For the second Monday Go Meditation of 2014, I thought it would be great to feature the game where my sensei (frozensoul) and I played a game together online. While this was not rengo, it was a really interesting experience to have frozensoul's input on the game while I was playing. You very quickly come to realize how differently high dan level players actually think. I hope that you enjoy this game and see the difference I'm talking about. =D
A couple of nights ago, frozensoul mentioned something to me that really struck me.
My mind is my greatest opponent.
Yup. You read that right. Instead of being trounced by opponents better than me or making dumb mistakes, I often end up out-reading myself.
What do I mean by this? I’m talking about being fearful of potential aji in X area and adding unnecessary moves “just in case.” Now this might sound reasonable, but let’s think about this one moment. If you are adding a move to an area that doesn’t require it, are you not essentially passing your turn?
To further illustrate my point, take the following problem:
Is there anyone out there who would suggest that Black capture the White stones “just to in case?” Absolutely not. Because any player above 12 kyu would know that it would be completely absurd to do anything but tenuki.
“But wait Ben! Not all positions are as clear cut as the problem you presented! What happens if you’re wrong and then you lose because you think you can tenuki when in fact you really can’t?!”
Well, to that I have only one question: Are you trying to get stronger or simply keep winning against opponents of the same strength?
Yes. It would suck if you tenuki when you actually needed a move and then lost a game; but guess what, that is part of growing and learning so that we can get stronger. We make mistakes. We fall. We get back up. We learn. We grow. We get stronger. And the cycle goes on and on…
So the next time you feel like you’re in a questionable position, do your best with the reading ability you have and then have faith in your moves. You will make quite a few mistakes along the road, but I assure you that it will be a heck of a lot better than defending against imaginary aji.
Today I played an interesting teaching game with frozensoul. After losing (as I normally do), he made a very insightful comment about my play: I have a tendency to settle positions quickly. In other words, instead of keeping my options open, I choose to instead play out a local area to completion before I’m entirely sure of what my strategy is for the game. As a result, it becomes a lot easier for stronger opponents to figure out what I’m aiming at and ultimately nullify it.
Though I try to keep as open a mind as possible in every game, it seems that I still fail to appreciate how much freedom players actually have during a game. You want to play three moves in a corner to try and eliminate my stone’s aji? No problem. I’ll go ahead and take the 2 other big points on the board and laugh maniacally later when my stone’s aji still comes back to bite you in the butt.
No longer do I wish to be imprisoned by my own volition and stubbornness. Go is a game of freedom. So from this moment forth, I will stop trying to see the game from the confines of everything I learned thus far. Instead, I will try to see the board as it truly is: a beautifully endless depth of possibilities and creativity.
For today's go meditation, I am showing the game where I became more aware of the impact of moves on a whole board scale in regards to "slow" moves along with how differentiating between active and passive moyos caused a shift in how I now valued certain moves. It is a teaching game that is a bit short, but hopefully it helps to illustrate what went on in my mind during that game.
Last night I played a fun game against my friend Nate, but was definitely demolished by the end of the game. A 40 point loss… hahaha. Thought I admit that there was definitely a degree of disappointment in myself for playing so terribly, there is a silver lining in my complete failure.
So my experiment failed miserably, but I am sure that the experience I gained with be valuable in the future. In addition, I am happy knowing that my mistakes were not reading mistakes this time around. Though I may have made plenty of strategic and whole board errors, reducing the number of reading mistakes should prove to be very lethal once I take care of my flawed strategies. For those wondering about the kifu, it’ll be featured on a Monday Go Meditation in a couple of weeks.
Meanwhile, I have also decided to take my sensei’s advice and take the time to really watch Battousai’s 3D Tygem Series. Perhaps I can follow in his footsteps and gain sudden insight into the game through watching the series. Not sure how it will go, but I’ll be sure to let you know if anything changes.
I just finished the arc in Hajime no Ippo where Takamura fights for his second world title. In an effort not to spoil it for anyone who plans on reading or watching the show, all I will say is that his faithfulness to his fundamentals was incredibly moving. No matter what the situation, people’s faith in the fundamentals is what allow them to pull themselves out of the most difficult situations.
Aside from that though, I’ve had one of the most eye opening lessons to date. My whole perspective on moyos and just go in general has completely changed. Granted, integrating this new perspective into my play will probably be terribly exhausting for awhile; but ho ho ho…. this could change everything…
Prior to this game, I was on a decent winning streak… so I was feeling pretty good. Feeling good enough to think I could outplay a 5d? Apparently so….
Now granted, this was a teaching game; but I assure you that I did nothing less than try to outplay him and hope to catch him off guard. For those who are still new and wondering why this is incredibly stupid, the difference between a 5d and 9k is at the bare minimum 8 stones. So… yeah…
It’s been so long since I played against an opponent so vastly stronger than me that I forgot what it was like to play just to simply survive. That’s right: just survive. Instead, I tried to take big points and was under the false assurance that my groups were alive and that I was giving frozensoul a good game.
That being said. There are too many mistakes to be mentioned and the prized moments are practically nonexistent. If you would like to see what 9k mistakes look like and how they get properly demolished, please see the kifu below!