Here I will ramble about some of my various go-related experiences.
2003-12-04: After another successful day at the local go club, I have decided to register as 1-dan for the upcoming Chicago AGA tournament on December 6. Results to come - wish me luck!
2003-12-17: Forgot about this page for a while, heh. Ended up not being able to go to the tournament thanks to finals, and haven't played for a couple weeks, once again, due to finals. I'm back and kicking though - opened a new account to fool around on KGS - it's currently at 2d.
2004-03-05: A long-awaited update! I finally got my oldest account (Velirun) up past the 1-dan mark. Yay! Too bad it took so long. Currently, I am studying in two ways:
1) Life and death - I am using "Get Strong at Life and Death" for basic shape drilling, an old compilation by Go Seigen for hard stuff, and "Hyun Hyun Ki Kyung" for variety. My first teacher told me that life and death is the quickest way to progress, and I finally truly believe him.
2) Memorizing and replaying Lee Changho's games. I have my sights set on 15 games memorized at once, and I just hit 8. It seems that every time I replay one of the games, I gain some new minor insight into just how clever Lee is. The guy's a freakin' genius - and I say that probably only seeing the tip of the iceberg.
2004-04-05: I've been kind of neglecting this, haven't I? Anyhow, here are some updates:
1) Got to 2-dan with my oldest account on KGS, and I currently have an account hovering about 4-dan.
2) Starting playing more blitzy games - tending to be 1/3 Canadian. I find that playing more games and reviewing the same amount has had a positive effect on my playing.
3) "Get Strong at Life and Death" has become too easy. After the umpteenth time through it, I found I know all the shapes well enough to create most of them without the book for students to demonstrate some particular tesuji. I can also recount many separate occasions in which shapes from this book have won me games, thanks to my opponent's being unaware. It baffles me how a 4-dan can not know these.
4) I surpassed my goal of memorized games, hitting 25 total. It took me the better part of a Saturday afternoon to replay them all that last time. I think I will let this practice go for now, in favor of playing more blitz games and reviewing. Sorry Ch'ang-ho!
Current favorite game: Cho Hun-hyeon v. Yi Ch'ang-ho, 4th Kiseong final game 3. I find new respect for Hun-hyeon's ability to find brilliant moves, and new respect for Ch'ang-ho's ability to triumph with less stunning moves.
2004-05-10: I believe it's time for me to take a bit of a break from KGS. I have been playing a bit more on Tygem, and I find I am learning from the "creative" moves of the Korean addicts. Maybe if some of that creativity rubs off on me, I can find the balance I'm looking for in my game.
Don't get me wrong - I will still be on KGS. I love to teach, and my Korean (which consists of typing "Hello" and "Thank you") is not quite good enough to teach. Besides - Koreans are not for lack of baduk resources.
Current Tygem rank: 1k Current favorite game: Cho Hun-hyeon v. Yi Ch'ang-ho, 4th Kiseong final game 3. Same game as before, but still continually amazed every time I replay it. Still can't understand any of Cho's 3 seemingly lethargic moves.
2004-05-16: The going is a bit slow as of late - but that's to be expected at this rank. I've dropped the tsumego for a while in favor of playing more fast games on Tygem. Finally got to 1-dan on there! From my experience, around this level the players actually start playing closer to the book (i.e. play something resembling joseki) so things will likely get a lot harder.
Current favorite game: Same. Might be for a while yet. Still blows my mind.
2004-05-17: It occurred to me that I did not post in here that I am seeking a student. As Rocky took me under his wing a year ago, I would like to turn around the favor. I believe I have a lot to offer to a dedicated student. If you wish to be considered, please list your name below and I will contact you.
Current favorite game: You guessed it - same. Current Tygem rank: 1-dan and on a winning streak.
2004-05-22: Finally got up to Tygem 2-dan. FINALLY. It only took a 10-game winning streak... These Korean guys sure have some fighting spirit, but it seems to me no one at 1-dan knows how to finish a game. Maybe we'll all rub off on eachother and all will be well.
Current Tygem rank: 2-dan and still on a winning streak
2004-06-01: Time to get serious for a short while... with the imminent US Go Congress, my goal since I first heard of it, I am going to strap myself in and train hard for the next two months. Unfortunately, this is going to mean a few things... notably, I won't be attending my local go club as I tend to end up playing 2 hour uninteresting, inappropriately-handicapped games with no review, and I won't be teaching on KGS for a while either. They say that playing weaker players dulls your senses, and I want to test if this is true. I will still answer simple questions on KGS though by request, however. I don't think that can hurt!
Also, I am going to go back to the basics - drilling insane amounts of life and death. I liked to way my mind warped last time, so I'll do it again. And with conviction this time. I'll post results in a month or so.
Current Tygem Rank: 1d... had a losing streak. At 2d, I was starting to play people who play proper moves. It's stunning!
Current Pro game: None... I discovered yesterday I only have about 5 games left in my head, and they're kind of dull. More to come, I'm sure.
2004-06-06: I went to the Chicago AGA tournament yesterday, registered as 2-dan (AGA rating: 2.25). I played 3 truly great games, two relatively uninspired, and one horrible monstrosity. My record ended 4 wins, 2 losses. Not so bad... but no money this time! On the up side, I have lots of questions for the teacher, and my AGA rating should be up to 3-dan for US Go Congress. Hell, if not, I'll self-promote to at least 3-dan.
2004-06-11: Got back up to Tygem 2-dan! Yay! Just to be absolutely crushed continuously by 3-dans! Openings so horrible, they'd make linoleum curl... yet somehow I find my groups falling to pieces. Ugh.
On a different note - after getting a mind-blowingly helpful shipment of Korean go books and a boatload of questions about where one could obtain them, I've consulted with my book handler and decided to start selling Korean books to those interested. I've got another shipment of about 15 assorted books on the way, which I'll try to peddle on E-bay. It'll be great to make accessible to others the knowledge I've obtained through these books. Watch out for an announcement here when I open up shop!
If you think you'd be interested in buying such books, please let me know. If I get a lot of interest, I'll increase my order size to try to reduce the cost.
Current Tygem rank: 2-dan
2004-06-15: Still at Tygem 2-dan... thankfully. I keep getting my a** handed to me on there. These kids can "fight"...
I keep meeting English-speaking people on there too... after my simple "Thank you" after a game, my opponent will either disappear (usually) or respond in some startled manner in English (increasingly more common). I've now met two people from the Chicago area on Tygem, and one who wants to play 바둑 (baduk, go) with me when he visits next month. That was a new one. Hey, can't hurt though, now can it? So long as he meets me at a well-lit club, that is...
Current tygem rank: 2-dan and seemingly holding
2004-06-25: Finally got a Tygem foreigner's account, with some help from a Korean friend. I'm in the process of making a Tygem for foreigners how-to, which will be posted apart from SL. I'll link to it from the Tygem SL page when I'm done.
Also, I just got in my first shipment of Korean go books for resale. Man, I LOVE these books! Soon I'll get up a webpage detailing what I've got and some prices as well. Stay tuned!
2004-07-14: Finally got my new account up to 3-dan, with a record of 17 wins, 3 losses. Go me! Let's see if I can keep climbing!
Still haven't gotten either the Tygem how-to or the bookselling page up... I've been rather lazy and I sold my first book shipment to people I knew on KGS. Next one is due in 2-4 weeks. I hope I can get off my lazy butt and put together the page!
2004-07-28: I'm in the process of preparing for The Trip to Go Congress - very exciting! If you'd like to meet me in person there, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we'll figure something out. Hope everyone has fun!
2004-08-18: Been a while since I've posted here, and quite a lot has gone on with Go and me. First off - I went to US Go Congress and had a blast. I entered the US Open as 2-dan and took third place. That's not bad... but I'm still lamenting my lost games... they were quite unforunate. After all's said and done, I got promoted to an AGA 3.5 dan. A couple days, I played another game or two on KGS and got my Velirun account up to 3-dan as well. Things are looking pretty good!
I also finally got around to opening my online bookstore. I got enough requests for books by email and message on KGS that I finally decided enough was enough. You can find it at http://www.badukbooks.com. I'm currently totally overhauling the site, so check back in a few weeks for the new and improved "Velirun's Baduk Books".
2004-10-16: Wow... another really, really overdue update! I *finally* finished my bookstore overhaul. Business has been surprisingly good with the primitive an unattractive previous version. Maybe the new one will grab some more attention?
Unfortunately, with the success of the store and the pressures of having to graduate this year, baduk has been taking a back seat. It's shown in my play... I'm barely holding onto my 3-dan Tygem rating, and my KGS account has slipped to *1-dan* after a lot of KGS-neglect (in favor of Tygem). I need to play some more games to get that one fixed. My honor's at stake and whatnot ;-)
Anyhow, hopefully once midterms are done, I can get back to the ol' L&D drills. Those always bring a smile to my face (and a frown to my opponents') after a week.
2004-12-07: As far as go goes, I'm kind of just hanging in there these days. School and work have been hitting me pretty fiercely the past two months or so, and naturally that comes before all else. Regardless, I still study some life and death every day. I've also started working on reading out whole-board yose, complete with counting. I think this helps a lot for precision in reading. My reading feels stronger every day!
With my pending admittance to graduate school down here at the University of Illinois, I'm wondering where go will fit in in my life from here forward. I still would love to be that exceedingly strong player I once envisioned, but I'm starting to realize that this probably won't be compatible with my lifestyle for the next few years. Grad school can get pretty strenuous... and I'm not sure if I'm willing to sacrifice my social life for go. Regardless, before grad school starts I'm definitely going to do one last "aiming for 6d" push, probably during the beginning of the coming summer. Watch out, high-dans!
Recently I've come across not one, not a pair, but three youngsters who seem pretty intent on "becoming pro". Sadly, they're not even that strong yet! What's with that? I'd like to hear opinions from anyone who actually reads this thing - do you think this is in vain? Is it a pipe-dream? Should these kids be studying for college instead? Here I am, only 21, and I'm sounding like an old man, heh. Anyhow, let me know what you all think.
Current Tygem rank: 4d (but probably not for long)
2005-02-03: Oh boy, my go is gonna start taking a major hit... I just got a job offer, out of the blue, to work at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA). While this is tremendous news for me on many levels, it means my time will be severely limited for the next several months, while I get my programming skills up to speed.
On the bright side, this means that once I get some momentum, I'll have the necessary spare cash to set up my trip to Korea. I'm idly contemplating making it a group trip, something like the apparently successful MGS China Go Trip. It would still be at least a year from now, but it can't hurt to dream and plan, can it?
Current Tygem Rank: 4d and holding. Strange.