Scouting the opponent
Do pros scout their opponents?
It wouldn't be too difficult to write a script that would scout your opponent. Let's say you're on KGS, and someone has accepted your game offer. You run the script, which downloads all of your opponent's games for the last year, and does searches on them, and spits out how they fared against various openings. Then you'd alter your opening strategies to exploit the weakness of your opponent.
Just wondering what anyone else thought about such things. --Fhayashi
Confused: Is it worth the hassle for just a friendly game?
BobMcGuigan: Top pros study most of the important games as they happen so they know their opponents fairly well. I guess you could say they scout their opponents for big matches, but since they do it continually I'm not sure it's what you'd call scouting. They may do opening and joseki research aimed at particular players in preparation for big matches, but I don't know if that counts as scouting. Weaker amateurs might "scout" out weaknesses in their opponents (e.g. can't handle san-ren-sei as white) in order to take advantage of them, but I think such players' time would be better spent studying fundamentals to improve their game.
Dieter: A strong player in our country (which means strong for our country) told me that in every tournament certain joseki/fuseki/hamete/other patterns emerge, either because enough of the players have recently seen it in pro play, or because monkey see monkey do in the isolated arena of the tournament. Therefor, he will always wander around in his first rounds, not only to scout his potential opponents but also to get an idea of the patterns of the day. He even goes as far as saying he doesn't understand those who don't do like him. What comes around, goes around and you better be prepared. I still find it hard to believe that the gathering of such information offsets the distraction from your own game and I wouldn't want to propagate this behaviour - it could as well be a personal behaviour that fits him well and that he's just carrying away the idea.
Rich: In Nie Weiping On Go, it is clear that Nie studied his opponents before playing them, and not just for general style information: there is an example game where he chooses a certain joseki in one corner to act as a ladder-breaker against a later Taisha in another corner, that his opponent had used successfully in the past.