Archive: undefined/2013

A Look Back at February

For those who are wondering how my studies of Korean go have gone, while I did not finish all the material that I originally set out to do, I have learned that Korean go is centered on fighting. I know that many people will say that they already knew this, but I will tell you that experiencing it firsthand is an entirely separate matter. It wasn’t until I was being pummeled by 5 dans on Tygem and studying the material they use that I began to really see the impressive feats Korean style go can accomplish. It will definitely become a useful weapon in my arsenal against the calmer players I have seen on KGS.

As March is literally right around the corner, I will have you know that I am now taking a free style approach to my training. If I feel motivated or excited to study something, that is precisely what I will study. I won’t feel obligated to begrudgingly finish a book because I started it. The only thing I will maintain consistently however, are my life and death problems. That will be the only aspect that will never change.

With my success at rising to the Alpha class in ASR, I have also decided that it is time for me to drop the league for now. I will be turning my attention towards playing more ranked games so that I can find out how much I have grown over these last couple of months. In addition, I’ve decided to join the Study Group Kyu tournament to see how my skills match up against other SDK’s. Since I will only be playing each opponent once, it should be less time consuming and may even give me a chance to play more ranked games as well.

Though it seems like just yesterday when I was attending the NAGC, it has been an exciting month where the experiences and adventures I’ve had this month will certainly serve as a critical milestone for me. Looking forward to what March will bring!

Friday Go Forward: Week #1

After an awesome discussion with Feather , I’ve been inspired to start another weekly series in order to give you a glimpse into my world of go. It will be a high level overview of my progress every week and will be released every Friday at 5:00 PM. Let me know what you think and I can always update the format if people want!


  • KGS - 9 games (4 wins : 5 losses)
  • Tygem - 1 game (0 wins : 1 loss)


  • 1001 Life and Death Problems - #851 - 1001
  • Essential Life & Death (Vol. 1) - Pages 1-33


  • Commented Games by Lee Sedol - Game #1 - Part 1
  • Shape Up! - Introduction & Chapters 1 - 3


Overall, it’s been a rather eventful week since the ASR League was wrapping up and the final points were being tallied. The good news is that I managed to get promoted to Alpha!!! Woot woot! I know that some people will say, “It’s easy to get to Alpha. Just play a lot of games.” To you I say that may be true if you actually win some of your games, but otherwise it’s near impossible since your points rack up so slowly compared to people who win a majority of their games.

Since February is going to be a short month, it seems I will be going on another ranked game sabbatical since I will have my hands full trying to stay in Alpha class and also keeping up with my study schedule for the month. Not to mention that North American Go Convention is this month as well, and that will take out four days of studying/playing. So lots to do this month, and very little time. Something’s got to give right? =) Here’s to the start of a crazy month! Ikuzo!

Archive: undefined/2012

Losing in Style

There’s one thing I’ve learned recently is that leagues are a fantastic place for experimental games. Not convinced? Three reasons:

  1. They are free games. You have nothing to lose.
  2. More often than not, you are playing people stronger than you. If you’re going to lose anyways, why not do so while learning something new?
  3. The reviews of your games will yield more nuggets of wisdom than normal since you are trying to break into new territory.

My record thus far has been pretty abysmal, but like the title of this post suggests, I feel like I’ve been going out with a bang each time. Don’t get me wrong, the losing aspect still stings a little bit; but I am comforted by the idea that the games are not terribly lopsided as a whole.

Here’s to hoping I can hang on to my place in the Beta class… fingers crossed

Ranked Games Retreat

Scenic Imagery of Stones - Credit to YellowStonePackTrips

When I woke up this morning to check to see if my ASR class had changed, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that I was actually promoted to Beta II!!! Definitely wasn’t expecting it and I’m sure it was because of the need to fill in the class after people were either demoted or dropped. Nonetheless, this is great news for me because it means that I’ve managed to graduate two classes since I started in July! Although it would be nice to be promoted to Alpha class next month, my goal for this month is to simply stay in the Beta class for now.

With the upcoming North American Go Convention (NAGC) in February 2013, I realized that I am extremely motivated to find out how strong I can get before the tournament/professional event. More often than not, I have found that although it is always exciting to hear professionals give lectures, I was always too weak to really appreciate their commentary and insight.

As a result, I have decided on a new route of study for the month of December: no ranked games. The reason for this is because no matter how hard I try, I am still stuck in the state where ranked games still cause a bit of anxiety regarding its impact on my online rank. Although I hope that this will no longer be an issue one day, I know that this impacts my ability to try new things and simply play better go instead of trying to win.

“But Ben, you’ve tried this before! And you failed miserably every time!”

You are correct and incorrect at the same time. This time around, instead of simply going on “sabbatical” from playing go, I will primarily focus on league games and any free games that stronger players would be happy to play with me and help me review afterwards! With this approach in conjunction with my study of the game, I’m hoping to see results by the month of January.

If this works out well, I may even continue doing this till the NAGC! But like many things in life, one step at a time. Wish me luck!

Back in Business!

I’m not sure if anyone else feels this way, but there’s just something about playing an even game with someone much stronger than you that tends to bring out the best moves in you. And although I did not know this at the time, my game with Tilwen is what I needed to regain my composure and leave behind the reckless go I had been playing.

After the game was over, Tilwen gave a fantastic review that really opened my eyes regarding vital concepts that I never quite grasped:

#1. Attack from far away.

#2. Contact moves are for defense.

This may be common sense for many of you, but I assure you that the simplicity of the concepts never occurred to me throughout my study of go. Perhaps it was simply the reinforcement I needed after much studying, but his explanations of these concepts really helped to solidify the concepts. For those who still find these concepts difficult to grasp, just read it over a few time for familiarity and I assure you that I will write an article on these to better clarify them for you.

Many thanks again to Tilwen for his help and advice!

Return to ASR League

For my debut back in the ASR League, I am slightly embarrassed to report that my return to the stage was far less than spectacular. It’s not so much that I played terribly, it’s just that I ended up fighting out a ko battle that was very good for my opponent.

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Archive: undefined/2010

Three Months

Happy 3 months to my Go Quest! Time for the monthly progress update!

Major Highlights:

  1. KGS - 12k
  2. I joined the ASR League.
  3. I’m officially done with buying Go books for now.
  4. I finally broke down and bought a slate and shell set. =D


Go Ability - So I’m still 12k on KGS, but I’m pretty sure that number is now definitely inaccurate. I can’t really say if I’ve hit the SDK ability, but I know that the handicaps I’ve been getting lately aren’t exactly fair to my opponents. Yesterday I played a 4k with a 6 stones handicap and managed to win by resignation. Below you will find a game against a 6k opponent at 6 stones handicap where I would have won by ~60 some points.

ASR League - This is an advanced study group for people serious about getting stronger at go and definitely gives off the whole insei atmosphere. In terms of how I’m doing, I’m getting totally demolished and will probably remain in the lowest class for a while. I will post more about this league so other players will get a chance to know more about it.

Go Library - So I’ve bought a few more books since the last update. I think I’ll try to simply update the blog to be up to date with my current inventory so people can see what I have and what they might want to see reviewed.

Slate and Shell Stones Set - I know I know… everyone must be thinking I have lots of money to burn. Not true. I sold off some of my Magic: the Gathering cards and made ~$300. And I wanted that whole classical Go atmosphere which I thought would be achieved with slate and shell stones. Now mind you, they are only jitsuyo grade but there is an argument that they are better since they have more interesting patterns. Anyhow, it was $200 cheaper. That helped a lot too.

Next Month:

So in a broad sense of goals, I’ll be aiming to be officially SDK in terms of KGS standards. In addition, I’ll be aiming to create a much more solid content base for the blog. Those two goals combined with staying on top of my grades and the rest of my life should be adequate for growth. Onwards!