Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Play the Board, Not the Opponent

When you play go, do NOT play expecting a certain reaction from your opponent. Play the best move for the board, pretend your opponent is the strongest player and he will not fall for trick plays or for 'maybe he won't see this...' plays.

In a review of a game I played on one of my mess-up accounts.

lanke [-]: Overplay
lanke [-]: Why?
lanke [-]: This is not even the largest area, the left side is.
nanny [-]: Right. I mostly just wanted to see how he would handle it
lanke [-]: W territory falling behind
nanny [-]: and then I screwed up ^^
lanke [-]: That's terrible.
lanke [-]: Play properly!

OK, he had a point. That was just bad go. I will get rid of it.

Same issue came up in my minue lesson:

minue622 [7d?]: Talking about side issue: I think, Go is a game of single player in the sense that we try to read mind of stones to find next way to follow, as we read poems or novels...
minue622 [7d?]: 盤前無人
minue622 [7d?]: 盤 means "board"
minue622 [7d?]: 前 ==> in front of, or before.
minue622 [7d?]: 無 ==> there is not ...or there doesn't exist..
minue622 [7d?]: 人 ==> a man
minue622 [7d?]: Now, can guess what it means?
NannyOgg [-]: Hmmm, in front of the board, there isn't a person
minue622 [7d?]: There is nobody in front of the Go board (except me) ....yes
minue622 [7d?]: It's a Korean Go proverb.
minue622 [7d?]: Its real message is this. Who your opponent is, and how strong your opponent is (who sits in front of you across the board) is not relevant for you to play game, and to find next good move.

Having this crop up over and over, is making me more determined to just play the right move. I was watching some games of someone who was overplaying just for the sake of overplaying, complicating just for the sake of complicating, and I cannot do that. It is not the way I want to play go, so I'll work on learning normal, boring, good go. Playing the board, not the opponent.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

When Ahead, Play Thickly

The last few weeks, this theme seems to keep coming back in my games. I will manage to be ahead, but still throw away the game on some silly complication. Sendol has been reminding me over and over 'When ahead, play thickly'.

So this is one subject of study now. Count, and when ahead, simplify and play thickly. It sounds so simple, but it is amazingly difficult to actually do it. Maybe I should go through the Guo Juan lessons on 'Winning a Won Game'. I sure could use it.

A few days ago, I was at the opposite end of the picture, when I was behind by at least 30 points and tried one shobute. Amazingly enough, it worked and I won the game. He could have made one thick move and the game would have been over with no shobute to try. Glad I am not the only one with this problem :p

Friday, March 16, 2007

Wings Go Club Monthly League

Thanks to some gentle nudging from goddess, I have decided to start playing in the Wings Monthly League again. The Wings Across Calm Water Go Club is one of the oldest online go clubs (maybe the oldest?) and one of the benefits of joining (for free) is the ability to play up to six games in their monthly league. You can join the go club even if you are part of a local go club already, it is just a way to get some more serious, and slow internet play in.

The league games are self-paired and self-scheduled. You put up an offer on a time that works for you, or you take an offer from some one. Very easy, very painless. I have gotten good games from my league games over the years. One year, I even managed to win one of the monthly leagues and played in the invitational Kings Tournament, which was super fun AND got a me a special t-shirt :)

I just put up some game offers and hope to play my league games over the next few weeks. I encourage anyone looking for serious, but friendly games, to join the Wings Go Club League.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Dragon Go Server

Last year, I took a break from Dragon go server (turn based) for a while, because of personal reasons. In January, I came back to it and have tremendously enjoyed it so far. One thing I am noticing though, is that I don't play my best games there. Even although theoretically, I have 'infinite' time to think, most of my games seem to be 'Glance at board, click first, think later' kind of moves.

I talked about this with a friend, and he agreed with me on it, he said that 'Dragon games are like KGS blitz in slow motion.' Heck, he is soooooooo right! That is exactly what it feels like. And yes, both he and I have managed to self-atari a group of stones.

I guess I will have to change my attitude towards those games and start thinking. Some of them, I actually do some thinking, but looking back at my games, I see too many spots where I lost focus during the game.

Tidbit about the dragon they use. My good friend wutu told me "Do you notice the two dragons on the homepage of this server? Dragon picture with five claws only could be used by emperor in ancient China and the one with three or four claws for others. Anyone who used it would get killed in that period, not only himself but also all the family. This is an interesting knowledge, even most of people in China don't know it."

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Real Club Life Versus Virtual Club Life

Chiyodad brought up an interesting topic on his blog: Misconceptions about the decline of real-life Go clubs. This ties in with a friend telling me that his go club does NOT want a KGS room because 'Everyone will play on KGS and no one will come to club anymore.'

I will share my experience with our go club. A while ago, we decided to create a room on KGS as an extension of our club activities. At that time, we had only two members who were active on KGS, so we spent a lot of time staring at each other in our room. We got bored pretty fast, and started to invite friends. Slowly, the room started to fill up. Games were being played in the room. Pro games were being studied. Tsumego entertained us, and kept us out of trouble. New friendships were being formed.

During the same time, our real life club grew. When I started, there were only two members, so I boosted the membership by 50 % . A few months later, slowly more people started showing up at club meetings. I have seen the club grow from a tiny club, to a bigger and more active one. We used to play only one afternoon per week, now we play one day from 2pm to 8pm, and we often have Saturday afternoon study sessions. We still aren't a big club, but we now usually have six to ten players show up, which is a huge increase from two years ago.

Some of those new real life members have joined our KGS room, and others haven't. The KGS mostly has grown with 'virtual' members, we have a thriving room now, quite a difference from the two of us staring at each other two years ago :)

I have found the KGS room to be an enrichment to the real life club. I never felt the KGS room made people more likely to play online and less likely to come to club. Heck, we even have had some virtual members visit us in person, so it seems the other way around.

The virtual community we built in our KGS room is great, but none of us has contemplated not visiting the club anymore. There is a certain something to real life play with friends, which is very different from KGS play. The trash talking is easier, the body language can be read, the kibbitzers can join into the game talk. Not to mention that our game play often is being supported by excellent food.

I am thrilled with the way our KGS room has grown, and I am equally as thrilled with the way our real life go club has grown. It is beyond wonderful to have twice-weekly opportunity to get together with friends and play and study weiqi.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Happy Women's Day!

Happy Women's Day to all my female readers!

Today is International Women's Day. For the male readers, do something nice for the women in your life, maybe teach them how to play go ^^

We sure could use more women go players, I never have figured out why there are so many more males playing go than females. One of those mysteries of life. I am doing my share by teaching my four daughters how to play go, maybe one of them will take it seriously and increase the pool of women go players.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Calming the Mind

This time, the day before my tourney, I decided not to do my normal last-minute frantic preparation, but to focus on calmness instead. Any joseki I didn't know yet, didn't need to be learned that day. Any other knowledge I was still lacking, wouldn't magically happen that day.

Instead, I replayed some older memorized pro games, games like the ear-reddening game and the game of the century. Learning from the masters can never be bad, right?

I went to bed rather early (well, at least for me ^^) and just hoped for the best. The words I kept repeating to myself 'Focus, calmness, and good moves'

When we arrived at the tourney, I sat down and replayed a Lee Changho game, talking about it with someone who was watching. After that, had time to play through ear reddening game with friend, before my first game. I felt this replaying pro games really helped me to calm my mind, instead of going through the pre-tourney 'What if I lose ALL my games????' panic.

While playing, I spent quite some time just sitting, breathing, and looking at the board before I made my moves. I feel it helped my game. It did not totally get rid of the hasty moves, but I made a lot less of them. My first two games were very focused. My last game... Well, let's just say I still have room for improvement :p Looking back, I can clearly see that I was tired, oh well. Will do better next time.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Tourney Games

Wow, that was quite a fun day in Montreal. Had to get up early (4:30am) to be there in time for registration.

So many people, there were 54 players. Our New England tournaments tend to be 15 to 30 players, so this was quite a surprise. The tournament consisted of three slow games, one hour per player and 30 stones in 10 minutes byo yomi.

I entered as 1k, and did ok. First game was against 3k. He made some slow moves in the beginning, and I thought I would win easily now. Somehow got myself into messy fight anyway, but came out victorious. We both had been in byo yomi for a while when he resigned.

Second game was against 2k. I made some mistakes, but so did he, and I ended up killing too much. Another game won by resignation.

Last game
was against 1k, and I messed up majorly. He overplayed, which I didn't punish correctly, and later I managed to lose my cutting stones in a frigging snapback. Still can't believe I missed the darned snapback, such a 30k moment! I was tired, but still doesn't feel like enough of an excuse, feh.

Still, was a fun day, and I feel mostly ok about my game. I got to meet some online friends, and got to play slow and thoughtful games. Lots of study material in them.

They could use some more female players there though, I was the ONLY female in the whole tournament. At least this time nobody asked 'Whose girlfriend are you?' , which has happened to me in Boston tournament once.