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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.


This post by Tapani was liked by 2 people: BlindGroup, FuriousGeorge
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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.


This post by Tapani was liked by: BlindGroup
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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.


This post by Tapani was liked by: BlindGroup
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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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