Do Something You Cannot Do

Weekly Go Wednesday, Issue #40

Recently I have found myself exploring a lot of new ideas and concepts from varying schools of go. A simple example of this is my inability to stick with reviewing one style of go at a time. For example, last week I was very motivated to finally purchase Master Play: The Territorial Styles of Kitani & Cho Chikun and find out what it really meant to have a “territorial style.” It was a fascinating and eye opening read; but once I had read most of the book within a few hours, I was suddenly driven to go back and study Master Play: The Fighting Styles of Kato Masao & Seo Bong Soo as well! Talk about opposing styles!

As you might expect, my games have also started to undergo a change as well. I find myself trying all sorts of weird and new things lately because of all these new ideas floating around my head. So as I was perusing for ideas to write for this week’s Weekly Go Wednesday, the following quotation from Pablo Picasso inspired me to write this post:

“I am always doing that which I cannot do in order that I may learn how to do it.”

With my interests being all over the place, it really does feel as if I am undergoing some sort of transformation in my go. Stones seem to move and speak to me differently as I play games now. Maybe it’s just the mere fact that I am playing more. Hard to say, but what I will say is true is that Picasso’s quotation is at the heart of my games lately.

Whenever an opportunity arises to try something new, I rarely hesitate to try it in my games anymore. There is far less concern for winning and/or fear of losing than I used to have in the past. So games have felt more like laboratory experiments as of late. Sometimes I’ve thought to play super tight territorial moves to try and mimic Kitani, and then other times I’ll intentionally abandon a group the way Seo Bong Soo would do so in order to draw the game into a complicated battle between multiple groups.*

*This is not to be confused with turning the game into one giant capturing race or killing one huge dragon. Instead it is more along the lines of the back and forth of fighting between multiple groups that results in territory being gained or trades being made in exchange for different parts of the board. In other words, true fighting and not one gigantic field of bloodshed.

By doing this, I have felt like I have started taking steps forward in deepening my understanding of my own go. Instead of simply sticking to what I know, exploring new territory and ideas in my own games has been incredibly rewarding in not only my growth as a player, but my appreciation for the game as well.

The best example of this is my recent study of the “territorial style.” While I have always known of this style, I would have to say that I had little to no appreciation for it up until recently. It’s not that I looked down on the style or had any disrespect for it, but I always scoffed at the idea of ever playing that way since I was always interested in “fighting” or “attacking” (both of which are concepts I actually never really understood either).

Yet, with my curiosity of late, letting myself learn about the territorial style of go has really done wonders to the way I approach the game. I have even tried using it myself in some of my games with some success and even enjoyed it! And I never would have thought of it this way, but gaining insight into the “territorial style” is really opening me up to start really figuring out where my style of go is. And though I thought I had it all figured out, I realized my style is still a molten hot ingot of steel waiting to be forged to the perfect sword. (But this is another topic in itself, so let’s save that for another time.)

At the end of the day, I think what I’m trying to say is don’t let yourself be confined to any one perspective. More often than we’d like to admit, the only way for us to further our progress is to do things that we are uncomfortable with. And by doing so, we not only gain valuable insight into ideas and concept that transform our minds, but also an irreplaceable experience that will only add to the complex tapestry that is our life.