Sunday, January 30, 2005

Having Fun Playing

The last few days, I have decided to forget about my KGS ranking, and just have fun playing. Making sure that I get my daily problems in, and playing at least one game against a human, any human. I don't worry about them having question marks in their ranking, or not be ranked at all. I just play and enjoy, and try to do my best. Sometimes I even end up winning!

The weird thing is, since I have been ignoring the whole ranking issue, I have been creeping back to 15k on KGS again. OK, maybe I am not totally ignoring it, I want to get to 1d after all, but I am ignoring it as much as I can.

So am I starting to play better? Or am I just more relaxed about my games? Not sure, but I have to admit that I have had some very enjoyable games with a wide variety of people. I also have to admit that I have made my share of stupid mistakes, but that's how I learn what not to do, right?

Friday, January 28, 2005

Game Reviews

I have been playing more human games, and then been spending some time afterward to review the game. It's so much easier to see in hindsight why this was not a good move at all. Or what I could have done to kill that group. It also is nice to be able to try the 'what if's' and see whether they should have been a concern or not.

My big issue is that I forget to do 'whole board' thinking, and instead get caught up in a small fight. Sometimes I am able to do a step back and do a better move, away from the fight. But often I don't see till review time what I should have done. Well, I guess that's what reviews are for.

I play less KGS games now, because I want to mostly play humans, and somehow those games take more time. I also have kind of stopped worrying about my ranking, figuring that I should just play the best I can, and see what happens. Strangely enough, this has stabilized my ranking, and who knows, maybe some day it will even go up again!

I really should study more joseki, I think I lose a lot in the beginning, because of not knowing the best moves to play in certain situations. But life/death seems really important too. So much to study, so little time! :-)

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

One Week of Problems

Just out of curiosity, I started keeping track of how many problems I have done over the past week. I have done a total of 441 problems during this week, it sure does add up. Most of them were from the Many Faces of Go (394) the rest from DieOrlive. I am getting more of a feeling for which could be the killing move, but I feel that I still have a loooooooooooong way to go!

Last night, I listened in on a review of my friend's game on KGS, which was very helpful. It made me decide to play more aggressively today, and it worked! Although I am still not sure whether I won because I played more aggressively, or whether I won because my opponent made mistakes he shouldn't have. But whatever happened, I feel I played a reasonable game, and I tried out some new things.

Of course, usually when I try new things, I lose a bunch of games, so we'll see what happens.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Computer Go

Thanks for all the comments including the ones about playing against a computer. I just had that discussion with a go friend, contemplating whether playing against computer was good or bad in the long run. I first was leaning towards good, because the computer is much better at looking ahead and knowing what will work and what will not. So I felt that I was playing more careful, and didn't hope for mistakes. Which I shouldn't anyway, not even in a game. I know, but in reality, sometimes I do try an invasion, hoping that the opponent will make a mistake and allow me a live group in his territory. And of course, sometimes it even works, although often it doesn't.

Now I have been thinking more about computer go, and I think at this point I definitely should play less computer go and more against humans. I had been playing a lot of robots on KGS, being new to the server, it seemed less threatening somehow, and less embarrassing to lose. Also, it was easier to get a ranking that way. But I'll take your advice and play more humans now. I might save computer go for when I know that I will have a lot of interruption, and still want to play a quick game. Just did that, and managed to win level 4 from the Many Faces of Go!

Will have to do my problems later today, want to get out and get some fresh (as in freezing :-) air right now. I am really enjoying working seriously on this challenge, it's amazing how little I know right now. Even some of the Basic problems in DieOrLive are still challenging to me.

Monday, January 24, 2005


Not much, but hey, I'll take any. I managed to win from the Many Faces of Go on level 3! Not only that, but it was a bigger win, around 30 points. Maybe there is hope for me after all. I keep alternating between confidence that of course I can reach first dan level by August and total panic about what I got myself into. What was I thinking? For now I couldn't even hold on to my 15k rating on KGS!

Oh well, at least studying go is keeping me out of trouble :-)

Saturday, January 22, 2005


I might still be a 16k on KGS, but today I did manage to win a game against TMFoG at level 2. For the very first time. It wasn't a big win (4.5 points win after 5.5 komi) but still. I hope it means that I am improving. Now of course I will increase the playing level till 3, till i can win against it on that level.

Did my required 50 problems in TMFoG, and registered my copy of DieOrLive, since it is a very useful program. Between the Many Faces of Go and the DieOrLive, I should be able to keep myself busy for quite a while.

Friday, January 21, 2005


So much for reaching 15th kyu on KGS... Today, I played a game and managed to get myself back to 16th kyu! I am supposed to progress, darn it! Yes, I know that sometimes you have to take a step back in order to make a leap forward, but I still don't like it!

Well, guess I'll study more life/death problems, and hope for the best. This is discouraging, but in a way it also motivates me even more to get better!

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Life And Death

Managed to reach my goal of 50 problems today, all of them from TMFoG. I still seem to be stuck around level 40, sometimes going as low as 30, or as high as 50. It is nice to know that I still have a lot of room for improvement!

Today was the day our local go club meets. I played a 5th kyu, took 7 handicap and lost. It was a good game though, I learned a lot. But still ended up with tiny groups as opposed to the nice big ones he had. Another area where I still have room for improvement.

I studied the first game in the book 'The Secret Chronicles of Handicap Go'. Some of my kids came over in bewilderment and asked whether I was playing against myself? Usually I just do problems, which looks different. They shrugged and found something more interesting to do when I told them that I was just re-playing a game. They clearly thought I was crazy for re-playing a game which had been finished long ago.

Played one KGS game against a robot and managed to lose that one. And a game against TMFoG, on level 2 this time, and suffered another lose. Hmmm, today seems to be a day for losing. Oh well, tomorrow will be better!

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

I Did It!!!

It is not much, but I finally managed to beat The Many Faces Of Go (TMFOG) at level 1. I have no idea which kyu level it plays on this level, but I am happy anyway. Now I am going to work on beating it on level 2.

I just did 25 problems in TMFOG, I am thinking that I might try to do at least 50 problems a day? That should help me progress. I don't remember how many problems I did this morning, so for good measure, I should try to do another 25 now.

The Many Faces of Go

Started the day with reading some in my sabaki book, while being curled up on top of the heating vents. It's so cold, perfect day for go studies. Then played around some more with the problem editor of the Many Faces of Go and seemed to get it working better this time. Of course, i just added fast test problems, as opposed to real ones, so it wasn't very helpful study wise. I'll add some real ones later.

I have been playing the Many Faces of Go even up, to get more used to even games as opposed to handicap ones. I hadn't been able to beat it yet, not even on level 1. But today, I came close by losing with only 3.5 points. I can exactly pinpoint where I screwed up too, not paying attention, and losing those points. At some point I managed to get a 3-stone group in atari and did not see it till it was lost. Stupid! I think my mantra to reach 1st dan should be something like 'Pay attention!!!!'

Now I'll go practice more go problems, I am still working on the easy ones in The Many Faces Of Go. Starting at level 41 today, that seems to be around the level that I am stuck right now.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Beware The Snapback!

Played my husband tonight, and was doing pretty well. A bit behind, but I was feeling reasonably satisfied with the way I was playing. That is, till the end game. Dividing the last few points and then it happened. A snapback! Not a small one either, it was a monstrous one. Twenty three hardly earned stones disappeared into nothingness. How could I have let that happen????? I lost by about 50, so at least it wasn't the difference between winning and losing. But by letting that happen, I think I deserved to lose anyway!

Now I keep mumbling to myself 'Beware the snapback!' This was a good lesson. I wish I could say it won't happen again, but I know that might not be true. But I can say that I will do my darnedest best that it won't happen anymore!

Problems, problems...

I have been using the excellent program The Many Faces of Go to practice go problems. I try to do problems every day. Today, I decided that I was going to add some of my own problems (out of Davies 'Life and Death' book). It took me a few minutes to figure out the problem editor, but then things seemed to go just fine. Until I tried to save the second problem 'Can't save problem files' Now what? Saving the first time goes just fine, but once the file exists, it doesn't want to change it anymore. Spent way too much time trying to solve this, I could have been playing go instead!

Sunday, January 16, 2005

First American Go Tournament

Today, I drove down to Massachussets for my first American go tournament. I wasn't sure which AGA rank I would use, I just reached 15k at the KGS server. Based on that, we decided that 13k sounded fair.

The tournament was four games, I won only one. But I had fun playing, and did only one very stupid thing. Which wasn't even noticed by my opponent. Phew! I really need to pay better attention when I do automatic replies. Sometimes the most obvious move isn't the right one. I liked the variety in games, once I gave 7 handicap, and another game I got 7 handicap. I managed to lose both of those though. The only game I won was against a 12k, so I think the 13k rank is about right.

Bought myself new stones and two books. One about weak groups, I know that will come in handy. And one about the 3-4 point joseki in relation to the whole board.