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 Post subject: Losing my grip on go
Post #1 Posted: Thu Jul 26, 2018 5:13 am 
Oza
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I don't know what is bad about my moves, and I am getting tired of trying and failing to understand why I lose some games and win others. It just seems like luck at this point. I am stuck at kgs 5k, and despite an occasional brief foray into 4k, it feels like I have been stuck there forever, and go is becoming less and less enjoyable. Any cure?

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Post #2 Posted: Thu Jul 26, 2018 6:08 am 
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I was stuck at 5k for years.

The cure.

play lots of games.
review every one of the games.

play only 4-4 yourself
approach 3-4 only low (is the high approach even joseki?)
enter every wacky corner move at 3-3 (yes it works for all wacky moves)
invade 3-3 early every time it is possible (-> you WILL learn some shinogi techniques this way)

read 3 moves deep all the time (you can read more if you like to, but you have to read 3 moves deep)
dont play any "josekis" but look for a possible tenuki every move
(aka consider the whole board at every move)

dont answer your opponent ever, always look for your own move (perhaps it ends up to be the answer to the opponents move as well

play light
surround
play no fancy moves, only efficient haengma (If you think you have to play a fancy move, look for the haengma again, if there is no honte haengma move, consider if you have to resign)

always look if your group has at least 5 liberties before you play tenuki

always consider nobi if hane is not good enough to hold

never defend

always attack

take everything I said with a grain of salt and report if it works, worked out for me :D ;-)

forgot to mention:
play hane at the head of two stones
when in doubt tenuki
there is death in the hane ( works in both ways )
dont play kyu ataris or kyu sentes
dont play unnecessary moves
never ignore a shoulder hit
never pincer (perhaps your good move is a pincer as well. this is allowed sometimes)
pressing 3-4 corner down > answering an approach to 4-4
never play in the middle of the side in the oppening

dont follow proverbs

greed is the road to defeat
attack to save yourself
discard to gain sente
dont stick to your stones
sacrifice

every move you look at a new board

enjoy go
love go
dont play to win
try to win every game = try to win every move (I loose concentration all the time)
have fun
study go
watch go
read go
think go

play go around the clock

have enough sleep
sleep
sleep

play go and stay aware


Last edited by Gomoto on Thu Jul 26, 2018 8:26 am, edited 8 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Losing my grip on go
Post #3 Posted: Thu Jul 26, 2018 6:17 am 
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Do you review your games?
If you review your game afterwards, do you notice the things which you did wrong?

If you hit a plateau and really want to break through, you have to do some work.

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 Post subject: Re: Losing my grip on go
Post #4 Posted: Thu Jul 26, 2018 7:29 am 
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I usually play without thinking to relax when I'm home.

When I go to the club I try to teach the others and to study togheter.

If I go to a tournament I try to study and improve, but I'm usually too lazy to get some results. So I just don't care, to improve or not to improve, that is not the question, just have fun.

Mirco.


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 Post subject: Re: Losing my grip on go
Post #5 Posted: Thu Jul 26, 2018 8:17 am 
Judan

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What about go do you find enjoyable? :)

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 Post subject: Re: Losing my grip on go
Post #6 Posted: Thu Jul 26, 2018 9:02 am 
Oza
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Javaness2 wrote:
Do you review your games?
If you review your game afterwards, do you notice the things which you did wrong?

If you hit a plateau and really want to break through, you have to do some work.
I guess I've stopped reviewing my games. :sad:

The reason why, is that it felt useless.
Often either by searching, using a tool or being told by a stronger player, I would discover something I did wrong, but since my mistake was beyond my reading ability, I couldn't see how to prevent doing it again. Sometimes I would find a basic mistake and while focusing on not doing that in the next games, would invariably find an even stupider way to lose. I didn't seem to be learning any lessons or concepts that I could apply in a game. I guess I just don't know how review right.

I'm sure you are right about doing some work, but it has been years now at 5k. I have put in a lot of effort at times during this period, but still often don't really know enough about what is going on in a game.

Bill Spight wrote:
What about go do you find enjoyable? :)
To tell the truth, not much atm. A good game for me nowadays is when I don't feel like I hate myself afterwards.

Gomoto wrote:
greed is the road to defeat
attack to save yourself
I guess that when I read this sort of thing, I feel a bit inspired, and I do enjoy it when I feel that I have some kind of plan that I can try to implement. My latest was: "Build your own positions first." For a while I was winning a lot following this idea. Then not. Then I started feeling lost again.

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 Post subject: Re: Losing my grip on go
Post #7 Posted: Thu Jul 26, 2018 9:48 am 
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You're a long-timer on this forum, so it's hard for me to say anything that hasn't been said before. I would ask whether you think some of the creative ideas you have tried (spaced repetition, visualization exercises) have helped or not. There is also a difference, I think, between 'helped, but the effects were temporary', 'had no effect' and 'made me worse.' The last category, is, IMO, undervalued.

Along those lines, my best attempt at a newer question would be: is there anything that stronger players have told you to do, which you are afraid to do, because whenever you do, it causes you to lose more games?

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Post #8 Posted: Thu Jul 26, 2018 10:53 am 
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What's wrong with being 5 kyu kgs ?
It's a very good level. It is mine and I am happy with it.

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 Post subject: Re: Losing my grip on go
Post #9 Posted: Thu Jul 26, 2018 10:55 am 
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Maybe it might help if you could find someone to quickly look over a group of games? I’m imagining 5 or so that you think are typical. And rather than a move by move review, the idea would be to look at the broad strokes of the games to see where they think you should focus your effort — direction of play, fuseki issues, shape problems, etc. From what your saying, it sounds like what you really need is some global direction, rather than detailed advice about a single game.

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Post #10 Posted: Thu Jul 26, 2018 11:57 am 
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If you are not playing your best, go has no meaning. If you are striving for your best with every move, that activity in itself has meaning.

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 Post subject: Re: Losing my grip on go
Post #11 Posted: Thu Jul 26, 2018 12:49 pm 
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Especially since you have already tried a lot of things on your own, I am pretty sure that the most effective thing for you right now would be a teacher. This requires time and money, of course. It may even be that you only need a teacher for a little while to get you unstuck and going in the right direction again.

(I personally have had an outstanding experience with AYD, though it requires some real commitment of time and money.)

Quote:
Often either by searching, using a tool or being told by a stronger player, I would discover something I did wrong, but since my mistake was beyond my reading ability, I couldn't see how to prevent doing it again.

I guarantee that you are making a lot of big mistakes for which the necessary reading is one move deep.

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Post #12 Posted: Thu Jul 26, 2018 1:36 pm 
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dfan wrote:
Quote:
Often either by searching, using a tool or being told by a stronger player, I would discover something I did wrong, but since my mistake was beyond my reading ability, I couldn't see how to prevent doing it again.

I guarantee that you are making a lot of big mistakes for which the necessary reading is one move deep.


Worth repeating. :)

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Post #13 Posted: Thu Jul 26, 2018 2:19 pm 
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Quote:
I've stopped reviewing my games. <snip> it felt useless.
<snip> since my mistake was beyond my reading ability,
I couldn't see how to prevent doing it again.
Hi daal, please see PM. :study:

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 Post subject: Re: Losing my grip on go
Post #14 Posted: Thu Jul 26, 2018 3:17 pm 
Oza
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Calvin Clark wrote:
You're a long-timer on this forum, so it's hard for me to say anything that hasn't been said before. I would ask whether you think some of the creative ideas you have tried (spaced repetition, visualization exercises) have helped or not. There is also a difference, I think, between 'helped, but the effects were temporary', 'had no effect' and 'made me worse.' The last category, is, IMO, undervalued.

Along those lines, my best attempt at a newer question would be: is there anything that stronger players have told you to do, which you are afraid to do, because whenever you do, it causes you to lose more games?
I have had a number of interesting ideas, the best I think was called "professional advice" but I didn't stick very long with any of them, so I can't really say if they helped much. What I have stuck to is doing tsumegos, and I can say that it feels like it has helped a wee little bit. As to stronger players, I've been playing more with them recently, but except for occasionally saying I play better than my rank, they haven't told me much that I remember about my play.

Pio2001 wrote:
What's wrong with being 5 kyu kgs ?
It's a very good level. It is mine and I am happy with it.
I agree that there is nothing inherently wrong with 5k, it's just that after playing for several years at this level, I've gotten tired of it. I'd like to have a better grip on the game, but it eludes me.

BlindGroup wrote:
Maybe it might help if you could find someone to quickly look over a group of games? I’m imagining 5 or so that you think are typical. And rather than a move by move review, the idea would be to look at the broad strokes of the games to see where they think you should focus your effort — direction of play, fuseki issues, shape problems, etc. From what your saying, it sounds like what you really need is some global direction, rather than detailed advice about a single game.
Probably a good idea. As it is, I don't have any focus.

dfan wrote:
Especially since you have already tried a lot of things on your own, I am pretty sure that the most effective thing for you right now would be a teacher. ...
I guarantee that you are making a lot of big mistakes for which the necessary reading is one move deep.
Also makes a lot of sense.

Kirby wrote:
If you are not playing your best, go has no meaning. If you are striving for your best with every move, that activity in itself has meaning.
I feel fairly disappointed at what "my best" happens to be.

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 Post subject: Re: Losing my grip on go
Post #15 Posted: Thu Jul 26, 2018 4:44 pm 
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I've recently started running 5k races again after several years of limited running.

Last race, two weeks ago, I really tried hard to run as fast as possible. I almost passed out at the finish line. I was seeing dark spots.

But when I was done, it felt great.

My time? Compared to when I was in high school, it was laughable. In high school, I was in the 17 minute range, but for my most recent race, 23:02. That's 5 or 6 minutes for 5k, which is huge.

I'm kind of disappointed with my current level. I'm in much worse shape than in high school, and I feel I could be faster.

But two weeks ago, I gave a lot to that race. I pushed myself way beyond comfort and stretched my current ability. From that perspective, it feels great.

Yeah, my time sucks. But it's not because I didn't give effort. I'm just not there yet physically.

In go, too, I'm out of shape compared to 3 years ago. My go sucks. But I want to focus enough each game so that, even if my go sucks, it's not because of my effort. I want to push my limits.

To me, that's what gives go meaning to me right now.

People are different, so your mileage may vary...

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Post #16 Posted: Thu Jul 26, 2018 5:29 pm 
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Hi Kirby, Congrats on your renewed efforts.
Quote:
I almost passed out at the finish line. I was seeing dark spots.
Turns out, the human (mind+body) is much stronger and more resilient than many of us usually realize.

Over the past quarter century, I've experienced the dark spots on numerous occasions (due to a particular discipline). One time, I was exercising in "complete darkness" -- the dark spots had engulfed 100% of my vision, and I also had "hummings" in my ears (losing both senses of sight and hearing simultaneously), but I was still standing upright and exercising the next minute or two.

I found out from my direct personal experience and from chatting with trustworthy friends: when we think, when our body tells us, that we're about to pass out, in reality we're only maybe 10% there. (Given decent, average good health conditions). The irony: it's much more difficult to actually pass out than we think; our bodies have evolved to give us way advance warnings. :) Just like our stomachs have evolved to delay the signals of a full stomach until a bit later. :mrgreen:

You were likely about 10% to passing out at the finish line. :twisted:


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 Post subject: Re: Losing my grip on go
Post #17 Posted: Fri Jul 27, 2018 1:23 am 
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daal wrote:
I am stuck at kgs 5k

Kirby wrote:
I've recently started running 5k races again


It took me a few seconds to understand...

@daal: do you also play with longer time settings than KGS (over the board, correspondence games)? Do you still feel the same frustration?

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Post #18 Posted: Fri Jul 27, 2018 3:09 am 
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jlt wrote:
daal wrote:
I am stuck at kgs 5k

Kirby wrote:
I've recently started running 5k races again


It took me a few seconds to understand...
lol

jlt wrote:
@daal: do you also play with longer time settings than KGS (over the board, correspondence games)? Do you still feel the same frustration?


To tell the truth, I have almost stopped playing slow games entirely. My go activity is currently just kgs blitz games. For a while I did this because I found it fun. Lots of action, not so much pain involved in losing and lots of games against stronger players. In the long run though, it is getting boring. It feels like too much luck is involved, and since I don't have the sense that I know what to look for in a review, I rarely do it. I haven't been to a real life go game in years. As to correspondence games, I found the possibility of thinking so long with so little idea about what is right to be exhausting.

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Post #19 Posted: Fri Jul 27, 2018 5:49 am 
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Hi Daal,

It distresses me to see that you're feeling so frustrated.

Since you're using my remark about "keeping Bonzo under control" as your tag line, and because you say that a good game is one after which you don't hate yourself, I wonder if perhaps at the root of your current trouble is an issue with emotions.

I don't believe there are any quick and easy fixes. I would recommend you, though, to watch again the Episode of Hikaru no Go entitled "Isumi no Go" (it's around Ep 64), in which Isumi goes to China. It seems to address this matter very well. If you think of emotions of fear and anxiety as being something coming from the atavistic simian part of one's mind, and go as being something you do with the more evolved, human part, then you have a useful way of looking at it. Isumi is discovers that he can learn see himself from the third person (human keeping Bonzo in its proper place); but he is also warned that it's a skill that needs practise, and that it takes time to master it. If you're feeling anxious when you play, then with practise you can learn to put that anxiety to one side, and gradually get better at enjoying the game. And as you do that, you put yourself into the condition to play better and achieve better results.

This also ties into a quotation from O Rissei that I remember writing out many years ago, in which he says that his results improved because he changed his aim from trying to win to trying instead to play the best move that he could. He said that he could relax and sleep better the night before big games. This was around the time he captured the Kisei title and held it for several years. It also further ties into a remark I read on a chess forum quoted from former World Champion Smyslov. He said that he simply aimed to play 40 good moves. If his opponent made a mistake, then Smyslov would win; if the opponent played well, then it would be a draw; if his opponent played like a genius, then Smyslov would lose, but who can complain about losing when the opponent has played a great game?

That's one side of it, then.

The other is that perhaps you're too focussed on results. I think the answer to that is to ask yourself why, say, a 1k will most often defeat a 5k, or why a 5d will most often defeat a 1k? The answer is not that some people are just better at go than others or that it just destiny or whatever. The real answer is that the stronger player has learned to play to a better standard. And the fortunate thing is that usually progress in one's standard is possible. That usually means going back to basics and putting the whole thing back together again, but with fewer shortcuts and more attention to detail than before.

Game reviews are next to useless unless they're sincere. One very common mistake is to lose a game, then go back and find a single big mistake and say to oneself "if I had not done this, I would have won". I've witnessed defeated opponents of mine do this, and I've made exactly the same mistake myself. Another common mistake is to review the game, but to obsess over every single move, and thereby confuse yourself because you're not really able to figure out the broad trends of the game.

So how to do it? The method I like is to ask the winner if he or she can tell me where I went wrong. And if they won't do that, then perhaps at least try and find some joseki sequences in which you got an unsatisfying result, and then look them up and see if you can improve your play there. Do likewise for life and death. If you have go books - use them for reference while reviewing.

An interesting exercise that I could recommend is that when you lose to a player who strikes you as being a "bully" then you don't only review your game/s with him; look also at what happens in their games with other players. It's easier to be objective, and you might find an insight into why you lost by seeing how other people lost to the same tactics.

I am currently profiting from systematically working my way through a "reading list". I began with Attack and Defence and Life and Death, and I'm now going through Strategic Concepts of Go and Get Strong at Joseki. I play through examples on a real board, and I frequently test myself to make sure that patterns have registered. The essence of playing well is contained in those patterns, in knowing them and knowing how to apply them. The better you know and understand examples of good play, the better you'll be at improvising when you're caught on the hop by something unfamiliar.

I'd be very happy to play with you on KGS and see if I can identify anything that strikes me as a weakness; but I'd highly recommend you find a good teacher. But beware of those "teachers" who play handicap games to win; Sai has some very harsh words to say about the pro whose "teaching game" consisted of ripping his student apart. Test your teacher's attitude and try to determine whether their motivation for teaching is a) to help you b) to make money c) to make themselves look cool. Each of these motivations is less acceptable than the one before it.

I really hope you can get through this little spell of turbulence. You deserve to enjoy go.

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 Post subject: Re: Losing my grip on go
Post #20 Posted: Fri Jul 27, 2018 6:28 am 
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[Disclaimer: impromptu, unofficial review of In-Seong's EYD follows below this line.]

My love of Go was saved by joining In-Seong's Yunguseng Dojang around this time, last year. I was stuck at around KGS 2 kyu at the time and, although I have been playing for a decade, I feel like I only started studying the game, then. (Also, I seem to have slipped to 3 kyu on KGS, now, even though both my EGF ranks and YD-rating have improved in the last year. Curious.)

Somehow, I reached strong-SDK by basically knowing nothing at all. One year ago, my style of play was crude: pretend I know what I'm doing in the opening and then read my way to a cataclysm in the middle game. If my opponent didn't open the door to disaster or neglected to resign in the middle game, I'd just lose. Otherwise, I'd win.

What In-Seong does exceedingly well is this: he will analyse your personal playing style, detect your strengths and weaknesses and teach you to do what you don't do, now, because improving your weakest skill is necessary to improve your strength.

In-Seong has been pressuring me to play properly. Play the slow moves, he says, because even if I lose the game on points by playing too politely or too timidly, those losses (and reviewing those losses) can teach me how to play properly. Winning by middle-game-cataclysm is prone to catastrophe and useless from an educational perspective: to a large extent, I already know how to do it.

At the same time, I have listened to him advising shy players to cut and fight and he often gives qualified advice saying things along the lines of: "If this was wossname's game, I would say this was a good move, but you need to try something else, like..."

The lectures I have attended, live and interactive, or watched recordings of, have also provided new inspiration. They are sometimes fun and sometimes very serious, sometimes exciting and at other times inexorably soporific but, always, they increase my desire to learn more about the game. I think they do this because they frequently emphasise "soft" topics and not simply axiomatic ways to play Go.

In the most recent season, season 21, one of the lectures covered a subjective list of the best professional tesuji of all time -- like the legendary goals of a famous football player. In season 20, we had one on the history and evolution of various conceptual ideas in Go: territory, influence, speed -- amongst others -- and, post AlphaGo, the fact that anything is now possible.

Being a member of a league full of other humans, attending lectures and reviews and Go-camps and meeting those people at European tournaments, adds a whole new dimension to the game as well as being good fun. Most participants are friendly and sociable, even online, and it feels more like a friend group than a typical online community.

Active YD membership is certainly not cheap but, if you can afford to spend that money, it is certainly worth it. (It is also comparable to other sports and hobbies.)

I was still getting stronger, before I joined, and, lacking a control group, I cannot prove that EYD membership has accelerated my rate of improvement. I can claim that I enjoy Go more, today, and for different reasons. I can also hope that my efforts to work on my weakest skill -- playing slowly, peacefully and diplomatically -- will pay off in the long run even if it has hurt my present results a bit.

Today, I am more able to judge my games on how I played rather than their outcomes.


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