Monday, January 28, 2008

My first victory since my return!

Today I played a game versus jandred [14k] on KGS. Playing E19 with my 209th stone to save my upper-left stones was an important thing I missed, however. With this victory, I am now 13 Kyu on KGS!

Without further adieu, here it is:

Sunday, January 27, 2008

The game that makes me want to quit Go

Well today I played a game against waldemar [14k]. He was a nice opponent. After yesterday's game against an 11 Kyu, I figured that I was at least stronger than 14 Kyu. I played the game well, and was winning by quite a large margin. Around the Eightieth moves though, I was simply not paying attention, and playing on auto-pilot. I don't know what I was thinking, and after seeing what happened by move One-Fifty, I was more angry than I have ever been while playing Go. I literally felt nauseous. It was all I could do not to smash my mouse. I've never been so angry at a game before. It was scary. I never want to play Go again. least that's how I felt during the game. I was so absolutely overcome with rage. I don't know what prevented me from simply thinking it through and stopping Black from marching right in and stealing roughly fifty points from me. I know how to, and knew how to, but didn't do it. It was like I said, "Here...I know how to stop you, but I won't. Take whatever you want from me. You want to win? Okay, here, have it. I won't stop you."

It was extremely frustrating. Of course, I will play Go again.

Here's the game:

Saturday, January 26, 2008

First game after my break

Today I played my first game after my vacation. I hadn't read or played Go for about a week. It was against wolfmann [11k] on KGS, and I lost. It was a great game, and in review I found a mistake that, had I not made it, cost me ten points. If not for this mistake, I would have only lost by half a point!

Here is the game:

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Go club at my school? Improvement!

Well, the trip was excellent. I had a great weekend and created some new, great bonds with some of the students at my school. I also was also surprised that out of the eighty or so students that went, I found four that knew the manga/anime Hikaru No Go. Everyone one of them were interested in learning to play the game of Go, but had never had the chance. If there are four out of less than a hundred, surely there are many more amongst the close-to-two-thousand students at the school I teach at. I think that trying to start a Go club there would probably turn out to be quite a success!

Since my last game last Thursday, I haven't had the time to play yet again on KGS. In addition, I didn't really get much time at all to read during the trip. Basically, I've had close to a week with no Go. I'll have time this weekend to play, and we'll see how the short break affects my strength.

On another note, apparently the people I have defeated on KGS in the past have gotten better. According to KGS, they have improved enough to have had an effect on my KGS ranking. I am now 13 Kyu, and halfway to 12 Kyu! It was nice to not play for a few days, and then see my ranking go up a point.

Stay tuned for more reports and games!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Last game before heading out of town

I am a high school teacher, and this weekend I will be heading up to Prescott, Arizona with my school. We will be back Monday, and so I've packed a couple good tsumego books up along with my two new novels that revolve around the game of Go (First Kyu and The Go Master). I won't be able to play at all, and so I got one last game in tonight before I head off to bed.

I was Black against ME2 [14k] on KGS. It was a satisfying game, but not simply because I was victorious. It was satisfying mainly in that I felt like I was able to be successfully aggressive...something I have not yet been able to do in a game against an even-ranked player. I am normally defending what I have and holding out until the end. In this game, I experimented and pushed as much as I could find room for. An early R11 was imperative I half-felt, and was later told in review with Flameblade [2-3d] from Go Discussions. However, it worked out in this game.

Here it is:

Have a good weekend!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The negatives of studying.

I have been studying quite a bit lately. School has started up again, and being a High School teacher takes up quite a bit of time. However, I've been able to be reading my Graded Go Problems for Beginners (Volume 2) book in spare time, and in the evenings I've been reading the tactics chapters from The Second Book of Go. I haven't been playing as much as I was over the break, but have been studying more. I have more ten to fifteen minute sections of time, as opposed to the hour or two chunks of time over the Holiday break. To sum up, I've been reading a lot more, and playing a bit less.

Well, today I played a couple of games. The first was against Kurissu [13k]. While I consider myself just a "weak" 14 Kyu player, I didn't expect to lose so badly. It was by about sixty or so moku, which I felt was quite a large margin. I felt I was playing decently until near the end. It's funny how when I feel like I am just ahead, I end up winning by a large amount, but when I feel like it is close, I lose. It sort of goes back to the recent post about the sides and corners versus the center. In this game, I didn't ignore the corners and sides, but did focus on connecting through the center. The result? One huge chain of stones cutting the boards into quarters, surrounding almost no territory, while my opponent had the corners and sides.

Here is the game:

After this game, my sensei Terri had a few minutes to do a quick review. We discovered that I made a number of mistakes while my stones were in atari. I tended to ignore the ataris and try cuts which were simply mistakes. It seems the studying of all these tsumego have made me look for tesuji where there were none. It's a sort of growing pains area in my development. I am looking everywhere for these tesuji because of all the studying. Once it all sinks in, Terri feels I will settle down and then see new strength. In the meantime, I may experience a slight decrease in strength as I re-learn certain things.

After the loss to Kurissu, I then played a game against grimm [17k]. Grimm had to leave early due to exams. I felt that I played horribly again, and while the KGS score estimator says I am ahead by a good margin, I am not satisfied with my play in the game. I don't feel like I should be struggling as much as I was during the game. I was having a very hard time finding good plays. On top of everything else, I hit the "pass" button just before we adjourned the game, so Grimm will begin with an extra play when we resume (assuming we meet up again).

Here is that game, so far:

I am going up to Prescott, Arizona this weekend (for three days) for a school camping trip, and will not have access to play Go. However, I will be reading a lot. I have The Master of Go and First Kyu to read, as well as my tsumego books. So...more reading and less playing! It will be interesting to see how it affects my play in both the short, and long-terms.

Stay tuned!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Studying habits.

This past week or so, I've been playing a game a day on KGS, and reading Davis' Life and Death while starting to read The Second Book of Go. I'm finding that it's not really gelling with me though. The Life and Death book seems to [I]teach [/I] life and death more than allowing you to practice it. I've read about a quarter of it, and it's above my level at this point. The Second Book of Go's first couple of chapters are not that great, and then the third is an EXTREMELY superficial look at joseki.

"If this happens, use this, if this happens, use this, if stones are here, do this, if they are here, do this, if they are here, do this..." and so on. It is presented in such as way so as to be non-memorable to me.

So...what I'm thinking is skipping ahead to the chapters on invading/attacking/defending. This is what seems most helpful to me at my mid-kyu level.

What I will do is continue to try and play at least one game a day, while reading the later chapters in the book, and studying my Graded Go Problems for Beginners when I'm not sitting down at home. We'll see if this change in my studying habits helps with what seems to be a stagnation in my improvement.

Maybe this is all just a backlash from my very fast improvement. I just really got serious about Go a month ago, and rose to 14 Kyu within a couple of weeks. Maybe I've just hit my skill level, and now I need to work harder to improve it. Time will tell.