Archive: 7/2014

Must Tenuki For a While

As some of you might have noticed, I’ve been pretty MIA for a while. One of the major events that happened last week was I moved out to a new apartment. And for those who know what it’s like to move, you know how much of a monstrosity that can be when it comes to sorting, packing, and cleaning.

The move came at a rather funny time in my life as it happened to be a perfect representation of how I’ve been deconstructing my own life lately as well. Reassessing what I’m trying to do and where all my time and energy is being placed. On one hand, everything is a gigantic mess and it’s difficult at times to figure out what I’m trying to do in all this chaos. However, I have confidence that it will work out for the best.

As I’m reassessing my strategy for my life, it should come as no surprise that I’ve had to reassess how I’ve been approaching my study of go as well. I’ll be honest in that I have not been happy at all with my numerous training regimens and have felt like I’ve lost focus. In fact, my Yunguseng match which was rescheduled for today was the first time I even looked at anything go related at all in the past few days. It was quite a weird feeling.

So while I would love to continue the momentum I had going with the blog, I’m putting a hold on all the weekly articles and game commentary in order to give myself time to really sort through things. So I hope you’ll forgive me as I must tenuki for a while as I try and figure out what my whole board strategy for my life is.

I’ll be sure to drop in and update you on my thoughts and progress, so no need to worry that I’m simply dropping off the face of the planet. I’ll still be around.

Hope that all is well with everyone.

Monday Go Meditation: Game 64

Contrary to what I said last week, this week’s Monday Go Meditation features my Yunguseng Dojang game from last week. The reason for this is two-fold: (1) I didn’t play any other games over the past two weeks and (2) I’m still trying to keep MGM as current as possible.

As I mentioned before, I was feeling rather iffy before this game. My opponent was around 4–5k in strenghth, and with my ups and downs lately, I wasn’t so sure that I could even beat him. But before I could wallow too much in my own insecurities, the game started.

Note: Similar to the other YSD match I posted last week, any specific things I learned from the review will be omitted in this game to respect other members’ paid membership.

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Friday Go Forward: Week 70


This week has been very sparse in terms of study and playing, but extremely heavy in regards to writing (if you didn’t notice with the Weekly Go Wednesday article). And though my time has been a bit more biased towards writing, I don’t think any of you are complaining. Haha.

It’s taken some time to break into my productivity system, but the cogs and wheels are starting to mesh together better now. I’m much more aware of where my time is going along with how I’m progressing as a whole in life now. Whole board thinking. See that?

I’m looking forward to when my entire system works effortlessly and I can really amp up my go training. No matter though. Slow and steady wins the race.

Training Regimen

  • Work on go for at least 10–15 minutes a day.


  • KGS - 1 game
  • DGS - 6 ongoing games
  • OGS - 7 ongoing games


Lessons Learned

  • It doesn’t matter if you make mistakes during your game because your opponent is just as likely to make mistakes if not bigger ones. So don’t be too hard on yourself during a game because you’ll only be making yourself more vulnerable than necessary.

Trying to Put the Pieces Back Together

I played the second round of my Yunguseng match tonight. To be honest, it was a game of mixed feelings. Though I hate to admit it, I’m not quite out of my slump yet. I could definitely feel it as I started getting antsy when the game began. I started being negative and worried that I would lose again. Yet on the other hand, there were moments where I managed to give my game some life as I surged forth with a desire to attack and try to harass my opponent’s group with as much vigor as I could muster up.

It was a bit weird being in this bi-polar/gray area of feeling like my go was rather aimless, having it spring back to life, making bad moves where I was completely off with my reading, and then having lively energy again. Then again I guess this is all part of trying to put the pieces together again. They don’t quite fit together at the moment, but I’m optimistic that they will become whole once again.

And though I would normally be concerned with how fast it would take or when it would happen, I’ve realized that doing so will not do me any good. I’ll just keep working on my weaknesses and play to the best of my ability. Everything will fall into place in due time.

PS. There won’t be any detailed commentary for this game, but I just wanted to mention that there are quite a number of mistakes and overplays in this game. So in case anyone wants to point out things like my lower left corner was supposed to die and so forth, no worries, got it all in the review.

How to Teach Go

Weekly Go Wednesday, Issue #45


Introducing go to new people is a topic that I’m very passionate about and it’s something that I think a lot of people mess up. To be fair, it’s not their fault and they are not intentionally doing so. It’s just that people don’t realize how the lack or presence of certain teaching principles can have profoundly different results.

I come from the belief that one day go will be known by the masses and played by all kinds of people. I don’t believe that it is a game for “smart” people and have no intention of seeing it get shelved as a niche of a game that only “intellectuals” play. Everything you’re about to read comes from personal experience and/or things that I have actually witnessed in real life, so there’s nothing theoretical about it. In addition, I have to emphasize that this “manifesto” focuses on people brand new to go. More established players are not considered below.

With that said, let’s dive right into it shall we?

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Finding Happiness and Fun in Go Again

During my game review for the first match of the month, I had a disturbing revelation. As Inseong was talking about my mistakes, he then commented on how attacking was one of the most pleasurable aspects of go. Suddenly, a lightbulb went off in my head as I realized what had been missing from my games all this time: I had forgotten how to attack.

As I sat there, I thought, “Me? Not attacking properly? Not enjoying the attack? How far have I fallen?”

Needless to say, it got me wondering if this was what was wrong with me over these past couple of weeks; but what’s funny is that life had something else in store for me as well. Though I didn’t know it at the time, something that I had volunteered to help out at was happening the same weekend: the Smithsonian Folklife Festival was about to give me the wake-up call that I needed.

China Festival Badge

At first, with me being down lately, I have to admit that I was a bit reluctant to go as the day crept up. Before I knew it though, Saturday was upon me and I was sitting down and teaching person after person. And with each person that sat down, seeing their eyes light up as they learned the rules and enjoyed their time was really heart-warming for me. Out of all the ones I taught though, there was one in particular that I want to mention here.

A young girl (probably around 6-8 years old) and her mother decided to stop by to learn the game. As I taught the rules to the girl and proceeded through my own curriculum of how I believe go should be taught, she picked it up with relative ease. And with each new milestone in learning the game, her eyes lit up and a smile spread across her face that I can only describe as absolutely adorable.

Fast forward a bit, and I decide that she’s ready to try an actual game of go. I had commandeered the big 9x9 magnetic board (with huge pieces) that is used for demonstration at the time. So as one can expect, there was a bit of a crowd around us by the time our game started. I gave her 7 stones as a handicap and we started playing.

To my utter surprise, she ignored most of my overplays and played such calm and beautiful moves! If I tried to hane on one stone, she would ignore me and just connect her stones together only to leave me in dismay. And before I knew it, she killed my entire group and owned the entire board.

Now, while another person might have found it to be embarrassing, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to demonstrate to the crowd what it looked like to get demolished and to explain that resigning was an honorable thing to do in this game. This got quite a big laugh of course. And as I turned to the girl and her mom to tell her how she did an incredible job crushing me, she beamed with happiness and pride that made the entire spectacle entirely worth it.

The reason I’m writing this is because it’s really easy to get caught up in the competitive aspects of go. After all, most players who end up playing this game long term are usually playing to become the strongest player they can possibly be. But after my experiences these last few days, I’m reminded of the fact that there is far more to go than simply gaining that next stone.

Though it’s easy to forget, finding happiness and fun in go is just as important (if not the most) when taking that next step in your journey as a go player. I’m not quite out of the woods yet in regards to my own slump, but I can tell you that this weekend was the ray of light that I needed as I start to make my way toward the end of the tunnel.

Monday Go Meditation: Game 63

For this week, I’ve decided to honor a request made by my friend Rob who asked that I review the game that was the cause for my post on being confused. Though I haven’t been commenting on games from YSD, I’ve decided to make an exception for this one.

Just to note though, any specific insight that was taught by Inseong is withheld from the commentary in order to respect other member’s paid memberships. So while I will comment on what I understood on my own, any specific details will be omitted in this review. Hope you enjoy this review!

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Friday Go Forward: Week 69


I swear my training regimen is getting shorter with each week that goes on by, but in all fairness, I am working on developing a system that focuses on consistency over a long period of time as opposed to having my life be extremely skewed towards one direction or another based on how I feel. Of course, this doesn’t mean that I’m only doing that much every day, but it’s my bare minimum requirement per day.

One of the things I’ve been working on throughout the week is designing a better blogging system. I was currently working directly out of WordPress and collecting notes where I could here and there, but it wasn’t a very efficient system and took up quite a bit of time. To my luck, in the process of me restructuring other aspects of my life (i.e., time management, project management, finances, etc.), I actually stumbled across Scrivener and have been testing out recently. I’m still in the trial period, but I have to say that this tool is really quite impressive for serious writers out there. It’s starting to really help me get my thoughts together and allow me to blog more effectively.

Another thing that I want to mention is that after next week’s Friday Go Forward, I will most likely be pushing out these progress reports to Saturday since they are more status updates than anything else and can be scheduled ahead of time. I’ve found it to be near impossible to blog on Saturday, so this will add a consistent content item to Saturday while allowing me to blog about more personal things on Friday if I want to.

Finally, I plan on releasing an online document that will allow you to check my training and efforts in go in real time! By doing so, you can get a real detailed look at what I’m doing since status reports are generally more an overview than anything else. Hopefully this will be of interest to some of you, but if not, at least it will be another artifact to track my progress and possible analysis in the future.

With all that said, hope all those living in the US have a great 4th of July weekend! See you all next week.

Training Regimen

  • Work on go for at least 10–15 minutes a day.


  • KGS - 3 games
  • DGS - 6 ongoing games
  • OGS - 5 ongoing games



Lessons Learned

  • I’m still bad at framing moves in terms of how many points / potential it can provide when playing games.
  • I need to start trusting my instinct more. Apparently it is correct more often than I give it credit for.

Feeling Full of Contradictions

Managed to win the first round of Yunguseng Dojang tonight. Contrary to most people’s expectation however, I’m not feeling particularly good about it. I don’t know. Hard to say. Because it feels like to some extend, the games I win I don’t like, but then the games I felt good about are the ones I ended up losing. But my head has been in a bit of a haze lately, so it’s hard to say if what I’m feeling makes any sense at the moment.

What I will say at the moment however, is that I definitely feel like my journey has come to a culmination point where everything seems to be contradicting. In an effort to not play automatic moves and think on a whole board scale, I end up ignoring my instinct to play a move which is actually the proper move that I end up talking myself out of for X reason. Games I win are games I dislike while games I lose are ones that I feel are better. North is south and east is west. Oy vey…

I imagine that others who have gone through this must find it quite difficult. It definitely seems easier to just throw in the towel instead of subjecting myself to being neck deep in this confusion; but this is the time when I’m reminded of the quote:

“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”

  • Thomas A. Edison

Going to keep calm and maintain my bearings… Onwards… Always moving forward….