Thursday, April 05, 2007

Thought Processes That Should Be Painfully Obvious, But Sometimes Aren't

I have been spending more time with "easy" life and death problems lately. I put the word easy in quotes for a reason. I need to go back to the first set of the Korean Academy Go Problems at .

I had worked with the first set and thought that I had mastered them fairly well so I moved on to the second set. When I started to get some of the problems wrong in the second set I decided to keep track of how many I had missed. I wanted to get a percentage of wrong moves, which I think ought to be less than 10% if the problems are easy enough. (I instinctively though I had achieved this with Set 1, but I plan to go back and check that to be sure now.)

I had intended to do all 200 problems in Set 2, but after getting up to problem 50 it was obvious to me that it would be better to only go up to 100 to obtain a percentage. I got a nice round 40% wrong. While I was writing down the problem numbers I got wrong, which I won't bore you with here, I was also making some notes about things that I should be looking for.

I have read a little about solving life and death problems, and I have also many times sat through Yilun Yang's explanation of solving much more difficult life and death problems than the ones I have been attempting. So I am familiar with the importance of such things as hitting "eye points" and pushing from "the most open door first", Yet as I was looking at the solutions to the problems I had missed I was searching for some simpler, possibly more obvious things that a stong player would see without even consciously processing the information and would, therefore, not even mention in solving the problems. I came up with a few. They are presented from the perspective of black. I call them "Thought Processes That Should Be Painfully Obvious, But Sometimes Aren't"...

  • Can I see an obvious dead shape that white could make if black doesn't play on a specific point?
  • Remember that it is illegal to suicide, so look for an opportunity to crush white and he won't be able to connect, but you will be able to capture to get two eyes.
  • Avoid giving white the opportunity to make ko (since ko is almost always not good enough). Keep looking if that is all you can see.
  • Can I atari some stones? Does that make it possible to play an extension that takes away the possibility of a second eye, or threatens another atari, or creates some other mischief, after white responds to the atari?
  • Can I set up a double atari, or avoid one?
  • Can I set up a snap back or avoid one? Does the move I plan to make put me in a snapback? (This mistake is only slightly less embarrassing than self atari.) I found two examples of problems in this set where black could foolishly play himself into a snapback. They are #85 and #89.
  • Can I prevent a move that white would like to make by creating a shortage of liberties?
  • Can I avoid being disconnected, or can I disconnect white?
  • If I make what looks like an obvious move will white be able to throw in?
  • Be on the lookout for the move which seems to create the largest room to lead to trouble, while a move that gives up one more point might be the solid move.

If I come up with any more of these I will add them later.

Later today I will be going back over the first set of the Korean Academy life and death problems. I will report back on my percentage wrong. I sure hope it's below 10 percent.

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