2 Oct: Played 2 19x19 games on KGS. I won the first by 90+ points because my opponent let me build a huge moyo on the right side and somehow I was able to keep sente and not let him invade it. The second was a closer game, which I lost. The opening and early middle game were a disaster for me. I was already way behind on the board by move 50. At first I thought it was because my opening strategy was bad, but the people at Lifein19x19 reviewed it and made it clear that I kept playing pointless "forcing" moves that just helped the opponent strengthen her position. I did fight back in the middle game, but bungled some invasions (my opponent also defended very skilfully it must be said) and that was that. I lost by 33.5. I also played some 9x9 games to pass the time, but I don't really see much value in talking about them.
3 Oct: Played another two games on KGS, against the same opponent. These were very interesting games. I am a calm player by inclination and my opponent just wanted to fight, fight, fight all the time so that really took me out of my comfort zone. I lost the first game stupidly because I overlooked an atari, and resigned in a huff which I was sorry for later. The second game was dominated by an intense running battle over almost the entire board and tested my reading ability to the limit. In the end it came down to a huge semeai in the top right corner; I was finally able to catch my opponent in a snapback and won by resignation. What I learned from these games is that cuts aren't necessarily to be feared because both players end up with a weak group.
I played another two games tonight on KGS, and again automatch paired me with the same person twice (different from this morning though!). I lost the first game after a huge blunder in the opening and resigned after barely 50 moves. Note to self- do some reading on josekis. The second game was far less pointless for both of us. After a fairly placid first thirty moves, my opponent attacked my corner territory, I cut, and the result was a big fight cascading into the middle. There was one hairy moment when a vital side group was in danger, but I barely got two eyes. I'd thought that group was safer than safe, but my opponent attacked it very effectively. The turning point came when I ignored a slow move by opponent and shored up my territory instead. The resulting invasion was panicked and one move too late, and I killed the invading stones. I learned that 17k is my actual level; I'm losing half the games I play at this level so it must be right for me.