Friday, October 27, 2006

Memorizing Pro Games

I always enjoy studying and memorizing pro games (usually the first 100 moves, I don't do yose) and I am adding a new layer to this study. Over time, I have memorized a bunch of pro games. My issue is that after a while, I forget them, or at least, can't perfectly recall them in my mind. The big lines will still be there, but I get lost in the itty bitty gritty details.

My new project is finding a way to get more of them into my long term memory, trying to figure out the best way to do so. I started about five days ago, and have added one game a day to the ones I want to get into 'can recall perfectly at any given moment' pool. I replay all the games which I know already and add one new (well, formerly memorized) game to the repository.

No idea whether this is the best way, I would welcome any tips or insights people might have about this.

Bonus points to anyone who correctly identifies the game I am adding today.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Blitz Go Revisited

Well, it was fun to play a lot of blitz for a while, but Minue said that at my level doing lots of easy problems was more useful for improving. Which makes sense, my blitz go does suck , and do I really want to ingrain those sucky moves into my head? I will still play an occasional blitz game for fun, but I am NOT going for quantity anymore. Going for sanity and quality instead.

This said, I entered the Advanced Study Room Ranking Tournament in which I do play slow and serious games. And found out that I still do not do well with tourney stress. This is definitely something I need to work on. My focus just totally SUCKED in the beginning of my last tourney game. I plunked stones and made tons of mistakes, blech. Not only that, but I checked out the chat in every KGS room, read email, and chattered away to a good friend. Who told me to stop chatting and start focusing. NOW! (I love you, flame ^^)

I was pretty far behind by then, after having made about every bad move imaginable. I minimized all my windows, focused and started playing good moves. At least, a lot better than the first half of the game. I won the game, but I was not impressed with my quality of play in the first half. As in, it sucked.

It seems so easy. Play and focus. Just don't get distracted. But my mind races in 5,000 different directions. And my mouse clicks on all those other windows. This is all about focus and discipline.

My friend told me that counting helps him, and recommended that I would start counting more often. It helps him to focus and to know what should happen. I do count, but not often enough yet. Will try that out. I also have resolved myself to just closing every single room when I am playing. I have done that before and it helped a lot, but I have been slacking. Bad habit.

I see a lot of similarity with my aikido, it is all about focus and presence. During the workshop, I found it really helpful to breathe slowly and sit on my hands, just focusing on the game, focusing on the board, evaluating the position, not playing hasty moves. At least, not as many as usual ^^.

This is easier to do in real life games, but I know I should be able to do this in internet games too, and beat my own bad habits. I only have to hold up a mirror to see my worst enemy on the go board. I will overcome this.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Blitz Go

After thinking about someone's advice for a while ("Play many fast games"), I decided to go ahead and create myself a blitz account. I know I totally suck at blitz, and did not want to taint my NannyOgg account with those games. I mean, we all know that making a bad move signifies we must be horrible persons. Heck, even worse making a bad move when people are watching, they will just loathe me for being so detestable. Go still seems to be way more tied into my self-esteem than I'd like to admit.

During my usual games, the conditions have to be just right. I set up everything so that I can have a long and leisurely game, thinking about every move, wearing the right socks, drinking the proper tea. Yes, a game can be quite a commitment. I have a few screw-up accounts around, but I almost never play them.

Blitz games were an interesting thought, but I decided that this definitely had to be a private account.

I made this new account, put up a game and started playing. I created it six days ago, and have played thirty games so far. Not bad for someone who usually plays one or two games a day. Yes, I suicided quite a few times, and I discovered that I really should get better at killing in a hurry. But I have tremendously enjoyed the variety of opponents I have been playing. I play 25 stones in 3 minutes. Blitzish, but not too badly so. Still, a lot faster than my normal game.

I play whoever challenges me first. I play anyone, question marks, guests, escapers, and worms. This is an account to get experience after all, I want a lot of games in. My guests have ranged from the 30k who just started playing to the dan player intent on killing every single stone on the board.

I have met only one escaper so far, and that was when the server was having problems anyway, so I'd like to think he got disconnected.

Most notable games:

- Playing as W against a B tengen opening and then losing my cutting stones in the following fight. I managed to come back when I killed one of his groups due to time pressure. Glad I am not the only one who messes up when pressured.

- Leaving too much thinness and bad shape against a weaker opponent, and getting punished for it. Yes, that was bad. I knew he wouldn't see it and then he did. Teaches me a lot about my own go and my own attitude.

- Someone getting upset about this being a blitz game.
Me: Thank you
Him: so fast??
Me: blitz
Him: dont say thank to me
Him: i think no fair
Him: if u have not time u can add
Me: it's blitz, it blinks when you join
Me: to show it's a fast game
Him: so u think u can finish it on time?
Me: no, i want to practice making good shape without reading much
Him: u play not good
Him: but u cheat

I usually do a quick review of my game and see where I lost the game or where I could have done better. Not a full blown review, since I don't think that makes much sense for a blitz game. But a 'when did I get myself into this mess????' kind of thing.

I have games to post, but blogger has been a pain all day, so will have to wait to see more serious games. Yesterday, I played a good game at club, experimented with a new followup on mini chinese. I have been looking at that game a lot and figuring out quite a lot of moves to improve upon.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Temporary Insanity

This was my Saturday morning game. It includes one moment of temporary insanity. One of those moments when you see the right move, know it is the right move, are totally convinced it is the perfect move. But somehow one second before you put down your stone, you change your mind and put it somewhere else. Not only that, but you instantly HATE the move you put down. Detest it, loathe it. Kick yourself over it and vow never to play go again. (OK, maybe not that last one, but I was very annoyed with myself)

This was the position:

A clearly is the best move here, so of course, I played B. I put it down and stared at it in horror. After that move, I spent a lot of time literally sitting on my hands, making sure I would not do something like that again ^^

Another notable moment in the game. I played the one space high pincer when he approached my hoshi corner, planning to play those moves.

The game went differently but we saw it in review, and she said this was not a good exchange for B. I always thought it would be good to get 3 in sente if W would fix the ko right now. Or have the ko hanging over W's head if he didn't fix. We didn't really go into it, I will have to figure out when Black 1 would be a good move and when it isn't.

This weekend, I learned how to put in variations and comments in my PDA, which was very helpful. After each review, I would spend some time going over the game in my PDA and add her comments. When I came home, I took the files and cleaned them up, expanding on the one or two-word comments. Very useful skill to learn.

Now I need to learn how to convince my PDA not to trash my files during sync-ing, sigh.

Two space low pincer after high approach to komoku

Last night, I played a quick game and met this pincer:

I don't see that one very often. After the game, I looked up the pincer to see what's up with it. Kogo's claimed "This is a rare move, undecided between the two intentions of putting pressure on White, or influencing the top left side." It went on to tell "White conitnues with A, B, C or D. White needs the ladder for B. The moves E, F, G and H are mistakes." Ah, that explains why playing E got me into trouble.

B is interesting. The ladder it needs shows up here:

Now the pincer stone is placed awkwardly. If it was placed at A, it would be a ladder breaker, but it's placed too low and Black ends up with a low position.

If B chooses this variation:

In contrast to the pincer stone being on A, White doesn't need the ladder for the triangled move, so pincer is badly positioned.

Interesting. Now I will hopefully do better next time I meet this pincer.

Saturday, October 14, 2006


Today was listening to a KGS plus Guo Juan lecture. She said, to get strong, it is good to play many fast games and get killed many times. Just make strong shapes even if slow. You don't even need to attack, opponent will often just collapse on himself.

During the workshop, she told when she was training to become a pro, she often would play one hundred games a day, just very fast games. 5 minutes, 10 minutes, and lots of them.

Interesting. I usually stay away from fast games because of the interruptions in my household. Wondering whether I should re-think that.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Midnight Madness

Everyone sane had long gone off to bed, but two of us decided to stay up and play a game. My big regret in this game was not invading his left side moyo when I could have. It was so obvious and easy when she reviewed it later. Still kicking myself over it.

This was the position.

As you see, W is quite open on the left and the correct way to play would be this.

Instead, I decided to make the invasion much harder on myself, and I played Black 1.

Now W has some ideal moves to convert the left from moyo into territory. Bad idea for Black. It is pretty easy to see that now it is way harder to invade the left.

Friday night lesson. "Do not help your opponent."

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Back Home!

Back home from the workshop, I had a wonderful time. We arrived Friday night, and studied a pro game for a while. After dinner, she gave a lecture on that particular pro game, very interesting. When everyone went off to bed, I found myself an opponent and we played a game of midnight go. I got 3H and experimented with a new way of playing 3H games, I am still not sure whether I like it.

Saturday was playing, playing, playing and reviewing, reviewing, reviewing. I won one game and lost another one, mostly because I decided to suicide a 50 pts group in the center ("Oh, this group should be ok... Oh, it isn't...") Still lost by only 9pts, so not too bad considering the big blunder.

Sunday was more playing and reviewing. Again, lost one game and won one, so I am 2-2 for the weekend on my 'official' games. Played a bunch more 'just for fun' games.

Sunday night we played the traditional Survivor Go. The group gets divided into two teams and we play like rengo, taking turns making moves. When someone makes a bad move, he gets kicked out. This time one of the players managed to get himself kicked out twice... I got kicked out after a bunch of moves, I will post the game later.

Of course, I played even more go before going to bed, and then fell asleep while doing tsumego.

Monday morning, simul against all of us, 12 boards, and she won all of her games. I took 6H and did pretty well, it was a close game. In the end, she won by 4 points on the board. Not bad, considering she gave me 9H last time and I had lost very convincingly by late middle game back then.

My PDA acted up just now while downloading the game records, so they got lost for eternity, which I am not happy about. I am trying to recreate the game record from memory, but it turns out my memory isn't that good. Here is what I got. At least it gives some idea of the game, but I am very, very annoyed with my PDA just now.

Food for thought from this weekend (I made a list on my PDA and lost them, blech)
  • When playing rengo, stronger player should follow the weaker player's lead, not the other way around. Interesting concept.
  • One Chinese go teacher advises his students to just lose all their kos, giving a better overall result than fighting it and losing points that way. I have to think about that one.
  • She stressed very much to play the open areas in fuseki, not make small local moves. And she had quite some opportunity this weekend to point out when yet another player didn't follow that advice.
The group was quite small, only 12 players. Strong field though, I was one of the three kyu players, all the others claimed dan rank. Players came from all over North America, farthest travel were from Georgia, Ottawa, and Oregon. It's a great group of people, we had so much fun.

Now back to real life and to studying the games I played.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Two Space High Approach to Komoku

Last night, I played a game against nugatory, where he approached my komoku three times with the two space high approach. He also played tengen as his first move (he was W) so it was a somewhat unconventional game.

The very first time someone played this approach against me, I wasn't sure what to play, and kind of automatically answered Black A, since that's what I often play with the low 2 space approach. Made sense that it should be the same, right? Wrong! I looked it up later, and found out that A is considered submissive. So much for that. Ishida shows B to E as corner replies for Black.

Ishida also goes into the history of the move "O16 is a light move. White is not concerned about corner influence but is satisfied if he can get Black to answer here, as this means preventing B from making a corner enclosure, while keeping sente. From B's point of view, there is nothing wrong with replying as W wants, while he can also try to make W answer him. This approach move was very popular in the 1910's and almost all variations have been completely explored."

In my game, I chose C, which is "a territory-oriented move which forestalls the W attachment in the corner. W finds it a little submissive to respond to this move, so nowadays B most often plays like this."

W did respond and we ended up with the standard joseki:

Today, I spent some time with Ishida on this approach, and saw I could have gone for the large avalanche, but wouldn't have been good in my game. I just hadn't even realized I had that option.


Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Atari Abuse

Over my last few games, I have had too many cases of atari abuse, so reiterating what I should know already, but obviously still screw up.

Best recent example was in a recent minue lesson. This position evolves from the R4 invasion into the Black moyo.

Black overplayed here and W wants to punish. One of my attempts at punishment was this:

I was feeling all smug and satisfied with myself, until minue pointed out to me that the White 3, Black 4 move trade is a big damage to W. Feh! I keep falling into the atari trap. And of course, it made total sense when he explained it.

minue622 [7d]: here, white has 2 options to play atari.
minue622 [7d]: each of them can help white , depending on B's later plays.
minue622 [7d]: if u decide ur atari too early, it means that u lost ur choice
minue622 [7d]: since u has fewer choice to exploit B's weakness,
minue622 [7d]: opponent can fight more easily
minue622 [7d]: so, we save our atari until we know which atari is really helpful for our contact fight

This would be normal followup if we skip the harmful atari

minue622 [7d]: now..
minue622 [7d]: black A is fine
minue622 [7d]: this is good for w

Here W would never ever play move A, so would have been bad if he had played this earlier in the sequence.
minue622 [7d]: Q5 is a nonsense
minue622 [7d]: in contact fight, save playing atari.

If we had saved playing atari, and Black plays this way...

We now have perfect followup play and know which atari is useful to us.

minue622 [7d]: black will capture Q3, and W breaks side

This all is so reasonable and logical, but I still too often mess it up in my play. And of course, I mess it up the other way too. When I rightfully should atari, I avoid it because I don't want to play a crude move. Some day, I'll figure it all out, right?

Me? Competitive? Not at all!

I was working my way through 'Get Strong at Tesuji', when I discovered that a friend was doing the same book and very close to where I was.

Naturally, we both decided we should get through this book faster than the other one. Best part about it was the taunting and gloating. Oh, and I guess it was good to do all those tesuji problems too ^^

Today, we both finished the book, and have started on 1001 Life-and-Death Problems. I am at problem nr 88, he is at problem nr 62, so I'd better get off the computer and maintain my lead.

Somehow it's more fun to make a competition out of those things.