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Origins of (my) Go

I learnt the rules of Go in secondary school, when some of my friends were "forced" to learn by their Japanese teacher. For a 3 months we played a quite a few fast, casual games but probably never got past the 25k level. That was about 1994.

In 2001 while studying at the National University of Singapore I discovered a go club. There, I either thrashed the other newbie or tried to last more than 100 moves against one of the regulars. I recall some of them telling me that I got them worried in the opening, but it never seemed to do me a lot of good.

Started "serious" play on KGS in April 2005 and sadly discovered the magic of studying Go at the same time. I seem to get about as much fun out of tsumego, fuseki problems and general Go formalisms as I get from playing the game. This, of course, gives me a solid ? rank on KGS.

Extramural Activities

Just started as a PhD student at the University of Auckland in the area of speech synthesis / accent analysis. You can see my homepage at [ext]


If I was good enough to have a nemesis I would make it NannyOgg. I suppose this should be qualified. It was the winter of '05, in my first ever tournament (on KGS). Things were going smashingly until I (17k) came up against NannyOgg (16k) in a 2 stone handicap game.

I took an impressive lead with a solid fuseki. Pushing hard in the middle game I extended my lead. The large crowd had gathered to watch Nanny play, but it was I, yes ME, who was on show that day. That was, of course, until the aji happened. Eating away here, chewing off a bit there, the relentless march of the white stones.... it still haunts me to this day. I lost. I forget the margin, but I will never forget the X (fill in strong emotion of your choice here).

Soon the day will come for me to play a second game against the 'Ogg, and this time I mean to be prepared.

Update (July 2007):

An opportunity lost. Neck-and-neck to this day, the Nefarious Nanny and I are both 3k and entered the same division of the Iwamoto tournament. Clearly the fated hour has not yet arrived, as the large number of participants split the division in two and any chance of a rematch was lost. I count my higher final position (6th out of 93) as a moral victory, however.

9 Game Tourney

Lakeland (2k KGS) has entered a tourney against none other than myself for the chance to divest me of enough of my surplus airpoints for a trip to the NZ Champs.

Tourney Rules:

  • 9 games, each from 9 stone handicap down to no komi.
  • Winner is the player with higher (positive) score differential summed over the 9 games
  • Resignation is -91 point loss. More than 2 resignations an you forfeit the tourney.
  • NZ rules. 5 min + 5x30s byo yomi


First game (18/5/06):

A conservative opening, using the classic Japanese (9 stones on star points) pays off for black. When white struggles to pull of a miracle comeback he just digs himself into a deeper hole. B+87

Second game (22/5/06):

Black begins with a flower in the centre, and a stone on a 3-4 in each corner. Tiredness from 16 hours of go tournament in the weekend and improper use of the central influence gives white all the edge he needs. W+25.

Third game (24/5/06):

7 stones, this time super-territory oriented. Two 3-3 points, two facing 3-4 5-3 enclosures and the star point between them. Two very large misreads by black allow white a sniff of victory, but thankfully no more than that. B+18

Fourth game (2/6/06):

Two low-chinese openings, sharing a star point, plus the remaining 4-4 point. Quite a nice game, although a few opportunities missed on both sides in the byo-yomi. We'll probably use longer byo-yomi periods for the remaining games. B+5

Fifth game (22/6/06):

Two 4-5 points and the connecting 10-5, and the two empty 4-4 points. Black gave up victory near the end of the middle game by declining to fight a ko. W+5

Sixth game (3/8/06): After a long gap, we are back at it. Four 3-4 points taken with the handicap. An early blunder by black allowed white to get ahead by the end of the middle game. Unfortunately white also slipped up and let black win an important capturing race. B+33.

Seventh game (7/8/06): A sad, sad series of lessons in life and death. W+Res (+91)

Eigth game (7/8/06): Black begins with Japanese 2-stone handicap. Black lost an enormous dumpling in the middle game, and didn't get enough compensation. W+33.

Final game (9/8/06): Black needs to win by 11 points on the board. While the game did not go too poorly, black failed to reduce whites moyo in time. =( Oh, my kingdom for sente. W+24. Total score over 9 games is W+35, and average margin of less than W+4 per game.


Originally I was going to log my progress, and explain what changed or was studied to enable my progrssion. I thought this would be both interesting and informative. I was wrong.

Instead, I will start listing links to various go "facts" that became aware to me at each level. In this way another beginner can come along and see where they sit on the 'Jono Spectrum'. This is the kind of thing I always wanted to know about other people, and one hopes that there is some other go player out there who feels the same.

The items within each category were known before progressing past it. Up to 14k is based on memory (and thus has many points missing), after that is more accurate.


Basic dead and killable eye shapes.

Counting a capturing race.

Readings: Janice Kim's Learn to play Go series books 3-5


33 point invasion variations.

Monkey Jump is 8(?) points in gote

Basic tesuji: Crane's nest, etc

Milestone: reach (approximately) 50 games played

Readings: start doing tsumego (


Chinese opening

Readings: Shape Up, 501 Opening Problems, begin memorising professional games


L group is dead.

L+2 group is alive.

L+1 group needs a move.

Tripod group is alive.

Milestone: can play back first 100 moves of last game played (although I tend to forget them after a couple of days)


Readings: All About Thickness

10k (6k after KGS rank adjustment)

Seems I have gained (at least) 2 stones in strength having played about 10 games in the last 3 months, and having no new explicit knowledge about go.


Not playing much, I think my rank is just fluctuating after the adjustment.

Readings: Attack and Defense

Milestone: Finish up to 4k problems on


About 10 4-4 point low approach joseki (no pincers).

Most 3-4 point low approach diagonal variations.

Readings: Making Good Shape, Tesuji

Thoughts on Dame

Just linking to some thoughts on dame under area scoring until I can work out where to link to them from.

Jono last edited by on July 16, 2007 - 00:06
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