Monday, July 13, 2020

OGS Game With Fred8 Reviewed by Cornel Burzo

You can find this review here.

One of the things I like about OGS correspondence games is that sometimes you end up chatting a bit with your opponent and making friends. Such is the case with Fred8. We have played three games together so far, the last of which I was able to win. This is that game.  It was a fairly close game, throughout,  but he appears to have lost a bit of concentration near the end. Therefore, I was able to take the lead.

We finished this game yesterday, and much to my surprise, the review was up on YouTube this morning. I found a link to it on Facebook and watched it with pleasure with my morning coffee.

I enjoy Cornel’s review style. He explains clearly, covers a lot, and goes slowly enough that I can follow without pausing the video. I like that. I will be watching it again along with others of Fred8 so I might get more familiar with his style. 

Fred8 and I are working on our fourth game together already. I fully expect to lose this next one, but I shall try my best to give him an interesting game.

Tuesday, July 07, 2020

Love a Nice Resignation

My next blog post was supposed to be about the shame of forgetting that I was playing ko. However, I got a really nice resignation today, so I am going to celebrate that here.

This is the final board position. I’ve got to admire someone who knows when to move on to the next game. Though I, myself, have been known to struggle.

I have killed the large white group in the lower right. Let’s see how this started.

It started with a peep. I was not sure I could get that group, but I was going to go after it. I figured that the move was at least sente, and once it was answered, the stone at p6 would be light.

After another peep at n8, and a few exchanges in the o13 area, I enclosed the group with a move at o10. It still wasn’t  a sure thing, and did have potential to connect to the center stones, but the attack was looking better.

A couple of moves later I played at n10 to avoid a cut. I was getting more hopeful. It would prove to be fun if nothing else.

A few exchanges later and the group was completely cut off. Now it was a matter of seeing whether White could live. I believed I could make the eye at the top of the group false with a play at p9 if I got to play there first.

White tried to increase eye space with the hane at r1. The throw in at s1 felt right, and so that is how I responded.

White followed with s4, after which I did hane at t4. White’s cut at s7, followed by my Atari at s8, brought us to the end of the game.

If you have read this far, thank you. The full game can be found on OGS here if anyone is interested in seeing how things began.

Saturday, July 04, 2020

Painful Realization That I Could Have Reversed A Close Game

I have used this blog as a means of memorializing some of the things I have done right. Today I am going to memorialize something that I missed. My opponent must have missed it to, or she would not have made a move I could have punished severely.

We are both taking group lessons with Hwang In-seong, and are in the same league. We have moved up and down together through the leagues in the past three months.

Here is the end position of our game from Thursday night.

I am White. Black won this game by 6.5

It was a close game I would like to have won, but I was happy for Black. We have had a bit of a rivalry going on for a few months. Although I believe that she is a stronger player than I, up to this point I had won all three of our games in the league. It was something I knew I could not maintain, but it was hanging in the air, and it was nice to have the tension over,

In-seong had many interesting points to make about our game, but the first thing he showed us blew both of our minds. White could have easily reversed this game.

It turned out that 31 is a mistake. 

It turns out that my response at “a” is an even bigger mistake.

The throw in works! YES! The throw in works!

White throws in. Black takes. White gives Atari. When black connects there is damezumari (shortage of liberties) and white takes 12 stones. That is more than enough to reverse the game. It is easy enough to read. When you are told about it you see it right away. Neither of us imagined that the throw in worked with that one liberty left. Now we know.

One other thing. I had been looking at the throw in for a while, but I was also concerned about my own weakness, which is what I do. If I had been more focused on my opponent’s weakness I may have seen it. 

Now, your assignment is to share in my shame, and observe every painful move of what could have been. I want this seared in my memory.

That’s all folks.
Another painful moment coming soon.
I will tell the story of how I forgot I was playing ko.

Saturday, June 27, 2020

I Think I've Got a Student

Though I have been playing go for over fifty years I can't say that I have ever really had a student. I think I might have one now.

I gained this student because of COVID 19. He is a player in the DC area who is relatively new to the game, enjoys face to face play, and was trying to figure out how to join in with the online meetings of the National Go Center using KGS and Discord. The Discord element appeared to be the weak link.

After some discussion via email I convinced him that his best option might be playing on OGS, and I got him started with a 9x9 correspondence game. He was curious why I wanted him to play 9x9. I explained that I wanted him initially to play a short game to get used to the server. I also told him that there is value in 9x9 play. While we played our first couple of games I observed him playing with two other players near his own strength in 19x19 games.

Fast forward a few weeks and we are still playing 9x9. We are on our 9th game, and he keeps coming back for more. He calls me Go Master, which I find both flattering and amusing. 

He has the fighting spirit I used to have when I first started to play. My games against him include a lot of unnecessary carnage because I know he can handle it and eagerly come back for more. He has gained a real appreciation for 9x9. He has learned that there is nowhere to run, and that he must stand and fight. 

It had been my intention all along to review games over the phone, but that has not happened yet. I thought I would try to do a little teaching within the game itself on this one. Read the text in the image above to see. I think that after this game is over we should play that kill in the lower left out even if he takes my word for it.

I've also thought that it might make some sense to review some of his 19x19 games with players his own strength.

He is still trying.

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Another Game Reversal Due to End Game Trouble

I was losing this game up until I played move 77 in the upper left. Black made the mistake of answering at e19 (a). Black should have given up the one stone and answered at b18 (b). If so, he would have easily kept his win in the bag.

After I played atari on the two black stones, black connected. Then I connected at b19, black threw in at a17, but it didn't help.

This is what happened.

I actually should be ashamed for playing move 87. Black has to play at d19 (a) before he can atari at a19 due to a shortage of liberties.

Though I did shamefully play at 87,  I did leave the position alone after that until later in the game when it was necessary to take. 

This game is still in process, but black is behind by about 18 points with only a few end game moves left to make. We were actually playing in real time when these exchanges took place.

I used to be the one falling for this kind of sequence in the end game. It feels good to be able to do it to someone else now.

Monday, June 08, 2020

End Game Trouble Secures Win

I am white.

My last move at a7 creates some real end game trouble for black. It will capture at least four stones for me. If black connects at b6 he will lose 7 stones after white plays at c8. The two moves preceding a7 were the simple atari at a3 followed by the connection at a5.

I will admit to not having set this up from the atari at a3, but I bask in the joy of seeing immediately the danger for black and the trouble caused by a7. For this I credit the Trouble Master lectures from the group lessons I am taking with Hwang In-seong. See my most recent post. Perhaps this might be a good Trouble Master problem three moves back.

This game was hard won. I am counting my chickens before they are hatched here because this game is still in progress, but it is feeling pretty certain. I had to fight back from a big loss in the upper right corner after misreading an attack.

I am practicing In-seong's advice to move ahead with something if I think of a move even if I can't read it out. I was told this in my group game last Thursday night. There was a move I had thought of but could not read it out, but it worked.  I saw something in the upper right in this game. This time I was wrong because of a shortage of liberties, but I recovered the game. Before the move at a7 I had recovered to the point where it was probably within a few points. It is still ongoing. After it ends I may post a link to it from OGS. Well that did not take long. I got a resignation very quickly. Here is the game.

Recently I ended another game with a kill that I might not have seen previously. I'll save that for another post. I'm going to be showing off the things I am proud of in my games. After all, this is a vanity blog.

Sunday, May 31, 2020

I am Enjoying Group Lessons with Hwang In-Seong

I promised that my next blog post would be about the group lessons that I am taking.

Last summer at the U.S. Go Congress I attended the evening lectures of Hwang In-Seong who is a popular online go teacher with a go school that emulates the Korean Dojang training. I enjoyed the lectures and was interested in joining the group lessons. The thing that convinced me to move forward is that I knew that, regardless of what else I might get from these lessons, I would get five serious games a month that would be reviewed by a strong player.

Throughout my go life I have studied more than I have played, and I thought it was about time to achieve some balance by playing more, knowing that those games would get reviewed.

There is an American Yunguseng Dojang, and there is also a European Yunguseng Dojang. Since I am retired, and I do not enjoy playing at night, I thought about joining the European group, but decided to go with the American group because I would be getting to know people that I would actually be likely to encounter in real life at a Go Congress. Upon registration I discovered people there that I already know.

I want to start out by saying that the teaching is excellent. In-Seong, the main teacher, had me pegged from the first game, and has gotten to know me better with each game. Sometimes games are reviewed by a different teacher. In-Seong has a few teachers that help out, though he reviews most of the games himself. The other teachers do an excellent job as well. However, when In-Seong reviews you know that he is drawing on his memory of your strengths, weaknesses, and overall style. It is amazing how he can do that for so many students in the leagues. A won game is no guarantee of praise, by the way. It is more about what you are learning than what you are winning. I like that. He is very encouraging. But don't play a fast casual game. You will be called out on that. Until I got used to taking my time I would set my Apple Watch timer for ten seconds and not allow myself to play until the alarm went off. It worked.

The lessons are for students 12 kyu and stronger. Since I am 9 kyu AGA I thought that there would likely be a few people weaker than myself, but I am pretty much at the bottom of the barrel here. I started out in the lowest group. I managed to spend two months in the second lowest group recently, but I am back to the lowest group again. Games are easier for me in C3, but I prefer harder games and  losing in C2, so I hope I can get back there.

I am doing well this month in the C3 group with with a record of 2-0 so far. A friend of mine, Jaydee, is doing equally well. If we end up with an equal record, and someone does better than we, then I will win the tie breaker to move up because of initial placement in the league table. That is how I ended up moving down last month. There were three of us with equally low records.

Most games are played on a specified day. For the C Groups that day is Thursday at 8:00 PM Eastern time. The review takes place at 10:00 PM the same night. Reviews can last for more than two hours so I end up with a serious case of "go head" at midnight. It generally takes me at least two hours to wind down from the review, and I am often awake still at 3:00 AM. which is what happened this week because my game was last on the review list. If I am lucky and my game is early on the list I leave the review after my game and watch the remaining games when the review video is uploaded. At first I felt like I needed to stick around for all of the games because it seemed rude to leave, but being on the East Coast is a big disadvantage. I wish I lived on the West Coast. :-) Seattle would be nice.

It would actually be possible for someone to get a lot out of the leagues even if they were never in attendance during regular league times. Games can be played ahead of time by agreement. Reviews can be watched after the fact.  The only thing you would miss out on would be the opportunity to ask questions and respond to comments.

Part of the league membership includes hour long lectures on many topics. There are a few sample lectures on the web site which you can watch. There is an amazing collection of lectures from the past and more added each season.

A great part of the league membership is your personal page. Here is mine:

The personal page includes a table of games. I could barely get a screen capture of mine on the iPad by holding it in portrait mode.

The personal page also includes links to every one of your reviews. Here are reviews from the past three months.

You also get a graph of your progress in the leagues. I started out with an 800 rank and am now at 875. You can see a streak of five wins between games 20 and 25. That was when I rose from C3 to C2. You can see the subsequent crash down.

When you watch a recorded review it is possible to add comments. I have marked the starting point of my review in the video below so it is easy to find again. I have also taken note of homework which was given to me by In-Seong during the review. The starting point of the review of a friend is also indicated.

I highly recommend these group lessons. The next season won't be starting until September. Think about it. Maybe we can get a D group going in the American Dojang.