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 Post subject: What do I have to do just to get to 5k?
Post #1 Posted: Sun Jul 17, 2016 5:11 pm 
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I've been playing go for 15 years, and have been stuck bouncing between KGS 6k and 7k for years. I think once I got promoted to 5k for about half a dozen games three or four years ago; a couple of times I've been demoted to 8k but the last time was almost two years ago.

It seems as though nothing I try works: my moyos get invaded; any attempts to deal with my opponents' moyos end in disaster. My opponents pincer me and I end up with a weak group; I pincer my opponents and I end up with a weak group if not two. I constantly fall behind early. And so on.

I go over my games, but that clearly doesn't help because it's like the blind leading the blind. I do problems, but the problems I do don't look like the positions that show up in my games. I've also been going through Attack and Defense, but that obviously isn't helping much, either. There are a few certain situations I've discovered I've been making mistakes (in the three-space jump where one stone is on the third line and the other on the fourth, I'd been playing the wrong way, for example), but following up from the first move is where things start to go wrong.

What on earth am I supposed to do differently?


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 Post subject: Re: What do I have to do just to get to 5k?
Post #2 Posted: Sun Jul 17, 2016 5:15 pm 
Oza

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Find yourself a mentor. Play on DGS instead of real time and play unrated and discuss them with your mentor during the game. I have acted as mentor like this for many people and the vast majority have improved.

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Still officially AGA 5d but I play so irregularly these days that I am probably only 3d or 4d over the board (but hopefully still 5d in terms of knowledge, theory and the ability to contribute).


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 Post subject: Re: What do I have to do just to get to 5k?
Post #3 Posted: Sun Jul 17, 2016 5:35 pm 
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I agree strongly with what DrStraw said (and have benefited from him giving me the time on DGS for games). Playing stronger players regularly will quickly expose the consistent mistakes in thinking that you make. I think watching much stronger players play can be very helpful as well, if you're actively trying to read sequences in the game out or see why a particular move was responded to etc. You can get ideas of how to throw around stones from this that you can experiment with in your games. :)

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 Post subject: Re: What do I have to do just to get to 5k?
Post #4 Posted: Sun Jul 17, 2016 5:53 pm 
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A few questions. :)

:b13: Why did you play S-04?

:b35: Why did you play H-13?

:b59: Why did you play Q-17?

:b75: Why did you play N-15?

:b77: Why did you play O-18?

:b85: Why did you play K-15?

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 Post subject: Re: What do I have to do just to get to 5k?
Post #5 Posted: Sun Jul 17, 2016 5:56 pm 
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I'll agree with get a teacher.... many pros have lessons, there is the Yunguseng Dojang and Guo Juan's group lessons all online. Any of those will help you get stronger.

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 Post subject: Re: What do I have to do just to get to 5k?
Post #6 Posted: Sun Jul 17, 2016 5:57 pm 
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play stronger people - on even matches. sooner or later, you'll catch up.

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 Post subject: Re: What do I have to do just to get to 5k?
Post #7 Posted: Sun Jul 17, 2016 6:49 pm 
Oza

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oren wrote:
I'll agree with get a teacher.... many pros have lessons, there is the Yunguseng Dojang and Guo Juan's group lessons all online. Any of those will help you get stronger.


I don't agree with pro lesson at 5k. There are plenty of amateurs in the lower dan range willing to play and help.

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Still officially AGA 5d but I play so irregularly these days that I am probably only 3d or 4d over the board (but hopefully still 5d in terms of knowledge, theory and the ability to contribute).

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Post #8 Posted: Sun Jul 17, 2016 7:42 pm 
Judan
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Quote:
I don't agree with pro lesson at 5k.
There are plenty of amateurs in the lower dan range willing to...
unlurk
Huge can of worms.

I believe someone, somewhere had done some good analysis/analyses of software engineers/programmers. They found that the top programmers vs. the OK ones can have a productivity difference of a factor of 10 (or was it 30?).
( Charles Simonyi ).

They must have done something similar with teachers.

It's too bad we have dan rankings, titles, and 4-digit ratings for pros' tourney performance, but not for their teaching levels.
( Mr. Kitani Minoru, Mr. Fujisawa Hideyuki )

Top-level teachers are amazing -- we should feel so lucky to meet even just one such person in a lifetime.
Collorary: the worst teachers are also really, genuinely, bad. Just awful.
( The Dunning–Kruger effect strikes again: Those who are clueless they're bad, and continue to "help" and "teach" others. )

Thus the can of worms.
relurk

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Post #9 Posted: Sun Jul 17, 2016 7:56 pm 
Oza

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EdLee wrote:
Quote:
I don't agree with pro lesson at 5k.
There are plenty of amateurs in the lower dan range willing to...
unlurk
Huge can of worms.

I believe someone, somewhere had done some good analysis/analyses of software engineers/programmers. They found that the top programmers vs. the OK ones can have a productivity difference of a factor of 10 (or was it 30?).
( Charles Simonyi ).

They must have done something similar with teachers.

It's too bad we have dan rankings, titles, and 4-digit ratings for pros' tourney performance, but not for their teaching levels.
( Mr. Kitani Minoru, Mr. Fujisawa Hideyuki )

Top-level teachers are amazing -- we should feel so lucky to meet even just one such person in a lifetime.
Collorary: the worst teachers are also really, genuinely, bad. Just awful.
( The Dunning–Kruger effect strikes every time: Those who are clueless they're bad, and continue to "help" and "teach" others. )

Thus the can of worms.
relurk


But is the Return on Investment worth it at the 5k level? I think not when compared to the ROI on finding a good amateur mentor. At the dan level I would agree with you, even though I have never used pro lessons myself.

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Still officially AGA 5d but I play so irregularly these days that I am probably only 3d or 4d over the board (but hopefully still 5d in terms of knowledge, theory and the ability to contribute).

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Post #10 Posted: Sun Jul 17, 2016 7:59 pm 
Judan
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But is the Return on Investment worth it at the 5k level?
Clearly a personal value judgement call, isn't it.
One person's treasure is another's trash, and all that good stuff.

( Is it true that these identical discussions occur ad nauseam in other forums for chess lessons, piano lessons, tennis lessons, etc. ? :) )

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Post #11 Posted: Sun Jul 17, 2016 11:43 pm 
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EdLee wrote:
Quote:
But is the Return on Investment worth it at the 5k level?
Clearly a personal value judgement call, isn't it.
One person's treasure is another's trash, and all that good stuff.

( Is it true that these identical discussions occur ad nauseam in other forums for chess lessons, piano lessons, tennis lessons, etc. ? :) )


I actually think one's ability to teach and mentor and adjust to the student's needs are quite valuable. Skill alone does not make a teacher or mentor. I don't mean to be too critical or call you out because I think you are probably one of the most active commentators on this site. I certainly wouldn't want you to take this the wrong way and stop. I think your comments are valuable and I really enjoy them. However, I often read your comments and know they are correct, but also know that the person you are telling won't really understand why your comments are correct. For me, the comments are fine because I am at the level where I can understand them or figure them out. For weaker players, though, it will be hard. I just noticed this in particular because you popped up doing comments on GoKibitz.

Just because someone knows the right answer doesn't necessarily mean they can explain it to someone else.

So, I personally would rather have a really good teacher, who knows what they know (and what they don't know) at the ama dan level who can adjust to my needs, then a super pro 9p who cannot explain anything that I can understand about particular positions.

Personally, I watch Guo Juan's lectures on the InternetGoSchool, which I find invaluable. I do the problems as well, and I have been improving. I find I can learn the material at my level.

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 Post subject: Re: What do I have to do just to get to 5k?
Post #12 Posted: Mon Jul 18, 2016 12:20 am 
Judan

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Fedya: If you want to get to 5k, maybe you should aim higher than 5k. Try to play as precise as a 2k player. Or a 1d player. Or maybe just try to play as precisely as possible.

Each move counts.

I like Bill's approach to answering this thread. Are there any moves you don't have good reasons for playing?

Just a few random thoughts...

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 Post subject: Re: What do I have to do just to get to 5k?
Post #13 Posted: Mon Jul 18, 2016 2:08 am 
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Fedya wrote:
What on earth am I supposed to do differently?
There's usually plenty of different aspects in Go which can be studied and optimized, and I'm by far not the right person to give qualified advice. However I remember one sentence from my first introductory Go book (from Winfried Dörholt "Das japanische Brettspiel Go" in German language). At the end of the book there is a summary consisting of some general advices for beginners. In one of them he says something like "Be aware of bad shape, if you only could avoid playing the empty triangle this will already make you 5 stones stronger".

Thus, I would suggest that you check out for empty triangles in your recent games (including the most frappant example in the current game of :b75:) and ask yourself if they were really required and if there were better options. The good thing about empty triangles is that they are easy to spot; thus it should be rather easy to get completely rid of them. And if Winfried Dörholt is right, this will make you a solid 2k. ;-)

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Post #14 Posted: Mon Jul 18, 2016 2:52 am 
Judan
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Hi Go_Japan,

You're preaching to the choir. :)

I agree with (probably) 99% of what you said.
That you feel the need to write it means perhaps you don't know where I stand (embedded in post 8 and numerous other threads over the years) which is self-referential to what you wrote. :) No problem.

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Post #15 Posted: Mon Jul 18, 2016 3:18 am 
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EdLee wrote:
Hi Go_Japan,

You're preaching to the choir. :)

I agree with (probably) 99% of what you said.
That you feel the need to write it means perhaps you don't know where I stand (embedded in post 8 and numerous other threads over the years) which is self-referential to what you wrote. :) No problem.


Well, I am glad you are not sensitive about it.

@ Fedya

I made a review here and tried to answer your questions: http://eidogo.com/#DtPIGr3V
If I see you online, I will see if you want to play a teaching game. I am not too much stronger, but probably can help with a few things.

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Post #16 Posted: Mon Jul 18, 2016 6:27 am 
Oza

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EdLee wrote:
I believe someone, somewhere had done some good analysis/analyses of software engineers/programmers. They found that the top programmers vs. the OK ones can have a productivity difference of a factor of 10 (or was it 30?).
( Charles Simonyi ).

They must have done something similar with teachers.
I went back and looked and found this: there are studies related to the 10x claim: http://www.ybrikman.com/writing/2013/09 ... -not-myth/. Here is a podcast I ran across awhile ago, but never watched, where someone discusses it as a "myth" http://blog.fogcreek.com/10x-programmer ... -bossavit/.

With regard to teachers: http://slatestarcodex.com/2016/05/19/te ... d-to-know/.

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 Post subject: Re: What do I have to do just to get to 5k?
Post #17 Posted: Mon Jul 18, 2016 7:08 am 
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Hi Fedya

I'm going to answer your first comment in your game self review and then your starting message.

1. "When confronted with a joseki move I haven't seen before, I tend to struggle figuring out how to respond."

Joseki is the source of many bad habits, the worst of which is having the illusion we should be able to fall back on standard patterns most of the time.

In Go, about 99% of the time we are confronted with moves we haven't seen before in this particular situation. In those cases (so almost ALL cases) we must
a) think what we want to achieve (strategy)
b) see which moves are available for that purpose (technique)
c) find out if the move works (tactics/reading)

In this case your purpose may be:
- to avoid being surrounded
- to surround
- to connect
- to cut

These are the four fundamental strategic aims we nearly always pursue.

You chose to cut. According to me this was not the right choice. My choice would have been to try and surround White (04) and keep up the pressure, meanwhile making territory at the bottom. Another choice would have been to connect (S5) but it's too timid connecting on the second line in an area which you control. Cutting at this stage allows White to sacrifice one thing and make the other stronger while doing so.

The move that was available for cutting was the wedge. You inevitably suffer an atari and next White's choice where to connect. Your stones end up in a clumsy shape. This is not a great result. Did you read out these 3 moves and evaluate whether this is what you wanted? Are the tactics underdeveloped (i.e. should you become tougher in doing the actual reading) or do you have poorer positional judgment (i.e. should you learn more about efficiency, equivalence, flexibility ...)?

When White next descended instead of connecting either side of the wedge, you didn't cut. Instead you shifted strategy and decided to protect your territory in the corner.

Such a shift in purpose can be called for when the original strategy turns out to be disastrous, but such was not the case here. Needlessly shifting strategies midgear usually results in stones not cooperating very well.

Perhaps you descended because you wanted the second cut to work. But there are several things wrong with that thinking
1) White can still connect
2) White can still connect the other side and let you eat those 2 stones, making your investment quite big for such a meagre return

White chose to connect the poor side and you cut the big side and indeed, all turned out quite well.

So
- think about on your strategy: what do you want to achieve
- find a move that achieves this purpose
- work out the details
- stick to your objective unless it's clear that the objective was wrong or won't be reached

2. Your message seems to speak of low confidence or self esteem. I have observed many people who publicly lament their sucking at whatever craft they aspire. In a weird sense this is a way of nourishing the ego, but then a bad, negative ego. The bad ego prefers to excel at being worse than everyone else they know, rather than being mildly good. And this is preventing them to become better, which feeds the bad ego.

I've tried to convince such people that really, there is no reason why they should be so special to suck at Go/Table tennis/Music ... but I've hardly ever succeeded. The devil on the shoulder is very very strong and keeps whispering "you're no good, you're no good, you're exceptionally bad".

Let go of that devil. He's no good. You're not special in being bad. And letting him go, you WILL become better. Your Go will become better. Your ego might too. (but don't expect to become exceptionally good at go).


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Post #18 Posted: Mon Jul 18, 2016 7:16 am 
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EdLee wrote:
Quote:
But is the Return on Investment worth it at the 5k level?
Clearly a personal value judgement call, isn't it.
One person's treasure is another's trash, and all that good stuff.

( Is it true that these identical discussions occur ad nauseam in other forums for chess lessons, piano lessons, tennis lessons, etc. ? :) )


They do reoccur all over those places but whether this causes nausea is clearly a personal value judgment call :)

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 Post subject: Re: What do I have to do just to get to 5k?
Post #19 Posted: Mon Jul 18, 2016 9:36 am 
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Fedya wrote:
I do problems, but the problems I do don't look like the positions that show up in my games.

I don't think I've seen this move before, and when confronted with a joseki move I haven't seen before, I tend to struggle figuring out how to respond.



I'm not much stronger than you, so take my advice with a grain of salt, but these two comments together suggest that you may be going about studying in an unproductive manner. Most problem sets at our level are not intended to expose you to patterns that you will see in your games (some systematic treatments of tesuji or life and death are exceptions), but to give you practice with reading. Similarly, studying joseki should expose you to common shapes and a thoughtful evaluation of goal setting more than giving you set patterns to play (though we all fall into that to some extent). If you want to get stronger, you need to welcome those moments when you step outside of known patterns as an opportunity to put your reading, strategic evaluation, and understanding of shape to the test.

This isn't to say that the pattern recognition we gain by doing problems isn't helpful. They do help us recognize a strong shape we can work towards or weaknesses to avoid or exploit. Also, if we understand life and death well, we can settle a group quickly and confidently and avoid letting our opponent attack a weak group and make a large profit. This is one way those life and death problems help us with the proto-groups that don't often show up in the problem books.


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 Post subject: Re: What do I have to do just to get to 5k?
Post #20 Posted: Mon Jul 18, 2016 12:36 pm 
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Hmmm. A lot of you have given me a lot of things to think about. I'll respond to Bill Spight first.

Bill Spight wrote:
A few questions. :)

:b13: Why did you play S-04?


I thought it secured the corner, and gave me a good result after :b15:

Quote:
:b35: Why did you play H-13?


I thought I needed to jump out toward the center from my group, which still doesn't have any eyes after all.

Quote:
:b59: Why did you play Q-17?


I expected white to respond at Q18, followed by R18, P18, S17, which I thought was good for Black. It probably is, which is why White didn't respond that way. :oops:

Quote:
:b75: Why did you play N-15?

:b77: Why did you play O-18?


I didn't notice until after :b77: was on the board that I'd still only have one eye on the side. As for :b75:, it's terrible and I don't know why I didn't play anything better.

Quote:
:b85: Why did you play K-15?

I thought I could get something out of one of the cuts at M16 or M14. It was only after :w88: that I noticed I've got a shortage of liberties in the capturing race at the top.

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