Wednesday, June 04, 2008

An Observation of One of My Students

Today my most active student, chaslayton on KGS, sent me an email with some thoughts that he said I could post on my blog.  The following is what he has to say about observing a game on the KGS server.  I thought it was insightful, and certainly echos what I feel myself many times.  You are always five stones stronger when you kibitz. 


Yesterday I watched a game on KGS – one of those fascinating games in which everything rides on a single move. In this case, if white played J2 first, white would make a second eye, thereby saving a group of about 20 endangered stones. White would then have been able to turn around and kill an equally large group of black’s stones. White would have won the game.

However, if black played J2 first, white’s large group would die and black’s would be saved. It was a huge move – the import of which was obvious to me as an observer – but neither player saw it for several turns. I was sitting at my desk yelling, “For God’s sake, somebody play J2!” When black finally did play it, white immediately saw the light, and resigned.

This brought home to me the fact that an uninvolved observer often sees the game more clearly than the players can. Even though I am far inferior to both those players, I saw what they did not. But it also brought home that even very good players make dumb mistakes – just like me. This is good for me to know. 

  Go, in this respect, is much like real life. And that, apparently, is true at every level of play. 

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Yang Lesson Review - A Small Gathering Of Friends

I have one student in particular that I have been spending a lot of time with in the past few months.  In the time that we have been working together he has gone from 21k to 14k.  He gets most of the credit due to his hard work, but I have been commenting his games pretty regularly, so I take some credit too.  Recently I started reviewing my Yang lessons with him online by replaying the sgf files of those lessons on KGS at a specific time each week.  My lessons with Yang are private, but it is really easy to upload them and step through them for my student's benefit later.  Although I used to make all my lessons public many years ago, I think that at this stage, with KGS being a little less civilized than it used to be, that I would be too self conscious making the lessons public again.  I do the replay of my lesson not only for my student, but also for myself as a form of review.  In the six weeks that I have been doing this we have drawn a small audience, and I would like to keep it that way.

There was a post not long ago on go discussions concerning stronger players "taking over" lessons, so I have been silent up until now about the reviews, and people have wandered in from time to time and they behaved themselves well.  Aside from my involvement with the Mac, the focus on my Yang lesson reviews also accounts for the lack of posts to this blog.  They have dominated my go activities lately, and I had been reluctant to mention them until now.

I have been really clear with anyone who ends up watching that the objective is to review the lesson rather than go off on tangents that were never explored in the original lesson.  I also make it clear that we are trying to keep the review at the 20k - 10k level.  My student is around the middle of that range right now.  So far things have gone really well.  Last week there were only three people besides myself in attendance, and it went very smoothly.  During a previous presentation we had about eight people in the room, and it was a little more difficult to control, but I can be pretty direct, so it wasn't really a problem.

I am still not advertising the time of the review because I am not trying to populate the room, just posting about what I am doing right now in my go life, which after all is the purpose of this blog. For those who might wonder how Mr. Yang feels about my lessons reviews... he was asked, and he approves.

Neglecting My Go Blog - Sorry About That

It has been nearly a month since I posted to this blog.  My new iMac must take the blame.  I have been spending most of my waking hours reading books about the Mac, watching instructional videos on, and learning how to use the applications that came with the iMac.

Highest up on my list of priorities has been finally using the domain that I registered a couple of years ago,   I am using iWeb to create my web site which consists of a Welcome page, a blog currently devoted to my Mac experiences, and a page mentioning my lessons with Yilun Yang.  My domain is hosted on the space provided by my .Mac account.  I am finding iWeb easier to use than Blogger , and I am posting to my Mac blog once a day on average, which is why I have been so busy.  It is great to be able to simply drag and drop images onto a page.  I really love my Mac.  There is no going back to the PC for me.