Hello there, I also came got into Go from an origin in euchre. I was quickly drawn to the simple elegance to the game. I've started a club at my high school where we play in the park when it's nice. Here's hoping my skills keep getting better!
Mantra: Joseki rots your brain.
I don't know when I first became aware of Go. I remember seeing some people playing with the pieces once, and I knew vaguely what it was, but on reflection it was probably Go-Moku. I used to play a lot of Euchre on Yahoo. One day I clicked the Go link, played with a friendly guy who mentioned some weird concept called "eyes", and quickly found KGS. I started playing in early 2003, but various circumstances prevented me from getting serious until January 2004. In six months I rose to 11-kyu on KGS, at which point I stopped playing for a few months. I got back into it and haven't let down since. I've played a few times at the San Francisco club, but most frequently attend the Berkeley city club. I'm in my early 30s, but people ask me if I'm attending school and I love them for it.
Everyone else has a Go Blog, why not me? Newest entries first.
Haven't played much at all for a few months, except for a few games last week before the most recent SF Tournament. I entered as 6kyu, won two of my games fairly easily, lost one because of a ridiculous mistake, won another without effort, and got my ass handed to me on a platter in the last. Had I not lost the third game from silliness, I'd likely have placed in my division, but hey, that's Go. I seem to still be getting stronger even though I don't study or play that much.
After a roller-coaster ride, I'm finally SDK on KGS! Woot! Now I just need to hang onto it. In other news, I swept the SF Spring Tournament, and went 2-2 in the Sacramento tourney a week later. Combined, my wins brought me up from -7.5 to -6.1. I feel my understanding of the game has advanced and matured significantly. I haven't even played or studied too much lately, which maybe has helped me step back and view the stones in a new way. Reading is easier, whole-board position is more apparent, everything is falling into place. Huzzah!
Another tournament, another promotion. While the local results had me at -7.99 after Davis, AGA put me at -8.2. I competed in the two-day San Francisco tournament this past weekend, winning 3 out of 5 games, finishing fourth in my division. The top two finishers were my two losses, and #3 was one of my wins. AGA now has me at -7.5, which ain't bad considering I scraped my way into 10 kyu this past April and then spent many months not studying or playing. Four of the games were rather exciting, each taking on drastically different characteristics. I should learn how to do kifu. All in all I feel my understanding of the game has matured in the past several months. I'm developing larger strategies, which seem to work out, but my tactics still have some holes. Still, I seem to be taking advantage of and holding onto sente more often, as well as understanding how to utilize influence. I wish I could compete in Oza in Vegas this weekend, but I simply can't afford it. I plan on attending as many tournaments as I can from now on. I think 3 kyu is easily within my reach in the coming year. I feel fantastic about my recent results, as it seemed I had plateaued for quite a while, and I was fearing I'd never get out of the double-digit kyu range. I've burst through a wall, and texts that were vague and abstract to me six months ago now make a whole lot more sense. Yay! If only I could spend all day every day studying...
Seems I'm better than I thought.
I participated in a regional tournament on Saturday. No money, only 24 people, half of whom don't have solid ratings. I finished my last tournament in April as a solid 10k. I entered this as 9.5k, and after a clean sweep ended at 7.99k.
No terribly exciting battles, mostly played influence. First game was even as white. Black played two diagnoal hoshi to my 3-4, so I did the large keima shimari, allowing black first move in the last corner. Won that by about 30. Second was 3 stones as white. I was out getting lunch and late getting back for that one, so started late and felt rushed. It was against a little girl who was fast and solid with her moves, knew shape very well. I played patiently and built up a huge moyo in exchange for solid territory for her, then pushed at her borders. She was good with shape, but I set up a couple of connect-and-die tricks. Won by about 20 or so. Last two games I was black with three and two stones, white resigned both times, tho' I think he was ahead in game #3.
Since KGS is broken, I'm still 11k on there, and I feel like I've made no progress, but obviously i've done quite well in the past eight months. Not bad considering I haven't even played in a month. There's a big tournament in San Francisco in January, looking forward to it.
- Reading: I've gotten through about 700 of the 1001 L&D, as well as half of the 501 Opening Problems book from the same series. A friend loaned me a bunch of books, but I don't feel like finding the exact titles right now. Books on influence, L&D, handicap, sanrensei, etc.
I feel like I've gotten so much stronger this past year, even if I haven't been consistently playing. Yet on KGS I'm still 11k. Folks at club think I'm more like 8k. I have some AGA tournaments coming up in the next couple of months, so we'll see how I fare there. Regardless of my rank, I feel a lot stronger about my game and am starting to develop some good whole-board thinking. The concept of influence is starting to make sense to me.
- Reading: Devoured The Direction of Play three times, even if some of it was over my head. I think it's helped me a lot, and I shall return to it often. I'm on my third pass of Attack and Defense, and also read Tesuji again (it made a lot more sense this time!). 1001 Life and Death Problems has been recommended, and I'll likely pick it up soon.
Wow, it's been a while. I suddenly got slammed with a lot of personal stuff and vacations and illness and other such things. I've been working on a redesign for the Berkeley Go Club which will hopefully go live in the next couple of weeks. But since I had so much stuff come up which put off my working on the site, I felt ashamed to show my face at club. Also, I was insanely busy. I did try to read a bit from Life & Death and Attack & Defense where I could, but that was about all I did.
After some 9x9s with a friend I'm trying to get hooked (I don't think it'll stick), I sucked it up and logged back on KGS. I'm still 10k, but now there's a [?] after my rank. Foo. After several fun games with my sparring partner and one with my sorta-sensei, I did a rated game against a random stranger and wiped the floor with him. My play is sloppier than it was, but I also feel like I'm seeing things a bit differently. Maybe the break was good for me. It'll take several more games before I get a true sense of where my strength is as compared to before, but I'm feeling better about it than I expected to. SDK here I come!
I went to club last night, which I've been doing more often. I don't have as much time to play or study during the week any more, but the random spare weekend afternoon or evening finds me there (they're sadly not open during the week). I'm seriously considering getting a PDA solely for recording games, as yesterday I had two of my best.
First was against a 15k. I don't know all the handicap tricks, so I gave him three stones. For a while it was fairly even. I was able to pick a fight in one area to give me strength to attack another. After a whole lot of fighting, very careful reading, and a few leaps of faith, I won a huge battle. The rest was a slaughter. Second game was against someone who is AGA 3k but feels that's slightly inflated. He gave me three stones. Riding high from my previous win I played bolder and more whole-board. After a good and solid sequence, I made a couple of blunders that cost me a large portion of the stones I had invested up to that point in the game. I recovered from that and warded off an attack using my most efficient playing to date. Three cheers for eye-stealers. Late in the game I found a tesuji that gained me another 30 points, which doubled my margin of victory.
I'm trying to pay more attention to direction of play, order of moves, keeping sente, leaning attacks, eye-stealing tesuji, and whole-board moves. So, y'know, everything. Obviously it's paying off. The AGA ratings for the tournament were finally posted. They put me at 10.4 with 0.6 margin, which I'm pleased with and expected, but I think my performance will be much better in the next tournament now that I'm more used to in-person play. I'm saddened I can't spend as much time studying and playing these days, as I feel I've passed a barrier. I'll still steadily improve, but if I had time to really dedicate, I feel I could clean house.
Soon it will be June and Hikaru #4 will be out. I played Go before I was aware of Hikaru, but it sucked me in last year. I recently ordered some action figures and playing cards, which I should receive this week. Woohoo! Hi, my name is P7, and I am in love with Touya Akira. This is my first meeting.
My (mostly) winning streak continues. I've won 7 of my last 9 rated games, and a very high percentage of the last 20 or so. Last night's victory put me at 10-kyu. Woohoo! I've been here once before, but it was when I hadn't played for several months and drifted into it. Then KGS had a big ratings adjustment and I hit a slump. This time I feel I've earned it. SDK is within reach now, suckas!
I've been trying to play more solidly lately, not starting any fights early on. I know it's boring, but I'd rather not muck stuff up without knowing my opponent's style. If someone tries something with me in early fuseki, I'm all "bring it on, beyotch", but for now I'm attempting a larger-board approach, using threats to build up my moyo and solidify my position... then going for the crippling attacks. I'm gaining a better sense of when and where to tenuki, as well making a lot of seemingly little sente plays that aren't obvious immediately but add up in the long-term. Perhaps best of all, my reading is improving. I used to only be able to read out a local sequence, but now I'm starting to understand how to turn a sequence in one area into an attack on another. It's all good all around.
I decided a fortnight ago that I was tired of being 12k on KGS so I yanked on ye olde bootstraps and got up to 11k that evening. I followed that up with a hell of a (mostly) winning streak for a week. The streak could still be going on, but I haven't played in a week or so. I entered the SF Spring Tournament this past weekend, which Go'd me out for a little while. Regarding the tourney, I entered as 10-kyu. Won 2, lost 3, all were very close games. It was a hell of a lot of fun and I plan on entering every tournament I can from now on. Now that it's over I need to refocus my energies a bit on other things, but I hope to be able to study and play at least a little bit every day.
- Reading: Went through Opening Theory Made Easy twice (quick read), which helped a fair deal. It's good to get these basic principles hammered into my head. I've just started with Attack and Defense, which seems a good complement to improving fuseki.
It's very frustrating being in the 11-kyu range for so long. I got here on little more than intuition and hubris, and was praised for advancing so quickly. What happened? I started having games against people who knew what they were doing, that's what happened. I was studying more, but my play was getting worse. I wanted to improve before going back to the Berkeley club, but I finally swallowed my pride. Playing in person again made it all gel. Feeling the stones and seeing the shapes take form connected me to the game; all those vague concepts started coming together. I have renewed confidence in my play, and I no longer worry as much about my KGS rating. I have a long way to go, but I'm (finally!) over my latest hump. If I was able to spend all of my waking hours studying and playing, I feel I'd be single-digit-kyu in no time. As it is, I'll probably hit 9-kyu by the end of the summer. My goal is to be a dan by old age, so I have time. The people at club feel I'm at least a strong 10-kyu by AGA standards, but I only ever get handicap games so it's hard to judge. I play my first AGA tournament in little over a week, so I'll find out! I am beyond stoked for this.
- Strengths: wacky battles, coming back to win after a huge early loss (lulling them into a false sense of security), using my power when forced to take handicap stones, not getting rattled when behind
- Weaknesses: fuseki, fuseki, fuseki, keeping sente (especially in yose), starting games (still get the fear, but not as much as I used to), and fuseki