Saturday, September 30, 2006

Shodan Goal

When I started this blog, I had just entered the AGA shodan challenge, and was very, very rank obsessed. I was only 16k, and not a strong 16k at that, but felt it would be easy to reach shodan in a few months. I was wrong ^^

I remember being extremely focused on my KGS rank, since that seemed to be an external measuring-stick to measure my abilities. I soooo badly wanted that number to go down, I could almost taste it.

Rated games got more and more stressful for me, I often would even avoid playing just so that I wouldn't have to lose a rated game. It was turning into A Big Deal, and somehow that felt wrong. The stress definitely was influencing my game.

By that time, I had been on KGS long enough to get to know people and I played more free games than ranked games. I looked at myself, I looked at the stress the stupid ranking number was causing me, and I decided to turn off my rank. That felt good!

I realized that rank is only one way to measure go ability and not a perfect one at that. I was able to focus on improving and not on rank, and I could see progress anyway. It turns out I can measure progress quite well just in my play, I start beating stronger and stronger people, and the flow of my stones is a little less sucky.

A friend told me a few weeks ago 'You certainly fight much better. Before, I could just steam roll over you :) Now, you punish/fight back appropriately.' I can feel this in my games, I don't need a number to tell me that.

The funny thing is that reaching shodan isn't a big deal anymore either. Heck, I don't even care about it, like I did at the start. Sure, it will be nice to 'officially' reach it, but it feels like such a small and unimportant thing. What I really want is to get strong and to get a better flow to my stones. To find the right direction of play. To know when to attack, and when to draw back. To find beautiful and simple moves.

Over time, shodan has gotten a lot weaker in my perception. It used to be almost god-like, now it feels like almost nothing. Interesting how perceptions can change. Of course, it doesn't help to hear a 4d say (paraphrased) 'When I got to shodan, I realized it was just a certificate stating "Yes, you indeed still do suck at go."' And Tristan's blog post 'Since getting the sacred 1-Dan rank, my play has devolved to the point where I can only win because my opponent happens to commit suicide. I can only surmise that in those rare occasions, my moves must have sent my opponent spiralling into a state of utter horror and total loss of faith in human logic after witnessing a succession of blunders, bad shape, and opening sequences that mock joseki.'

I guess I could change the title of my blog, but I am kind of used to it now. So the blog might be called Go Shodan Challenge indefinitely, even after I pass that milestone. I'll have to think about it.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Pro Pro Handicap Go

I have been studying pro versus pro handicap games, and it is helping my handicap play. Both when I am playing White and when I am playing Black. Still making tons of mistakes, but at least I can see improvement.

Last week, I finally managed to beat minue at 9H (plus -30 neg komi ^^) and have been promoted to 8H. We'll see how that goes. I seem to be very good at being pounded into dogmeat.

All the handi games have helped me study more hoshi joseki, which is helping my even game too. Still know too little, but again, seeing some improvement is nice.

Today is a rainy day, so forced to stay home and study go, too bad ^^ I am replaying a bunch of pro games I have memorized over time, seeing how many have stuck in my memory and which ones need refreshing.


Friday, September 15, 2006

When to Submit?

Interesting quote from shygost review. 'I like that feeling you have about 'hating to submit' From 4d to 6d, I hated to submit. But then at 6d, I was like 'when it's reasonable, it's fine to submit. And you start learning this and when it's time to step back, you step back and you're happy.'

This was after I ignored an endgame move I shouldn't have ignored. I just hate to follow my opponent around in endgame and try to find 'See if I care!' and 'My sente is bigger than yours!' moves. This time it wasn't very successful, should just have replied to the darned move. Oh well ^^

At least it helps me to figure out which move I can ignore and which ones I can't. Lose and learn :)

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Learn to Lean

Lately, I have more and more discovered the joys of leaning attacks. Sadly, most of those times it was in review. It is definitely something to work on. Here is a position from my last game with shygost.

The last move I played was A, which (in hindsight) clearly is what Guo juan in her audio lessons calls an empty move. The corner is still open and it doesn't quite attack the W group.

This is where the leaning attack comes in. Look at this alternate sequence.

Simple leaning attack and suddenly B can play a way more severe move against the W group. Too bad I didn't find this in the game. Maybe next time ^^

Friday, September 08, 2006

Group Tax

On Wednesday, I played a game against a friend, which turned out to be an exercise in itty-bitty black lives. Black ended up with seven groups on the board, most of them small. Five of them had a total of 17 points, not a terribly good stone efficiency.

Later, someone mentioned: "with 7 groups, if one isn't dead you need to do more tsumego." I have thought about that and decided that I didn't need to kill to win, so why bother going through the whole killing thing. Like I said before, killing always seems like such a commitment. I enjoyed seeing tiny group after tiny group find yet another miserable life.

Someone else said that Black suffered heavily from group tax, and I have to agree on that. It just takes a lot more stones to make seven groups live, than if you have less of them. Interesting. I knew the principle, but never had seen noticed it so clearly in one of my games.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

New Study Organization

This is not as much a new study plan, since I am studying the same things, but a new way of organizing my studies. Yes, I have been doing problems every day and other studying, but somehow I still felt like I suffered from a lack of direction.

Last night, I talked to a friend about studying, and this morning I woke up, knowing just what to do. Thank you, Rob ^^.

I created a week's worth of study plan, showing exactly what I want to cover on a day, and providing me with space to check off and add remarks. ('Review some haengma, check; Review pro game, check; etc) It is very simple, but the visual helps me to see what I have done already and what I still should do on a single day. The same way it's easier to get things done when I make a list and cross off things.

We'll see how this works out, but somehow it feels right. I think I will be able to study more effectively with help of this study plan.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006


With the new KGS beta has come the ability to play rengo with time settings. Very good interface, the days of five-hours rengo games are over!

This week, I played two games of rengo already. Very enjoyable! I like how the rengo records are kept in your user profile instead of at the rengobot's profile.

First rengo was fun, opponents decided to lose the game at move 4. Second rengo it took them longer to lose. One of our opponents did censor us though, which feels like it should be reported as a bug. I mean, how can you play proper rengo without trash talking?

Still studying handicap games, still being pounded into dogmeat by minue. My reading is very slowly improving, but still a long way to go. But more and more often I find myself reading sequences out almost automatically, which is new. Naturally, it is not often enough yet, but hey, I'll take what I can get ^^

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Territorial or Cosmic Play?

For a while I tried playing more territorially oriented, but somehow I still end up with huge center moyos way too often. It just is a lot of fun, but it seems harder to play that way than just to grab territory everywhere. Sometimes I can pull it off, sometimes I can't. But always enjoyable to try.

I am going to try to play more territorial for a while, just will need to remember during my games. For example, had to decide between the two lines of play during this game.

And yes, I knew the prudent decision would have been to play at B and take the inside. I am sure you can guess what I did instead. Indeed, I played at A and took the outside. Peanut gallery commented:

Stormer [7k?]: nanny can never resist the joseki that give power.

Yes, will have to work on it, I am getting too predictable.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Shygost Lectures Video now Online!!!!

Happy to announce that we managed to get nine of the shygost videos available using bittorent. Here are the two bittorrent files for shygost's lectures.
  1. Shygost lectures for Azureus
  2. Shygost lectures for other bittorrent clients
There are two because azureus is incompatible with other bittorrent clients. So you must use the torrent labeled 'azureus only' if and only if you have azureus. All other clients should use the other torrent. If you don't know much about bittorrent, it's a rather painless process to get involved. We recommend the utorrent client .This client is lightweight and featureful. After you have downloaded it, you more or less just open the torrent file, and off you go!

Thanks to hlamonde for getting the lectures down to a reasonable size and to gryn for helping set up the bittorrent.


Preserving the aji

I have been working on it for quite a while, but still manage to play aji keshi too frequently. Today I was looking back at some old teaching games, and found this quote by Minue, reinforcing what I should know already.

Minue: "To be sure, weakness at A and B is "potential trouble " for w. But, presently, not clear for b how to exploit these weaknesses of w, then just let them be weak state.. It's what u should do for opp;s "bad aji" (bad taste)...
As long as u let that aji to be weak, it smells bad for ur opp"

I have to keep reminding myself of this. It's so easy to play a harmful sente without thinking. This reminds me of one of the shygost lectures, where he was sharing this story. (paraphrased)

"When I was 5 or 6k, I discovered sente. I played sente all over the place. I felt so powerful. My whole game I played sente. And I lost all my games... "

Let that be my lesson for today.

Well, in addition to hoshi joseki and tesuji and how to be pounded into dogmeat pound opponent into dogmeat.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Phew, I passed

I can keep my username ^^

You scored as Gytha (Nanny) Ogg. You are Nanny Ogg! A talented witch, able to make yourself at home wherever you are, and insist that Greebo is just a big softie. You enjoy drinking, a lot, and singing about a hedgehog. You have a huge family, and get your daughters-in-law to do most of the housework. You are kind and gentle, and help put people at ease.

Gytha (Nanny) Ogg

Esmerelda (Granny) Weatherwax


Lord Havelock Vetinari


Commander Samuel Vimes


Carrot Ironfounderson








Cohen The Barbarian


The Librarian


Which Discworld Character are you like (with pics)
created with