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Death of a Glider
Death of a Glider (2)

About Me...

http://www.phong.org/pix/kgs_norank-alignright.png I've played go on and off (mostly off) for the past 5 years or so. I'm now getting steady improvement again after having been away from go for several years.

I play as fwiffo on KGS (I have a secondary account for fast games - pb4ugo). I have a [ext] personal homepage where I have all kinds of junk. You may recognize the name [ext] Fwiffo from [ext] Star Control II.

(ColJac: Hi there. I certainly do remember Fwiffo from StarCon2. That was the most awesome game ever invented. Though you certainly chose a cowardly alter-ego, hunam.)

I'm a bit of a collector of hobbies, many computer related. My language of choice is Python. I used to collect [ext] tarantulas, but lack time for that lately. You can also take a look at my KGS game archive ([ext] fwiffo, [ext] pb4ugo) or my KGS rating graph ([ext] fwiffo, [ext] pb4ugo.) I have a [ext] small collection of problems on goproblems.com.

I'm the webmaster for the Fort Myers Go Club. Check out [ext] our website.


Roadmap for Improvement

This is my plan to actually make progress instead of languishing at the same rank for months on end.

Division of Time

  • 5-10 "serious" games per week. This would include games with my teacher, serious games at the club (like ladder games or against players near my strength), and KGS games with medium or slow time settings (e.g. 25 minutes + 0:30x5 byo-yomi). It does not include blitz games, teaching games I give to weaker players, games against substantially weaker players at the club, games played while drinking, etc.
  • Roughly equal amount of time reviewing those serious games. I'll look for mistakes and try to identify the general principles I need to apply to avoid those mistakes in the future.
  • 1/2 hour per day minimum on tsumego (varying difficulty and type). Do an hour if I feel like it (usually I do.)
  • Read books, godiscussions.com, Sensei's, etc. whenever (I already do enough of this pretty regularly.)
  • Some time studying pro games and joseki?
  • Keep a little time for go-related activities that aren't necessarily improvement related (e.g. working on our club web site, socializing with other players, teaching, etc.).

Primary Focus

I will focus on just 2-3 things to improve on so that I'm not trying to keep too many ideas in my head at once. Each week, I'll go back and evaluate my progress in these areas and also try to identify new problems I'd like to work on. If I feel like I've made good progress, I'll move these items on to a "maintenance" list, periodically checking on them to be sure I haven't regressed. The goal is to make them natural and instinctive for me, the way my current go skills are. Once they don't require so much conscious thought, I'll have room in my brain for other new concepts.

Keep it simple

My biggest blunders lately are me trying to get cute and over-complicate things. The "obvious" move is usually right and I have a tendency to judge the obvious move too harshly. I must read out to make sure, but I need to remember that the the simple move is usually going to be correct more often than the tricky move. I need to play solid. I shouldn't just tenuki cause I think "eh, it'll be fine". Make sure.

Patience in reading

I need to manage my time so that I can be careful and patient in reading important life and death and connection situations. I need to conserve both time and energy for these moments when they arrive, and maintain focus through the whole game. I've lost a lot of games recently because (or won in spite of) misreading relatively simple life and death problems.

Make shape while running

It's better not to make a weak, running group, but if I've got one, I need to look for shape-making moves. While running, make forcing moves against surrounding stones to give my stones some elbow room and eye-shape. I need to be cognizant of forcing moves against my group that will ruin its shape; peeps, ataris, etc.

Secondary Focus

There are lots of areas of my game that need improvement, but I can't keep them all in my head at once. These are back-burner items (listed in no particular order). They're important, obviously, but I won't make them a primary focus until I've made satisfactory improvement in my primary areas of focus.

  • Follow up on threats made.
  • If my opponent has a weak group, and gaining profit by attacking it directly is not straightforward, look for more indirect attacks. Also, be greedy, taking advantage of the fact that an additional weak group would be too much of a burden for them.
  • Prioritize and get the big endgame points around the corners/edges. Inverse: don't waste time with the piddly bits in the middle.
  • Don't attack groups in such a way that makes them strengthen themselves by attacking other groups of mine.
  • Don't needlessly strengthen opponent's stones.
  • Don't get thrown off by players with weird or experimental styles.
  • Don't allow weak stones to connect easily.
  • Play more.
  • Develop a strategy as white.
  • Don't build a wall that won't have an extension. Either the extension must already be in place, or you must be certain about ending the wall-building in sente (this is dodgy, so the former is preferred).


I feel like I've made some progress in these, or they've become less of a problem, so they're not going to be a primary area of attention. I will grade myself on them periodically to make sure I don't regress.

  • Make the right cut. Where applicable, avoid strengthening the stones I intend to attack. Attach to the stones that I'm not attacking.
  • Do not approach strength. Requires correctly identifying strength. Inverse: try to take advantage if my opponents approach my strength.
  • Don't try to attack living groups.
  • Don't waste time to capture unimportant stones (inverse: don't worry if my opponent wants to capture unimportant stones).



  • 17 kyu, 2003-12-11
  • 16 kyu, 2003-12-14
  • 15 kyu, 2003-12-20
  • 14 kyu, 2004-01-28
  • 13 kyu, 2004-03-03
  • 12 kyu, 2004-03-15
  • 11 kyu, 2004-03-28
  • 10 kyu, 2004-04-08
  • 9 kyu, 2004-04-20
  • Regrettably, on Hiatus from 2004-05 through 2004-12-08
  • Then again until 2009-03...
  • 9 kyu, 2009-03-25
  • 8 kyu, 2009-04-11
  • 7 kyu, 2009-04-22
  • 6 kyu, 2009-04-30
  • 5 kyu, 2009-05-17
  • 4 kyu, 2009-11-09

Progress Goals

  • 3 kyu by 2009-12-31
  • 2 kyu by 2010-02-01
  • 1 kyu by 2010-04-23
  • 1 dan by 2011.

Conway's game of life meets Go

I've put together some problems/positions based on Conway's game of Life.

Death of a Glider  

White decides that the ko threat at B1 is big enough to respond to.

Death of a Glider (2)  

Black is unable to make a living shape. If B3 is played at W4 instead, then White plays the vital point at B3. B3 at a also fails.


Fwiffo last edited by fwiffo on November 16, 2009 - 19:31
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