Archive: 10/2013

Stop Being a Worry Wart

A couple of nights ago, frozensoul mentioned something to me that really struck me.

My mind is my greatest opponent.

Yup. You read that right. Instead of being trounced by opponents better than me or making dumb mistakes, I often end up out-reading myself.

What do I mean by this? I’m talking about being fearful of potential aji in X area and adding unnecessary moves “just in case.” Now this might sound reasonable, but let’s think about this one moment. If you are adding a move to an area that doesn’t require it, are you not essentially passing your turn?

To further illustrate my point, take the following problem:

Black to play.

Is there anyone out there who would suggest that Black capture the White stones “just to in case?” Absolutely not. Because any player above 12 kyu would know that it would be completely absurd to do anything but tenuki.

“But wait Ben! Not all positions are as clear cut as the problem you presented! What happens if you’re wrong and then you lose because you think you can tenuki when in fact you really can’t?!”

Well, to that I have only one question: Are you trying to get stronger or simply keep winning against opponents of the same strength?

Yes. It would suck if you tenuki when you actually needed a move and then lost a game; but guess what, that is part of growing and learning so that we can get stronger. We make mistakes. We fall. We get back up. We learn. We grow. We get stronger. And the cycle goes on and on…

So the next time you feel like you’re in a questionable position, do your best with the reading ability you have and then have faith in your moves. You will make quite a few mistakes along the road, but I assure you that it will be a heck of a lot better than defending against imaginary aji.

Monday Go Meditation: Game 30

For today's go meditation, I am happy to feature a new player to the reviews: RisingStar! At his request, I will be going through an even game that I played with him recently. Overall, RisingStar played very well and surprised me numerous times with his decisions to take critical points and to give me an easy win. In fact, I would have to say that there were a number of times where I was at a rather disadvantageous position and might have lost if he had just been a bit more aggressive. Nonetheless, a job well done to RisingStar and I hope that you enjoy this review.

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Friday Go Forward: Week 35

Friday Go Forward: Week 35


This week has been quite an interesting one for me. I made the decision to switch from task based productivity to time based productivity and have found it to be a much more manageable method to keeping consistent about the things that are important to me. In addition, now that I have been shifting my focus to increase the quality of my training, I am feeling a lot more at peace with my progress and don’t feel like I will be burning out anytime soon. So while my training menu might seem very simple, the key factor I’m aiming for is consistency. And if I have additional time in the day, then I’m welcome to pile on any additional training that I’m in the mood for. =)


  • KGS - 4 games
  • DGS - 3 ongoing games
  • Nova - 3 ongoing games

Training Menu

  • 20 minutes of Reading Training (i.e., Life & Death, Tesuji, etc.)
  • 20 minutes of Go Theory Study (i.e., Joseki, Direction of Play, etc.)
  • 20 minutes of Experience Training (i.e., Play or review a game)

Reading Material

  • Working on Jump Level Up 3.
  • Working on Get Strong at Endgame.
  • Working on_ __Perceiving the Direction of Play_.

Video Lessons

Confidence is Worth Two Stones

Credit to treeofknowledge

Last week, I was playing a game when other players started showing up to watch the game. My opponent then remarked, “Everyone is here to see me lose.” And then I promptly replied, “You’ve got it wrong. They’re here to see me lose.” Though it was said in a joking manner that was also supposed to be humble, it wasn’t until after the game that a comment made by a visitng dan player struck me: “Confidence is worth two stones.”

It got me thinking about my whole approach to the game, or perhaps life in general. With the way I’ve been brought up, it’s expected that one be humble and not be cocky or overconfident. However, I started to wonder whether or not I ended up taking this mentality too far and becoming self-deprecating instead. In other words, even though I would say things like, “No no, I’m a weak player” as a way of being humble; I may have actually been planting seeds of doubt in myself this entire time.

Now to be clear, I’m not saying that one should prance around saying how they’ll win every game and rub it in their opponent’s faces. “Look at me! I’m so great!” I mean sure, sometimes the cockiness works as a placebo effect and some people end up becoming “stronger,” but then everyone thinks you’re an asshole and that is way worse than being a weak player. So instead, I will stop using negative statements and stop worrying about what other people think.

With each stone I play, I will simply aim to play the best go that I can. That is all that matters.

October 2013 Bonus Review - Game 1

Credit to Zeasonal

October is upon us and the time for trick or treating is here! Luckily for you, I have yet to come up with any imaginative ways to prank my readers. So until I do, looks like you’ll be stuck with treats of extra game reviews for this month! xD

As I mentioned before, I joined the Canada Go League* recently and so I thought it would be appropriate if I reviewed my games that I played as part of this bonus material. So to start of this month’s bonus game reviews, we will begin with the first game I played in the Canada Go League.

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Review: BadukTV by GoGameGuru

I’m happy to announce that I have finally gotten the opportunity to sign up for GoGameGuru’s (GGG) BadukTV English service! Needless to say, I am thrilled with it! I’ve only made it through two lessons in their “Becoming a 5 Kyu” video series and I am loving it! Not only am I learning a lot, but it’s really incredible to be able to watch material that is not game commentary and actually aimed at weak players like me!!!! Ahhh!!! So wonderful!!!!_

Now, before I go into why I think BadukTV by GGG is awesome, let me clarify something. Some of you got a chance to watch a BadukTV video that I posted recently, but I want to remind everyone that they are completely different services. The BadukTV English that I posted is from the BadukTV channel that features English speakers and is currently free. BadukTV from GGG on the other hand, is a paid service that focuses on providing popular Korean BadukTV episodes that have English subtitles.

“Wait wait wait Ben. Why the hell would I pay for something when I can get it for free?”

Well it’s actually quite simple:

  1. The problem with free material is that you never know when you’re going to get new material and whether or not it’s even going to be helpful to you.

  2. There is no guarantee that the quality of material will be up to par.

  3. The material is most likely going to be more advanced than the typical kyu player will be able to really handle.

In other words, let me ask you this: How many videos or lectures have you seen out there that is a lecture series with titles like “Becoming 5 Kyu” or “Level Up to 3 Kyu”?

That's What I Thought

Let’s face it. There are plenty of material out there with strong players reviewing professional games and trying to go through the variations. And sure, BadukTV from GGG has those lectures too for stronger players; however, when it comes to videos of professionals lecturing on material that’s relevant to kyu players who are anxious to get stronger, the Western hemisphere is lacking in this area and BadukTV by GGG helps to fill that empty void many of us long for.

And just in case I haven’t sold you on their English service, they also have:

  1. BadukTV OnDemand - TV programs that you can stream whenever you want. They don’t all have subtitles, but like someone reminded me, go transcends all language barriers and you might find yourself understanding more than you expected!

  2. BadukTV Live - Watch BadukTV live as if you had it as part of your cable service!

  3. BadukTV Mobile - Watch BadukTV programs right from your mobile device!

Bottom line: If you’re one of those people who wished that that the Western hemisphere could have a channel dedicated to go, you definitely need to check this out. They are providing an incredible service and I hope you’ll join me in supporting them in their efforts! Be sure to check out their site here for more information!

P.S. And if you have any other questions about the service, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below or contact me and I’ll be sure to answer your questions to the best of my ability!