Saturday, February 26, 2005

Studying, Studying...

I have steadily been working my way through Bruce Wilcox's Sector Lines program. I am learning so much, Hee presents the whole sector line / moyo / wall issue in a very mathematical way, and that fits very well with the way my mind works. All those things about direction of play which I didn't even know about. Lots of tips on what to focus on in the opening. Which weak groups to attack, and how to attack them. How to reduce or invade a moyo. Yes, I am very much enjoying myself working through it and hopefully will actually be able to use it in my games.

Since studying is so much fun, I ordered a bunch of new go books today. 'In the Beginning' which I have read 15 years or so ago, and which still should be somewhere in my house, but I have given up on finding it. I figure the best way to find it, is to buy a new copy. Two books from the Mastering the Basics Series. ' Volume One: 501 Opening Problems', and ' Volume Three: Making Good Shape'. I know I skipped volume two, mostly because it has life and death problems and I feel that I have more than enough to work with at the current time. Between The Many Faces of Go, DieorLive, and the Korean Problem Academy, and my Life and Death book, I feel that I don't want to spend more money on more life/death problems for now. And I get lots of real life practice in having my groups die on me, that should count for something too, right? LOL

I also got 'Attack and Defense', I have heard a lot of good things about that one. Let's hope it will help me to not only play aggressively, but actually win a fight once in a while :-)

Then I got some of the 'Get Strong' books, I remember 'Get Strong at the opening', don't remember which other one I decided on. I am so looking forward to receiving this shipment and starting to assimilate all this information.

Still playing on KGS and DGS, still at 16k on both. Well, have not finished any games on DGS yet, so that's not very surprising. But on KGS, I seem to be stuck around 16k, but then I haven't been focusing on getting higher. I am mostly playing for enjoyment (ok, also to win, but that's second :-). Sometimes I win, often I loose, but I always learn a lot. Have been spending a lot of time reviewing games, and trying to figure out WHEN I got that group cut off and doomed it. And what I could have done to prevent such happenings.

I still try to do fifty problems every day, although I have to admit that the Sector Lines have gotten in the way some days. Still, I do get 50 problems in most of the days, so that should count for something.

Sunday, February 20, 2005


This is going to be my new go motto. Tenuki, tenuki, tenuki. Went to bed mumbling it, dreamt about it, got up and thought about it, tried to explain it to some one, and just kept thinking it. Tenuki, tenuki, tenuki!

Still playing at least one human opponent per day, and not playing much against the computer anymore. Have been learning a lot by studying the go dojo about sector fights, and have only worked through the first part. Amazing all the things I always kind of felt, but never could verbalize. To see them put into action and into rules.

Yesterday, I lost one game by 1.5, and another game by a lot. That game was a teaching game, against a 13k, and he showed me very clearly about tenuki. How I kept replying to his moves, even if they were small, instead of playing bigger points, or forcing moves that would have worked much better.

Tenuki, tenuki, tenuki! Maybe I should tattoo it somewhere on my body...

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Sector Lines

A whole new world opens to me! Last week, I had heard the term sector lines mentioned in passing, but I wasn't sure what they were and what to do with them. Then last night, another player did not only mention them, but even explained them! What a neat concept!

Today I did checked and found out about Bruce Wilcox and his software programs. Now I am the proud owner of his sector fights program and working my way through it. Of course, I still lost my game, by 1.5 even. Well, at least I almost won :-)

Monday, February 14, 2005

Slow, slow, slow....

Progress has been slow lately. Or maybe I should rephrase this. I have the feeling that I have learned a lot and am getting better, but it isn't reflected in my ranking or my games yet. Sounds weird, I know, but I am hoping that it is just an integration period and that eventually it will make me stronger.

I finally signed up at and started on the Korean Problem Academy. It's a nice change of pace from the Many Faces of Go and the DieOrLive problems.

I try to play at least one game against a human every day. But somehow my play just isn't there yet, I usually find myself ending up with not much territory. I have the feeling that I should play less aggressively, and more territory focused. But a bit of aggression is good too, guess I really need to find my own balance.

During my last game, I experimented with the double hane. Was able to use it twice, rejected it at another opportunity. I was happy with the outcome, even although I lost the game. It is fun to experiment with new moves and shapes. Another new shape I learned was the table shape, I have to admit that I never even heard of it till some one pointed it out to me.

I have beat The Many Faces of Go on level 8 now, only 2 more levels to go. It is a nice program for a fast game of go, when I know I will have a lot of interruptions.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Go for Kids

A few weeks ago, I bought the book 'Go for Kids', by Minlon Bradley. I had really bought it as a little nudge for my kids, to get them more interested in the game. But today, I picked it up myself, and was surprised how much I still could learn from it. A lot of 'magic formulas' or rules of thumb which I never consciously knew about. Often the flow of the game would make me play there anyway, but reading this book will make me step back and consider the whole board more often.

For example, I never know that the influence of a shimari is projected at right angles to the base formed by its two stones, and in direct proportion to the spacing between those stones. It makes total sense, and I had an intuitive grasp of it, but seeing it visually, and verbalizing it really helps to consolidate it in my mind. As does the advice to extend in the direction in which the shimari's influence is strongest. I had always just extended which side looked best, and am pretty sure that I must have extended in the wrong direction pretty often. Now I'll pay more attention to my extension moves.

The only thing I missed in this book was an index. I wanted to look up something, and I had a hard time locating it, because of the lack of a good index. But apart from that, it is a very well written book, interesting for kids, but not bad for adults either. I know I learned more than I thought I would.

Now maybe some day, my kids will become more interested in go. I have a few playing half-heartedly once in a while, but they haven't really gotten into it. Oh well, maybe some day, or maybe not.

I think I have been playing a bit too aggressively. I am invading more often than I should. It is hard to find the balance between minding my own business, and making sure my opponent doesn't get too much territory. I am going to try to take a step back and be a bit less aggressive. But only a bit :-)

I am really enjoying the DragonGoServer, there is a more relaxed quality to the games, and there is more time to think about a move. And as another go blogger pointed out to me 'It is like playing simultaneous games, forcing you to see the whole board situation in a glance every time'. Very happy that some one gave me a gentle nudge to start playing on DGS.

Still playing The Many Faces of Go when I don't have time to play a full KGS game. Yesterday, I beat both level 6, and level 7. Up to level 8! The program has 10 levels, so I am getting closer to its highest level of play.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Live and Learn

Played a good game on KGS today, we pretty much went even up through most of the game. So at the end, I relaxed, sat back, and filled in the last few points. No, this is not one of those cases where I missed an atari. It is even worse. I had a perfectly alive group, at least I thought so. There was one of my opponent's stones in there, but I had looked, and knew he couldn't do anything with it. I was wrong. Not only did he find the vital point to play, but I messed up my answers, and let him kill my group. I should have taken that stone instead of letting it be. And even after not taking it, I could have turned it into a seki if I had been thinking more clearly.

Later, I replayed the game, and looked at the score estimate if I had just taken that stone. I would have won by 0.5 points... Live and learn! Or, of course, die and learn in this case. Oh well, tomorrow I'll play better!

Saturday, February 05, 2005

One Thousand Problems

Today, I passed the one thousand problems milestone. Sounds like a lot, but it still doesn't feel like I have made a lot of progress. I know that those things do not happen overnight, but it sure would be nice to see some results from all my problem solving.

Most of those problems were from The Many Faces of Go. I really like that it adjusts the problem level dependent on how I am doing. It is fun to see the level of the problems go up, although I inevitable will make it drop down again by messing up a few.

In a way it is discouraging not to get better fast by doing those problems. It would be so nice if there was a shortcut to get to first dan. Or a garantuee. 'Do xx problems and become good at go!' Oh well, that's just not how things work, so I better buckle myself in for the right, get comfortable, and keep doing the grunt work. I keep telling myself that I am getting a tiny bit better every day. And some day, I might even be able to see that reflected in my ranking :-)

I have mostly been playing humans now, but sometimes I still play The Many Faces of Go when I don't have enough time to play a game on any of the go servers. Today, I finally managed to beat level 5, so that shows I must be improving a tiny bit at least. Also, it seems to be playing clumsier than it did a few weeks ago, I am kind of hoping that that means that I see more mistakes than I did back then. Even if I am not noticeably improving, I can still talk myself into believing that I am improving, right?

I have started playing on Dragon Go ServerIt is a turn-based server, very different experience from KGS. I enjoy playing in a more leisurely way, and taking more time to think about my move. Although somehow it also seems that this increases the pressure to play 'the perfect move'. And I am still very far away from being able to play that one. So I guess I should just try to play the perfect move for me

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Teaching Game

Today, I went to our go club and played an even up game against a 5k. Of course, I knew I would lose, but I really wanted to play a non-handicap game. The feeling of an even game is just totally different, and I wanted to practice my opening. We did a lot of discussing during the game, why to play or not to play a certain move. I ended up losing by 63. Yes, it's a lot, but it could have been worse. Some day I am going to beat him in an even up game. I just need to progress a bit more first :-)

In contrast, I played another even up game at KGS tonight. Which I managed to lose by 62.5. Almost the same as the earlier game today, but this time I made a few stupid mistakes. And this time I played against some one with the same ranking I have. Some day, I really should start thinking before I make a move. And even more important, start questioning why my opponent makes a certain move. I often get lost in my own plans, without considering my opponent's. Oh well, live and learn.

I got myself a palm pilot (an older one) for geocaching, but figure I can use it for go too. I am going to try to download problems on it, so I can study them more easily. For now I am still struggling to figure out how to do it all, but looking forward to using it. Will make it easier to do my daily 50 problems.