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 Post subject: the willow way
Post #1 Posted: Wed Sep 12, 2012 9:40 am 
Oza

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Until recently, I've had a very on and off relationship with go. I first learned to play about ten years ago, but my playing has always been in spurts. I played close to 50 games or so in the first couple months, then stopped, and never played more than a few games every 6 months for 4 or 5 years, when I played perhaps another 50 or 60 in a spurt, and again stopped until summer a year ago.

What's kept me playing now is being able to play over a real board and stones. Real time servers like KGS et al. never appealed to me strongly, and I have always been a slower player.

I became much stronger last winter after reading Yuan Zhou's book of games by Kitani Minoru and Cho Chikun, which changed my style drastically. Now I seek to improve and would like to foster a style like a willow, rooted in strong groups so that I can play the later game as flexibly as possible. I know it's within my grasp to become a dan player, and so now I'm trying to reach.

This is a game I played a few days ago. I don't think it was appropriately handicapped, but I made enough mistakes that I thought I'd put it up here and see what people think. I am black.



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 Post subject: Re: the willow way
Post #2 Posted: Fri Sep 14, 2012 10:59 am 
Oza

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Recently, most of my study has consisted of kibitzing games, or reading through commented games I have around the house. Specifically, I've been looking the most at Invincible of late, though I have a few other books of games as well. A few months ago I was working through tsumego pretty frequently, but haven't done many over the last month or so. I want to work on my endgame as well, and purchased Get Strong at the Endgame to that end, but haven't really had a chance to work through it.

A few months ago I saw the killing game of 1926, which has gotten me interested in Karigane Junichi. I've been looking for more games of his and have found a few from his matches with Go Seigen.

I play a couple games a week at a local club, and have a few games going on DGS right now, which is kind of new for me. I get online go anxiety, so I haven't played much on real-time servers in general, but this is a game from last night:



I usually dislike killing large groups as it leaves me worried for the rest of the game that they will spring back to life at the most inopportune moment, or that I will end up losing a huge ko as a result. In this game I didn't see many options aside from a splitting attack to get one or the other of the two white groups near the end, though. I felt a lot of my moves left something to be desired. I was also a little disappointed that my opponent spent all of 5 minutes of time on this game. That's life though, I guess.

Between this and the previous game, my very unstable rank on kgs has jumped by 5 ranks, from 8k? to 3k?, so I'm waiting for the inevitable game where I get massacred.


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 Post subject: Re: the willow way
Post #3 Posted: Tue Sep 18, 2012 7:46 am 
Oza

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I played a couple games against a local 5d yesterday. One was a 7 stone simul game, where he was also playing two others, in which I was doing quite well. I was ahead by maybe 15 points in the late endgame until I decided not to play "spot the atari" and let white into black's gigantic central moyo for a swing of at least 30 points. I had trouble resigning after that because I was laughing so hard.

The second was a nine stone game. I think my opponent was feeling a little intimidated to start, and he resolved to play no book moves against me. I played fast and loose and fun. This one I eked out a two point win after a bunch of unnecessary ko fights, which I think I did at least vaguely okay in, and taking back one endgame move, after I read and failed to spot the atari (again) one move farther in the sequence than I bothered to read. At least, I don't think he's willing to play me with nine stones again.

I feel I often end up in situations where I make horrendous reading blunders like this. I like to console myself by saying that I am playing my endgame in the style of Fujisawa Shuko, but I'm still throwing games away. I've been trying to figure out what exactly causes me to do this. I think I get fixated on moves that have big follow ups and am too eager to play them, so when my opponent doesn't respond I move before really looking at their move.

My last tournament, I can think of a game that I threw away similarly, where I had killed a 20-30 stone group that looked like the flying spaghetti monster, though eyeless, inside my moyo. My opponent played a move that basically burned a ko threat for the heck of it, and I failed to respond because I was looking at it with tunnel vision, only seeing the few stones directly around it. How does one avoid this?

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 Post subject: Re: the willow way
Post #4 Posted: Tue Sep 18, 2012 8:08 am 
Lives with ko
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skydyr wrote:
My opponent played a move that basically burned a ko threat for the heck of it, and I failed to respond because I was looking at it with tunnel vision, only seeing the few stones directly around it. How does one avoid this?


I like hyperpape's signature:


"When you think your opponent has made a mistake, that's when you should be the most cautious."

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 Post subject: Re: the willow way
Post #5 Posted: Tue Sep 18, 2012 8:11 am 
Oza

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konfuzed wrote:
I like hyperpape's signature:


"When you think your opponent has made a mistake, that's when you should be the most cautious."


I've seen that and like it too, but it doesn't work when I just go on autopilot. :P

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 Post subject: Re: the willow way
Post #6 Posted: Sun Sep 23, 2012 5:39 pm 
Oza

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So hanging out in the beginner room on KGS, I recently reviewed a game for a 30k? whom I had seen a few times. He's been playing for maybe a month at this point. In the game, a 9x9, he got himself decently slaughtered, so I was going over it with him, how to go about saving this group, what else he could have done, etc. and there was a point where he could connect under some stones by forcing a capturing race he was going to lose anyways.

He didn't really get capturing races, or what good it was to force if he was going to lose the stones anyways, so I went over it with him, at an incredibly basic level. Count the liberties, see if one person always captures or if it depends on who goes first, and so on. After we were done, we played a quick 13x13 game. I think he jumped about 4 or 5 stones in strength. I've certainly heard of people improving quickly, but that was astounding. I'm going to be interested to watch him in the future.


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 Post subject: Re: the willow way
Post #7 Posted: Sun Sep 23, 2012 9:31 pm 
Honinbo

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Some comments on the even game. :)


_________________
The Adkins Principle:
At some point, doesn't thinking have to go on?
— Winona Adkins

My two main guides in life:
My mother and my wife. :)

Everything with love. Stay safe.


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 Post subject: Re: the willow way
Post #8 Posted: Mon Sep 24, 2012 7:07 am 
Oza

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Thanks Bill, that answered most of the questions I had about the game.

With move 49, though, does black need to move out with the top left group, or is it enough to cut later if white tries to connect?

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 Post subject: Re: the willow way
Post #9 Posted: Mon Sep 24, 2012 8:09 am 
Honinbo

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skydyr wrote:
With move 49, though, does black need to move out with the top left group, or is it enough to cut later if white tries to connect?


I don't think that it is urgent to move out. If so, the point I would consider would be the keima at G-13. My inclination for :b49: would be G-17, presumably provoking F-18, then the one space jump to P-06. :)

_________________
The Adkins Principle:
At some point, doesn't thinking have to go on?
— Winona Adkins

My two main guides in life:
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 Post subject: Re: the willow way
Post #10 Posted: Fri Sep 28, 2012 10:08 pm 
Oza

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I went to the other go club tonight, to which I only occasionally go, as it is on a Friday night. After having been declared 2 kyu by someone who knew me, I played a game against a 1 kyu player and slaughtered them. I had a lot of fun with this game for the fuseki, which I played as I did because I've been thinking about older Japanese games of late. I've included the beginning below, until I became a bit unsure of the move order.

I don't really like stating my rank, because I feel it is very fluid, and I don't play a lot of games. I'd estimate I've played somewhere around 400 or 450 all told, in the ten years since I've learned to play. I think that so long as a player keeps experimenting, the kyu ranks are all pretty fluid and not really worth picking a number for. Numbers are for when you stay at a strength for long enough that they have meaning, as I hear the dan ranks are.

I don't know if I've talked about my study method as yet, but seeing as this is a study journal of sorts, it's probably about time. I think the answer is haphazard.

I have some go books I look at when I'm bored, or in the bathroom, like the basic series from Kiseido (In the Beginning, 38 Basic Joseki, etc.), Kageyama's fundamentals book, and a couple Fujisawa Shuko books (The Only Move series). I also have some game books: a few collections commented by Yuan Zhou and a copy of Invincible. Rarely, I'll sit at my board and play a game out from them, but mostly I just look them over and kind of follow them in my head while glancing at the commentary. I've also seen Appreciating Famous Games, but don't own it.

I do use tchan's tsumego pdfs, though I haven't looked at them lately. Mostly I print out whichever one I'm interested in and take it around with me when I expect I'll need to wait somewhere for a while, but I must confess I haven't looked at them since this summer. I started playing 2-3 games at a time on DGS, and I think I get my reading practice from that.

For joseki, I look them up when something comes up in a game in a joseki dictionary, or peruse them a bit at a time as well, but I tend to read them more as suggestions or ideas of what I could do than getting the sequences down.

In the near future, I'd like to look for games by Karigane Junichi and Kato Masao to read over. The former I think I mentioned before. I became interested in him after reading the writeup on him in New in Go and seeing him described as seeing too many possibilities. I have definitely shot myself in the foot by looking at too many moves before and picking one I convince myself is good because I spent the most time on it, or looked at it last. Kato Masao interests me because I saw his style described as something like what I would like to do... building strong groups and then using them to fight. I haven't really looked at any of his games, though, so I don't know how accurate that is.

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 Post subject: Re: the willow way
Post #11 Posted: Sat Sep 29, 2012 8:04 am 
Oza

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I forgot to include the game in the previous post, so here it is:



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 Post subject: Re: the willow way
Post #12 Posted: Sun Oct 07, 2012 2:42 pm 
Oza

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Recently, I've been playing openings that don't really work out for me. I think I try and do too much too early, make stupid mistakes in the early mid game, and then struggle to catch up after that.

I've included a game here that sort of shows what I mean. I tried to attack a group early, picked the wrong direction in response to an invasion, didn't read out my attack properly, tried to attack too forcefully, and spent the rest of the game trying to catch up with hurried unplanned invasions and the like. I did manage a ko to force an exchange that caught me most of the way up, but still fell short by a few points at the end.


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 Post subject: Re: the willow way
Post #13 Posted: Sun Oct 07, 2012 7:01 pm 
Honinbo

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Some comments. :)



Main focus: Beware of pushing the cart from behind.

_________________
The Adkins Principle:
At some point, doesn't thinking have to go on?
— Winona Adkins

My two main guides in life:
My mother and my wife. :)

Everything with love. Stay safe.

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 Post subject: Re: the willow way
Post #14 Posted: Sun Oct 07, 2012 10:00 pm 
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And the other one. :)



Beware of pushing from behind.

_________________
The Adkins Principle:
At some point, doesn't thinking have to go on?
— Winona Adkins

My two main guides in life:
My mother and my wife. :)

Everything with love. Stay safe.

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 Post subject: Re: the willow way
Post #15 Posted: Mon Oct 08, 2012 8:54 am 
Oza

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Bill Spight wrote:
And the other one. :)

Beware of pushing from behind.


I'm starting to get the impression that this is a common theme in my games. Thanks for looking at these.

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 Post subject: Re: the willow way
Post #16 Posted: Tue Oct 23, 2012 10:20 am 
Oza

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So I made a recent book purchase that came in the mail yesterday:

The second volume of the 21st Century Joseki Dictionary
Get Strong at Attacking
Get Strong at Tesuji

It was recommended to me not long ago (ironically after I had already placed my order) that I was good at coming up with plans but needed to bone up on my attacking, and that a book like Get Strong at Attacking would be a good choice to look at. I haven't actually peered at it yet, though, looking instead at the Tesuji book.

I've gone through about 60 or 80 problems and seem to be doing pretty decently. I think I'm getting around 2/3 to 3/4 completely right on my first go through, and some of the others I at least see the vital points, though I miss something in the follow up. The ones that seems to trip me up the most, oddly enough, are the very simple ones where Black just needs to extend, or the like. Here's one below:

Click Here To Show Diagram Code
[go]$$c
$$ | . . . . . . . . .
$$ | . . . . . . . . .
$$ | . . X , O O X . .
$$ | . . . . X X O . .
$$ | . . . . . . O . .
$$ | . . . . . . . . .
$$ --------------------[/go]

The answer is to bump at D4.


The other sort of problem that gives me trouble stems, I think, from doing lots of life and death problems. They ask for black's best move in the corner, but the answer involves taking the outside. I'm not sure if this is a framing problem for me, or a real blind spot.

In other news, there's a local tournament this Saturday I plan on entering. I've been jumping around on what rank I should enter as, though. Officially, I'm an AGA -8.09 or so, which is to say 8 kyu near 7, and I entered my last tournament as a 7 kyu and went 2-2, but I've jumped in strength since then, even though I'm not certain by how much. I also seem to do better against stronger players than weaker ones, which makes me think that I need to learn to punish better.

I'll probably just pick 4 or 5 kyu without much reasoning, but I'll let you all know how it goes.

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 Post subject: Re: the willow way
Post #17 Posted: Tue Oct 23, 2012 10:38 am 
Oza

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As a side note on style, there is a game I'm playing on DGS at the moment in which I feel I took control of the game early and have been directing the flow, the way I'd like my games to go.

I'm including a link, but please don't comment on anything that could still be relevant until the game is over.

I ended up choosing not to try to kill the top group particularly early, as it seemed gote and I didn't want to provoke a knock-down drag-out fight while I was a bit thin outside. The ko or letting it live sealed with a couple points both seemed like fine results. I'm fairly certain I can kill the top left with a placement at B18 as well, thanks to E19, as soon as I grab sente coming out of the fight surrounding the ko threat, but I think that pressuring the centre is bigger for the moment, and I'm a bit concerned that the black group doesn't have quite enough strength as yet.

http://www.dragongoserver.net/game.php?gid=763035

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 Post subject: Re: the willow way
Post #18 Posted: Thu Nov 01, 2012 7:44 am 
Oza

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Lately my go has been tired, I think. It's rather frustrating. I'm not bothering to read, and playing out invasions speculatively without looking to see if they work or not, as well as playing fancy-pants moves that are completely unnecessary.

I've been reading and working through Get Strong at Tesuji, and I wonder if I'm too concentrated on finding the magical move that wins everything instead of reading out the position and playing normal moves. The game I posted above is over, and was a resounding victory, but many of my other games feel like they lack vision.

One thing I've been trying to do lately is to not approach my opponents' positions too much, and to leave them less settled with aji for later. I don't think I am exploiting that aji properly, though. I'll look for a game that gives a good example of this to post here.

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 Post subject: Re: the willow way
Post #19 Posted: Thu Nov 01, 2012 8:06 am 
Lives in gote
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I sympathise with your frustration. It`s normal to feel like that sometimes. As for tesuji, I believe tesuji are like the fruit that come with playing well and in good style (and your opponent making mistakes). It's better to apply pressure and watch for the opportunity than simply trying to kill things willy-nilly.

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 Post subject: Re: the willow way
Post #20 Posted: Thu Nov 01, 2012 8:13 am 
Oza

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I'm beginning to suspect that the tesuji you see in books are not the real tesuji... they are just special case ones. The real ones are the moves everyone already knows. Nobi, one-space jump, keima, etc.

The really frustrating part is that I know better than to try and kill everything, or to save everything, but I've gone back to playing that way. It is, I suppose, a phase, and will pass like any other.

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