Saturday, July 28, 2007

Off To The US Go Congress

In less than one hour I will be on my way to the US Go Congress in Lacaster, Pennsylvania. This is the first time I had attended the congress since retiring and having more time to study go.

I hope for interesting games and a peaceful mind with which to enjoy them as they unfold. Other than that, I have no expectations.

Anyone reading this who is also at the congress, please look me up. My name is in my web address... Terri Schurter, so it's no secret. I am 11 kyu AGA. You'll find me at a table with a triple digit number.

To keep me focused on the questions I should be asking myself during my games I have brought with me a mug that I made. It has a montage of photographs of Yilun Yang, 7p circling the surface of the mug. I will try to play each move as if Mr. Yang were watching.

Given the fact that Mr. Yang will be there and has been known to roam the room he might be watching at any moment. I am reminded of the time Mr. Yang was watching one of my games during the 1998 Congress shortly after I had started taking lessons with him. My opponent and I met up with Mr. Yang later in the cafeteria lunch line after the game was over. My opponent mentioned to Mr. Yang that he won the game. Mr. Yang's only comment was, "It should not be." Apparently I had been ahead when he had stopped observing.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

My First Audio Go Lessons SGF

I have been viewing the audio go lessons quite often in the past couple months. The only thing I don't like about the site is that you only get to view each lesson you purchase for a month. This isn't going to keep me away though. You can view your lessons as often as you like during the month that you have access to them, which does encourage a measure of restraint concerning how many lessons you purchase at one time. I can understand the reasons why audiogolessons is set up that way. Some people might be tempted to be dishonest and build up a library of lessons and then share them with others, robbing the professionals of the income they deserve, so it makes sense to create a distribution model which makes it less likely that people would do such a thing. Still, my ideal setup would be a flat monthly fee for all the video you can watch similar to what is available for technical educational videos at

Having honestly purchased a lesson I would like to have a way to review the material whenever I want. There are a number of ways to accomplish this. I could take notes, make screen shots, or make an sgf. Initially I had done some screen shots of some of the early "Step By Step lectures". It was my plan to incorporate them into doc files with notes that would maintain the flow of the lesson. But I never got around to putting those pages together, so I decided to make an SGF of a lecture which is due to expire soon to see if this method would work out better for me.

I picked "Common Opening Lecture 3" for my first sgf lecture file. It took me somewhere between between two and three hours to create the file working in chunks of time rather than all at once. I got my money's worth right there. Where else can you get two hours of entertainment for one Euro?

The Common Opening #3 is the one where black ends up with a shimari consisting of a small knights move approach to a 3-4 which is facing a black hoshi stone while white has both hoshi points on the opposite side of the board. Picture the shimari in the right bottom corner facing up to a black hoshi stone.

This was a particularly good lesson for me to transcribe because as black I always begin with komoku in the upper right often resulting in a downward facing shimari with a black hoshi below it. This lesson showed how to handle the variations that result in a white play on the 3rd line below the starpoint between the black shimari and hoshi. This is definitely a lecture I need to devote time to studying.

I found the process of creating the sgf file more than just clerical. It was a study process in itself. As much as this file will be useful to me for review, it was useful in its creation as well. I don't think that it would be nearly as useful for study without having seen and heard the lecture because it doesn't follow the flow of the lecture since varitions sometimes appear in the file before they are referred to in the lecture. An sgf file isn't a movie afterall.

I am not sure if it is possible to do, but I think the most valuable way to review such a file would be to create a set of hyperlinks within the file that would take you from one part of the file to another in the same order as the lecture.

I highly recommend Audio Go Lessons to anyone who has not tried it yet. They have some free lessons you can sample. Give it a try.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Guo Juan 5p Joseki Lecture Today on KGS

Today I was able to watch a KGS Plus lecture live. I usually end up replaying them afterwards, which isn't nearly as much fun.

The lecture by Guo Juan was about joseki with emphasis on their proper use. I was pleased to watch this lecture given my newfound interest in joseki study. Guo Juan had given another lecture on joseki a couple weeks ago, which I had missed and plan to go back and watch soon.

One of the things she said today is that early on we should learn 10 joseki, then increase that to 20, and that by the time we are 1 dan we should know at least 50 joseki. That sounds reasonable to me.

In applying joseki she suggested that you know the final outcome(s) of the joseki you are considering, and to imagine those outcomes with the current board position. If none of the outcomes are pleasing to you, then it is time to make up your own move to deviate from joseki. I like that thinking.

She emphasized that it is not necessary to try to learn all joseki, but to learn the basic ones. She has audio go lessons on joseki, and also recommended taking a joseki book and picking the simple variations to learn. That's pretty much what I intend to do.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Played In A Real Club Sunday

I managed to make it to a real club Sunday afternoon. The club is near where my mother lives. It takes me over an hour to get there, so visits to the club at the Barnes & Noble in Montgomeryville, Pennsylvania are few and far between.

The night before my visit I contacted one of the members online and told him I would be there. It's a good thing because as it turned out we were the only two people to show up for the club on Sunday, and he might not have bothered to come were it not for my having talked to him the night before.

I got there first and reviewed joseki for at least a half an hour before my opponent showed up. He is 1k KGS and I am 8k there. We started with a six stone game. I made some big mistakes and lost a couple groups so I ended up resigning. We decided to try seven stones, and it seems to be the right handicap for us. I managed to cut off a few white stones and won by about 15 or so. If I had not cut off the stones I would have lost the game even though white didn't manage to kill anything. That tells me that I got lucky, and 7h will still be a tough game between the two of us.

I take a go board with me when I visit my mother because I don't have internet access there. I spent at least an hour on life and death while I was there. I am currently working on the "black to kill" three move problems in "1001 Life and Death Problems". I am finding them easier than the "black to live" three move problems.