Thursday, February 23, 2006

New Kisei!!!

Yesterday, Yamashita Keigo finished off Hane Naoki in an overwhelming 4-0. (Best out of seven finals series) When I went to bed last night, the outcome of the game wasn't certain yet, so I was happy to wake up to a win for Yamashita. Please welcome Yamashita, the new Kisei.

We have studied the second Kisei final game at club, but I haven't really studied the other games from the series yet. Guess that will be on my study program for the next few days. Today I have done 20 of the 'Get Strong at Handicap Go' problems, reviewed some shygost lectures, want to start transcribing one of his lectures, and want to do a bunch of 'Get Strong at Attacking' problems. Maybe after that I'll start looking at the Kisei games. So much to study, so little time ^^

Yesterday was go club, always fun. We had nine players show up, not bad at all. I played two slow and serious games. Made a bunch of bad mistakes, but learned a lot. I am more and more leaning towards playing only one or two games a day, but take them really serious and spent quite some time reviewing later. I haven't even touched my Rated KGS accts in ages, which might be good because they tend to be the 'plunk and pray' type of games. I am much more apt to play seriously with my Nanny account.

The more I play, the less important my rank seems to be anyway. The only time when it seems to count is in tournament play, because I don't really want to sandbag or to enter at a too high rank. But apart from that, I couldn't care less.

Monday, February 20, 2006


I am rereading 'Lessons in the Fundamentals of Go' by Kageyama. I am only on chapter 2, I have decided to limit myself to one chapter a day, so that I can really think about what I am reading. That's the nice thing about rereading, I don't feel like I want to read and read and can't stop, because I HAVE to know what's in the rest of the book. This time I can savor it slowly, and enjoy his wit and his stories.

This chapter was on cutting and connecting and will make me more aware of those issues again, which hopefully will improve my game. It also makes me even more aware of the importance of fundamentals, especially quotes like "You have to soak up the fundamentals as you practice on your own, studying them until they become a part of your very being. If the fundamentals do not operate subconsciously when you sit down to play, you have not mastered them yet."

So will pay more attention to the fundamentals in my games, I have been trying to play more simple and basic moves. I like shygost's playing style, a simple style, mostly just following the fundamentals, which he says the koreans call 'flower go'. Meant as an insult, but it got him to 6d, so it can't be too bad, right? :) Good style to experiment with.

So much to study, so little time.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Forcing Moves Revisited

I have been more aware of forcing moves and how to reply or not reply to them, have kept an eye open for how pros handle these issues. Very interesting. Sometimes I even remember to apply it in my own games, or I do play the obvious move, but not till reading out every possible variation. (at least, every possible variation I see with my measly kyu reading). I am working on that aspect of them.

I slowly am starting to realize that the other direction is important too. When to play forcing moves, and how not to overdo it. When is sente a good sente to play, and when is a sente move bad or crude?

In one of shygost's lectures, snakeeater mentioned the proverb "If you play every sente move, you lose." Shy agreed with him. "Yeah! I've never heard that proverb, but I totally agree with it. I remember when I was 6k. I thought 'Oh sente!' I was so psyched about sente, I'd just play sente all over the place. And then I would lose all my games. I said 'Wait??? What's going on here?'"

Then there is the issue of crude moves. The moves which are aji keshi, and often help your opponent. I should get rid of all of them. Just need to focus on that while playing. I am more aware, but still have lots of room for improvement.

Today was go club, eight players showed up, quite good for a Saturday afternoon. We looked at a pro game (Chen Yaoye 5p vs Lee Sedol 9p), and played a bunch of games. I played anti chinese against a chinese opening, and it took me till move 18 before I made a game losing move. Farther into the game than usual ^^. And it wasn't even a forcing move, I must be improving!

With every move I will keep this advice in mind 'Nanny wasted all the aji. If nanny wants to be a shodan, she must learn how to use the aji'.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Forcing Moves

A few weeks ago, I played a fun game against snip. We both made our share of mistakes, which got pointed out to me by ivosf. But the big thing I got out of the review was a new sense of the importance of resisting forcing moves. Here's an example from the game.

W had just played M11, and I replied too hastily with M12. I did exactly what W wanted me to do. How disgusting! Ivo showed me that L14 was a way better move here, and I shamefacedly have to admit that I hadn't even considered that one.

But of course, it is not about the actual moves. It is about the attitude. This review stressed a bunch of things for me which I had been getting slack at, or which hadn't sunk in yet. The biggest one being the way I should reply to forcing moves, doing my uttermost best not to give my opponent what he wants. My pro game study will help with that, since they are usually very good at this.

When someone plays a sente move against me, I will triple check whether it really is sente. I will reply so that things get better for me and worse for him. Even more so than I have done before. And I will only make the move he wants as a very last resort and very reluctantly so. Heck, maybe I should resign instead of making a painful or submissive move.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Go, Yamashita, Go!

Over the last few weeks, three Japanese Kisei title matches have been played on, Yamashita Keigo is challenging Hane Naoki. Yamashita is one of my favorite players, so I have been rooting for him. This title is a 'best out of seven' series of matches, and so far, Yamashita has won three of them. Very good chance that he will end up being the next Kisei.

The first game was played in Germany, Yamashita won by resignation. The second game is the game we will be studying at go club on Saturday, so it's on my list of games to look at today. Yamashita took W this time, and won by 6.5. The third game was finished yesterday and was another win (B+1.5) for Yamashita. Only one more win needed!

Those games take two days, so it's interesting to watch them live, lots of time for discussion and thinking about options. Of course, they often end up doing something totally different from what we were thinking ^^