level Up series. As it stands right now, the only thing I regret is that I did not find this series when I first started go. I am just astounded as to how intensely they focus on the fundamentals and have already been taught a thing or two even though the book is supposedly aimed at like 15 kyus. Also, I am really trying to have entire Level Up series reviewed before the month of July is up. So though I won’t be able to play as much for now, I have plans to reincorporate ranked games back into my routine. Back to studying I go!