Negotiating after a loss
There is a kind of player - not numerous thank goodness - unable to believe you've actually beaten him.
A brief analysis after a game is nice, and there's nothing wrong with pondering alternatives or trying to find better moves. Yet this kind of player sees any such discussion squarely in function of trying to convince you that really really he won the game. I'm not talking about a loss through a 50 point blunder here. I'm talking a normal game, with yose and all and counting at the end. Well, sure: if contrary to the evident reality, you really believe you're the best player of your circle, you don't see these analyses as opportunities to learn, but as negotiations to save your ego.
"If I had shifted that particular move one space to the left, you would never have cut off this group. Oh wait a minute, since you demonstrate a cutting line regardless: make that one space to the right. There, you see? Ah... so that would have been forced and you would have entered my corner to destroy the territory there... Well, not really, because I have this fancy tesuji here. See, that protects. Sort of. I think... Oh, it doesn't work? Then here maybe? Yes, then it's only five points lost and.. (proud now!) ..and I have sente!!!"
It doesn't occur to him you could have left the sequence for later, if it were really gote. It doesn't occur to him that, with a few hours more thinking time (not to mention the possibility to play out some variations on the board) we can all come up with better sequences. In fact, it doesn't come up to him that there is a perfectly good indicator of which player managed to extract the most value out of the thinking time - one of them won at the end.
Very, very bad habit. One that inspired one of the best players I know to say "that he had won the game twice, first on the board, and then during the discussion afterwards." After a whole string of victories of the former type, it was the first time he won the latter against this chap.
Arno: well, I'm sometimes guilty of the reverse: arguing that I should have lost the game :o) It's seldom that I'm proud of my play - sometimes it is really embarrassing how easy or undeserved a win is. Thinking of it, I guess I'm guilty of many bad habits.
Scartol: Okay, I lost a game tonight, and I want to know if I'm being petty for being sour. I failed to seal up my territory, and passed. My opponent invaded, took two stones, and lived, thereby winning the game. I know that when it comes right down to it, I should have sealed it up, but come on -- to win on something like that? It just seems so silly. Can I get a ruling on this?
Bill Spight: Yes. Here is my ruling:
Next case. ;-)
DrStraw: "but come on -- to win on something like that?". I think you have the wrong point of view. Shouldn't you be saying "but come on -- to lose on something like that?. Can't I do better? What is wrong with me?"
Lucky: Here is a proverb which I like very much. I can't remember where I found it but for sure is an oriental wisdom. It fits well here.
The fact that you lose must not detract from the pleasure of the game.
This apply during the game but also after the game.
Except teaching and studying games, the ultimate goal of the go player is to win the game. But the game of go is so that you fight with yourself, not with the opponent. Your opponent is one who is helping you in this fight (by making it difficult of course).
The pleasure of the game comes from being able to exercise one's own power. If one could fight with all his might and knowledge it's all that counts. If you could do this and still lose you must be grateful; it means you encountered a truly stronger player. The experience should be treasured for it makes YOU stronger.
Spiritweaver: I definitely agree with Lucky. I'm a beginner, and I only know a few others who play, and they're also beginners. When I can play online, even if it's a huge difference in skill level, I feel satisfied that I did the best I could, that I will continue to try. It just reminds me that I have so much more to reach for.
Speedchase: I would agree with this except I don't see the distinction between this and looking for the losing move. Can someone please explain?