I don’t know if any of you have ever heard of the game “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon” (which is a deviation from the theory “six degrees of separation“), but it essentially boils down to the idea that every person is connected to another within six connections. And as you might guess based on the title of my post, I am writing because my friend Eric Lui had the honor of competing in the 2013 Samsung Cup and got to play against Lee Sedol!!!! I would be lying if I said I wasn’t jealous in the least, but that is still just plain epic!!!!!!
Now of course, while this usually is worthy of a post all on its own, there is another reason I’m also writing about Lee Sedol. Prior to all of above, I injured my left hand from boxing and have had to take it a little easier as of late. Since I’m trying to rest in order to quickly recover, what better way to fill the time than to study some go? And guess who’s book I happened to decide to study. That’s right. Commented Games by Lee Sedol Volume 1!
As I was working through it, I came upon an anecdote where his sister described how his father used to train him when it came to solving life and death. Lee Sedol’s father stressed accuracy and would scold him harshly whenever he solved a problem incorrectly. As a result, Lee Sedol would check his answer 100 times over before showing his father the answer regardless of how simple the problem might seem. Though seemingly harsh at the time, his sister believes that this is one of the reasons that Lee Sedol’s reading is as strong as it is today.
So how does this relate to me? Well I am the first to admit that I am pretty lazy when it comes to solving problems. I might give a problem anywhere from a glance to 30 seconds (depending on my mood) before checking out the answer. I tried to tell myself that this is because I wanted more exposure to new sequences; but in reality, this has probably been hurting my reading more than helping it.
And then as if I wasn’t already feeling guilty enough about my lazy approach to studying life and death, Lee Sedol makes the following statement:
Fighting spirit without the base of thorough reading is nothing but recklessness that leads directly to defeat.
While I was blown away by how insightful that comment is, another part of me also felt incredibly sheepish as I realized that Lee Sedol had just summed up why I lose most of my games in one line. Heh… Perhaps it’s time to take a moment and rethink my approach to studying…