Archive: 5/2014

Friday Go Forward: Week 64

Overview

As some of you may have noticed, I decided to return to the KGS scene to play some ranked games again. If you’re wondering why I decided to do so, you can blame frozensoul for challenging me to do so. And the results have been pretty bad since I’m on a losing streak at the moment.

Though I’d normally feel more frustrated by this, I am actually in a decent place compared to my typical “on tilt“ mood. So while it sucks that I have been losing, I’m trying hard to take it in stride and not put myself in a position where I have to win in order to reset my emotional stability. Not an easy task, but I’d like to think it’s a step further towards the path of my zen go.

This week also marks the start of a new way of viewing acquiring skills. In this week’s Weekly Go Wednesday post, you can read about my little epiphany and new view on approaching my study of the game. So there’s starting to be some change in regards to that.

Finally, I was unable to win my last game and thus will drop to League B next month. Oh well. It is somewhat disappointing, but life goes on.

Hope you all had a good week and have a great weekend.

Training Regimen

  • Spend about 50% of your time playing games.
  • Complete 1 section of Level Up Review 2 per day.

Games

  • Tygem - 6 games
  • KGS - 6 games
  • DGS - 5 ongoing games
  • OGS - 4 ongoing games

Books

Lessons Learned

  • Just because you are struggling to learn something doesn’t mean you don’t have talent for it, it just means your brain is working hard to make that new skill more instinctive. Don’t give up.
  • I’ve stated this more than once on the blog, but seriously: don’t underestimate your opponent just because his rank is lower than yours. It usually leads to overconfidence that can allow for a rather tragic loss.
  • Don’t make any big decisions or any decisive evaluations about yourself when you’re feeling down. Your head is just not in the right place to do so.

My First Demotion

Though there was a small chance that I would be able to stay in League A for Yunguseng Dojang, unfortunately I was unable to rise to the occasion and will receive my first demotion to League B.

Before Sabumnim’s Review*

I always thought that getting demoted would feel similar to seeing my rank drop, but I have to say that this feels worse. Maybe I’ll change my mind after the fact, but this feels worse. And if I were to give a reason why, it’s probably because I spent time and effort over an entire month only to be shown my inadequacy.

I would be lying if I said that I’m cool with it and feeling whatever about it. A large part of me is frustrated and disappointed with myself.

As I sulk in this aura of frustration and angst, it is causing a lot of doubt to spread. Doubt as to whether or not I actually got any stronger over this last month. Doubt as to whether I have any talent at all since my games were nothing to be proud of (as evident in the past reviews). Doubt as to what the hell I’ve been doing this entire month since I’ve been so unstable (especially towards the end of the month).

It’s stupid and childish to think such thoughts. I know. I guess I’m just really feeling at a loss for what is going on with me. While part of it might be mental, another part of me feel like there is something wrong with my go. I just feel like I can’t make sense of what I’m doing anymore.

After Sabumim’s Review

When I started writing this post, my self-pity almost caused me to skip the review since I wasn’t sure if I could handle hearing that my game was awful or anything that could further my self-doubt. So as I wrote the first section of this post, I thought that I was doomed to feeling awful for the rest of the night. Thankfully though, against my feelings of self-doubt, I decided to go ahead and stay for the review.

To my surprise, I was happy to find out that my game was actually not a bad game at all. In fact, though I have been in a weird funk lately (in regards to the games I’ve been playing), this final game was probably one of most inspired ones so far. It’s kind of odd writing that because I ended up losing a rather important match, but I really feel that it was one of my most creative games I’ve played to date.*

Part of me still carries some of the frustration from earlier, but I’m in a better place now. Though getting demoted to League B is a bit disappointing, it simply means that I’ll need to work hard next month to get back to League A. Challenge accepted.

*Note: Sabumnim is the Korean equivalent of sensei when it comes to how to address your teacher. And in case it wasn’t obvious, sabumnim refers to Inseong.

**Part of me debated deleting this section to shelter you from my whining and self-pity, but I felt it would be wrong to try and hide it. As much as it might be pathetic and childish, this is part of my journey to gaining that next stone. The frustration, the self-doubt, and the feeling of wanting to just throw in the towel are all obstacles that I deal with and I don’t want to sugarcoat it at all. So for that reason, I hope you’ll understand why I left it in.

*I’m sure many of you will want to see the game, but I promise I’ll be releasing a full post on my first month in Yunguseng Dojang next week so you can see all of my games along with my thoughts on each of them as well.

Thursday Go Tygem: Game 04

Introduction

I recently had a conversation regarding the importance of ladders. And while the topic of ladders will probably cause many people to roll their eyes at the topic time and time again, it’s simply one of those things that you keep having a deeper and deeper respect for as you dive into the abyss of go. Today’s game is short, but it illustrates the severity of not being able to perfectly read out a ladder.

So whether you like it or not, you need to make your peace with ladders and make them your best friend. It’s the only way to climb to the top!

Game Summary

no,Category,Good,Bad
1,Opening, Move 10 - I’m proud of experimenting with a new joseki move I learned., Move 34 - This seems questionable to me; but perhaps it was a necessary defense.
2,Middle Game, Move 36 - The sequence around here worked out really well in my favor., Move 52 - This was rather small in regards to the whole board.
3,Fighting, Move 48 - My confidence in believing I could figure out the upper right corner was a good sign of healthy kiai., “Move 54 - Though I was successful locally, this was small in regards to the whole board.”
4,Endgame, Not Applicable, Not Applicable
5,Overall Reading, Move 74 - Being able to confidently read out this ladder was awesome., Move 58 - The sequence around here didn’t quite work out the way I expected. Didn’t realize I needed a ladder to be able to really gain a foothold in this area.

The Importance of Struggling

Weekly Go Wednesday, Issue #42

Credit to Business in Canada

For most of the time I studied go, I was always focused on getting the right answer. Perhaps this is a result of being conditioned from school and being obsessed with answering the question correctly, but nonetheless it showed up in my approach to studying go. So more often than not, if I managed to guess what the correct answer was for a particular problem, that would be the end of it and I would move on to the next problem. After all, I got the right answer and that’s what’s important isn’t it?

Of course, the next question is what happened if I got the answer wrong. Well, since I got the answer wrong, the logical choice would be to see what the correct answer is and try to memorize it. In other words, I would focus on understanding why the correct answer was correct and was less concerned with why my answer was wrong. Standard studying mechanism for taking any test in a class right?

Unfortunately, while that sounds okay in theory and may have helped me get through school rather easily, it turns out I have been barking up the wrong tree this entire time.

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On Thin Ice

The first month of Yunguseng Dojang (YSD) is almost over and you know what that means: top two players get promoted while the bottom two players get demoted. And as you might have guessed from the title of the post, I am on thin ice this month.

Based on my calculations of how the rest of the players in my league will do, everything hinges on my final game this Thursday. My opponent is already guaranteed a spot in League A, so for some reason I feel even more pressure since he holds the key to my fate next month.

To my surprise, I am more worried and stressed out about this than I would have imagined. Perhaps it’s due to sheer ego and desire to remain in the top class, but I do feel pressure to stay in League A next month.

Ah well. No point sitting here dreading and worrying about it. Off to prepare what I can before the game.

Monday Go Meditation: Game 57

Though I would have ideally preferred these games to have come out during the month of April, I'm happy to finally feature my games from Maaike's April's Challenge.* This game was Game #1 for Maaike's April's Challenge. Though this might seem like an aggressive game, I think that I was successful in learning to curb my bloodlust and let White live instead of killing and instead taking large profit in the center. Hopefully you'll agree. Enjoy!

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Friday Go Forward: Week 63

Overview

This week has been a great continuation of my new philosophy of gaining experience on the battlefield. I’ve always felt that experience on the battlefield was necessary, but it wasn’t until I really started taking it seriously that I’ve come to understand the depth of that fundamental truth. In fact, as a result of me playing more games (and of course losing more often), I was actually able to win my third round of Yunguseng Dojang! So within a week, I already have some proof of the method working!

As you will notice, my training regimen has been trimmed a bit. Unlike the past however, the reason I’ve decided to trim it down is not because it’s burning me out or anything of the sort, but instead it’s a matter of having some other activities I need to prioritize at the moment. And to be clear, what I write in the “Training Regimen” section is what I am requiring myself to work on everyday. When I have some extra time, then I will be doing other things as well.

Hope that all is well with everyone and that you all have a great Memorial Day weekend!

Training Regimen

  • Spend about 50% of your time playing games.
  • Complete 1 section of Level Up Review 2.

Games

Books

  • Level Up Review 2
  • The Theory and Practice of Shape

Videos

Lessons Learned

  • Just because you have a three in a row shape inside your opponent’s group doesn’t mean it’s dead. Seki is possible too. (-_-)
  • When you are about to start a fight, make sure that you are not at a disadvantage.
  • A ponnuki with an empty triangle is not as efficient early on as you might think.
  • Do not underestimate the power of a good extension from your thickness.

Thursday Go Tygem: Game 03

Introduction

Before playing this game, I had been studying one of Seo Bong Soo’s games from Master Play: The Fighting Styles of Kato Masao and Seo Bong Soo. And as I was replaying his game against Otake Hideo, I couldn’t help but wonder whether or not I had been wrong about my style of go this entire time. After all, I always thought I had a fighting style; but perhaps that is not really the case.

Anyways, inspired by his game, I decided to try and imitate that same feeling in this game. And though I end up collapsing in on myself with a really basic reading mistake, I hope you’ll still find this game entertaining.

Game Summary

no,Category,Good,Bad
1,Opening,Overall it felt okay considering it was a non-traditional opening; but nothing spectacular.,Move 28: This may have been too slow. Giving Black the initiative on the lower left was rough.
2,Middle Game,It felt more or less in my favor; but a bit risky.,Black got a big left side which sort of forced me to try and kill his group.
3,Fighting,Move 38: I was proud of starting this fight since I had an advantage in this area.,Move 98: This is probably my losing move. Letting my stones get weakened like that was bad.
4,Endgame,Not Applicable,Not Applicable
5,Overall Reading,Move 74-97: Felt proud for being able to continually harass this group / almost killing it.,Move 106: No excuses for this move. Complete misread.

Experience on the Battlefield

Weekly Go Wednesday, Issue #41

Credit to Kingdom Hearts 3 Trailer from Kingdom Hearts 2 Secret Ending

As many of you are aware, I have been known to prioritize studying and have had no qualms sacrificing playing games in order to do so. My rationale at the time was quite simple: Because I felt like I was always on a time crunch, reading books, studying problems, or even watching videos seemed to be better suited to my lifestyle. 15 minutes here… 5 minutes there… That way I could keep “improving” without the huge time commitment. Right?

Well, maybe only half right. While I might have picked up a thing or two along the way, my experience at the 1st Washington Baduk Open Championship was rather traumatic. After getting my butt kicked twice in a row after the first round and deep introspection, I realized I needed to play more. So in light of that realization, I thought it only appropriate to write about the importance of experience on the battlefield.

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Monday Go Meditation: Game 56

For this week's meditation, I am happy to feature fellow go blogger Perciles (Kingdom of Baduk) to this series. The game below is a casual game that we played with one another and can in fact be seen as a teaching game of sorts. As Pericles is a 5-6 dan, you can predict the outcome pretty well; but I'm hoping that you'll find the kifu entertaining as I try to flail around the board against his mighty strength. Enjoy!

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