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 Post subject: Re: Ian Butler's Journal - 2018 reflections, 2019 ambitions
Post #81 Posted: Fri Dec 28, 2018 8:33 am 
Honinbo

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jlt wrote:
Only 10 games? ;-) I sometimes play 25 games in a single day, from early morning until late evening, but then almost stop playing online for several months. That's probably not the best way to make progress.


Wilcox used to recommend playing a whole game in 15 minutes. That way you have to rely upon instinct and knowledge. :)

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 Post subject: Re: Ian Butler's Journal - 2018 reflections, 2019 ambitions
Post #82 Posted: Fri Dec 28, 2018 9:18 am 
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Bill Spight wrote:
jlt wrote:
Only 10 games? ;-) I sometimes play 25 games in a single day, from early morning until late evening, but then almost stop playing online for several months. That's probably not the best way to make progress.


Wilcox used to recommend playing a whole game in 15 minutes. That way you have to rely upon instinct and knowledge. :)


May work for some people. For me that's blitz Go and not something I enjoy too much. Only every once in a while ;)

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Post #83 Posted: Fri Dec 28, 2018 9:40 am 
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Ian Butler wrote:
Bill Spight wrote:
jlt wrote:
Only 10 games? ;-) I sometimes play 25 games in a single day, from early morning until late evening, but then almost stop playing online for several months. That's probably not the best way to make progress.


Wilcox used to recommend playing a whole game in 15 minutes. That way you have to rely upon instinct and knowledge. :)


May work for some people. For me that's blitz Go and not something I enjoy too much. Only every once in a while ;)


I never followed such advice, myself. Besides, I was 4 dan when Wilcox published in the American Go Journal. But when I was 2 kyu a Japanese 2 dan advised me to play pon-pon go. Until I moved to Santa Fe, NM, I used to take about one hour per game, and normally played three games per day on the days that I did play. But the players at Los Alamos liked to take about 2½ hrs. per game, so usually one game was it for me. A visiting Korean 5 dan once remarked, "Why do they take so long, when they have nothing to think about?" ;)

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 Post subject: Re: Ian Butler's Journal - 2018 reflections, 2019 ambitions
Post #84 Posted: Fri Dec 28, 2018 12:43 pm 
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Ian Butler wrote:
But it's not my style, definitely, definitely not. Right now I feel like I am a lousy player and I should quit go. I know this is just because of what happened and these emotions go away, I can identify them and see them rationally, but I also know why the feelings are there and I don't think it's in any way positive for me to go through this by choice. So 10 games online in a row, no thanks.

I think go has this sort of effect on people regardless of how much they play. I played in a cup tourney last month where I played sloppily and without a clear plan in all of them and some of those games just left me feeling disgusted with myself in a way as well. I was thinking something along the lines of 'this isn't why I'm playing go at all' a lot; the experience made me consider similar questions.

Cool experiment, it's good to hear your conclusions. I'd guess that when it comes to playing a lot of games in a rapid manner it all comes down to the mindset, but defining what is the right one in this case eludes me. I just hope it doesn't mean that those doors are closed for me.

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Post #85 Posted: Sat Dec 29, 2018 2:35 am 
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@yakcyll: at SDK level, it is not uncommon to win against players who are 3 stones stronger and think "hey, he plays many bad moves like me, I could be n-3 kyu", and the next day fail to count liberties, lose against a player 3 stones weaker and think "in fact, am I really n kyu ?"...

Bill Spight wrote:
But when I was 2 kyu a Japanese 2 dan advised me to play pon-pon go. (...) A visiting Korean 5 dan once remarked, "Why do they take so long, when they have nothing to think about?" ;)


So I understand from you posts that until about dan level, one can benefit a lot from blitz games. The question is why and how. I guess the two main advantages of blitz games are that
  • weaknesses are more apparent, so more easy to detect;
  • playing a lot of games with a specific goal in mind (fix one of these weaknesses) helps to reinforce good habits.

Personally I am a bit like Ian Butler, I am too frustrated by my blunders when I play blitz, but 30 minute games are fine for me and might serve the same purposes almost as well.

I have already detected quite a few elementary things that I sometimes or often fail to do during a game, and which could be fixed by playing many fast games:
  • Check if I can cut my opponent
  • Check if my opponent can cut me.
  • Before attacking/escaping/making eyes/invading, look if a peep or a placement could be useful.
  • Check if my opponent can make a peep or a placement that could be problematic.
  • Before responding to my opponent's move, check if I can make a useful sente move first.
  • When my opponent makes a locally sente endgame move, check if I can make a sente move elsewhere instead of responding passively.
  • Look for dual-purpose moves, e.g. enclose my territory/threaten to cut, protect two cuts at the same time...
  • Check if it is better to cut and fight, instead of escaping.
  • When escaping, look if I can jump further instead of pushing from behind.
  • Be careful about liberties during the endgame. Even if I don't die, shortage of liberties can give many sente moves to my opponent.

There are however a few bad habits that fast games cannot fix:
  • Not reading deep enough. I sometimes have surprises due to shortage of liberties that appear one move further.
  • Not reading wide enough, i.e. failing to consider another possible response from my opponent.

There are also weaknesses that I don't know how to fix anyway, whether with fast or slow games.
Mostly shape problems:
  • How to protect a cut? Solid connection, tiger's mouth, extend,...?
  • Where to pincer? High, low, close, distant?
  • How far to extend in the center? tobi, nikken-tobi, keima, ogeima...?

I did practice some tesuji books, and read "Shape Up" as well as "Fundamental Principles" by Yilun Yang, but I am still confused. I am looking at pro games with the hope that good shapes will become natural, so far without much success.

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 Post subject: Re: Ian Butler's Journal - 2018 reflections, 2019 ambitions
Post #86 Posted: Sat Dec 29, 2018 4:37 am 
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@yakcyll
I guess that's true. However, what helps that for me (and it might for you) is reviewing the game. When I play a game, I usually stick to only one game, but I review that game always afterwards. If I played a game that I feel lousy about, most of the time I'm over it by the time I've finished the review. Not because I try to "win" the review, but because I know where my mistakes were and I feel I've maybe learned something, that makes up for the bad play.
The problem with the 10 games yesterday is that I don't feel like I learned anything. On the contrary, I had the feeling afterwards I had lost like 3 stones in strength in one day.

@jlt
Thanks for sharing. Yes, at SDK level, ranking still aren't that stable. Or it is rather like you say. Your mindset/circumstances can really make a mark on your game.

I don't know if Blitz games solve much. I guess it also depends on what kind of person you are. For me it's obvious that I'm someone who learns better by study and thinking about things. Other people learn better by practice, practice, practice. Of course, you always need both practice and study, but the ratio depends on who you are.
A simply example for me was the double hane. I could've experimented with it in 50 games, but when I finally "read" or studied the theory behind it in Jump Level Up 3, I finally understood a lot more; when you can use it, and how. Now I can use it a lot better.

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 Post subject: Re: Ian Butler's Journal - the late middle-game
Post #87 Posted: Sat Dec 29, 2018 4:50 am 
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From 2018 to 2019!

Part 2: use your time wisely
That is good advice in a Go game, but here it means something larger. How will I use my time in 2019? First of all, it won't all be spend on Go, no sir. My work is very important to me, as are my friends, my family, the music I play and the books I read. But Go is also a big part of my life at the moment, currently surpassing even the music. So it'll have a nice place at the table for the 2019 feast!

How will I spend the time learning about Go is the real question. While I can't say that for sure, here's what I have planned so far:

- Replay a lot of Pro Games.
This is my big goal for the upcoming year. In the one year I've been playing Go, I've probably replayed like 50 Pro Games in total. I hope to triple that number by the end of 2019. It's one of the Go activities I like the most. Even if I could never play Go again, I'd replay Pro Games. I get a lot of enjoyement, peace and calm out of it. I also read a lot during these Pro Games, try to read out sequences etc.

How will I do this? Well, I just ordered a few books that'll be very useful:
- Invincible (Shusaku collection)
- Lee Sedol commented Games (all 3 parts)
- Games of Wonder
- A collection of several handicap games
- books from the 'Master Play' series, including Kato Masao and Lee Sedol (unfortunately Go Seigen and Takemiya were sold out)

- Tsumego & Tesuji
Tsumego, try to do it daily, for about 15 minutes.
Do tesuji problems. Seeing tesuji is probably one of my biggest weaknesses. I miss a lot of tesuji in many different situations. So something to work on! Re-read Tesuji by Davies again, and Get Strong at Tesuji must help me.

- Play Games
I intend to play a little bit more, though I'm not certain about this one just yet. Either way, playing games is more stressful than studying, but can also be fun. So I do hope to play at least 2 serious games a week. Along with many 9x9 and 13x13 games against CrazyStone, Leela and Igowin.

- Read Go books
Continue reading books about Go. Some about strategy, others on tactics, others on the Go world in general. I feel books like these only help when you read them over and over. I did that with Opening Theory Made Easy before. I'm also reading Attack & Defense for the third time, now. Every time I learn something, even if it's small.


So there. Those are my plans for the 2019 year. Pro Games will be my n°1 priority. Not because I think it's the best way to get better at Go. But because I love doing it, and most of all I want to keep my love of Go, not destroy it by working too hard :)


Part 3, final part, will be up hopefully before 2019 :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: Ian Butler's Journal - the late middle-game
Post #88 Posted: Mon Dec 31, 2018 2:26 am 
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From 2018 to 2019!

Part 3: ambitions for 2019
Well, I had a whole "speech" planned for this part, until I had some bad experiences playing online the past couple of days. The reasons for these bad games is twofold, I reckon. Playing way too fast is one, and playing to win (too desperately after a few losses) is the other.
So out with all my previous ambitions. About X rank or X strength or X amount of games.

My sole Go ambition for 2019 is to strip away all bad habits surrounding my Go.

Meaning no more blitzing (unless it's for fun occasionally), but playing Go as it's meant to be played. That'll probably mean that I won't be playing more games, like I wanted to, but I'd rather play 5 games as I should than 20 blitz where I feel bad and don't play well.
Meaning I have to detach from my Go as well. You can't let a thing like ego ruin your fun/love for Go. The ego dwells in strange places, and for me, it really feasts on Go. I have managed to strip away my ego in several parts of my life, with success. Now it's time to do the same for this one.

If I succeed in these objectives, it will have been a fruitful year, despite my rank. Even if I don't get a single stone better this year, it's a big succes if I manage to deal with these 2 bad habits.
Because if I don't, I might as well stop playing Go, because these 2 things turn playing Go too often into a bad experience.

So pretty ambitious. Hopefully I can do it :cool:

See you in 2019!

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 Post subject: Re: Ian Butler's Journal - 2018 reflections, 2019 ambitions
Post #89 Posted: Tue Jan 08, 2019 11:17 am 
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On a weekend away with some family, I was replaying a Pro game on my foldable board when my little niece came back from a walk. She is almost 3 years old. She asked me what I was doing and I said: just playing a game. She wanted to play, too, obviously.

So I told her, sure, you have to put stones on the board!

She bravely took a white stone and put it right in a square. What a move!

I then took a black stone and put it, not too close, not too far from her stone.

She took another white one and played near the corner.

I took a black one and played it close to her stone.

She took my stone of the board and played it somewhere else.

Then we made drawings using the black and white stones to make a bicycle (hard!), flowers (easier) and a smiley face (easiest)

Later she asked to play again, of course we did.
Good times :)


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 Post subject: Re: Ian Butler's Journal - perfect game
Post #90 Posted: Wed Jan 09, 2019 9:58 am 
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I was doing Life and Death and came upon a problem where I didn't understand why my answer was wrong. So many refutes by white didn't work out.
I made the .sgf and was about to post it on the forum. But suddenly my battery died and I had to restart my computer.

While my computer restarted, I suddenly thought of a move for white that probably worked. I messed around with it in cgoban and found that, in fact, the answer in the book is the only way to live unconditionally. My answer has a potential for a ko, though, which is also interesting.

You know, I am really falling in love with L&D. I do them daily now, for about 10-15 minutes. Some days a bit less, but other days a lot more. I don't feel my reading ability improving, but I guess that's because it's something you do every day and I think it's probably improving very slightly but greatly over bigger periods of time.


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 Post subject: Re: Ian Butler's Journal - More Life & Death!
Post #91 Posted: Wed Jan 09, 2019 10:10 am 
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In your last variation, :w12: captures directly the four stones, there is no ko.

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 Post subject: Re: Ian Butler's Journal - More Life & Death!
Post #92 Posted: Wed Jan 09, 2019 10:11 am 
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jlt wrote:
In your last variation, :w12: captures directly the four stones, there is no ko.


Of course :oops: :roll: :lol:
That's the difference of things read out (earlier variations where white answers wrong) and variations by quickly clicking through them on cgoban :scratch:

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 Post subject: Re: Ian Butler's Journal - More Life & Death!
Post #93 Posted: Wed Jan 09, 2019 10:14 am 
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In this line:
Click Here To Show Diagram Code
[go]$$
$$ +-------------------+
$$ | . 2 . 3 O O5 O . |
$$ | X X X X X X O O 1 |
$$ | . O O O O O X X . |
$$ | . . . . . . O 4 . |
$$ | . . , . , . , O . |
$$ | . . . . . . . . . |
$$ | . . , . , . , . . |
$$ | . . . . . . . . . |
$$ | . . . . . . . . . |
$$ +-------------------+[/go]

Can't White just recapture after :b5:?


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 Post subject: Re: Ian Butler's Journal - More Life & Death!
Post #94 Posted: Wed Jan 09, 2019 11:35 am 
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dfan wrote:
In this line:
Click Here To Show Diagram Code
[go]$$
$$ +-------------------+
$$ | . 2 . 3 O O5 O . |
$$ | X X X X X X O O 1 |
$$ | . O O O O O X X . |
$$ | . . . . . . O 4 . |
$$ | . . , . , . , O . |
$$ | . . . . . . . . . |
$$ | . . , . , . , . . |
$$ | . . . . . . . . . |
$$ | . . . . . . . . . |
$$ +-------------------+[/go]

Can't White just recapture after :b5:?


Where is the facepalm smiley when you need it?

Of course.
Thanks dfan and jlt for pointing out my mistakes! :salute: One of the harder L&D in this collection for me for some reason :)

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 Post subject: Re: Ian Butler's Journal - More Life & Death!
Post #95 Posted: Wed Jan 09, 2019 12:01 pm 
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Ian Butler wrote:
One of the harder L&D in this collection for me for some reason :)


The key piece of knowledge, it seems to me, is that capturing three stones in a row produces an eye. :)

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At some point, doesn't thinking have to go on?

— Winona Adkins

Everything with love.


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 Post subject: Re: Ian Butler's Journal - More Life & Death!
Post #96 Posted: Sun Jan 13, 2019 12:29 pm 
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2 comments about Go today:

1) TsumeGo!
There is something very rewarding about going back to a book you were struggling with less than 10 months ago and doing 150 problems in about 30 minutes, scoring 99% correct.
In case you are wondering, it's Graded Go Problems for Beginners 2. I'll be doing parts 3 and 4 of the book tomorrow, too, probably equally fast. Then back to GGPB 3, which will be a bit tougher. Hopefully this time I can make it all the way through and start GGPB 4.
Yes, tsumego pays off. But you don't notice your progression until you take a big step back and do problems that you were doing months ago, and you realize you see the answers sometimes instantly.

2) Improvement!
When you're open to it, Go can teach you a lot of things. While I try to let me Go teach me just about anything it can, I sometimes feel it fails. I can feel frustration when I play badly, or if I think I didn't progress a bit after such hard work... Sometimes I think: why can't I stay calm during a game? Etc Etc...
But then I also notice, wait a minute - these skills are actually improving a lot, but I notice it more with things not-go related.
I am a calmer person than I ever was. Even in my class room with 23 hitting-puberty students I almost never have to raise my voice, instead I treat them gently, calmly, smiling and - at times, when necessary - firm.
When I fail in things I set out to do, I more and more cease to feel frustration.

So where I'm "failing" in my Go, I succeed in life. I can't explain why this is, maybe because I focus my efforts so much on Go, it's harder to accept it, there, yet I'm training these skills enough anyway?

I don't need to explain it. Because it's working. For now, Go is improving me. Whether I'm improving my Go is another matter :lol:

Although I also have to say this probably has to do with other factors, too. My research into the teachings of the Buddha, for example. But I know Go plays an important part, too.


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 Post subject: Re: Ian Butler's Journal - Succeed in life (fail at go!)
Post #97 Posted: Wed Jan 16, 2019 3:49 am 
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I played a 3H game against a KGS 9kyu.

I'm not used to playing handicap games, but I tried to make it work. My main focus was to dictate the pace, go for influence early on (not for territory) and see what'd happen.

In the end, I managed to build up an impressive middle, which black tried to invade without success. So I won the game.

However, I also made some weird mistakes in this game. I ascribe them to a combination of factors: low concentration (stomach flu...), relative quick pace of game, it's an online match, bit lazy in reading today.
Perhaps most of all laziness today. I wasn't up to a real, serious match today, and I took little time to read. Bad habit I'm trying to get rid off. Some days I manage better than others.
So not my best game tactically, but I think I make up for it with my strategy/whole-board-thinking today, where most of my "reading" or most of my attention went to this game.

Some of my bigger tactical mistakes:
White 33
White 73
White 129. I mean, what is that move?
White 137 I'm not sure off. I disconnect but it seems there are less dangerous alternatives.
White 141, better at J11?
White 153
Leela is very scared for white when white plays 157. Apparently there is some throw-in and ko, which neither of us saw. I played 157 to keep black disconnected.
White 169
White 201. I blunder completely here. For some reason I thought black 200 had set up a snapback. But it's not so, and I have no clue why I saw that wrong.
Worst part of it was: I continued to believe I couldn't take the D11 stone off the board, and I thought my group was caught! That explains the weird 205, 207 moves.
White 219

Anyway, like I said, not my best game, mostly because of laziness today, but also some mental blocks, like the odd "snapback". However, definitely not a game under perfect circumstances and it was a blitz game.
So to sum up easily for today:

Positives: strategy
Negatives: tactics



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 Post subject: Re: Ian Butler's Journal - More Life & Death!
Post #98 Posted: Wed Jan 16, 2019 4:08 am 
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Bill Spight wrote:
Ian Butler wrote:
One of the harder L&D in this collection for me for some reason :)


The key piece of knowledge, it seems to me, is that capturing three stones in a row produces an eye. :)


Of course!

Having re-discovered this knowledge consciously, I managed to solve another L&D easily the other day.

It's probably different for everyone, but for me Go is learning, re-learning, re-learning, re-learning... the same knowledge. The first time you learn something won't be enough. Only after you've "learned" it a 100 times, you might never forget it again.


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 Post subject: Re: Ian Butler's Journal - Succeed in life (fail at go!)
Post #99 Posted: Sat Jan 19, 2019 2:38 am 
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Some things (sequences, shapes...) I want to study, learn and possibly memorize in 2019:

- More 3-4 joseki. High approach pincer joseki, Low approach joseki.
- 4-4 double approach joseki, some variations

- Corner shapes. I'm playing CrazyStone regularly on small board and too many times has he turned some corner into a seki when I thought it was points. So I want to learn some of the corner shapes.

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 Post subject: Re: Ian Butler's Journal - Succeed in life (fail at go!)
Post #100 Posted: Sat Jan 19, 2019 11:23 am 
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The Next Level!
In April 2019 I'm going to Germany for 2 weeks to go train Go. I've made the arrangements with the JIGS school in Jena, a new Go school which is doing its pilot year; I'll go for 2 weeks and receive lessons, teachings games, play games with other students there etc. The two main teachers there are Manja Marz and Youngsam Kim (EGF Rated #1 (as of January 2019)).

I hope this will take my Go playing to the next level. And in any case, it's bound to be an interesting experience, to surround myself with Go and Go-minded people for 2 weeks!


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