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 Post subject: Re: The Story of a Loser - Ego
Post #181 Posted: Tue Jun 12, 2018 6:15 pm 
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I won't discuss the reading mistakes of a blitz game, such as the snapback. On the more intuitive goods and bads:

Bad:

take away base before surrounding, or when there is no base already: 26, 36
defending against no threat: 44, 154, 194, 196, 198
"if you don't answer, I cut" aka thank you move: 54, 92 and in particular peep where you can cut: 56, 98

Good:

cut on a large scale: 64, 112
surround on a large scale: 84, 150, 152
sacrifice: 138 and following
in general, playing consistent with your previous moves

You have obviously greatly improved in large scale attacking but the skill is fresh: when the going gets tough, you play defensive moves where there is no danger.

Becoming consistent with earlier play is a great, subconscious achievement. I remember you showed a lack of persistence in the beginning, leaving business unfinished. Your timing of when to play elsewhere and when to continue seems to have improved a lot.

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 Post subject: Re: The Story of a Loser - Ego
Post #182 Posted: Tue Jun 12, 2018 9:12 pm 
Judan

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A few comments. :)



BTW, [] brackets inside a comment, such as "Spoonsy[7k]:" violates SGF grammar.

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 Post subject: Re: The Story of a Loser - Ego
Post #183 Posted: Wed Jun 13, 2018 4:56 am 
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@knotwilg
Thanks for the comments!
Yes things like the snapback are pretty silly but it happens in Blitz. Although I did see the snapback once he disconnected, but for some unknown reason I played it out anyway.
I've worked on no longer playing thank-you moves for a while, it seems it's coming back into my games now, I'll be weary of those!

Lack of experience is probably my biggest weakness in attacking, like you say it's still fresh and at times I play some weird 25 kyu moves. I shouldn't get scared so easily to defend, instead read out and be confident there's nothing there.

Happy to hear I've improved in those areas I didn't specifically worked on, but more subcounsciously like you say.

@Bill
Yeah I don't know how the sgf file got so weird. I just copy-pasted it from a download from KGS.
Funny, at move 16 I had just received a criticism from my last game that I played wrongly. Now I didn't hesitate to do so, but because I didn't understand the reasons why behind it, this time it was the "bad" move. Go is funny like that :)
Thanks for the variations. They're all quite clear if I see them like that. Except the last one, that one goes way too deep to ever see in the actual game for me :shock: :D

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 Post subject: Re: The Story of a Loser - Ego
Post #184 Posted: Wed Jun 13, 2018 7:04 am 
Judan

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Ian Butler wrote:
Thanks for the variations. They're all quite clear if I see them like that. Except the last one, that one goes way too deep to ever see in the actual game for me :shock: :D


The key in the corner is that when ataried the 2-2 stone should descend to the first line. That is very very often the case. Then capturing it makes only one eye. Small life in the corner is not good enough for Black, so he should not have pursued it.

The second key point is the throw in at Q-19, which takes away a potential eye with sente. That is also something that comes up often.

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 Post subject: Re: The Story of a Loser - Ego
Post #185 Posted: Wed Jun 13, 2018 9:22 am 
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I think I'm in an interesting stage of my go-development. I've been playing the game (re-playing rather) for about 6 months now, and in those six months I have to admit I've improved more than I thought. Yet as I improved faster, I only hoped to kept going like that.
I've been developing my weaknesses the last few weeks, but I also feel my general strength has not improved as much anymore. It almost feels like a small plateau, but it's probably too early to call it that. In fact, it's probably in my mind only.

And it's only logical that you don't increase stones as quickly as in the beginning. Because I go from 20 kyu to 10 kyu in 6 months, shouldn't mean I go from 10 kyu to 1 dan in another six months and from 1 dan to 3p in another six :lol:
Can't thank Bill enough for his words, that weekly echo in my thoughts and soothe me: "don't even think about your rank until you've played at least a year"

But still, I'm in a little bit of a rut. I have 3 busy weeks coming up and my Go practice is not pretty much contained to daily L&D problems and a few games a week. It's starting to feel like "work" and sometimes, for the first time since starting to play, it feels a bit boring, doing the L&D and not seeing the results of it immediately in my playing.
Also the fact I "only" spend 1 hour, sometimes 2 hours a day on Go, coming from 4-5 hours a day, feels like I'm slacking off and losing my focus.

But I guess that is something every Go player goes through from time to time. Maybe it's time for me to read another more strategic book, or replay some more pro games. Just to keep things fun, even if it's not effecient use of my time.

Anyhow, in July and August I have about 7 weeks off work, and I do plan to spend quite some time of that on Go. So I shouldn't let these busy weeks get me down (sometimes my work needs some attention, too :oops: ) and rather enjoy the "break" from heavy Go-training instead of feeling guilty!

/rambling off.

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 Post subject: Re: The Story of a Loser - Ego
Post #186 Posted: Thu Jun 14, 2018 12:38 pm 
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Finished Jump Level Up 2. Instead of doing the tests, I'm going to do the entire book again. I feel it won't hurt to redo it!


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 Post subject: Re: The Story of a Loser - Ego
Post #187 Posted: Sun Jun 24, 2018 12:32 pm 
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Time for another update.

So the last 2 weeks I have actually taken a sabatical from playing games online. It will continue for another 7 days, after which I will get back in the saddle for a tight 8-week regime.

So what have I been doing, if not playing online games?

Playing games face to face
Granted, not as many as you'd play online, but still a few a week, both against weaker players (teaching games) and stronger players (6 dan), on different board sizes. I'm really started to re-appreciate the 9x9 board for learning Go.

Tsumego
But mainly I've been doing tsumego. I consider it one of the biggest successes in my short Go career, that I've managed to turn tsumego into an enjoyeable experience. Starting out with Go, tsuemgo was always one of the things I disliked. Level Up made me warm to the idea, and now I'm doing daily exercises and having fun with them, and actually feeling my reading ability and judgement improve within those few weeks!

It's still hard to do like 50 L&D in a row, though, so here is an example of how I do a session of 1.5h:

20 tsumego from 1001 L&D
Exercises from Get Strong at Tesuji
Read a chapter from Attack and Defense
More 1001 L&D
More exercises from Get Strong at Tesuji
A chapter from Survey of Tesuji
Do a few exercises frrom Step Up To a Higher Level (really enjoying that book)

Finish by replaying a Pro game (currently doing the 1971 Honinbo) rather quickly and just look at the shapes they make.

So it's not strictly a L&D regime, but it's mainly tsumego (I count tesuji problems as tsumego). Where I used to read books mostly for their strategy, I find I'm now drawn more to tsumego than to such books.
(After doing them heavily for a few months, I'm now taking a break from Jump Level Up because I dislike going through the book at the moment. Probably a reaction from doing them too heavily for a while, so I'll just leave it until I'm ready again)


I'll continue this for another week (and longer hopefully), after which I'll start playing online again. Two things to watch out for, though, are:

1) Time management
Playing online is dangerous for me. I'll have to use a real goban again, to stop myself from blitzing and playing below my capacities. Only downside is that it's tough finding opponents with longer time settings. If it were up to me, I'd play a 3-hour game online, but that's practically impossible.

2) Expectations
I took some distance from playing and I've focused on tsumego, meaning my sense of Tesuji, L&D and reading ability have all improved. I've actually felt them improve over the weeks. Some puzzles I amaze myself that I found the answer - and quickly too, at times. So I have made improvements there, no doubt. But I should be careful not to expect that to mean my strength/rank will immediately mirror that. So just for my mental health, I will assume my rank has stayed the same, but I've brought my reading up to my current level. I'll gladly take my ~10kyu rank and start developing from there, with my increased reading abilities (which I'll have to put to use to improve, see N°1)

My fingers are itching to play again, so I think the sabatical has been the right idea. No sloppy games because of time issues (busy weeks) and not playing often is giving me such an urge to play again, so it's good to remember how one enjoys playing Go, when one stops for a while.

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 Post subject: Re: The Story of a Loser - Study is Bliss (not blitz)
Post #188 Posted: Sun Jul 01, 2018 12:00 pm 
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Time for another one of these!

June Summary
June was a month easily divided in 2 parts.

1. Part 1.
Fighting. I wanted to get stronger at attacking. I finally learned the basics for attacking, but I have a long way to go and I'll keep investing in it, because it's so important. My first steps were with mixed successes, but I played some great games and I learned something, so mission successful!

2. Part 2.
Studying.
For about two weeks, I didn't play a single game online and only a few face to face games, mostly with weaker players (tutoring go). The reasons were mostly personal (with work asking every bit of energy I had).
I decided not to let time go to waste but instead use that time off as a study-session. I finally picked up on L&D properly and got myself mixed up in Get Strong at Tesuji, 1001 L&D and other tsumego books. My reading has definitely improved, as has my L&D, but it's tough for me to put into practise in online games. For some reason I just don't read that well online. Perhaps that's normal (for some people) and I think I'll have to accept that my online strength will always be a few stones weaker than my face to face strength. That's certainly no drama.

3. Go as my Way
In my bigger-picture-study of Go, I am learning quite a bit. More than once I've encountered my ego on the goban, and I'm learning new things about myself left and right. Suffice it to say, it is not always pleasant, but it proves to me Go is one of the ways to improve yourself in many different aspects.

4. Jump Level Up
I got tired of it for a while, so for next month I want to pick it up again and finish Jump Level Up 2 for the second time, then move on to JLU3.

5. L&D, tsumego
Once my least favorite go-topic, is now one of the things I couldn't miss. I really thrive doing those daily tsumego. However, half an hour is more than enough. Then I need something "lighter", like Attack & Defense...

6. July
As you may know, I'm a schoolteacher. Meaning I now have the Summer Vacation starting tomorrow. 8 weeks without work, without a whole lot to do. Needless to say, I am going to study my [behind] off! Here's what I have planned without being too concrete

Up until 19th of July
- Try to play at least 1 game a day + review
- Do a bunch of tsumego every day
- Re-read Shape Up, lay out the patterns on a real board

From July 19th to August 5-6th
- Holiday to France, cycling in the mountains. I'm hesitating between:
--- Bringing Go books and study hard (but no games, not bringing a laptop, I refuse to on vacation)
--- A break from Go, a true holiday. The reason why is because when learning a new instrument (I can play quite a lot) I always have a period when I stop playing. Whenever I return to the instrument, I seem to have improved, without playing. I wonder if that'd work with Go. Worst case scenario, I don't and I "lose" 2 weeks and a half and have a lot of fun in France :)

From August 7th to August 31th
- Try to play at least 1 game a day + review
- Do a bunch of tsumego every day

I got a lot to look forward to! To celebrate, here is the third game I played today. I opened strong, got a variation right that I had wrong a few months ago (someone on the site pointed it out to me and I remembered) and took a big corner.
In the middle game I played too leisurely and the game almost got back to even. But I was never worried and I knew I had a lead, so I continued to play calm until the end. I won with 15 points, never in any real trouble.
That's 3 wins today for my comeback, but the first one I really earned (after time-out + resignation)



Some comments/variations included.

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 Post subject: Re: The Story of a Loser - Study is Bliss (not blitz)
Post #189 Posted: Mon Jul 02, 2018 1:37 am 
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An experimental, fun game today. Definitely not my strongest game and I made some pretty ridiculous mistakes. Nonetheless, we played a nice game and my opponent did well to exploit cuts and whatnot.

Anyway, this was fun!


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 Post subject: Re: The Story of a Loser - Fun Games!
Post #190 Posted: Mon Jul 02, 2018 2:38 am 
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I just played about 6-7 games on KGS against a 2-dan bot. I always took 6 stones handicap.

Oh boy, I got my ass kicked. Closest I got was losing by 7.5 points. Mostly it was resign because a group of mine died or white took too much territory.
Unbelievable how strong it plays...

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 Post subject: Re: The Story of a Loser - Fun Games!
Post #191 Posted: Mon Jul 02, 2018 2:51 am 
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Also, what I NEED to stop doing is playing moves I know are small/unimportant but I play them anyway because I assume my opponent will react to them.

ALWAYS find the biggest move, unless an urgent move is on the board. Don't play small in the middle game.


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 Post subject: Re: The Story of a Loser - Fun Games!
Post #192 Posted: Wed Jul 04, 2018 3:15 am 
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Because I'm proud of this game, here it is.
Why am I proud of this game? Well, I'm now trying to play mindful Go. Meaning keep a clear head while playing. Don't panic when behind, don't try something you know is not going to work, don't be greedy, just play the best move you can find.

I did just that. Of course mistakes were made, but I think I played the best Go I've ever played, with the mistakes being of a higher quality than mistakes I usually make (which are sometimes 25 kyu moves). Even though I was behind most of the game (Monte Carlo network says I was leading for quite a while, other networks disagree), I kept very calm and continued to play patiently. When I saw a nice tesuji, the opponent resigned. I think the game is about even when I take these stones, so I think my opponent was too disappointed with this that he stopped thinking clearly.

Comments are in Dutch.

Funny detail, at move 15 you could say: Now aren't you sorry you made the C17-C11 exchange. Yes, exactly. Just like a game a few days ago :lol:


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 Post subject: Re: The Story of a Loser - Mindful Go
Post #193 Posted: Thu Jul 05, 2018 4:24 am 
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If your opponent plays H12 instead of B18 at 140, what happens? You should have played J13 and H12 in sente before playing B17 in the game.

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 Post subject: Re: The Story of a Loser - Mindful Go
Post #194 Posted: Fri Jul 06, 2018 3:02 am 
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I'm at both the easiest and the hardest part of my go development right now.
To play better Go, I simply have to do 1 thing: play my games seriously. Meaning no blitzing, no casual moves, rather concentrate the entire game, keep a clear head, look for the largest plays always...
In a way, very logical for playing Go.
If I can do that every single game, I will get to my real strength and can further develop from there.
Easy, right.

And yet this is the toughest thing I've had to do so far. It's not just learning something, some shape or a sequence or a strategy, where you can try it out a dozen times in games and then you master it. No, on the contrary. It can be perfect from the first time on, or it could fail for 1000 consecutive games. More so, it's not something you learn and can never unlearn. You have to do it every time again.

I've played one such game already, but the following games were a bit less. I'm trying to find out reasons why en when it works.
One thing I can definitely rule out (I could've known, though I still tried) is:

- Playing online without a goban. Every single time I fall into the same trap: start playing too fast. So a big no-no.

Another possible pitfall (but I think this is universal, even among pros) is when there is something on my mind even before playing a game. Something that happened that day, or some sort of emotion that lingers while playing the game.

So to improve my Go, I might actually start doing meditation exercises again. Even without Go, this is a great idea.

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 Post subject: Re: The Story of a Loser - Mindful Go
Post #195 Posted: Sat Jul 07, 2018 10:37 am 
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You know. Go can be a pretty disappointing game.

Just something I've noticed

:lol:

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 Post subject: Re: The Story of a Loser - Mindful Go
Post #196 Posted: Tue Jul 17, 2018 6:52 am 
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The Great Pitfall of Studying Go according to Ian Butler
I've been studying Go for six months now. A relatively short period but I've taken to it with an almost obsessive drive. Almost every day, and for hours and hours.
I've read dozens of books (literally), studied life and death, played games, reviewed almost every single one of those games, I've reviewed games by stronger players and whatnot.

But I need to learn to chill out.

Frustration is the pitfall. In those six months, it's happened four or five times that I've lost a game and was in a bad mood for hours afterward. Actually cursing the game, or thinking I should stop playing it entirely, that it's not worth it, etc etc etc. Mostly, trying to figure out why a game put me in such a bad mood, it almost seems impossible.
And then it happens again, a few weeks later.

Maybe it has a root cause that I'm unaware of, very probably actually.
It's not a fear/dread of losing. I've lost many games and I'm very okay with that.
It's not that I care an awful lot about rank. I know I develop well and I'm still growing stronger and we'll see where it ends up.

I think (but I'm not sure) it amounts to my great pitfall: pressure.

What (lost) games frustrate me to no end? The ones where:
- I made a huge mistake, but one that could've been avoided. Misreading is human and doesn't get me angry/frustrated. It's when I didn't read, didn't think, played a move I KNOW won't work but I do so anyway. Those moves potentially get me angry (at myself, of course)
- I'm in a period of studying heavily. My sensei has an interesting take on this. Frustration is expectation - reality. What happens if you study hard? Exactly. Then when you make a mistake that you "shouldn't" make, it's even worse. ("you should be getting better and you play a worthless move like this...")

Those two combined, can cause me to feel really dreadful about Go. So I really need to turn that around.
Can I avoid playing mistakes? Probably not. I can do my best and play well in 99/100 games, but sooner or later you're going to make a "stupid" mistake, or slip up, be lazy and don't read out something, or whatever. The point is, mistakes happen. Even mistakes that "can't be excused" will sometimes happen. You can limit them, but that's about it.

So back to pressure.
Is it necessary to be so hard on myself after such a move? Definitely no.
Sure, I could be disappointed at myself a little bit and say "why did I play so fast without thinking, why this, why that?", and one should be a bit harsh with oneself if one wants to improve a lot. Be critical of your own play!
But there's a difference between being hard on yourself to improve and torture yourself endlessly. In the end, it's just a game.

So once again we're back to pressure. Such a move disgusts me because I "ought to be better" than that. I should play better, I should perform better. Why? Because I study a lot. Because I have a sensei and thus I should keep improving. Because I played a great game yesterday, so why shouldn't I always be able to play like that?


The great pitfall of studying Go. Expectation, pressure, frustration... It works against me.

I'm going on vacation in a few days, and I won't be bringing anything Go related. A real, clean, break from Go for a few weeks. I think it'll do me good.
After that, I need to find a way to surpass this pressure and try to get better at Go without all the bad stuff :)

Or rather. I don't "need" to. I want to. No pressure there :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: The Story of a Loser - The Great Pitfall of Studying Go!
Post #197 Posted: Tue Jul 17, 2018 1:35 pm 
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It takes time.

No matter how much you read, study, play, practise, think about go or any other discipline, it takes time for your brain to sort it all out.

I believe the process is called Relational Memory and has something to do with the hippocampus slowly connecting episodes of learning together. It can take years. Even now, as I begin to study go again, I find that old memories suddenly appear in my mind, but given a new perspective in light of what I'm doing now. And just today I realised that one of the key skills that I have been lacking for most of my go life has been the ability to play indirectly.

So, don't feel frustrated. Be excited that you're going to get a great deal stronger if you keep on trying.

Remember how you felt when you first learned to drive or ride a bike or something else like that. Weren't you shaky and nervous when you first got your licence? And now you're confident and everything comes smoothly. Well, that's how it will be in six months' time or a year's time or whatever time frame if you keep on applying a sincere effort to your go. The things you do in a clumsy way now will be done in an assured way.

I'm cheering you on!

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 Post subject: Re: The Story of a Loser - The Great Pitfall of Studying Go!
Post #198 Posted: Tue Jul 17, 2018 3:25 pm 
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Every time you blunder, think of yourself as a 9d-pro

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 Post subject: Re: The Story of a Loser - The Great Pitfall of Studying Go!
Post #199 Posted: Sun Aug 05, 2018 10:44 am 
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The Conclusion of a Loser
For now, it seems this Study Journal will come to a close? How come? I will explain, but won't bore you with any details.

I've spent a few weeks in Southern France, away from Go and my usual life. I spent a lot of that time thinking and suddenly things came to me so clearly.
I've discovered I've been studying Go obsessively. No matter how beautiful Go is, obsession is never healthy.

And so I decided to free myself. I'm going back to broaden my horizon. I will start writing again, finishing that youth novel. I'll start playing music more again. I'll study many topics, including chemistry, biology, massage techniques, permaculture design and many more.
For now, Go will have to contend to be simply one of the many interests.

And so the study journal of a loser ;) comes to a close (for now). What is the conclusion of this study journal?

1. Go is an amazing game. Most likely the greatest game in the world.
2. It has the power to teach you a lot about life. It did that brilliantly.
3. It has the danger of drowning in it. I did that, too.
4. This Loser learned the lesson he was supposed to learn from Go: enjoy your life, do everything you want to do.

That's exactly what I'm going to be doing.
I might update this journal from time to time, because let's face it: I'm not quitting Go altogether, that's unnecessary. But the obsessive, addictive study of Go has come to an end. 6 months from 22 kyu OGS to 8 kyu OGS. Many lessons learned, many hours played and studied. It's been great.

See you!


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 Post subject: Re: The Story of a Loser - The Great Pitfall of Studying Go!
Post #200 Posted: Sun Aug 05, 2018 4:30 pm 
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Ian Butler wrote:
...

I might update this journal from time to time, because let's face it: I'm not quitting Go altogether, that's unnecessary. But the obsessive, addictive study of Go has come to an end. 6 months from 22 kyu OGS to 8 kyu OGS. Many lessons learned, many hours played and studied. It's been great.

See you!

It seems like you should start a completely new journal from the point of view of a non-obsessive player who enjoys Go as one of many interests.

Meanwhile, thanks for baring you soul during your obsessive days. Your journal was a lot of fun. :tmbup:

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