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Hi, I am sh on Sensei's but my real name is Stefan, and I am from Germany.
I decided to play go more seriously on July 1st, 2008, in the youthful age of 38.
This site was initially created between 2009-07-22 and 2009-07-24
- In my blog I write about my go related activities
- My thoughts on improvement also have their own subpage
- The progress list shows my monthly ranks of various servers and EGF tournaments
- A new rank comparison list list based on 2010 data
Since 99% of the go population live in Asia, one can assume that the game is not spread very much in the Western world. Since I have been doing tsumego in my office during lunch break, I have had some comments about this by my colleagues. Most of them have never heard about it, even educated people with PhD degree. Some have heard that a game named go exists, but they don't know anything about it. Then I have two colleagues who know the rules, but never practised the game. One of them said that he knows a colleague who plays go. And finally - that was a real surprise - I found out that the daughter of my colleague who was sitting in the same office with me actively plays on KGS and was about my strength. That was in April when I was 12k. Unfortunately I don't have her KGS-nick since my colleague didn't know it and though I gave her my nick, I never get any response. Since I have changed my office, the opportunity is probably gone, but it was really a surprise to find people in my personal environment who know about go.
2009-09-15: Another surprise: A colleague, an external consultant who is new to my team, noticed that I was doing tsumego during lunch time. And he knew about go. He said that he went in for the game some time ago, though not too deeply. But being a programmer like me, he knew that there are no really strong go engines yet.
It is said that having a go rival around one's own strength will help to improve. I have chosen a few people as my rivals - but they don't know about this. I just observe how they develop and if their improvement it better than mine, I try to keep up with them - that's why I have launched my intensified tsumego training recently. Sometimes I play with my self-chosen rivals on KGS, just to check for myself, whether I have improved or not comparing to them. Whether your "rival" knows about his status or not, it gives motivation indeed to improve your go play.
Online Go Anxiety or OGA is one of the weird things that I suffer from. I had already noticed this a short time after signing up at KGS without knowing what it is. Only later I discovered that many others suffer from this as well. In the beginning when I played online it was worse than now, but it is still there. I have no idea what the reason for this is, but it is the reason that I rarely play online, though I know I should play more. In my case it is not because of fear of losing, neither rank obsession. I simply don't know its reason, but it inibits me to start games myself. On IGS and wBaduk there is a feature that you can be invited when you are looking around the server, observing games etc. Often I take this opportunity to play games. It's just one click to get into the game, and I don't have to take the initiative... Not a way to overcome the OGA, but a way to play some games online.
Burnout related to online go is another thing that I've been suffering from recently. It started during my tsumego exercises, after I had done some 1400 tesuji problems and life and death problems. It got worse so that I had to pause the exercises. But the climax appeared after I had started to play turn based online go on various servers. It started out as fun, but soon turned into a burden since you cannot take a break as you like. So I had to be online every day to make my moves. I got fed up with turn based go, but since my sense of decency didn't allow me just to let the time run out or to resign a match that I was supposed to win, I continued, and that increased the feeling of being fed up. The burnout came with a slump in my play, so that my rank deteriorated two stones on all servers. Luckily my real-life tournament go was not influenced.
I've come to the conclusion that there is one important "do" and one important "don't" to avoid burnout. The "do" is that you should learn/do those things of the game that you like. If you just feel like doing tsumego, or reading/studying a good go book, or meet with friends to play some matches, do so. Do whatever you like and consider as fun. The "don't" refers to long-term commitmens. If you have a feeling that they could turn into a burden, avoid them, because these are the things that could lead to burnout.
A Malkovich game is a match where both players reveal their thoughts on pondering about their moves to the public. To make things interesting it is not allowed to have a look at the opponent's thougts. This could be very helpful (especially) for beginners since they often have difficulties in selecting the right move, because they cannot decide which one is the most urgent or the biggest. At the moment there are three Malkovich matches that are ongoing or already finished. The playing strength of the players varies between 8k und 5d (KGS).
Deutsche Gobegriffe (German go terms)
Worldwide Rank Comparison (a table to visualize the rank differences between some countries' associations and some common servers)
Worldwide Rank Comparison Data Collection (data collection which is the base for the worldwide comparison list)
European Tournament Calendar
Questions and comments are welcome
sh: Also ich habe Go komplett auf Englisch gelernt, deswegen kommen mir die deutschen Begriffe ein wenig fremd vor. Aber ich schau gerne mal in die Liste rein. (2009-08-03)
tapir: Ich mehr oder weniger auch, jetzt begegnet mir vor allem spezifisch Basler Govokabular :) Vielleicht verirren sich ja mal mehr deutschsprachige Nutzer auf die Seite. Ich glaube das könnte nützlich sein. Und sei es nur, dass man auch einen deutschen Begriff hat, wenn man Go via SL und KGS lernt.