Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Killing is Such a Commitment

I keep falling into the 'trying to kill' trap way too often. I have realized that killing is kind of crude. It is way more fun to torture and hassle and make him live with 40 stones and 2 points. Preferably in gote. But sometimes... my greed gets the best of me and I try to kill anyway.

While I am killing, and smelling blood, I forget to take care of my own weaknesses. I am sure I am invincible, and I am going to win big, because he is going to DIE! Naturally, my opponent does not always agree. Not only does he not die, he also manages to turn around and kill part of me!!! Very annoying.

Of course, there is only one person to blame for the weaknesses in my shape, and it's not my opponent.

Most of the time, I just surround and let live small. But once in a while, I still go for the unreasonable kill, often leading to a predictable loss for me. Such great learning opportunities :p I need to get rid of my blood lust and just stay strong and let them live in gote. One day I'll get it.

Still studying hoshi joseki and handicap go, it's fun. Even if I am still being pounded into tiny pieces of dogmeat by Minue. Also studying a recent pro game, I want to experiment with that fuseki. Bonus points if you recognize the game.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Shygost Public Lectures

Most people know about the Shygost public audio lectures. If not, they are a great thing to check out. He gives them every Friday night on KGS. They are aimed at kyu players and show you how to think during your go game, how to find the next move.

We have been recording most of those lectures, but the files are just too darned big to share easily. So volunteers have been transcribing the lessons to get them into a more accessible format. We are woefully behind doing it though. Having more volunteers would not be a bad thing.

I just finished transcribing the February 11th lecture on the Chinese Opening. Every time I transcribe one of those lessons, I realize how good of a teacher shy is. I always learn something from every single lesson. This Chinese Opening lecture is available here.

Links to all of the transcribed files so far are available on senseis. I recommend anyone to take a look at those, there is a lot of helpful information in them. And as always, if the lectures and/or the transcriptions are helpful to you, please consider donating some money towards keeping them going at

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Strength and Good Moves

After discovering the simplicity secret, I now am slowly starting to realize that strength is not only about making good and simple moves. It seems to be even more about not making bad moves. Making simple moves isn't that hard, but refraining from bad moves is difficult.

Differences in strength is about playing good moves consistently. You can play a superb opening, but one bad move in middle game can throw away the whole game. I have lost so many games by playing a good game with one or two fatal mistakes. Stronger players just play calmly and wait for opponents mistake. The opponent will make them.

When I review my games, I usually have a few moves I HATE. Those are the moves I need to get rid of. The moves which lost me the game. Or even if I won, I don't feel good about the game because of those horrible moves.

A few days ago, I gave 9H and was behind most of the game. I didn't know how I would ever catch up, unless he made a mistake. Lo and behold, he did! A won game thrown away by one huge mistake.

To keep cosmic balance, I did the same when Minue gave me 9H today. I did ok most of the game, until I made a few fatal mistakes. Very fatal. And yet again, I got pounded into dogmeat.

My goal is to play simple and calm go, and to refrain from bad moves. The worst thing is that I often know when I am making a bad move, but I am compelled to do it by jealousy, greed, or panic. So much for playing calm go. Maybe my new go motto should be 'Don't panic!' Or I should just sit on my hands till the urge to make a bad move passes.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Middle Game Fighting

This week, Minue went deeper into middle game fighting techniques with me, which was very helpful. He verbalized a lot of things which make total sense, but which I never really applied consciously.

He was reviewing my game against him (yes, I got pounded into dogmeat at 9H), and this position came up.

He took this as an opportunity to teach me more about middle game fighting (which is one of my many weaknesses)

"Here, my point is simple. W cut black. Then, don't panic. Whenever you are in complex contact fight, where your opp tries unreasonable cut, don't play atari blindly. First thing to think are these questions.
  1. Read if u can kill its cutting stone. Can i kill it by ladders or net? If u can kill it by ladders, kill it by "atari". If u can not kill it by ladders or net.
  2. Don't panic, and dont play harmful atari.
    In this position, these are examples of harmful atari.

    Usually, atari move is bad when u can not kill white by atari play. See this is cross cut pos, in general, atari just hurts one of ur stones.
  3. Check if ur stone is "important cutting stones". If so, u should not give it up. Here, both of black A and B is very important stones, so black should save both of them.
  4. Next, find which one is "weaker stone". In this pos, black B is weaker than black A. Then, increase its libs. Since, black center stones are in danger, (with less libs) black jumps toward to center, to increase its liberties

If u keep this basic point, ( middle game fight as "liberty competion"), direction of stones in middle game is not so hard. Fundamentally, any move which increases ur libs, and reduces opp's libs effectively is good move in middle game, no matter what specific shape it is. If empty triangle is really best, to do it, then empty triangle is good middle game fight move. "

Amazing how simple it is when you look at it this way. Yet another example of how go is all about simplicity. I just will need to find this simplicity in my games.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Mini Chinese

I have been playing mini Chinese for a while, or at least, attempting to play it. Often, W will prevent me from playing it, so I haven't gotten as much practice with the mini Chinese formation as I would like.

Today, I noticed that the audio go lessons site has a lecture up about mini chinese. I was interested enough to spend some time listening to it and studying it. I learned a lot and now understand more of the history of this opening.

I had been playing the mini chinese with 2 komoku's, but after this lecture, I think I'll go back to the more traditional one with hoshi. Now just need the kids to go to sleep so that I can actually play and try it out.

Other studying today included pro game, handicap tactics, and some joseki. So much to study, so little time.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Lumpy, The Go Playing Travel Bug

In addition to playing go, I like to go geocaching. One of the fun elements of geocaching is finding, and sending out so called travel bugs, whimsical little items which travel from geocache to geocache. Last cache we did, we found this cool travelbug Lumpy the Plasticine Stoat. Lumpy is a very special travel bug, he is a weasel who likes to act on whatever people dare him to do. Naturally, I requested a go playing Lumpy and the owner did a wonderful job putting him on a go board.

There are a bunch of other fun things Lumpy has done on that page, but I have to admit that go playing Lumpy is my favorite. Thank you, AuntieWeasel!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

My New License Plate

Yes, I do realize it's a bit over the top. But I still love it ^^

But how could I resist when I discovered that nobody had taken this license plate yet here in New Hampshire?

Now let's see how many people around here actually know what it means. So far, my neighbor has asked me why I put 'Bad duck!' on my car...

I guess I'll have to carry those trifold 'Go: an ancient game for the new millenium' leaflets around, to hand out to interested parties.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Study Day

Today, my van had to go into the garage for an inspection, and life finally calmed down enough that I could actually study go. As in, study most of the day, instead of five minutes here, ten minutes there. Well, at least when I wasn't dealing with kids interruptions :D

I got quite a lot done, but not even half of what I had hoped. Somehow studying always takes more time than I think it will take. I did half of my tesuji homework, reviewed some haengma, did problems, reviewed some handicap techniques, looked at a pro game. Only thing I didn't do yet is actually play. Guess I need to get on line and find myself a game.

I have been experimenting with my playing style. Trying to put less emphasis on territory, and more on attacking and surrounding stones. Let's just say that I still have a lot of room for improvement ^^ Minue pounded me into dogmeat at 8H, so I'd better try to get more handicap study in this week. Next game will be 9H, which sounds like a lot, but can evaporate amazingly fast against a strong player :D

Monday, August 14, 2006


Minue has been working on how to use handicap stones to pound White into dogmeat. The goal is to get me to win at least 50 % of my 7H games against him by October. It's an interesting way of studying. I have studied some about how to use handi stones, but not much. This is good. My study material looks like this:

Naturally, I haven't been able to find perfection like that in my actual games. My last 7H game against Minue looked like this:

White is everywhere and the only one being pounded into dogmeat is Black ^^. I still have a lot of room for improvement, this is typical for my games against him. I will have to study a lot to be able to beat him at 7H occasionally.

Studying handicap go made me think back to the advice Kipawa gave me about a year ago. His handicap advice:
  1. How can I split White?
  2. How can I stop White from splitting me?
  3. How can I attack White (preferably while protecting myself)
This fits in very well with Minue's statement that go isn't around surrounding empty space, but it is about surrounding opponents stones/groups. I still fall into the 'desperately trying to hang on to territory' trap too often, need to get over that.

It seems so simple on paper, but somehow amazingly hard in real game play.

Monday, August 07, 2006

More on my Bad Move

Thanks for all the comments on D3, I still feel it was a very bad move. I will try to explain why I feel that way. First, showing you the game position a few moves later:

diagram 1

Notice how the triangle stones (one of them being D3) are totally useless. They are just sitting there, doing nothing at all. W has played ten moves so far, and two of them ended up being nonsense moves. Not very good. 20 % of my stones in the opening are lost for eternity. No future. I felt this was horrible result for W. Heck, I was sitting at my computer, crying. Just look at the board and find two other spots those stones could have been. Not hard to find better moves.

Yesterday, sendol reviewed my game and called D3 'too heavy'. He showed just tenuki, playing in the UL corner instead. This is the position he showed. Sure looks better than my game.

diagram 2

He also showed variations, making it even clearer to me that D3 just can't have been right. Let's backtrack a few moves from Diagram 1.

diagram 3

Here Edison actually was very nice to me by playing D2. The cut at A is very severe, much more than D2 is. If he had cut instead, I could have ended up with positions like this.

diagram 4

diagram 5

diagram 6

Pretty bad. He also showed how I could have done better even after D3. This is a playable continuation.

diagram 7

Still, after looking at all this, I fully believe that D3 was a bad mistake, even if I could have kind of recovered from it. You can check sendols review for all those variations and more, I just took the most striking ones to post here. I am going to work on eliminating moves like D3 from my games. Last night, in the middle of the night, I woke up screaming when it showed up in my dreams. I can't allow this to happen again.

Please share any feedback you have on this, I numbered the diagrams to make it easier to refer to them.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

'Weekly' Slaughter

Yes, finally back at it. My father-in-law had passed away and I had not been able to focus on go as I usually do. There was nothing weekly anymore about our weekly slaughter sessions. This week, I finally was ready to play serious games again and we did our usual 'Who makes the most mistakes?' kind of game.

I am still extremely annoyed with my big mistake. This was the position and I played the triangle stone. Within seconds it was very clear to me that this just totally sucked.

The worst thing is, that I should know this, we have talked about this at club, and somehow I forgot in the heat of the game. Can you tell I am annoyed with myself? ^^ I am not sure where I should have played instead though. A looks ok? I think A is better choice than B. Just tenuki seems to be played in pro games too, but I am not sure about the follow-ups and where to tenuki to. I really need to study this position, this was just bad.

I managed to come back from this mistake, but still... Feels like it should not have happened.

Oh well, hope we will be able to get in weekly games again, it's nice to play serious games like this.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Go Outdoors

Today, our go club went outdoors to play. We hiked up to a lake, planning to play on the lake shore. To our amazement, half of the lake was gone, because they are doing maintenance on the dam. So we ended up playing on the bottom of the lake, which actually was ultra cool.

We played a bunch of games, it was nice and relaxed. Beautiful environment to play go.

Of course, I managed to get myself in big trouble, when I reduced a moyo and forgot my story. Let's say it was a good learning experience.

Fun afternoon, now back to studying go indoors. Still doing tons of problems and started on studying hoshi josekis. And trying to keep my games simple, but I still have a lot of room for improvement in that.