Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Ear Reddening Game

Studying the famous Ear Reddening Game, it is quite interesting. I had seen it a bunch of times, but never seriously studied it. I like it because it's the first Shusaku game I am seriously studying, and of course, I like it because of the taisha. I never realized that Shusaku was only 17 years old at that time, wow.

I also love the sense of history it gives me. This game was played in 1846, and we can play and study and enjoy it today, 160 years later. Just awesome.

I just got the 'Appreciating Famous Games' book, I might focus on those games for a while instead of, or in addition to my modern games. They are quite interesting, and fit very well with my current territory oriented game play. So much to study, so little time.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

1 - 1

Last night, I played a game in our The Weekly Slaughter Series. Wow, they are very intense, I take these way more seriously than my normal 'plunk and pray' games. I made my first mistake on move number 7 (chose the wrong joseki) and it only got worse from there. There was fighting, and then there was more fighting. At some point, I decided that I could give up the center for a lot of territory, so I offered that exchange. He took it, and boy, that was the wrong decision. Where I thought it would be easy to reduce the center, it was not at all. Heck, the center was virtually territory already. I consider that my bad bad bad bad mistake of the game, blech. As the reviewer said 'B's blunder'. On the other hand, at least it was a well planned blunder. The decision might have been wrong, but it was a well planned mistake.

Now I was stuck with a virtually impenetrable center and I was behind by way too much. My only chance was to outyose him. So I played a very focused yose ('Do I really need to reply to that sente or can I pull a 'My sente is bigger than yours!' bluff?') I huffed and I bluffed and I blew his lead down, ending with a 8.5 points win. Wow!

This is fun! Looking forward to next week's game. For now I will spend my time pouring over this game and using it for serious review material.

BTW, I was going to make some tea to go with my game, but once I started playing, the world around me stopped to exist. I woke up from my game focus around 3am and by then I thought sleep was more appropriate than tea ^^.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Watch the Weekly Slaughter

Going to play a weekly game with go friend edison Will be fun to have a serious game each week to look forward to, and I am sure this will provide lots of study material. I am keeping track of the scores on my sensei's home page. We will play tonight, midnight my time (EST). And no, I am not revealing who I think will be slaughtered.

Now off to go club! It is spring break at our college, so will most likely be a slow day. Still fun of course!

Winning a Won Game

I really should start doing that. I am having too many instances of playing a reasonable game, and then giving it away by a bad decision somewhere in the middle game. I guess it might be time to seriously look at the 'Winning a Won Game' lecture series on AudioGolessons.

One thing which still happens too often is that I overattack. Getting so enthusiastic about the attack, that I leave weaknesses which come back to bite me in the butt. I should learn to attack for profit, and to stop the attack when enough profit has been gotten, and further moves do not lead to a lot of gain. Sounds so easy in theory.

My minue lessons are going well, he is teaching me a lot about simplicity. I tend to overthink and the get too cute in my moves. Should go back to basics. Shygost gave a lesson tonight in which I listened in, and he had the same kind of message to his student, so that was a good reinforcement of the concept. Simple is good! Simple is strong! I had a very close teaching game against him, till I lost focus in late end game and let him kill one of my groups. Purely lack of focus, blech!

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Rank Inflation

Just more and more realizing how much rank inflation there seems to be in the AGA ranks. It wasn't as apparent when I was a DDK (double-digit kyu), but as a SDK and getting closer to the dans, it becomes more apparent. For all the people who actually work themselves up to shodan, there also seem to be a lot of people who just enter as a shodan, even when not having reached that level yet. Tournament after tournament. Never reaching shodan level as their official AGA rank.

I don't think there are easy answers for it, but it definitely seems to be an issue. I will do my part to beat it by not self promoting to shodan. I will earn it by entering as 1k and winning most or all of my games. That is, when I am ready for that. In April I will just enter as a 3k again, seems fine for now. Need to beat my clocks issue anyway.

I started taking some lessons with Minue on KGS, a strong Korean player. I had seen him teaching in the KGS Teaching Ladder a few times and really liked his style. When one of my on line friends on KGS started taking lessons with him, and raved about the lessons, I decided to try a few myself. He is great! Very hands on teaching style, I am learning a lot.

He is big on doing problems without solutions, saying that long research in Korea has shown that that is best. So I got out my Korean Problem Academy books yet again and am doing a bunch of those every day. I feel that I read deeper when there aren't any solutions available. Also still stydying on pro games, I think especially the pro games are helping me a lot in getting better sense of direction and of timing.

So much to study, so little time.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

I HATE Talking Clocks...

Had a great time at the tournament. My friend encouraged me to enter as 3k, to challenge myself. I liked his arguments, so I went for it. It turned out to be no problem at all to play as a 3k.

I played 1-3, which doesn't sound that good, until you hear the story behind two of the losses. Both of those were on time with won board positions... Those talking clocks really do get to me, argh!!!! Still don't care much about the time losses though, I feel that I played good games, and won the games. Even if the records indicate otherwise ^^. So winning 3 out of 4 games as 3k isn't too bad, I feel good about the tournament.

Someone asked me whether it bothered me that recording my game slowed me down and maybe led to the time loss. I thought about it and decided that no, it didn't bother me at all. I feel strongly about learning from those games and reviewing them later, and I just am not strong enough yet to keep them all in my head. I love having the records to pour over and review and obsess about.

I also thought about whether I should have played faster on purpose, but no, it felt right to eliminate the hasty moves and play the best possible moves I could come up with as opposed to the first likely move. Speed will happen, I just need more tourney experience with the talking clocks. For now I will go with slow good moves over fast sloppy ones.

My first game, I gave 2H to a 5k. I did not do well this game, he ended up with too much territory, and I misplayed an invasion. Also, I failed to defend a group which should have been defended. I'll have to spend some time reviewing this one and see where I could have done better. I am not good at giving handi, I feel behind from the start. Need to work on that.

My second game was an even game against a 3k. We decided colors by nigiri, I chose black, so that I could hit him with Jabberwocks. This game went really well, and I won the game on the board, but lost it on the clock. We both were in byo yomi and this clock just keeps yelling at us, how annoying. Oh well. Felt that this was a good game, but I am sure I will still find room for improvement when reviewing.

The third game, I got 3H from a 1d player. This is another game I feel good about, apart from running out of time. I killed a nice big W group. W tried to complicate and told me later his only hope was that I would lose on time. I obliged him by doing so, must have made his day ^^.

The last game, my only official win, I gave 9H to a 14k. Ironically, this is the only game which I do not feel good about. I am really bad at playing against 9H, and I have to shamefully admit that this win was based on bullying and overplay, not on good go. Blech.

But overall, I played a good tournament, the time losses just are unfortunate. I feel that I can consider myself AGA 3k now though, so only three stones to go for my short term goal .

Friday, March 03, 2006

Tenuki to Vermont!

Tomorrow, I will be playing in the Tenuki to Vermont Go Tournament. Looking forward to it, even although I have the eternal fear that I will mess up all my games. Yes, I know that even if that happens, I will be fine. But somehow the stress of it gets to me anyway.

I'll get over it. Funny how I usually don't care about winning or losing, but still am stressed about it the day before a tournament. Seems bad, guess it's something to work on.

I will just enjoy all the other aspects of the tournament, and ignore the stress. At least, that's my plan. I will have four serious games to study after the tourney. I love playing serious and slow games, I haven't played many plunk-and-pray games lately. Well, sometimes I still do, but less of them ^^.

Now the only issue will be to leave the house before 7am. *Yawn!*