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 Post subject: Tapani's journal
Post #1 Posted: Sun Sep 03, 2017 6:54 am 
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Posting this because today because I want to tell the world about my big day in my go progress. Today Hit TWO major go milestones in a single day.

The first one is to rank up to 8k on IGS.

Hence I now proclaim myself an SDK.

This has been my criteria for SDK a long time, and instead of setting 9 kyu as the target, I wanted to have stone's worth of error margin.

Since I felt I was in good shape, reading flowed effortlessly and board vision was quite clear - I went to the local go salon to try my luck. Usually I get butchered there by the nasty old men. And there the second milestone happened -

I beat a 1 dan in an even game!

We played many games, and I lost several games, but I did win one (by resignation, and as white).

It must be admitted that the elderly gentleman I beat might be past his prime ... but go ratings are for life. Also it might be that local amateur ratings are a little inflated compared to IGS ratings.


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Post #2 Posted: Tue Oct 10, 2017 12:03 am 
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About ten minutes walk from my home there is a Go club. It is pretty much like the Go bangs depicted in Hikaru no Go. The players there are mostly retirees, hanging out at there virtually every day. My guess is that their strength is strong SDK to low dan level.
Sometimes I go there to get my *** severly kicked. But every time I try take home a lesson. Something I see they do, that I should learn from.

Some of the lessons I got my last few visits are:
  • Kiai. One guy (1d) liked to poke every tiger's mouth, every one space jump (when there were only one obvious side to poke from), and cut every uncomfortable cut he could. My own habit was to save many of the pokes for ko fights and I cut only when I saw the cuts putting some pressure on something.
  • Another guy (also low dan level) had a overall strategy of making a group of mine to run. He always managed, and then harassing the running group for outlining territory. While the strategy is not so advanced, it was interesting to see it taken to the extreme (with a Joseki repertoire to support it).
  • Two space jumps are a little stronger than I have given them credit for. One guy almost exclusively used those, and it was not so easy to take advantage of. Should consider those when I would instictively do a 1-space jump.
  • Keima instead of kosumi. Someone (a 5d) told me that I played too many diagonal moves when I could have used a knight's move instead.
  • As a bonus, I think I am learning how to score a game on a real goban with Chinese rules :D .

The good news is that I no longer lose every game there, and the players there accept to play even against me.


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Post #3 Posted: Sat Mar 17, 2018 11:09 pm 
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Long time no go.

Back in the day when I took chess too seriously, I found out that taking a complete break from it for 3-6 months often was benficial.
When eventually returning to the game, something had happened and I felt saw things with a greater clarity. Now I tried it with go. Not sure if anything has happened. Maybe I see where my games go wrong in a different way.

Anyhow, I visited the local go club, lost games but took home a lesson:
  • It can be worth sacrificing stones for shape

One guy I played a few times did not respond to me ataring small groups of his (like 2 stones). Instead he fixed cuts that I thought looked slightly interesting but could not read out anything concrete. I got two or three stones, he fixed a weakness and got sente. Worth pondering over. Maybe he got the better end of that bargain after all.


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Post #4 Posted: Sun Mar 18, 2018 5:50 am 
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I have taken extended breaks from both chess and go and always found them at least partially beneficial. The best thing about taking a long break is that it gives you a chance to forget bad habits. :)

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Post #5 Posted: Tue Jun 12, 2018 5:35 am 
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I need to learn to fight better.

A large portion of my losses are against opponents that are trying to fight and to kill my stones. There is a distinct pattern in many games. My advantage grows (Leela's win percentage creeps up to 80%, 90% or higher), until my opponent goes desperate and starts to invade every space, attack everything that does not have two clear eyes.

And then something dies and I lose.


What I am doing to improve on this:

1. Play on Tygem more.

2. Cutting and connecting exercises - to get a better feeling when groups are connected or not.

3. Even more tsumego/tesuji problems.

The latter can be quite frustrating, since many times I do not undersand why my idea is not the correct answer. And the puzzles feel more focused on life and death of small groups rather than how to capture dragons and best deal with outrageous invasions.
Good thing is that fights/invasions trigger less of an adrenalin rush nowadays than six months ago.

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Post #6 Posted: Tue Jun 12, 2018 6:01 am 
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Perhaps you want to try while fighting:

Dont let the opponent play hane at the head of 2 or 3 stones (and dont miss these opportunities yourself, rarly there is a better option on the board); extend your groups until you have at least 5 liberties before tenuki; always consider nobi instead of hane while defending (many time hane breaks (too many cuts) and nobi holds)

I have a stronger fuseki and weaker fighting strength myself, but I am learning :-) (I prefer it to have it this way around)


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Post #7 Posted: Tue Jun 12, 2018 7:01 am 
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Tapani wrote:
I need to learn to fight better...


https://www.amazon.com/Katos-Attack-Kil ... 4871870278

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Post #8 Posted: Wed Jun 13, 2018 9:41 pm 
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Gomoto wrote:
Perhaps you want to try while fighting:

Dont let the opponent play hane at the head of 2 or 3 stones (and dont miss these opportunities yourself, rarly there is a better option on the board); extend your groups until you have at least 5 liberties before tenuki; always consider nobi instead of hane while defending (many time hane breaks (too many cuts) and nobi holds)

I have a stronger fuseki and weaker fighting strength myself, but I am learning :-) (I prefer it to have it this way around)

Thank you, abd wish it was that easy. There is a problem with that "hane rule" - they will invariably cut in response, and I have two groups to worry about (as do they).

The close contact battles are kinda ok. Where I fail is that they throw in an attachment stone, next move they tenuki another in an apparently unrelated location .. and suddenly the mess of unrelated stones come together and kill something.

Or that they find a cut or trick that are completely off my radar, and kill something.
Joaz Banbeck wrote:
Tapani wrote:
I need to learn to fight better...

https://www.amazon.com/Katos-Attack-Kil ... 4871870278

Thank you. Ordered. Arrives in maybe 2 weeks. Hope it is readable even for an SDK ..

Some books by professionals I have tried to read, are heavy on long variations of moves I would never see an SDK on Tygem play. Probably better moves, but won't help me getting rekt by the average Tygem 6k.

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Post #9 Posted: Sun Jun 24, 2018 9:44 am 
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I have now played my first OTB tournament.

It has been some bit of trouble for me to join a real tournament, since many tournaments wants to place you in the right division for your rank (3k, 4k, ...) and since I had no rank, I could not sign up. ( Almost all tournaments have cash prizes and they don't like sandbaggers. ).

The tournament where I was allowed to play had only one "kyu section" with all the 80 or so (?) kyu players in one division.

The games went very well, my mind was sharp and reading was quick and correct - and I won all but one game. The time control was quite short 20 minutes for both players (together! not each!) and then 2 x 20 seconds buyomi each. The game I lost was after my opponent started complicated fights in byomi.

Regardless, my performance put me on a 3rd place in the kyu section!

Then the top four players in the kyu section were offered to get assessed by a professional, to see which ones could qualify for improved ranks (this part is a little guesswork, it was all communicated in Chinese which I am not fluent in).

Anyway, we play the professional, four boards simultaneously and with 6 stones handicap. I get a good start, managing to punish some of the pro's overplays (he is testing me, obviously), and soon I see that the other kyu players are all suffering on the other boards. Their groups are running and dying, but I am surprisingly doing ok, managing to secure a large chunk of territory and somewhat holding my own.
Eventually the other kyus resign, and the pro stops all games without explanation. Since the game is close to end, a high-dan amateur asks me if I want to seal it off and count the score. It turned out I probably was ~5 points down.

As the result of the tournament and assessment, I now have an official Taiwan Go Association OTB rank of

1 dan

This is a bit of anti-climax. It is so undeserved. That has been my goal and motivation for two years of go studies, and then someone just hands it to me. Now what?


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Post #10 Posted: Sun Jun 24, 2018 12:14 pm 
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Tapani wrote:
1 dan

This is a bit of anti-climax. It is so undeserved. That has been my goal and motivation for two years of go studies, and then someone just hands it to me. Now what?


First of all, you should be proud. You did very well at the tournament and you played well enough for experts to give you that rank. It must mean something :)
Second, I totally understand that feeling of anti-climax. And maybe you're overall/average playing strength is not yet at that level, but been given that rank certainly means you have it in you, are close to it and already show that strength in your game.

As for the anti-climax, I'd advise you to forget about the rank they gave you for now and set yourself the goal of achieving Dan level elsewhere, to confirm. And only call yourself a Dan player if you can get a Dan ranking for example on OGS and keep it for a few games at the least. Getting that might still give you a "climax" of 2 years of work, and it will feel earned and not given.
I'm not saying you didn't earn it already, though, but this might help with the feeling of anti-climax.


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Post #11 Posted: Wed Jun 12, 2019 2:34 am 
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And another year has gone by.

Took a long break from go, but have slowly started to get back into shape. In chess taking 6-month+ breaks often resulted in me being slightly tactically rusty, but after some tactics training I usually felt I was better than ever.

The experiment in go seems to point to something similar.

Before my break, I was 7k on Tygem. After returning to the game, I lost quite a few (painful) games and ranked down to 8k. Then after some friendly suggestions to rehearse Wilcox, I decided to follow his advice from contact fights almost religiously. I mean if other SDKs have improved four stones in two weeks - maybe I should give that a serious try?

Guess what?

I have ranked up four stones on Tygem. From 8k to 4k, straight promotions, while no double rank-ups, every rank-up has been with stats like 13-2 or 12-3. :D

Actually there is another insight that has helped me tremendously in games aginst the most aggressive players.

A group is not dead unless it has less liberties than all of its neighbouring groups.

To demonstrate how I have been using that principle, my 5k --> 4k rank up game (with some of my thoughts):


I am white.
The 'new' principle is applied on move 80 (but planned long before).


Attachments:
Tapani_vs_NN_20190611.sgf [2.68 KiB]
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Post #12 Posted: Wed Jun 12, 2019 4:07 am 
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Hi Tapani,

Thanks for sharing.
To add some clarity and redundancy (for me): at :white: 80, the idea was maybe :white: 78 or 80 could gain enough liberties to kill some :black: stones locally, yes ?

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Post #13 Posted: Wed Jun 12, 2019 8:51 am 
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Tapani wrote:
Guess what?

I have ranked up four stones on Tygem. From 8k to 4k, straight promotions, while no double rank-ups, every rank-up has been with stats like 13-2 or 12-3. :D


Bravo! :)

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Post #14 Posted: Wed Jun 12, 2019 10:29 am 
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Tapani, Good job on spotting black's weaknesses with r15 and all those cuts. What would you do if black connected at s16 for move 77? Also p19 is a good tesuji to know (my 2d opponent in a recent tournament missed it!) and it would be the only move to win the race if your corner stones only had 3 liberties (e.g. no white stone at s18), but with the extra liberties your inside stones have you can also play m18 and win the capturing race, and then black can't even cut off the k16 stones like he did in the game as some compensation for the clump dying.

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Post #15 Posted: Wed Jun 12, 2019 11:25 am 
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Thanks guys for the comments, you are always so helpful!

EdLee wrote:
Hi Tapani,

Thanks for sharing.
To add some clarity and redundancy (for me): at :white: 80, the idea was maybe :white: 78 or 80 could gain enough liberties to kill some :black: stones locally, yes ?


Ed,

Yes, the idea was that the Q18, R18, S18 stones would have four liberties, while the black group at N17 could be kept at three or below.

For me this is a new way of thinking. Before I would not have thrown in the Q18,R18,S18 stones since they cannot live with eyes, unless I could read out the kill (which here is too many long sequences).


UberDude wrote:
Tapani, Good job on spotting black's weaknesses with r15 and all those cuts. What would you do if black connected at s16 for move 77? Also p19 is a good tesuji to know (my 2d opponent in a recent tournament missed it!) and it would be the only move to win the race if your corner stones only had 3 liberties (e.g. no white stone at s18), but with the extra liberties your inside stones have you can also play m18 and win the capturing race, and then black can't even cut off the k16 stones like he did in the game as some compensation for the clump dying.


For the S16 connection (which is what I expected black to play), I would have played S13 and taken the two stones and the right side. Perhaps my M16 group ends up in trouble, but in the worst case it is a trade.

P19 tesuji ... you mean "clamping" the P18 stone before chosing side to cut? Does that work?
Or do you mean start the capture race with P19 in case both groups have three libs? Thought that could lead to ko (after black O19).

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Post #16 Posted: Wed Jun 12, 2019 11:36 am 
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For me this is a new way of thinking. Before I would not have thrown in the Q18,R18,S18 stones since they cannot live with eyes, unless I could read out the kill
Thanks! :tmbup:

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Post #17 Posted: Wed Jun 12, 2019 11:36 am 
Honinbo

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Tapani wrote:
P19 tesuji ... you mean "clamping" the P18 stone before chosing side to cut? Does that work?
Or do you mean start the capture race with P19 in case both groups have three libs? Thought that could lead to ko (after black O19).


Not to steal Uberdude's thunder, but I think he means your hane at P19. :) We don't usually think of moves that are obvious to us as tesuji. ;)

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Post #18 Posted: Wed Jun 12, 2019 1:24 pm 
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Tapani wrote:
UberDude wrote:
Tapani, Good job on spotting black's weaknesses with r15 and all those cuts. What would you do if black connected at s16 for move 77? Also p19 is a good tesuji to know (my 2d opponent in a recent tournament missed it!) and it would be the only move to win the race if your corner stones only had 3 liberties (e.g. no white stone at s18), but with the extra liberties your inside stones have you can also play m18 and win the capturing race, and then black can't even cut off the k16 stones like he did in the game as some compensation for the clump dying.


For the S16 connection (which is what I expected black to play), I would have played S13 and taken the two stones and the right side. Perhaps my M16 group ends up in trouble, but in the worst case it is a trade.


I thought you might. But that would be a mistake. If black defends at s16 because he spots the cut weaknesses, the key thing to realise is that white has already gained from that exchange. You have created the option to take the 2 stones, but you don't need to do it now because that white group is already strong so it's just a big endgame move now. Better would be to get the group on the top out to safety, and start that with the m18 descent in sente. You don't want to do that BEFORE s14 because it forces black fix the o18 weakness, but once black defends s16 (scared of the o18 weakness if he can read that far) now is the perfect time to play m18. You can have your cake and eat it too!

As Bill said I mean the p19 you played in the game.

Tapani wrote:
Or do you mean start the capture race with P19 in case both groups have three libs? Thought that could lead to ko (after black O19).

Yes. But it's not a ko, you atari from n19 and connect and die.


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Post #19 Posted: Thu Jun 13, 2019 10:52 am 
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Uberdude wrote:
You have created the option to take the 2 stones, but you don't need to do it now because that white group is already strong so it's just a big endgame move now.


Aha! I understand! The fact that it does not influence life/death status of any groups makes the move of lower priority.

This also connects with something I have heard Dwyrin say on his stream: sometimes he says that a move is "only points" or "only territory". Maybe this is what he means!

However delaying the capture of the two stones makes R12 a large point for black too (it saves the stones, makes a few points territory, and kills the cutting stone).

Uberdude wrote:
Yes. But it's not a ko, you atari from n19 and connect and die.


Ah, I see. No need to fight the capture of one stone when we can kill the bigger half :-)

Now I wonder if the initial cut at S14 was really needed, I did it to gain the third sente move (S18) in the corner. Perhaps the black stones were killable even without it? :-)

Thanks a lot!

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