Monday, March 28, 2005

The Curse of the Empty Triangle

Yes, I have been guilty of making them, I am sure that is why I am still stuck at 16k. I have been reading books about good and bad shapes, so it's not like I have an excuse for still making them. But sometimes my old bad habits surface and I plunk down a stone without even thinking about it. One second later, I realize that I have just made yet another empty triangle. Worse is when it's not only an empty triangle, but if there was a perfectly good other reply which would have been just as effective and better shape.

Just started on 'Lessons in the fundamentals of go' and 'Lectures on go techniques' Very interesting books, and they have made me think a lot more about my moves and what is good and what is bad. Not that I have any much more clue than I had before reading those books, but it is fun to try to apply the knowledge I gain from those books.

I am down to 17k on the Dragon server, but my rank graph on KGS is getting closer to 15k. Maybe, just maybe, some day soon, I will hit the 15k and be able to stay there longer than one or two days I did last time. On the one hand, I feel like my rating doesn't matter, I just should enjoy playing and studying. Which I am doing for sure. On the other hand, I would like to become shodan at some point, so rank does matter a bit.

Oh well, back to studying and playing :-) Without empty triangles :-p

Wednesday, March 23, 2005


Have to remind myself about the importance of tenuki. The last few games, I have found myself caught up in local battles too many times, not looking at the whole board situation. I really should get that Tenuki Tattoo!

The last few days, I have been winning a few games, but still losing too many too. And often, I can trace back my losses to not taking tenuki at the appropriate times.

Have been really focused on life/ death problems again, doing at least 50 a day, often more. It is helping, I have been able to use it in a few games lately. Still tons of room for improvement, but I feel the glimmer of some understanding beckoning at me.

I spend a lot of time reviewing my games, which is very helpful. And just for fun, I loaded a game from three months ago, and was amazed about how many mistakes I made back then. Even more than I am doing now. Or maybe just more obvious ones. Looking forward to three months from now, when I can pull up games from today and shudder when I see the glaring errors jumping up at me :-)

Monday, March 21, 2005

Chugging Along

My ranking isn't reflecting it yet, but I finally have the feeling that I am getting stronger. Sometime I even can come up with a good move during my games instead of in my reviews. It is a nice feeling to feel progress happening, even if it isn't much yet.

I finished Sector Fights, just started working on Contact Fights. I am learning a lot by studying those. I think I'll go through them once, and then study them all over again a few weeks from now. There is so much valuable information in them. It's amazing how he can come up with useful heuristics for a wide variety of situations.

I slacked off on problems again, getting back into the habit now. Did 250 today, but that's unusual. I am up to over 2,000 totally though, which feels good. I mostly use The Many Faces of Go problems and the Korean Problem Academy at Very helpful!

Lately, I have been playing the San-Ren-Sei opening a lot. I am taking nachtrabe's advice and playing this for a while before I will start experimenting with something else. I want to be able to play this opening well, and then I will use different openings. So I guess I am still experimenting, but staying with one choice a lot longer than I was before. Maybe that will help improving my games too.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Direction of Play

Direction of play is a big issue for me right now. Thinking back to the walls game, that could have been avoided, if only I had paid better attention to my direction of play. Last night was a losing night, and my losses could all be attributed to direction of play (OK, maybe also a few hundred other reasons, but this was a big one :-)

My current strengths seem to be
  1. Chasing an opponent's group into one of my weak group, which then has to scramble for life.
  2. Chasing an opponents group so that it builds a nice wall for her, a useful wall at that.
  3. Building my own wall, which is built such that it is useless from the start, or I manage to render it useless by direction of play mistakes.
  4. Not noticing very elementary ataris, which is plainly embarrassing.
  5. Forgetting about playing big points in the opening as opposed to fighting small fights.

A few nights ago, some one said that at our level every move is a mistake, and I feel more and more that he was totally right. At that point I was still thinking that maybe only most of my moves were, but looking at my last few nights of play, I am not so sure anymore. I seem to be awfully talented at making mistakes. Oh well.

It would be really boring if there wasn't any room for improvement, so I'll just muddle through till I finally can see the light at the end of the tunnel. And fervently hope it's not an oncoming train :-)

I am having fun anyway. I really enjoy all the games I am playing, even when I lose. I am studying 'Attack and Defense' right now, and am having a lot of 'aha!' moments. I feel that some day, I might actually get better at it all. But obviously not today yet :-) I just finished 'In The Beginning' which was very helpful, it was a good supplement to the Sector Fights program. I haven't been doing as much life and death problems lately, I should get back into the habit of doing those daily. So much to learn, so little time!

Monday, March 07, 2005

The Joy of Walls

Studying Sector Fights by Bruce Wilcox has made me more aware of the whole walls issue, how to use them, how to spoil them, when to build them, when not to build them. This is just a glimmer of awareness, there definitely is no mastery of the concept yet, but at least I am more aware of the whole issue. And of course, I have been experimenting with them, sometimes with good results, sometimes with bad.

Yesterday, I played another 16k at KGS, and during the first game, I managed to not make too many mistakes, so I got ahead and he resigned. We decided to go for another game, and this time I managed to let him build two super walls, one at the top west side, one at the bottom west side, facing each other, but far away enough that they basically gave him a super big chunk of the board. I realized that it was happening, but not consciously enough to actually do anything about it. Still not sure what I should have done, I have to go back to the game and try some variations. But I do know for sure that this was a disaster scenario.

I attempted an invasion because it was so big, but it was too little, and too late... I did manage to pull of a corner invasion at a corner where I shouldn't have lived. Still, those walls just were my downfall. I really should pay better attention to those walls, I am sure my opponent was thanking me for helping him win the game!