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 Post subject: My Journey to 1Dan... Will I ever get there
Post #1 Posted: Tue Jun 20, 2017 12:34 pm 
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I started playing go in the summer of 2008, after watching the hikaru no go series. Since that was my summer before college, I literally studied go all the time. At the end of the summer I was around KGS 10-11 kyu. After I started college at the University of Michigan, I became a somewhat frequent player in the Ann Arbor go club. Although as a full time college student I could no longer devote a lot of time to go, I was still making incremental progress since there were a lot of strong players/teachers at the club. After one year of playing I was around KGS 7kyu, and after two years KGS 4kyu. However due to school work and due to development of other hobbies/pursuits I completely stopped playing for about five years.

In 2016, after learning that AlphaGo had defeated Fan Hui, I watched the entire AlphaGo vs Lee Sedol series. This event revived my interest in go, and I started to play on KGS again. I was however disappointed to find that I was getting stuck at around KGS 5kyu. There was this 2d player on KGS who would regularly offer even teaching games to DDK and SDK players. He would beat me easily every game, and then make comments like "you have no reading power or global awareness", "you play really slow, and even after a lot of time you still make s*** moves", "you are in the forever 5kyu club".

After the AlphaGo vs Ke Jie games, I have devoted nearly a month to studying go. I have been doing life and death problems, watching pro game reviews on youtube, playing in local club meetings twice a week. In the past two weeks I have easily spent 60+ hours per week to go-related activities. This past week I made an OGS account and played like 20 games in two days. I have been playing to the point that I could no longer sleep well, and I wake up every morning with go positions in my mind. I thought that with this much effort I would improve for sure, but my OGS results proved otherwise.

I am starting to have a lot of doubt in my abilities now. Maybe that 2d teacher is right - maybe I lack the innate visual memory and spatial pattern recognition to play this game at the level of say OGS 1d, KGS 1d, or IGS 1d. I am starting this journal to comment on and to keep track of some of my more memorable games.

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 Post subject: Re: My Journey to 1Dan... Will I ever get there
Post #2 Posted: Tue Jun 20, 2017 12:46 pm 
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I was black in this game.




This is an example of a game where I snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. A huge blunder in the very very end cost me the game. I played tengen on move 2 because I didn't really want to play a handicapped game. Although in the end I thought this tengen allowed me to accomplish a lot. I thought things were going pretty well for me the entire time so I wanted to play safe and cautious... but not cautious enough :sad:


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 Post subject: Re: My Journey to 1Dan... Will I ever get there
Post #3 Posted: Tue Jun 20, 2017 12:58 pm 
Judan

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lowiq60 wrote:
In 2016, after learning that AlphaGo had defeated Fan Hui, I watched the entire AlphaGo vs Lee Sedol series. This event revived my interest in go, and I started to play on KGS again. I was however disappointed to find that I was getting stuck at around KGS 5kyu. There was this 2d player on KGS who would regularly offer even teaching games to DDK and SDK players. He would beat me easily every game, and then make comments like "you have no reading power or global awareness", "you play really slow, and even after a lot of time you still make s*** moves", "you are in the forever 5kyu club"


Once upon a time I was fortunate enough to play in an on stage band at the Santa Fe Opera. I heard the following story backstage. It may be apocryphal, but it is based upon historical fact. :)

A young tenor found himself in the same opera with one of the world's great tenors. He was able to hang out with his hero backstage. One night he was in the great tenor's dressing room just as the great tenor left to go onstage. Before leaving, he picked up a man's photograph on his dressing table and spat on it. Later the young tenor asked him why he had spat on the photo. The great tenor replied, "He was-a my first teacher. He tell me I cannot-a sing."

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 Post subject: Re: My Journey to 1Dan... Will I ever get there
Post #4 Posted: Thu Jun 22, 2017 7:14 am 
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This may be counter-intuitive, but I think your focus on rank is interfering with your progress. There is no shortcut for improvement, and if you get frustrated by how long it's taking you to rank up, that frustration will negatively affect your play. Consider Ryan Li's recent win over Chen Yaoye. If you read the interview with Li (https://www.reddit.com/r/baduk/comments/6imxf4/ryans_interview/), you'll see that he did so well against a top pro because he had already made it further than expected and was very relaxed. He didn't "need" to win to satisfy his own expectations for himself. Consequently, he scored a stunning upset.

My recommendation would be to set aside the goal of winning each game you play, and instead set as your goal to simply learn something new from each game, win or lose. This means reviewing afterwards to study sequences that you were doubtful about and explore variations, or ask someone to review with you.

Things not to do: don't play 20 games in two days (play one or two serious games a day at most), and don't accept teaching games from someone who just takes the opportunity to insult and belittle you. Sounds like someone who is insecure and can only feel good about himself by mocking others.

I think you will not only improve much faster, but sleep better as well, with a different attitude.

PS FYI - It may help to know that most people are at least two stones weaker on OGS than on KGS. KGS 4k will be around 6-7k OGS.

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 Post subject: Re: My Journey to 1Dan... Will I ever get there
Post #5 Posted: Thu Jun 22, 2017 8:05 am 
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lowiq60 wrote:
There was this 2d player on KGS who would regularly offer even teaching games to DDK and SDK players. He would beat me easily every game, and then make comments like "you have no reading power or global awareness", "you play really slow, and even after a lot of time you still make s*** moves", "you are in the forever 5kyu club".


That is not a teacher that is just an a**hole.

I've recently hit a bit of a plateau myself so I can sympathize. Obsessing about results can affect your enjoyment of the game so I've personally just let it go. The results will improve when they improve. In the meantime I can enjoy my games.

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 Post subject: Re: My Journey to 1Dan... Will I ever get there
Post #6 Posted: Thu Jun 22, 2017 2:19 pm 
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About the 2d teacher -- I don't want to judge - perhaps he/she had very good intentions and was just brutally honest. There is something honorable about this person willing to play many even games with players many ranks weaker.

In any case here is another game that I played during those two days. I won the game even though I really should have lost. My opponent (white) played very very aggressively so I was psychologically scared the entire game. I played somewhat aggressively in the beginning and but played passively during the middle game. Both my opponent and I misjudged a life-and-death situation...



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 Post subject: Re: My Journey to 1Dan... Will I ever get there
Post #7 Posted: Thu Jun 22, 2017 5:17 pm 
Judan

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lowiq60 wrote:
I won the game even though I really should have lost.


If your opponents never make mistakes, you are going to lose. You really won the game. :)

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 Post subject: Re: My Journey to 1Dan... Will I ever get there
Post #8 Posted: Thu Jun 22, 2017 7:51 pm 
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lowiq60 wrote:
About the 2d teacher -- I don't want to judge - perhaps he/she had very good intentions and was just brutally honest. There is something honorable about this person willing to play many even games with players many ranks weaker.


Well you're more generous than I am as this is usually called sandbagging :)

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 Post subject: Re: My Journey to 1Dan... Will I ever get there
Post #9 Posted: Fri Jun 23, 2017 11:44 am 
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I thought sandbagging would be 2d playing on a 7k account.

This game bumped me up to 7k on OGS so I will include it in this journal.



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 Post subject: Re: My Journey to 1Dan... Will I ever get there
Post #10 Posted: Fri Jun 23, 2017 8:22 pm 
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I'll add my first two correspondence games played on OGS to the journal. I was black in both games. In the first game I made several huge reading/tesuji mistakes that put me significantly behind. I fought hard to come back but all of my attempts fell short. In the end I think my opponent is just stronger/played a lot better than me. I won the second game but it wasn't nearly as intense.




Second game



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 Post subject: Re: My Journey to 1Dan... Will I ever get there
Post #11 Posted: Wed Jun 28, 2017 11:56 am 
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I will add another correspondence game to the journal. This game is not technically over yet but a very narrow loss for me (by 1-4 points) is all but certain. I am disappointed in the outcome here because at various points of the game I thought I was actually ahead. My current OGS rating is 1495, so a win here would bump me up to 6k.



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 Post subject: Re: My Journey to 1Dan... Will I ever get there
Post #12 Posted: Fri Jun 30, 2017 10:40 pm 
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lowiq60 wrote:
"you are in the forever 5kyu club".


My prediction is you will break out of that faster than your "teacher" will learn manners. :)

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 Post subject: Re: My Journey to 1Dan... Will I ever get there
Post #13 Posted: Sat Jul 01, 2017 12:54 am 
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Hello,
Your teacher has some strange conceptions,for sure there is no special talent needed to become 1 dan.You just need the proper mindset and the proper learning method,first if you want to improve you have to do your best,concentration on finding the best move is really important,also in life death problems,if you do not concetrate its useless,besides should never play blitz(if you want to improve) since its only reinforce your bad habits and its hard to focus in such games,its better to play no game than to play blitz,if you can afford it i advise yunguseng doyang,there are many high quality lectures and a great teacher who is really good at explaining ,and knowledge is extremely important at your level,also in general, your mind should be open for ideas you dont know,never judge a move just because you didnt see it,if you follow these advices and keep studying its quite impossible not to reach 1 dan,of course its not easy,but never doubt and and study hard:).


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 Post subject: Re: My Journey to 1Dan... Will I ever get there
Post #14 Posted: Sun Jul 09, 2017 10:40 am 
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First live game played after a hiatus from go!



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 Post subject: Re: My Journey to 1Dan... Will I ever get there
Post #15 Posted: Sat Jul 15, 2017 7:16 pm 
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I made it to 6kyu on OGS with this win!!!! I cannot believe that three weeks ago I was worried that I was never going to improve again.




Now I want to follow an advice that is often given to beginners: lose 50 games as quickly as possible. My new immediate goal is to lose 100 games before 2018, and have almost all of those losses analyzed in this journal.


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 Post subject: Re: My Journey to 1Dan... Will I ever get there
Post #16 Posted: Fri Jul 21, 2017 9:18 am 
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Loss #1: In this game I followed the proverb and took all 4 corners and made a living center group. Unfortunately I could not get enough territory to win the game. The game was close on the board at the end of middle game, but since I was black I was already losing by komi at the point. After disastrous endgame play from me I was behind by like 17 points when I finally resigned.

In an even game, maybe 4 corner + center strategy works better for white than for black?



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 Post subject: Re: My Journey to 1Dan... Will I ever get there
Post #17 Posted: Fri Jul 21, 2017 2:18 pm 
Judan

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A few comments on the opening. :)



Edit: Added variation.

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 Post subject: Re: My Journey to 1Dan... Will I ever get there
Post #18 Posted: Thu Jul 27, 2017 11:22 am 
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" Extending from live groups is not very big" - These are very enlightening words! I will remember that as a proverb now.

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 Post subject: Re: My Journey to 1Dan... Will I ever get there
Post #19 Posted: Sat Jul 29, 2017 9:04 pm 
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After I wrote my goal of 100 losses, I thought I was going to post losing games to this journal. However, I can't help but add this win to the journal. My opponent started this correspondence game as a 3k but got up to 2k while we were playing. As a result, this is the highest ranked opponent that I have taken down on OGS!!! In addition I got promoted to 5k on OGS! This was probably one of the best games that I have played. It's hard to say how much of this win was skill and how of much of it was me being lucky (There were a few occasions when I didn't/couldn't read and just gambled).

I joined OGS a month and half ago as a self-ranked 10kyu. Since previously I was 4-5 kyu on KGS I expected to win a lot. I was shocked to find that I was getting consecutive losses to 7-9 kyu's - in fact I was so disappointed that I started this journal. There is evidence suggesting that I got a little stronger. Am I getting closer to breaking my KGS teacher's forever 5kyu prediction?



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 Post subject: Re: My Journey to 1Dan... Will I ever get there
Post #20 Posted: Fri Aug 04, 2017 10:08 pm 
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This is a game I played against CrazyStone Level 7 on my laptop. I was black and CrazyStone was white.

I ended up winning the game by 5.5, and it is my first win against CrazyStone at Level 7 without undo. I don't know exactly the strength of the program at level 7, but I do know that two months ago it would beat me every game (although I get wins if I take several undos).

Here is the game - at one point I thought I was significantly ahead but CrazyStone caught up quite a bit in the endgame.



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