Satisfying Victory Discussion
Alex Weldon: What constitutes a satisfying victory for you? Obviously, some people like it when a huge fight develops and they win that way. Some people, on the other hand, prefer victories of finesse, rather than destruction. I fall into that category. For me, the most satisfying thing is if I can win a game against an equally ranked opponent by as large a margin as possible without killing anything big. If I can smoothly build big territories, and use some clever play to reduce my opponent's, and leave them in the dust without ever needing to resort to a complicated fight, those are the victories I love to play over in my mind again and again.
So... how about the rest of you? Do you prefer narrow victories or big slaughters? Force the opponent to resign, or play to the bitter end? Win by large-scale strategy, or complicated fights? Slight superiority on every move, or a single, brilliant tesuji at the critical moment?
HolIgor: There is a saying in chess that black chooses the opening. The kind of game you have to fight depends on the way your opponent plays. And the skills that you have to show in order to win may be quite different. You cannot have a win in a solid manner if your opponent plays daring and risky. Then you are forced to go for a kill. I don't know what kind of a victory brings most satisfaction. I know, however, that the least rewarding victory in the situation when you won because your opponent made an obvious mistake. Once I had a completely stupid win when my opponent lost on time just before making the final pass. He was leading a little.
It is interesting that when your oppponent played the game well even a loss can be satisfying. I noticed that Singaporeans like to challenge other Singaporeans on IGS. Having the Singaporian e-mail address I belong to the same pool. I remember that one Sunday morning I was challenged by a guy 3 stones stronger. We played 3 games (unbelievable) with me simply taking black. I lost all 3 of them but was very satisfied because of the quality of moves of my opponent.
Alex Weldon: I agree that the most frustrating losses and least satisfying wins are those where the game is decided by a mistake that is completely obvious to both players. I think part of the reason I like steady wins rather than big kills is because you generally get the impression that the game wasn't decided by one big mistake. When a big kill happens, one is generally left with the impression that a mistake was made at some point by the person who was killed (if they didn't make a mistake, they'd still be alive, now wouldn't they), and that takes away some of the pride for me, as the killer.
Of course, that doesn't apply when I played steady earlier on and got far enough ahead that the opponent was forced to make an unreasonable invasion that I successfully kill... then I feel that the game was essentially won before the invasion ever happened. That's different.
Bill: My most satisfying wins are those in which I recover from an early blunder. Winning despite a late blunder has an entirely different feeling, like I didn't deserve it. (Although that doesn't really make sense, because I must have built up a good lead in the first place.) Next most satisfying are those wins where my opponent thought he had won and can't understand how he lost. ;-)
Dieter: The kind of victory I prefer is an early knock-out, because winning a won game can really wear you out. On the other hand, gaining a certain advantage and maintaining it through the endgame is perhaps more satisfying afterwards, because your mental strength has been positively tested. The kind of losses we all hate are games which we consider favourable or even plain won, and suddenly we make a mistake far below our actual level. I thought this was also the kind of victory I like least, but recently it happened to me that an opponent resigned in a position that may have been slightly favourable for me, however containing a lot of aji. In a Championships game, I can be pretty loaded with tension and fighting spirit and all of a sudden my opponent released the pressure. The kind of loss I prefer is obviously a game in which both seem to have played up to the desirable standard but in the end the opponent turns out to be just that little thicker.
BobMcGuigan: The games I enjoy most are ones in which both players do well, with few big mistakes, and the game is close all the way through. I also like games where there are big "exchanges". I like games where I am challenged by moves or patterns I'm not familiar with so I have to think rather than respond from rote memory.
Charles Matthews I think of myself as a shinogi player, and am happy to win games by defending a weak group, leaving me ahead on territory. I also get satisfaction by punishing the opponent's shape mistake. If I could consistently combine those two things I would consider myself an amashi player, but I need to be a stone or two stronger for that.
Tamsin I particularly like beating "go bullies". The sort of higher-ranked player who comes out with brutal trick plays and tries crudely to prevent you from obtaining either territory or living groups, because he considers that winning is his by right and that you are an easy kill. When I stay calm (important for dealing with this kind of oppponent) and play the proper moves, it is immensely satisfying to see their positions crumble away as the game progresses, and to watch them try ever-more-desperate gambles.
SnotNose: In addition to winning hard-fought, well-played close games, I find it particularly satisfying when I finally beat a player who has beat me many games in a row. Similarly, I'm most proud when I finally beat a stronger player down a stone. It's times like these when I can bask in the delusion that I've actually improved.
Tamsin: As of now, 8 October 2003, I'd find any kind of victory satisfying. I have got about a stone weaker since this time last month and I simply cannot win games at the moment. When somebody told me that "you win some and you lose some", I had to reply "I lose some and I lose some". :-)
kokiri I'll even settle for losing the sort of game bob talks about - I enjoy most the games that throw up something that makes me think, but that I feel i can understand - too often I seem to get lost in the details.
That said, nothing powers up my concentration like arrogance from my opponant, real or perceived. I once played someone who said, laughing, at the start 'you can only take 9 stones.' It was quite satisying when 2/3rds of his stones died.
AndyPierce: I enjoy playing white and winning without having to use the komi. Winning within the bounds of komi to me feels like failure.
(Hicham): I enjoy games where neither side has made silly mistakes (for our level). I especially enjoy games where my general strategy works.Like when I play double san-san with White and keep believing in my points and play a good yose, and remain calm untill the end and prevail. Or when I play moyo strategy, my moyo takes on Takemiya-ish proportions, because I made daring moves and gave away a lot of points and in the end win cause my influence is too strong for my opponent to invade or reduce enough. Winning through fights feels a bit less satisfying. Winning 'cause your opponent made a mistake or lost on time really doesn't feel as gratifying.