Sunday, June 26, 2005

The Joy of Eyes

Have been happily playing and messing up. But yesterday was a big mess up, even for me. I was playing an even game against a much stronger player, and was doing pretty well in the opening. It wasn't till middle game, when disaster struck. I had this nice center facing wall, which I knew was safe, so I didn't have to pay attention to it anymore, just needed to use it. Which I did not do correctly, instead played some moves at different locations of the board (Tenuki! Trying to play tenuki more, but still haven't found the right balance :-) Got distracted and carried away, chased a white group, was having a great time, while W was busy taking away all my eye space. Now it's one thing if that happens if I notice and can fight back. But in this case I truly had not noticed it at all, till I started counting to see how far behind I was. Counted the top, got a decent number of points. Then wanted to count the number of points in my dragon, and came up empty. Oops!

Funny how I totally lost track of the big picture while focusing on the small fights. Shows very clearly one of the many areas in which I still have room for improvement. Quite the learning experience :-)

Well, at least it wasn't a self atari. Grateful for small blessings.
Needless to say, the game result was W+Res.

This all happened a few days after I missed a totally obvious ko, which would have killed my opponents huge group. At least that one was at 4am, so I can claim that I was tired. But didn't have a good excuse like that in the eye less game.

So many avoidable mistakes to correct. Well, at least turning off my rank worked in a way, because I was able to beat a 10k whom I had never beaten before. So maybe there is some improvement in between the screwups :-)

Saturday, June 25, 2005


Last weekend, I played in yet another KGS tournament. I had decided to enter the Asian day time division, because at that time my kids usually are asleep and I can concentrate on my games. I had been losing a lot of games lately, so I didn't really expect much from the tournament, I was actually tempted to only play the first three games (1am, 2am, and 3am) and then go to bed instead of playing the 4am one. I kind of expected to lose most of my games anyway.

Of course, reality was different, and I won my first three games, so couldn't resist playing the 4am one too. And to my utter surprise, this was another win! I ended up second place because my SOS (Sum of Opponents Scores) was just 0.5 points lower than the first place winner. Still very happy about it all. I won a crown next to my name on KGS, lucky me.

I decided to turn off my KGS rank for now. I hadn't been playing ranked games for a while because I wanted to experiment. But a few weeks ago, I decided to start playing them again, and just experiment in R games too. I found out that that might not be the best idea, because I immediately lost a stone. And I also found out that I did not particularly liked playing ranked games, even although I am still not sure why not. Because I can't say that I particularly care about which rank I have next to my name at KGS.

One theory is that it's all about focus. I was really focused on my tournament games, and did just fine. But my R games, I just wasn't as focused, had a lot of kid interruptions and other things going on. So I would miss things that I did not miss in my tournament games.

Yesterday, I got myself back to my old rank and then decided to stop bothering with R games. So I turned off my rank and that felt good. Now I can concentrate on playing, and studying, and getting stronger, and not on my KGS rank. I'll measure progress by which level players I can play even and do well against. Or the number of handicap stones I am getting from stronger players. I just played a even game against a KGS 10k and won. Haven't won from him before, so that was nice.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005


Last week, finally played rengo for the very first time. It was interesting. And a bit frustrating. And challenging. And lots of fun! I managed to get myself positioned immediately after the strongest player of our group, which meant that I had to try to figure out how to reply to his vicious attacks. Well, I guess it will help to make me stronger :-)

This week has been a week of go blunders. Lost a lot of groups, totally avoidable. Made all kinds of other silly mistakes. This all culminating into a self atari on the Dragon Go Server of all places. Yes, it is a turn based server. So yes, you can think about your move. And yes, you can see it on the board before submitting it. But I still managed to do the 'Oh, simple endgame move, plunk, glance, submit, really look, ARGH!!!!, trying to stop the submitting' thing :-) It is a vital part of a group too, will lose that game now. Oh well... I could call it a learning experience, apart from the fact that I don't seem to be learning from it.

Thinking about it, it seems like my main issue still is playing too fast. I click and then think, instead of first thinking and then clicking. In real life play, I have gotten better at thinking by not having stones in my hand while playing (thanks, Tristan) I have considered sitting on my mouse hand while playing, but it seems like too much of a bother. Still...

My other issue is byo yomi. Once I enter byo yomi and that time thingy starts blinking at me every 20 secs or so, I start panicking. Which is not a good thing. I have made major blunders just because I get the 'Have to put down a stone, ANY place, can't think about it!' madness. Not sure what to do about that, sitting on my mouse hand would only make it worse I think. Maybe I should play more blitz, so I get more used to the time pressure. Or maybe I should get good enough that even my panic stones still are well placed. I think I like that last solution.

Friday, June 10, 2005


Last week, I turned out to be the happy winner of a copy of the Smartgo combo in an AGA drawing for the Shodan challengers. I have been playing around with it for a bit, and I have to say that it is a really cool program. It came with more than 30,000 pro games, so that should keep me out of trouble for a while.

I used the analyze game option, it's very interesting to see what professionals would have done in a certain situation. Usually something else than I had been doing :-) I know this program is going to be very useful in my go studies.