Archive: undefined/2014

Returning to the Fundamentals

Weekly Go Wednesday, Issue #44

Credit to TheChangeBlog

Up until a month or so ago, my go had become quite rigid. In fact, it could be compared to an ice sculpture where the curves and angles have all been predefined. And though it is admirable in one aspect, it also represents a sense of rigidity and does not have much room for growth. And since my goal was to build something way better, it was only natural that it was time to set it on fire and let it melt away. And now that I am left with this pool of water, while the prospect of building a grand ice sculpture sounds great, it’s been rather difficult figuring out where to begin.

For those who don’t use Twitter, I recently tweeted about picking up Lessons in the Fundamentals of Go by Kageyama 7P again. You might wonder why I’m doing this. After all, I’ve read this book at least four or five times at this point. However, I’ve noticed that my progress in go has reached a vulnerable stage. It’s not stagnant, yet it is not necessarily progressing either in the traditional sense of climbing ranks. Instead of complaining and being frustrated however, I’ve decided that this is as good a time as any to return to the fundamentals.

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WGW 34: The Value of Repetition

Weekly Go Wednesday: Issue #34

As most of you know, I own a majority of the English go literature that exists out in the market. And in conjunction with that notion, I’ve also reviewed quite a few books as I’ve progressed throughout my journey. What some of you may not realize however, is that one of the downsides to me trying to review books in quick succession means that I am unable to spend a lot of time absorbing the material. As a result, my growth as a player is not necessarily correlated with the number of books I’ve read.

Lately I’ve been really starting to see the detrimental effect of my poor reading abilities. I have found myself in numerous positions where I may have made strategically sound decisions and had aims that should have worked in actuality, but due to my weak reading skills I was unable to follow through or execute my plan properly. So after numerous frustrating games and irritation with my own growth, I’ve decided to take a step back in my studies.

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Archive: undefined/2013

Friday Go Forward: Week 22

Friday Go Forward: Week 22


As I’m sure you all are aware, this week marks the start of my Korean Training Reboot! I am having the time of life as I’m going over the basics of all basics for the first time ever. Now I know it probably sounds stupid to some of you that I’m spending my time on books intended for 30 kyus, but I feel like I am getting a lot of value just drilling basics such as “can my stone escape from atari.” It’s not so much that I’m learning something “new,” but instead I am really trying to polish the fundamentals of my reading ability. Here’s to hoping I know what I’m doing!


  • DGS - 2 ongoing games
  • Nova - 2 ongoing games

Education & Training

  • Finished Attacking and Defending Moyos.
  • Finished on Elementary Go Series, Vol 4 - Life and Death.
  • Started and finished Level Up 1.
  • Started working on Level Up 2.
  • Worked on Modern Master Games, Vol. 1.
  • Worked on Elementary Go Series, Vol 5 - Attack and Defense.
  • Worked on Whole Board Thinking of Joseki, Vol. 1.
  • Worked on Essential Life & Death 3.

Book Review: 1001 Life and Death Problems

Overall Rating: 5 / 5 Ponnuki

Basic Information

  • Title: Mastering the Basics, Volume 2 - One Thousand and One Life-and-Death Problems
  • Authors: Compiled and edited by Richard Bozulich
  • Publisher: Kiseido
  • Publication Date: February 2002
  • Page Length: 244 pages
  • Number of Problems: 1001 problems (what else did you expect? =D)


  • New and refreshing approach to teaching life and death.
  • Appropriate for 12 kyu and stronger.
  • Recommended for casual players.

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Book Review: Lessons in the Fundamentals of Go

Overall Rating: 5 / 5 Ponnuki

Basic Information

  • Title: Lessons in the Fundamentals of Go
  • Author: Toshiro Kageyama 7-dan
  • Translator: James Davies
  • Publisher: Kiseido
  • Publication Date: May 1978
  • Page Length: 272 pages


  • A hybrid of theoretical/conceptual explanations along with problems to illustrate the ideas.
  • While may seem advance, Kageyama’s personality really shines through and makes this such an interesting read (regardless of your level).
  • Appropriate for 20 kyu and stronger.
  • Recommended for all types of players.

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Book Review: Making Good Shape

Overall Rating: 5 / 5 Ponnuki

Basic Information

  • Title: Mastering the Basics, Volume 3 - Making Good Shape
  • Authors: Rob van Zeijst and Richard Bozulich
  • Publisher: Kiseido
  • Publication Date: December 2002
  • Page Length: 206 pages
  • Number of Problems: 245


  • Gives players fantastic exposure to new concepts and ideas regarding shape.
  • High quality content for a subject that has minimal literature compared to other concepts of go (e.g., life and death).
  • Any player who has a desire to get stronger and enter the realm of SDK’s should absolutely get this book.
  • A hybrid of theoretical/conceptual explanations along with problems to illustrate the ideas.
  • Appropriate for 15 kyu and stronger.
  • Recommended for serious players.

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Archive: undefined/2010

Ordinary Moves

So I’m rereading the Fundamentals of Go by Kageyama, and I have to say this is definitely one of the best books a Go player can use in terms of getting stronger. He comments on the fact the amateurs often try these outlandish moves while professional stick to the ordinary and basic moves. This struck me and since then I’ve been trying to keep my moves relatively simple. More on this to come when I derive more meaning from his statement and how others can apply it to their own game.

Here is a game that I played today as I defended my recent promotion to 12 kyu against an 11 kyu in an even game.

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Weekend Hiatus Again....

Dirty Dozen Impatience (Credit to Sunny and Fit)

Bleh. I’ve failed so far as to keeping regular blog posts once I go up to Baltimore on the weekends…. I’ll need to fix that. But regardless, I played quite a bit with Todd over the past couple days… and I have to say it’s been frustrating yet enlightening. I know I’ve said this multiple times in the past… but I’d say that the implications of the line that “Go is 98% patience” is “Read ahead you idiot.”

I’m not the first nor will I be the last to say that I believe that Go really does reveal a lot about a person’s character. What I’ve realized… is that I’m not as patient as I thought I was. I like to get things done quickly and to use talent and intuition to hope for the best result. The only problem is that this mindset doesn’t translate well in Go and in the bigger picture… life.

Second epiphany is that my asinine “wanna-be pro” self keeps trying to create all these clever trick plays (e.g. shortage of liberty situations or awesome snapbacks). What does that mean for a player still in the DDK who plays an opponent of shodan strength? Complete and utter failure. As Todd so kindly reminded me, “Go is not about killing stones….” I must’ve heard and read this about a hundred times since I’ve started, yet still it still has not sunk into my brain…. sigh.

So what do I take away from all of this? Two things:

  1. Train my patience as a person so that it will not only impact my ability as a Go player, but the rest of my life as well.
  2. Focus on the fundamentals of Go. Stay away from trying to do anything crazy until the basic are set and stone in my style of play.

Pointers from a Stronger Player

So I had the pleasant surprise of having Justin watch over one of my games tonight. It’s always funny how obvious the mistakes I make are when a stronger player points them out… or more obvious moves. But he did leave me with an interesting thought…

“As a word of advice, just do problems. Focus on the fundamentals. Everything else will come later.”

I think that may be where my training is a bit lacking at this point. I keep reading more theory type books, but have neglected my problems. Looks like I’m going to switch gears starting October. SDK (Single Digit Kyu) may be out of reach by this point, but we’ll set a new target when my second month is up.