Archive: 6/2014

Monday Go Meditation: Game 62

About a week ago, there was a bit of discussion about the importance of endgame. Now while I would never even begin to propose that endgame is not important or can't make a huge difference, I was saying how I didn't think studying it would serve kyu players as much as say dan players.

Ironically, the game featured this week was played shortly after the discussion and happened to feature endgame as the shining star of the game. In addition, this game is also a good example of competing moyos and how critical points in shape and boundaries can make a huge difference in the resulting outcome. Hope you enjoy this review!

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Friday Go Forward: Week 68


This has been a rather rough week for me. I have lost pretty much every game I’ve played and even lost my crucial match in Yunguseng Dojang (YSD). And to be honest, I was so frustrated with how I played that game I couldn’t even stay for the review afterwards. Sigh. And though I’ve resolved not to take a break at this time, I think I will be meeting everyone halfway by simply taking a break from playing games (except for my regularly schedule YSD match).

I also have a lot going through my mind in regards to how I’ve been spending my time and how to get out of my turmoil. So my training regimen has been cut down again because I’m not sure what I’m doing anymore. I apologize for this week’s progress report being a little short on the content, but I have a new vision for what it’ll be soon. So I’ll be working on that in conjunction with taking a second look at my approach to everything. Hope you all are having a better week than I am.

Training Regimen


  • KGS - 6 games
  • DGS - 6 ongoing games
  • OGS - 6 ongoing games


Taking This Slump Head On

The first thing I want to write is that I really appreciate the numerous words of support that have been flooding in. It’s been great to hear from everyone and to hear everyone’s perspectives on things. In addition, the feedback has helped reassure me that my return to the more journalistic-type blogging was the correct choice.

I’m not feeling much better today. In fact, in a number of ways I’m feeling worse due to other things happening in life. However, the one thing I wanted to write about were my thoughts on how I’ve been dealing with this time of turmoil and downfall.

As most of you suggested, taking a break is certainly one of the most viable options out there. However, there are three reasons why I am taking the high road on this one:

  1. Yunguseng Dojang is still a going on (weekly) and the matches will not be stopping just because I’m in a slump.
  2. Most players I know approach this by taking a break, but I haven’t heard of anyone try to muscle through it instead and be successful.
  3. I feel a strong determination to try and see this through to the end so I can find out whether or not I’m delusional or not.
    Of course, I recognize that my method has a risk of extreme/permanent burnout since I’m already at a low point; but in case you don’t know this about me, I’m quite the risk taker when it comes to these kinds of challenges. So I’m going to take this slump head on, regardless of what obstacles await me.

And paraphrasing from the new wallpaper on my phone:

When things get tough, remember you are tougher.

Stumbling Through the Dark

Today I added another notch to my losses. It was a 2 stone handicap game against a 1k and I completely goofed at the end. No reason I shouldn’t have won, but I just couldn’t see it through.

And the funny thing is that this trend seems to be consistent with other things I tried to switch my attention to momentarily (like League of Legends). Part of me wonders whether I’ve acquired some sort of “losing” mindset; but on second though, it’s rather unlikely since I know that starting off any game being like “I’m going to lose anyways” is a recipe for disaster.

As this is the first day in my quest to return back to my origins, I shouldn’t be surprised that things are not much different than yesterday. There’s a big mix of frustration, loss, and clarity all at the time. And to be honest, it feels as if stumbling through the dark blindly reaching for anything I can hold on to to feel like I’m making progress. I have no idea if it’s going to get me where I want to go, but it certainly seems to beat standing still.

On the bright side, I’m glad I’m not gambling any time soon.

Losing Sight of My Go

Today I played a game against a 2k as Black (with 45 min main time settings). It’s been a long time since I’ve played a game with such long time settings where the opponent actually used up most of his/her time. In fact, it was a little nerve wracking because the quality of the moves were quite different. Far less impulsive ones and much more proper moves that were given a lot of thought. I felt I had decent control of the game for the most part, but started losing control of it towards the later half of the middle game. Around this time, my opponent misclicks.

At first I was thrilled to see the mistake, but then the undo request instantly popped up and I was confronted with the conflicting decision as to wheter I should give him the undo or not. Long story short, he was supposed to gain about 8 points in sente, but misclicked and put his own stones in atari so that I could capture them instead, save my stones, and gain a few points myself.

For 95% of spectators out there, the answer is crystal clear: it was an obvious misclick. In that moment however, though I’m ashamed to say it, I wanted to win so badly that I tried to brush off his undo and play on. I tried to resolve my cognitive dissonance by telling myself that it was his fault that he misclicked. Not my problem. Within a few moves however, I woke to my senses and realized how pitiful I was being. So I resigned in order to try and pick up what little self-respect I had left.

The reason I’m writing about this is because I realized I have become too caught up in winning. Even though my name was created with the idea that I had found zen in go, I think that it has become so far from the truth (especially as of late). With each game recently, any sense of calmness or zen has been consistently disturbed by the notion of winning or losing. And with each game, I am concerned that I am losing sight of my go.

This ends now. I don’t care if I have to drop ten stones to get back to it, but I’m going to put the pieces that started this blog back together: Ben + Go + Zen.

Friday Go Forward: Week 67


Once again I’ve decided to trim down on my training regimen in order to up the quality of training. This means more time spent on each topic as well as increasing repetition in order to further solidify what I’m learning. In other words, I’m no longer simply looking to find out what the correct answer is; but to instead really try to immerse myself in it so the reading ability becomes more ingrained in me.

In terms of gameplay, it has been a rather abysmal week. I got into a weird mood and ended up losing 5 games in a row. It was pretty awful considering my go deteriorated to the point where my final game was a resignation against a 4k. Playing on tilt is just not a pretty sight for me at all. Haha. But on the upside, I did manage to recollect myself enough to manage a win for my Yunguseng Dojang match. So hooray for that!

And as mentioned earlier this week, there are some changes coming up on the blog that should hopefully improve the reading experience and value that this blog has. So I’ve been working on that as well and trying to iron out some of the changes I’m trying to make. Fingers crossed it goes smoothly!

Training Regimen



Lessons Learned

  • Playing on tilt has consequences… like dropping two stones in rank on KGS. Hahaha.
  • Take all your opponents seriously regardless of their rank. I’ve posted about this multiple times, but it’s come to bite me in the butt again.
  • There is a huge difference between winning a game and crushing your opponent. Taking one attitude versus another has a profound impact on your approach to the game mentally, but more on this later.
  • This might sound utterly basic, but I seriously need to use my brain more when I play. I miss the most common variations in my blitz reading. I read one variation and think it’s good and fail to consider other obvious alternatives. Oy vey.

Thursday Go Tygem: Game 07


After my third game in Yunguseng Dojang, I became a lot more comfortable playing White. Maybe it’s because I’ve started to really appreciate having komi. Either way, I’m glad to have broken away from my fear of playing White.

This game was the first one I played after being dispelled of that anxiety of playing White. And believe it or not, it was actually a rather calm game where no dramatic battles of life and death occurred. See for yourself below!

Game Summary

1,Opening,Move 30 - Using the knight’s move to gain sente from the 3-3 invasion was a big reason why I could get an advantage this game., Surprisingly I cannot find any fault with my opening. Please let me know if you spot something I missed!
2,Middle Game,”Overall it was quite peaceful and neither played created any big weak groups, but I managed to take more territory overall.”, N/A
3,Fighting,”To my surprise, there wasn’t much fighting in this game.”, N/A
4,Endgame,Move 164-175 - I was proud to find this sequence that reduced a lot of Black’s points in sente., Hard to find any big flaws in my endgame. It seemed I was stronger than my opponent in this area.
5,Overall Reading,Move 100 - Finding this preparatory move for the resulting sequence was a big step forward for me.,Move 52 - I completely missed the double atari when I played here. Shame on me.
6,Strategy,Move 78 - Realizing that it would be difficult to continue severely attacking the Black group and simply cashing in on territory is a move I used to find it impossible to do.,”Move 52 - Even if we assume this move works, there wasn’t much strategic value here since White did not have great potential in the center nor a weak group to attack.”

Taking a Second Look at the Blog

Lately I’ve been reconsidering what direction the blog has been heading in. Although it’s been great starting a new series and having content flow consistently, lately the blog has felt more like a newspaper or e-magazine of sorts instead of a personal journal. For example, the game reviews that are being published are now usually like a month behind where I am now, which can be confusing for you as a reader and also throws my blog into a weird clashing timeline.

As a result, I’ve been thinking a lot about what I can do to fix that, and I’ve come up with the following items in order to better optimize my time and produce content that better fits my vision for the blog:

Starting next week…

  1. Thursday Go Tygem will now be discontinued in order to pave way for #2 and #3.
  2. Monday Go Meditation is going to undergo a reboot with an updated format that takes some elements of Thursday Go Tygem and should improve the overall quality and value of the weekly column. In addition, I will be clearing out the queue in Monday Go Meditation in order to make way for current games and realign the blog with the games I’m currently playing as opposed to games I played weeks or even months ago.
  3. There will be a new post every weekday (i.e. Mon-Fri). This might seem extreme and be a point of concern for some, but I’ve reached a new level of comfort with my blogging that should make this very viable. I’m hoping that this should help the blog start to return to its origins of being a chronicle of my journey (in real-time).

In addition, you’ll start noticing little changes around the blog like new tagging or categories appear as I restructure the content in order to make it more user friendly, but those shouldn’t impact your reading experience on the blog much.

Starting in July…

  1. I’m going to update the format and change the schedule of Friday Go Forward - Although some don’t realize it, Friday Go Forward currently captures my progress from the last Friday afternoon/evening to the next Thursday evening since it gets published every Friday morning. In order to better capture my weekly progress, I will be changing it to Saturday so it fully captures that week. In addition, everyone’s feedback was really helpful on figuring out next steps, so be on the lookout in the future for an improved format!

Whew. Been meaning to unload that from my brain for some time. I’m hoping that you’ll like these new changes; but as always, please be sure to leave feedback in case I’m missing something or you see something I can do to improve what you’re seeing here on the blog. See you around!

Monday Go Meditation: Game 60

With this week, we continue on with Game #4 of Maaike's April Challenge, which also happens to be the first round of the 1st Washington Open Baduk Championship that I participated in a month or so ago. Though it ended up being a completely crazy roller coaster of a match, it is an excellent example of how volatile games can be in tournaments. Because of the pressure of competition, players will look for any slack move or advantage they can to reverse the game. With that said, hang on to your seats cause this is going to be a bumpy one!

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