Why 'penniless'? Well, because I'm cheap for one, and can't afford to go nuts buying books. So most of my studying will revolve around freely available things, and any books I do buy will only come from careful research. I'll try to mention my low-cost/no-cost study aids as I go either here or in main page.
|Table of contents||Table of diagrams
Very contrived situation
Huge ko exchange. End result W+18.5
Happy April Fools! Wow, can't believe that it's been such a long time since I've had time to update this page. Not much to report though, have barely the time to maintain my go skills these days, but I still enjoy playing when I can.
On an amusing note, I spent one weekend, playing well over 20+ games against bots. GnuGo has a rank around 12-14k on average at KGS, and much as I try, it's a tricky proposition giving GnuGo 3 or 4 handicap stones. Even to 2 stones isn't much of a problem unless I get exotic, but 3+ is... yeah. Worst is when I manage to squeak slightly ahead, but lose concentration at the endgame (which computers tend to be quite strong at) and lose a group due to carelessness.
In sum, my rank's taken a hit from taking a big losing streak at the start and slowly adjusting to deal with the bots at 3H. I'm back to 11k now, nominally, down from a temporary high of 9k, and a stable 10k. However, when I play the typical 11k or 10k in games, I'm not having any particular trouble, so I guess it just means I'm having more trouble dealing with handicap stones, especially against bots, than theoretically I'm supposed to. I'll have to play more actual humans again.
Happy Holidays!! Yay a short time to take a breather from projects! Wonderful! Haven't had time to play too much Go lately. What's rather irritating is that I've been told that I "play stronger" than a typical 10k. However, I'm still 10k, meaning I've got a few blind spots here and there that are glaring and average me out. Bug hunt!
Next, I seemed to have picked up something of a student. A friend from IRC who wanted to improve from 30k-ish. I don't particularly mind, but he'll be the first person that I'll be nominally overseeing as a student I think. Well, there's a first for everything, I just hope I'm qualified for the task.
Finally! Since I'm on somewhat of a teaching binge, I've added a new section to my personal space here at SL! /AgiTutoringChronicles A record of the rants, the ideas, the babbling that I do so much in my reivews and teaching games. Hopefully people will comment on what I put up here so we all can be better teachers!
Happy Thanksgiving! It's been a very very long while since I had time to write here hasn't it? Well, projects have been keeping me busy and distracted from the go scene. I usually just watch, but only just recently had time to relax a bit and play more. So, lots of observations to write about!
First order or business. I've hit the "10k wall" so to speak. It seems that at around this rank, 11k-8k on KGS, there's some kind of bend in the rank curve. I've played 8-9ks that don't "feel" stronger than I am. And I've played 10ks that "feel" stronger than I am. Part of this is surely the normal distribution of abilities in a rank, but I've never seen such a wide array until now.
Second order of business. Short analysis of why I'm bogged down at this rank. As always, stupidity really. But also something else. Imagine an arms race of go ability. On one hand is your ability to invade and make seemingly irrational things work. On the other, is your ability to crush irrational moves. And it seems to be the case that everyone is better at one or the other, and using that ability, will float through 3-4 ranks in short order. Then they hit one of the slow spots and this usually correlates to opponents now being able to punish previously workable irrational moves or opponents managing to live in previously secure spaces. In effect, this keeps a player honest, by forcing them to go back and patch up their weak spots. Once they do that, they'd "break through" the barrier, and move onward. Just a theory, but it sounds pretty doesn't it?
If my theory is true. I've got a ways to go. I think I'm better at squeezing invasions than doing wild invasions that magically work. I get lots of practice because I always seem to wind up with moyos one way or another, and I've grown comfortable with the style I guess. Trying to play another way tends to work out badly so I should practice more I guess. Oddly enough, I'm apparently too forgiving at the wrong moments. Even if I don't manage to kill anything in my moyos I tend to lose games by much less than 15 points, so if I land a clean kill of even a part of a group. I'd be on top. Of course, if I get too zealous, I lose by 40... Ah balance, where art thou...
That's it for now, Signing off!
It's funny what a little bit of introspection can do. Life's still busy so I haven't played too much, but to a fair degree I've recaptured my spirit of "If it ain't broke, make it FASTER!" Originally I fell into a slump because I sensed I needed to restore the balance of honte back into my game but slipped overboard into a pathetic plodding mess. Faster, Lighter, more Flexible, since this is the way that seems natural to me, this is the way I'll push.
What's amusing is that with this switch I've uncovered a different problem, Boredom. It's happened 2-3 times recently. As white, I'd play someone at even or proper handicap for KGS 11k, and I'd lose by under 10 points, nothing special so far. But always, in those games, I grew bored with the game, stopped paying attention, and would lose a group that would cause a 20-40 point swing in the score. Maybe if I felt pressured the entire game I'd be on my guard, but I'm not. It's a silly problem really, being easily 20 points ahead and then blowing it from a missed atari, but it's a problem that exists nevertheless.
Wow, it's been a long long time since I wrote here. Lots of things happening in life, school, projects, research, all that time sapping stuff. In the Go scene, it seems that I've settled comfortably into the 10-11k 'barrier' range. Oh well, I haven't been working to break through at all, so slowing down is perfectly reasonable and expected.
At the moment, KGS says I'm 11k, which sounds about right. Recently, I've been short on sleep so I've been playing like a deranged 13k, and on rare occasions I get back into the flow of things I can top off at 10k maybe.
Slightly more troubling is that I seem to have disconnected with my previous style during this phase of lack of sleep. The full-steam-ahead firmly aggressive punch seems to be blunted. I'm positive that another part of it is that, more recently, my opponents aren't leaving themselves as loose as before, so I have to work much harder to chop something off. Because of that I'm sorta dangling between the fine line of rightful aggression and suicidal over-extension.
Actually, come to think, I probably need to sit down, look over my most recent games and see what kind of style I'm playing. I've a creeping suspicion that I'm waffling between high speed loose play, and slow paced territory play. I need to pick one, mixing doesn't work very well. Either way, I have an eye on the problems. I just have to get around to dedicating myself to fixing them. Onward!
Maybe I'm mellowing out with age. Okay, okay, so maybe it's the summer heat sucking the life out of me. But miracle of miracles, I've lowered my aggression rating! Slightly. I'm sure people will still call me insanely aggressive now and then, but that's how I am so no sense in arguing.
More seriously, the most logical explanation of what's causing this trend is that I'm experimenting with playing lightly. Delicate and airy, as best and as often as I can manage. Freely sacrificing a stone or four in the name of flexibility and more effective reductions. Since my last insane aggression phase was triggered by experimentation in being as firm and controlling and severe as I could handle, this is an about face. Doing this is quite fascinating, and in fact, it takes more work since I have to read out/explore at part of the possible responses and there are lots more of those to manage. On the bright side, I haven't been losing too badly yet with this experiment. I'll have to work on seeing how boldly I can dive into frameworks and extract myself, but we'll see as time goes on!
I entered a strange phase of development. What phase? Apparently I don't want to win games lately. There are many occasions in my recent set of games where I'm faced with a choice: calmly back off slightly and take profit, or push even harder, knowingly risking the outcome of the game on a complicated situation. Invariably, I choose the latter. I know part of it is because large complicated fights are very exciting, utterly unreasonable, and complex. It IS training at standing up and being threatening. However, I need to train a few things if I'm to get anywhere with this training: making shape and settling quickly, reading farther than 2-3 moves more often. Ah well, maybe I'll go back to a less insanely aggressive trend sometime soon, we'll see where the wind takes me since no matter where I go, I'm bound to learn something so long as I keep my eyes open.
I've been helping mentor a beginner with my friend the past few months, and we may have tainted him slightly. He's lucky though, having both a high-aggression anti-moyo player (me) and a low-aggression moyo player (the friend) as tutors. Sadly, the beginner seems to be leaning towards the non-aggression side of style, but who knows what the future will hold after he's tasted blood, he might not like aggression just because he doesn't have the confidence.
The problem seems to be we've tainted him with higher level 15k+ ideas, especially in the fuseki and early middle-game where both tutors are both most interested in. The result? Said beginner gets insanely large leads against 29ks early on, and can just coast to victory without having to kill anything or fight for life, just feed the opponent a few points and keep everything else. The only way he loses is from careless errors that cost him large chunks of territory. This is No Good!
I personally like early and aggressive reduction that borders on shallow invasion, but I can at least play out a moyo style game to some degree. I may not like it, but if I really wanted to win, and invading is too much of a risk for some reason, or if I somehow Get a moyo over the course of the game, I can switch gears and adapt. The key point is: I know, to some degree, how to use whatever comes up. I learned all this by watching/playing mid-to-high handicap games. Playing lots of stronger players on even games has its own educational virtue, but taking and giving large handicap is extremely beneficial for combat. I probably can't emphasize this enough here. Need to learn to invade and reduce? Need to learn to play lightly and fight like a cornered badger? Give out 5H! Or even 9H! Can't fight for your life? Keep losing your moyos to invasions? Take a bunch of handi from someone stronger than you, and FIGHT them! And don't just calmly take territory, 4th line stones are for pounding your opponent with. You're out to learn, not to win! Rawr!
Multiple entries on a day, Wow!!%%% On a whim, I went back and looked at some of my older games in the archives on KGS. I fully expected to see many horrible things that would make me cringe, What was I thinking back then%%% The cringing did happen, but I did notice something interesting. My core style has hardly changed since I was 24k.
This came as quite a surprise to me. The only significant change to get me where I am now is that I'm willing to play defensive moves when the need arises, and that some aji is just too nasty to leave behind now. Even back then, I seemed to love moving around the board quickly, developing huge frameworks as fast as I can, even as white in 4H, and then attacking any invaders. The only major difference between then and now is that I was far less willing to protect deadly weaknesses in my position then. Games where I would have huge 50pt leads could collapse into 30pt losses because of these weaknesses. Even now my greatest weakness is that I stretch hard and thin, leaving lots of aji lying around that hampers my future combat. Still, a problem that is known one that can be fixed with some work. Onward!
Wow it's been an spiffy few days. First my rank's still adrift, now it's 11k? and it might be close to real, or not. It's hard to tell whether I'm still sandbagging unintentionally or not.
On the amusing side, I played an 8k on even with no komi. Lost by about 22 pts because I botched a ko fight, failing that it might have been fairly close. Feels pretty good to be able to stand toe to toe with what should be a 3-stone difference and hold out. The defining trait of the game was 2 BIG weak groups, black had one, white had one, and they'd snap at each other as they travel across the board. So long as I wasn't the only one with a weak group I'm not too worried about the situation, it's when I'm trapped and the opponent can direct their undivided attention to attacking me that I'm in trouble.
I've noticed that I've been slipping towards weak-group greedy play. I don't see any big particular problem with it, though some friends are shouting "don't make weak groups!" ^^ I just admit that I find a joy in dangling a weak group that I can just barely pull out of the fire because I can tenuki away! I need to practice with making shape in sticky situations anyways and this seems like the most fun way. Help help! I'm slipping into the dark side that is greedy go! Except my reading isn't up to snuff yet!
Lots of things have happened since the last entry, Rank went adrift again, and resolidified at 13k. Played a second game of Rengo, this time as the stronger of my team, against a pair with a single-digit kyu. It's quite frustrating when the connection between players isn't there I've discovered. There was a big group in danger deep danger and I had intended to run away, to claw out if necessary, while my teammate made it heavier and heavier without doing much in the way of running. Worst was when I desperately searched for complication in order to search for an escape and he simplified =) Oh well, next time I should be better at finding ways to induce sequences so that my partner's move is close to obvious.
There's that tired old line, "the more things change, the more they stay the same" and it's quite interesting to see when it actually becomes applicable in one's life. Every few days I play a friendly teaching game with someone quite a ways stronger on even. Recently I've been giving my old 10kish friends and former teachers a run for their money in those games, so a new group of SDKs have been tossing me around in the surf. One mentioned a recurrent problem in my games against stronger people, I'm too aggressive again. That is to say, I tend to have many weak groups locked in combat with 1 or 2 weak enemy groups, and with no territory to my name. Against weaker people who can't strike at my weaknesses nearly as effectively, this problem doesn't manifest itself in an obvious way. Only against stronger people do the punishments come.
This is an old problem with a subtle twist, a familiar friend so to speak. Back around 23k or so I would be straining to make my stones work to the breaking point, and they would break under the strain and lose me the game. I broke through that barrier easily in a few days after being told I was doing too much and just took the time give up sente and fix some of the glaring weaknesses of my groups. It's good to see a familiar problem, I know what needs to be done and who knows how strong I can be once I do it?
Wow it certainly has been awhile since I wrote here. Many things happened. Promotion to 14k, graduation from university, playing more games of go with stronger players, and most importantly, holding my own in those games for awhile before losing.
However, today's entry is about Rengo! Played my first game of it ever. Paired with a 5k against NannyOgg and someone around 7-9k or so. A handful of moves in, and I misclick what was supposed to be a 3rd line wedge between 2 black hoshi stones and stick it on the 2nd line...We all didn't know we could undo the move, so we played on from there. Well, thanks to that I paid extra attention to what I was doing, I had to redeem myself after all.
Even though I did make a few mistakes here and there, as expected, amazingly, there were about 3 or 4 places where I was told later I made my partner happy because I played sharp moves or followed through with something nasty! YAY! One even received a "!!!!!!!!!!!" after I played. I'm just very happy I could roughly see what my partner was plotting and helped make things happen. Though now that I think about it a bit more. I just let my natural aggressive "Needs more RAWR!" mentality come out and attacked when I saw I safely could. I guess stronger players typically prefer relatively gutsy 'active' play.
This is what I love about playing Go, trying to predict what my opponent will do, and manipulate them as best I can. I'm a control freak, I admit it.
Adventures in Amashi
Today was a fun day. NannyOgg tends to go overboard in her philosophy changes. She's decided never to "live small in shame" again. Which is fine, most people would agree, but such hard-lining drives me crazy. After all, life rarely has absolutes, so where was the exception to the rule? I already guessed that living small isn't very shameful under 1 condition, ultra-deep invasions when all the influence given away in the act of living is redundant thanks to the opponent having many stones in the area, effectively overconcentrating the position, like placing kevlar on a battle tank, the tank doesn't become much more formidable. This is also probably not a good idea if you plan on creating new life in a position nearby.
Here off the top of my head, white dived in and, through a miracle, made a live group (yes, totally unrealistic, but the logic should also hold up in a real situation) and black sealed it in with a steel wall. All that influence would normally be horrid for white outside. But outside, there is a line of fairly strong black stones already. Kevlar, meet steel plate. If those white stones outside are not in dire need of eyes, White almost has to have gotten the better end of the bargain. (Note, this assumes no larger reduction is possible)
But what about in the general case? Amashi. Live small. Live everywhere. Live in such a way that your opponent gets nothing. It's a frightfully difficult strategy, requiring far more reading and skill with shape that I have, but there was the refutation I sought. Say what you want about how dangerous this is, but Shuwa did it, and a (small) number of famous pros too, and they're no pushovers.
It was great fun trying this out in a whimsical game today. I'm sure this philosophical dispute was at the heart of what guided my stones to where they went, dropping weak groups all over the place, pulling life out of the air after spreading out and destroying as much as possible. Nanny gave me an easy time living, and if only I wasn't so tied up making 6 groups live that I dropped the 7th in the center. If that had lived, it probably would've been quite a close game, I went and shuffed the stones in the center into life, just shifted their positions to make eyes, and the score comes out very close, possibly in black's favor. Ran out of aji to use to spring it to life, sadly. On the average I'm happy, though not as happy as if my point could be made. But someday, after an insane amount of training on life/death, I'll try again. It was a great experience. I might flirt with it a few more times randomly when the mood strikes, learning to make shape without overusing my pool of aji (which I did this game), along with creating aji at will, seems to be a very interesting thing to study.
KGS's UTDEspy wanted more publicity so today's entry is dedicated to her! It's finals week, so playing back to 'rare' state. Still, got a teaching game from Espy at 5am. Nothing says adventure like an even teaching game where you're running on a caffeine buzz. It was such a fun game. I was ahead by the start but somehow the words 'kill the dragon! KILL!!!' rang in my head and I listened. I bet my entire huge moyo, taking whatever sacrifices that I seemed to need to so that I could seal the thing in. Then came poking eyes, which worked sorta okay. Then I screwed up, miscounted my liberties, and came out 1 liberty behind at the crunch. Goodbye farm! Nevermind that I was so busy gambling like that I didn't even bother noticing a corner was killable in 1 move. Time to consider playing safety moves when I'm well ahead. But then, it wouldn't be so darn exciting now would it?
When a muse whaps you on the head, weird things can happen. During the process of reviewing a game with a bunch of friends, we came to a point where black was trying to surround white, and essentially stretched over white's solid (and alive) stones like a cheap dress. At that point, inspiration hit, and an analogy was born.
markag: i thought i was trying to contain
Agilis: lookit how black's stuck on white like a sleazy dress =)
Agilis: it's true though. sleazy dresses cut off quickly ;)
NannyOgg: speaks the voice of experience...
Agilis: think victorian fashion marky,
Agilis: thick, heavy, constricting, costs a fortune
In other news, final exam/paper week looming. Almost no time to play 'cept this one game today. Lost to a 13k with 2H because I lost grip of a dragon. If I could've held on, it most likely would've been a resounding win. Alas. I hate dragon slaying, but with 2 4-4 stones, it's tricky to go for territory when white can easily slip under them. I feel I have to use the 4-4's to their full potential, which means playing for at least a good chunk of the center.
I need a better short term memory. Yup. That's roughly my problem. In Go, it's fairly common to leave miai positions untouched until the end or as a threat, the rest of the board swirls around those points, but for the most part, nothing happens in the miai points, there's no need. That is, until you start to lose track of which points are miai to what in the endgame, and you lose a critical connection because it slipped out of your mind. Another irritation about leaving a huge amount of miai points lying around is that it's almost like a cascade of sente moves for the endgame to whoever starts abusing them first. I hate being led around and that probably adds to me not seeing that I absolutely have to respond to something, the number of games where I do this is starting to irritate me.
In other random news, went to gobase and did the korean problem academy on clock. Level 1, 200 problems, 15 minutes, completed with 1 question stumping me, and 20 errors at most. 85-90%. Okay not too bad, didn't have to think about the answers most times, but the problems are grouped by type, so my test-taking skills might've biased my accuracy. Level 2, 100 problems I think, 30 minutes. Closer to 40-60% first-try accuracy, took longer to read those out also.
Wow, another entry so soon. Amazing. One of those mental state roller coaster days. Early in the morning, I played a game and because I misread a ladder and dropped a corner, got overly annoyed at myself and wound up getting cut and losing the lead I have. Worse that I dropped a rank because of it, that really ticked me off at myself. Going off to find another game to work the irritation out of my system, I started a game against a 17k who played one of the chinese-like formations, and I ran around the board grabbing points pressing black to the right 3rd line. Once I had a fair hold on my designated territory, the fun starts. Black tries to cap and push that moyo out, but left me a small back door with a connected group. I just pushed in and started laying waste, sacrificing stones here and there to keep marching through. It looked really impressive until my only cursory reading slipped and I lost about all the stones I put in there. Unperturbed, I was close enough to another opening to continue the march, separate an neglected invasion group, then ruthlessly stab its eyes out. W+82.5. I knew it wasn't exactly the most elegant of games, since black didn't defend the moyo properly, but it certainly made me feel better.
I slept and woke up feeling happy, and got a teaching game from a 10-11k. The combination of feeling calm, knowing the player was known for tactics, and in general being distracted by what I was doing, I played thickly, and though being solid seems to be the trend in my style today was sluggish even by my standards. Got yelled at for that, but eh, I wasn't looking hard enough and I knew that already. I'll swing back to normal later in the day I think.
Now for more general Go musings. I play peacefully when given a choice and like having firm hold of what I declare my territory. However, I think I'd like to try moving fast. Last few games I've switched to the faster double-hoshi. (while refusing to play san-ren-sei on general principle) but still wound up being thick. It'll be tough figuring out when listening to the little voice telling me to back up is right or just being thick. In any case, I think I shall try to fly around the board as fast as I can manage without being sliced up here and there.
It's been a while since I've written here. Interesting things have happened since last time. Firstly, 15k now (^^)V. It's somehow surreal that I can (in theory) give 9 stones to a 26k now. Since I feel most of what I know is subconscious I don't feel I've gone THAT far. I've a feeling I'll be stuck around this rank for a time, the 10-13ks seem to know a lot more than I do and catching up won't be easy.
Lloyd offered me 7 stones instead of 9 a bit ago. Which was nice since that meant he was getting worried about my 9-stone mine-field of doom play. 7H however, was an absolute disaster. With the extra room to move he had a lot more chances to slice me up while I strained to keep him contained. Once I'm sliced, staying alive is difficult, so almost everything I had died horribly. Time to adjust tactics!
I've been having great fun playing games against NannyOgg. Higher level players said that we're both pretty greedy, I just did it better because I'm a smidge more paranoid and cautious. I expect in a few days she'll start settling her groups sooner and games'll get much more difficult since she outreads me. Games where it's all settled groups vs. settled groups are tricky, I feel. It takes a lot of attention to counting early on to maintain the balance of score since nothing can really be attacked easily for profit.
Lastly, I think it's about time to start messing around with new fusekis! Hoshi+komoku is nice enough when I play my usual steady pace, and double-hoshi for when I feel I have move at suicide pace. However, it's about time to start experimenting with 3-3, mokuhazushi, and takamoku. The fighting ones are going to be troublesome since I don't like huge fights, but we'll see.
One of those 'losing streak' days again.
Lloyd beat me up at 9H again. It was really fun though, and he really only had one thing tell me "Don't touch invading stones!!!" Sometimes I do it right, but it seems most times I get unsettled and touch, one of those 'know it in your head but your instincts take over' things. It was however, very funny to hear him say "Good move!" and then immediately after "Baaad move!" here and there.
I shall admit here to something I'm not proud of, but it's a good lesson for anyone. In even game against a 20k as a 16k. Big whole-board fight that left aji all over the place and I had the lead by about 10 points though I'm bad at counting and it felt very close to even. Then my opponent started doing a few of those hated desperation dives after things were solidified a fair amount, just fishing for a misread. It being 5am, I cracked and invaded back, if I just had to wrack my caffeine-soaked brain reading out threats, I'd at least want to return the favor once or twice! Then came the misclick, 1 space below where the stone was supposed to go, self-atari, a dead corner comes to life, game over... I am officially an idiot...
Lessons learned? Being level-headed pays off, so lay off the early morning tea!
Embarrassing stupidity aside, I did encounter something fun today. I don't usually play blitz games but I did today as white for redemption. What was amusing was that my opponent decided to use San-ren-sei and I was instantly reminded of nachtrabe's "san-ren-sei and pray" quip from a few days ago. Certainly an interesting way to play in a game with limited time. Thank goodness he couldn't seal in my 4 groups and by stabbing as deeply and strongly as I could, managed to reduce it down to a win by a hair. He managed to take the entire right side however so I can't say I disrupted his plans as much as I'd like. At least I won at something today.
My rank went totally out of control today. Started at 16k? from 17k? overnight, which sounds about right to me. So I play a 17k, and managed to win with black. Suddenly I'm 15k?. Much too far, without a doubt, I'm not that good. So, looking to lose, I play a 16k. If the game played out properly, I should've lost with white. It was a close game, but I made a bad trade and it neutralized my entire bottom territory. But my opponent missed a big atari returning my bottom, and resigned. ARGH. So now, 14k?. Because that 16k gave me a fair drubbing even, my best guess it that I should be 16-17k and an unwanted string of luck is setting me up for a series of nasty losses in the next few days until my rank settled.
Then came the solution, lose to the Rankbots! Playing bots isn't very entertaining 'cept for a laugh, but they're certainly useful. It's silly perhaps, but the 16k games felt 'just right' in terms of getting a solid game so it seemed better to settle my rank down.
KGS keeps wanting me to play rated games, otherwise it smacks me with a 17k? instead of solid 17k. You mean 1 game a day, or three isn't enough?! >_<;;;;;
Had a really fun teaching game with Nachtrabe very early today. He hit me with the MagicSword and I didn't know that formation had a name. When he put the stone down though, all the alarm bells went off: "Something very, very dangerous just happened." It was so nasty, I felt it in my chest. That whole corner went bye-bye btw. It was good that I saw it though. Now can I see if there are relatively peaceful ways out and study those a bit until I'm ready to study the real thing. Probably should do the same for Taisha at some point. 1 main line and 1 simplifying variant will do me for a long time I think.
Nacht mentioned that places I tended to play fast was where I tended to get sliced to ribbons. Which was true, the more I sense danger, the more I slow down. I just don't quite spot the dangers yet.
Okay I've decided that the promo to 18k isn't a computational error now. Haven't played too many games recently, but I'm definitely noticing that various players around my level (including myself) have very big gaps in knowledge that manifest in our games.
For example, I feel my fuseki is very strong for an 18k against another 18k, I can manipulate things in such a way that I'm ahead. I've also been told by a 8k that I've got the fundamentals of connecting/cutting down pat. Today I played someone who had a really shaky opening and underestimated the value of walls. White pulled a 3-3 invasion on my hoshi on move 6, I was overjoyed at the free influence. To compound matters, she didn't follow the joseki and gave me even stronger walls. The game settled in my favor without too much sweating, just a bit of care.
In contrast, I'm developing a dislike for sprawling fights, I'm not great at spotting tesuji, sloppy at reading deeply, and though I *can* exert myself and do the reading needed for a proper fight, it's a slow and exhausting process that I prefer not to get involved in without just cause. It'd be an adventure when I come across a super-aggressive fighter that refuses to cooperate with my passive-agressive tendencies.
Whee, jumped up to 18k just this morning with this game. Of course there have been exactly 2 games since I was 20k so a loss or a rounding error'll smack me down so I'm not about to say I've hit that rank just yet.
A few observations. I'm slowly getting cured of my "white-disease". But I seem to be sacrificing a lot of stones to do so. There's always a good chance I'll be down as much as 10 captures, which is a fair sign I'm not doing things as properly as I should be. I'd probably be in a heap of trouble when my opponents start to spurn the sacrifices I offer up.
The included game is a good example of this bad trait. I (white) have fairly pristine territory, a huge horrendous fight in the center where I used to have a semi-loose moyo. I will lose a bunch of stones (10 white captured to 6 black at this point), on purpose and by accident in trying to crush an invasion. Loss of another huge group, but as compensation manage to save my sorry behind in a big exchange or placing an unassailable hold on what I have left.
What I don't know is the value of this exchange. White lost a huge chunk of territory on the left center. but gained another big chunk on the right. Black got a lot of reduction and saving those invested stones while White kills (or chops off most of) a large group.
LukeNine45: Interestingly enough, if my counting is correct, and earned white 40 points (dead stones and territory). and are harder to evaluate. First, if black kills (as happened in the game) he gets about 25 points (mostly dead white stones). If white manages to save her stones, she'll kill 15 black stones, plus 5 more (chances are either or will get cut off) for 40 points in stones + a couple points of territory. So what black actually got out of that is around 65 points: the 25 he got and the 40 white didn't get.
So comparing that with what white got (40 points), it seems to me that black gained around 25 points in this trade. Actually, it won't quite be that much because there are some stones that white can cut off-- so maybe more like 15-20 points black gained.
So you won this game not because of this trade, but because of the very large territories you had at the top and right side (which looks as big or bigger than black's top territory even before you capture his group).
(if that was nonsensical then it's because I'm feeling kind of sick today, sorry...)
Oh wow, I never considered those extra marked stones in the trade, which made it seem a lot more even in my head. Yay for having lots of territory to give away and still coming out on top then =)
Whee! In an even 0.5komi game I managed to win against a 15k. Too bad it was a non-ranked game, but it was certainly fun. I wound up sacrificing a fair number of stones that game, but it seemed that being aware of, and remembering to cover them one way or another helped a lot. I'm probably still not cured of my curse as white, but it's a good start.
I've noticed that I seem to do better in my games as black. There's got to be at least some psychological element in this, as the second I start using white I leave myself even more wide open to counter-attack than I usually do. In last few games, I seemed to have some better results now that I try to rein myself in and play some dual-purpose moves that cover some weak points.
nachtrabe: I thought for a long time that I did better as black. Then I looked at the statistics on my own games, and discovered it was mostly in my mind--I did less than 5% better. :)
However, maybe it speaks a bit about 20k-ish players in general and how clueless we are about sente and proper direction of play. I'm careless to a fault in fights, and it's no uncommon for me to lose concentration and drop 5, 10, even 15 stones in a big fight.
As black however, I manage to scrape up a fair enough lead in terms of potential moyo or territory during the fuseki that with some dedication I can solidify my framework, squeeze or crush any invasion so that it can still come down to a close game.
As white, I've a strong urge to try to wrest sente from black as early as possible, usually through the mutual damage principle. Often by move 6 I've ignored a black approach to play my own. Problem is, I try too hard at it, overextend, and now I'm faced with a wobbly corner (or two!), a piece of a side or two, and a running group in a heap of trouble.
In handicap games it's even more pronounced. on 9H as black, I've barely pulled off .5 margin wins against some nice 13ks and a 7k, so I'm maybe 1-2 overrated. As white in handi, I'm probably 3-5 stones weaker than I should be. Losing consistently by 30+ points to just about anyone who comes along that can read more than 2 moves out.
Guess it's time to start working on reading! =)