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 Post subject: Growing stronger feels really good
Post #1 Posted: Mon Oct 28, 2019 10:57 am 
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It's a lot of work to study and improve at Go. We put in hours and hours, working problems, replaying games, watching lectures, watching games, listening to commentary, reading books, and playing and playing and playing. Because the rules of the game are so simple, the game is really "transparent" in a way. The strength of your ideas, your mind, IS your strength on the board; there's no luck, no "execution skill" or reflexes like in fighting games.

So it just makes it all the sweeter when you can see and feel yourself getting better at the game! :D

We had our local club meeting this past Saturday, and I played two games against someone who kicked my butt all over the board a few months ago. I offered a handicap game, saying he was stronger than me, but he said "I'm not so sure about that..." and said we should play even.

I took Black, and proceeded to play like an actual Go player. My ideas were on point, my moves were sharp, and I wasn't afraid of the right moves. I dove in under star points, I crosscut, I listened to the stones and they spoke to me. After the opening, I saw he was building influence along the top and I played to reduce it, and when my opponent saw he wasn't going to be able to get what he wanted, he put his stone back in the bowl.

I've never been able to make him stop and think before. This time, he said, "Oh, hang on... hmm." He sat and thought for nearly a full minute! That's a win in my book. :cool:

I ended up making an overplay invading too deep along one side, and it tore my center to shreds. Lost by less than 20 points, even so. It was very close, and we had a lot of great chit-chat during the game, sort of half-reviewing half-trash-talking as we went, very respectful though.

Then we played on 13x13 and I beat him handily at close-range combat. :rambo:

Our club has 8 people now, 4 of whom are raw beginners, and it was so nice to see everyone playing together having fun. I was able to offer some advice to some of our fresh-faced 30kyus and enjoy my coffee watching so much Go.

Anyway, life is good, Go is good!

Do you have a game like this that sticks with you? When everything started to click and you felt powerful?

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 Post subject: Re: Growing stronger feels really good
Post #2 Posted: Mon Oct 28, 2019 12:59 pm 
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My first win against a KGS 1-dan felt really good. Then I looked at it a couple of years later and a lot of moves really felt aweful.

Beating a KGS 2-dan a while ago felt also really good, then in the review it became clear that - again - I pretty much lucked out. He is still a 2-dan. I'm still 1-kyu on KGS : D

In general I like games where my opponent thinks he got away with everything but loses on points : D

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 Post subject: Re: Growing stronger feels really good
Post #3 Posted: Mon Oct 28, 2019 2:09 pm 
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SoDesuNe wrote:
My first win against a KGS 1-dan felt really good. Then I looked at it a couple of years later and a lot of moves really felt aweful.

Beating a KGS 2-dan a while ago felt also really good, then in the review it became clear that - again - I pretty much lucked out. He is still a 2-dan. I'm still 1-kyu on KGS : D


Hey, a win is a win, right? If we can learn from it, so much the better.

SoDesuNe wrote:
In general I like games where my opponent thinks he got away with everything but loses on points : D


Sneaky sneaky, I like it. :)

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 Post subject: Re: Growing stronger feels really good
Post #4 Posted: Fri Nov 08, 2019 10:20 pm 
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SoDesuNe wrote:
My first win against a KGS 1-dan felt really good. Then I looked at it a couple of years later and a lot of moves really felt aweful.

Beating a KGS 2-dan a while ago felt also really good, then in the review it became clear that - again - I pretty much lucked out. He is still a 2-dan. I'm still 1-kyu on KGS : D

In general I like games where my opponent thinks he got away with everything but loses on points : D


I pretty much find that every single game that I play is based on "luck". When I run an AI analysis, there is at least 1 occurrence where the win percentage fluctuate heavily from one side to the other. Major mistakes are unknowingly committed and opportunities are missed but both sides in amateur matches, since we are incapable for playing perfect matches. Perhaps gaining control over what we consider "luck" is what real skill is about in Go.

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 Post subject: Re: Growing stronger feels really good
Post #5 Posted: Sat Nov 09, 2019 8:18 am 
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I think I know what you mean, but I don't refer to luck in go as the general ability to play the best move (or to be more conrete the opponent's failure to play it). For me it's more a situational component like the state of mind of your opponent.

Look at this wingraph:

Image


White had a clearly won game. Then over many moves, White "chose" to let me get a ko. White could have backed up at every turn and still win the game. The ko - in itself - was not game-deciding, too. But as we exchanged threats - of which I had many due to a dead but still twitching group - I managed to save this group. In the game White could still win, because I was fine with living on my own and didn't want to start a humongous semai (I don't count and thought the game was at least even now - this would have been my opponent's luck then ; )). But lucky for me, White tenukid and didn't see that I could cut his group with my now living stones. White only had one eye.

Those situations I call luck.

At every turn my opponent was without doubt able enough to play better moves but somehow I got through with my shenanigans.

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Post #6 Posted: Sat Nov 09, 2019 9:11 am 
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You win a game because you make 1.) less mistakes, 2.) smaller mistakes or 3.) your opponent makes the last mistake. ;-)

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 Post subject: Re: Growing stronger feels really good
Post #7 Posted: Sat Nov 09, 2019 12:45 pm 
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Personally I feel like winrate percentages and graphing kinda sucks the fun out of the game, but whatever floats your boat.

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Post #8 Posted: Sat Nov 09, 2019 1:37 pm 
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Applebaps wrote:
Personally I feel like winrate percentages and graphing kinda sucks the fun out of the game, but whatever floats your boat.


That's okay of course!

Since I often tend to "feel" my way around a lot of positions I like the "greater clarity" LZ offers with its win-percentages. I still like to improve, so even if I feel good about a position I like to know if that's actually the case from a stronger player's point of view.

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 Post subject: Re: Growing stronger feels really good
Post #9 Posted: Sat Nov 09, 2019 10:43 pm 
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Applebaps wrote:
Personally I feel like winrate percentages and graphing kinda sucks the fun out of the game, but whatever floats your boat.


I think it's fine if you want to do hard analysis using robots.

Liking graphs and percentages is not really the point though. The point is that objectively speaking, there are mistakes being made by both parties at lower levels that could swing the outcome of the game constantly, and people often consider this phenomenon as "luck".

You don't need to look at graphs to see this.

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 Post subject: Re: Growing stronger feels really good
Post #10 Posted: Sun Nov 10, 2019 2:59 pm 
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Applebaps wrote:
Personally I feel like winrate percentages and graphing kinda sucks the fun out of the game, but whatever floats your boat.

When I was first learning go, I had a flatmate who was a stronger player. So I could study something, get myself all confused, and then say "hey, what do you think of this?"

Nowadays I'm the only go player in my household. The winrates and graphs are my easiest way of saying "what do you think of this?" without having to leave the house. Not as sociable, but more accurate -- got to take those silver linings where you find them!


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 Post subject: Re: Growing stronger feels really good
Post #11 Posted: Mon Nov 11, 2019 10:12 am 
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That's a fair point, actually.

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 Post subject: Re: Growing stronger feels really good
Post #12 Posted: Wed Dec 04, 2019 11:01 am 
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At last weekend's meeting of our local Go club, I finally beat the guy I've been training to beat for so long. He has a style that revolves around jealousy and bullying you everywhere on the board. If you leave any diagonal, he'll cut you without reading it out. If you build any influence, he'll jump into it and try to erase it.

It's not a style I imagine many of you have trouble with, but I had a 0% winrate against him for years. He was the primary reason I started wanting to get stronger in the first place, and studied so hard. Because I wanted to kick his ass and turn him away from the dark side!

This last weekend, I did it. In fact, I'd blown so far past him that I was shocked at myself. I could see through everything he was trying to do, could read out fights and come out on top.

I played sanrensei to trap him into invading, knowing I wouldn't be aiming for a large moyo but instead was just taunting him into attacking. He took the bait, and tried to drag me into the mud as usual, jumping immediately into my 3-3 and then trying to "pincer" the wall he made me build. But I surrounded and surrounded, held fast, stayed solid, pressured his thinness, kept him cut off, and in the end he gave me so many stones with failed invasions and dead groups that I don't think he had any points at all.

I smiled, shook his hand, thanked him for the game, then when I went outside I jumped into the air and pumped my fists and went "YES!"

Dragon slain. :rambo: I did it. Maybe now he'll start actually studying, and take some of the pressure off of our newer members too!

I feel really good. It's starting to feel more and more like my club's cofounder, a 1kyu, might be coming closer to being within my reach. I think he's my next goal.

edit: This was our board at the end. I was Black, victory was by resignation.

Attachment:
index.jpg
index.jpg [ 70.09 KiB | Viewed 1328 times ]


There are a few things I would have changed. If I'd gotten in a corner enclosure in the lower right earlier on, I could have maybe made the center invasion go a little easier. But it was already not a problem, really, and I was so busy making sure I was alive in the upper left that I didn't have time to go back and fix. I knew the kind of opponent I was up against, though, and I got him so I can't complain too much.

On the other hand, if White had focused on building, my strategy would not have worked and the game would have been much closer, prompting me to invade. But I knew going into this that that wouldn't be necessary against this guy.

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Post #13 Posted: Wed Dec 04, 2019 11:47 am 
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Are you sure you were winning? Can White kill the J1 group?


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Post #14 Posted: Wed Dec 04, 2019 12:25 pm 
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My analysis : It's seki, and white has a couple more points than black (assuming 7.5 komi)

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Post #15 Posted: Wed Dec 04, 2019 12:32 pm 
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If White plays K1, how does Black live in seki?


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Post #16 Posted: Wed Dec 04, 2019 12:34 pm 
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K1 kills black, I think. BUT if white resigned, then she's winning ;-)


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Post #17 Posted: Wed Dec 04, 2019 12:41 pm 
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Yeah I dunno guys, this was a pretty decisive victory in terms of my opponent's psychology. He didn't see any trick moves to magically kill me. I spent the entire game surrounding him, squeezing him out, and crushing him over and over. He's not gonna pull out the W at that point.

The full story there is that shortly before he resigned, W was trying to revive his dead group in the upper right by breaking through with his center group. He had no eyes and thought his victory hinged on breaking through, so I prevented him from doing that and he resigned.

But I'll take it under advisement, fwiw.

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Post #18 Posted: Wed Dec 04, 2019 3:31 pm 
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If White plays 11-1 then Black plays 13-1.

The situation is then one where neither has an eye. There are 4 mutual liberties. White has 4 outside liberties, 2 on the second line and two in the centre. The mutual liberties count for the defender in a no eye - no eye fight. So it's seki.

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Post #19 Posted: Wed Dec 04, 2019 5:41 pm 
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Quote:
But I'll take it under advisement, fwiw.
It seems both sides missed the status, and White was actually ahead ( based on thread replies ).

With T19 as top right 1-1... J1 is a white stone, and K1 is a black stone
( skipping i-column in coordinates; therefore "11-1" and "13-1" were used in a reply. )

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Post #20 Posted: Wed Dec 04, 2019 8:26 pm 
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Sorry, I forgot that the I-column doesn't exist, I indeed meant that White plays 11-1. If Black replies with 13-1 then from top to bottom, White has seven dame a, b, c, d, e, f, g.

b, d, e, f are shared.
a, c, g are own.
Black doesn't have own liberties.

After White b, Black a, White d, Black c, White e, Black is in atari and White still has two dame f and g so Black is dead? Am I hallucinating?

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