|Table of contents||Table of diagrams
What kind of tesuji are we talking about again?
White has just played the marked stone, black to play
above position evolved like this:
move "a" above occurs when ...
another, follow-up aji
above position evolved like this:
any aji is gone
Hashimoto Shoji vs. Chen Zude, B+R
First Ten Moves
Position at move 84, nachtrabe is black.
Position at move 80
Final Result: B+15.5
There's a weakness...
There's (still) a weakness...
alive? alive !
Game with Seqi (18k KGS).
Not seki: Dead
I'm alive and in Texas, away from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.
To get off the topic of Baduk for a moment and into my personal life (partially thanks to Katrina):
If anyone knows an actuarial employer who has a position open for someone who's interested in studying to become an actuary, let me know. I'm good with statistics and am also skilled in fields necessary for programming and analyzing models.
Outside of that, I'm also looking in just general programming and system administration fields.
I had a discussion tonight over whether it is harmful to have several different teachers. I believe that it is, simply because if teacher A gives you three things to work on and teacher B gives you three things to work on and teacher C gives you three things to work on now you have nine things to work on instead of just three--even if all nine are good advice--and for the same reasons found in martial arts.
This doesn't mean one shouldn't accept teaching games etc from whomever, it just means that if you are studying several times a week with one teacher, it is probably best not to start going to several other teachers as well. Basically that someone can suffer from having "too many teachers" or that "too many chefs spoil the pot."
Others think that it doesn't matter.
So what do people here think?
Calvin: It depends on how strong your teachers are. Among top amateurs (9d KGS) and pros who teach a lot, I haven't seen much difference in the type of advice they give. Somewhere below amateur 3d or so you hear all kinds of crazy stuff that stronger players would disagree with, so that can be confusing. You can learn from them, too, but Guo Juan gives this advice: when asking a stronger player to review a game, ask one and no more than one question, and do not let them digress too much, because to them, almost every move you make is wrong, and if you let them get into that, you'll get very confused. Of course, in your case you are clearly so enthusiastic about Go I'm not sure it matters what you do, you'll still improve :-) This is a sensitive topic, so I don't want to cross the line, but seeking out "assignments" from multiple teachers within a single week seems a little manic, and if I saw a fellow Go player doing that, I'd be concerned about more than just his/her Go strength.
I'm currently a 7k or so on KGS, but I feel that I am winning my games out of my opponents mistakes as much as my successes. Still, I have a better feeling about this position than I did in my last entry, so I feel like I'm making progress.
In AGA terms I've been told that I'm a 4k, but I don't know if that's accurate. 5k +/- 2 seems about right though.
The hurricane put a bit of a damper on things (my mood hasn't been right for study, among other things), but I'm slowly getting back into the swing of it.
Some things I'm noticing in doing the Korean Problem Academy, level 3 out of the book.
Mostly for reasons of the creator's idea of clans being similar to mine and liking her list of ideals, I've joined Nishi no Hoshi.
Well, I've removed the ranking on the nachtrabe account and mostly use that one for discussion and game review. I have a ranked account that is presently at [6k?] though I think that is overrated. Still, I have beaten an 8k in an even game and another 8k in a no komi game as White. We'll see if I can hold on to something in this range, but it seems safe to say that I'm somewhere in the lower SDK range.
One trend I have noticed among a lot of players when they get into the upper-to-middle SDK range, particularly if at some point they overestimated the value of jeongseok at some point, is to go through a period where they not only distance themselves from jeongseok, but become totally anti-jeongseok. The saying is always the same, that they are trying to account for the "whole board position" or that they dislike the jeongseok because it isn't "secure" enough or "fast" enough for them, and so they either tenuki or make up another move that is not jeongseok but feels either "faster" or "safer."
No specific thoughts on this yet, just an observation.
Played one of our (AGA) 1k players at 5 stones and won and played a 5k in a Kadoban 1H game and won that as well (so our next game is going to be even).
The first game was difficult--I always feel like I am just losing ground continuously against him, and that it is just a matter of whether I can preserve enough of the initial advantage from my handicap stones and keep him from living in ridiculous ways/places that defines whether I actually beat him. I was slaughtering him at our last few at six stones, and tonight I won by 10, so we will see how things go from here.
The game against Matt was trickier. I screwed up (badly) a basic L&D sequence in one corner after I ignored a peep to inflict a fair amount of damage elsewhere (albeit in gote). I read that I could live, I did manage a living shape, and then lost it. After this I started fighting to catch up and steadily gained ground. Late in the game, however, I did my classic trick of ignoring the connectivity of a large group of stones. It looked bad, but (somehow, luck) I a capture race was trigger between a group with an eye and a group without one, leading eventually to a win in the game by about 20 points.
I also played against a KGS 19k giving him 6 stones. I managed a win on that by having a huge number of captures.
So all in all a good night in terms of my play.
One thing that I've been noticing is that I will get stuck at a six stone handicap with people. Seven is too many, but I will not be able to win at 6 for anything or we will go back and forth trading at 6--not quite to 7, but I can't get to 5 either. Then, something will break, and I'll drop to 5 and then to 4 very quickly. It just seems that 6 to 5 is a largish drop.
I've played a few "wounded badger in a corner" games recently. The first was an even game against a [9k?] where I messed up, severely, when punishing a deviation from jeongseok and clung on to the life of two of my stones too tightly. By move 56 my opponent had enormous influence, 13 of my stones were either captured or might as well have been, and he had the entire SW quadrant of the board.
So I decided it was about high time that I started reading things out and figured I could at least see if I could turn the game into a fair fight. My opponent relaxed and started playing "not to lose" rather than to win. He started following my play around the board and gave me just enough leeway to get back up. By the time he resigned I was 30 points up.
Later on I played a [16k] (NannyOgg, who is widely considered underrated) giving her a six stone handicap (we normally just play at even, but I need practice against handicap stones). I won by 11.5 points--she relaxed and was playing passively.
I do it too--you get far enough ahead and you just kind of relax, but I'm growing more and more into the school of thought that, as one person put it, "when you have your foot down on the wolf's throat you don't let up the pressure."
Most pros and most go players seem to take the approach that you simplify when ahead to the point of letting up the pressure a bit just to secure the win. Lee Changho is famous for securing a half point lead. Others--namely Sakata Eio and Cho Chikun--take the opposite tactic. Just something I've been pondering lately.
My endgame is horrid. I don't know if it has always been this bad and the rest of my game improved so that it is noticeable by comparison, or if it has just degraded because I haven't been thinking about it, but it is really really awful.
Not enough points are involved in it for me to worry about too heavily, but I might glance over the subject matter a bit before going back into Attack and Defense.
When I first studied any maek at all I looked at them and said "these are one-shot moves" and thought they were something special that just struck the user out of the blue.
Now I realize that they come up in every game that I play. Sometimes just seeing the maek is enough to become sensitized to its existence, and thus be able to see it in the game. Before you see it as a new player, many of these just simply don't occur to you as working moves--then you see it in play, see how to read it out and how it works when it works, and then you can start to see it in your games.
I'm almost done with the Encyclopedia of Maek. Not quite through with it yet though.
I've also been going through Making Good Shape, and am surprised how often things in the Encyclopedia come up in Making Good Shape--sometimes down to the problems being exactly the same.
After this I'm debating. I had planned to go back and study Tesuji, but after losing a huge group last week at the club because of sloppy L&D, I'm thinking some L&D practice would do me good.
How much stronger I have no idea, but I can tell from my play. Nothing specific stands out, other than the results. Invasions that I would have an incredibly difficult time with I'm now successfully confining, etc.
I know it won't last--just have to change my handicap... x_x
1H from the guy I took 2H from the other week. I won by over 20 points. He got a lead in the opening--building a huge moyo (I did mention I'm territory oriented, right?) and then lost it in the middle game. The study of Tesuji is paying off.
Played the strongest player in the club at 6 stones, won by 6 points. I don't know if this marks 2 consecutive games or 3, but I might try 5 stones next time.
Had another couple of teaching games against a newbie. Those were more frustrating than usual.
Also played someone who has been coming for a few months, but took the last few weeks off for this mythical thing called a "dissertation." We couldn't agree what handicap we played at last time (I remembered beating him at 9 stones, he remembered it being six) so he puts down 9 stones... me and my big mouth. So I played aggressively to make up the handicap--picked a series of fights where I had a clear advantage. I won, but only because of getting much more than I deserved. If he'd tenuki and play more aggressively, I'd have been in deep trouble. I doubt I'll ever be able to beat him at 9 stones again.
Finally I played an even game against someone who is a rapidly improving 15k on KGS. He always plays me even, though he should take a handicap. I got an early lead because of L&D and just held on to it from there.
This marks the first time I've added someone to my noplay list--not for how they played against me, but because of how they played against someone else. Specifically, an escaper.
The game belonged to Black. Total dominance over most of the board, with White struggling for life in the middle with a semi-complex capture race going on. White is obviously on her last legs, and B makes a mistake--a classic Dohsuji: tenuki at exactly the wrong moment. Obviously an intended play.
The following exchange took place:
F [13k]: played too fast F [13k]: may I cancel please ? l [13k]: no F [13k]: why not ? l [13k]: its your fault when you play to fast
Followed by several accusations and harsh words from F.
Now, I sympathize. I've made more than my share of stupid plays, but in memory I've never asked to take one back. That B would do it, when even after losing the capture race B was 30 points ahead on the board, was just baffling to me. It struck me as very rude.
Ten moves later, B said that he wasn't going to finish the game and escaped.
Well I'm progressing steadily through the Encyclopedia of Maek--it's pretty nontrivial, but I finally figured out that it isn't strictly a problem book and is more like Tesuji in presenting multiple case examples of a particular Maek and stepping through them.
Really interesting stuff--there are moves in there I wouldn't normally consider, and it shows how they work out, so that (in turn) improves my ability to see them in games and to read them out in games.
I've also figured out that translating certain key sections of the book is highly valuable just to know what kind of Maek I am actually looking at. The maek in this section were giving me all sorts of problems trying to interpret them, then today I wrote out the text and translated it using Systran:
바둑의 모든 변화는 접촉으로부터 시작 된다. 붙임에는 단순한 붙이기로부터 끼워붙 이기, 코붙이기 등 여러가지가 있다. 흑1의 붙임이 맥. 백2면 3으로 젖힌다.
All changes of the baduk are started from contact. It attaches to it is simple and it attaches and from to insert it is Boot, the nose there is a back multi branch which it attaches. This pulse which black 1 attaches. It flings with 102 cotton 3.
My translation Minue:
All of change(complex variations) starts from attachment(contact) move in Padook. There are various kinds of attachment moves from simple attachment to inserting attachment, and nose attachment move. Black move 1 is meak, if white plays 2, then black plays hane with move 3.
Alright, so computer translations have some issues ("It flings with 102 cotton 3" means what exactly?) but from this could discern the most important thing:
We were dealing with contact maek. Not any one specific kind of contact play, mind you (this, combined with that the first move wasn't always the maek, was what was tripping me up), but an array of different maek involving contact plays. Suddenly everything made sense! Suddenly I had a word for what I was dealing with, and I could remember it. Amazing how that works.
LoP Computer translation programs have problems with the double meaning of 백 They always translate it to 'hundred' so 'white 2' becomes '102'. If you have one of those korean books that come with a CD containg all the diagrams and comments you might be interested in a small programm I wrote. It generates SGF files from the proprietary format and adds english translations using a free translation WebService. If you are interested feel free to contact me.
Right now I am on a Tesuji/Maek kick and getting heavily into tesuji problems. I figure this is working on my tactics. I'm also working my way through 501 Opening Problems to work on my strategy. After this I think I'm going to move on to study attacking.
One thing that are often complained about are Stubborn Play and Speculative Invasions. I see this all of the time--random (generally aji keshi) moves are performed throughout the opponents territory, in the (vague) hope of having the opponent make a mistake or something materialize that is not otherwise there.
Since this involves random moves and not calculated plays, it is rare that the person actually gets anything out of this in terms of improvement, and it rarely works, so why do people keep on doing it even after being repeatedly told it is rude?
I theorize that it is because it randomly works.
One of the most effective means of encouraging a behavior is to "randomly reinforce" it--reward it some of the time, but not all of the time. This tends to lead to a much higher incidence of the behavior than always rewarding it--the subject can't be sure that it will work, but it does sometime, so he will repeat it many times.
I think this is one of the reasons why people will keep at a behavior they know is wrong in Go--because every so often, it works, and so they keep trying it hopes that it will work again. This is probably one way that Bad Habits are formed.
On that note: It is also why I think it is important to at least have a basic grasp of opening theory, to study the theory in the middle game (not just play), and to go over a few pro games even if it isn't immediately useful--it gives a little more of a feel for "proper play" and if six stones down the road it leads to one fewer thing having to be unlearned that 'worked when I was a 12k,' it was probably worth the up front investment. Is this true? Or am I just rationalizing my own behavior?
I was flipping through the Maeg Encyclopedia, doing problems as I go, and I noticed something. Most of the time when I see "tesuji"-style problems they are of the form "rescue/capture group x" or "sacrifice a stone to gain sente" so this one caught me a bit by surprise (I did solve it after looking at it for a bit, but I wouldn't have thought of it in game, at least not before doing the problem).
Looking at this, I know from experience that a is the more typical placement of the marked white stone.
tderz: I hope you don't mind that I clutter your blog.
If you do not like it, please move it to the 4-4-point Joseki page.
Above position evolved like this as san-san invasion.
tderz: ... white makes an attachment.
This are two different positions (Josekis).
nachtrabe: The variation I have listed from a professional lecture lists at a in both variations, presumably specifically because of this cut.
The solution was interesting to me:
No rescue, no capture, no killing stones, just using the aji to get a better local result. I know, silly, but I found it refreshing :)
tderz: if here, Black has the aji of . (miai a-b)
nachtrabe: Why would be played there and not at a?
tderz: Layer's reply "it depends" (on the circumstances).
To be aware of the aji will be the most important thing. Black cannot play immideately (might end in gote) nor hang his sole/whole strategy onto it. The decision will be taken at a much earlier stage:
tderz: If Black does not play the kikashi? tesuji immediately,
White takes the initiative with (good sente)
whereafter the same cut Ba can be answered with Wb.
Something was wrong with the lines, I hope that I have not additionally messed-up.
One thing I have been attempting to do is insert Korean terms into my blog and day-to-day conversations. This is not because I have anything against the Japanese terms, but because I follow the Korean play so much and practiced a Korean martial art, so it just makes sense that I would use Korean terms (e.g., I will never, ever think of a "Dojang" as a "Dojo"). On another level, I would also like to raise awareness to that there is "more than one way to say it."
There are a few other reasons but I'm too tired to put them down right now :)
On the way!
Most of those are instructional problem collections (and all but two of them are in Korean), and so I'm going to see how it goes working through them one at a time.
I've decided I'm going to focus on the middle game and make that the strongest part of my game. Life and death, tesuji, attack and defense, all of that.
The middle game is the trickiest part, so it is the hardest to improve in, but I think it will serve me best in the long run.
I'm not going to forget the opening, of course: I'm not happy with my opening right now and the opening sets the stage for the middle game--but it is not going to be the focus of my study. What I need most here are problems--I've done the jeongseok study and know the very basics of types of pincers and direction of play (a gutchim radiates in this direction, etc), I just need practice and some guidance on these issues. I'm hoping that 501 Opening Problems will provide that for me.
The endgame etc I'm not so worried about right now. I'm relatively happy with my endgame for my level.
Won every game I played, three of them to what boils down to luck. First game I took 2 stones for and got slightly behind (I completely botched reading out a fight in the NW corner), then managed a capture in another corner in the endgame when he missed a connect-and-die (Mol-A-Tteor-Gu-Gi). He resigned immediately.
Next game was a four stone game against a 6k. I just went down from 5 stones and last week was the first one I played against him at 4--I lost that one. This week I botched a capture race on one side and figured that I needed an invasion to catch up. I did a (fairly reasonable) invasion between two stones with a 3 space gap on the 3rd line. He could have just put pressure on my group and let me connect, but he decided to go for it all and encompass my stone whole. This lead to a huge, multi-part fight that covered half the board by the time we were done. First there was the battle to keep either of our stones from connecting out to the closest group (we both succeeded at this), then there was the battle to take away eye space from his group (I managed to win that while cutting the group off), then there was a capture race with my weak group in the corner (I lucked out, he performed a one space jump to connect that gave me a forcing move I could use for extra liberties, he could have connected differently and I don't know whether I would have won had that happened), then he formed an eye and put pressure on my outside group, which was now disconnected from everything. I managed to link that up in a ko (the ko was so large there were only local threats).
My opponent felt like he has lost track of the game--the fight was too big.
Then I spent some time teaching two new people how to play. Always fun :)
Finally I played two games against someone I took five stones from when I started at the club--now we're playing even and if I can win one more time we go to H1.
First game I played as black and played a mini-chinese after opening on the two 3-4 points. Haven't ever done that before, but may start to play a bit with it. He opened a parallel fuseki and let me take a fourth of the board with my mini-chinese framework--whoops.
The second game I played white and he played a diagonal fuseki. This was a fighting game. I got a bit behind but he kept playing aggressively, so I took advantage of some of the mat (aji) and broke in to his moyang, then managed to split an eyeless dragon off from the rest of his group. I won that game by about 20 points. Lucked out again.
Last week at the club I got into a conversation with a stronger player and a weaker player about a theory of mine involving a player's focus.
In the very beginning the new player sees "the board"--it is huge and intimidating. So she narrows her focus to try and understand very small, individual regions of the board and thus locks herself into a kind of "tunnelvision" regarding these tactical bubbles wherever the opponent plays. Often, when that player first starts doing this, those bubbles are so narrow that even adjacent groups that have a huge affect the fight (as in--can connect to the stones she is focusing on) go totally ignored because they exist outside of the very narrow tactical bubble.
As the player gets stronger, that tactical bubble expands, slowly creeping outwards--adjacent stones, adjacent groups, surrounding groups, groups that affect ladders... each in turn.
Somewhere in all of this, the player also realizes that her focus is too limited--she is locked into a tactical bubble and it is costing her the game against stronger players even when given a huge handicap. So she adjusts her focus. She still has that little "tactical bubble", but now she is beginning to think in strategy.
The "Strategic Bubble" works exactly like a tactical bubble, except in reverse. Where most players start the tactical bubble unable to see stones that aren't directly connecting the last play, for the beginner--once the strategic bubble develops--see the entire board. She focuses on picking the "correct side" or picking a pincer that doubles as an extension. They look for what they perceive to be "big plays."
So from here as she gets stronger her tactical bubble will widen--she will start to consider things like "will the ladder work" more moves in advance. Meanwhile, her strategic bubble will get smaller: Big moves on the board, a feel for some urgent moves, etc, until she's thinking about whether the move will adversely affect the growth potential of an adjacent group by engaging in a "family feud."
Obviously a theory in development, but what are your thoughts on this?
I like the terms you're trying to introduce. I think one of the most common things weaker players say in a review is: "I need to step back away from these little fights."
The question here is, what is the relation between the tactical and strategic bubbles, and whether they are really two separate things that need separate terms. By the time you're considering long distance ladders, it's like we've wandered into the realm of big-board strategy.
Either way, I think it's safe to assume the tacitical bubble springs into existence once the capture rule is learned, and perhaps we can say the strategic bubble begins weakly the first time we're told to "go for big points first." We could then call hitting shodan roughly when it all is supposed to come together. But long before shodan, and even after, there might be the 'vision' of proper play, but no practical ability to manifest it. -Agilis
nachtrabe I believe that they are different things for kup-level players. Just like someone can come out evenly or even ahead in a local context but have generated an enormously favorable result for the other opponent--they were thinking tactically, not strategically. Strategic thinking involves "I want a wall here to attack that group" tactics is "I will use a leaning attack against this strong group to build up a wall" followed by "This is where I will place my stone and the sequence that will follow it to take advantage of my wall." Tactics is local while strategy covers the board.
I believe that whether the ladder works is in the realm of tactics simply because you play in a local context based on if the ladder works--pure tactics, despite that the considerations for it span across the board.
There is, of course, a lot of overlap in these terms--particularly for stronger players or when we start talking about things such as "where is the best ladder breaker." Things like that would be on the edge, integrating these two concepts, while with stronger players I imagine that the line simply gets blurry.
One of the difficulties I continually run into when looking at book reviews by other people is that the people reviewing the books tend to be so clearly above me in level. A 2d reviewer may dismiss a book as trivial and not even review it when it is just the right level for someone like to be to use. This is further complicated by that books never seem to have clear guides as to when they should be read or who they will help the most. So, with this in mind, I'm going to start reviewing books as I go and marking them with my rank and saying how I like them, for me, at this point.
Hopefully someone, some day, will find that useful.
Velobici: Robert Jasiek's list has a entry for "when to read this book". Those entries are based upon playing strength. For example: read The Direction of Play (error see below) when you have attained EGF rating of 4k-4d.
With due respect to Jasiek, I have two basic problems with that list. First, Rank Improvement is on a relative scale--so while I know a ++ book is better than a -- book in his estimation, I have no idea if a -- book is actually a good book (e.g., Life and Death). Second, his "Topical Coverage" is based on a 9d professional. Since my Life and Death skills are far, far away from Sakata Eio's, I'm not sure this is an overly useful stat for me (the only book with a + in this category is the "Dictionary of Go Names"). So, while he gives me a range of ranks, he doesn't give me much to go on beyond that to decide if this is "the right book." A good resource and I do consult it before buying books, but not quite what I am looking for.
On a side note, I suspect that the book in his list Direction of Play doesn't refer to the Kajiwara book but rather to the Korean book on Haengma 방향감각.
Velobici: You are right! It's not The Direction of Play. Regarding Life and Death, at my currently level (11k KGS), I now understand why Life and Death is written the way it is and see that I have redo the book entire. Last time I looked at it seriously was when I was about 17k.
I've been improving, but slowly. I've had a really busy couple of months and so haven't been able to focus as much time as I would like on the game, but now can get back at it full force. I've also kind of been stuck on a plateau, but I think I just started to crawl off of it after dropping to four stones against a 6k at the club.
I still go to the club every week, but haven't been playing as much online.
One thing I've noticed is that, the stronger a person is, the higher they set the bar where "all that matters is" life and death and/or tesuji and/or the middle game. So a 10k will say that up to 20k all that matters is L&D and middle game. A 5k might say that up to 15k all that matters is L&D and middle game, while a 7d might say that all that matters for any kup-level player is the middle game. So how long is this the dominant factor?
We frequently seem to make 20+ point mistakes every other move in the middle game, so I can certainly see the argument...
IlyaM: Aren't these two related? Mistakes in middle game often lead to L&D. At least this is what I (4k IGS) see in my games.
This is something I've noticed a great deal of among players at my level--when playing black, they set up a san-ren-sei and just pray that it works. They simply play the san-ren-sei and hope for the best (generally hoping that their opponent is very bad at reducing the framework). Against a lot of weak players, this will give an early territory lead that they hope to be able to sit on for the rest of the game.
Played a game earlier where I was severely behind by completely botching reading a sequence out in the beginning and then spending a good deal of time investing in a loss right after that.
So I began to fight back. My opponent relaxed, I closed the game and took it from "W should resign, any time now" to "W has a slight lead." This was mainly based on my opponent making a couple of overplays that I might have let him get away with if I were ahead, but since I was behind I had to take advantage of every opportunity presented. Not insane play, just consistent and aggressive (albeit at one point I did have to pull life out of a hat).
The group I had been investing in a loss with required one more move to make it alive. I knew this when I made the group, but it was temporarily secure (the opponent couldn't play there without some approach moves). Well, the opponent made those approaches and I... forgot to play it, misread a false eye as an eye at a glance, and played as if that group were alive.
W+5.5 to B+67.5, just like that.
Suffice it to say I resigned.
I took a bit of resting time with respect to the game, slacking off in my play and my study. I'm back at it now. Of course, now I'm losing as a result of the down time, but hopefully will get stronger faster now. I plan on playing more games each day, regardless of how I feel, and going back to doing L&D problems every day.
I review all of my games. Good, bad, or ugly. I try to review every game at least three times:
Some things I've noticed in doing my own reviews and watching others do reviews
The first I rarely get into. Particularly the long and protracted sequences that some people seem to enjoy (one person I saw reviewing a game we had just played was using tesujis etc trying to see who would have won the game). I still don't think I give my opponent a fair shake, but I really do try to remain objective and think in terms of "black" and "white" so that if I do go into an "indulgent sequence" I still take the time to work out the "correct moves." Or at least that's what I tell myself.
The second is more of a problem, particularly when reviewing for myself. It is difficult to avoid, but staying as objective as I can helps.
The third I do too frequently. It doesn't help my play and it just makes me feel bad. I suffer enough from depression and self-criticism without having to suffer it in this part of my life as well.
I managed to find two professional games with the exact same setup I described the other day (W plays a 3-4 point, B plays the 3-3 point), both from 1962. The first was between Hashimoto Shoji and Chen Zude (result B+R) the second was between Kitani Minoru and Ko Eikichi? (result W+5).
Interestingly, the games both followed the exact same pattern to start out:
I really do not understand what the organizers of the Erectron-Land Cup? are thinking. First they set up a series of preliminaries that are single elimination, but they take the top cut from each (single-elimination isn't good for that kind of thing: if you are a strong player, but your first round draw is against the top performer in your preliminary you are out), then they have really weird pairings in the single-elimination tournament now that it has been seeded: The top performer from Preliminary 3 (Choi Cheolhan, 9p) is playing the top performer from Preliminary 4 (Cho Hyeyeon, 5p). Meanwhile, the top performer from Preliminary 1 (Cho Hunhyun, 9p) is playing someone who was eliminated early in Preliminary 2 (Yi SeongChae, 7p) and Rui Naiwei, 9p (who was 2nd in Preliminary 4 after Cho Hyeyeon, 5p) plays Lee Haijin?, 1p who already lost to Rui Naiwei, 9p in the 2nd round of Preliminary 4).
Alright, so in single-elimination these should all factor out (assuming strength is absolute, which it isn't, and that the stronger player always wins, which also isn't true), but this is still just downright weird as far as tournament organization is concerned.
Once someone gets to about 20k or so, they often feel compelled to "experiment with different ideas" because they aren't getting any stronger, and so they need to try different things until they stumble across one that works.
The problem is that the things that they try often have absolutely no relevance to strategy or overall board position--they are "just experimenting with new things."
There's a fine line here. If you keep trying new things with no rhyme or reason--particularly within the confines of a single game--you never get good enough at any one strategy to know if it works or know any of the strategy or tactics that go with that approach--you never get any stronger. You play inconsistently (e.g., in a game I was reviewing the person played cross-hoshi and then try to build a moyo).
On the other hand, I find that the best way to know if something works is to play it consistently until I figure out what the rest of the board has to look like for it to work. This can be a hard slog, but I find it helps if I see what the board looks like after playing that way.
So the trick that I learned from the shodan--and have been recommending--is to play one style of poseok and getting good at the variations, tactics, and play that tend to arise from that style. Always play a certain way so that you understand the style--how it works, where it works, where it breaks down. Then, when you stall out and feel you have nowhere to go with that style, try something else. Expect to lose strength in the transition, but consistently play a certain way until you understand it.
Anyways, sorry if this is a bit incoherent ^.^;; Visions of DNS routers and Óðinn's Ravens are flying through my head (unrelated, of course, but still)...
One issue that I've been pondering is one of consistency in play. There's a fine line between play that is "inconsistent" in strategy and play that is "balanced" in its approach, and what one person considers inconsistent another person considers balanced.
This came up because I played at 2H against the aforementioned 7k, and played a 3-3 point as my first move. I've done this opening before, and like it because it gives me a hard little lump of territory that I don't have to worry about and that can work as a base for fighting on the side (secure groups being a blessing). I won the game by resignation.
He remarked in the review that the 3-3 point seemed inconsistent with the two 4-4 points, which are more influence oriented. I'm not so sure. Inconsistent, or balanced?
Shaydwyrm: I'm not sure about inconsistent vs. balanced, but the reason I wouldn't like to play at is that it makes the right side by far the most attractive place to play on the board, and white will now get the first move there. If were at the 4-4 point, for example, black then has lots of attractive moves to choose from all over the board which make his stones work together.
Velobici: Nachtrabe, your suspicion that the 3x3 play is inconsistent wiht the two 4x4 handicap stones is correct. The two 4x4 stones are influence/power oriented whereas the 3x3 seeks territory -- a territory with limited possibilities for development. That said, Gobase.org does contain two games in which Black played this way. One win. One loss. So its not impossible to play inconsistently and win. :)
I've gotten substantially better at recreating my own games in person with another player, as well as on my own. Last week at the go club I had a question about something that happened about 30-40 moves in to the opening from a game I played online and managed to recreate the opening to that point (any farther and I was just sunk though). After playing the aforementioned game in the last section, I recreated the first part of the game entirely on my own!
Last night I was talking with a friend about a "fear to play Go" that sometimes overcomes us. It isn't a "fear of losing" or a "fear of winning" or even a "fear of conflict"--it is a fear related directly to the game itself.
When I went to war every year, I would get it in the mornings before the fighting started. A kind of adrenal fight-or-flight rush that, once we got into the scenarios, would turn into a full fight feeling but beforehand was more of a flight rush. In SCUBA the equivalent feeling is called "pre-dive gitters" and they can actually keep you from diving if you aren't aware that they will go away.
I don't know what it is, but it is interesting and I was surprised (perhaps foolishly) to find that I'm not the only one who gets that way.
Last night I watched a teaching game. The teacher is a little stronger than me and the student is a little weaker. The teacher is a strong influence-oriented player, and she plays a 3-3 stone to "handicap herself" against much weaker opponents, and commented that she had done so before noticing that his rank--she doesn't play the 3-3 point in even or close to even games.
So her student, a 14k, made a series of comments about how silly he thought the 3-3 point was. "Yeah. 3-3 is not a great opening" he said.
So I played him next while the teacher watched. I played two 3-3 points as white. Never done that before, but was kind of fun ^.^ My opponent played one 3-4 point, one 4-4 point, and large knight's enclosure on the 3-4 point.
I may start experimenting more with the 3-3 point as white, but I'm not sure I should increase my already reasonably strong emphasis on territory.
(Hicham, 6k KGS) I played double 3-3 with White for about half a year and had good results with it. But it is not an easy opening I think. Often you have to invade quite deep or make a big dragon live. But you have to believe in your cash points and in your yose skills. if you start playing, you should try to learn most of the 3-3 joseki. They are relatively easy and few in number, but a surprising number of kyu players dont know these joseki. It is definely worth a try! And for the comment of not being a good openin, if it was bad why was it so popular in the 60's? Might be that it is a bit too slow nowadays for the pro's, but I doubt that this changes anything for us mere mortals.
These are the first ten moves of the previously mentioned game. was my attempt to split down the middle, though I think one point above it might have been a bit better. was to make a base, and W0 was a light approach attempting to build from my 3-3 point on the lower left (I'm not sure if this was the right approach, but I liked how it looked in a whole board context and it seemed to do several things at once).
I was wondering, however, what is a good continuation for black from here?
At the club there is a player, a big fan of Takemiya, who I have been progressively going down in handicap against (I just beat him in three consecutive games at H3, so it is time for me to drop to H2; I think he is 7k on KGS). He is currently on a quest to memorize every 4-4 point jeongseok?.
When playing him, if you ask him why he made a move in a corner pattern, his reply tends to be "it's joseki."
He breathes, lives, and loves jeongseok. I've seen him teach jeongseok, as a set, to someone who hasn't even picked up the stones to play yet.
So, last night online, I was teaching someone involved in the "Shodan Challenge." She was having trouble with basic fundamentals--cutting and connecting, staying ahead, basic instincts, etc (of course, a stronger player looks at my game and the cycle continues, but more on that later).
I tried to teach by pulling out a jeongseok library, picking some seongseok I'd seen and/or played before but that she was unlikely to have ever seen. Then we went through them, move at a time, with me asking her at each step for the next move and discussing potential reasons for one move over another.
Good exercise for me, but I was thinking that I've done it too--where you play a move "because it is joseki" without even thinking about why that move is jeongseok and why that move might not be the best one given a whole-board context.
It is amazing how much even a 13k or a 16k can get through a jeongseok that they do not know just looking at local patterns.
That all having been said: David Mechner says that jeongseok provide a kind of "mental shortcut"--they let us make moves knowing that it is a good move in a local context (assuming we've studied the context for the jeongseok) and can worry about variations without trying to read everything at every step.
So maybe, as amateurs in the study of jeongseok, a balance is necessary--not strictly memorization, not strictly study without memorization.
One thing I've found interesting is how endgame skill and rank correlate. I was discussing this with a player I take 6 stones from: when he plays me or when the aforementioned person plays him, he makes up a lot of territory with a strong sente (or at the least "pseudosente" where the opponent thinks that it is sente and responds anyway) endgame. This leads to the feeling, as the weaker player, of being pushed around and helpless against White's moves (when that happens a little closer to the midgame I will generally get restless and try to initiate a trade, but tend to still fall victim in the endgame).
So, when I play someone stronger than me, the endgame pushes me around. When I play someone weaker, the scene is reversed: they follow me around and I dominate the endgame (though probably not as much as someone who has studied it in depth at my level--I'd rank my midgame skills right around "average for my level.")
I've decided that, by-and-large, I am not going to worry about anything but the very basics of endgame. A little counting, the basic differences between types of sente (sente, double sente, sente with a twist of lemon, etc), and leave the rest and the endless practice. I figure that if I am making multiple 20-30 point mistakes in the middle game and in L&D for my groups, it is worth more effort to study aspects of those than it is to work on playing a perfect endgame.
Of course, endgame does have the advantage of that it can be played perfectly from any given point, so I may revise my view on that later, but for the moment I am going to stay away from the many books relating to the subject.
Took a few days off from KGS, came back totally unable to win. I would ignore perfectly reasonable (and big) moves in order to fight for a handful of points of territory. I couldn't make due against a san-ren-sei at all, my reading went to hell, and I just in general sucked. I would get behind, turn more aggressive, and then lose the game.
Okay, so my first game after I came back was against someone with a [-] rank who has beaten 9k in his record.
This, unfortunately, set me off guard and shaken for my next game. I played a 14k who whipped me around (I got behind, then I turned more aggressive to try and make up the difference... and it just went downhill from there).
This was followed by a game against a 13k that I was a bit behind in, but nothing unreasonable, when he got disconnected.
So I disconnected a while and then played a 12k. Lost this one too.
My play was just weak, I was completely misreading things and just flat-out not thinking about moves.
Finally, after too many losses, I played a 14k and won by a handful of points. Then played a 12k. Had this game lost, then my opponent made a mistake and we both misread a life and death problem for a 20-25 point group. I misread that it was killable, he misread how to defend it.
Then I missed a rather large oiotoshi of my opponent's that I should have by no rights missed seeing, but by that point I had already won, so anything extra would have just been lagniappe.
Maybe things will be better tomorrow.
Last Wed I was talking to a Shodan with a group of others, and he said that the best way to improve is to pick a style and play it consistently, then when you stall or need to work on something specific adapt and try something new for a while, but don't change your style around every game.
He, and most of the other players at the club, are Takemiya fans and tend to play for influence. I'm not particularly--I prefer fighters and territory-oriented players--so my style is somewhat different. In even games they start with san-ren-sei (or at least ni-ren-sei), I start with Mini-Chinese, etc.
"Common wisdom" is that your opening should be a mix of both, which I've been trying for (sometimes more successfully, sometimes less successfully).
There is an exception though. I tend to play for influence where I am taking a 3+ stone handicap. So I play the san-ren-sei, then play moves such as a diagonal from a 4-4 point.
In my last 6 stone game against a shodan (score B+7.5) white managed to take all four corners, I just made up for it on the sides and in the middle.
This got me wondering, if part of the reason that I "overperform" in person is that, when playing with a handicap, I already have all of the influence I need and they are competing with their weakest game for something I'm a little more comfortable with the strategies for (territory).
When I first played, over two years ago now, I played a lot against GnuGo. It was less intimidating than losing against a real person, and it was an adequate way to learn some of the fundamentals.
Sure, there are some bad habits you pick up from computers (or, more precisely, you don't tend to get significantly better on the overall except against computers, who have a unique style all of their own), but there are bad habits from any path that have to be trained out. The price of knowledge is pain.
This process lead to me being very good against computers, however, so I tend to play a few stones stronger against them than I would otherwise. Some of the skills I picked up transferred to playing humans, some didn't, but I lost most of it when I took a longer period off than I had been playing.
That said, now I find playing computers, on the overall, boring. It just isn't the same without a person on the other end of the goban/computer putting effort into the game. The intensity changes.
So recently, just as an experiment, I went back to it. Still not particularly applying myself compared to when I play a person but at least paying attention.
I've improved. I used to take stones, now I can give it two stones in most games.
Some observations about gnugo's style though:
Just some random observations from a handful of test games and two semi-serious games against gnugo.
I was playing a game where I made some earlier mistakes and ended up giving my opponent a huge moyo. I successfully fought for and got a living group in his moyo with a shobute (after misreading a ladder I could have exploited and losing a large group because of it) and then went on to kill one of his corners (that got surrounded by me in the process of him making his large moyo).
So his play got progressively... slower.
Pro players spend most of their time in the beginning of the game. By the endgame things tend to fly a good bit faster.
Similar is true of most amateur players (though at my level they seem to take more time in the middle game and kind of fly through the fuseki and late endgame).
At move 201 he had 16 minutes left on the clock, but five byo-yomi periods of 30 seconds each. He went into those byo-yomi periods on move 233. He ran out of time on move 246 and left without a word (for reference I had 20.5 minutes left at move 201, 18.5 minutes left at move 233, and 17.5 minutes left at move 246; yes, I play way way too fast--though not quite *that* fast since I also use my opponents time to think).
One thing that I've noticed is that there are both tangible and intangible improvements in strength. Tangible improvements are those things that I pick up that I can clearly link with improvements in my game.
Intangible gains are those situations where I am improving, but I can't link it to improvements in any specific areas or anything that I know I've picked up.
The latter tends to be a slow-but-steady increase, the former tends to lead to "mini-epiphanies."
Just a thought I had, too tired to really elucidate any farther.
To test out the double-elimination code wms ran a double-elim 9x9 tournament tonight that I entered. Had a blast and lasted 4 rounds (losing to a 4k and a 1d, beating a 25k and a 12k).
In a close game earlier I had a rules dispute over a bent four in the corner that would have decided the game.
My opponent, when I mentioned the rules, demanded that I play it out and prove that it was dead. I refused. This argument continued for a bit, then after insulting me, and me offering to get a second opinion from the EGR, he escaped.
After the game I pulled the game into an SGF editor and checked. I could remove all of my ko threats (at a loss of -1 points per ko threat) and would still win (albeit by very little). So the outcome would have been the same either way.
I see two schools of thought here, similar to the schools of thought over whether to allow undos for mistakes. Do you ignore the rules because it is "just a game" or do you think it violates the "spirit of the game" to ignore the rules that the players agreed to beforehand?
I don't personally see a problem either school of thought so long as the player is consistent, e.g., either it is always dead under Japanese rules or it is always played out regardless of who it favors.
(Hicham) A while ago I had to play out a bent four at the end of the game, cause my opponent thought it was seki.My opponent had to pass more then fifteen times while I filled all the ko-threats. But as I always open games with chinese rules this was no problem:) Chinese rules rarely encounter trouble like this, the only thing is that you often have to remind people that they are playing with chinese rules and that they have to fill the dame.
I just played out the longest working ladder I've ever played out in a game. 25 steps altogether.
I lost another game, dropping me to 14k, then I won my next game (a 2 stone handicap game against a 12k), pushing me back up to 13k.
Right now it seems I have two major flaws in my play and that I won't get stronger until I overcome them.
Something I've noticed in doing L&D problems is what I am terming the "memorization effect"--where some combination of moves to solve this particular life and death problem occur immediately because the person has memorized that specific position.
I'm not convinced that this is truly a bad thing on the overall, it means that if that pattern would occur in the game it could be recognized and dealt with. OTOH, it means that they provide substantially less practice reading as one does them again and again and more with shape recognition.
By this logic, if one needs to work on reading problems the solution is to use new problems--be they easy or hard for the person to solve. If one needs to work on shape recognition, the focus should be on previously practiced problems.
Am I far off the mark here?
Benjamin: I think you are very right with your observation. This might also the point in the old debate whether at all or when to look at the solutions: After you looked at it, you already "know" the problems shape, so you can't really improve your reading with it anymore, just your "intuition", which has to do with shape memorization. On the other hand, if you don't use the sol at all and just do the problems over and over again until once you know it, it will have maximum effect on your reading ability, although you don't learn shapes so much unless you repeat also the problems you already solved. This is the way that I believe is best, as you learn reading at first and THEN start to remember the shapes you already understood, instead of memorizing something you don't really understand.
I've been on a fairly solid losing streak recently--losing 6 of my last 7 games. Today I finally broke the streak, but made a 30 point mistake where I got greedy and didn't read something out (story of my life lately, it seems).
That said, my rank on KGS has been remaining mostly stable at 13k despite the losses. Hopefully this signals a break in the streak.
Done with that book for now. That was slow going. I'll probably come back to it latter after I get past 10k.
Next it is back to Lessons in the Fundamentals of Go, though I've taken a detour into Janice Kim's 4th Book (Battle Strategies) and Otake Hideo's Opening Theory Made Easy to refresh myself on some of the basics I seem to struggling with in my recent games.
Still spending the majority of my study time on game review though.