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 Post subject: A beginner's journal of little interest
Post #1 Posted: Sun Mar 11, 2012 12:13 am 
Oza

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Not going to be interesting for most to read about the trials and tribulations of someone still trying to get under 20k reliably but as an exercise for myself, here it goes:

Goal: Improvement

Method:

30mins of tsuemgo a day. Current main sources: Graded Go Problems for Beginners Vol. 1 and 321go.org

Preferably at least 2 slow games on KGS a day. Preferably 3+.

Main problem at the moment holding me back:

Playing too fast resulting in tunnel vision and a lack of awareness of the whole situation. This has led to some appalling blunders, losses and near losses.

Solution:

Unsure. Going to try and force myself to take my hand off the mouse after each move and not put it back on until I've decided on my move and read ahead from it and see if that works.

Today: 3 wins, 2 losses.


This game summed up just how far I have to go:



An attempt at analysing the mistakes I can see:

6: Should have been at S3?
12: Again, same mistake.
14: Move that set off the chain of events that lost me the game. Should have been one line higher if I insisted on doing this and even then (and in-game) I wasn't sure what move I should play here. Idea was reduction/wall. Not a move I'll make again though.
26: Idiotic move.
28: The pain of so many weaknesses.
31: This is why this was just a big mistake and I see that now.
42: This should have been at N7
48: Should have saved the wall first if I could.
56: What makes this move worse is that I'd looked at this potential cut 10 moves earlier and realised that it didn't need to be protected.

Game was over at this point, the rest was a formality. Failure to develop any of the top came back to hurt me badly, lesson learned and the loss of the wall just ensured a hefty margin of victory. Most annoying thing was that I was making gote moves for most of the game. I need to fix this, I've no idea where to begin though. Was suffering really badly from local thinking throughout the game too which was probably related. I was doing the standard beginner blunder of loyally following my opponent around the board. So much to fix!


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 Post subject: Re: A beginner's journal of little interest
Post #2 Posted: Sun Mar 11, 2012 2:54 am 
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A few ideas.



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 Post subject: Re: A beginner's journal of little interest
Post #3 Posted: Sun Mar 11, 2012 6:51 am 
Honinbo

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Boidhre wrote:
Not going to be interesting for most to read about the trials and tribulations of someone still trying to get under 20k reliably but as an exercise for myself, here it goes:

Goal: Improvement

Method:

30mins of tsuemgo a day. Current main sources: Graded Go Problems for Beginners Vol. 1 and 321go.org

Preferably at least 2 slow games on KGS a day. Preferably 3+.


So you are talking about 5 hr/day or so?

Quote:
Main problem at the moment holding me back:

Playing too fast resulting in tunnel vision and a lack of awareness of the whole situation. This has led to some appalling blunders, losses and near losses.

Solution:

Unsure. Going to try and force myself to take my hand off the mouse after each move and not put it back on until I've decided on my move and read ahead from it and see if that works.


Playing fast is not necessarily a problem. In fact, a number of good players recommend fast play while starting out. For instance, playing a 19x19 game in 15 min. Ideally, you should repent, err, I mean, review at leisure. Doing so with your opponent is a good idea, even if you are both beginners. :) Even taking 15 min. to play over the game by yourself can reveal errors and questionable plays. See if you can find the worst play, or the game losing play.

As for tunnel vision, I found an easy way to remedy that that worked for me. (Everybody is different, of course.) Before making a move I took a second or two to just relax and look at the whole board. All I did was look. Then it was often obvious that I had been thinking about playing in the wrong part of the board. :)

Bonne chance!

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 Post subject: Re: A beginner's journal of little interest
Post #4 Posted: Sun Mar 11, 2012 8:11 am 
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Bill Spight wrote:
So you are talking about 5 hr/day or so?


Nah, slow games was a misstatement. 30 mins max a side and at my level it's rare for my opponent to use most of the time. Closer to 2 hours max, more likely to be 1.5 and I've about that more time than that to kill at the moment anyway with the way I've been sleeping. I've been considering 10min/side too instead on days when I've less time.

Bill Spight wrote:
Playing fast is not necessarily a problem. In fact, a number of good players recommend fast play while starting out. For instance, playing a 19x19 game in 15 min. Ideally, you should repent, err, I mean, review at leisure. Doing so with your opponent is a good idea, even if you are both beginners. :) Even taking 15 min. to play over the game by yourself can reveal errors and questionable plays. See if you can find the worst play, or the game losing play.

As for tunnel vision, I found an easy way to remedy that that worked for me. (Everybody is different, of course.) Before making a move I took a second or two to just relax and look at the whole board. All I did was look. Then it was often obvious that I had been thinking about playing in the wrong part of the board. :)

Bonne chance!


Thanks for the ideas.

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 Post subject: Re: A beginner's journal of little interest
Post #5 Posted: Sun Mar 11, 2012 11:30 am 
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I'm considering doing my next 10 games or so at 10 mins a side. Thoughts? If I can get used to this speed I can get a lot more games in, so it's appealing in one way. That said, at 25 or 30 minutes a side I have more time to think, though I've read that this can be not such a great help for a beginner.

Oh, and I forgot to mention, going to my local go club is also part of the plan. I was chatting to the head of it on KGS and was rapidly convinced that it was a good idea. :)

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Post #6 Posted: Sun Mar 11, 2012 3:52 pm 
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Some comments. :)


_________________
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At some point, doesn't thinking have to go on?

— Winona Adkins


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 Post subject: Re: A beginner's journal of little interest
Post #7 Posted: Sun Mar 11, 2012 10:31 pm 
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Small update. Reached 19K tonight, my rating is still very, very volatile. Am reading Double Digit Kyu Games from Shell and Slate courtesy of SmartGo Books and finding it very enlightening. It's a set of reviews of various DDK games move by move. Through to level four of Graded Go Problems Vol. 1, again from SmartGo. The occasional problem is challenging. I'm planning on re-reading this and doing reps until the patterns are burned into my brain. I'm going to get Vol. 2 so I've some new problems to work on (and I expect to be seriously challenged by this book!).

Thanks to all for their comments so far.

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 Post subject: Re: A beginner's journal of little interest
Post #8 Posted: Thu Mar 15, 2012 8:33 pm 
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Another small update: Went to go club tonight and had a lot of fun. The people were really friendly and I had a good time there. I'm playing a fair bit of 13x13 at the moment to try and get more games into what time I have to play and to just get more go experience faster. The more I play the more I realise how little I know and understand! Here's an example of one of my better games so far, I'd appreciate being shown where my mistakes were given that I felt I played well and don't really see much that could be improved myself (I'm obviously missing a ton of stuff!). I had to manually create it to remove all comments (SmartGo wouldn't do this for me for some reason, it missed a few) to get rid of a personal chat after the game. It was a teaching game, if this makes a difference? hanen thought it a good idea to get more opinions on the game.



Any thoughts appreciated.

Edit: I should say that I'm very thankful to oren for crushing me over and over on DGS. The losses have been crystalising errors in my play for me.

And oren has kindly pointed out that I was overly defensive and playing too many local "following" moves in that game. :)

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 Post subject: Re: A beginner's journal of little interest
Post #9 Posted: Thu Mar 15, 2012 10:50 pm 
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Boidhre wrote:
The more I play the more I realise how little I know and understand!

The feeling that you only understand very little will not go away. You may arrive at a point when you think that you have grasped the basic concept of the game (probably when you're around 5k), but then you get crushed by a 6d and you will realize again how little you know and understand. :grumpy:

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 Post subject: Re: A beginner's journal of little interest
Post #10 Posted: Thu Mar 15, 2012 11:18 pm 
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karaklis wrote:
Boidhre wrote:
The more I play the more I realise how little I know and understand!

The feeling that you only understand very little will not go away. You may arrive at a point when you think that you have grasped the basic concept of the game (probably when you're around 5k), but then you get crushed by a 6d and you will realize again how little you know and understand. :grumpy:


Yeah, I figured as much from watching a 5d go through a pro game on KGS. I was in awe at the layers of subtlety going on.


So over and over again it comes up in reviews that I'm too passive/defensive (and it's beginning to properly sink in!). Anyone got any tips on how to get over this before the habit becomes ingrained other than attack more speculatively in games and keep failing until I start getting something right?

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Post #11 Posted: Fri Mar 16, 2012 1:35 am 
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Boidhre,
Boidhre wrote:
The more I play the more I realise how little I know and understand!
Excellent. What karaklis said. Actually, this is true for all human understandings.
If you are studying correctly, this feeling should never go away.
Precisely the opposite is true: the more we know, the more we realize how little we know.
Talk to good-level pros, and they often say, "I don't know."
Watch a high-dan or pro game, and kyu kibitzers are often VERY CERTAIN of themselves. :)
Boidhre wrote:
Anyone got any tips on how to get over this before the habit becomes ingrained...?
Bad habits are like weeds -- if unattended, they grow naturally, everywhere, all the time.
This is true not only for bad habits in Go, but also for all other human activities.
The only people, afaik, who have zero bad habits are those lucky enough to study with good-level pros from the very beginning.
Everyone else has bad habits, with no exceptions.
And the longer we study or play Go without a good-level pro, the more bad habits we accumulate.
If we think of the weeds analogy, this makes complete sense.
Bad habits (weeds) are very natural. Zero bad habits (no weeds) is extremely unnatural. :)
So, YMMV. Good luck. :mrgreen:


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Post #12 Posted: Fri Mar 16, 2012 1:52 am 
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EdLee wrote:
Boidhre,
Boidhre wrote:
The more I play the more I realise how little I know and understand!
Excellent. What karaklis said. Actually, this is true for all human understandings.
If you are studying correctly, this feeling should never go away.
Precisely the opposite is true: the more we know, the more we realize how little we know.
Talk to good-level pros, and they often say, "I don't know."
Watch a high-dan or pro game, and kyu kibitzers are often VERY CERTAIN of themselves. :)
Boidhre wrote:
Anyone got any tips on how to get over this before the habit becomes ingrained...?
Bad habits are like weeds -- if unattended, they grow naturally, everywhere, all the time.
This is true not only for bad habits in Go, but also for all other human activities.
The only people, afaik, who have zero bad habits are those lucky enough to study with good-level pros from the very beginning.
Everyone else has bad habits, with no exceptions.
And the longer we study or play Go without a good-level pro, the more bad habits we accumulate.
If we think of the weeds analogy, this makes complete sense.
Bad habits (weeds) are very natural. Zero bad habits (no weeds) is extremely unnatural. :)
So, YMMV. Good luck. :mrgreen:


Thank you for your post, very enlightening. My interest in eradicating my passive approach to the game is that it's a problem for me in many types of games and is an old, old enemy of mine. The more I read about the game the more I realise there are subtleties that I simply am not in a position to grasp yet and these are only the ones I can see never mind the ones I don't even know exist yet! But, this attracts me to the game. I've always loved figuring things out and a game with layer upon layer of knowledge and understanding is appealing to me and always loved those "ah ha!" moments when you reread something and see something new in it. I'm considering taking lessons from an amateur dan, given a reasonable price given my very modest needs at present, I'd appreciate your thoughts on this option.

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Post #13 Posted: Fri Mar 16, 2012 2:22 am 
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Boidhre,
Boidhre wrote:
I'm considering taking lessons from an amateur dan, given a reasonable price given my very modest needs at present, I'd appreciate your thoughts on this option.
Very good question, but unfortunately also very difficult to answer.
Go playing skills are one thing. (Just like math skills, F-1 racing skills, basketball skills, piano skills, etc ...)
Go teaching skills are another thing. :) (Just like teaching math, piano, coaching F-1 racing, basketball, etc... )

As an extreme example,
there are Go kyu people who are very good at teaching raw (30k - 20k) beginners.
There are also pros who have no idea how to teach beginners (but they can teach 4-dan and up much better. :))

We need to have a good eye even when choosing a teacher. YMMV.

Hint: save your lesson (in SGF) from the amateur dan teacher.
Then, show that lesson to a good-level pro. :mrgreen:


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 Post subject: Re: A beginner's journal of little interest
Post #14 Posted: Fri Mar 16, 2012 2:35 am 
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Thanks for the advice EdLee. :)

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Post #15 Posted: Fri Mar 16, 2012 11:39 pm 
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Just to show that I'm a moron who needs to do a lot more L&D tsumego... Plenty of other mistakes too. But hey, live and learn.


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 Post subject: Re: A beginner's journal of little interest
Post #16 Posted: Sat Mar 17, 2012 2:02 am 
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Some thoughts:



Your opening was not bad but you really did some big mistakes afterwards. Maybe you should do some tsumegos at goproblems.com . They helped me a lot when I was DDK.


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Post #17 Posted: Sat Mar 17, 2012 2:04 am 
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A few ideas:



Edit: ninja'd by Celebrir ;-)

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Post #18 Posted: Sat Mar 17, 2012 6:49 am 
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Thank you both for your comments. :)

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Post #19 Posted: Sat Mar 17, 2012 10:35 am 
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I see you played as 17 kyu. This game was too easy for you. You were not really challenged. Yes, you lost it, but only through oversights that you already knew better than to make. Play up to yourself. :)



Edit: Corrected errors. :)

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 Post subject: Re: A beginner's journal of little interest
Post #20 Posted: Sat Mar 17, 2012 1:21 pm 
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Bill, thanks for the detail, loads of stuff to study for me there. :)

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