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 Post subject: Re: dfan's quest for competence
Post #61 Posted: Tue Apr 02, 2019 6:45 pm 
Gosei

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It's been a while since I checked in here.

My primary go activity continues to be Hwang In-seong's American Yunguseng Dojang; I just finished my sixth three-month season. I really can't recommend it highly enough for people who have the time, energy, and money for it. My day-to-day interest in go has waxed and waned but knowing that every week I will have a serious game reviewed by a top-flight teacher provides a really great baseline of activity and has kept my motivation flowing.

I still watch lectures and do problems from Guo Juan's Internet Go School. There's a ton of excellent content and the spaced repetition system is great. One small issue is that her recommendations, in joseki for example, sometimes conflict with In-seong's (he tends to be more on the cutting edge of theory), but I can generally handle the differences.

I also have my own spaced repetition database in Anki, which right now consists chiefly of flashcards of mistakes in my AYD games and Essential Life and Death (I think these problems are particularly well suited to spaced repetition; they tend to be more about techniques and patterns than reading).

Meanwhile my tsumego/tesuji practice has been going through these Chinese books (going through the 1d ones now) and "Speed Baduk" 13-15. The books have gotten harder so I've slowed down. I've been thinking of backing up and getting more of a running start.

I definitely feel like my competence has increased over the last year. According to my AYD results my strength is now about 2k and that fits with the friendly games that I've played with local friends. But of course that's not the same as real tournament play. I did play in one AGA tournament since the Go Congress; I entered as a 3k and went 3-1, beating two 4ks and a 2k and losing to 1k (by half a point!), all in even games, which was enough to boost my AGA rating to 3k, so that's what I plan to play at in this year's Go Congress. I hope I'll see some folks from here there, especially ones that weren't able to make it last year.


This post by dfan was liked by 3 people: BlindGroup, Elom, yakcyll
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 Post subject: Re: dfan's quest for competence
Post #62 Posted: Tue Aug 06, 2019 7:00 am 
Gosei

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I didn't do a Go Congress diary this year but a lot of my experience can be found in Kirby's journal! It was very nice to meet him and others, especially since most of the crew I came with the previous year wasn't present this time, for various reasons. I did my best to overcome my usual introversion and was very happy to hear Kirby tell me "You seem pretty social, for a go player." :)

I went 3-3 in the tournament, which I suppose means that I met expectations, but I was planning to beat expectations so it felt like a bad result. But that's okay. One thing I have learned is that if I want to increase my rank, it's not enough to play evenly with 2ks, I also have to be able to crush 4ks. I did get all my games reviewed and learned some good lessons from them.

Another conclusion I have come to (I've probably made it here already if I look in the history!) is that the biggest thing holding me back is not my knowledge but my reading and practical decision-making. The most important things I can do to improve is not to study or learn more but to play more (always my weak point) and do tsumego to improve my reading. Although I made all sorts of mistakes in my Congress games, they were often due implicitly to my reading, because I wasn't willing to go for the sharpest (but best) line or even just because I used up lots of time early in the game painstakingly reading things out and then made suboptimal moves in byo-yomi. So I'm trying to play more online and diligently do tsumego, especially problems that really require precise reading rather than mostly recognizing and confirming patterns.

As a result of playing more online, I just reached 1d on Fox, having recognized that the most important thing one can do to achieve 1d is to choose the right server to do it on. :) I realize that it's not close to the same thing as an AGA or KGS 1d rank, but it's still nice to see it on the screen. It's also kind of nice that players there tend to be big fighters and not play the regular moves in the opening that I'm used to from AYD, so I'm thrown on my own resources more.


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 Post subject: Re: dfan's quest for competence
Post #63 Posted: Tue Aug 06, 2019 8:19 am 
Lives with ko

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I found that getting from around 4k to 1k on KGS was exactly what you mentioned--being more practical. I often ask myself, "do I need to take this fight? Or can I just play simply and win in endgame?". Winning against a weaker player isn't about crushing them, through the moves you play, but rather crushing them by allowing them to make mistakes. What I am trying to say is: play patiently and capitalize on the errors of the weaker player, rather than trying to overplay. I look at getting stronger as making less huge errors in a game. So a 4k might make 5 large mistakes in a game. To get to 1D maybe you make only 2 large mistakes per game.

Congratulations on Fox 1d. I play on Tygem so I can see the 2D, even though I play at 1K on KGS. :)


Last edited by Hades12 on Tue Aug 06, 2019 10:36 am, edited 1 time in total.
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 Post subject: Re: dfan's quest for competence
Post #64 Posted: Tue Aug 06, 2019 10:33 am 
Honinbo

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dfan wrote:
I used up lots of time early in the game painstakingly reading things out and then made suboptimal moves in byo-yomi.


Hmmm. My experience was the opposite. Early reading enabled me to play quickly later on, because when play resumed in a region of the board I already understood it fairly well. :) How soon do you go into byoyomi?

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 Post subject: Re: dfan's quest for competence
Post #65 Posted: Tue Aug 06, 2019 10:40 am 
Gosei

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Bill Spight wrote:
dfan wrote:
I used up lots of time early in the game painstakingly reading things out and then made suboptimal moves in byo-yomi.

Hmmm. My experience was the opposite. Early reading enabled me to play quickly later on, because when play resumed in a region of the board I already understood it fairly well. :) How soon do you go into byoyomi?

Like, what stage of the game? Except for one game where I spent a ton of time ensuring I could kill a big dragon because the outcome was clear after that, I generally hit byo-yomi in the early endgame. It still would have been nice not to hit it at all, and I lost one game due to a shortage-of-liberties situation coming up that I didn't have time to read accurately. (Yes, of course I should have seen it coming.)

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 Post subject: Re: dfan's quest for competence
Post #66 Posted: Tue Aug 06, 2019 11:14 am 
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dfan wrote:
Bill Spight wrote:
dfan wrote:
I used up lots of time early in the game painstakingly reading things out and then made suboptimal moves in byo-yomi.

Hmmm. My experience was the opposite. Early reading enabled me to play quickly later on, because when play resumed in a region of the board I already understood it fairly well. :) How soon do you go into byoyomi?

Like, what stage of the game? Except for one game where I spent a ton of time ensuring I could kill a big dragon because the outcome was clear after that, I generally hit byo-yomi in the early endgame.


I thought you might hit byoyomi earlier. A lot of people are used to relatively short main time. That's common online, I think. :)

Well, everybody's different. :)

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 Post subject: Re: dfan's quest for competence
Post #67 Posted: Tue Aug 06, 2019 11:23 am 
Gosei

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The US Open time control is 90 minutes plus 5 periods of 30 seconds. I hit byo-yomi in every game, and only one of my opponents did; in fact, most of them used fewer than 30 minutes for the whole game. It made me feel a little silly to be sitting there thinking for so long, but they gave me the time, I'm going to use it! Coming from the chess world I'm used to having 90+ minutes to play all my moves.

One thing I do need to improve at is concentrating at the end of the game and continuing to look at opportunities for both sides over the whole board. In a chess game, usually by the time you've gotten to the end of the game, there is just one narrative thread going on, but it's quite the opposite in go. That damezumari game I lost might have gone differently if I had looked more carefully at that area during the preceding play.

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 Post subject: Re: dfan's quest for competence
Post #68 Posted: Tue Aug 06, 2019 12:07 pm 
Honinbo

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I did somewhat poorly this year in managing my time. One thing that caused me problems, I think, was that I was a bit antsy. Since I was nervous, I made several trips to the restroom, and got up often to get a refill on water or coffee, even if I still had some. In one game, I even went down to the cafe and bought a coffee while on the clock.

I rationalized this by telling myself that I was helping myself to calm down. But in reality, I think I was wasting time.

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 Post subject: Re: dfan's quest for competence
Post #69 Posted: Tue Aug 06, 2019 1:08 pm 
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dfan wrote:
In a chess game, usually by the time you've gotten to the end of the game, there is just one narrative thread going on, but it's quite the opposite in go.


Interesting point. :)

One thing that struck me in the write-up by the Elf team is that they pointed out that Elf started off by getting good at the endgame. That makes sense, because with self play it did not have any opponent who played the opening or middle game well to imitate, unlike humans. However, that was still a surprise, since the endgame is typically the worst phase of the game for bots. And while Elf avoids mistakes of weaker bots in the endgame, it still makes strange suggestions in review.

Elf, and other bots, do not take advantage of the fact that go endgames break up into a number of independent games, each of which can be analyzed separately. Even when the games are not independent, often when you read them out, at some point they break up into independent regions. The main problem for humans, then, is when to switch between independent regions. Play evaluation helps a lot, but only provides a heuristic. Bots use whole board evaluation, and, as a result, get good at switching between local regions of play, even when they do not know best play in each region.

If a human player has analyzed a number of different regions of the board before entering byoymomi in the endgame, that player will be pretty surefooted in the endgame, unless a ko breaks out, which perforce is a whole board contest, or if the opponent plays tenuki enough to reach some unfamiliar local positions.

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 Post subject: Re: dfan's quest for competence
Post #70 Posted: Tue Aug 06, 2019 1:14 pm 
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Kirby wrote:
I did somewhat poorly this year in managing my time. One thing that caused me problems, I think, was that I was a bit antsy. Since I was nervous, I made several trips to the restroom, and got up often to get a refill on water or coffee, even if I still had some. In one game, I even went down to the cafe and bought a coffee while on the clock.

I rationalized this by telling myself that I was helping myself to calm down. But in reality, I think I was wasting time.


Chess GM Ben Finegold ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u0ai_3hqZ60&frags=wn ) tells of a game in which David Bronstein, in his later years, took 15 minutes on his first move, and later lost on time in a superior position. Finegold, who was in the same tournament, asked Bronstein why he had taken so long to play his first move. Bronstein replied, "I was calming down." :)

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The Adkins Principle:

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

— Winona Adkins

I think it's a great idea to talk during sex, as long as it's about snooker.

— Steve Davis


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 Post subject: Re: dfan's quest for competence
Post #71 Posted: Wed Aug 07, 2019 8:13 am 
Lives with ko

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I had a friend who would do this in long online tournament matches. Say he had 45 minutes thinking time. He would go to the store and buy food. But he said he would do it to psych out his opponents. He would often leave in complex positions.

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