Monday, April 19, 2021

Tsumego Paid Off: I Found a Weakness

I was watching the game of two of my friends from the American Yunguseng Dojang yesterday. Since it was not my own game I was a dispassionate observer. 

In my own games I see my own weaknesses, but miss the weaknesses of my opponent. Neither of these players was my opponent, and I had no weaknesses of my own to worry about, so I could see the game more clearly than I might view a game of my own.

Earlier in the day I was working on a set of cut problems from 101 Weichi. I had been through those problems a number of times, and I was doing them again. I had been noticing in the problems that often a cut happens after a wedge. Once the wedge stone is placed into Atari, and saved, there remain two cuts. Only one of those cuts can be protected. Seeing this happen often in the problems makes it more likely to see it in one’s games.

During the game I saw such an opportunity for white. It did not matter from which side black gave Atari because both sides had two cuts. I was excited.

After the game was over I asked if we could take a look at it.

We came to conclusion that it worked.

The cut was worth making because there were black stones in the lower left that would not survive after the cut. It would have been Game Over. It was a comfortable victory for white as it was.

I was very proud of myself for finding this.

It turns out that white had been so concerned about his own weakness that he failed to see the weakness in black.

In-seong has told me that this is a big problem in my games. He says that I see the game from my side, and that I need to see the game from my opponent’s side.  Clossius focused this tendency right away too. 

Now that I can find a weakness as a dispassionate observer I need to calm down in my own games and find such weaknesses there.

An interesting aside... white dreamed about the cut that night.

If I can master the wedge perhaps I can live up to my name, buzzsaw.

Sunday, April 18, 2021

My Week of Go Activities


I put in slightly over 45 hours this week on Go Activities.

I only played six games this week. That is one one game up from last week, but not as many as I would like to play. I spent a good amount of hours playing, however, because most of my games were played with YD friends using generous time settings. I take these games seriously, and I did well with them. I won five out of my six games this week.

The only game I lost was a three stone handicap game against a YD opponent who had observed me winning my 5th round of the San Diego tournament fairly decisively against another YD opponent. I got 3H in that game. I ended up 5:0 in the tournament. There is a shirt in it for me.

I actually had a nine game streak over the course of two weeks. The streak was making me nervous. I don't think I ever had a streak like that before. I'm going to work on overcoming my nervousness and getting my games played back up to at least eight. You can see my streak below which was broken by the 3H game.

Now for the important stuff...

Essential Go Activities:     
11:31 (hours : minutes)
Over 1/4 of total time spent.

5:08       46%      Live Play
3:41       33%      Tsumego
2:16       21%      Game Review

My Win/Loss Ratio

83% wins

Monday, April 12, 2021

My Week of Go Activities


I spent nearly 40 hours this week on Go Activities.

I fell a little short on Live Play this week, but made up for it with other Essential Go Activities by doing more Tsumego and Game Reviews. I just wasn’t “feeling it” and did not want to push myself to make a quota. That didn't work out well last week. Interestingly enough, the one loss this week was when I forced myself to play trying to get an early start on my quota. 

I won my 4th round of the San Diego tournament putting me at 4:0. I play my last round on Wednesday this coming week. I am slated to get three handicap stones.

Essential Go Activities:     
11:31 (hours : minutes)
Over 1/4 of total time spent.

3:47       34%      Live Play
5:17       44%      Tsumego
2:30       22%      Game Review

My Win/Loss Ratio

80% wins

Sunday, April 04, 2021

Two Week Activity Summary


Total Time Spent:   about 85 hours 

Essential Go Activities:  about 22 hours    

 10:44        49%      Live Play 
   6:17        29%      Tsumego
   4:52        22%      Game Review

15 games played

My Win/Loss Ratio


My Week of Go Activities


It was a big week for go activity with nearly 45 hours which might be my most active week since I started to log my hours. I did take a bit of a break by taking two days off from playing games; playing only eight games this week. 

I spent additional time on Spaced Repetition Problems in preparation for playing the Chinese Opening.

I don’t really feel ready for the Chinese Opening yet, but I am playing it anyway.

Essential Go Activities:     
12:44 (hours : minutes)
About 1/3 of total time spent.

5:54       46%      Live Play
3:35       28%      Tsumego
3:15       26%      Game Review

My Win/Loss Ratio

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

My New Opening for April is The Chinese Opening

Clossius has suggested that I stick with one opening for a period of time and then switch to another, and play that one exclusively for a while. I started off playing two hoshi points as black. I have been doing that for the month of March. I was actually planning to stay with the hoshi opening through April because I wanted to spend the month of April researching the Chinese Opening. I did not want to start playing it until I had fully digested In-Seong Hwang's latest lecture on the Chinese Opening titled "Chinese Opening Again!".

I knew that others in the American Yunguseng Dojang might have the upper hand if they had already learned the content, so I wanted to study the Chinese Opening more before switching openings.

Since we have a full month between Season 29 and Season 30, now is the optimal time to begin playing the Chinese Opening. I can consider the games I play in the month of April as part of my research.

Here is how I am going to prepare to play the Chinese Opening in AYD starting this May:

  • Review the lectures on the Chinese Opening by Guo Juan on the Internet Go School.
  • Review the lectures on the Chinese Opening by In-seong Hwang in the Yunguseng Dojang.
  • Review the Chinese Opening Theory video by Shawn Ray.

I had previously watched all of the Typical Mistakes lectures for the Chinese Opening on the Internet Go School. I am watching them again and reactivating the related problems as I do so. I am up to Lesson 3 so far. Guo Juan has modern variations to study too in addition to lectures on the traditional Chinese Opening. I will watch them all. I intend to do these first because her lectures are shorter and I find them more easily digested than the YD lectures. They also have Spaced Repetition problems sets associated with them which is a big plus. Studying these problems may actually help me understand the YD videos when I revisit them.

After completing the IGS lectures I will attack the two lectures on the YD site. I have watched them both already and had started to construct an sgf file of the "Chinese Opening Again" lecture. I will work on that this month. 

The marks to the right of some of these lectures below indicate that I have taken notes on the lectures. It is a feature on the YD site that you can add comments to lectures that no one else can see. I use this feature to time stamp lectures to break them into more digestible chunks. That way I can leave a lecture and find my place again when I come back even if I have to start the video over. 

I also create time stamps for review videos to find the starting points for all of the individual reviews.

Shawn Ray, Clossius, just posted a lecture on the Chinese Opening on Patreon under his members only content. It is just the beginning of a series of lectures he is going to make. It is also posted in YouTube.

The first lecture in the series started with a presentation of things he already knows about the Chinese Opening. He then moved on to look at the opening in games using a Pro Database, and also examined moves with AI. He has plans to include reviews of games with the Chinese Opening played by subscribers in this lecture series. 

I found it helpful to see him using the database and AI resources, and was glad to have the links to them so I can use them myself in reviewing the games I play this coming month using the Chinese Opening on OGS.

The next step is to start playing the Chinese Opening again on April 1st. It used to be my preferred opening until In-seong seemed to discourage it, but now he says the Chinese Opening is back, so I am excited to try it again.

Monday, March 29, 2021

My Week of Go Activities


The big news this week is that I went 5:0 in my YD League this cycle. It is the last cycle of Season 29. We have a break before the beginning of Season 30, so I will have plenty of time to study and prepare. There is no telling how the league tables will be drawn up for next season because some students may leave, and new students may enter. It will be exciting to see how it all shakes out. I am hoping that my rating will land me a place in D2. If enough current members renew it will.

Now for the Go Activities Report:

It was a very active week for Go Activities with slightly over 40 hours, which is about as many as I can handle. That's a full time job. It is a good thing I am retired.

I will admit that my Essential Go Activities did suffer a little this week. They came in at about 1/4 of total time spent compared to the usual 1/3 of total time spent. I am okay with that, however, because I like to see my Essential Go Activities coming in at at about ten hours or more. As long as I am close to ten hours I am happy.

Essential Go Activities:     
9:17 (hours : minutes)
About 1/4 of total time spent.

4:48       54%      Live Play
2:42       29%      Tsumego
1:37       17%      Game Review

I played seven games this week, which is low for me.

My Win/Loss Ratio

At my last lesson Clossius suggested that I take a break. I think he is looking out for my mental health. I have a good go psychologist. There are two weeks until my next lesson because March has five weeks. He said I should get out and do something fun. He also said I should treat myself for going 5:0 in my YD League.

I know that just studying go isn't good for my mental health. Getting out isn't much of an option, however, with Covid. I did treat myself though by lowering the amount of time on Essential Go Activities and by indulging my guilty pleasure of watching the Clossius Live Stream. I especially enjoyed watching Clossius do his first lesson with a new student this week. That was nice to see.

I also took two days off from playing go. That was my break.

The main reason I enjoy watching the Clossius Live Stream is because it focuses my attention on the basics. I know the Clossi Approach basics pretty well. They are consistent with what I learned from Yilun Yang. Watching the stream reminds me to focus on the basics, and to ask the questions in my own games.

I indulged my other guilty go pleasure too, which is spending time on the Go Magic web site. 

Those two activities are a lot of fun for me, but they don't require a great deal of mental effort. That is why I consider them to be my "go study guilty pleasures". The Clossius Live Stream does not usually come in near number one, nor does it usually even exceed the Live Play category. 

Clossius had two live streams Sunday where he played some go. That was fun to watch. During one of those streams he said that I am his most dedicated student. My teacher's pet status is now firmly establish and shall be diligently maintained. I've always made it a point to be the teacher's pet whenever possible.

To make myself more easily identifiable to Clossius in the Twitch Live Stream, so all of my witty comments will be properly attributed,  I have changed my Twitch name from the confusing "AGAid8" to the longer, but more easily recognizable, "buzzsaw_AGAid8". 

Something I did this week was to create a spreadsheet to automate the calculation of my Essential Go Activities percentages. I can't believe I had been doing them by hand up until now. Now all I need to do is to plug in the hours and minutes for each category. Then the spreadsheet converts to total minutes and calculates percentages for me.

My goal for next week is to play games on OGS and work on my rating there. I will work on building the habit of playing first, and then work on the rating.

Another thing I need to do is study the Chinese Opening. There will probably be a Mid Week Blog post about that.

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Gotta Brag: I Killed Something

Not only did I kill something, but I did it in an AGA online tournament. 

I played the 2nd round of the San Diego Go Championship today. The tournament is being played over the course of five weeks with one game per week. Pairings come out on Saturday and games must be played by Friday night.

I won my first round last week. That game was reviewed in my weekly go lesson by Clossius.

Today’s game was won because I managed to pull off a kill. I am 2:0 now in the event. 

I saw that the black group on the left side had not made two rooms yet, and I also saw a potential cut that I could read all the way through to the capture of the c12 stones. If black blocked that cut there did not appear to be a way to separate two rooms. 

The move above at b10 was the killing move. It won the game. Of course, I had to keep the win. I’ve been known to step back too much after a big kill. I tried to keep things solid without losing my lead, and I hope that I played reasonably during yose.

An AYD friend of mine told me that he liked the board for white even without the kill because even though black was ahead on territory there were weaknesses. I’ll have to discuss that with him when we get the chance. I’m interested in his insights.

Here is the final board position. I won the game by 20.5

Anyone who is interested can view the game with AI review on OGS. My opponent and I are both site supporters on OGS. He told me that he uploads his KGS games to OGS for the AI review. I told him that I also upload my games there for that reason, but also because my teacher loads my games on OGS for review during my weekly lessons. Clossius usually streams those lessons live on Twitch. When Clossius is not live, some of his recent VODs are available for viewing.

My opponent and I spent time chatting after the game was over. We took a good look at the dead group, and concluded I could keep it dead regardless of how black responded after b10. If anyone sees a refutation that we missed, please let me know.

My opponent said that he would discuss the game tonight online on OGS with the Yu Go Club. The chat above shows me making a plug for my teacher, Clossius, as usual. 

I may have this game reviewed in my next lesson to see how I could have done better in the opening. I do like to have my tournament games reviewed. When I was taking lessons with Yilun Yang I would always record my Go Congress games and we would review them over the course of the next few lessons. There was always something interesting to learn. I have come to realize through the reviews I get in the American Yunguseng Dojang too, that won games don’t necessarily get a favorable review, and lost games often come with praise for stepping outside one’s comfort zone. 

I am hoping to bring interesting games to my lessons whether they are won, or whether they are lost.