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 Post subject: Getting worse after learning more?
Post #1 Posted: Sun Sep 02, 2012 8:52 pm 
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ok so to start off and let people know where im coming from i learned about go roughly 3 years ago i was very interested and soon began to play online i felt i was making steady large strides to becoming a better player but things came up and i had to put it aside completely during the process, about a month ago i came back to the game with the same passion as i left and even jumped into getting some books to help me out i purchased the complete "learn to play go series" and have read then 2-3 times but i feel im not improving much im stuck around the 11k mark on kgs but before i left i could compete against many stronger opponents before i was not a very territory orientated player i would make some stable groups and viciously attack my opponent and out read the situation and usually win by resignation but now after coming back to the game i have a much better grasp on opening theory and some joseki and i tend to avoid fights and try to simplify the game but i dont really read in my games as much its not like i try but just a part of me says you should play here its "textbook" and i end up in very difficult positions what do you think would help me out of this rut i seem to be in?

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 Post subject: Re: Getting worse after learning more?
Post #2 Posted: Sun Sep 02, 2012 9:37 pm 
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It sounds like you may just be rusty. Am I understanding correctly that you quit for three years or so? How many games have you played since you returned to go?

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 Post subject: Re: Getting worse after learning more?
Post #3 Posted: Sun Sep 02, 2012 10:09 pm 
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1) Play also real world games if you can.

2) Practice reading with books such as Graded Go Problems 1 + 2. Do not look at the answers until you will have discovered the solutions by reading.

3) Possibly play more games.

4) Since the Learn to Play book series keeps your rank improvement limited, it is possible that you need another style of go books. You might try First Fundamentals, Lessons in the Fundamentals (said to be too difficult for your level, but then you can read it again later), In the Beginning or Second Book of Go (might be too easy for you, but, if not, then you find necessary basic information).

5) Get a teacher if you can and want to afford it. Let him review a few of your games and play against him. He should be able to tell you your weaknesses.

6) If all this does not help within 3 months and you would have taken the wrong teacher, then fundamentally reconsider your learning style (e.g., have you considered to learn from your own games and their mistakes?) and maybe your psychologic weakness if any. If even that does not help, then maybe your brain does not welcome the kind of thinking required for abstract games? OTOH, if, in principle, you can read 7 moves deep and consider branch variations, then you should have a chance to improve.

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 Post subject: Re: Getting worse after learning more?
Post #4 Posted: Sun Sep 02, 2012 10:57 pm 
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Well here's your problem.

merik wrote:
after coming back to the game [...] i tend to avoid fights and try to simplify the game but i dont really read in my games as much


Don't avoid fights. If you're ahead, play solid, if you're behind, take some risks to make a big enough gain to win. If you're unsure... Well, in that case, my policy is to take the risk (it's a game, and the risk is part of what makes the game fun, imo).

If you're not reading, don't complain when you lose. :P

merik wrote:
a part of me says you should play here its "textbook" and i end up in very difficult positions


You're not playing against the textbook; you're playing against a person, who will see the board from their own perspective, and try to steer the game along towards their own goals. Never assume they'll play the way you want them too (or even the way that is "best").

That said, it's not uncommon to go on a losing streak or lose rank when incorporating new ideas. You have to give it time to really figure out what works and what doesn't. I don't know about rank you were before your hiatus, but if you only lost a couple stones, that's really not bad. After one of my lengthy sojourns, I had lost ~4 stones strength, and it took the better part of a year to get back to where I was. On the upside, that momentum helped get me past the rank I had previously been stuck at. :)


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 Post subject: Re: Getting worse after learning more?
Post #5 Posted: Mon Sep 03, 2012 3:02 pm 
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I've just returned from a long break too, and the first thing I did was play lots of games and experiment with anything that seemed like it might work. I think this is really the only way to re-awaken your old playing abitlity (with all it's faults), and it's also a lot of fun.

Quote:
before i was not a very territory orientated player i would make some stable groups and viciously attack my opponent and out read the situation and usually win by resignation but now after coming back to the game i have a much better grasp on opening theory and some joseki and i tend to avoid fights and try to simplify the game


So you've completely changed your playing style? Even if you hadn't taken a break I would expect a drop in strength from doing that. It may be better in the long run, but in the short term you can't reasonably expect to be as good at playing in a style your not used to.

Quote:
a part of me says you should play here its "textbook" and i end up in very difficult positions


This sounds like you're trying to play the same way in every game because that's how the book tells you to play, and I think it's the reason you're not improving. You can't play better without playing differently, so try experimenting a bit. That doesn't mean you need to stop trying to apply what you learned in your study, but it's not enough to know what the correct move is, you also need to know why it is the correct move. Otherwise how will you know how to follow up on it (or punish an opponent for not playing it). It's also very likely you'll find yourself missaplying the theories you've learned and end up playing a move that is just bad. I think that to understand why a textbook move is correct you need to experiment with other moves as well, so that you can compare the diffences.

Obviously I don't know whether you do or don't understand the textbook moves, but I feel like if you did understand them you would be thinking something more like "this move works well with my stone on the left side", rather than "this is what the book reccommends".

Quote:
i end up in very difficult positions


Do you see these positions coming? If you don't, then review you games and see how you could have avoided it. If you do, then stop playing moves that you know lead to bad situations unless you're trying to experiment with a diferent follow-up. Something I also try to do (but rarely manage) is look for opportunities to force my opponents in to the situations that I am finding particularly difficult. In my imaginary dream world, where everything goes the way I want it to, learning to do this has the following effects:

1) You start winning against people who don't know how to deal with it.
-This may mean you've gotten stronger.
2) They may show you how to avoid the situation.
-This will show you how to improve further.
3) They may also show you how to deal with the difficult situation.
-This will show you how to improve even more.

This is learning from your opponent at it's best, and you end up transcending the problem and moving on to something more advanced. (Ideally)

...

I intended this to be a short post, since I'm clearly no authority on the subject, but I seem to have written quite a lot. I guess it doesn't really matter as long as it's clear that these are just my thoughts and I have no basis for them beyond my own experiences. I just thought they might be worth considering. :scratch:


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 Post subject: Re: Getting worse after learning more?
Post #6 Posted: Tue Sep 04, 2012 12:42 pm 
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As someone close to your rank, a lot of us just getting into the sdk range, say 13-9k, aren't great fighters. So, if you start a fight, even one you "should" lose, you have a good shot at winning it if you're good at fighting. I'm still not great at fighting, but I've been working quite hard on getting better at it and have had some improvement. You might still beat me if you start every fight you possibly can, even though you "shouldn't", but the days I lose to that kind of play are now numbered. At some point, you have to learn, not that you shouldn't fight, but when you should fight and when you should play sabaki, or make a moyo, or reduce lightly instead of fighting hard. As someone who is just starting to do more fighting, I'm learning the same thing: to fight when things are urgent, and to play big when a fight would just be a tempest in a teapot.

[Oops: sorry for accidentally pinging people with this reply as a new topic before I fixed it]

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 Post subject: Re: Getting worse after learning more?
Post #7 Posted: Tue Sep 04, 2012 5:13 pm 
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it is very common for someone to experience not improving.
but..i have a theory that will encourage you.

that phase you are going through is an improving phase.
when you improve on go..you dont necessary play better.
but it means that you will improve soon.

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 Post subject: Re: Getting worse after learning more?
Post #8 Posted: Wed Sep 05, 2012 5:32 am 
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Magicwand wrote:
that phase you are going through is an improving phase.

Cool. I've been in an improving phase for more than two years now :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: Getting worse after learning more?
Post #9 Posted: Wed Sep 05, 2012 10:56 am 
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karaklis wrote:
Magicwand wrote:
that phase you are going through is an improving phase.

Cool. I've been in an improving phase for more than two years now :lol:



Wow, when you finally break through and show rank improvement, you will be 7Dan!

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 Post subject: Re: Getting worse after learning more?
Post #10 Posted: Thu Sep 06, 2012 4:40 pm 
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I think MagicWand is absolutely right. When you learn a lot of new things, it can take ages for your mind to sort through them and make sense of them. I seem to have been stalled at 1k for too long now, but occasionally things suddenly fit together and I realise that they will do so more and more over time.

The only answer is persistence. Keep trying and eventually the bigger picture will become clearer for you. Sorry if this doesn`t make it any less frustrating! At least now you know you`re not alone.

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 Post subject: Re: Getting worse after learning more?
Post #11 Posted: Thu Oct 04, 2012 5:10 am 
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thank you everybody for all of your help it actually helped more then you would know sorry for the long reply time i have been really caught up in real life so i haven't had much free time to do this all my free time is thrown into kgs to play i finally managed to bust past 11k and 10k im now sitting as a healthy 9k on kgs and aiming for shodan! XD XD XD thank you again for all of your advice it helped a ton


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 Post subject: Re: Getting worse after learning more?
Post #12 Posted: Wed Oct 10, 2012 7:12 am 
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Here are a few free GREAT lectures from Inseong 7d EGF. From what I read, the topic of these lectures and what you were struggling with is roughly the same and It'll probably shoot you up a few stones if I'm right :)


http://www.yunguseng.com/lectures.html

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