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 Post subject: A Study in the Fundamentals
Post #1 Posted: Mon Nov 14, 2016 1:06 pm 
Lives in gote
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So I have an online friend from one of my servers that I used to play a lot when we were both around 10 kyu. However, since then he has progressed significantly faster than me and is now a 2 dan. So I asked him the other day what he thought was biggest and most common kyu-syndrome as its said. I expected him to delve into some deep, complex level of the game that I had yet to attain and start talking about the kinda' stuff you see Kajiwara talk about in 'The Direction of Play.' I actually found his answer surprising: fundamentals, fundamentals, fundamentals. He said that SDKs have a habit of trying to get too fancy when they shouldn't and that most 'bad' moves that he sees in kyu level games aren't the more the complex ones but the simple ones where even a DDK might know what to do. He then gave me a set of problems to solve and I answered them all easily. Afterwards he said "these should have all been no-brainers; if you had to think for a moment on any one of them then you need to revisit the fundamentals." With that in mind, I'd like to do some work on recovering the basics of Go and go back over some things that I may have forgotten or missed the first time through. This is a tedious work though because most the time is spent reading over beginner material that's far too basic so that I can occasionally find something that's helpful. I'll be reporting back here as I find interesting things and wonder if any other players around the same level have some ideas on the subject. And of course, I'd love to hear from stronger players as well.

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 Post subject: Re: A Study in the Fundamentals
Post #2 Posted: Mon Nov 14, 2016 1:50 pm 
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I guess a good thing to start with in studying fundamentals is to pin down what they are. I consider a fundamental concept to be one that doesn't require much (if any) contemplation. When learning to drive a car, one will learn fundamentals such as 'stay in your lane' and 'don't run stop signs'. Now as as someone who knows full well how to drive, how often do you check yourself while driving to make sure you're doing these things? On the contrary, most people can be engaged in conversation, eat food or concentrate on where they're trying to drive to rather than think about such basic, "fundamental" stuff. So in Go, what I'm talking about in studying fundamentals is revisiting those things that I normally don't even contemplate but think the right move is "obvious." In the following diagram, I look at black's last move and immediately understand (so I think) what black is up to and whats going on in the game. This study is an attempt to reopen the hatch on these things and look for places where the right move isn't as obvious as I think. For instance, when I approach a star point stone and my opponent kicks me, I literally always respond with the nobi. However, I recently looked over a game played by Lee Sedol (sorry, couldnt find it again) where Sedol was kicked and played elsewhere so I know that I have a misunderstanding about why it is that we like to nobi in that position and when such things aren't applicable.

Click Here To Show Diagram Code
[go]$$c Black makes a base.
$$ ---------------------------------------
$$ | . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . |
$$ | . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . |
$$ | . . . . . . . . . . . . . X . . . . . |
$$ | . . X , . . . . X , . . . . . X . . . |
$$ | . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . |
$$ | . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . O . . |
$$ | . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . |
$$ | . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . |
$$ | . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . |
$$ | . . . , . . . . . , . . . . . O . . . |
$$ | . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . |
$$ | . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . |
$$ | . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . |
$$ | . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . |
$$ | . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . |
$$ | . . . O . . . . . , . . . . . O . . . |
$$ | . . . . . . . O . X . . # . . . . . . |
$$ | . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . |
$$ | . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . |
$$ ---------------------------------------[/go]

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Thinking like a go player during a game of chess is like bringing a knife to a gun-fight. Thinking like a chess player during a game of go feels like getting knifed while you're holding a gun...

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 Post subject: Re: A Study in the Fundamentals
Post #3 Posted: Mon Nov 14, 2016 1:56 pm 
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Fundamentals, fundamentals, fundamentals. This, as many of my pupils know, I also stress so clearly and occasionaly with precisely these words.

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 Post subject: Re: A Study in the Fundamentals
Post #4 Posted: Mon Nov 14, 2016 4:04 pm 
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One of the main conscious changes in my play when I advanced in chess from what I consider to be around 3k to 1d was to cut way down on the number of moves that I knew violated the fundamentals but which I thought were good anyway for some tricky reason. Those tricky reasons are valid much more rarely than you think.

Once you get into even stronger territory you have to start breaking rules more often, but there's plenty of time for that.

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 Post subject: Re: A Study in the Fundamentals
Post #5 Posted: Tue Nov 15, 2016 1:52 am 
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For what you are talking about, this is probably a good place to start: http://senseis.xmp.net/?BasicInstinct

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 Post subject: Re: A Study in the Fundamentals
Post #6 Posted: Tue Nov 15, 2016 3:15 pm 
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I like to read books for beginners.
I especially liked Learn to Play Go vol 4 and 5 (Janice Kim and Jeong Soo-Hyun), because they are nearly exhaustive. There are some fundamentals that are little taught elsewhere, like some basic shapes to invade moyos, or the cost of playing some ko threats. And there are not too many jôseki to remember. Just the basics.
I also liked First Fundamentals (Robert Jasiek), because unlike many other books, the examples are taken from beginner's games, and we can see them working in a realistic context.

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 Post subject: Re: A Study in the Fundamentals
Post #7 Posted: Fri Nov 18, 2016 4:04 pm 
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I was actually reading a book called "How not to play go"-by Yuan Zhou.It is actually the first book on Go that i am actually reading from start to finish.Most of my time when starting to play go was always online so i learned fast but also didn't learn all the proper fundamentals/don't always play them so i hit a barrier once i hit about 6-8kyu. When reading the book it's a book on a pro reviewing kyu games but what i found interesting while reading it was in the introduction he openly says exactly what your 2dan friend said."Proper play/fundamentals" I was actually appalled when i first read it in the book a couple weeks ago.I had this misinterpretation as well as most kyus that to become a dan you need to know complicated joseki and other next level skills but he was right. As for my opinion on what to do.I agree with you on not wanting to go back and review every single fundamental due to it being tedious. My idea is to play someone of similiar skill level and have a dan review the game. The dan can point out the fundamental mistakes as well as read fundamentals on your own is a much more effective way to increase skill level.

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