BQM 278

    Keywords: Question

I've been playing Go for about three months now, but I've studied every day and progressed very quickly. I'm probably a single digit kyu just from my handicap games against my teacher (1 dan) - I can beat him consistently and soundly (40 points) with five stones, and other players at my club by comparable numbers. However, I've noticed that when I play online I am a terrible player - I make stupid moves without thinking and I find myself not caring too much about the game online - then I get so frustrated by myself that I resign the game and go do something else to cheer me up (I'm losing to 15 or 16 kyu players). Does anyone have any suggestions for playing online vs. playing with someone in front of you? -kb

Alex: I have the same problem, though not as bad as it sounds like in your case. I'm a good two stones or so weaker online than over the board.

Clicking impulsively without thinking is part of the problem... just try to resist the urge, take your hand off the mouse between moves, etc. It's a hard habit to break, though; I've never managed to shake it entirely.

However, I think in your case, it sounds like you're unfamiliar with Internet style and haven't developed the fighting skills to cope with it. If you're that consistent at your club, the players are probably quite passive - wild fighting tends to up the standard deviation in wins/losses. So maybe playing against unreasonable Internet players is good for you.

Even so, if you're beating a 1 dan by 40 points every game with 5 stones, you're probably 3 kyu or so in that ranking system. If you were really that strong after 3 months, I'd call you a prodigy. However, given that your internet performance is 13 stones off, I don't think differences in playing style and clicking too fast are enough to account. I suspect the rankings at your go club are rather inflated. What country are you living in, and have the players at your club established their ratings by playing at tournaments, or on an Internet server, or just set them themselves?

You'd have to say that a teacher who can bring a player from not knowing the rules to single-digit kyu in 3 months of casual club teaching is also a prodigy.

kb: My teacher is an experienced Go player who just came to America from China mainland about two months ago. He has been 1 dan for about 10 years now and his teacher was his classmate, a 4 dan. His ranking is certainly not inflated - I introduced him to IGS and he was playing even with 1 and 2 dan players online.

My problem may stem from the fact that in think fighting or invasions I am not comfortable with unreasonable plays, like you said... my teacher plays a territory-oriented style (he has to, we play handicap games!) but is very good at reductions, invasions, and leaning attacks - which has been a great help to me because now I can focus more on strategy than tactics... but I would say sometimes, like you said, I don't know how to cope with moves I know are dumb and I can point out are dumb, but somehow work.

Velobici: Perhaps reviewing a couple of your online games with your teacher would help you.

moves I know are dumb and I can point out are dumb, but somehow work...sounds like a fundamental is missing from your skill set. If these are truly dumb moves are invasions, you should be able to punish them by forcing your opponent to struggle to live or escape while you build either territory or power. If the truly dumb moves are contact plays, they may be sacrifice stones for making sabaki and therefore not dumb moves at all. (Hard to believe that this is the case at the 15-16 kyu level.) If the dumb moves are deviations from joseki, then the advantage to be gained by punishing them may be quite small indeed. In that base it might be best to play your normal game rather than try to punish. But anytime that you see a dumb move, look to see if one of the basic problem situations has arisen or can be created: base problem, connection problem, or liberty problem.

Bill: Why are you playing with 15 - 16 kyu players? You should play with 5 kyu players and up. Those games should be reasonably challenging and enjoyable for you. Playing very weak players is not good for you at this point.

Here is an idea. Sign on as a guest and play as 5 kyu. If you lose that game, sign on later as a guest and play as 6 kyu. Once you win a game at some level, stay at that level for a while. But not for too long. Do not expect online ratings systems to keep up with your advancement for several months, if not a year or more.

Rich - just to clarify - you take five stones from your teacher on a 9x9 or 19x19 board? Playing sloppily and ignoring the game makes (in my experience) at most 4 or 5 stones difference on 19x19 once you're a single-digit kyu. You'd have to consciously make several bad moves to lose to 15-16k players...

Bill: kb makes some bad moves and then resigns. That does not mean that he would lose if instead of resigning he took a deep breath and played the game out seriously.

dnerra: Just a small point: watch your time usage. When I am playing faster than necessary, than that is sometimes the earliest sign telling me that I am not paying full attention. So I will try to refocus. My playing strength online also varies by a lot.

kb: Thanks to the suggestions by everyone above - greatly appreciated! To respond to Rich, I play 19x19 games only... could it be I am not accustomed to playing against those with radically different playing styles than my teacher? To respond to Dnerra, I actually play relatively slowly online and find myself having to make 4 or 5 moves in 30 seconds of time playing 10 min/25 move games.

Bill, I will try your suggestion - that seems very logical.

Dieter: The guy posting this question is 6d now online. So if someone out there is struggling with how to play online, it looks like kb himself is the man to answer it.

BQM 278 last edited by Dieter on February 6, 2013 - 17:49
RecentChanges · StartingPoints · About
Edit page ·Search · Related · Page info · Latest diff
[Welcome to Sensei's Library!]
Search position
Page history
Latest page diff
Partner sites:
Go Teaching Ladder
Login / Prefs
Sensei's Library