Sunday, February 28, 2021

I Am Stuck in D3: I Need a Go Psychologist


I am a member of AYD, the American Yunguseng Dojang. The lowest league in AYD currently is D3. All tables have been cropped to remove the real names of the participants. The names you see above are KGS user names. Mine is buzzsaw. 

My initial placement in the final cycle of the season is third place because two members were demoted from D2. As a result they are placed above me. One’s placement in the 2nd and 3rd cycle of a season is based on wins and losses rather than on one’s rating. Even though I am the highest rated player in the league I am in third place on the table. This is fair to the players coming down from D2. Initial placement carries with it a tie breaking advantage, or disadvantage, which does not apply to the third cycle because no one moves up or down after the third cycle. 

Each AYD season is composed of three cycles (months). At the start of the current season I was in D2 based on my rating. At the beginning of each new season one’s placement is determined by rank alone, not by how well one has performed in the previous cycle. Usually some new players join AYD at the beginning of a new season. They will be interspersed into the leagues based on their reported starting ranks.  

Wins and losses in a third cycle will not effect initial placement in the first cycle of a new season except insofar as the wins and losses result in ratings adjustments. Ratings will be used to determine placement in the new season. Sometimes In-seong will give a ratings adjustment based on fast improvement, so that sometimes effects placement at the beginning of a season.

The table above represents my placement at the end of the first cycle of the current season. My rating alone had managed to land me in the D2 group. My performance had me slated to drop to the top position in D3 for the 2nd cycle.

The table above represents my placement at the end of the second cycle of the season. I had high hopes of being promoted along with Drewch for the 3rd cycle. I was initially placed at the top location on the chart which means that I would have won any tie break. I started the cycle with three wins against the bottom three players in the league. I had two more games to play, but I really only needed one more win to go up. Even if another player had five wins I would still go up with four in second place. If there were three players will four wins I would have won both tie breaks, and the player with the lowest initial placement would have been left behind.

I knew that the system was set up for the player with the highest initial placement to face her toughest competition in reverse order. My first games would be the easiest. The last two games would be the toughest. Having gone 3-0 in the first three games was no guarantee of promotion at the end of the cycle. I needed that fourth win, or I needed a three way tie.

Though I had beaten Drewch twice before, I regarded him as my stiffest competition. Based on observing the games of Meithras, I did not discount him as an opponent either. His KGS rating is 11k, but I think it was 15k a month previous. I, therefore, put no stock in his KGS rating.

It turns out that I lost my game with Meithras by 3.5.

Losing to Meithras put me in a position where it would have been necessary to beat Drewch in order to advance, and he would have gone up with me. It would have been a tall order to beat Drewch, but I was ready to try.

I tried really hard in my game with Drewch, but victory was not to be mine. I lost that game by resignation.  Yes. I can read four moves ahead. I resigned.

Drewch was really nice and spent a good deal of time reviewing the game with me after it was over. He is a good go friend. It is a shame we could not have traveled back up together to D2 for the final cycle of this season.

I was feeling pretty depressed about my failure to promote. I realize that my disappointment is quite selfish given the fact that I have promoted a few times, whereas some of my fellow YD players, and friends, have not had that experience yet. I am sorry to be thinking of myself, and I do appreciate their disappointment too. 

By the way, the way that the ratings points are adjusted can really work against the more highly rated player in a league, especially when there is a large difference in the ratings of the players. My wins in the past month did very little to move my rating up, but my losses were devastating. You can see that in the table below. Three wins netted me 18 positive points, whereas two losses netted me 20 negative points. 

We actually need more players in the AYD leagues between 700 and 500 to solve this problem. There is more than 300 points separating the weakest and strongest D3 players in the upcoming cycle. There should be no more than a 100 point spread in a league. Maybe 150 in the bottom league out of necessity, but 300 is too much. Refer to the first table in the post for reference.

I’m starting to feel self conscious about my 6k rating on KGS. If I am playing true to rank, I should be a formidable opponent, yet I lose League games to 8k players, and even to 11k players. What is up with that? I was thinking that maybe I should go NR with buzzsaw to lessen my embarrassment. Then the solution came to me. Take buzzsaw down.

I decided Saturday morning to play a rated auto match game on KGS and perhaps put buzzsaw in her place on the way down to 7k, and then perhaps even to 8k where she may actually belong. It was not to be. I won a match with a 6k by 0.5 points. Funny. I actually laughed about it.

That same Saturday evening, two days after our fateful League Game, Drewch and I played a Free League Game with very different results. It was going to be a small win for me in the neighborhood of  7.5 points, which would have been nice enough. However, this time I was the one rewarded with a resignation. I read a cut.

I managed to find a Trouble Master problem in the upper left. I thought that it was going to be seen by white because I had to fill two dame at d18 and d17 in order to pull it off. Why would I fill dame in a Japanese game unless I was trying something? (This, by the way, is why I prefer AGA rules.) By the time I had cut at c13 white needed to atari at d13 to prevent a HUGE loss, and accept a smaller one. The three stones along the edge would have been lost. There were actually two other opportunities that I missed in this game in the lower right quadrant. I won’t go into detail. I actually should have lost this game, and would have, if white had completed his attack on my s7 stones successfully. All can be seen in the sgf file if anyone is interested. 

So why do I need a go psychologist? It comes down to tournament anxiety. I know that League Games are not tournament games, but they carry with them all of the same pressure. More Free League Games with YD Opponents might help me to overcome this. 

I really enjoyed taking my time with this free league game. An hour and a half was spent on the game. My opponent was in byo yomi for quite a while, and I was getting close. I think I had a little over three minutes left on my clock at the end of the game. I was glad to have enough time to find and execute the Trouble Master Problem. Perhaps my opponent did not have enough time to adequately evaluate it in byo yomi.

Speaking of the Free League, I am in 2nd place. Those losses really add up :-). 

I still have fighting spirit.

Sunday, February 21, 2021

My Week of Go Activities


I have sliced and diced my categories to the extent that the resulting pie chart has come to resemble a Baduk Beach Ball.

I put in over 40 hours on go activities this week. Live Play on Western Go Servers came in at over 6 hours. It is the number one activity again. I played 13 games this week, not all of them on Western Go Severs. There was a handful of small board games that contributed to the recorded time, but they do not appear in the Games List.

Clossius suggested during my last lesson that I play some games on Tygem because there are crazy fighters there. I have created a new category of Live Play devoted to time spent on Tygem. Adding my  two Live Play categories together Live Play comes to over eight hours.

I created the new category because play on Tygem has been a very mixed bag, and I wanted to separate it out to keep an eye on how much time I am spending there. 

I discovered that I had created an account back in 2011 with the user name buzzsaw. I am nothing if not consistent. I registered as an 18 kyu at that time, and played three games spread out over 2011 and 2012. The rating seems low, but I think it may be right for the server.

I played a 9x9 there against an opponent who had clearly lost. He then held me prisoner while he played nearly every legal move left on the board. He finally ran out of time when there were four legal moves left, and he could not find one of them in time. I am black.

I played a 19x19 game against a player who repeatedly asked to score the game while the edges of territories remained unresolved. He passed quite a few times. He did not seem to know how to end the game.

I played a 19x19 game against a player that trounced me. I an white.

I notice players at 18k on Tygem with over a hundred wins and no losses. Could they be premium subscribers using AI? 

I’ve been getting my money’s worth out of my lessons with Clossius as you can see from the highlighted beach ball slice above. I spend a significant amount of time reviewing my lessons later in the week and taking notes. At some point I may do a post with specifics about how I am using Evernote to enhance my go study.

Essential Go Activities:     
14:55 (hours : minutes)
About 1/3 of total time spent.

8:09        53%       Live Play
3:27        24%       Tsumego
3:19        23%       Game Review

Something new this week is a spreadsheet that I developed in Google Sheets to serve as a launch pad for game review during my lessons with Clossius. During our last lesson he asked if I could color code the wins and losses. I think I did a pretty good job of it. Below is a screen capture.

I know it is hard to see, so here is a crop of the list of games.

Numbers below are live links to games on OGS

1     2     3     4     5     6     7     12

Gray rows are unavailable for review because they have already been reviewed, or because they are Tygem games. I have not yet figured out how to harvest the sgf files from Tygem games to upload them to OGS.

Reds are losses. Greens are wins. Darker colors are larger margins. Lighter colors are smaller margins.

I’m going to try to figure out a way to share my spreadsheet with Clossius so he can use it as a launch pad. In the mean time I have provided links via the row of numbers. This way the blog can still function as a launch pad during lessons. Plus anyone who is reading this blog can still view most of my games if they are interested.

Monday, February 15, 2021

I Hate Handicap Go: I Need a Go Psychologist


A psychologist go playing friend of mine enjoyed my recent post titled Change Is Hard: I Need a Go Psychologist. He said that it is his favorite blog post of mine so far because it is so vulnerable and “so me”.

I’ve decided to continue to show my soft underbelly for the amusement of my go psychologist friend. I am continuing a series I will call  “I Need a Go Psychologist”. Why not lay myself bare? My go life has been an open book so far.  

I will take time away from actual go study today to share my feelings about yesterday’s tournament while the wounds are still raw, and the fruits of self reflection are clear to me.

The image provided for this post is a game I played today with a YD friend. That game actually made me feel better. I was white. I’ll go into detail about the purpose of this game.

First I want to talk about the tournament. Let me begin by saying that it was the most efficiently run online tournament in which I have had the pleasure to play. It was the South Central Go Tournament. Bart Jacob deserves kudos for everything involved with the tournament. He vetted ranks to the best of his ability. He provided a live document with all the information we needed to participate in the tournament. He had us muted by default on Zoom during tournament play, which cut down considerably on disturbances. He provided breakout rooms for players who wanted to review games later. He offered a tip on how to include your KGS handle as part of your Zoom name to help identify your opponents in case you wanted to pin them in Zoom to watch them during the game. It was all great, and I really enjoyed it, except for one thing.

I ended up playing white five times out of six. That was bad enough, but in day two I had to give handicaps of 2 stones, 4 stones, and 5 stones in my games. I felt like a sacrificial lamb. This may have been unavoidable. I may have been on the edge of a ratings gap that forced the pairings program to select me to provide handicaps to those below who needed them. If that was the case, and there was no way around it, then too bad for me, and I’d need to deal with it.  There was a part of me, however, that thought it would be a good idea to avoid choosing the same person three times in a row. Perhaps the program could have found someone else for at least one of those games. I tried to keep a positive attitude through games 4 and 5. After predictably losing both of those games I considered requesting a bye for Round 6. However, I am not a quitter. So I pulled up my big girl pants again, and I decided to play that 6th round, and to do the best that I could.

I looked at those 5 handicap stones, and for one brief moment, I considered being a total dick and hitting the resign button. It was not ever really an option to do that though. I could never do that. I played the game, and struggled for as long as was reasonable to try to turn this game into something of which I could be unashamed. I had actually played out rounds 4 and 5 to their conclusions. I did resign round 6 after move 116, however.

My first thought was, “Look for the positive in this.” I gave this guy pleasure. It is a positive that I could be a source of such obvious joy for another human being.  I remembered that my goal in playing go is to make friends, so I proceeded to chat up my opponent and make a friend. I discovered that I was playing a fellow teacher. He is seven years into the profession. I am a retired teacher and 14 years into retirement. We bonded over our love of learning. We discussed our OGS accounts and ratings. I came to learn that we are actually three stones apart, which made me feel a little better about the game. I had used the same bonding approach with my four stone loss earlier in the day.

The tournament was over. I was drained, and I thought I was safe. 

However, feelings of despair started to wash over me immediately. After a few minutes of confusion I actually started to cry. I identified the reason quickly. It was because this tournament was so reminiscent of my very disturbing first tournament. That experience is at the root of my long standing tournament anxiety. I went 1-5 in my first tournament (a Go Congress) due to registering too high at the suggestion of friends, including the assessment of a professional player. After five losses I had requested a bye, and only played the final round because the TD begged me to give four stones to a player whose opponent had not shown up that morning. I won that game to earn my first AGA  rating of 19 kyu. Yesterday’s tournament brought back all of the negative feelings associated with my first tournament experience.  I even revisited the time I spent crying in the ladies room after losing round 5 to a sandbagging 8 year old who claimed to be 26 kyu.

I knew it was irrational to even care about yesterday’s results because I never play handicap go. So how could I be expected to have a chance to win the four stone or the five stone game? I might have gotten lucky with the two stone game if I was really two ranks better than my opponent, and if I played reasonably well, but the high handicap games were simply not games I could be expected to win.

It was irrational to care about going 1:5 in that tournament, and I had already identified my past experience as my trigger, so what was going on?

It took some digging to figure it out. I never really studied or played seriously before. I got to 9k enjoying pro lessons as a social event and feeling the same way about tournament play and workshops. I am now, however, investing about 40 hours in go study per week and I am expecting results. I really do not want to bother to devote any of that time to handicap go. There may be positives to playing handicap go for me, but tournament play is not one of them. For the past ten years I have played only at the Go Congress in the U. S. Open. All of my tournament games are even. At 9 kyu I never have to give handicap in a tournament. I avoid the Die Hard where I might have to give handicap. I mostly avoid the Die Hard because the time limits are about half of the 90 minutes that I get of basic time in the Open tournament. I’m training to use my time with YD games that provide 40 minutes of basic time. If I am unlikely to ever give handicap stones in the one go event in which I actually play, why study handicap at all?

One might suggest that I should embrace handicap go as a means of encouraging new players in face to face clubs. Covid aside, I doubt that I have attended a club meeting in over ten years. Even if I were to find myself in a club situation I could provide encouragement by playing handicap go poorly. That would provide even more encouragement, and would not effect my AGA rating. In fairness, these tournament games from yesterday did not count toward AGA ratings, but if I was attending a small face to face tournament in the future, then handicap games such as these would effect my AGA rating.

With only one go event on my calendar per year, even pre Covid, and with my focus on doing well in even games at that one event, I have little interest in handicap go. 

What I love about YD is that all games are even. One expects to lose to stronger players in the league, and hopes to win against weaker players. The emphasis is on doing one’s best with normal play in normal openings and benefit from review. Winning and losing are not important except for league movement. Handicap is nonexistent.

I started to think of how hard I am now studying, and the future that lies ahead. If I am phenomenally lucky I may have twenty Go Congresses to attend before I die. That is 20 tournaments in my future. If I defy all statistical odds I might have twenty five more Go Congresses to attend.

So it all comes down to how I am going to spend the last go study hours and years of my life. That reminds me that I am mortal. That fills me with regret over how I have spent my time in the past. I’ve taken lessons with a pro. When I did that I wasn’t serious about playing or about advancement. I just wanted to have fun. Now I am serious about studying and playing, and I am hopeful that a modest amount of advancement may still be possible before it is too late.

About the board position at the top of the post? That is a game of Kill All played with another YD player. We used nigiri to decide who would play black. Black places 17 handicap stones using free placement. The goal of the game is to kill all the white stones. We decided that the game would end if white made a living group. I played white. There was a ladder that did not work, but it helped me. Black resigned. We will do this again. I’ll take black next time.

Sunday, February 14, 2021

My Week of Go Activities


This week I spent exactly 40 hours on Go Activities. Saturday was the first day of the South Central Go Tournament with three games played. 

I increased my games played this week to ten, bringing Live Play in at nearly six hours.

I decided to play in the South Central Go Tournament at my official AGA rating. I made that decision based on my performance at two recent online tournaments where I played as a 9 kyu. I went 2:2 in both events. I’ll give Bart Jacob credit for doing due diligence on checking online ranks and comparing them to established AGA ratings. I got an email asking if I had a reason to believe that I should play as a 9 kyu rather than at my 6 kyu KGS rating. After explaining that my online rank has always exceeded my AGA rank, describing my recent tournament performance, and describing my long standing tournament anxiety, he was fine with my decision. To avoid potential problems I disabled my rank on KGS this week. I did not want to create a psychological edge for myself by showing off my shiny 6 kyu rating.

Correspondence Play took on a larger chunk of time with the addition of a few new leagues. This proved to be a mistake. I’ve soured on correspondence play, and I have been opening the games and playing them as asynchronous blitz to dismiss them ASAP. I’ve also been timing out because some of these games expect a move within 24 hours. It’s hurting my rank, but I am okay with it. I'm just not enjoying it.

Essential Go Activities      13:02       (hours:minutes)  about 1/3 of time spent

5:50                45%              Live Play

4:43                36%              Tsumego   (Combined)

2:29                19%              Reviewing My Games

Game List:

My win/loss ratio is a shameful 3:7.

I’ll be inserting a little commentary about some of these games, so things will be a little more spread out than usual.

For actual game links, and a more compressed view of game results, scroll down to the bottom of the post.

I played my first four games of the week over the course of two days on OGS. All five of the games on OGS this week had only 15 minutes of basic time. Playing under time pressure wasn’t doing my game any favors. My rank dropped from 7 kyu to 8 kyu on OGS, which I don’t really mind. I’ll accept it on faith that it is good for me to practice making decisions quickly, and I will continue to play these 15 minute games to practice this.  I suspect that if I played some rated games on KGS my stale 6k rating would probably fall to 7k. That would be okay too. This may explain why I lose to AYD members who are two ranks lower than myself on a regular basis. They are probably playing more games, more quickly, and not guarding their ranks. Maybe I should do the same.

Win   2/8    OGS    buzzsaw-johngp        W+10.5         7k/8k

Loss 2/8    OGS    buzzsaw-Nikita Pilshchikov    B+7.5   7k/7k

Loss 2/9    OGS    Rqke-buzzsaw                  W+4.5       6k/7k

I noticed when I reviewed the above game that white got 7.5 komi even though he is one rank stronger than I. If the komi had been correct I would have won that game. My opponent offered to show me the joseki in the lower left corner after the game. That was really nice. We reviewed the game and had a nice conversation. he played a joseki “mistake” that I thought I knew how to punish, but he turned it to his advantage. I recall Clossius discussing this joseki during his live stream a week or so ago with some caution about how it could be tricky if the player is stronger with a reason to make the “mistake”. He may be tricking you. This is probably something that I should be asking him to go over with me. I remember finding that discussion interesting at the time, but not fully digesting it. 

I’m black. This was supposed to work out in my favor.

But it turned out like this, which was not good for me. WTF?

My opponent suggested that D2 is the correct response to C5. Maybe Clossius can offer more insight during my lesson. I’d actually like to track down the clip where he discussed this joseki in his live stream recently. I believe it may have been discussed during a game review rather than a lesson. That might be something for him to clip out from the video on demand for the day and post separately.

Loss 2/9    OGS    syz756283-buzzsaw         W+19.5     6k/7k

The komi was also wrong on the above game, though it did not change the result. I had my auto match preferences set to +/- 1 with automatic for komi. I was assuming that it would adjust komi for one rank difference, but apparently it was not doing so. I have since changed my rank preference to 7k only. I would prefer a three stone range if I could get the komi right. this works on KGS, why not OGS?

Win   2/10  KGS    Rhett23-buzzsaw         B+4.5     AYD    888-747

The above game scored as 0.5 on KGS because we forgot to mark a dead stone. 4.5 is the correct score.

Loss  2/11  KGS    anonymous-buzzsaw    W+18.5   AYD   1149-896

Loss  2/12   OGS   Kiguchiterrier2-buzzsaw   W+2.5  7k/7k

I felt as if I was winning the above game, but I was wrong. It was another fast OGS loss. I’ve dropped to 8k now. I'm amazingly cool with this. Protecting my rank was making me afraid to play.

South Central Tournament Games:

Win    2/13    KGS   buzzsaw-AkiraGiang     W+58.5    NR/7k

The above game was too easy. I was wondering if maybe I had made a mistake by not self promoting one or two stones.

Loss   2/13     KGS   buzzsaw-Bradical       B+21.5       NR/2d?

The above game dispelled my illusions. I asked my opponent if his rating was due to ratings drift. he said that it was, and that he only plays on KGS for tournaments. After we were finished, and he had soundly trounced me, I asked out of curiosity what his rating became on OGS after the update. He said it had become 5k. Well that explains things. I dropped to 8k on OGS this week. So he is three stones stronger than I. Looking at his a OGS rating once the day was over, however, it is 4k. I feel better now. Four stones separate us. I friended him. I’m going to learn from this guy.

Loss   2/13     KGS   Jaydee-buzzsaw        W+1.5     7k/NR

The above game was a tough loss. Jaydee and I are friendly rivals in AYD. It’s been a while since I’ve had a win against her. This game only had 0.5 komi because she is an AGA 8k, while I am an AGA 9k. If you take into account the decimal portions of our ranks we are actually about 1.5 stones apart. Last week we had a YD Free League game which I lost by 0.5 points, so I felt I actually had a chance to win this game. Gotta try harder I guess. I’ve already identified what I think are the two biggest problems in the game.

Thoughts on the Tournament:
After day one I am 1:2. In spite of two disappointing losses I had a great time in the first day of the tournament. The second day results will be a part of next week’s report. I am certainly glad I did not self promote. I will not do that until I manage to perform at a 4:2 level in a six game tournament, or at a 3:4 level in a four game tournament. Then I will self promote one stone and see how things go. 

Goals for Next Week:
Play at least ten games.
Continue to play with 15 minutes of basic time on OGS.
See if I can get into byo yomi.

Game Links:

1.   Win   2/8    OGS    buzzsaw-johngp        W+10.5         7k/8k

2.   Loss 2/8    OGS    buzzsaw-Nikita Pilshchikov    B+7.5   7k/7k

3.   Loss 2/9    OGS    Rqke-buzzsaw                  W+4.5       6k/7k

4.   Loss 2/9    OGS    syz756283-buzzsaw         W+19.5     6k/7k
5.   Win   2/10  KGS    Rhett23-buzzsaw         B+4.5     AYD    888-747

6.   Loss  2/11  KGS    anonymous-buzzsaw   W+18.5  AYD  1149-896

7.   Loss  2/12   OGS   Kiguchiterrier2-buzzsaw   W+2.5  7k/7k

8.   Win    2/13    KGS   buzzsaw-AkiraGiang     W+58.5    NR/7k

9.   Loss   2/13     KGS   buzzsaw-Bradical       B+21.5       NR/2d?

10.  Loss   2/13     KGS   Jaydee-buzzsaw        W+1.5     7k/NR

Monday, February 08, 2021

My Week of Go Activities

This week I spent only 34 hour on go activities, largely because I was very ill on Friday, which is my AYD day. I spent the majority of the day escaping into sleep, hoping that I would feel well enough to play my league game that night. Luckily I rallied just enough to play my game. I cut the review time short, however. My game was the second one. After that I left, and I watched the rest of the reviews for my group on video the next day when I was feeling better.

The YD Game Review category inched ahead of the Live Play category as the top activity for the week. I used to only watch the AYD Reviews for my own League, which is the D League. However, I have now started to watch the C League reviews as well. A number of my friends are now in the C League. The reviews are of a higher level, and I do my best to follow along.

It is worth mentioning that this is the first week in three YD cycles that I have not played in both EYD and AYD. I think it was a good decision to drop EYD. Being sick on Friday, I did not fully appreciate not having to devote eight hours of time to strictly scheduled go activities, but I am sure that I will appreciate it next week when I have my wits about me.

I reached my eight game goal for Live Play this week, but the amount of time I spent playing was considerably less than last week with the same number of games. The games were simply much shorter, especially the AYD game I played while I was sick on Friday. It clocked in at only 35 minutes even though we each had 40 minutes of basic time. I won that game by resignation, by the way.

Eight games is not feeling like enough anymore though. Clossius asked me at my last lesson if I was aiming for 100 games in a month. I'm not, but I should be aiming for more than eight a week. Perhaps 50 for the month might be a reasonable goal for which to aim.

Overall it was a good week. My win/loss ratio ended up being 5:3.

I needed to play two games on Saturday to get my eight games in. At that point I was 5:1 with my only loss being by 0.5 points. I felt pretty good about my record. I then proceeded to balance things out a bit with two losses on the last day of the week. I felt under pressure to get those two games in and it was getting late at night. I felt rushed, and I think it showed in my play. I want to avoid that next week by playing earlier in the week.

Essential Go Activities      11:41       (hours:minutes)  about 1/3 of time spent

5:09                44%              Live Play

4:47                41%              Tsumego   (Combined)

1:45                15%              Reviewing My Games

The numbers for YD games represent League Ratings

Win    1/31   KGS    arunasr-buzzsaw    B+6.5    YDFL   1119-883

Loss   1/31   KGS   Jaydee-buzzsaw    W+0.5    YDFL    1011-883

Win     2/1    KGS    plenty-buzzsaw     B+19.5    YDFL     840-883

Win     2/2    KGS    buzzsaw-plenty     W+31.5    YDFL    883-840

Win     2/3    OGS   buzzsaw-Coarse Himalayan     W+8.5    7k/8k 

Win     2/5    KGS   buzzsaw-likeyeah   W+R      AYD     883-568

Loss   2/6    OGS    buzzsaw-Mister_Y    B+R       7k/6k

Loss 2/6      KGS    arunasr-buzzsaw W+R     YDFL    1132-888

Goals for Next Week:

Replay some  pro games.
Spend more time on review.
Play more games with shorter time limits.
Try to play one OGS game early in the day. (Get a game in early.)

Sunday, January 31, 2021

My Week of Go Activities

This was a very active week with more than 40 hours of go activity. This is the most time I have spent on Go Activities in one week.

Live Play, once again, comes in at the top of the list at over seven hours. In all fairness though, if the three Tsumego Categories were combined they would come to about 25% and exceed Live Play.

I have made a few changes in my go categories this week.  It is worth mentioning them.

I've added another Tsumego category called Tsumego Books. That makes three tsumego categories, all of which are red. I started and finished Graded Go Problems Volume 1 this week, and I started Graded Go Problems Volume 2.

I've added another Clossius category called Clossius Patreon and YouTube. So there are now three Clossius categories, all of which are shocking pink. All Things Clossi added together come to 10:26, which is 25%, and the amount of time spent on Tsumego combined.

I've changed the name of my YouTube and Twitch category to Others on YouTube, Twitch.  "Others" meaning not Clossius, so if I am watching someone other than Clossius, the time will fall within that "others" category. 

I've kept the two categories for the Guo Juan Internet Go School, but they are the same yellow-orange color now.

I've kept the two categories for the Yunguseng Dojang, but they the same yellow color now.

Essential Go Activities

I'm going to continue reporting on my Essential Go Activities each week. I've written to the developers of the Now Then app to see if I can automate that process. I will continue to do the math if I must.

Essential Go Activities      20:42       (hours:minutes)  Nearly half of all time spent.

10:25              50%              Tsumego   (Combined)

7:18                35%              Live Play

2:59                15%              Reviewing My Games

Game Records

There are only three games available for review this week. The rest are either with a player who does not want his games reviewed, or they are YD games that have already been reviewed. I met my goal of eight games.

My user names are buzzsaw, goddess, and fearless.

My win/loss ratio is 4/4

YD ranks are listed for all games with YD players rather than KGS ranks.

EYD - European Yunguseng Dojang
AYD - American Yunguseng Dojang
OGS - Time (30 min 5 of 30 AGA rules)
YDFL - Yunguseng Dojang Free League Game (40 min 3 of 30)
Games are even except OGS games +/- 1 which have 0.5 komi

Win      1/24   KGS     buzzsaw-Drewch     W+10.5     AYD     882-875

Loss     1/25   KGS     anonymous-buzzsaw         W+R      1167-893

Win      1/25   KGS     buzzsaw-Drewch          W+R     YDFL   893-866

Win      1/28   OGS     buzzsaw-Nikita Pilshchikov  W+16.5    7k/7k

Loss     1/29    KGS    goddess-remy66         B+26.5     AYD   860-762

Loss     1/29   KGS     plenty-buzzsaw          W+11.5    AYD   828-893

Win      1/30   OGS     necromant-buzzsaw       B+R       6k/7k

Loss     1/30   KGS     arunasr-buzzsaw        W+3.5   YDFL     1119-883

Goals for Next Week

I intend to play more games.

I intend to spend more time on game review. I will be asking the Clossi Approach questions as I review to build the habit of asking the questions in my games.

Saturday, January 30, 2021

Change is Hard: I Need a Go Psychologist


I’ve been meaning to write this blog post for awhile. Now is a good time to do it because of a game I played last night in the American Yunguseng Dojang, and my feelings associated with it. One would think that a lot was on the line with this game because the winner would stay in the D2 league, and the loser would fall to the D3 league. I cared little if I won or lost the game, and I did not care about whether I fell to the lowest league. I cared about playing a better game, which is not necessarily a won game. I cared about what my teacher would think and what he would say.

I have been told by In-seong to play fewer unnecessary protective moves, and to play more active moves. This has been something that I have been struggling with for months now. In spite of my efforts, the balance has been evading me. I have actually made grave errors in attempting to self correct, often in haste between my EYD and AYD games.

One of the things that In-seong tells me is that I need to see the board from my opponent’s side. That makes sense because if his stones were mine, and they had a weakness, I would see it. If I can see it, then I can exploit it. I’m still struggling with this though. I get caught up in the pace of the game and I fall back into old habits.

In a recent lesson with Clossius, who has diagnosed the same problem, I got some concrete advice about how I might sharpen my ability to make these positive changes. He suggested that I ask the Clossi Approach questions as I review my games. That made so much sense to me. During review I would not be under time pressure, or psychological stress. The result would already be in, and perhaps I could see the board more clearly, and know what I should have seen during the game. I would essentially be kibitzing my own game. They say that when you kibitz that you are three stones stronger. I tried asking the questions during one of my reviews, and I think it paid off last night. I was doing well during my game.

It turned out that I had a winning position, even without the stones I got when my opponent missed an atari. However, I made one fatal mistake at the end that lost the game for me by 11.5. You can see that mistake in the image above. A link to the game in ai-sensei is provided.

I was upset about this blunder. My opponent and I are good friends in YD and we discussed the game immediately afterwards on Discord. I admitted that I was considering not showing up for review. I’ve never done that before. I was ashamed and worried about being present for my public humiliation. By the way, no one is ever publicly humiliated in a YD review, except maybe in their own mind. Although I thought of not going, I remembered that some of my best reviews with In-seong were for lost games. I’d never skipped a review in over four seasons, and I was not about to start doing so regardless of how I felt about a game. I pulled up my big girl pants (it’s a good thing you hadn’t noticed that they were down), and I showed up for the review.

I got sympathy for my mistake. “It happens”. I was told that it was a good game, and I got a lot of specific positive feedback. I ended up feeling a lot better. I was glad I showed up. Always show up.

One thing that might help me moving forward is that I have dropped out of EYD because it was very stressful for my husband to have me devoting eight hours to scheduled go activity every Friday. In spite of being sorry to leave EYD, I do recognize a few benefits to participating in only AYD. First, it was stressful to play two important games only four hours apart. The temptation to try to apply advice from the first game to the second game made it even more stressful for me. Second, I was usually too tired to give my best to the second game. Third, the four hours I spent each Friday on EYD activities can be allocated on other days to playing more games. I won’t be spending any less time on Go. I will just be scheduling it in a way that is less objectionable to my husband.

Luckily I have many YD Go friends who I can talk to about my psychological problems with Go. One of those friends is actually a psychologist, but he says he wants my insurance card. he is only kidding. 

I hear there is a new book about go called “Psychology” which I would like to get, but I may wait for it to come to the GoBooks app. 

I’ve got two more games I need to play today to meet my goal of eight games this week. My Weekly Go Activities blog post is due tomorrow. It is time to stop procrastinating and start playing.

Thanks for listening.