Archive: 11/2013

Friday Go Forward: Week 41

Friday Go Forward: Week 41


Note: It seems my life will forever be consistently crazy and busy, so instead of talking about all the time I don’t have, I will be approaching these overviews from more of a goal and progress type theme for now until I can come up with something better.

This week’s goal was to really started chipping away at the pile of equipment reviews that I need to do. I’m happy to report that I’ve finished two (Go Bento Box and Folding Go Board), but there are still quite a few to go and so that work will definitely resume into next week. In regards to my progress of studying however, though that as taken a back seat for a little while, I was able to fit in a couple lessons with my sensei frozensoul. There are quite a few things he remarked on that have got me thinking, but more on that when I have processed it a bit better.

For next week, I’m hoping to wrap up on all of my equipment reviews so that I can can resume work on my book reviews. In addition, I will be going on a mini-go retreat at a friend’s house this weekend, so I will also be looking to put out a detailed post recounting the games and good times that is sure to come. So be on the lookout for those! See you next week!


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

Reading Material

  • Worked on Changing One’s Conceptions: Awaji’s Aphorisms.

Equipment Review: Folding Go Board

Folding Go Board

Description: When it comes to go on the go (yes that just happened), this folding go board from GoGameGuru really does seem to hit the sweet spot between portability, quality, and price. It utilizes a hinge mechanism to keep the go board in one piece and even has a Chinese chess board on the reverse side! Recommended stone size are 21 or 22. It fits other stones, but it’s a bit snug. Highly recommended!

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WGW 27: Stop Trying to Win in 50 Moves

Weekly Go Wednesday, Issue #27

After watching numerous kyu games over the last few months, there is a tendency that I’ve noticed among many kyu players that is not nearly as common in dan games: we try to establish a dominating position early in the game so that there is little to no possibility of your opponent coming back. In other words, it’s almost as if we would prefer to kill a large group in the beginning so that we can take it easy the rest of the game. And if we have any intention of getting stronger, we must get rid of this mentality.

A number of games out there lend themselves to that sort of mentality. For example, in League of Legends, if your team is able to score an ace (aka the opponent’s team has been killed and has yet to re-spawn) early on in the game, it can lead to a dominating position that can make for an easy win. Instead, go should be seen as a marathon instead of a 50 meter dash. There is no point in trying to sprint the first mile and gain a lead on everyone because what actually matters is your final time when you cross the finish line.

The primary reason this type of mentality is damaging for kyu players is that go is a game where you must prove yourself every time. In other words, no player (of approximately equal strength) would play the first 50 moves of a game, see a big moyo, and go, “Well, that does it. Game over. The moyo you sketched out looks so big I must resign.” So even if you manage to establish an advantageous position in the opening, failure to defend it or utilize your position correctly will often lead to a game reversal.

In addition, the pursuit of obtaining a huge advantage in the beginning can often lead players to making poor choices or creating a ton of weak groups (which translates to an epic disaster during the middle and endgame). Or, another common scenario would be starting a whole board fight that determines the fate of the game instead of simply establishing a favorable position.

My advice to you on avoiding this sort of mentality is this: stop trying to win in 50 moves. Just focus on keeping your groups strong, and play a balanced game. Your opponents will inevitably make overplays, and then you will have an easier time punishing their overplays and then gaining a winning position. After all, remember that you only need half a point more than your opponent to win.

Equipment Review: The Go Bento Box

Go Game Set Bento Box

Description: The “Go Game Set Bento Box” this is perhaps the first product I’ve seen that aims to provide players with a portable set of go stones that are not cheap plastic stones. Not only do they pack away very well and are easy to carry, but the stones are also a respectable size and material that should delight any go player who wants a portable set of stones!

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Monday Go Meditation: Game 35

For this week's go meditation, we continue our journey down memory lane! Last week I was a mere 15 kyu, but this week we jump ahead to when I gained my first stone! Kageyama says that one of the greatest enjoyments of go is gaining a stone in strength (which obviously becomes far less frequent as one gets stronger); but I do remember the excitement of seeing my rank tick up a number. Haha. Anyways, I hope that you'll find humor and enjoyment as you watch my past self flail around the board. =D See you next week!

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Friday Go Forward: Week 40

Friday Go Forward: Week 40


Quite a bit has happened over the past week. First off, my training menu is completely thrown off now. Due to other pursuits in my life (i.e., design, boxing, etc.), it seems I lost track of time and could not be consistent about my study. In addition, I am also pretty swamped with trying to get my reviews for my GoGameGuru items up and online asap. So I’ve definitely lost a little bit momentum this week, but hopefully I’ll be able to regain my footing soon and resume my research into the ideal training menu. Anyhow, lots of work to do. See you next week!


  • KGS - 3 game
  • DGS - 2 ongoing games
  • Nova - 4 games

Reading Material

  • Worked on Getting Strong at Endgame.
  • Worked on Changing One’s Conceptions: Awaji’s Aphorisms.
  • Finished Master Play: The Fighting Styles of Kato Masao & Seo Bong Soo.
  • Started working on Getting Strong at Attacking.

New Go Equipment and My Losing Streak

GoGameGuru Order

My GoGameGuru order came in!!! Woot woot!!! You can see everything I got in the picture (except the glass stones which are inside the bowls). There is so much to write about and review. Haha. However, since I do need a little bit of time to put the reviews together, the one thing I want to recommend right away is the Foldable Go Board. The quality is incredible for the price and it’s definitely my favorite item of my entire order. So if you’re in the market for a foldable go board, don’t wait!

On a more journalistic note, I’ve been on a losing streak lately. Interestingly enough however, I’m actually okay with it. The training to try and maintain zen in high pressure situations or even after losing has been tough; but I think it’s been doing me some good. In fact, I was even able to resign a game that I was winning (against a 5 kyu) since I had more pressing matters to attend to. And if you’re wondering why I think it’s an accomplishment, it’s because I never would have been able to do that in the past. I would have saw the game as rightfully mine to win and probably have been unable to walk away from it.

As one might expect, my rank has been dropping left and right; but surprisingly enough, I’m actually okay with it. I’m not worried about whether or not the server thinks I’m stronger or not. I am taking on my weaknesses head on. It might make me lose a stone or two for now, but I think the benefit I will gain from this approach will be worth it. =)

WGW 26: How to Play as White in Even Games

Weekly Go Wednesday, Issue #26

A couple months ago, I had a request put in by fellow go player DecimoKing for an article on my advice on playing as White. This is the first part to a series of posts geared to provide some guidance to players who find themselves feeling burdened when playing White. Although this is definitely geared more for beginner/intermediate players, I would appreciate any additional insight from stronger players below to supplement my thoughts here. With that said, let’s get started with the first scenario as White: even games.

Concern #1: “Black is one move ahead! I feel like I’m behind when I’m playing White.”

The first thing to do is to breathe. Inhale. Exhale. Now, what you have to remember is that this is exactly why the komi system was created in the first place. It’s always very easy to forget that you have komi. In other words, you already start with points when Black starts with none! So if anyone should feel behind, it’s Black! xD

Concern #2: “Black always gets these awesome moyos (i.e., frameworks) that are gigantic and fearsome!”

What you have to remember here is that you always have a choice of being more aggressive and breaking up Black’s formation early on in the game.* Will the game get more complicated? Yes. Will it involve a lot more fighting. Absolutely. However, what you have to determine for yourself is which situation do you hate more: a large moyo where you find yourself needing to invade and live or lose, or a game full of fighting that’s quite complicated.

*The only framework that White can’t truly stop without ending up in a disadvantageous position is the sanrensei; but if that is what you hate playing against, then the issue is more about learning a counter strategy to sanrensei as opposed to worried about playing White.

In summary, here are a few things to remember when playing White in even games:

  1. Be patient. Remember that the komi system was designed to compensate for the first move advantage. If you let yourself get caught up in the illusion of being behind, you’ll find yourself rushing into dangerous situations that will put you at a disadvantage early in the game.
  2. You can always steer the game in a different direction. If you really hate frameworks like the Chinese Opening and don’t know any counter strategies to them, go ahead and interrupt the formation before it materializes (aka approach the corner instead of taking a corner for yourself).
  3. Feel honored to play as White. Don’t forget that in go, playing as White usually signifies that who is the stronger player. After all, what color do you play if you give your opponent handicap stones? =) So if your intention is to become the strongest player you can possibly be, shouldn’t White stones become your best friend? xD
    I hope that this helps and please be sure to leave a comment below if you have any questions or comments!

Pursuing Zen Under Siege

I’ve been thinking a lot about life lately something about myself. For those who know me in real life, it’s probably safe to say that I can get a little overly excited about something most people would consider mundane. It’s not because I was deprived as a child or anything; but I believe that each day should be lived to the fullest and that every moment we have is something to be excited about.

The downside, however, is that while I am able to keep my emotions and mental state very positive for a majority of the time, one wrong misstep can throw me into a weird limbo where I kind of just fall off the deep end. And whether I like it or not, this is clearly reflected in my go. So in order to try and train my ability to be calm and collected, I decided to do the one thing I generally advise against: playing blitz games.

With the time pressure and the fact that I tend to take my losses in blitz pretty hard (due to the fact that I often lose due to a stupid mistake as opposed to actually being weaker than my opponent), this approach is essentially the equivalent of trying to achieve enlightenment in the middle of a war zone. It’s not that it’s impossible, but it’s pretty risky and could be dangerous for my go. However, I know that trying to take any other route will probably delay my ability to overcome this hurdle.

See you on the other side.

Monday Go Meditation: Game 34

For this month's go meditations, our theme is Novice November! For many of you, I'm sure you found this blog when I was already a solid single digit kyu and working my way up the ladder. However, this was most certainly not always the case. xD So to remind some of you who only see where I am now, I thought it would be fun if we did a throwback of games back when I was a fledgling double digit kyu. With that said, let's turn back time to when I had just started go and played my first KGS game against a human opponent as a 15 kyu. Enjoy!

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