BadShape (The Player)
BadShape - The Player - 1Dan (Rusty) - Playing on KGS as 'K5'
I was christened "BadShape" by my go teacher and mentor because I had a tendancy to play to the limit of my reading, to try too hard to squeeze the most from the stones. Whilst this shows good fighting spirit, it resulted in my relying too much on sequences that just happened to work when I played them but went spectacularly wrong later.
I was cured of my excessive badshape by reading James Davies' excellent "Attack and Defence" as about 7 kyu and learnt not to bother to try to read complicated sequences; if it was hard to read, I assumed something would go wrong later and so I played a simpler move. This was more effective, because I left a lot less bad aji around. In the space of a month or so, I learnt to think much less and play much better go (got up to about 4 kyu). If you're coming from a chess background and are dogged by bad aji, you may well have the same problem. The solution could be as simple as not trying so hard - don't play shapes you've not seen before, stick to the safe patterns - avoid BAD SHAPE.
These days, I still merit the term 'BadShape', but more at the start (I'm very poor - because I'm not interested in spending time to learn josekis). A collection of my commented tournament games is available online from my personal Go page. Currently I'm about 1 dan, but I'm too busy to play much these days, sadly.
I wrote a Ph.D. thesis on game-tree searching inspired by ComputerGo, planning a program which had no pattern matcher! My thoughts on shape were best summarised by a comment from a 5 Dan amateur: "The Best shape is the shape that works." This maxim does not pay quite enough attention to aesthetics, I don't think, but has an appealingly simple logic.
I have patiently carried a printout of a go problem in my wallet so I can get it out if someone asks me "Have you got a problem?" I guess it's not as funny as it seemed at the time, and my enjoyment of the joke has paled slightly in the 10 or so years I've been carrying the thing with me (still unused). However, the problem itself is one that I made up and as well as having a few rather interesting variations, is a very easy one to remember.