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 Post subject: The impact of doing tsumego on performance in games
Post #1 Posted: Thu Dec 05, 2019 6:33 am 
Gosei
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I didn't want to hijack the personal study journal where this arose, so here's a new topic (may be an old one)

SoDesuNe wrote:
hl782 wrote:
Forget the details like "utilize thickness", "improve endgame", "positional judgement", "study X pro games who have a certain style"... blah blah blah the list goes on. Just do consistent tsumego, play games frequently and you'll get there. Keep things simple - focus on taking big points, count 3 times in a game and stay woke and don't let your groups die lol.


This is also my take on the quickest path to Shodan.


I have always believed the effect of doing tsumego on performance, but I have never felt it. The most tangible progress in performance and rank for me came from playing serious games, reviewing them and taking the lessons to the next game. That's anecdotal evidence but I wonder if anyone has actually felt the positive impact of a tsumego diet on their performance.

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 Post subject: Re: The impact of doing tsumego on performance in games
Post #2 Posted: Thu Dec 05, 2019 7:06 am 
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Since I started go in spring 2016, I've been doing about 20 tsumegos/day and playing between 1 and 1.5 games a day on average, but have been irregular. I've also replayed pro games, read a small number of books about tesujis, opening, endgame, josekis, invasions, attack/defense... Everything I did had some impact, but nothing spectacular. My improvement rate has been slow, about 2 stones/year since 2017 and decreasing.

Regarding tsumegos, I occasionally win games by seeing an "obvious" way to kill a group that my opponent didn't see at all.

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 Post subject: Re: The impact of doing tsumego on performance in games
Post #3 Posted: Thu Dec 05, 2019 7:16 am 
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https://lifein19x19.com/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=670

That's where I get my faith from ; ) (My own study journal is also morroring this approach.)

I played and reviewed, too, of course but my focus was on tsumego/tesuji.

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 Post subject: Re: The impact of doing tsumego on performance in games
Post #4 Posted: Thu Dec 05, 2019 7:29 am 
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Knotwilg wrote:
I didn't want to hijack the personal study journal where this arose, so here's a new topic (may be an old one)

SoDesuNe wrote:
hl782 wrote:
Forget the details like "utilize thickness", "improve endgame", "positional judgement", "study X pro games who have a certain style"... blah blah blah the list goes on. Just do consistent tsumego, play games frequently and you'll get there. Keep things simple - focus on taking big points, count 3 times in a game and stay woke and don't let your groups die lol.


This is also my take on the quickest path to Shodan.


I have always believed the effect of doing tsumego on performance, but I have never felt it. The most tangible progress in performance and rank for me came from playing serious games, reviewing them and taking the lessons to the next game. That's anecdotal evidence but I wonder if anyone has actually felt the positive impact of a tsumego diet on their performance.


I have observed and sort of felt the negative effects of not being good at tsumego. Tsumego do arise in games. I once killed the corner of a 2-3 kyu opponent. I thought the corner was maybe a 7-10 kyu tsumego position, so I was surprised. When I was 7 kyu I got into a ko fight in a two stone game with my 5 kyu friend and killed a group. I was just trying to make a couple of ko threats. ;) Without the ko fight the group would have lived, as I did not see the kill until it happened.

OTOH, I have definitely felt the positive effects of tesuji and shape. I was ignorant of shape until I got a book on it when I was 4 kyu. It was a real eye opener. I became a shape player and think that shape was worth a couple of stones. Learning when not to play shape was worth maybe another stone. :)

hl782 wrote:
Forget the details like "utilize thickness", "improve endgame", "positional judgement", "study X pro games who have a certain style"... blah blah blah the list goes on.


Pardon me, but this is the voice of ignorance. Shape helped me a lot, but I don't say ignore everything else. There are many paths up the mountain. Tsumego may have helped many people, but that does not mean that it is the best way for everybody to improve. My guess is that there are a couple of dozen skills involved in playing go. A coach may be able to tell you what to focus on. Otherwise, I say study everything.

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 Post subject: Re: The impact of doing tsumego on performance in games
Post #5 Posted: Thu Dec 05, 2019 8:09 am 
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After reading Bill's post, I recalled that of course I felt a lot of progress from reading Life & Death by Davies. Knowing that the L-group is dead, the door group is dead, the comb group is alive, the carpenter's square is too complex to care, the bent four is dead ... All of that has allowed me to prune very aggressively and make better decisions. The feeling when you force your opponent into an L-group and they are still reading ...!

WHile that gave me a palpable boost in performance, the regular activity of problem solving (even today with a great tsumego app, allowing me to do daily tsumego), doesn't give me that, even over time.

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 Post subject: Re: The impact of doing tsumego on performance in games
Post #6 Posted: Thu Dec 05, 2019 8:44 am 
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Let me say a bit more about getting to shodan. I think that it is very important not to develop bad habits. For two reasons. First is that at some point to advance further it becomes desirable, if not necessary, to break them. Second is that they do not really go away. They are repressed. In moments of stress they can reassert themselves. If you focus on any one thing, you can develop bad habits elsewhere. Study everything. :) Also, play better players and study pro games. You are less likely to pick up bad habits from their example. :)

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 Post subject: Re: The impact of doing tsumego on performance in games
Post #7 Posted: Thu Dec 05, 2019 8:46 am 
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Knotwilg wrote:
All of that has allowed me to prune very aggressively and make better decisions. The feeling when you force your opponent into an L-group and they are still reading ...!


:blackeye: ;)

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 Post subject: Re: The impact of doing tsumego on performance in games
Post #8 Posted: Thu Dec 05, 2019 8:58 am 
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As I have mentioned here elsewhere, reading is difficult for me due to the fact that I don't visualize, and tsumego helps me in that respect. (I used to disparage the problems in 1001L&D because many of them are quite artificial, but now I see that as a positive thing because it forces me to do more explicit reading instead of relying on pattern recognition.) Having the concentration to read out another few critical ply during an actual game is something that I do notice and appreciate.

Separately, there is the pattern knowledge aspect, as Knotwilg refers to. I am pretty strong at that compared to my peers, due to spaced repetition practice on the Essential Life & Death books, and it definitely is nice to be confident in the statuses and living/killing techniques for many common situations, especially when I can tell that my opponent isn't.

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 Post subject: Re: The impact of doing tsumego on performance in games
Post #9 Posted: Thu Dec 05, 2019 9:28 am 
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When I am sharp and doing problems regularly, I definitely feel an effect in games. I try to figure out a sequence more precisely than usual, and see things my opponent does not. I still attribute going from 5k to around 1k simply to doing problems (I didn't play many games, and just did tsumego for a couple of hours each day for a few months).

That being said, when I'm not sharp, my bias toward studying only tsuemgo, I think, tends to lead to over-aggression. Everything my opponent plays becomes a target - a problem to solve - a group to kill. I see my opponent's weak points but not my own. I seek to do something tricky or fancy through some sequence I've read, and lose objective of trying to win the game.

I think there are at least two paths to solving these weaknesses in my play. One is to buckle down and stay sharp. Do harder tsuemego, do more easy ones, and stay focused on these problems. Then I'll see my own weaknesses when I play. And even though I *want* something to become my target, I'll see that it doesn't work, and won't play it.

The second path is to acknowledge my lack of sharpness, and to calm down, and try to see things less as a target. To realize that I should focus on winning the game more. I think playing more games and reviewing is helpful for this.

Between the two, Inseong has been strongly advocating the second approach to me for awhile. He doesn't recommend I do more go problems. He just wants me to calm down and focus on playing the big points. Take territory, and win. He wants me to get more game experience using this method. He has told me that this isn't the only way to get stronger, but it'd be a shortcut for me.

I acknowledge his advice, but also agree that it's not the only path. I think if I'm willing to invest the time into seriously doing more tsumego, it won't matter that everything on the go board is a target to me. Because I'll have reading to back it up, and my targets really will become my prey.

But it gets harder and harder as your opponents are getting sharper, too. So maybe I should revisit Inseong's idea... ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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 Post subject: Re: The impact of doing tsumego on performance in games
Post #10 Posted: Thu Dec 05, 2019 12:06 pm 
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Knotwilg wrote:
...I wonder if anyone has actually felt the positive impact of a tsumego diet on their performance.


I made 4 kyu off of mostly strategic understanding, and then I was stuck at 4 kyu for the majority of my trip to 1 dan. Through that time, I was playing a bunch, improving small strategic aspects in my play, doing tsumego often, all the normal things. Eventually, I got sick of feeling of like I was improving but seeing no results. So I went to goproblems.com (this was before tsumego-hero) and studied hundreds of difficult tsumego [you get about 50% of them right on goproblems.com], until the totally arbitrary system there said I was 1dan. This was maybe the first 3 week span in my journey that I didn't play any games, just tsumego. I was watching BattsGo's videos, but only to try to train myself to read whatever he was reading. I wasn't looking at anything strategic, really.

When I went back, I lost my first game at 4k, and I felt that something was wrong - surely I should be stronger after having made all the improvements in reading I did? When I reviewed the game, I saw all these little residual shape problems that I left behind, things I could have seen beforehand. So I told myself - in the next game I play, I wasn't going to care about anything but reading. Throughout the game I gave myself reminders - not to try to win or build or attack or take territory or play efficiently - all I wanted was a game where I read as much as I possibly could. Where I knew about every shape defect before it became important, even if my opponent punished me dearly for my single-minded focus. I won. I repeated and won again. I won all the way up to 1dan, and then 3dan on Tygem when I got tired of KGS waiting times.

So yes, I saw a massive impact from tsumego on my performance. But I had to activate it, to use it on purpose, to learn consciously. I'd be shocked if reading L&D and working/not-working tsumego-like situations makes up 10% of the reading that professionals do during games. You have to train yourself to read outside of L&D, in just normal fighting situations. Train yourself to force your opponent to spend an extra move than they would have normally. Tsumego helps with this, because it's the baseline where you can fall back, the hard limits to what somebody can do.

Knotwilg wrote:
The feeling when you force your opponent into an L-group and they are still reading ...!

The feeling when you've surrounded your opponent and they are still reading :D :D


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 Post subject: Re: The impact of doing tsumego on performance in games
Post #11 Posted: Thu Dec 05, 2019 12:09 pm 
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When I was somewhere in the 5-10k range, I spent awhile studying the "1001 Life & Death" problem book in detail. The problems are "artificial" (you're unlikely to see positions like them in real games). But I forced myself to read out every problem, and carefully verify in my mind all possible moves and responses. I am convinced that this effort improved my play by at least one stone.

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 Post subject: Re: The impact of doing tsumego on performance in games
Post #12 Posted: Fri Dec 06, 2019 7:48 am 
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In the beginning of the year, when I was getting really poor results in tournaments because of stupid blunders and other things and was doing almost daily tsumego (among other things), I noticed no change whatsoever after weeks of working at it including doing tsumego, I kept making the blunders and I didn't have the impression that my reading got one bit better (I did that for about 2 months).
Since around end of July, when I came back after a break, I definitely noticed that doing tsumego has helped me a LOT finally breaking to that 4k barrier (well, I'm still a weak-ish 3k, but whatever). Recently I made a few very nice kills in tournament games when my opponent carelessly just "wanted to enlarge the eye space" (instead of playing the vital point) or just didn't see it coming (my favourite :rambo: ). It's happened several times in the last 2 months and I almost didn't have to think about what I had to do, my reading has definitely improved to a more advanced dilettante level.

And if you want to know: I completed the 1st part of Cho Chikun's Encyclopedia of Life and Death (around 10-30 problems a day) and was about 1/4 into the 2nd book when I stopped. I definitely think that the lack of solutions here is a great benefit.

I find that time-delay in improvement somewhat irritating but I have no other explanation for what has recently happened (even In-Seong's excellent teaching would have no effect on my reading and killing ability).

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 Post subject: Re: The impact of doing tsumego on performance in games
Post #13 Posted: Sun Dec 08, 2019 5:24 am 
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Bill Spight wrote:
... I have definitely felt the positive effects of tesuji and shape. I was ignorant of shape until I got a book on it when I was 4 kyu. It was a real eye opener. I became a shape player and think that shape was worth a couple of stones. Learning when not to play shape was worth maybe another stone. :)


Which book was that?

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 Post subject: Re: The impact of doing tsumego on performance in games
Post #14 Posted: Sun Dec 08, 2019 6:55 am 
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I do believe that reading skill is an important aspect of strong play and doing tsumego should have a significant impact on performance in games. But I've always found it quite arduous to do. I rarely put myself to actually doing it. There is just no pleasure in it for me.

So instead of improving from better reading skills, I think for me it was the other way around: as I got stronger, my reading skills improved. Reading practice just happened in my games. But reading has never been my strong point.

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 Post subject: Re: The impact of doing tsumego on performance in games
Post #15 Posted: Sun Dec 08, 2019 8:54 am 
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Jæja wrote:
Bill Spight wrote:
... I have definitely felt the positive effects of tesuji and shape. I was ignorant of shape until I got a book on it when I was 4 kyu. It was a real eye opener. I became a shape player and think that shape was worth a couple of stones. Learning when not to play shape was worth maybe another stone. :)


Which book was that?


I think it was a book by Maeda, which I lost years ago.

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 Post subject: Re: The impact of doing tsumego on performance in games
Post #16 Posted: Mon Aug 09, 2021 8:42 pm 
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My apologies for replying to a thread that has been inactive for over a year ^^;

I imagine that tsumego is for training the mind to read out board states. Not only local situations, but also whole-board ones. Of course the positions seen in tsumego usually don't arise in live games, but the practice gained from doing tsumego can be useful in strengthening reading ability used in live games. I'm not crazy about doing tsumego, but I have been slowly warming up to them.

Memorized pro game records serve as a reference from which to learn how to play. By learning the logical underpinnings of each move therein, such as knowing when to tenuki and determining direction of play, one gains knowledge useful for playing live games.

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 Post subject: Re: The impact of doing tsumego on performance in games
Post #17 Posted: Wed Aug 11, 2021 4:15 am 
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Tsumego is very useful but it has to be done correctly,the main purpose of tsumego is to establish good habits of thinking and pondering,it must be done properly over a long period of time,and it will have a huge impact,i think its the best method to improve,but it heavily relies on beeing done the right way,without guidance its very difficult to achieve


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