Hi! I play as hotcoffee on KGS (since 2004), DGS, and IGS, and play as "honest_tom" on Dashn. On KGS I'm currently ranked 3kyu.
I started playing Go while studying maths at university in 2003, but have lapsed for long periods several times since then.
I really enjoy teaching go online in KGS and in real life.
Quote from my June 2005 profile:
"Hi. I'm known as "hotcoffee" on KGS, currently 15kyu. I'm looking forward to the day I'm a single digit kyu, though my long term goal is to be shodan."
(Okay so KGS ranks bumped up by 3 stones in September 06, but that's still 9 stones difference)
I got back into Go this September, as a result of a friend reading a reference to kame no itte in something I'd written, and then asking to be introduced to the game. This kicked off three weeks of the most intensive go study in my life, including many many tsumego, both at goproblems.com, and offline in books such as Get Strong at Tesuji and Graded Go Problems for Beginners volume 4.
I downloaded the free Drago, and spent a great amount of time finding public domain collections of professional games to stock it with, and used them to study moyo reduction techniques.
After a week of reading and studying without playing, I logged onto KGS, and discovered my rank shot up after a couple of games to 1kyu-ish (from 7kyu) - and then slid rapidly down to 4kyu. The main barrier to me progressing further, I decided, was my lack of basic understanding of Fuseki.
So I started reading The Direction of Play by Kajiwara Takeo, and while the first couple of chapters are illuminating, this is a tricky book and subtleties are lost on me, partly because of the limitations of my reading skill, and partly because of my almost completely absent joseki knowledge.
So I also studied using Kogo's Joseki Dictionary, Arno's Fuseki Database? and Fuseki Info.
I scoured the internet for all the go websites I could find - I'll put my link collection online soon when I find a webhost. I even ended up reading the Qijing Shisanpian - though apart from a few delightfully mysterious proverbs, it doesn't really help the modern go player much.
As a result of all this study I am now 3kyu and feel I will soon be 2kyu. I really enjoyed this intensive go month, and recommend all the study aids I've mentioned above. I feel like I'm beginning to see glimpses of meaning in the early stages of the game - just out of my reach; I'm counting faster and more accurately, and I'm seeing the whole game differently.
I just sent off a membership application to the BGA, and hope to be playing in the Bristol Wessex Open Tournament this month. I'm seriously considering joining one or more of the online subscription Go database sites, but haven't decided yet.
Now I'm a single digit kyu I feel semi-confident to comment on various positions and shapes I've learnt about since the start, and hope to update soon with a few interesting examples of how my understanding has changed.
Over the last week I've been introduced to, impressed by, and then addicted to the Dragon Go Server.
The crunch happened when Sensei's Library and goproblems.com were temporarily banned by my work's "online games" filter. This made a dull job intolerable (I can't survive on just one book of tesuji problems), and I scouted around the internet for other ways to relieve my Go and Wiki addictions.
What I found was the absolutely delectable DGS, and I remain thoroughly impressed. You sign up (for free), and can immediately start up a few games from the "Waiting Room".
Now the website and other systems are adequate - nothing there is particularly remarkable. The point where it gets interesting is that you join a community of Go-Players who, by virtue of the structure of the server, don't rush each other into making hastey moves. You are free to take as much time as you like looking at the game position and contemplating your strategy.
What I mean by "as much time as you like" is that the games there have several Japanese Byo-Yomi periods of a day or two each! If you can't decide on a move, don't play it. Think about it. Consider it while you're on the bus on the way home from work. The freedom is liberating.
Perhaps this isn't amazing to the average Go-Player, but my Go upbringing has been almost entirely on KGS, where I rarely have time to play anything other than Blitz games. When you only have 15 seconds per move your intuition is your main weapon.
DGS is flexing my other Go muscles, and I'm loving it.
A long weekend, and an otherwise occupied girlfriend led to plenty of time to play Go online. I played over 20 games on Sunday. The first was a slaughter of an infuriating and rude opponent, who marked all my (live) stones as dead in the scoring phase then repeatedly clicked 'undo' to start my clock going again (with just 10 seconds a move).
He put me in a very bad mood.
Poker players call the way you play when you are frustrated and angry with the game "on tilt". When you are 'on tilt' you play on cards you shouldn't, bluff when you shouldn't, and this gets worse as cool-headed players refute your overplays.
I discovered on Sunday that it is possible to go 'on tilt' in Go too, and that it is a very unsettling experiance. I lost 6 consecutive games.
This happened at the end of the week throughout which I'd been feeling a particular "energy" to my game, and understanding, and a dissatisfaction with my KGS ranking, feeling sure I could do better, and that too many of my losses were from crass errors like falling into oiotoshi, rather than being satisfying and educational defeats. The feeling has been one of impending inspiration.
I took a break from Go, played a little poker for fake money, and unwound over a yoghurt for lunch.
I returned to Go in the afternoon and won more than 12 games.
The next day my KGS rank went up to 14kyu. Woot!
My first 14kyu games were immediately more inspiring. I lost 2 out of 3, but the losses felt good! One game was a loss of just a few points after some vicious fighting, the other was an amazing and fundamental loss of epic proportions, with the biggest fight I have ever played! There were no less than 5 weak groups for both sides at one point, and after the dust settled, i'd sacrificed/lost too much for an attack that failed, dozens of moves in. It was great! My opponent agreed.
I look forward to losing many more fun games.
Does anyone fancy an ongoing game? Or would anyone play in a rengo? I'm a bit new here in SL, so i'm still afraid of making major changes/new pages...
IanDavis Let's start a rengo
hotcoffee: Sounds like a plan. A glance at your page shows you're a few (!) stones stronger than me, but so long as other players join in that won't be a problem. How about this: FriendlyRengo2005.
Check out 2005RevengeOfTheRengo
hotcoffee: D'oh! Well... due to the difficulty of deleting pages, I'll leave it up for a while to see what happens - if no-one bites i'll put it up for deletion... in the meantime i'll join the dark side.
I'll write a little about my personal experiance of Go on this page in the coming weeks i think.