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 Post subject: Re: Ian Butler's Journal
Post #21 Posted: Sat Sep 15, 2018 10:07 am 
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That makes sense.

I must, however, add the fact that I start "slacking" when I play players considerably weaker, and usually the slacking starts happening when I'm comfortably ahead, or when I've caught up on the handicap stones.
To be more precise, I think that in a friendly game against a weaker friend, I use all strategy and less tactical playing because I know that my tactical playing is better than theirs even if I don't pay too much attention.
One could say it's a wrong attitude, for me it's just something that happens.

Part of that might also be that I don't wish to play razor sharp against a friend and beat him down completely. When I "slack" (though don't get the wrong idea here, I don't play bad. But I don't play optimally either) I win with over 50 points difference. If I were to play up to my usual standards, in some games I'd win with over 100 points difference. So it's also a way for me to play, have fun and still give my friend a nice game, too.
Though that doesn't mean I don't point out mistakes that he makes when I, for example, can kill his corner. So instead of killing it, I show the sequence, show his mistake and, if he agrees, he can pick a more suited move.


Biggest obstacle in getting better?
Today I've been quite ill so I spent almost an entire day in bed, unable to read or watch tv or... So I have been thinking a lot.
My biggest obstacle in getting better might well be my own laziness. It's tough to admit but I could play a lot better if I were to: take my time better, read out things better, think of alternative for every move, think more before playing... These are all things I'm able to do, it's not beyong my abilities. A good example is leaning to attack. I know the theory, I understand it, I see it in games. In my own game, I need to attack and I don't think of it. Because I play too fast and don't think enough.
It's hard to admit because in general I'm a person who is quite disciplined, thinks about everything/every choice and whatnot. Yet in my Go playing, I'm often lazy, more instinctively and too quick. My attitude will need to change to play better. Is it a curse from playing online? Is it a subconscious decision to be wild & free in this game (me being quite strict, disciplined and calm in real life) and just have fun on the board without thinking too hard?
I have no idea, but it's an interesting thought and I'll be thinking more about it. Though a few things are clear:
- I still have a lot of potential left (just fixing the above should make my game a lot stronger. Though it's easier said than done)
- I enjoy Go a lot. I used to love studying but when I played I was anxious. Now I love playing games, experimenting...
- Playing Go can mean a many different thing. Quickly online as relaxation, focused against a foe of the same strength as a mental challenge...

Pro Games
Last few days I replayed some old pro games. I really love to do that. This time from the book 'The Playing Styles of Seven Top Pros', which gives detailed commentary for those games on a level I can understand.
I'm also happy to say I start understanding more about those pro games than I used to.
Though I probably still don't understand 5% of what's going on, the games speak out to me, they are beautiful, and so sharp.

Go teaching about life?
I used to look towards Go mostly for learning lessons and - in fact - I have learned a lot from Go. Both studying it and how there are laws on the board.
But I've also learned there are severe limits to Go as a teacher about life. In fact, Go is a very restricted teacher.
When you lose someone dear, you finally understand Go is about as trivial as watching a movie.
Maybe the best lesson Go has to teach me is that Go is, after all, just a game.
Life is a million times more complex than that. A few stones could never capture anything that massive.

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 Post subject: Re: Ian Butler's Journal
Post #22 Posted: Sun Sep 16, 2018 10:32 pm 
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Ian Butler wrote:
...
Biggest obstacle in getting better?
Today I've been quite ill so I spent almost an entire day in bed, unable to read or watch tv or... So I have been thinking a lot.
My biggest obstacle in getting better might well be my own laziness. It's tough to admit but I could play a lot better if I were to: take my time better, read out things better, think of alternative for every move, think more before playing... These are all things I'm able to do, it's not beyong my abilities.[emphasis added] A good example is leaning to attack. I know the theory, I understand it, I see it in games. In my own game, I need to attack and I don't think of it. Because I play too fast and don't think enough.
It's hard to admit because in general I'm a person who is quite disciplined, thinks about everything/every choice and whatnot. Yet in my Go playing, I'm often lazy, more instinctively and too quick. My attitude will need to change to play better. Is it a curse from playing online? Is it a subconscious decision to be wild & free in this game (me being quite strict, disciplined and calm in real life) and just have fun on the board without thinking too hard?
I have no idea, but it's an interesting thought and I'll be thinking more about it. Though a few things are clear:
- I still have a lot of potential left (just fixing the above should make my game a lot stronger. Though it's easier said than done)
- I enjoy Go a lot. I used to love studying but when I played I was anxious. Now I love playing games, experimenting...
- Playing Go can mean a many different thing. Quickly online as relaxation, focused against a foe of the same strength as a mental challenge...

...

Personally I think this is not correct. I believe that we all tend to think this way with regard to most of our lives, not just Go. But we are just fooling ourselves. The thought that we are "better" at something than our results show is very comforting, nothing more.

OK perhaps in the study of mathematics it might be true. You couldn't remember that theorem today but if you thought about it a little longer you would be able to recall it more clearly.

However, in a competitive game against another person you cannot blame your losses on your laziness without giving equal credit to you opponent's laziness for you wins! You think you would do better if you took things more seriously, read more carefully, and so on? Does that mean you think you will do worse if your opponents take things more seriously, read more carefully, and so on instead? You said that fixing the list of things would make your game a lot "stronger". However, I it would just make your results in your existing pool of opponents better. To show that your "game" were really better would require that you sought a pool of studious players who also take their time, consider alternatives on each move, etc. Otherwise you are really just sandbagging in a pool of slackers. "Oh, I crushed that guy last night, ho hum" Yeah, the poor guy dropped his beer on the keyboard just as you threatened to cut and forgot to connect because his shorts were suddenly freezing cold and his wife was screaming about not getting any stains on the upholstery (been there, done that :) ).

There is only one way -- do better! Never rationalize your results based on laziness or any other "reasons". Either you do better... or you aren't better, IMHO.

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 Post subject: Re: Ian Butler's Journal
Post #23 Posted: Mon Sep 17, 2018 1:21 am 
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Ian Butler wrote:
Biggest obstacle in getting better?
Today I've been quite ill so I spent almost an entire day in bed, unable to read or watch tv or... So I have been thinking a lot.
My biggest obstacle in getting better might well be my own laziness. It's tough to admit but I could play a lot better if I were to: take my time better, read out things better, think of alternative for every move, think more before playing... These are all things I'm able to do, it's not beyong my abilities.


ez4u wrote:
Personally I think this is not correct. I believe that we all tend to think this way with regard to most of our lives, not just Go. But we are just fooling ourselves. The thought that we are "better" at something than our results show is very comforting, nothing more.


I don't find that thought very comforting, actually. ;) And I tend to think that Ian is right, although laziness doesn't seem like the right word to me. Several times on this site (including once to Ian) I have quoted bridge great Terence Reese to the effect that someone who plays up to themselves is hard to beat. That hit home to me when I was in my early twenties and I resolved to play up to myself at bridge, and I did raise the level of my game. Recently I challenged BlindGroup to play as a 4 kyu. He did so, and apparently raised the level of his game (although he may have been playing at that level already). In go, as I have also related before, I went from 3 dan to 4 dan simply by playing one stone better. For whatever reasons it is not unusual for people to perform not just below their potential, but below their current ability.

Ian Butler wrote:
A good example is leaning to attack. I know the theory, I understand it, I see it in games. In my own game, I need to attack and I don't think of it. Because I play too fast and don't think enough.


You may want to rethink that. There are any number of players who play too fast and without thought who attack like crazy. ;)

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 Post subject: Re: Ian Butler's Journal
Post #24 Posted: Mon Sep 17, 2018 4:24 am 
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ez4u wrote:
However, in a competitive game against another person you cannot blame your losses on your laziness without giving equal credit to you opponent's laziness for you wins! You think you would do better if you took things more seriously, read more carefully, and so on? Does that mean you think you will do worse if your opponents take things more seriously, read more carefully, and so on instead?

Well, yes, of course. It is just like thinking both "I would do better if I was better at life and death" and "I would have done worse if my opponent was better at life and death." Everyone can improve in various areas, both us and our opponents.

Being able to "bring your A game" consistently is a skill like any other, and improving it will improve your results. I know people who are good at it and people who are bad at it. Some of them are worse than me overall and some of them are better than me. (The simplest way to be bad at it is to play too fast.) I don't see any contradiction.

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The thought that we are "better" at something than our results show is very comforting, nothing more.

I don't think anyone is saying this. I am agonizingly aware that the true measure of my skill is my results in actual games. I, at least, am just saying that playing with more care will improve results just as playing with more knowledge will.

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 Post subject: Re: Ian Butler's Journal
Post #25 Posted: Tue Sep 18, 2018 10:47 am 
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ez4u wrote:
There is only one way -- do better! Never rationalize your results based on laziness or any other "reasons". Either you do better... or you aren't better, IMHO.


Haha. Of course, you are right.
What I actually meant to say was:
I wish I took the game more seriously.
And that on itself is silly to say. Either do or don't. Apparently I don't. (online, mostly)

Quote:
But we are just fooling ourselves. The thought that we are "better" at something than our results show is very comforting, nothing more.


That depends, I believe. I do believe I'm better at Go than my results ONLINE. Note, however, I never use these things are an excuse. I'm not bitter about it or anything, too. It was just something that I noticed. And also that I do a lot of practice reading, but online I hardly do ever reading. So that's also what I meant with: without being lazy, I'd improve. Because then I'd finally apply my reading skills properly.

I see your point and I do agree. But I also persist that you can underperform at things if some criteria are not met. (which is not the same as sayin: I could be better IF....)
I am saying: my Go playing is actually of X strength, but (basically) online I play under my own level because I often play lazy or quick. For me it has to do with the screen.

Let me use an analogy:
playing go online for me is jogging in jeans.
while I could run faster wearing shorts.

There's no excuse: I should wear shorts to run. Not jeans. But I wear them. And I get results I should get running with jeans. And in running with jeans, I'm at my level.
But if I'd take the trouble to always wear shorts, I'd run at a slightly higher level.

That's all. :)

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Post #26 Posted: Wed Sep 19, 2018 6:31 am 
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Hi Ian,

Hope you recover soon. :)

Lazy hardwired?

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Post #27 Posted: Thu Sep 20, 2018 10:06 am 
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EdLee wrote:
Hi Ian,

Hope you recover soon. :)

Lazy hardwired?


Interesting article.
I've played a real life game against Knotwilg a few days ago and I certainly didn't suffer from laziness or fast playing there, proving to myself again it's mostly constricted to Online playing (still a majority of my games, but still).

It was a great game. I had almost forgot how great it can be to play Go under optimal conditions. For me, optimal means:
- a beautiful Goban and nice stones
- a stronger opponent
- a means to discuss/Review the game afterwards

All the ingredients were there, and I thouroughly enjoyed it. I might share the game later.
Of course I lost. Dieter is a Dan and we played without handicap. I made some questionable mistakes/moves and having two weak-ish groups ruined my chances of completing a big area, which I definitely needed to win the game.

Points to take away:
- Take territory. Influence only is very risky and you'll need a lot of points as compensation.
- Check better if a move against a closed off opponent is - in fact - sente.
- Look into cuts even more! CUTTING & CONNECTING IS SO BASIC!
- When behind, you have a play a bit sharper, but don't disband the basics.

All in all, though, it wasn't a bad game either. It was definitely okay for my level. I was just facing a strong opponent who definitely didn't let me get away with my mistakes. As it should be!

Most fun moment:
At one point (already behind) I made a move that seemed to do a few things at once. I definitely liked it. When Knotwilg (/my sensei) called it a small 'ear reddening move', I was very happy with it. Even if, in LeelaZero analysis later on, it turned out not to be such ear reddening after all, I still liked it a lot and my opponent didn't. So even if the robots disagree, it was a nice move on the board :D

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Post #28 Posted: Thu Sep 20, 2018 12:18 pm 
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Ian Butler wrote:
When Knotwilg called it a small 'ear reddening move', I was very happy with it. Even if, in LeelaZero analysis later on, it turned out not to be such ear reddening after all, I still liked it a lot and my opponent didn't. So even if the robots disagree, it was a nice move on the board :D


It was reddening my ears because I then overplayed with a peep and next played an "ear move", both of which were unnecessary risky.

For me, Lizzie's analyis was extremely valuable. On the upside it showed that I had been playing very consistently - actually we both did, but Ian more so in a slowly decaying way, displaying what I thought was a lack of fighting spirit. On the "learning side", it showed an almost astounding preference for moves that create or remove inefficiencies. This has been pointed out by John F. as a remarkable feature of AI, making it truly intelligent.

There was a particular forcing move Black could play, which gave a group of stones slightly better shape. If White played there, it was a reverse sente kind of move, which turned the group in a wasted lump of stones and it also voided some more forcing moves in the follow up of Black's forcing move. White's move wasn't so much sente as it lowered the temperature in that corner, being white territory plus an adjacent useless lump of black stones.

Neither Black or White (Ian or me) had these moves on our radar. Both of us considered other areas to be bigger and other groups to be more urgent.

This learning moment aside, the majority of assessments made by Lizzie are not surprising at all. The pattern here is that Lizzie keeps it simple, in a similar way as I have observed from Dwyrin: take territory, don't be too impressed by loosely shaped spheres of influence and be patient. I've heard people say that AI analysis is way over their head. Maybe I'm overestimating my ability to analyze a game with Lizzie's hindsight, but I find it quite easy to understand and learn from.


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 Post subject: Re: Ian Butler's Journal
Post #29 Posted: Thu Oct 04, 2018 8:17 am 
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Well, I can't seem to win games anymore. Be it against 7 kyu, 10 kyu or even 12 kyu OGS.
Combined with my inability to concentrate on a book (I've read +100 books last year, now I haven't finished a book in more than a week), I believe I'm in some sort of decompression period. I've lived fairly disciplined and studious for the past few years, and now I feel like the bucket is full. I can't keep focused on anything anymore and I play aimlessly, tactically okay but without any sense of direction or plan.

Therefor I have decided to give myself 3 months (or shorter or longer, it's just a reference) of low-discipline living. Meaning I say f*** it to Go, reading and other things I've done so well for the past few years. Meaning I will totally reverse to someone who only seeks joy, plays games, goes for walks, watches series. (and have fun at work!)
I'll loosen the strings entirely, even allowing myself less-healthy food again, like icecream every so often! :lol:

You could argue this seems drastic, or child-like, but I feel it's something I need to do right now. I've always been highly responsible, dutiful and disciplined. While those abilities have served me very well, I want to get away from them for a while, in some manner.

So probably not a lot (or no) updates in this study journal. Because, frankly my dear, I don't give a damn. :cool:

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Post #30 Posted: Sun Oct 21, 2018 5:16 am 
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Boy oh boy. Still doing my "sabbath" thing, but I've played some games every now and then.
I really shouldn't, though. I've completely seemed to lose my flair at the game.

At the moment, I think I play as a 13-14 kyu OGS, while just two months ago I was a solid SDK.
My Go is just terrible at the moment. I have some ideas how and why, but no real solution at the moment. So I really need to stop playing for now, until I can fix some things that have a negative effect on my Go playing. Because this isn't good for morale.

But I'll be back. And I'll get back to my former level and beyond.
It's just... It'll take a while.

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Post #31 Posted: Tue Oct 23, 2018 6:20 am 
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Have you tried reviewing pro games to get you in the zone? :rambo:.

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 Post subject: Re: Ian Butler's Journal
Post #32 Posted: Wed Oct 24, 2018 3:46 am 
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Elom wrote:
Have you tried reviewing pro games to get you in the zone? :rambo:.


Not yet, but that's a good idea.
For now I'm leaving Go as it is. When I want to get back on track, I'll try that! Also nice because that way I use my nice goban instead of online! Thanks!

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 Post subject: Re: Ian Butler's Journal
Post #33 Posted: Wed Oct 24, 2018 10:22 am 
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Another observation I've made is that I actually stopped reading.
Happened slowly but could definitely be a big part of my decrease, come to think of it.
Downside of dwyrin's basic series.

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 Post subject: Re: Ian Butler's Journal - The Aesthetics of Go
Post #34 Posted: Wed Oct 24, 2018 1:38 pm 
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To get away from the pressure of Go for a while, and to motivate myself to (slowly) return to playing (better), I'll for now occasionally watch/review (pro) games and update this journal every once in a while, but only with one thing:
The aesthetics of Go.

Sometimes I watch a game and I fall in love with Go all over again. Today I saw a dwyrin video (on a Go Seigen game) that did it for me. At the following board position, I was just sold to the game completely.

Image

Amazing game, showing Go's skill once more.

What a beautiful game Go is.

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 Post subject: Re: Ian Butler's Journal - The Aesthetics of Go
Post #35 Posted: Thu Oct 25, 2018 9:10 am 
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I should note that I learnt it from the end of this blog post
https://tchan001.wordpress.com/2013/07/ ... -7d-to-9d/
I relate to your focus and book reading issue. And go hatius too ;-).

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 Post subject: Re: Ian Butler's Journal - The Aesthetics of Go
Post #36 Posted: Thu Nov 22, 2018 11:58 pm 
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While I've occassionally come upon amazing aesthetics in Go games (or problems), I couldn't be bothered to take a screenshot or a picture and upload it here. Also, this is a study journal after all, not a picture book :cool:

Anyways, I may have come up with another idea. One I'll be pursuing for the coming weeks and we'll see how it goes. The idea comes out of my general reluctance to play often and that stems mainly from the fact that I'm not really a competitive person. I dislike competition in general. That doesn't mean I don't care at all about winning. Because once I play, of course I'd like to win, that's the game. But it means I don't enjoy myself as much as doing non-competitive things.

But Go is a competitive game, you may say. And that is true.
But recently I was following a Dan game on OGS live and, while following I was seeing all these variations where I was sure: I wouldn't see those in my own game, because for some reason (probably nerves/stress related of competition) you just don't play to your full abilities. Must clarify that I do mean online. In real life, taking time, I do play to my full abilities.
And how did I enjoy watching a good game, coming up with variations, trying to see how things'd turn out.

So the idea (for now) is this:
Instead of playing a lot of games online (which I'm also lacking the time, mostly), I want to be a Go theorist. Theorizing about moves, joseki, board positions is something I really enjoy so I want to focus on it for now. Will it make me a better player in the long run? Who cares, it probably won't hurt.

So, if time and effort allows it, I'll be using this study journal to a closer proximity to its name. Hoping to really study the game.

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 Post subject: Re: Ian Butler's Journal - The Aesthetics of Go
Post #37 Posted: Sun Nov 25, 2018 12:47 am 
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One important area in trying to learn, trying to get better... Is that like 50M of my moves have to change in the mid-short term. If I look a lot at other games, by stronger players (which I'm doing now), I notice many moves that don't even come up to me. While looking at my games, I see a lot of moves being repeated in the same situations.
So I think my Go thinking is not flexibel anymore. So I need to find a way to make it flexibel again.

Am going to think about ways I can do that :)

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Post #38 Posted: Sun Nov 25, 2018 11:20 am 
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Ian Butler wrote:
One important area in trying to learn, trying to get better... Is that like 50M of my moves have to change in the mid-short term. If I look a lot at other games, by stronger players (which I'm doing now), I notice many moves that don't even come up to me. While looking at my games, I see a lot of moves being repeated in the same situations.
So I think my Go thinking is not flexibel anymore. So I need to find a way to make it flexibel again.

Am going to think about ways I can do that :)


Good point. This is a problem that afflicts many SDKs. When they were weaker they played more randomly, and came up with a lot plays, most of which were bad. They saw too many plays. But then they learned better plays, and they learned to avoid bad plays. The pendulum swings in the opposite direction. They have eliminated many bad plays from consideration, but they have also eliminated some good plays.

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 Post subject: Re: Ian Butler's Journal - The Aesthetics of Go
Post #39 Posted: Sun Nov 25, 2018 1:21 pm 
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Before Alphago, even 9p's had eliminated good plays...


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Post #40 Posted: Mon Nov 26, 2018 6:51 am 
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Ian Butler wrote:
One important area in trying to learn, trying to get better... Is that like 50M of my moves have to change in the mid-short term. If I look a lot at other games, by stronger players (which I'm doing now), I notice many moves that don't even come up to me. While looking at my games, I see a lot of moves being repeated in the same situations.
So I think my Go thinking is not flexibel anymore. So I need to find a way to make it flexibel again.

Am going to think about ways I can do that :)


What you can try is this: for each move, think of three moves and then play another one. In hot situations you can probably reduce that number to one.

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