Well, here I am, back on my day shift. It's funny, although I have way less time because I actually have to do some work on this shift, I've gotten more Go stuff done. I've done 200 problems from the Korean Problem Academy on http://gobase.org and review both memorized games. I'd realized it had been a long time since I had reviewed either. I thought I might have forgotten most of each game. While I did mess up a few moves they were still mostly there.
Speaking of Gobase, they're finally going to start accepting advertising on their site. I don't mind, after the amount of work they've put in they definitely deserve a little bit of revenue. As long as they don't indulge in annoying, flashing ads or popups I won't mind a bit.
I wonder if having problems memorized is useful. Does it really help you, or is it just the practice you got from doing the problem enough to memorize it providing the increase in strength. Sometimes I wish I didn't remember some problems because I enjoyed solving them. Often those are the ones I remember above all others.
Instead of going through 50 problems on http://goproblems.com I did the first 50 problems from Graded Go Problems for Beginners vol III. There were a number of problems that I solved just from memory. I mean, I still had to read out the solution to test it, but I knew where to start from memory. I wish I could forget specific problems so that I could just keep redoing the same problems as practice. As it is, I will need to find a new source, as I'm noticing the problems on goproblems.com repeating as well. Oh well. I did what I wanted tonight.
I find that DGS games come and go in spurts. For a time, nothing much is happening, then you're hit with a bunch of games all at critical points where you can't wait to see how your opponent responds to your moves. Sometimes you're trying to weasel out of a bad situation you put yourself into a month ago, sometimes you're pressing an advantage in a game where you seem to be getting all the advantages. While DGS games are too slow to be my primary source of Go, they are still as fun as a live game.
I over-estimated the ease of Section III of Graded Go Problems For Beginners vol III. The questions are fun and challenging, and while they don't take all that long to read out, they are exhausting. I think that unlike many problems which can be solved through pattern recognition, where the shape looks similar to one you've seen before so you read based on previous experience, these problems need to be fully read out. I'm sure that to a 10kyu these problems are easily recognizable, but to me I'm reading in a whole new way. I'm looking at actual eye shape, trying to make specific dead shapes, find out proper responses to my non-forcing moves, etc. This is what is causing the pleasantly challenging/exhausting dichotomy. It's also, I'm guessing, good reading practice.
Unfortunately it means I'm not getting many done at one sitting. Tomorrow I will do a bunch of problems to warm up before moving to Section III. This way I'll have spent time on easy problems (which is recommended by most people) and will be warmed up, ready to tackle these harder problems.
Oy Vey! It's been too long without an update. It feels like I've been away forever. I'll be getting back in the saddle in regards to my study. I finished the design of my website, The General's Tent, and now can relax and just add content from time to time. The website, btw, is about Miniatures Wargaming and Roleplaying Games.
Tonight I wasn't at work as they've moved my week Tuesday-Saturday for next week. I plan on working on Go problems and seeing if I can't finish Graded Go Problems for Beginners soon. I think I've improved enough to finish the rest of the book. Other than that, now that I'm going back to days in a couple of weeks I'll be able to get the the Ottawa Chinese Go Club again and get some real games in.
How good it is to improve. I'm now on "Section III" of Graded Go Problems for Beginners vol III. It is the last section in the book and I'd attempted it a week or more ago and made no headway at all. Since then I've been doing problems on http://goproblems.com and otherwise taking it easy. While I haven't been improving tremendously fast, I did retry "Section III" and was able to solve the problems I'd struggled with. I know I am improving.
In everything, training for Go, weight loss, muscle building, sports, everything, there are breakthroughs and there are plateaus. For those that are taking their first steps the breakthroughs can come thick and fast. When the first plateau hits it can be very discouraging. The key is to keep working, keep pushing and keep faith that things are improving, even if you cannot tell.
I have definitely hit a plateau, but it is one of enthusiasm and not adjustment. I trust, though, that as long as I keep the flame alive it will grow bright and strong once more.
It is the lot of the beginner to make mistakes. By being aware of our mistakes we improve. In a ongoing game on DGS I've made a mistake and am following a poor path. However, I am following the path to learn how bad the mistake it, and to try to salvage. While it is important to abandon mistakes instead of compounding them, it is also important, as part of the learning process, to explore the mistakes to understand and remember them. It isn't enough to think something is a mistake. One must understand exactly why it is a mistake. It makes it less likely the mistake will be repeated, it makes similar mistakes less likely, and the very process of exploring the mistake trains reading skills.
So, now I'm trying to build the mistake into a wall which will squeeze my opponents thickness and negate it. Either it will, or I will resign, either way I will have learned something more. One game better.