Wednesday, March 22, 2023

My Week of Go Activities


Not much to say this week. I am still working hard on trying to stay on track with the Western Server Challenge. That's all.

Monday, March 13, 2023

My Week of Go Activities: Half Way Done With the Western Server Challenge


At the time of the writing of this post I have completed 50 games in the Western Server Challenge with a win rate of 48%. I've managed to get halfway done with the challenge before the month was half over. This means that I will be able to increase my time settings toward the end of the month and still complete the challenge.

You can see the results of the ongoing Western Server Challenge here.

My week looked like this:

I spent nearly 27 hours on Go Activities with Live Play coming in at the top activity again this week.

I have continued with Bugkitten's Tsumego Club and spent over three hours doing problems on the Tsumego Hero web site.

This week I played 30 games.  All but one of them were WSC games played at a 5min 5x20sec time setting. I got pretty comfortable with the time setting. On two occasions I hit 9k for one game. I bounced right back though each time. I've been comfortably maintaining an 8k rating now which is just a bit below my usual 7k rating. Given the fast time settings I am using it makes sense that I would lose a stone temporarily during the challenge.

I decided to show a lot less information on my spreadsheet this week than usual. I was playing so many fast games and didn't want to spend a lot of time documenting them.  I ended up writing up notes for some of the games so Clossius and I could select games to review for my Lesson on Friday. I had my 100th and 101st lessons with Clossius last Friday. We had a great lesson and we managed to review a good number of games, not necessarily all the way through. 

Clossius was impressed that playing at blitz speed made me play more aggressively. The time setting is not actually blitz, but I was playing at blitz speed since my average number of seconds per move for these games was in the neighborhood of five to seven seconds, which is definitely blitz speed. My opponents were usually using a good deal more time than I on these games.

My week runs from Friday through Thursday. By the end of my week I had 35 WSC games under my belt. It is now four days later and I have added another 15 games since then to get to 50 games.

I am enjoying the Western Server Challenge this year. I don't intend to play this many games this quickly more than once a year though.

It is worth noting that the one game I played that was not a WSC game was an AYD game. I won that game by a large margin because my opponent failed to protect against a peep and something died. Before that I was ahead by about three points, so it was a really close game.

Saturday, March 04, 2023

My Week of Go Activities: Getting a Slow Start on WSC


There are three people who have already met the challenge of playing 100 live rated games in the Western Server Challenge. I am not among them. I wanted to start out strong and managed to get in six games in the first two days, which is not bad, but I didn't get in a single game yesterday, so I have ground to make up.

It is not too late to join the Western Server Challenge.

Here are my games this week. I played 17 games. Seven of them turned out to be practice for the WSC because I jumped the gun the day before play was to begin.

I am keeping track of my WSC games on my spreadsheet but am not logging all of the details related to each game. I am using a fairly fast time setting of 5+5x20 for my games. I am holding on to my 7k rating, but as it becomes necessary for me to increase the speed of my games in order to catch up it may not be possible to avoid dropping in rank. I knew that going into this. The challenge is not about getting stronger. It is about playing more and not getting hung up on protecting one's rating.

My domestic situation makes it difficult for me to play during the day and I am not sure I am going to be able to get the games I need at night, so it may be necessary for me to do bursts of games with 1+5x10 settings in order to crank out some games quickly in the middle of the day just to keep pace and have a fighting chance of completing the challenge.

Here is what my week looked like:

I put in nearly 29 hours in on Go Activity last week. Nearly 29 hours being spent seems to be the new normal. I've put in as many as 45 hours and I have dipped below 15 hours as well.

I spent nearly six hours on Tsumego.

My goal for this week is to play enough games in the WSC to bring the number of games I need to play per day down to about 2.5.

I have no illusions about keeping my 7k rank if I play that many rated games.

Tuesday, February 28, 2023

My Week of Go Activities: Finished NAOL Strong

The big news last week is that I managed to finish the NAOL with a 3:2 record. Up until last week I had only been able to win against 10k players. I am entered as 10k myself because that is my AGA rating. I managed to defeat an 8k opponent in my final game, and rather decisively at that, with a win of 14.5

I look forward to the next season of the North America Online League. I'm not sure yet when that will begin, but I definitely will be participating again. If you are interested in getting notified about the beginning of the next season send an email to They had a waiting list for the beta season,  and proceeded with 96 players only.  They wanted to learn how to make NAOL better, and they got a lot of good feedback. I'm sure the next season will be even better than the beta, which was great.

My rating went up. I am #75.

I had a Teaching Game with Clossius rather than a lesson this past Friday, which is actually a part of my next week, but I will mention in this blog post. The teaching game was really fun. It was a prize for having come in at first place in a previous month of the Clossi League. Shawn told me that I played really well in the game. This is what the board looked like at the end. 

I lost by 25.5 which I thought was pretty good against an AGA 3 dan in an even game. He told me that he was not being particularly easy on me. Of course he wasn't playing all out either.

Here is what my week looked like.

It was a good week for Go Activity with over 30 hours put in spread among the following activities.

Here is my time spent on Tsumego.

Live Play came in as the top activity this week which doesn't happen all that often. I played eleven games, two of which happened to be Teaching Games with Clossius. We practiced my new opening which involves a large knight's enclosure to a 3-4 facing a 3-4. I'm not sure if that opening has a name, but it is the one that Ben Mantle has been playing recently, and the one which he suggested I try to get myself out of my comfort zone.

Many of my games this week were practice using my new opening.

I managed to get my average seconds per move in the green zone in two of my games this week and I got my time in the yellow zone for two games as well. I achieved an amazing 23.9 seconds on average per move in my NAOL game by using a 15 second timer on my Apple Watch. I only really needed to use it through the opening. By the time the middle game started I was already used to playing more slowly and I could stop using the timer. I felt really proud of myself and I used the timer again during my AYD Game. I will be using that timer at the Go Congress this year. I wonder what my opponents will think when I set a timer for each move.

I had a great lesson with Ben. We were going to play a game with my new opening, but instead we ended up spending the lesson going over what can happen with the Large Knight's Enclosure to the 3-4 which is going to help me with my new opening. Ben really got into showing me the variations. By the time we were done it was too late to play but we needed to play at least 10 moves so Ben could resign the game so I would have access to the variations later. He played some silly moves so the game would look funny when opened.

Ben has a fantastic Study Group Class on the topic of the Large Knight's Enclosure, which I intend to review, but it is great to have my own personal lecture on the topic. Private Lessons with Ben are great. Ben went to the trouble of marking variations for me in the sgf file using the variation function available on OGS so it will be easier for me to review the lesson later by combining the sgf file with the video of the lesson. 

If you join Ben's Patreon at the $10.00 level you get access to all of Ben's past Study Group Classes including the one I mentioned, and you get to participate in three Study Group Classes live via Discord and OGS. Check out Ben's Promotional Site for details.

Let me make a pitch for the Western Server Challenge which is starting tomorrow. I am participating again this year, and I am looking forward to not caring about my rank. I expect it to drop like a stone, but after the challenge is over it will rise like a Phoenix so I am cool with it.  Last year it felt like a bit of a burden to try to play 100 rated games in one month. This year I look forward to it. It is not too late for you to sign up for the Western Sever Challenge. Please join me and over 100 other people who have already signed up. You can join the challenge later in the month so give it some thought and start playing rated games on OGS.

I'll keep you posted on how I do next week with the WSC. I intend to start out strong with six or seven games per day so I can ease up later in the month if I want to.

Saturday, February 18, 2023

My Week of Go Activities


It was a fairly active week with over 30 hours spent on Go Activities.

Over eight of those hours were spent on Go Problems.

I had a really good week in terms of winning games. I played seven games and lost only one of them.

Two of my victories were nine stone handicapped games against an OGS 4 dan. I was under handicapped but I won both of those games.

I won both my NAOL game and also my AYD game. So I won the two most. important games of the week. 

I am still playing way too fast though I did manage to bring my average speed per move up to over 12 seconds in a Main League games I played in the BenKyo League.

I'm really not sure how to get myself to use more time in my games.

Sunday, February 12, 2023

My Week of Go Activities: Lots of Tsumego


I took a break from playing games this week and devoted myself to Tsumego putting in over seven hours divided nearly evenly between Tsumego Hero and 101 Weiqi.

These two categories came in at the top of time spent this week.

The week was light on Go Activity with only a bit over 23 hours being spent. I was taking a break from playing because I did not have a Lesson with Clossius on Friday and I think a break is good from time to time.

I played only two games. They were my required AYD and NAOL games.

I am not doing well in the NAOL. I am currently 1:2

I'm hoping that I can win one more of my remaining two games in the beta season.

Sunday, February 05, 2023

My Week of Go Activities: Bugkitten's Tsumego Club


I spent nearly three hours this week doing Go Problems with Tsumego Hero. One of the members of the BenKyo League is running a Tsumego Club in a thread of the Tsumego Channel of the BenKyo Baduk Discord Server.  We have been working on problems with a lot of repetition for over a week, but if you decide you want to join us you would only have to complete the problems mentioned below.

All you'll need to do to be fully caught up is the whole of Easy Life on Tsumego Hero and the first half (first 100) of Easy Kill.

You can get to BugKitten's Tsumego Club here.

The BenKyo Baduk HQ Discord Server is free to join. If you like the Tsumego Club and want to consider the BenKyo League you can join that for $25.00 a month. Check out Ben's promotional web site to see what membership includes.

Now for the usual weekly info:

I spent only a little over 15 hours on Go Activities this week.

Over four of those hours were spent on Live Play.

I played six games, one of which was a teaching game with Clossius.