Saturday, February 29, 2020

I'm Back

It has been over five years since I have posted.

More to follow.

Stay tuned.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

My 4k? Rank

I failed.

I failed in meeting my goal to play seven games this week.

I failed because I played a game last night fully expecting to lose that game to become a 6k without a question mark after my rank. If I had lost that game I would have cheerfully gone on to play the remaining three games I needed to meet my goal of seven rated games for the week and I would have probably finished the night as a 6k or a 7k.




However, I am now 4k with a question mark because I won what should have been the first of four games last night, but which turned out to be the ONLY game last night.

It was a typical game for me. BenGoZen ran into me on the server and clicked through the game to take a look at it. I played the Chinese Opening as I often do as black. Ben said that it was a peaceful game, and that I managed to hold my lead well. I told him that it is typical for my games to be peaceful unless my opponent complicates things. That is fine as long as one is ahead, and in this game I believe I was. I told BenGoZen the story of how I earned the name buzzsaw by fighting back with a vengeance when someone complicated a game. My opponent called me "Lady Buzzsaw" and I liked it.

Here is the board position at the end of the game that earned me my 4k? rating:


Look at that huge black moyo.

The lesson that I took away from Ben's analysis of my game was that it might have been better to sacrifice the two stones at n14 and o14 rather than run with the group the way I did.



My rank graph won't start adding data points again until I get rid of that question mark, which is motivation enough to do so. I know it is hard to see the green line on the chart below, but it starts up at 5k over a year ago, and for about nine months it hangs in there at 8k. My graph has the peaks and valleys that come from playing just enough rated games to keep my rating active, usually with the 6k rank bot, who is a reasonable player. This is the pattern that I want to break now.



I should have played the remaining three games I needed to meet my goal, but I am weak. When I told Ben I wanted to leave the rank in place for a day or two he understood and told me that I need not be in a hurry, so I feel okay about my decision.

Perhaps later today or tomorrow I will lose the rated game I must lose to stabilize my rank. I will definitely play it soon. I should probably play it before my lesson with Yilun Yang on Thursday. I wouldn't want to set up any unrealistic expectations by presenting him with that crazy 4k? rank. It would be much better if I had settled in at 6k by the time my lesson rolls around.

Monday, November 10, 2014

See This Problem Again In 120 Days


Today when I was doing my problem for the Training System from Guo Juan's Internet Go School I had a problem that I had seen often enough, and I found easy enough, that I would not see it again in 120 days. That's pretty cool.

I have my share of problems that I must click the "forgotten" button for. Don't get me wrong. I don't remember everything. But when you remember something well enough not to have to see it again for 120 days it feels good.

I love the big pig's snout.

I've had an incredibly busy week because I picked up my new MacBook Pro last Tuesday, so I missed a couple days of problem training, but the system allows for that.

I need to play some games today. In order to meet my goal for playing seven rated games this week I must play four games before tomorrow morning. I will probably sit down and play them all at once in the evening.

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

My 5k? Rank



I wanted to preserve the memory of my brief time as a 5k on KGS, even if it was as a 5k with a question mark attached.

I ran into my good go buddy, Charles, on the server this morning. We spent a little time looking at the last few moves of the final game I played yesterday. It was a shameful game during which I allowed my opponent to gain a 50 point lead. The game was over and there was really nothing to do. But I saw a weakness, and I made a few plays to try to exploit it. I was successful. 

He resigned, but Score Estimate shows me ahead by over 20 points when he resigned. That means that my desperate plays created a 70 point swing in the game. He had a huge moyo, which I destroyed.

If you are interested in seeing the game you can find it easily on my KGS Analytics page for the games I played yesterday. Just click on the third game. It is the one with popo.

I played horribly in this game, and I know it. It is not a game to be proud of. I just managed to pull something off at the end. That always feels fine.

Charles asked me if I was getting over my playing phobia. I told him that I was feeling a lot better about it. Charles shared his secret with me. He said that the real secret is not to care. I think he is right.

Just to make it easy to see what happened at the end of this game, here is a screen shot of the board before I started to make trouble. Look at that huge black moyo.



And here is a screen capture of how the board looked at the time of resignation.





Tuesday, November 04, 2014

I Played Three Rated Games Today

It was my plan to play a few rated games and get a real rating again.

I played a game and won it. That made me 7k?

I played another game and won that one too. That made me 6k?

Then I figured I would play one more game and lose it, and I would have a real rating. How could I beat a 6k player?

I had a lost game. Everything was going according to plan, and then at the end I tried to complicate things, and my opponent resigned.

So now I am 5k? and I am REALLY afraid to play, so I stopped for the night. I'll play again tomorrow, but I just had to stop for the night. The last game I played was played way too fast and it was kind of funny.




Monday, November 03, 2014

I Want To Play Like Charles

Some of us study more than we play, and some of us play more than we study.

I have a go buddy named Charles who plays a great deal. He will review a game with me if I am online when he has finished, especially if I tell him I want to look at something in the game. We will go over the game record together sometimes, but mostly he tends to move on to the next game rather quickly.

Charles and I are like Jack Sprat and his wife. We are opposites.

While Charles plays a lot, I don't play much at all I'm afraid, except for my biweekly lesson games with Yilun Yang, 7p. That's not the way to get stronger.

I want to be more like Charles. His name on KGS is "chaslayton". Look at his playing record.


Today he played 15 games and is now working on game number 16 as I write this post. Yesterday he played 11 games, and the day before that he played 12 games.

When I told Charles today that I wanted to play like him he said, "Oh you mean too fast and when you are tired?" I laughed and said, "No. I mean without fear."

So as of today I am officially adding to my study routine the following: I will play seven rated games each week. I will play without fear just like Charles, only maybe a little more slowly. This will average to one game per day, but I am going to probably play those games in one or two sittings. They will be rated games. That is the whole idea of playing without fear. Of course, we can fear playing free games too. We can fear looking foolish, rated or not.

When I logged on to KGS today I found a message from Charles. It appears below.


I think the time is now. I've got between now and next Tuesday morning to play my seven rated games.


Friday, October 24, 2014

An L Shape Problem

Diagram A
Problem Starting Position


This is a problem from the "Corner Shapes 5A - L shape" lecture from the Guo Juan Internet Go School. I watched the lecture recently and added the problems from the lecture to my Training System problem set.

Today this problem was presented to me again. The last time I had seen it was a week ago. Today I (white) solved this problem easily beginning with a stone at A3. Black answered at A4, and I (white) threw in at C1.

I was rewarded with the information that my answer was correct, but rather than move on quickly to the next problem I took a little extra time with this one.

Diagram B
Problem Ending Position


Looking at the final position I said to myself, "I believe it is dead. I am sure that the reason the system tells me this is the correct answer is this that no matter what black tries next, white will be able to stop him from making life. But I want to see what happens if black continues to play." 

One of the nice things about the Training System is that it allows you continue to add stones to the problems even after they are solved. This is particularly nice for weaker players, such as myself, who need to see stone-for-stone what might be obvious to a stronger player.

In my first attempt to help black I played a stone at B1. The obvious white response was to play at A2 to take away black's opportunity to make a second eye by playing there himself. Black is obviously dead after this. Even I do not need to see anything more. 


Diagram C
First Attempt At Living

That entire sequence was easy for me to visualize without putting stones on the board. But was there more that black could try? Yes, there was.

Starting again from Diagram B my next attempt to help black involved playing a stone for black at A2. This was a much trickier move. The correct white response required much more reading this time. I extended the initial throw in by adding a stone at B2. Even if black take at A1 white can throw in at C1 to prevent black from making a second eye with a play at that point. I can visualize this sequence too, but it is harder.



Diagram D
Second Attempt At Living


So if I ever find myself in black's position in Diagram B, I would try playing at A2 before I would try playing at B1. I would also hope that my opponent's reading skills are not up to par.

By the way, there is one other internal move that black might make at A1, but it isn't worth considering because white doesn't even need to respond to it. If black plays A1 in Diagram B he dies in gote.




This problem was actually easy for me, but I rated it as "good" because I wanted to see it again sooner than 37 days from now. I'll see it again in 26 days.