Archive: undefined/2014

Do Something You Cannot Do

Weekly Go Wednesday, Issue #40

Recently I have found myself exploring a lot of new ideas and concepts from varying schools of go. A simple example of this is my inability to stick with reviewing one style of go at a time. For example, last week I was very motivated to finally purchase Master Play: The Territorial Styles of Kitani & Cho Chikun and find out what it really meant to have a “territorial style.” It was a fascinating and eye opening read; but once I had read most of the book within a few hours, I was suddenly driven to go back and study Master Play: The Fighting Styles of Kato Masao & Seo Bong Soo as well! Talk about opposing styles!

As you might expect, my games have also started to undergo a change as well. I find myself trying all sorts of weird and new things lately because of all these new ideas floating around my head. So as I was perusing for ideas to write for this week’s Weekly Go Wednesday, the following quotation from Pablo Picasso inspired me to write this post:

“I am always doing that which I cannot do in order that I may learn how to do it.”

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Kaz's Go School is Finally Here!

Kaz’s Online Go School is finally here! For those who don’t know about Kaz, I discovered him from his site ( a couple of years ago and have been waiting for his website to become fully live and functional. The website is a bit hard to navigate, but after going through it, I thought that it would be great if I ever got a chance to learn from him. So after waiting for a couple of years, I am psyched to tell you that the opportunity is finally here!

So for those curious about this online go school, let me start with this: The first session of Kaz’s Online Go School is 8 classes for only $6 USD. Now that I have your attention, here’s my elevator pitch for the school.

  1. His teaching style emphasizes teaching amateur players who are adults which is quite unique! In fact, he states in his ad that the range of players he normally teaches is 30 to 70+ years old and talks about how teaching children is very different from teaching adults! So in other words, it sounds like he has a lot of experience working with amateur players (which is precisely what many of us need).

  2. Kaz will generate a text for student’s to study after each lesson. It’s great to get online reviews and such, but I think it’s great that Kaz will also be generating offline content for students to study as well in order to reinforce the concepts learned from the last lesson.

  3. You get 8 two-hour group lessons with Kaz for only $6 USD. This is such an incredible value and such a great deal if anyone has done even the slightest bit of research on the other online schools available. For those who haven’t, one of the most popular online go schools charges about $135 a month. So yeah. ‘Nuff said.

Bottom line: I think any player who has even been remotely interested in participating in an online go school needs to do this. There is just no reason for why you shouldn’t give this a shot for $6 USD. It’s seriously an incredible deal.

For more details on his school, you can find it in his Kaz’s Online Go School (PDF). I took the liberty of taking his email and updating some of the language and structure in order to make it easier to find the information you need. And for those interested in the free problems set that he attached to his email, be sure to reach out to him!

And just in case it isn’t clear, I have already paid my $6 and will definitely be participating in this. Let me know if you guys have any other questions and I’ll do my best to answer them. Hope to see you in class!

Archive: undefined/2013

Stop Being a Worry Wart

A couple of nights ago, frozensoul mentioned something to me that really struck me.

My mind is my greatest opponent.

Yup. You read that right. Instead of being trounced by opponents better than me or making dumb mistakes, I often end up out-reading myself.

What do I mean by this? I’m talking about being fearful of potential aji in X area and adding unnecessary moves “just in case.” Now this might sound reasonable, but let’s think about this one moment. If you are adding a move to an area that doesn’t require it, are you not essentially passing your turn?

To further illustrate my point, take the following problem:

Black to play.

Is there anyone out there who would suggest that Black capture the White stones “just to in case?” Absolutely not. Because any player above 12 kyu would know that it would be completely absurd to do anything but tenuki.

“But wait Ben! Not all positions are as clear cut as the problem you presented! What happens if you’re wrong and then you lose because you think you can tenuki when in fact you really can’t?!”

Well, to that I have only one question: Are you trying to get stronger or simply keep winning against opponents of the same strength?

Yes. It would suck if you tenuki when you actually needed a move and then lost a game; but guess what, that is part of growing and learning so that we can get stronger. We make mistakes. We fall. We get back up. We learn. We grow. We get stronger. And the cycle goes on and on…

So the next time you feel like you’re in a questionable position, do your best with the reading ability you have and then have faith in your moves. You will make quite a few mistakes along the road, but I assure you that it will be a heck of a lot better than defending against imaginary aji.

Demolished with a Silver Lining

Last night I played a fun game against my friend Nate, but was definitely demolished by the end of the game. A 40 point loss… hahaha. Thought I admit that there was definitely a degree of disappointment in myself for playing so terribly, there is a silver lining in my complete failure.

So my experiment failed miserably, but I am sure that the experience I gained with be valuable in the future. In addition, I am happy knowing that my mistakes were not reading mistakes this time around. Though I may have made plenty of strategic and whole board errors, reducing the number of reading mistakes should prove to be very lethal once I take care of my flawed strategies. For those wondering about the kifu, it’ll be featured on a Monday Go Meditation in a couple of weeks.

Meanwhile, I have also decided to take my sensei’s advice and take the time to really watch Battousai’s 3D Tygem Series. Perhaps I can follow in his footsteps and gain sudden insight into the game through watching the series. Not sure how it will go, but I’ll be sure to let you know if anything changes.

An Eye Opening Day...

I just finished the arc in Hajime no Ippo where Takamura fights for his second world title. In an effort not to spoil it for anyone who plans on reading or watching the show, all I will say is that his faithfulness to his fundamentals was incredibly moving. No matter what the situation, people’s faith in the fundamentals is what allow them to pull themselves out of the most difficult situations.

Aside from that though, I’ve had one of the most eye opening lessons to date. My whole perspective on moyos and just go in general has completely changed. Granted, integrating this new perspective into my play will probably be terribly exhausting for awhile; but ho ho ho…. this could change everything…

Book Review: Lessons in the Fundamentals of Go

Overall Rating: 5 / 5 Ponnuki

Basic Information

  • Title: Lessons in the Fundamentals of Go
  • Author: Toshiro Kageyama 7-dan
  • Translator: James Davies
  • Publisher: Kiseido
  • Publication Date: May 1978
  • Page Length: 272 pages


  • A hybrid of theoretical/conceptual explanations along with problems to illustrate the ideas.
  • While may seem advance, Kageyama’s personality really shines through and makes this such an interesting read (regardless of your level).
  • Appropriate for 20 kyu and stronger.
  • Recommended for all types of players.

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Slightly Winded

Man…. it’s only day four of February’s training regimen and I can already feel the weight of it bearing down on me. On top of that, I’m playing even more even games with players 5+ stones stronger than me and getting crushed left and right. Not feeling bad about myself or anything, but definitely slightly winded. The good thing is that I think I’m starting to become more immune to losing, but we’ll have to wait and see if that’s true. =D

As I continue to try and analyze the gaps in my ability, I’ve found that watching other people’s games has been helpful in reinforcing my understanding of the game. While I find myself wanting to yell at the screen when people choose a variation that is in favor of their opponent, the experience is quite humorous as a whole and helps me to see the gaps in other players’ knowledge; which in turn helps to fill mine.

Nonetheless, it seems I’m a track to straight losses in ASR; but hopefully I can rack up enough points to stay in the class. Here’s to hoping!

Reviewing Your Games

Weekly Go Wednesday, Issue #14

Proofreading - Credit to TitanWebMarketingSolutoins

While nothing can replace the experience of playing games, one of the greatest mistakes that players make is to play games endlessly without any mind as to why they are winning or losing. There is nothing wrong with this approach as a whole, but it is contrary to the whole notion of getting stronger. After all, how can anyone learn from their mistake if they never knew it existed?

The one thing we have to remember as kyu players is that we often fall victim to being ignorant to fundamental go principles. It’s not so much that we’re not aware of them, but applying them in our game is a completely different story. Often times in the middle of a game, we will think one way and will not realize our mistake till later on. As a result, an extremely important aspect of getting stronger is to review your games.

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The 6k Screwup

When I decided to return to ranked games, I will have to be honest in that I expected my graph to just shoot up. In fact, I’ve even developed a reputation in the ASR League for being a “3k Killer.” So it should obviously follow that any even games with 6 and 7 kyus should be something I can win in my sleep right? WRONG!

For those who don’t follow me on KGS, you’ll notice that my rank graph is well… a bit different from what I imagined it would be. xD

Notice how it drops at the end? Twice?!

Like anyone else, I was really frustrated by my progress. I mean, why was I having such a difficult time beating 6-7ks when I actually managed to beat stronger players in even games from time to time? I tried to make all kinds of excuses: the stronger players were underestimating me, my opponents were just lucky I made mistakes, I was in an off mood, etc. But after I realized how those were all just external attributions for things I had control over, I decided to look inward for the answer.

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Thou Shalt Not Kill...

Lately, I have noticed that my games have become quite violent. =D And by that, I mean that the theme of my games are: threaten to make a huge moyo, and then kill whatever comes inside of it.

While it lets me know that I will win with absolute certainty if I manage to kill the group, we all know that this strategy is extremely flawed and is extremely risky. And as if the fact that you will lose most of your games trying to do this wasn’t bad enough, I just get more discouraged and frustrated as time goes on. So I know that if I continue along this path, I will end up getting fed up and dropping go for no good reason.

So the goal now is to train myself to steer away from that style of play. It’s not that I will be meek and never fight back, but I will focus on giving my attacks an edge that sends my opponents running while I gain the necessary points to win. For now, I will focus on a profit oriented style instead of the killing style that I am so habituated to. So in terms of the criteria for my games for a while:

  1. I will practice attacking while gaining profit.
  2. I shall not kill any group unless they are forced into a shape where I am absolutely sure of its demise (e.g., bent in three).
    And to continue a new tradition that frozensoul recommended to me, I will start a repetition exercise of writing any new go lesson I am trying to learn fifty times. By doing so, I’m hoping that it will sink it better than simply reading once and trying to remember amidst a game.

"Focus on profit, not killing."