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 Post subject: loganmhb's summer studies
Post #1 Posted: Mon May 20, 2013 10:45 am 
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The free time I'll have this summer (finished classes in my third year of college yesterday) begs to be filled with go. Hopefully a study journal will keep me on track. Right now I'm about 10-11k on KGS, and I'd like to improve by several stones this summer--I think it's an attainable goal, as I haven't really committed to studying or doing tsumego much yet. Instead I've been just playing games and reading books when I get some free time during the school year (more of the second than the first, really) so I'm excited to get a little more serious.

Here's my plan so far:

--Shoot for at least 100 tsumego/tesuji problems per week--I'm currently working through the elementary collection from http://tsumego.tasuki.org/, doing about 40 problems over finals week and 20 more yesterday once I was finished. 20/day is currently very doable, but the problems will probably improve faster than I do in which case I'll have to mix in some problems from elsewhere. I'd also like to get ahold of some tesuji problems--if anyone knows good sources of free ones for my level I'd love to hear about it, or I may buy James Davies's Tesuji book, and perhaps Attack and Defense as well.

--Play. Every day. I like fast games on KGS (10 min + 3x20 byo-yomi) and I've also joined the ASR league for some slower, more serious games. I'll be working part time on a farm this summer so my idea is to play ASR league games on my days off when I have more time and energy. I'm also planning to check out go clubs in my area (northern VA/Alexandria).

--Review - when I have a game I feel that I treated seriously and played well, I may post it on L19 for review. I'll also try to review all of my games at least quickly, and some (like the ASR league ones) in more depth.

Any feedback is welcome! And if anyone's interested in a sparring partner...

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 Post subject: Re: loganmhb's summer studies
Post #2 Posted: Mon May 20, 2013 11:45 am 
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Problems: Find a number you're comfortable with. 20/day at around our level isn't many. I'd do 50-100 a day depending on mood and level of the problem (remember to mix a good number of easy problems in there too!) You'll be surprised how quickly you solve them after a few weeks. :)

Tesuji: Get Strong at Tesuji + Tesuji by Davies. GoChild has some very nice tesuji problems but it is paid for (but cheap!). Goproblems.com is free but personally I don't like the problems there much.

Play: Playing every day is great. I wish I had the discipline to make myself do that. This is the necessary element of improvement that I suck at!


Most important thing: Remember to keep having fun!

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 Post subject: Re: loganmhb's summer studies
Post #3 Posted: Mon May 20, 2013 12:35 pm 
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Good luck Logan. A few comments you may or may not find helpful:

loganmhb wrote:
I'd like to improve by several stones this summer--I think it's an attainable goal, as I haven't really committed to studying or doing tsumego much yet.


It seems sensible to think that if no effort = 11k, then lots of effort = several stones stronger, but learning is a skill in itself. You'll probably find you waste a lot of time before you work out what's effective study and what's not, so don't be discouraged if you're not making progress.

loganmhb wrote:
--Shoot for at least 100 tsumego/tesuji problems per week--I'm currently working through the elementary collection from http://tsumego.tasuki.org/, doing about 40 problems over finals week and 20 more yesterday once I was finished. 20/day is currently very doable, but the problems will probably improve faster than I do in which case I'll have to mix in some problems from elsewhere. I'd also like to get ahold of some tesuji problems--if anyone knows good sources of free ones for my level I'd love to hear about it, or I may buy James Davies's Tesuji book, and perhaps Attack and Defense as well.


I've found that how you spend your tsumego time is much more important than how many problems you end up solving. You might want to set a time based goal to avoid encouraging yourself to read briefly and then check the answer, because what matters is that you're pushing the limits of your abiity. I'm a big fan of answerless porblems because theny force me to read thoroughly to feel like I've got the answer.



loganmhb wrote:
I'll also try to review all of my games at least quickly, and some (like the ASR league ones) in more depth.


Good thinking. Even if it was a thoughtless move, an instinctive mistake shows a weakness.

loganmhb wrote:

Any feedback is welcome! And if anyone's interested in a sparring partner...


As per the discussion on my thread, feel free to challenge me on KGS. :rambo:

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 Post subject: Re: loganmhb's summer studies
Post #4 Posted: Mon May 20, 2013 1:17 pm 
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Splatted wrote:
I've found that how you spend your tsumego time is much more important than how many problems you end up solving. You might want to set a time based goal to avoid encouraging yourself to read briefly and then check the answer, because what matters is that you're pushing the limits of your abiity. I'm a big fan of answerless porblems because theny force me to read thoroughly to feel like I've got the answer.

I am horribly prone to that sort of behavior, so I love the fact that the tsumego I'm working through now don't have answers with them, or even instructions like "Black to kill"--for copyright reasons, I think, but it leads to some circumstances where I am left pretty sure that Black cannot in fact kill but not sure if that's the answer to the problem. Previously I'd do some problems in downtime on my phone, but I'd often mindlessly click through without even attempting to read, so the whole "problems on paper without answers" thing has been a real boon.

That said, now that I think about it I do like the time-based goal better. I'll have to experiment with my schedule and figure something out.
Splatted wrote:
As per the discussion on my thread, feel free to challenge me on KGS. :rambo:

I most certainly will!

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 Post subject: Re: loganmhb's summer studies
Post #5 Posted: Mon May 20, 2013 1:37 pm 
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loganmhb wrote:
I am horribly prone to that sort of behavior, so I love the fact that the tsumego I'm working through now don't have answers with them, or even instructions like "Black to kill"--for copyright reasons, I think, but it leads to some circumstances where I am left pretty sure that Black cannot in fact kill but not sure if that's the answer to the problem.


How do you know you're getting the answers right? It seems better at that level to have tsumego with answers or someone who can check that the answers you are getting are correct.

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 Post subject: Re: loganmhb's summer studies
Post #6 Posted: Mon May 20, 2013 2:21 pm 
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@oren - Good question. Sometimes I don't, but usually if I spend enough time on a problem (a couple minutes for most of them) I'm confident that I've found the solution. Sometimes I come across problems where I can't find a move that seems to work, or can't verify that an attempted defense fails. I'll probably post some of those here.

It would still be a good idea to get some problem books or something so that I can check at least some of my work (perhaps from the Graded Go Problems for Beginners series--not sure which volume would be appropriate). If I realize that I'm totally off-base when checking my answers even when I'm confident about my solutions, I'll probably switch to entirely doing problems that I can cross-check with solutions.

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 Post subject: Re: loganmhb's summer studies
Post #7 Posted: Mon May 20, 2013 4:20 pm 
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Good luck with your study Logan,

It sounds to me like your plan is just about right- Tsumego, Play, Review.

For problems, I think consistency is more important that any particular number, as in, make sure you solve some problems every day. Some days I only solve a page or so, other days I'll run through an easier set and solve 100+. It depends on time available, and how long I can concentrate for. For me this has been much more constructive than just solving problems here and there, or, say, solving a lot on the weekends but nothing on weekdays.

As for appropriate problems, if you have a little money to spend then 'Graded Go Problems for Beginners 2' and 'Get Strong at Tesuji' would be great. GGPB is really good, it doesn't just cover L&D but also opening, cut/connect, seki, ko, capturing races, endgame etc., vol. 2 is probably right for your level. The later parts of vol. 3 are very hard for me, at 8/9k, and I think it's better to spend time on doing (lots of!) easy problems rather than (a few) frustratingly difficult ones.

GSAT you might find quite difficult at first - I certainly did- they are much different to solving L&D problems. However I think you gain a lot from trying to solve the problems, read out a lot of sequences and try and compare results, and then, even if you don't know the answer, look at the answer given and try to understand why it's the best solution, and why your solution wasn't the best!

Again, good luck with your study, keep us updated on how it is going!

EDIT; Check out the senseis page for GGPB, it has a couple of example problems from each of the volumes. As the description says, if the answers aren't immediately apparent then that's the right volume for you.

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 Post subject: Re: loganmhb's summer studies
Post #8 Posted: Fri May 31, 2013 7:00 pm 
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Almost two weeks in--all, of course, is not going according to plan, but I'm fairly happy with how things are going. The biggest thing I'm struggling with is fitting tsumego into my routine--originally I planned to do them before bed, but by that point I tend to be too sleepy to do them effectively, I think. I think I'll try doing them instead at breakfast or lunch--I usually get around an hour's break at work for lunch, some of which I could easily devote to solving problems.

I've gotten ahold of Graded Go Problems for Beginners vol. 2, which has been great so far. I'm also planning to get Attack and Defense soon, and hopefully Tesuji or Get Strong at Tesuji as well. Now that I have GGPfB my tsumego aren't entirely life and death problems, which is nice, but I'm itching to dig into some more information about tesuji.

As far as playing goes, while I haven't been playing every single day I have been playing at least one game most days, and some days multiple games. The Monday before last I attended a local go club at skydyr's recommendation and had a great time--played three games. I'll definitely be returning, hopefully this Monday. Online I have lost my past several (even) games by 30+ points, which must mean I'm learning a lot. :lol: I'm a bit behind in reviewing, but I can catch up this weekend. I hope to post some sgfs here or in the game analysis forum once I can go through and comment them a bit myself. I've also signed up for the ASR league in June, and I'm looking forward to getting even games with stronger players as well as more reviews.

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 Post subject: Re: loganmhb's summer studies
Post #9 Posted: Mon Jun 01, 2015 7:29 pm 
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And just like that, two years have gone by!

I was drawn away from studying go by my final year in college, and then by teaching myself programming. Now that I'm graduated and employed, I've found my way back. And I only seem to have lost a stone or two in the interim. Since it's now again summer, the title of the thread still seems okay to me.

To kick things off, a game review:



Thoughts upon review:
:b10: Seems necessary; is it small/endgame? e.g. W B17, B B16
:w11: B10 definitely looks worse now that this white group has the choice of sealing in the upper left or extending along the top.
:b24: - :b30: I like the wall here, and White's on the second line.
:b36: Seems small? Maybe White shouldn't have responded.
:w39: I haven't seen this shape before to cut the elephant jump. Probably Black should play E11 instead of :b40: -- White gets a couple free ataris and then has a floating group to deal with.
:b48: I played this to prevent White capturing at D9, but missed the second follow-on capture of the stone at D10. White doesn't play that yet though.
:b54: I think I intended this as a ladder-breaker?
:b58: Preparing to invade the top, but this seems totally unnecessary now. There's already plenty of friends for Black in the center to run to, and with the high approach the 3-3 doesn't seem that attractive for White either. Though :w59: doesn't make a base; perhaps should have?
:b72: wrong direction? N14 seems to cut off the white stone, though White's looking to get a lot of territory at the top by this point. (Probably some earlier mistakes by me that I've missed to help with that as well...)
:b74: Pointless peep.
:b82: Is the top black group dead yet?
:b88: Peeped myself. No need to connect the two strong groups in either corner really.
:b128: Better to connect @ Q15? The invasion shouldn't work.
:b142: I missed the basic atari on the first line... :oops:
:b144: All is lost at this point in the top right. Burning a bunch of pointless forcing moves here. Should probably take sente and play somewhere like K6. And is the lower right corner still invaluable with the aji left on the right side?
:b164: Playing into a double atari, greedy attempted cut. Maybe extend? or peep at k9 to threaten that cut?
:w167: seems like W should definitely capture at j6 here, since d9 is life at any point.

Feedback welcome, of course. I'm sure there's much more I've missed.

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 Post subject: Re: loganmhb's summer studies
Post #10 Posted: Tue Jun 02, 2015 9:19 am 
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A few comments. :)



Main focus: Simple, solid, and strong. :)

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 Post subject: Re: loganmhb's summer studies
Post #11 Posted: Thu Jun 04, 2015 9:52 pm 
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Thanks for the feedback! Playing with the ideas of solidity and strength in mind seems to be helpful.

Incidentally, I've noticed a few differences in my play coming back from a break. For one I feel much more comfortable playing moves without knowing joseki, which I'm sure a) causes mistakes and b) improves my reading/fighting. I have seen other posts on this forum from people who've had similar experiences. It seems joseki memorization results in "fragile" knowledge somehow.

As far as a path of study goes, I'm still feeling things out at this point in terms of how to spend my time. Rereading my posts from a couple years ago, it seems I was more zealous about rank than about actually playing and improving, which is an impulse I feel less these days (and I'm trying to keep it that way). At this point my biggest motivator is a desire to understand more of what's going on in stronger players' games under the surface -- I've been especially enjoying some of the content in this vein available on Youtube, like Haylee's videos and Nick Sibicky's games against Andrew Jackson. In terms of ways to get closer to that, probably that means reading is the top priority (along with continuing to play and review, of course).

Tuesday night I went to the Chicago Go Club, which was a great experience. Good turnout, and in addition a coworker of mine who went is a fairly strong player (mid-kyus currently, but also returning from a break) so perhaps I'll be able to learn from him. I'll definitely plan to return there on a regular basis as well as playing on KGS.

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 Post subject: Re: loganmhb's summer studies
Post #12 Posted: Wed Jun 10, 2015 3:43 pm 
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I have continued to play games on KGS as well as at the club, and can feel myself improving already. I have risen to 10k on KGS, which I hadn't previously been able to maintain.

This weekend I played an even game against a 4k friend, and managed to eke out a win (after some tricky playing and goofing around on his part in the opening). Alas it was a private game and I seem to have lost the SGF file. But I enjoyed the even game against a stronger player, and I think it improves my play. Perhaps something like the ASR League would be a good idea.

In terms of study, I have been doing 3 main things:

1) playing and reviewing games (could do more reviewing, probably)

2) reading Tesuji

3) watching Nick Sibicky's videos

I had thought that #3 was more entertainment than study, but I think I'm wrong about that -- when I watch the lectures with an effort to be mindful and present, reading out variations, pausing and examining positions (which I've been doing more of) I think they're actually helping me a lot. And there's more to see! Meanwhile I am loving Tesuji -- most of the problems are about right for me to solve in a minute or so -- enough to be good reading practice without being frustrating.

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 Post subject: Re: loganmhb's summer studies
Post #13 Posted: Mon Jun 15, 2015 9:55 pm 
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A game I played on Friday as black:



:w6: This is not a move I'd seen before, though I seem to have played joseki moves up until :b11:.
:w18: Here I was starting to get nervous about a large white left side, but given that all White's moves have been on the left so far I figured that wouldn't be so bad.
:w26: seems misguided -- trying to turn a framework into territory prematurely, maybe? The right side looks bigger...
:b27: ...so I played there.
:b43: This looks bad. It doesn't threaten the tiger's mouth as the kick does against a lone low approach stone.
:w46: and now I'm cramped in the corner...
:b73: I felt like the game was going well up to this point.
:b93: This looks bad. I think I was thinking of it as a shoulder hit, but it doesn't have room to get away.
:b95: ...which this move did not help. better at f8?
102-109 - I misread this and thought I could connect with the push at E4 and cut at D5, but the atari prevents that.
b125 - what? tiny threat to toothpaste.
w154 - this sort of move in square-ish corners has caused me a lot of problems my past few games. Something meriting further study, maybe.

At the time of resignation I thought I was way behind, but now I'm not so sure -- I think I was still over-evaluating White's left side. Might have been worth playing on.

Feedback welcomed as always!

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 Post subject: Re: loganmhb's summer studies
Post #14 Posted: Tue Jun 16, 2015 2:22 pm 
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I made some comments.


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 Post subject: Re: loganmhb's summer studies
Post #15 Posted: Wed Jun 17, 2015 6:05 am 
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Thanks for the comments!

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