(20090807) Last day for me at the US Go Congress. Ended the US Open at 4-1.
(20090805) US Go Congress layover day. In all three US Open games, positions from the book Life and Death arose. Did not always play them correctly, messed one up. All three games have been hard fought, taking three hours with desperate attacks/fights by the person behind to give their opponent ample opportunity to make the last mistake and thereby lose a lost game. Recent play on Oriental go servers has been good preparation for this situation. Typically on those servers, resignations happend immediately before the count...very similar to these congress games. Playing as 6k; defending the rank well.
(20090802) American Go Association Go Database? revealed at the US Go Congress. Well received by congress participants. 1,300 tournaments; 68,000 rated games; 16,000 players. Current URL: http://agagd.usgo.org/EasyPHP1-8/www/AGAGD/index.php to be replaced by http://agagd.usgo.org. Many thanks to the folks at the AGI?, in particular Aldo Podavini and Paolo Scattini.
(20090801) Been concentrating on fundamentals. Never did finish Life and Death or Tesuji by James Davies...doing that now.
(20081012) Played and won two games in the 2008 Fall UMBC Tournament. Could not stay for the thrid round. Both games went well, particularly the second. In both games sacrificed some stones to create opportunities that were worth more than than the stones deliberately sacrificed. Been a long times since the last entry....mainly been involved with studying as recorded in my study log This study has paid off in better understanding of the status of each group in the games above.
(20080219) Played two games at club Sunday night. Soundly defeated a player that used to give me hard fight. Severely troubled a player (at two stones) that has recently risen to 3 kyu and defended that rank in tournaments. I am seeking severity in my play...its working. This is good. Completed all six books in LiChangHo Jingjiang Weiqi Shoujin. Repeated several sets of 50 problems from Cho Chikun life and death series (sgf's).
(20071002) So far this year completed the following problem books: Get Strong at Tesuji twice, Cho Hun Hyun's Lectures on the Opening, Graded Go Problems for Beginners all volumes, Weiqi Rapid Drill 800 Problems, LiChangHo Jingjiang Weiqi Shoujin volume 1 twice, first 13 sections of Life and Death twice, first of Tesuji and part of Weiqi Introductory Problem Collection
(20070804) Played five games in the US Open at the Go Congress in Millersville...results: three wins and two losses. Great Congress. Kudos to Peter Nasser and Chuck Robbins on running it.
(20070527) Played two games in the 34th Maryland Open as a 7 kyu. Won both games and thereby confirmed my decision of 20061113 to play as a 7 kyu. Been working problems in Graded Go Problems for Beginners volume four, Life and Death, and Weiqi Introductory Problem Collection.
(20070115) Very impressed at the quality of the problems in Graded Go Problems for Beginners. Volume 3 is full of 1 and 3 move problems that are surprisingly difficult...after all its only three moves, yet the sequences are not trivial or obvious, it seems. Halfway through volume 3.
(20070107) Stalled at the start of the second section of the second part of Weiqi Life and Death 1000 Problems. In the meantime, revisited Graded Go Problems for Beginners. Interestingly, some of the problems are noticeably harder than others. This may indicate areas that I need to work on. Did volume 1 in a single day. Volume 2 in two days.
(20061113) Completed the first 200 problems from Weiqi Life and Death 1000 Problems. Played yesterday in the UMBC Go Club 2006 Fall Tournament. Had to leave with my son after 3 rounds so that he could go to high school basketball practice. Entered at a 7 kyu via self-promotion. Results: 3-0. Shame I couldn't play that in the last round. ;( But one result is that the sigma of my rating widened to 0.966 from 0.289.
(20061029) Completed the second pass through Weiqi Rapid Drill 800 Problems and began working on Weiqi Life and Death 1000 Problems. The plan is to do 100 problems a week or twenty each weekday. The second pass through Weiqi Rapid Drill 800 Problems was noticeably easier than the first. Seemed as if I remembered a significant number of the problems, or more likely remembered the pattern upon which the problem is based.
(20061024) Sunday night at go club played black against a quickly rising KGS-3 and AGA 3 kyu. Game ended with black up by one point on the board. Strangely, I didn't feel severely attacked or too busy during the game, rather it seemed to flow. Received a serious compliment from my teacher on Monday night: You did so many good moves in this game! and You are improved. Heady stuff...now I have to keep it up and keep improving. Perhaps I have unlearned nearly all my bad habits and can now start learning the game properly. If so, then I have reached the end of the backtracking. Now, its time for the beginning%%% (20060823) Evidently, improving at Go is just a matter of effortful study. See The Expert Mind by Philip E. Ross in Scientific American. This supports the idea of doing numerous problems to build the pattern memory required to analyze positions and prune the game tree of unpromising continuations.
(20060821) Returned from the 22nd US Go Congress with at score of 4-2 in the US Open. Wonderfully time. Looking forward to next year's congress in Lancaster, Pennslyvania. Lessons learned (hopefully) from the two losses. 1. No one will resign. Obtained a very good lead in the second game of the Open and then pushed too hard when the opponent didnt resign. Ended up making two mistakes that cost me the game. 2. Beware of the very end of the game. In the second loss, my opponent played a few silly moves and then in a different area was able to catch me in a shortage of liberties due to my inattentiveness following the silly moves. In the last game, played against a player from my own club. Usually give him 4 stones...the final score difference was more than 40 points in our even game. Couple items done well: warmed up for each day's Open game by doing problems in Step Up to a Higher Level; counted the games several times and formed my games based upon the count; punished a number of weak groups, some died, some lived very small; over the board was able to play the one space high pincer to the low approach against a star point stone joseki without having seen it before. These results changed my AGA rating from -10.06845 to -9.89384 by dropped the sigma from 0.31799 to 0.28694.
(20060807) Last night at club, played an AGA 2 kyu even with Black. Made two silly mistakes...yet lost by one point on the board 50-49. Not bad.
(20060731) Last night at club, we had more dan level than kyu level players...that's unusual. Played Black against a 4 kyu again...won by resignation...a comfortable game. The score difference was great enough that the 4 kyu resorted to some unusual play in an attempt to recover the game.
(20060626) Last night at club, played Black against a person stated to be 4kyu. Held a better position after the opening, despite questionable moves we both played. Took territory, played solidly and then broke into his center. In the end, lost the game due two mistakes in the endgame. Still it remains an indication that I am playing better.
(20060530) 33rd Maryland Open hosted by the Baltimore Go Club. Once again the Empty Sky Go Club brought the most players to the tournament and so were awarded the Greg Lefler ( http://www.emptysky.org/images/photos/greg.jpg) Prize.
Played two even games on Sunday against opponents assigned by the AGA pairing program, won both. My AGA rating changed from -10.09 to -10.06845 with a sigma of 0.31799. Paul Matthews is the AGA's rating statistician. There is an article that explains the way the AGA rating system works. What can I say :) Best thing is that by move 100 I felt that I had a promising game and I was able to simply and bring the games to a conclusion without making a huge mistake. That is progress. (p.s. the article is 16 years old.)
(20060514) Finished Weiqi Rapid Drill 800 Problems. I should return to this book and do all the problems again....very good practice for me. Started the first volume of Weiqi Gaoji Jieti Xunlian. These problems are less decisive than the other two sets of three volumes...more Black to play and gain advantage as opposed to Black to play and kill or Black to play and live.
(20060305) Have not been playing enough. Have not continued with working through all of Life and Death. Have been working on Weiqi Rapid Drill 800 Problems. Nearly half way through. Transcribing the problems for GoGrinder has fallen behind...only the first 270 transcribed so far. But Weiqi Rapid Drill 800 Problems is helping my play and my reading...more solid, better shape, more confident. I am killing or gaining from the threat to kill to a much greater extent than in the past. I recommend this book to everyone. Hopefully the day will soon come where I can do 100 problems in 10 minutes (6 seconds per problem). They are all common shapes or common themes. If you know the theme of the problem, you recognize it immediately and reading becomes confirmation and verification that this is not a special case where the intuitive (learned) response does not apply.
(20060125) Been concentrating on life and death and tesuji problems. As a result, I have become bloodthirsty, seeking to attack and play games that turn violent. This is not good. This is unbalanced. Need to balance this out with some other type of study.
(20060116) Life and Death contains information that is basic. Its an embarassment that I have not mastered all these positions to the point of solving them on sight. Janice Kim wrote Pros study 10 kyu problems all the time, the point is to get to the point where you can just see stones instantly in your mind's eye.... Well, who am I to disagree. The problems in this book should make good GoGrinder material. Left a note for TimK, the author of GoGrinder, for guidance in how to create the appropriate SGF files for the book's Status style problems. Finished all three volumes of Cho Hun-hyeon Weiqi Sucheng.
(20051207) My progress through Gokyo Shumyo stalled due to lack of effort. Doing those problems is taxing...just got lazy. Meanwhile I have continued working on Cho Hun-hyeon Weiqi Sucheng each day; its an easier book. Started looking at Weiqi Rapid Drill 800 Problems...a very nice good. To solve those 800 problems quickly, at a glance even, would make a person quite dangerous.
(20051104) Yesterday and today, played even games as Black against an AGA 2 kyu (-2.34) and AGA 4 kyu (-4.88), in both games hard unexpected success losing by 18 points to the 2 kyu and obtaining a resignation after 89 moves from the 4 kyu. Could be that I am actually learning something about this game. I have been doing problems from Gokyo Shumyo and Cho Hun-hyeon Weiqi Sucheng on a daily basis.
(20050930) Last night during play I "discovered" a joseki. Played a kakari against a komoku stone and thus began the 34Point LowApproach TwoSpaceHighPincer Kosumi joseki. After the kosumi, my partner/opponent played the footsweep. First time I have had to deal with this move. I "discovered" the joseki line that begins with a strike at the waist of the keima...even found the forcing moves in the joseki line. This is new. This is good. I like this game!
(20050822) Spent last week at the beach. No work. No worries. Sun. Sand. Water. Thursday played a game with my teacher on KGS. A great game in his estimation. Just goes to show what relaxation can do for one's level of play. Couple errors in the opening, but black did very strongly in the middle game!
(20050731) A 6-dan professional visiting go club played 9 simultaneous games. The handicaps may have been a tad generous to the amatuers (9 stones for everyone below 3kyu). Played to keep white split while working to guarantee that black had no weak groups. It felt like white played honte throughout the game. Black won by resignation, was corrected on one corner situation (late in the game white was able to connect two groups and isolate a living black group in a corner), and received a compliment on a tesuji that captured five white stones. Surely, he saw the possibility and white decided to allow the possibility of the capture. Black was very happy to have found the tesuji. It is inconceiveable that Black could have killed the white group.
(20050617) During a game last night, when the first joseki started, while considering my response to White's one space low pincer of a one space low approach, I saw in my mind's eye digrams/positions that would result from each response rather than seeing sequences of moves. Hopefully, this is the start of a major improvement in my play.
(20050530) Played Sunday only in the Maryland Open Go Tournament as a 10 kyu, my AGA rating. In both games, I had White against a 9 kyu Black player. (Gotta love that pairing program. ;) Won both games. Throughout the games, I was not surprised by my opponents moves; rather they were possible outcomes that I had anticipated. Perhaps work with life and death, tesuji and Making Good Shape is making me stronger. During the week before the tournament, I worked through Life and Death Intermediate Level Problems.
Two weekends before the tournament, I had played through and partially memorized a game between Yamashiro Hiroshi vs Hasegawa Sunao in the first round of the 20th Gosei. Perhaps, I should repeatedly play and thereby memorize a professional game as a part of my regular study.
(20050515) Got bogged down at about problem 150 in Making Good Shape. Just not getting enough of the problems correct. Will have to start again from the beginning. In the meantime, I have returned to Life and Death Intermediate Level Problems, enjoying these more this time around. Reading/Studying A Dictionary of Modern Fuseki The Korean Style from the beginning...starts with the san ren sei. I am working it from White's point of view. The study won me a game today.
(20050508) Shape, while reading is everything. Shape leads you in the right direction when the position is one that is beyond your reading ability. Trying to learn shape. Guo Juan stressed the importance of shape in today's Ing Goe Internet Class lecture. Been working my way through Making Good Shape, getting only about half the problems right. A number of the problems involve sacrifices of various sizes (up to five stones, it seems) to create good shape when no other method is available. Hence, it would seem that good shape can be easily worth 10 points. A number of the problems involve playing in order to seal the other person in the corner, solid life in the corner but without any additional influence on the game.
(20050403) Last night at go club played black against an AGA 3k by 22 points. Played a good opening and did not make a single major (20+ point) error. Started looking at and trying to learn shape. Tried to consider shape throughout the game. The making shape section of LiChangHo Jingjiang Weiqi Shoujin volume 5 has me convinced that shape is one of my weaknesses. If this game is the result of considering shape, then once again I think that perhaps I am learning something about this game.
(20050307) Just last night at go club, a person(4k) that used to beat me reguarly played into a ladder that I had already read out. THEN started to read the ladder which extended three-quarters of the way across the board. One could see his head nodding move by move...in shock I exclaimed "now you start reading the ladder!" This is not the first time this has happened this year. Beat a different 4k the same way several months ago. Note to self: Read ladders till they are so easy, you dont hesitate to do so. Ever. See Lessons in the Fundamentals of Go by Kageyama.
(20050124) One step forward. Two steps back. Perhaps I have entered a learning period of incorporating new ideas and till that process plays out my results will be unsatisfactory. Though I did lose a game to an AGA 6 kyu at move 261 by playing a single slack move and allowing a opponent group to live...typical kyu level error. AGA 6 kyu is 4 ranks above my usual play. Had Black of course. Been playing a lot with White lately, trying to make my play more severe.
(20050103) Good results at the Baltimore Go Club. Playing against KGS and AGA 4 kyus and holding my own. Will have to see if this lasts. A jump of 4 or more kyu ranks at my age is very unusual. I just noticed that Step Up to a Higher Level is designed to help one reach the 5-6 kyu level. I read this book just last month. Found it rather easy. Coincidence ? Cause and effect ?
(20041217) Have not been playing much online, but have been playing more in person. Getting good results. Still doing problems, specifically: Step Up to a Higher Level and volume three of LiChang Ho Jingjiang Weiqi Sihuo. Second time through the Chinese book.
(20041107) Played even and won against an AGA 4k. Now that's a first! Seems that the reading practice (problem books) and training is starting is starting to sink in. Exercised patience, for the most part, preferring sente and oba moves to ones that are gote and just points. Perhaps I will improve at this game; that would be nice. Guess that I will find out what is really going on at the 16th Mid-Atlantic Regional Go Championship
(20041101) Black played tengen! First time this has ever happened. Very interesting. Won by 20 points, including komi. Managed not to fall asleep and make a stupid 30 kyu mistake this game. That's two games in a row (one at the Baltimore Go Club Sunday night) that I have avoided my greatest weakness. LiChangHo Jingjiang Weiqi Sihuo and LiChangHo Jingjiang Weiqi Shoujin (volumes 1-3 so far) are helping me play better! Gotta do more problems. Gotta get more problem books. Practice. Practice. Practice.
(20040924) Still suffering from my greatest weakness...making at least one clearly obvious serious (20point+), silly (clearly wrong, just silly) mistake per game. I am game this week playing white against a KGS 8k, I lost by 17 points after two of these mistakes. Seems like I am ready to improve, just need to remove this one bad habit to rise to a new level of play.
(20040824) Obtained a copy of Go Grinder. This is fabulous software. Exactly what I have been procratinating writting. Very highly recommended.
(20040822) Finally won a couple games, devestatingly even. managed not to flub it up with a stupid mistake in play. very nice to say goodbye (hopefully) to that losing streak.
(20040818) just did it again! winning a game by nearly 40 points and I manage to throw away a group because, like the games over, and well, guess i have to move, so....like...oh just play here. whoops. ;/
(20040818) Since returing from the Congress and during one game at the Congress, I have started to lose interest in a game in progress...when I believe that the result is clear. Then I fail to protect or neglect to read and make a silly error or three. ;(
(20040805) Today is the last day for me at the AGA US Go Congress, after arriving Sunday afternoon. As a result played only 3 games in the US Open with a 2-1 record. In Wednesday's Die Hard Tournament, won the first game and then threw away the second from boredom...had the game won on the board by over 50 points. Lost interest as my opponent used 90 minutes. I played a move without even looking at what he had done...no good, ignoring that atari. One more large mistake (30 points) sealed my fate with a 9 point loss. After that left the Die Hard for Niagara Falls!
(20040719) Played a 2k on KGS, free even game. Lost by thirty points after a mistake at move 164. Made three serious mistakes. The bad defense at 164. Played too fast at 110 therefore failed to kill a corner. Failed to move out two cutting stones at 99. Getting closer. Been reading Michael Redmond's ABC's of Attack and Defense. Tried to apply it to this game...worked well!
(20040711) 3-0 in the Lancaster Pennslyvania Self-Paired Tournament...all this life and death practice must be paying off. Caught a 5k in a nice snapback of 6 stones, killing his corner. Caught a 10k in a large snapback of 11 stones that would turn into a capture of 14 stones if he defended a different way.
(20040530) Played in the 31st Annual Maryland Open. Lost both games. The first by not pushing hard enough on my opponent. (3.5points). The second due to two stupid errors...just lost concentration what with the crowd gathered around the game. Result that after losing 30 points in the two errors I lost to a 9k by 1.5 points. What a backhand compliment! Lessons learned: dont lose concentration; push hard on the opponent, give them reasons to make errors that can be exploited.
(20040419) In preparation for a tournament, I decided to do a number of go problems fast. Chose the Graded Go Problems for Beginners series of books and started working through them quickly, doing up to fifty problems before getting the feeling that I should check the solutions. Many of the problems in Volume One focus on snapback. As a result(?), during the tournament I was seeing different ways to create snapback situations everywhere! One game, a massive fighting game, I won by resignation due to a snapback. By problem 100 in Volume Two, I was finding problems that I was no longer solving on sight with out need to verify. But rather felt I knew the answer or limited the answer to only a two moves, but needed to read to verify the result. Perhaps, I need to blitz all four volumes repeatedly.
(20040410) Been a long time. Now playing as 8k on KGS. Still doing Life and Death problems. Concentrating on Korean Problem Academy part 3. This work is helping my game. Clearly saw that a group could live even as a 6k (KGS) tried to kill it...lived in seki...but lived, allowing me to take sente and reap a larger gain elsewhere on the board. (20040301) Played an even game last night against a solid 6k on KGS. Should have won but for becoming fixated on a ko fight and not even seeing (what you don't see, you don't ignore...ignoring something requires that you recognize its existence first ;) an atari. The result was the loss of over 15 stones and losing the game by 15 points. <sigh>. Other than that, played fairly well, flexibly, patiently, yet with some severity.
(20040203) All this Life and Death must be affecting my play...its getting so tight and territorial. Must supplement with study of fuseki...and to think that the big picture used to be my forte! This is truly frightening...dont know if I will be able to recover that skill.
(20040109) My play is improving. I am starting to move around the board picking up important and/or big moves, rather than staying local. In studying attacking, I have slacked off in Life and Death. My reading has suffered as a result. Must return to doing Life and Death problems each day...at least a dozen, at least. (20040103) Getting better at attacking. Being more patient. Still not good enough at it to make it work for me to the extent that I need to. Lost two groups while trying to attack and kill. Need to learn to attack and let live small.
(20031229) Must learn to attack and to make territory while attacking rather than trying to kill and failing to do so. Played four games last night, trying to learn this. In the last one got a half-pointer with a 9k.
(20031207) Still bouncing around at the 10 kyu level. There must be some fundamental that I am missing that causes me to be stuck at this level. I have been doing a lot of life and death problems lately, so my reading has improved. Have started my second run through 1001 Life and Death Problems in the car at stoplights on the way to work in the morning. Perhaps, I dont place the stones to support each other, at they are working at cross-purposes. Started studying Whole Board Thinking in Joseki in an attempt to address is possible issue. I seem to have gotten the idea of playing from my own weaker stones in contact with the other player's strong stones, strengthening both them and myself further, perhaps even causing the other person's stones to become overconcentrated.
(20031130) Played a lot over the Thanksgiving Holiday. 5 games one day and three another. Did not play well at first, losing a number of games, some to go blindness. But I am starting to see patterns on the board rather than series of moves, along the lines of a one-space jump here will allow the long-knight's move from both of these stones resulting in a shoulder hit on that stone, which leads to this picture at the end. This is new, we'll have to see if it holds or is just a temporary hallucination.
(20031115) My style of play has changed to be territorial and strength based, building several easily defended positions that tend to be low. This requires a lot of patience, as it seems that I am behind in territory throughout the game. I don't know if I win in the endgame or am too generous in counting the other player's territory. My recent concentration on tsume-go is contributing to this style of play, I suspect. One nice result is that I make fewer moves that I regret having played.
(20031110) Been a long time since I added to this. Have continued doing problems from 1001 Life and Death Problems, starting from the beginning once again in quasi-force feeding mode, but diligently enough to be called force feeding. Nonetheless, it does help.
Played at go club last night, a game I should have won very handily, yet for two reading three reading errors I won by komi. Black was a KGS 5k. Perhaps he just find me a difficult opponent as my rating on KGS is currently 9k.
(20031001) Finally finished 1001 Life and Death Problems. As a result my play has developed some sharpness. I can read much better than before. Now its time to go back through it book several more times while moving on to study something else, perhaps Making Good Shape. I have got to stop this pattern of playing, not playing for a little while, playing, stopping, playing. I keep bouncing up and down over a couple of ranks as I do this. Its down right silly%%% (20030924) Still working on 1001 Life and Death Problems, now at problem 970. I think that I am procrasting finishing the book because doing the problems have been so good to me. For example, Sunday night at the Baltimore Go Club I played a game with White against a player that has been giving me trouble lately. The game was a very good one, tense, and demanding the whole way through. Managed to do at least two things right: 1. played patiently, creating thickness and groups that could live easily via miai without overdeveloping the groups, 2. read well, I was able to kill an invasion that should have succeeded(?) as well as restrict the potential of a group by playing on both sides of it successfully. The group lived till an error late in the game resulted in it dying. Reading is Everything.
(20030912) Nearly completed 1001 Life and Death Problems. The last two hundred problems, five-move problems -- Black to kill, are going slowly. Nonetheless the working is rewarding, I am becoming more deadly on the go board. Unfortunately, as this happens, my strategic play is weakening. Just too much blood lust from doing all these problems. Now I need to balance better my local reading with the global, whole board situation. Most importantly, my reading is improving, as we know reading is everything ;) Nonetheless, I am still bouncing around between 11k and 9k on KGS. Must play more often.
(20030824) Played a game last night at the Baltimore Go Club which felt as if I had played the game before, at least for the first 20 moves. Misread one tactical situation, failing to kill (perhaps they were not killable) a group of 6 stones. But I played in a solid, controlled manner, always feeling as if the game favored me. Forced a resignation within 100 moves by surrounding and cutting off a group of 12 stones without eyes. Felt as if I had the direction of play well in hand. This is against a 9k AGA. Perhaps I am starting to improve?
(20030731) Endgame...understanding which moves are endgame and which are not.
(20030724) Avoiding serious errors. Finally played a game in which I did not make any serious errors. Hopefully, this is the start of something new. At my current level, games are often decided by the last serious error.
Developable areas. I need to understand better when a side is developable.
Squeezing. Squeezing a group from the outside yields significant benefit. The group becomes smaller and may be subject to attack. Ones outside position is greatly strenghtened. Trying to attack/kill before squeezing may result in the group breaking out or one's outside being needless thin.
(20030714) Connection...watching each group or string of stones and making sure that it will connect to a live group recently has become a constant consideration in my play. This is particularly true as the remaining liberties begin to fill. It not actually a worry, but rather a present consideration.
(20030713) At 11k KGS, the board is starting to come together. I find myself considering much more often how play in one area will affect possible play in other areas of the board. Perhaps, the simplest example being looking for/at ladders that can arise during play in one corner and how the rest of the board will affect those ladders.
(20030710) Finally coming to understand the harm ones does by touching weak stones.
(20030601) Double Ko. You can live via a double ko. At KGS 11k this is new to me. Never realized it until now.