Category: Journal

Weekend Hiatus Again....

Dirty Dozen Impatience (Credit to Sunny and Fit)

Bleh. I’ve failed so far as to keeping regular blog posts once I go up to Baltimore on the weekends…. I’ll need to fix that. But regardless, I played quite a bit with Todd over the past couple days… and I have to say it’s been frustrating yet enlightening. I know I’ve said this multiple times in the past… but I’d say that the implications of the line that “Go is 98% patience” is “Read ahead you idiot.”

I’m not the first nor will I be the last to say that I believe that Go really does reveal a lot about a person’s character. What I’ve realized… is that I’m not as patient as I thought I was. I like to get things done quickly and to use talent and intuition to hope for the best result. The only problem is that this mindset doesn’t translate well in Go and in the bigger picture… life.

Second epiphany is that my asinine “wanna-be pro” self keeps trying to create all these clever trick plays (e.g. shortage of liberty situations or awesome snapbacks). What does that mean for a player still in the DDK who plays an opponent of shodan strength? Complete and utter failure. As Todd so kindly reminded me, “Go is not about killing stones….” I must’ve heard and read this about a hundred times since I’ve started, yet still it still has not sunk into my brain…. sigh.

So what do I take away from all of this? Two things:

  1. Train my patience as a person so that it will not only impact my ability as a Go player, but the rest of my life as well.
  2. Focus on the fundamentals of Go. Stay away from trying to do anything crazy until the basic are set and stone in my style of play.

A Forced Break

So like most people, my world is not solely my own and is constantly impacted by the people around me. This has forced me to take a break from playing full games of Go online, but on the upside I’ve been trying to take what Justin advised me to do to heart.

After reflecting on it for some time, I realized that most of my frustrations come from the fact that my visualization and ability to read ahead is undisciplined and ill-trained at the moment. Like Justin said, no amount of theories will be able to correct for that. Agreed. I will be working hard to finish up any remaining books that I started so that there aren’t a bunch of half-read books on my bookshelf, but afterwards I’ll be sure to dive headfirst into all the problem books I own.

Pointers from a Stronger Player

So I had the pleasant surprise of having Justin watch over one of my games tonight. It’s always funny how obvious the mistakes I make are when a stronger player points them out… or more obvious moves. But he did leave me with an interesting thought…

“As a word of advice, just do problems. Focus on the fundamentals. Everything else will come later.”

I think that may be where my training is a bit lacking at this point. I keep reading more theory type books, but have neglected my problems. Looks like I’m going to switch gears starting October. SDK (Single Digit Kyu) may be out of reach by this point, but we’ll set a new target when my second month is up.

Need More Study

So yesterday wasn’t as eventful as I’d like, I got to play Keith in a full on handicap game and that was fun…. but then I had to leave early so no more Go that night… I also forgot to bring my Kifu book from YMImports so bummer that.

Today was interesting though. I got to play one timed game (regular and speed) with Todd. Definitely have a long way to go… And then I got to play two more games that were quite challenging. I made some careless errors and reads that cost me the game, but I think I’ve learned a lot from it. I’m still too unfamiliar with what to do and how to read things… so more studying to do.

Weekends = Minimal Go

Come to think of it, I barely have any time to study or play Go on weekends… particularly playing it… I’m not sure whether that’s a good or bad thing… but anyhow, my first book on Opening Theory Made Easy is now finished! Muahaha…. I will get that review up asap. Meanwhile, onto the other books!

Chaotic Fusion

It’s funny sometimes, how everyone thinks that they can compartmentalize portions of their lives: work, school, family, relationship, friends, and hobbies. We reserve parts of ourselves to deal with the independent portions, yet we all have moments where one compartment overflows to another. This brings to question how realistic compartmentalizing everything is.

The problems, the stress, and the conflicts we run into end up being nothing more than local battles. Fights destined to take place at the corner or sides of the board due to simple stone interactions. The commentaries that would come from each move exists in our world as well, “You did this wrong. How stupid could you be? Didn’t we discuss why you shouldn’t do this already? What were you thinking?”

Eventually we all hit this point I’m feeling right now, where attempts at fusing everything into one solid mindset comes to a halt. Nothing looks clear, and you’ve lost sight of everything. I’m frustrated with the progress of things and can’t shake the irritation I have. It’s at this point that I think it’s time to take a sabbatical and get away from it all. I don’t mean to run away or go on vacation, but to simply take a step back from it all. Although many of us have our various aspects of our lives, the one thing for certain is that we cannot ignore our own personal goals. There’s a time limit for each and every one of us, and it would be disappointing for us not to give our lives the meaning we desire it to.

I played a game of Go this morning. It was supposedly against an 18 kyu (there was a question mark), but I just couldn’t hold it together and resigned in the end. Everything seems to be clashing, and it’s probably time for me to take a step back from it all for now. After all, trying to compartmentalize our lives is anything but futile. Like the Go board, every play affects the whole board.


So I had my second private lesson today, and I have to say I felt like such an idiot as we were going over my games. It’s funny how blatantly obvious my idiotic decisions and rationales are when pointed out. I’m still falling into the typical traps of a new player (e.g. focusing on local areas, having no purpose, wishful thinking, etc.) Argh…. I think I’m going to have to come up with a handout for beginning Go players to look over once a day to help them out.

One of the most critical aha moments that went off in my head today is the fact that I don’t and can’t quite read ahead worth crap. It’s definitely one of the reasons that I make the poor plays that I do. This is probably one of the reasons I hate half of the books that I’ve reviewed so far. They have so many complicated diagrams, but in reality there is probably more substance since they are probably assuming you can read it out in your head no problem. So far, I’ve been actually replaying variations on an actual board. This is useful to an extent, but I have to be able to play the simulations out in my head.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this month, I’m trying to break the double digit kyu (DDK) by October 8th. It probably is near impossible to do so, but here’s my crazy game plan:

  1. Finish the following books:

    • Opening Theory Made Easy by Otake Hideo 9 dan
    • Whole Board Thinking in Joseki - Volume One by Yi-Lun Yang
    • One Thousand and One Life-and-Death Problems by Richard Bozulich
    • Understanding Dan Level Play by Yuan Zhou
    • Tesuji by James Davies
  2. Replay 25 moves of a professional game (that has commentary) everyday.

  3. Play one serious game (not a bot) everyday where I don’t rush and try my hardest.

It’s like my teacher said, “It’s not hard to rise levels at the stage you’re at, you just have to stop doing all these irrational and inefficient moves.” Time to topple over these obstacles.

UMBC Go Club = Back in Business!

So the last two days have been fraught with trying to figure out the position of Go players in Baltimore. Long story short, I have decided to take up the challenge to reinvigorate Go on-campus and increase membership! Also, for all those who read, lookout for an official tournament in October! More details to come soon enough!

Coming up!

So I’m back from a three day hiatus. A lot has happened over the last couple days, and you can look forward to the following posts:

  1. Company Review: Yunnan Arts
  2. Weighing My Priorities
  3. Equipment Reviews!
    And in case you are wondering, the guides are under way!

Journal Log #5

So I’ve logged quite a few games today. Three online, and one in person.

The first game was with a 22 kyu to whom I lost by resignation. The game really turned around when I let him undo a move that would’ve killed an extremely large group, and from that I guess I really don’t think I like the whole idea of undoing a move. It’s one thing if you’re playing a teaching/friendly game with someone (especially when it’s in person). This is online and KGS with no teaching aspect though, and that should mean one thing: war.

Go is a intense philosophical games with one of its most unique aspects being that once you place a stone down it is written. Just like your life, you can only work forward and never backwards (unless one of us invents a time machine, but then we’ll have to discuss time-dimension theories).

The second game was with an estimated 21 kyu who resigned. I think it may have been a bit premature on his part, but I did manage to practically kill two of the largest groups, so I guess he must have felt hopeless. Although if you ask me, there was still two corners to establish and plenty of center territory left. I don’t blame him though, as a mere 20 kyu, the 19x19 board can still seem overwhelming sometimes.

My final online game was against the LiberyBot 14 kyu who beet me by 17.5 moku. If I recall correctly, I misread one large group’s life and thus died. Thus resulting in my defeat.

I also played against my cousin tonight (13x13), and lost after misreading one of the ladders. To sum it up, he had some friendly stones along the way, and diverted the course from what would have led to my own stones. sigh…

So after intense sessions of go today, I’m a bit frazzled as to how I will improve. I definitely need to improve my ability to read life and death… other than that… I dunno… I guess we’ll see won’t we.