Thursday, November 19, 2020

Yunguseng Dojang - Playing in the American and the European Leagues

A while ago I posted about being a part of the American Yunguseng Dojang. I have enjoyed participating in the leagues run by Hwang In-Seong so much that I decided to join the European Yunguseng Dojang as well. That means I play two serious games with reviews every week. I also get a bonus game on the weekend once per month for each league.

I was required to use two separate KGS user names to participate in the leagues, so I decided to use my oldest KGS name for the European league. 

Goddess plays on the European team, EYD, and buzzsaw plays on the American team, AYD. I have another KGS name, fearless, that I use to play rated games.

I was on a waiting list for EYD in September, and was finally able to begin the league in October when a position became available. At that time my EYD rating started at the level of my AYD rating, which was 871 at the time.

Over the course of a month and a half the difference in the points values of my ratings for the two leagues has widened by 37 points. My AYD rating is going up while my EYD rating is going down. This makes a great deal of sense to me. There is currently only one member of EYD that I am able to win against, and I consider myself very lucky in that, as these Europeans are tough.  On the other hand, there are a few members of AYD that I have a fighting chance against, on a good day, and some of them have ratings higher than my own.

My AYD rating has risen over time.

My initial AYD placement of 800 was based on my AGA rating of 10k, which actually should have been 9k except the ratings were very slow in coming out after the Madison congress, so in spite of my 4:2 record there, I felt compelled to say I was 10k rather than 9k. I just did not have the proof to say otherwise. I should have said that I was the 9k that I knew myself to be. What is the difference? I think it might have been easier to try to maintain my rank rather than to try to fight my way up to where I was supposed to be. In any case, it is water under the bridge, and I have to move on from here.

My EYD rating is likely to continue to trend downward.

I don’t mind losing, and I intend to stick around to see where these numbers go. I’m going to sign up for a whole new season starting in January in both AYD and EYD.

I initially wanted to try playing in EYD because I enjoyed the experience of playing during the day when I participated  in the Summer Stage event that took place over the summer. By that time, however, I had made many friends in AYD and was reluctant to leave them, so I decided to do both. I came to deal with my sleep deprivation issues by moving my wake up time to 9 AM and moving my bedtime to 1:00 PM. That is working for me so far, so if it ever comes down to a choice between AYD and EYD I will probably stick with AYD because of my friends there. But I digress...

Here are the monthly results so far of the D2 league, the lowest league, in AYD. If it were cycle 1, or cycle 2, of the season I would be standing a really good chance of moving up to the D1 league. 

Unfortunately, there will be no movement in January placement based on win records. Placement will likely be based on ratings points and the comings and goings of members. Some current members may drop out, and new members may join. That will mean the shifting of members into lots of six and the addition or elimination of leagues. It happens after each season. At the end of the 2nd cycle this season we happened to lose some players and ended up with two D leagues rather than three as leagues were consolidated. Every once in awhile In-Seong will adjust ratings for a player he feels may not be quite properly placed, so that can happen as well. You can see these adjustments in some of the ratings charts on the web site.

Here are the monthly results so far of the E3 league, the lowest league, in EYD. I will be lucky if I maintain my place second to last. I’m kind of hoping that a DDK or two might choose to join next season.

The current season is almost over. A new season will begin in January, but if you sign up for the Yunguseng Dojang you will get to watch lectures and reviews through December while waiting for the new season to begin. I highly recommend the leagues not only for the teaching, but also for the friendships made. I’d love to see more players near my rank join in the fun.

I should point out though that one should be at least 12k to join in the YD.

Monday, November 16, 2020

National Go Center Tournament

Last Saturday the National Go Center held a four game tournament on the KGS go server. In spite of my record at the Canadian Open I decided to enter at my official AGA rating, which is 9k. I might add that I am a very weak 9k having just managed to squeak by from 10k to 9k at the Madison Go Congress in 2019.

Though some might have thought that failing to self promote was wrong, I had a suspicion that the CGA ranks were a bit soft compared to the AGA ranks. My results bore that out, though I may have simply had a bad day. I went 2:2 winning my first and last games of the day.

Below I will post a hand written index card that I used to set up games and document results, the final board positions, and links to the games on the ai-sensei site. The round labels after the screen captures are clickable links to the game records.

Round 1

Round 1 was a clear victory at 92.5 points. The opening was baffling to me, but I managed to isolate a large number of white stones. It was then a matter of holding the lead.

Round 2

I suffered a crushing defeat in Round 2 by Robert Qi who won by 46.5 points. I came to find that Robert is the father of a go playing child. He got tired of just watching his son at tournaments, and decided to take up the game himself to fill the time. I also discovered that he and his son were in attendance at the Go Congress in Madison last year. What a small go world it is.

Round 3

I lost Round 3 to Marion Edey by 13.5 points. Upon stalking Marion on the AGA database I discovered that she has a very low AGA number. She has been playing a long time, and she knows her way around a go board. 

Round 4

I won Round 4 against Angel Zhou by 17.5 points. Angel was my opponent in the 6th Round of the Canadian Open. I did not assume that I could win against her again. She is a young player from a go playing family, and she could easily have improved significantly in the weeks separating these two events.

Final Thoughts

I really enjoyed playing in this tournament. It was well run by Gurujeet Khalsa and Garrett Smith who met the challenges of running a tournament online very well. They used Zoom to check players in for rounds. Games were played on KGS, and I am sure that fun was had by all. I look forward to future AGA online tournaments.

Thursday, November 05, 2020

1st Place in the Canadian Open Go Tournament 8k/9k Band

The main event of the Canadian Open was played over three days; November 24, 25, and 31. Two games were played each day. I managed to win my first three games, lost my next two games, and won my last game for a record of 4:2. 

Three days after the event was over, in the early hours of Wednesday, November 4th, while I was agonizing over the soul of democracy in the United States... the presidential election was underway... I got an email with the Canadian Open Results. 

I expected something for my good record, but I was overjoyed to learn that I had taken first place in my band which included the ranks of 8k and 9k. I am a 9k player so I was surprised that I could take first place. Second place was also taken by a 9k. He had played me in the first round, and lost. While I went on to win my first three games, he went on to lose his first two games. When the dust settled SOS was on my side. None of the 8k players did any better than 2:4 which explained why a 9k was able to win a band with a stronger rank.

This happens to be a big deal to me because, in spite of having taken 3rd place and 2nd place multiple time at U.S. Go Congresses over the years, I have never managed to take a 1st place prize. I feel as if my studying is paying off.

During the days of the tournament I was posting my games to the Go Group on Facebook. I received a lot of reactions and comments, which was really nice. I will post below the final board positions for each game and links to the games on OGS.

I win rounds 1, 2, 3, and 6.

I lose rounds 4 and 5.

Round 1

Round 2

Round 3

Round 4

Round 5

Round 6

Monday, August 10, 2020

Tracking the Time I Spend on Go Study

About a month ago I started using a program called Now Then Time Tracking Pro. It is an IOS app designed to track the amount of time one spends on various tasks. I thought this might have some value in focusing my attention on how I use my time for go studies.

This chart represents my first month of activities.

Last month I spent 62.38 hours on go activities, which is roughly two hours per day on average. That is a modest amount of time to spend studying go. I should be spending more time than that. 

I have created twelve different categories to track my study time.

Since it is difficult to see all of the details in the full screen capture of the app I will show each activity separately starting with the activity that got the most attention, and ending with the activity that got the least attention.

Correspondence Play accounted for 11.44 hours, or 18.35%, of my time. I play correspondence on OGS and the majority of that time is spent pondering variations. I spend way too much time doing so, and should probably play more live go than correspondence go.

Twitch and YouTube accounted for 10.49 hours, or 16.81%, of my time. I watch Clossius on Twitch, and also a few go related videos on YouTube. I also recently watched live commentary on the AGA channel on Twitch during the e-Go Congress. This is probably the category that is the least personally engaging. The games are not my own, so my attention wavers and the experience probably offers the least value for the time spent. It is more along the lines of entertainment than study.

Yunguseng Dojang activities accounted for 8.63 hours, or 13.83% of my time. These activities include live play. It was difficult to decide whether to separate out the time spent playing go, but I decided to include it because then the results for playing Live Go show the amount of time I spent playing games that I was not being forced to play as part of the Dojang. That is an important distinction. In addition to live play Yunguseng Dojang time includes game reviews and lectures which I can watch as they happen, but I can also review them later. These game reviews are engaging because they are for games of people I know I will be playing again. They are people who have become friends. I concentrate on the reviews of players in my own league, which is the C league, the lowest one in the Dojang.

Watching Go Games accounted for 5.25 hours, or 8.42% of my time. These are mostly games of my friends in the Yunguseng  Dojang, though some are games of friends I met through the AGA at either Go Congresses, Tournaments, Workshops, or local go clubs. I am not sure if this should even be counted as go study as it is much more like entertainment than study, but I believe it has some value.

Spaced Repetition Problems accounted for 5.13 hours, or 8.22% of my time. These problems are derived from lectures taught by Guo Juan as part of her Internet Go School. I’ve been a member of the school since near its inception, with a few breaks because I was taking sabbaticals from go study. I usually do 30 problems a day which takes me about ten minutes. I am thinking of doubling my problems per day because I have a backlog of over 500 problems which I would like to catch up on.

Yang Lesson Review accounts fro 5.08 hours, or 8.14% of my time. I studied with Yilun Yang off and on from 1998 until 2015 with a four year break in the middle during my last four years of teaching. I felt as if I was not getting the most from my lessons at that time because my job took up way too much of my time. In 2015 I decided to take a break from go and stopped playing altogether except at Go Congresses, which I continued to attend. I have recently started to go back and review my previous lessons with Yang using Smart Go Kifu. I am currently working on lessons from 2010.

Studying Go Books accounts for 4.82 hours, or 7.73% of my time. In spite of the fact that I have an extensive library of go books, my current go book study consists of reading books in GoBooks, the app from SmartGo created by Anders Kierulf. I recently downloaded the entire Learn to Play Go series by Janice Kim, and am working my way through it again. I have the books, but I much prefer to read go books digitally because I always felt the need to study go books with a board and stones which slows things down considerably.

Tsumego accounts for 4.67 hours, or 7.49% of my time. Up until recently my tsumgo study has consisted of doing problems on I just downloaded the BadukPop app at the suggestion of another student of the American Yunguseng Dojang. I also study the Graded Go Problems books, but I count that as reading go books.

Playing Live Go accounts for 3.15 hours, or 5.06% of my time. This is the category that most needs to be increased. Next month will show an increase due to the e-Go Congress and the Yunguseng Summer Stage. It will also increase because I am beginning to play more games with friends from the Yunguseng Dojang.

Guo Juan Lectures account for 2.15 hours, or 3.45% of my time. I decided that it made sense to separate the time I spend in The Internet Go School on go problems and lectures. Currently since I have a backlog of problems I am not watching new lectures unless they are beginner lectures which I really enjoy. Guo Juan does such a great job providing materials for lower level players.

Reviewing Games accounts for 0.92 hours, or 1.48% of my time. This is a big weakness. These are the games I play outside of the Yunguseng Dojang. They mostly don’t get reviewed, and that is going to change. I am a supporter of OGS, so I have access to AI reviews of all of my games there, as well as anything I see fit to upload, but I do not take full advantage of that. I recently subscribed to a basic membership at AI Sensei which I like a lot more. I intend to discipline myself to review my games using AI Sensei.

Replaying Pro Games accounts for 0.63%, or 1.02% of my time. I reviewed one Shusaku game using SmartGo Kifu last month. I am not sure that there is much value in reviewing pro games for me, but I will keep it as a category.

Initially I thought I would include a category for blogging, but I rejected that idea after I realized that it would dwarf the other categories, and not provide much real value for go study.

Friday, August 07, 2020

Ratings Drift In Action


I fear playing rated games, and I have written about this before. One of the bad things about not usually playing rated games is that when you finally play only a few games you will become the victim of ratings drift. This is when your rating goes up without you playing any games. The image above is an example of classic ratings drift.

I am not entirely sure why this happens, but your rating can go up pretty high before eventually falling off altogether.

I played two rated games in March in an attempt to get a rating for my buzzsaw account. I lost both of those games to a 9k player to get a rating of 10k?

Over the last five months I have noticed my rating rise all the while keeping the question mark because the server is unsure of my rating. 

Today I was observing Guo Juan reviewing games for the e-Go Congress. She complimented me on my rank. I heard her in Discord as I was exiting the room. I came back to the room to disillusion her, but she had already left. So now I need to write an email to tell her that I am a victim of ratings drift.

Last night I played a game with my other KGS account, goddess. It was a rated game with a 9k player I know to be my strength. Sometimes he beats me and sometimes I beat him. I had decided to make buzzsaw NR, and start playing rated with goddess. I used to have a rated account reserved for reckless play named fearless. That account would have long been inactive, and I do know if it is available.

I won the game against the 9k last night, and now I am 8k? I need to play rated with goddess before she drifts to 5k? :-)

Monday, August 03, 2020

Go Congress Trouble Master Problem

This is the third round of the Open in the e-Go Congress.

This game was clearly lost, but I found something at the end of the game that could win it for me.

I am white. Here we have a clearly lost game. I played poorly and there is nothing left but dame. Is that true? Is there some trouble for white to find. Hwang In-Seong has a lecture series he calls “Trouble Master” in which he asks students to find situations near the end of the game that can result in an upset of some sort.

At this point in the game I realized that I could capture a great many stones with an atari at s11, but only after the liberties at o16 and p16 are filled. AGA rules provide a great opportunity to pull off this type of sneaky play because they require the filling of dame. If I filled those dame under Japanese rules my opponent would get suspicious. Even in an AGA game one would not want to fill them in succession.

I read out the whole sequence. I knew that I would be able to gain enough liberties by driving black to his stones at t6. I knew that I could then atari the q13 stones. If black connected I would then play at m19 to capture a shitload of stones, and win the game. Of course, black could choose to not connect and protect the larger portion of stones, but I hoped that would not happen.

Black cooperated with my plan up to this point though later in reviewing the game we determined that he could have sacrificed a couple stones if he had seen the larger danger.

I followed through with the atari at r11.

Black connected as expected.

M19 should have come next, and the game would have been over. But it didn’t.

A happy story became a tragedy because I saw something. I saw the throw in at r7. I got greedy and foolishly thought I could have them both. I got distracted from my plan. 

I played the throw in. 

Black forced the capture with r9 and then protected against future loss with j18. I suppose he could have just played j18. Once j18 was played I realized I had missed my chance.

Here is the final board position. I lost this game by 1.5 points. 

It was painful. What should have been an epic win became an epic loss. I do take great pride, however, in having found the weakness and having read it correctly. That is a step in the right direction.

My opponent told me in chat after the game that his AGA rating is outdated and that he is 3 or 4 kyu on KGS. So I don’t feel too bad about having been pushed around in this game.

The game can be found here.

Friday, July 17, 2020

It Should Be Ko

I played a game last night on KGS with a friend.

The game took us an hour and a half to play. We used time settings which are as generous as a typical face to face tournament game so we had plenty of time to think and play a serious game. 

I played white.

After black’s response at g3 I felt the need to address the lower left corner. I have been seeing such large corners in my opponent’s games, and they just seemed too large to me. They seem almost selfish. The question was how to invade, and what result to expect. I did not know the answers, but I decided to dive in and see what would happen.

I chose the attachment at d3, which did not work out well for me. I later came to find out that the correct invasion is at c3, and that the result should be ko. I discovered this from a lecture by Guo Juan on the Internet Go School. Details will follow, but let’s see the disaster that resulted for me in my game.

By move 45 it was pretty obvious to me that things were not going to go well here. It might have been prudent to leave the position alone and save it for ko threats later, but I struggled and tried to make seki with no success.

After the game was over I decided to look for a lecture in The Internet Go School which would answer my question about an appropriate corner invasion in the case of a small knight’s move and large knight’s move added to the 4-4 point.

I performed a search on the position

The second lecture in the search covers two corner positions, both of which can result in the position I was interested in studying.

The position came up within the first six minutes of the lecture. Jackpot!

The correct invasion point is at c3.

The result is ko.

Now I know.