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 Post subject: Re: Losing my grip on go
Post #21 Posted: Fri Jul 27, 2018 7:14 am 
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Strength in go seems to be the term we use for accuracy. In other words, on a go board there are multiple possible moves. The fact we can quickly discard most of them shows the brain is already quite handy.

If a stronger player is able to further discard possible moves, it could be because they have a finer resolution of vision derived from factors such as being able to read the results of plays better, experience, and intuition developed through training.

So here are two brazen suggestions to tweak the traditional review, to obtain a clear picture of your position, and even, perhaps, to make you stronger:

1. Play games with long enough time settings so that you could malkovich during the game all of the moves you considered and the reasons why, rating from 1 to 5:

Options you never considered (1), which would be ignored and not noted.
Off-the-wall options you thought had a slim chance, or other fancy moves, but quickly discarded (2), which could also be ignored depending on the detail level you'd like to conduct the review with.
Moves you seriously considered (3).
Moves you concluded were playable or highly likely to be best (4).
The move played (5).

Of course, this most likely requires playing games with slow time settings, while finding the strongest move possible, from my memory widely considered being prerequisite to consistent long-term growth.

2. Reviewing games with players stronger, similarly ranked or even weaker as an experiment, in the following fashion:

2.1. Look through the game record and derive move ratings and reasons for each position, as mentioned in section 1.
2.2. Ask another to independently do the same.

With 2.1, you can compare your review accuracy with your playing accuracy. If there is a small difference in opinion between yourself in and out of game, you are possibly playing up to your limit and need to do things like learn new concepts or improve your intuitive reading. If there is a large difference, such as blunders occurring often, you may be having a more mental acuity, emotion or focus based deficit and need training in that area.

With 2.2, you can compare your review self with stronger players review self. Instead of just looking at the difference between one move in each position, the move you played and the one the stronger player suggests, look at all of the options considered by the stronger player and find out why the stronger player discarded moves you thought were feasible, or in some cases, why you may have discarded moves that indeed were feasible, like an unusual sabaki technique (forgive the extreme example), greatly reducing your accuracy. A frame-by-frame analysis of all options considered during the game may reveal deficiencies in thinking that may be hard to identify through a narrow lens.


Some say an AI cannot explain the reasoning behind it's moves, but maybe many humans are similar. I unknowingly started reasoning on the unconscious 'why' for each move on even the 'easier' positions, and to great effect— be it blindly following a proverb, reducing ease for the opponent, or looking at a future consequence on another part of the board. So it may also work for you.

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 Post subject: Re: Losing my grip on go
Post #22 Posted: Fri Jul 27, 2018 8:51 am 
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@Kirby and EdLee

Be carefull when you cross the borders your mind sets for you during physical exercise. It is quite possible to expand the limits, but the borders set by your brain are there for a reason. I managed to break my body several times in the past, when I went over the borders. I recovered from most failures but my life is different now in some aspects, still very enjoyable.

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 Post subject: Re: Losing my grip on go
Post #23 Posted: Fri Jul 27, 2018 11:24 am 
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Hi Daal

For some of us, 6-5k) is the limit of what we can reach with the kind of effort we amateurs can spend. For me it seems to be 1-2d. For Uberdude or Bill, it's more like 4-5d. After that, you either have to spend a lot more effort or just settle for that level. I don't really know your game, but from your contributions here I have reasons to infer that 5k may be that plateau of moderate effort.

More effort goes two ways: becoming a better thinker and become a less bad executioner. With our mileage, we have grown some pretty bad habits.

Are you frustrated about your level of thinking or your level of execution?

If it's the former, find yourself a good teacher. If the latter, I can recommend myself as a drill instructor for making less mistakes and raise your level of execution to your level of thinking. Warning: there will be some ego to let go (in particular the "oh I am so bad" kind of ego) and there will also be a few addictions to let go (like, let's play a blitz game for I don't have anything better to do).

That being said, if you ever reach 1d, don't fool yourself into thinking you will be happy then. The frustration never goes away.

Dieter

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 Post subject: Re: Losing my grip on go
Post #24 Posted: Fri Jul 27, 2018 11:36 am 
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Tami wrote:
One very common mistake is to lose a game, then go back and find a single big mistake and say to oneself "if I had not done this, I would have won". I've witnessed defeated opponents of mine do this, and I've made exactly the same mistake myself. Another common mistake is to review the game, but to obsess over every single move, and thereby confuse yourself because you're not really able to figure out the broad trends of the game.


These are very good remarks. I try to review someone else's game by finding the bigger patterns. These tell you the areas of improvement at the conscious, analytical level, the level of thinking. However, we often observe instances where the player drops below their level of thinking. This is what usually generates a lot of frustration and makes the game go downhill. A reviewer can hardly tell why that happens. This needs introspection: what is going on when I'm making these moves, exactly? Is fear? Is it vanity? Is it sloth? Is it gluttony? Capital sins, deeply rooted desires ... Not wanting to exaggerate, there's a lot of work to be done at that level.

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 Post subject: Re: Losing my grip on go
Post #25 Posted: Sat Jul 28, 2018 3:31 am 
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Elom wrote:
So here are two brazen suggestions to tweak the traditional review, to obtain a clear picture of your position, and even, perhaps, to make you stronger:

1. Play games with long enough time settings so that you could malkovich during the game all of the moves you considered and the reasons why, rating from 1 to 5: ...


I guess this is something that I find interesting, though to do it I might need some particular boundaries. First of all, I would not want to play publicly. I find it entertaining to watch and read other people's malkovitch games, but the prospect of doing it myself and have people read my lousy reasoning makes me cringe. Second, I have had bad experiences with correspondence games because spending too much time agonizing over moves drained the game of fun for me. I would like to try a game where the players would only spend approximately the amount of time on a move that they would in a regular serious game: typically a minute or three, ten at most, and then spend the larger portion of the time explaining why that move was chosen over other candidates. Afterwards, I would ask a stronger player to point out poor lines of reasoning. I'm not sure what would be the best format for such conditions...

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 Post subject: Re: Losing my grip on go
Post #26 Posted: Sat Jul 28, 2018 3:43 am 
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Bill Spight wrote:
What about go do you find enjoyable? :)
I've thought about this question some more, and I think that one thing I enjoy is getting a handle on something and applying it successfully. Regarding go, this is when I play moves with an intention that I understand, and that they turn out to have been an advantageous thing to do. This hasn't been happening much lately.

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 Post subject: Re: Losing my grip on go
Post #27 Posted: Mon Jul 30, 2018 10:26 am 
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daal wrote:
To tell the truth, I have almost stopped playing slow games entirely. My go activity is currently just kgs blitz games. For a while I did this because I found it fun. Lots of action, not so much pain involved in losing and lots of games against stronger players. In the long run though, it is getting boring. It feels like too much luck is involved, and since I don't have the sense that I know what to look for in a review, I rarely do it. I haven't been to a real life go game in years. As to correspondence games, I found the possibility of thinking so long with so little idea about what is right to be exhausting.


Hi Daal,
I have experienced what you describe here : hitting a limit, then playing more games to try to gain some practical experience, and becoming more and more frustrated.

I realized that playing a lot was not helping me in any way. On the contrary, all I was doing was playing faster and faster, thinking less and less, and repeating the same mistakes. Worse : playing more was in fact increasing my fatigue, which, in turn, made me make more errors.

The solution was to take some breaks. After one or several weeks without playing, I felt the need of playing again, but with a rested mind. My ideas were clear again, and the game was much more enjoyable.

The biggest difference after these breaks was that I was taking my time to assess the situation. I was finding interesting to pause for 2 minutes and estimate the global situation, to ponder what strategy would be better, to try mentally to read out different options... All things that, in the urge of playing the most possible games in a panic state of mind, were looking too tiresome, too long and too complicated. It was a renewed pleasure to do that again.

I think that the problem for both of us is to blindly trust the advice "play, play, play the most possible games".
In our state of mind, this is not helpful at all. It is even counter-productive !

However, I am not saying that this is the solution to become better. I didn't become better after these breaks. I just went back from 6 kyu to my former rank of 5 kyu.
What I am saying is that all the frustration disappeared. It was a pleasure again to play 5 kyu opponents, building interesting games with them... But that's a first step.


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 Post subject: Re: Losing my grip on go
Post #28 Posted: Tue Jul 31, 2018 3:59 am 
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Another thought : who says that we are not improving ?
Our rating. But who says that it's not the rating scale that is going down while we are actually improving ? Both movements resulting in a constant number.

Nothing... The general drift of rating scales is essentially out of control, unless they are calibrated with bots.

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 Post subject: Re: Losing my grip on go
Post #29 Posted: Tue Jul 31, 2018 9:34 pm 
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Thank you, daal, for posting this. I am falling into the same hole you're in, not for as long of course. I have become frustrated and anxious with every game I play. If you hadn't have posted this, it would probably have been my first.

And thanks to the replies with things I can try implementing during my games.

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 Post subject: Re: Losing my grip on go
Post #30 Posted: Wed Aug 01, 2018 12:31 am 
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daal wrote:
Bill Spight wrote:
What about go do you find enjoyable? :)
I've thought about this question some more, and I think that one thing I enjoy is getting a handle on something and applying it successfully. Regarding go, this is when I play moves with an intention that I understand, and that they turn out to have been an advantageous thing to do. This hasn't been happening much lately.


I think that if you only enjoy Go through playing to win, then you're going to experience a lot of frustration and anguish through your practice of the game.

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 Post subject: Re: Losing my grip on go
Post #31 Posted: Wed Aug 01, 2018 12:32 am 
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@kj01a: if I understand correctly, daal has been studying go for many years, read many books and done countless tsumegos, while from your post you seem to be newer than him. Studying go doesn't work for him anymore, but might work for you. However there are probably some common points regarding anxiety. Here are a few ideas that may or may not work:

  • Don't play if you are not concentrated. Lack of concentration generates bad moves, which increase frustration.
  • Choose time settings that are long enough, so that you have time to read/consider several options.
  • If you are anxious about your rank, play some unrated games.
  • If you are angry after having lost too many games, accept a challenge by a much weaker player. In principle you will win easily and this will alleviate your frustration.
  • To end the day with a positive feeling, if possible disconnect from the server after a win. Don't try to finish the day with more wins than losses.
  • Relax about your level. If every player who is below average thought "I suck at go, I should quit and find another activity", then after a while, there wouldn't be anybody left except LeelaZero who doesn't care about losing.
  • Go (like music or sports) can be fun at any level, even if you lose a game after a difficult battle.


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 Post subject: Re: Losing my grip on go
Post #32 Posted: Wed Aug 01, 2018 4:07 am 
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This is not intended to derail the thread, but I wanted to make a few cautionary remarks about using KGS ranks as a yardstick for progress, since it can be a contributory factor when one gets frustrated with apparent lack of improvement.

The first thing to do is to accept the KGS system is never going to change. It is as it is, whether you like it or not. So, accepting that, it's better to try to understand as best as possible how it works and what that means for you.

It took me a long time to come to this, but a very useful way of thinking is to think of your KGS rank as consisting of two elements: your kyu/dan rank, and your rating. Your rating is what your graph represents, while your rank might be thought of as a numerical band.

Let's suppose you're an 8k trying to become 7k. I have no idea how kyu ranks relate to chess Elo, but for sake of argument let's say that 8k corresponds to the band 1300 to 1400.

Now, our 8k works hard at his/her go and becomes more skilful, and starts to win a lot of games at 8k. However, they find that they can simply never seem to cross that line into the promised land. They become frustrated and either stop trying so hard or they go on tilt and set themselves back.

The problem for 8k-san (Mr/Ms 8 Kyu) is that while they might be playing games with other 8ks and winning a high percentage of them, they are not taking into account the graph.

If 8k-san is close to the tripping point from one grade to another, it's like being in the 1390s. However, on average, if they stick to playing even games with other 8ks, what they may well be doing is playing even with players who are 1350 on average. This is important, because the server will on that basis expect them to win more often, and therefore penalise loss more heavily than it rewards winning. (And, even if they are playing games with players of other ranks, the same principle will basically apply.)

On the other hand, if on one fine morning 8k-san finally does it, and becomes 7k-san, then they may find it surprisingly easy to hold on to that, because being a mere 1401 (in graph terms), they will be expected to lose most of their even games with other 7ks, and so will receive more of a reward for winning than for losing.

In other words, it's set up so that if there is a disparity between "rating" as shown by the graph, then the players will be betting with uneven stakes.

A further wrinkle is that KGS also includes, I believe, your games from the last 90 days in the calculation, so that if you are indeed making progress, you will be wearing ankle weights from your earlier, less enlightened days.

But the most problematic complication of all is that your graph is not affected only by your own performance. Instead, your own past opponents' future performance will have an effect on its trajectory. So, in the worst-case scenario, if you happen to lose to somebody somewhat lower down the graph than you, not only do you suffer from the uneven stakes effect described above, but also there is the danger that perhaps your conqueror may then go on tilt for some reason and drag you down still further. Of course, it is quite possible for the reverse to happen, and for one of your vanquished opponents to go on an epic winning streak, thereby doing you a nice favour, but in my experience it is far, far, far easier to go on tilt than to have an epic winning streak.

And so, if you were trying to measure your improvement by your KGS rank and were a little hazy about these things, it is quite understandable how it might be an inadvertent source of additional frustration to you. I believe the system was designed for stability, and not as a progress-measuring tool, and it certainly succeeds in that goal.

One way that you could deal with it is simply to check your prospective opponents' graphs before playing with them. If it looks about the same as yours, then you can play an even game knowing that you're not "risking" any more than the other person.

And, at the end of the day, it is only a game. If you feel that you are playing well, and you're taking more pleasure out of the game as a result of studying and practising, then who cares about the number after your account name?

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 Post subject: Re: Losing my grip on go
Post #33 Posted: Wed Aug 01, 2018 8:09 am 
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jlt wrote:
[*] To end the day with a positive feeling, if possible disconnect from the server after a win. Don't try to finish the day with more wins than losses.


As the flip-side of this, don't keep chasing a win if you lose. You may very well go on tilt and make things worse. I generally will force myself to stop playing, depending on how I am feeling on a particular day, after the first or second loss, especially if I feel myself getting that 'Just one more game so I can end with a win' impulse. If I want to keep playing because I"m having fun, it's a different matter.

Different approaches to this may work better or worse for different people. One downside of stopping after one or two losses is you play less Go in a given day, and will probably improve at a slower rate. But, I find it has kept me playing Go more regularly than I otherwise would, since I have fewer negative emotions associated with playing (during periods of time where I actually have the time to play it regularly). Also, even though you play less, you expose yourself to the unpleasant experience (losing) in more manageable chunks and leave yourself time and emotional energy to adjust to taking them better (vs playing a ton, losing a ton, and being really angry with yourself and having to go to bed or get work done or wahtever), which I suspect in the long run will make it easier to manage emotions in the face of losses.

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 Post subject: Re: Losing my grip on go
Post #34 Posted: Wed Aug 01, 2018 9:25 am 
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It's much easier said than done to let go of the "one win before I stop" attitude. In this respect, I think the ideas presented in The Chimp Paradox by Steve Peters are very helpful.

Put very simply, the brain is a system of three main decision-making entities (limbic, parietal and frontal lobes). The book presents them to us as "Chimp" (the "Bonzo" in the quote daal uses from me), the "Computer" and the "Human", respectively.

The Computer stores all of the automatically executed responses, skills and beliefs that we have. It is extremely fast and can run without our attending very much to it. It's the same thing, I believe, as Kahneman's System I.

The Chimp is a core part of the human brain, a remnant of our primitive ancestors. It offers very powerful drives and emotions because they are critical to survival. It gives us "gut feelings" and is very concerned with status, feeding and mating rights.

The Human is more evolved, and likes to think rationally.

Both the Chimp and the Human make heavy use of the Computer when they want to know how to act. The thorny thing is that the Chimp, being concerned with survival needs, is - just like a real chimpanzee - rather faster and much stronger than the human. When the Chimp gets upset, it has a tendency to take over, and make irrational decisions. The human inside you of course knows these decisions are crazy, but it is overwhelmed by the superior strength of the simian.

In a games context, losing is irrationally perceived by the Chimp as a loss of status - and hence demotion in the troop. If the loss was caused by some matter of bad luck, such as a dropped Internet connection or a sudden distraction, then the Chimp is also annoyed at the lack of fairnesss of it all.

The Chimp urgently desires its status to be restored, and so will go all out to win the next game. Unfortunately, not being as smart as the Human, it is likely to misuse the knowledge of the game stored in the Computer, and thus make overplays and play very quickly in the hope of "bamboozling" the opponent. That does not work (very often) and so the tilt cycle begins.

What is the solution? I suggest this model of the mind can be used like this:

1) Get your "programming" sorted out: what is the purpose of playing go? Is it just to win or is it to play go well because it is a game worth playing well?
2) Be aware of the Chimp's desires and help it to understand that if it wants satisfaction, then it HAS to allow the Human to have control.

Being aware of where your emotions are coming from, and training yourself (i.e., programming the "computer" to tell Bonzo to trust the human) to play with reason and thought is, in my opinion, the key to getting the best out of yourself and enjoying games more.

You can even tell the Chimp that losing can also be a good thing, because it can provide the feedback necessary to become more skilful. The Chimp wants to be more skilful, and hence have a higher "status", and so it will accept that.

There is a wonderful episode of Hikaru no Go (around No. 67) in which Isumi travels to China in the wake of failing the pro exam the first time around. His breakthrough moment is realising that he can "look at himself in the third person" and control his emotions. In other words, he realises that he can program his "computer" to instruct the Chimp to let the human retain control, no matter how agitated it may feel. In other words, it's a skill that can be practised and mastered over time.

And, this brings us back to the beginning: it is a skill and it does take time to master. There is no shame in losing it sometimes and having a tilty session. The critical thing is knowing what has happened, and then trying again to handle the emotions better next time they appear.

By the way, I'm sure that one of the worst things that you can try to do is to suppress your emotions. No self-respecting monkey wants to be told to "shut it". Of course, you want to win, and of course losing is not as much fun as winning, but they're not the be all and end all. What I'm advocating is acknowledging powerful emotions, and helping that part of the brain to understand that if it wants to feel good, then it will get its wish far more often if it trusts the more reasoning part of the brain.

In the time since I read the book and began applying its ideas, I have indeed found that I can play without getting as agitated as before. Sometimes it works better than on other occasions, but the general trend is good. The game is fun and I'm seeing ways to enjoy myself with it that I did not have access to before, so I would say this advice works.

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 Post subject: Re: Losing my grip on go
Post #35 Posted: Wed Aug 01, 2018 11:18 am 
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Javaness2 wrote:
daal wrote:
Bill Spight wrote:
What about go do you find enjoyable? :)
I've thought about this question some more, and I think that one thing I enjoy is getting a handle on something and applying it successfully. Regarding go, this is when I play moves with an intention that I understand, and that they turn out to have been an advantageous thing to do. This hasn't been happening much lately.


I think that if you only enjoy Go through playing to win, then you're going to experience a lot of frustration and anguish through your practice of the game.


I have a slightly different angle: if you want to win, you have to practice those things that increase your likelihood of winning.
Many players apply a certain practicing diet and subconsciously assume this is going to result in more wins. When it doesn't, they are frustrated.

This is why I asked daal: are you frustrated about your level of understanding or your level of winning? I sense it is the latter. When players battle this kind of frustration by increasing their level of understanding, their frustration will only grow.

Your advice is to enjoy something else than winning. My advice goes the opposite way: if you enjoy winning, then practice winning.


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Post #36 Posted: Wed Aug 01, 2018 11:59 am 
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Knotwilg wrote:
Your advice is to enjoy something else than winning. My advice goes the opposite way: if you enjoy winning, then practice winning.


:D

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Post #37 Posted: Wed Aug 01, 2018 12:32 pm 
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My advice goes the opposite way: if you enjoy winning, then practice winning.


But even pro players don't win more than beginners.

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Post #38 Posted: Wed Aug 01, 2018 4:13 pm 
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sandbagging ftw!

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Post #39 Posted: Wed Aug 01, 2018 10:50 pm 
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Sandbagging is not necessary. Some people are willing to play stronger players in order to improve, you just need to click on the challenge they create.

Playing teaching games can also bring some satisfaction, when you think "I didn't do too well lately, but at least my knowledge doesn't go to waste, I can be useful to other people".

Try to help others improve rather than only focusing about improving yourself...


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Post #40 Posted: Fri Aug 03, 2018 3:51 am 
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Knotwilg wrote:
Javaness2 wrote:
I think that if you only enjoy Go through playing to win, then you're going to experience a lot of frustration and anguish through your practice of the game.


I have a slightly different angle: if you want to win, you have to practice those things that increase your likelihood of winning.
Many players apply a certain practicing diet and subconsciously assume this is going to result in more wins. When it doesn't, they are frustrated.

This is why I asked daal: are you frustrated about your level of understanding or your level of winning? I sense it is the latter. When players battle this kind of frustration by increasing their level of understanding, their frustration will only grow.

Your advice is to enjoy something else than winning. My advice goes the opposite way: if you enjoy winning, then practice winning.


Ok, I think my problem is about understanding more than about winning. I admit, I don't handle losing very well, but what really gets under my skin and makes me feel so self-critical, is the feeling that after playing go for 10 years, I still don't know what I am doing. Obviously I have absorbed enough principles to play at a 5k level, but I am still constantly confronted by situations where I feel that I just don't have the basis to make a decision. I can see reasons for playing x or y, but I don't have the tools to say that one is better than the other. It just feels random. So whether I win or lose feels like a matter of luck. It didn't feel like this when I acquired my current level of understanding. I remember when a sentence in one of Robert Jasiek's books got me to 5k, but that was almost 5 years ago, and I have read plenty and studied plenty since then, but my level of understanding feels like it hasn't changed. I do expect that increasing my level of understanding would result in ranking up, but that is not necessarily a goal.

I also realize that a better attitude, as knotwilg suggests would also bring about a rank improvement, and while I agree that the right attitude is an important element of go skill, I don't think that acquiring it or improving it would assuage my current woes. Blunders suck, and coming back after losing a fight is great, but what I really want is more of a sense that I know what I am doing. A few of you have suggested that I get a teacher or a mentor, I think this is a good idea.

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