Ha, I love you all so much I'm blogging when I should be sleeping. Work continues apace on my non-go related website. I've also kicked out a couple of articles for publication in some non-go related magazines. I also did some problems and discussed Go strategy with a friend.
Things will return to normal shortly, I am sure. The only different between now and then is that I'm only doing problems. Wait, what? Hmmm, I've not really changed much, just squeezing more in between the problems. So, still focused on problems, want to play more, but am still actively involved in a number of games on DGS.
This means, of course, that I've been neglecting Go, and probably will continue to do so until the new site is up and running. Still, I plan on continuing to do at least a few problems every day. Who knows, perhaps I'll enforce a little self-discipline and find a game over the weekend.
In fact, right now I'm off to do some problems.
These overnight shifts are getting expensive. Tonight was a nice, relaxed night, self indulgent and soothing. I did over 100 problems on http://problems.com and read a book cover to cover. That's the expense of the evening, though I guess $10 for 5 hours entertainment isn't an expensive trade.
This weekend is the Winter Tournament in Montreal. Unfortunately I will not be able to make it due to my shift. I don't think I will be able to handle the long day ending in an 8 hour overnight shift. I was looking forward to it, and have searched for other tournaments and found none.
I'm a little upset that the CGA has so little information. The site hasn't been updated since September 2005. It seems like it's completely dead, which definitely doesn't bode well for Go in Canada.
Huzzah and hooray! Today I noticed that Java was working on my office computer. It had previously been down, which meant that http://www.goproblems.com was unavailable to me at work. No longer, and to celebrate I gorged on over 100 problems of varying difficulties.
This site is not perfect, as anyone knows who's experienced a fuseki problem created by an enthusiastic 10k, but it is good for doing lots of problems quickly.
Really, I shouldn't worry about how many problems I do compared to how much time I spend on them. If, for a change, I work on harder problems and only manage 10 I should not feel bad. It is the time spent reading that is important. However, it's much easier to track how many problems I've completed then the time I've spent working on them, so I will continue to report the numbers.
Other then playing a game against my coworker and reading another chapter of Tesuji, this is all I have done tonight.
I'd like to take a moment for a little personal promotion and give a shout out to 106.9 The Bear. They're looking for a Web Coordinator and I've applied for the position. One of the skills they are looking for is the ability to generate content, and I've directed them here for an example of my rockin' content generating abilities.
Rock on, The Bear, rock on!
I owe people an apology. I don't want to appear conceited, so I try not to think about my readers. Mostly, I'm just talking to myself as a way to mental cap-off a day of study. However, people are reading and I do care. I visit Most Popular at least every day to track my hits, and when someone mentions my blog in conversation I'm thrilled.
A while back I hit #1 of pages created in the last 30 days and stayed there until my 30 day anniversary. Right now the #1 page has 700 less hits then I did at the time. I'm on track for #1 in 6 months. I'd love to make the 100 all time list, though I have little hope of beating out Recent Changes to make #1 of that list. So, I'd like to thank all those who read my blog. The knowledge that there was someone reading has definitely helped to keep me on track when I've wavered. I hope you will continue to find what I have to say interesting. Hopefully, as I improve at Go what I have to say will be more useful, and until then, you get a laugh out of my theories. Although, now that I've mentioned that I watch Most Popular, please don't feel that you have to bump me. I'm happy to let things take their course, and don't wish the numbers skewed.
I've moved into new territory in Graded Go Problems For Beginners vol III after restarting the book once the problems started getting too hard. I'm up into the 3rd section of the book and the problems have gotten hard again. Instead of restarting right away I think I'll re-read Tesuji again. I haven't finished it yet, but again I'm getting to the point where things are starting to slow down and not sink in. I can tell I'm not benefitting from it because I don't do the problems right and tend to skip over bits. I think I will also order GGP vol II just to get more problems.
I also played a game tonight. A number actually, but only the first taught me anything. I played a very strong player with a 9 stone handicap on KGS. We called the game early because I wanted time to review before going to work, but I'm pretty sure I had lost, though it was fairly close. I could tell all the reading was paying off because I made a few good mid-game moves. However, I'm still often lost in the opening. When I do remember to use Shygost's list, I'm often not sure how best to defend my weak group or attack my opponents. Definitely more games will help me in this, and I will make an effort to seek out more quick games. A quick game for me is about an hour, so it's still definitely not fast. I've tried playing faster, but I end up making plays I immediately see as bad and it frustrates me.
My other games where high handicap 9x9 games. I'm trying to teach a friend at work, and he's finally defeated me on 5 stones. I'd like to play one more quick game at 5 stones to cement his knowledge, then move him up to 4 stones. My other fellow overnighter claimed to know Go, but says he's forgotten how to play and isn't willing to learn.
These three weeks of overnights are long. Sure, I have more time for Go, but I just really hate having free time, work, sleep, instead of work, free time and sleep. That way, you can always squeeze sleep a little bit for a little more free time, like to stay awake 30 minutes longer because a stronger player is graciously giving you a review. Not so if you have to go to work.
Tonight has gone better than the last. The first night of overnights is always the roughest, and things will just get better until the weekend, when I revert to a normal cycle until I'm back at work. This is, I've been told, the key to working an overnight shift.
I did around 80 problems on the Korean Problem Academy lvl 3. I didn't get them all right, and found I guessed on a bit too many. Still, I'm doing them, I'm keeping my brain practicing Go, which is good. Things are on a bit of a downswing, and if I let things swing too far it takes too long to return.
My hobbies and interests are cyclical. I move from one interest to the next, full of enthusiasm for each in turn. Once the initial enthusiasm wanes there is usually a new interest on the horizon so I just keep moving on. This is normal and natural for me, I cannot fight it, all I can do is try to keep doing a bit of Go everyday so that I don't have to re-walk the same path when the interest burns bright again.
Not to worry though, I think that I will not let the pendulum go quite so far as normal. There have been some changes in my life that seems to herald a new focus and outlook. I think that since we all tend to live longer then our ancestors, the individual stages of life expand to fill that extra time. My adolesence was extended for many years, but is now fading.
I could be wrong though. Life has been preventing me from going to the Go Clubs, but that will change shortly. It is also the new focus on problems. Not that I've changed my mind on their importance, nor enjoy them less. I think it is pride. I want to put more in the progress and goals columns then just "did more problems." Isn't vanity hypocritical in it's absurdity?
I am more tired then I think (I am writing with my eyes closed to "rest" them) for I recall that there is more progress to report then simply "more problems." I'm currently engaged in a game on DGS, several, in fact, but one has been quite interesting in that the opening has progressed very much in my favour. I did get a handicap, but things are flowing so well that I feel I would be doing just as well without. For example, I played a joseki (in that, I've seen the exchange in games) where one player invades the opponent's corner and takes half, giving their opponent sente. Except in this game, my opponent was nice enough to give sente back for no gain.
I did recently run into trouble though. My opponent had a 4 point extension of the 3rd line which I was convinced was open to invasion. I chose my spot carefully, since it wasn't symmetrical, and came in towards the side where my opponent was stronger, using the idea of cutting the side you don't want and forcing my opponent to strengthen a strong position to defend against my invasion. My opponent responded with a shoulder-hit on my invading stone and my confidence vanished.
This is one of those situations where reading skills are important to understand whether a move will work or not. That, and the ability to read instead of thinking. I panicked: I couldn't run into the center as I would be facing an immediate cut. I figured I was toast and just shut down the thinking process. This caused me to make two mistakes. First, if I was so convinced that the stone was lost and not worth saving, I should have just left it. Judging from my opponent's previous play, they would have probably ignored my next move to continue attacking this stone.
The second mistake was that I stopped reading. I made a one point jump, contacting the further stone of the opponent 4 point extension. My opponent played hane and I missed an opportunity. See, I'd seen a similar situation quite often in one of my memorized games. It wasn't exact, but it gave me a clue how to play this position. The problem was, I didn't realize it at the time and continued to make a mess.
Really this is good. The game is not over, but my mind is already reviewing it and thinking of different ways to play a position. Also, the game was going so well that I was either making perfect plays or both my opponent and I were oblivious to my mistakes. Since I'm roughly 18k, I imagine it was the latter rather then the former. With that in mind, starting to see mistakes in the game is a good thing.
Malweth: I have the same problem with interests. I've always been really into something, and that something changed about every six months to a year. With Go it is different and I think you'll find that, once you've reached a certain point, you will be able to take a few months off and pick right back up again (such as the recent holidays when I changed jobs and had no time for go). In fact, I've found there are times when I need a break of 1-4 weeks just to improve, though these breaks are hard to find ;)
RE the diagram, it is important to stay away from thickness. Cutting on the side you don't want doesn't apply here because there is no cut! Furthermore, this move is moyo reducing only (unless the rest of the board supports an attack on the thick group) because both of white's sides look safe.
I am so very tired. It's my first night back on the overnight shift and the timed passes slowly. I hope I don't fall asleep on the drive home. Still, I did plenty of problems, 20 from Graded Go Problems for beginners and some 40 from the Korean Problem Academy.
I am more convinced that I need to purchase more problem books. I'm able to complete too many of the problems on the Korean Problem Academy from memory, rather then by reading. I'm still looking for suggestions on good problem books. There's a thread on my discussion page.
Wow, what a hectic day. At first things are quiet, so my works starts sending employees home early. Then, they send so many people home it gets crazy busy and we're not meeting our service goals. The worst thing is that this is a weekly, if not daily, occurance.
I did get plenty of problems done. I prefer problems from books, but I find that it takes longer to do problems from Graded Go Problems for Beginners then to do problems from the Korean Problem Academy on gobase. I think GGP requires a bit more reading to solve, and Korean Problem Academy focuses on patterns, recognizing patterns of eyespace to know how to kill it. I think both are important, we need to be able to read, and we need to recognize patterns to find ways to kill shapes. Reading is superior, but pattern recognition helps speed up reading to make it more effective.
I've really been having fun with all these problems I've been doing. I didn't get as many done today because I've been in training for work for most of my day, but I still did over 200. One of the reasons I've done so few compared to yesterday is that I'm doing the problems from level 2 of the Korean Problem Academy. It takes a little bit longer for each one, which adds up.
I definitely want to purchase another book on problems. Graded Go Problems for Beginners vol III is good, but I want to vary the source and difficulty of the problems. One of my concerns is memorizing specific problems instead of reading them out. Some problems are so unique that they tend to stick in the brain, and I know the answer without having to read it. Still, I verify the answer by reading, so it's not a total waste.
I was thinking of 1001 Life and Death Problems or Graded Go Problems for Beginners vol II. Perhaps I will get both. I would be happy to hear suggestions for other books in my discussion forum.
It took me a few days, but I've finally removed the schedule I'd never followed. I'm also going gangbusters on doing problems. I did 200 of the level 1 problems from the Korean Problem Academy on gobase yesterday, trying to go as fast as I could. Did the same 200 again today, making sure each one was correct. I've been also moving along with Graded Go Problems for Beginners. It's not so much about finishing as it is about just doing them, so I can't say where I am. I just start over when the problems start getting dense, and I skip the stuff where the answer depends on opening theory rather then reading through sequences.
Last night I played a quick game on KGS. I made plenty of mistakes and learnt a lot. Like most of my games, I'm not hung-up on winning, just how well I do considering the strength of my opponent. I think my opponent was about 6k and we played even, so while I made some serious mistakes (which were shown to me during the review, so I will try not to make them again) I stayed alive and had a decent amount of territory. Not that I'm specifically proud of my game as I didn't manage a move above my level. Still, I'm one game better.
Just need to get this off my chest so I can sleep peacefully. It is crushing to have your questions ignored during a review of your own game, and to have your questions ignored after specifically asking (and receiving) permission during the review of some else's game. Makes me feel small.
Went to the Grand Torturer yesterday, which is why no blog entry. A clean bill of health for my choppers and then celebrating by taking my wife out for an early Valentines dinner was my fate.
I've spent most of today doing problems. I've tried not looking at the answers, but I still do from time to time, especially when things appear to be too easy. Still, I've been moving at a fair clip and enjoying myself.
I was thinking about going to Go Club tonight, but realized that I'd need to leave my wife home along with a sink full of dishes and that is a Valentine's Sin I don't need on my conscience. I still hope to sneak online for some KGS comradery at some point tonight, as well as update my training plans.
I'm going back on overnight shifts next week for 3 weeks, so will be able to really get some good practice in. Unfortunately it will mean I'll be less able to go to the Chinese Go Club, as I'll need to sleep during the day on Sunday. I also just realized that I won't be able to make it to the Winter Tournament in Montreal like I was planning for the same reason. Ugh. Oh well, lots of study time anyways and it's only for 3 weeks.
Thing are looking good in regards to my wife's family. Meanwhile, on the Go front, today was Chinese Go Club. I played two games, again with my friend and another with a very strong player.
Against my friend, I gave him 4 stones, cleared him off the sides and corner and forced him to live in the center. Despite my advice from last Sunday he still thought the center was a viable option. However, I should him how even if he got walls on the 5th line, he'd still be behind. That should fix things. Honestly, the thing he needs to work at the most is learning to resign. The score was again massively lopsided, and again, that doesn't really mean much. However, if he'd resigned earlier he could have started a new game, which is more fun then playing something you know you have no chance, plus you improve faster.
The game against the strong player was a bit of a teaching game. There were some times when he showed me alternate moves that would have worked better, but let my plays stand (I prefer this, show me where I made a mistake, but don't let me take back a bunch of moves). He also gave me some general advice and I'm sure he didn't try hard to crush me. However, the game came down to the end with still valuable places to play. I didn't lose by much, but again, that doesn't matter. It was a very useful game because he gave some good advice and I really appreciate it. I think he's 5-6d amature.
He's suggested I focus more on problems, and I think I will for a little bit. I'm still going to replay some pro games, but I think I will work mostly on stuff from Graded Go Problems for Beginners and the Korean Problem Academy on gobase. Tesuji is feeling very thick. I don't feel I'm really understanding the concepts, so it can probably rest a bit until I'm stronger. Against his advice I will continue with 501 Opening Problems. It's definitely not a problem book for me, as I'm content to find the right direction to play, even if I'm slightly off on my moves. However, it is not my focus, problems are my focus.
An illness in my wife's family will keep me from posting for a couple of days. I've opened a topic for those that wish to comment.
Moyo is illusion and threat only.
This thought earned me some derisive comments from people on KGS who didn't understand what I meant.
A lot of Go is about illusion. Things aren't, they may be. Moyo is the illusion of territory and the threat to make territory. It is an illusion because no matter what we think, it is not territory. Moyo can be invaded and reduced by an opponent. It can even be erased and if one tries too hard to keep the moyo everything can be lost.
As a threat Moyo finds it's use. It threatens to make territory. Like all threats, if your opponent ignores it you follow through, turning Moyo into territory. A move which makes moyo and threatens to attack an enemies weak group is a dual threat. Like all threats, on its own it can be resisted and even strengthen your opponent, like a bad cut or vulger peep.
Today I did my normal. I'm not moving to level 2 from GGP as after a few problems found them to be too difficult. It could be that I was feeling headachey and dull. Either way, I figure instead of bashing my head against I'd just redo level 1 for the practice. I mean, this isn't a race to finish the book but a way to do more diverse problems then just those from the Korean Problem Academy on Gobase.
Ahhh, good to be back. I was able to get everything done today that I'd planned. I read the chapter from Tesuji, finished Level 1 of GGP, replayed my pro games, etc, etc.
Speaking of pro games, after my game Sunday with my friend I replayed a pro game for him and showed him some more stardard openings, as his unorthodox moves were the reason I won so easily. Once again, memorizing pro games proves extremely useful. He was able to watch both sides and ask why a certain move was made. Since it was a game I memorized because the moves were very normal, and because it's the first game I memorized, I was able to explain why a certain move and not others.
Tonight I'm not going to my Go club since I want to make sure I don't get sick again. Without paid sick-days it's an expensive prospect.
Today I stayed home from work sick and read Sharpe's Fortress. Unfortunately I don't get paid sick days, so wanted to get as much rest as possible. I enjoy studying Go because it stimulates the mind. Today was not a day for stimulation.
Today I dragged my rear to the Chinese Go Club. I'd invited a friend from work to come, so I knew I couldn't change my mind at the last minute again. I'm glad I did, and wish I didn't have that little idiosyncrasy about never wanting to go somewhere, but being glad I did when I do.
I ended up playing my friend. I don't want to avoid playing the more experienced players at the club, so was thinking that I wouldn't play my friend unless he was feeling intimidated and wanted to play someone he knew first. It turns out that the club head hadn't shown up yet and all the gobans were locked. My friend had brought his own board, so we started playing on that.
The game lasted from 2:30 to 4:30. It was an even game. This friend was the one who introduced Go to my office, where I initially learnt it. The very last time we played I won and we'd tentatively discussed me giving him a stone next game. That was three years ago, and until last month, I hadn't been playing at all. Unable to agree on a handicap, I suggested we just play even, and someone would win and someone would lose, but it didn't matter who.
Within 30 minutes I was waiting for him to resign. He's maybe, 5 games behind me, but at our weak level, that's major. He opened on the sides and didn't get any territory there, I had all 4 corners and most of the sides. He was aiming at a small center territory, but I reduced it with a big dragon that I grew out of a secure side. It was clear, however, that this game was a test of his abilities. He didn't want any outside advice. He was determined to learn as best he could from his own mistakes and I respect that. That's why I didn't suggest he resign.
In the end, I had lots of territory along all the sides and corners, and had reduced his centeral territory to nearly nothing. My captures filled it all at the end with roughly 30 stones left over.
Next game things will be tighter, even if we play even again. He wants 10 stones and I may give them to him, even though he doesn't need them. We'll just half the handicap each time he wins until we find one that works. I wouldn't be suprised that we'll end up even. After all, such a large score doesn't mean anything, other then that he should have resigned earlier.
Other then the one game at the Go club I didn't get much done this weekend. I ended up spending all Saturday fixing my wife's computer. Oh well, the Goals will just carry over.
I'll tell you a secret. I wish I had a mentor. Someone who's homepage here would say "Coyote is one of his/her students." Someone who was grooming me and guiding me to improve. At this stage I can learn a lot on my own, but would enjoy the mentor/mentee bond.
Friday is great. An old buddy of mine, from the days when I first started playing Go many years ago, has returned to town and will be joining me at the Ottawa Chinese Go Club. I guess I won't be able to be lazy Sunday and decide not to show.
Things definitely did slow down for me yesterday, but I feel I'm back on track today. I'm up to 152 moves from the Takagawa Kaku/Rin Kaiho game and made progress in both Tesuji and GGP. The opening problem section I'd paused on in GGP wasn't too long, but I'm happy to report that I got a bunch correct. It's harder to read out opening problems then life and death, so it's very much making an educated guess at this point. At least now, after 501 Opening Problems I can added 'educated' in front of 'guess.'
I think I'm going to slow down reading Tesuji to one chapter a day. I think I'm not absorbing it as fast as I used to. Also, in order to test and reinforce my memory of my two pro games, I'm going to replay the first 100 moves on two goban's simultaniously, alternating moves. So, it'll go: Cho Hunhyun , Takagawa Shukaku , O Rissei , Rin Kaiho , etc, etc. I think it'll help me be able to break down the moves to better take them out of context.
The more I memorize pro games the more I am convinced that this is very good study. It is worth playing 5 games improvement, maybe more. I saw a shape in a game on DGS that I remembered Rin Kaiho making in one of my memorized games. I've seen the interesting mirrored joseki's played by Hunhyun and Rissei in many games. Not that all replayed pro games should be memorized. Definitely just playing through a pro game at a decent speed is useful. Replaying many pro games gives you a feel for what moves can be played. Memorizing games helps you judge very specific moves in specific contexts. Both are very useful.
Wow, it's so nice to not have such a huge page. I may archive weekly to keep things managable.
Not much doing today. Last night I watched my Sens lose to the Devils, then watched the game between Hane Naoki and Yamashita Keigo. Today I did problems from 501 Opening Problems and read some more from Tesuji. I didn't even touch the Shukaku game.
I ended up not playing last night. All my friends on KGS were more interested in watching the game between Hane Naoki and Yamashita Keigo. Not that I blame them, and I watched as well. I did get a review in during the match's lunch break. My main focus for self-review is to look at those places where I made a certain move motivated out of fear.
For example, I played , forcing my opponent to make the good play at . Instead of should have played at a or . However, I was afraid of overextending and getting invaded at b. So, after this advice during the review today I played some variations of white attempting to invade and cut me there, and also, white's responses to a and how I would respond. I won't do this for every bad move in the game, but I think it's definitely a good way to study.
I've gotten far enough along in GGP vol III that I'm getting some opening problems. Here is definitely a place where I've been struggling (as you can see from the example of my mistake during my last game). Instead of blindly guessing I've started reading 501 Opening Problems. Once I've made a start in that I will be able to do some of the opening problems in GGP.
Tonight I will probably relax, do some problems and see if my wife can take me at 4 stones on a 9x9 yet.