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 Post subject: Re: Overcome the wall or give up
Post #21 Posted: Sun Feb 21, 2021 11:00 am 
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Thofte wrote:
TThe kyu ranks are usually reffered to as the "student"-ranks, while dan being the "master"ranks. So for me "being good at go" equals reaching dan level. Now I can already hear the argument, that dan level is relative and I'd already be a dan in Japan for example. But I'd like to be a dan player no matter where I go. And of course I'm aware that there is a point where you won't improve a whole lot. But if that point were at kyu level for me, I'd be frustrated. Once I hit Dan level I wouldn't retire but I'd take it a little easier.



You might be interested to know that in Japan around 1900 and before there were no kyu official ranks. Shodan was equal to 1p. Kyu and dan ranks for "amateurs" were introduced by the Nihon Ki-in as a way to promote amateur go and generate more students for pros. It is also interesting that the students in pro dojos such as the Kitani school had kyu ranks. Beginning students in the Kitani dojo would be around 9-kyu. Great players like Ishida Yoshio and Kato Masao who, at an amateur dan level and entering the Kitani dojo, would start at 9-kyu. In Korea in the 1960's dan ranks were professional level only. Immigrant Korean players visiting American go clubs would declare their ranks as 2-gup (2k) and would routinely defeat amateur 6d players. By all means aim to reach a solid 1d level, just know that 1d has different meaning from country to country and whether you get your rank in open official tournaments or by the ranking system at a particular club.

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 Post subject: Re: Overcome the wall or give up
Post #22 Posted: Sun Feb 21, 2021 11:12 am 
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I forgot to put this in the previous post. I think most players who reach dan level, after a rush of happiness, don't feel that they have really gotten all that good as a player. This is not a case of imposter syndrome, it is just that there is so much further to improve. Isaac Newton, the famous physicist and mathematician, after discovering his laws for gravity and other great discoveries, described himself as like a child finding interesting pebbles on a beach while the vast ocean lies before him. The great player Cho Chikun has said something similar about his go playing. It has been said that reaching amateur 1d is a mark indicating having learned the basics. When you mostly understand the basics you don't feel like you have reached the summit, just that you are aware of where the summit is.


Last edited by gowan on Mon Feb 22, 2021 10:46 am, edited 1 time in total.
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 Post subject: Re: Overcome the wall or give up
Post #23 Posted: Sun Feb 21, 2021 12:01 pm 
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Thofte wrote:
Could you elaborate a little more ? If I watch a Go lecture about a certain joseki, the teacher will explain why the moves are played. So by watching the lecture I should've done the "understanding" part, right ?

I'm a novice player, and this isn't really Go advice, it's learning advice. For me, watching the lecture (on anything) is the start of the understanding part. Did you really internalize all the variations? All the punishments? The reasons for doing those? When you put these lessons into practice in your games, do things always go as you expect? Why, or why not?

You can go even further. Write your understanding down, or talk to someone about it. Language uses a different part of the brain from other types of reasoning, so you will quite literally have different thoughts about what you're learning if you (attempt to) put it into language. Teach it to someone. Lots of people. Find an unexpected question. And so on...

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 Post subject: Re: Overcome the wall or give up
Post #24 Posted: Sun Feb 21, 2021 9:59 pm 
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I often think with stuff like this the thing to do is to say that Go is your fun game now. Play it at your current level and do as much as feels nice to do. Also start up a new hobby with an easily measurable learning curve so that you can enjoy those early gains. Sometimes the new thing serves as a nice palette cleanser, sometimes it really becomes your new *thing*.

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 Post subject: Re: Overcome the wall or give up
Post #25 Posted: Tue Feb 23, 2021 7:05 am 
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WriterJon wrote:
I often think with stuff like this the thing to do is to say that Go is your fun game now. Play it at your current level and do as much as feels nice to do. Also start up a new hobby with an easily measurable learning curve so that you can enjoy those early gains. Sometimes the new thing serves as a nice palette cleanser, sometimes it really becomes your new *thing*.


You phrased it very cool! Indeed, a new occupation can become either a new hobby or a path to real hobby. And sometimes a new occupation can accompany us throughout life, periodically returning to it, but without becoming a kind of mania. I have a similar situation with computer games. I may not play for several months, but on some weekend I may sit for whole days.


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 Post subject: Re: Overcome the wall or give up
Post #26 Posted: Wed Feb 24, 2021 12:18 am 
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Interesting thread, thank you all for sharing!

Here are my thoughts:

I think playing (live) games is the most important thing. Your 2-3 games per week sound not enough to me to progress in a timely fashion. Though, I'm not at your rank yet and I expect progress to be a lot slower up there. I'm only at about 9k right now so take all this with a grain of salt.

I started playing at the end of May 2020 and I have now played over 775 19x19 games. So that's about 2.9 games per day. I've also reviewed every game I've played with AI (to find the biggest mistakes) and some with my teacher, either as a commented SGF file or as part of a private lecture. For the first few months I had another DDK player playing casual, commented games with me regularely, daily even in the beginning, and that helped a lot.

I play on different servers, currently OGS, Fox and IGS. If I reach a new rank on one of these, I then play on the other ones exclusively till I've reached the same rank there. Since the playing styles on these servers are so different, it helps to stay flexible and be exposed to many different kinds of players and strategies, like Fox players being very aggressive and IGS players being more of a buildy type. This is also something my teacher recommended to not get to used to a certain style.

I've also noticed that correspondence games just do not work for me currently. I need the immediate feedback to progress and learn from my games. For some correspondence games, my style and approach to the games changes over the course of a few weeks. I end up with a game that I have to finish based on strategies and tactics that I don't play anymore for instance. It feels like finishing the game of another player sometimes. When I get stronger and progress slows, I think then correspondence games can work for me.

I've also done tsumego daily. The 10 tsumego you are doing per day are hard to judge. If they are short and easy it is totally different than if it would be 10 hard ones. Though, I don't think the number is that important, but the time spent doing them. I try to spend about 30min per day doing tsumego at least.

I read some pages of a go theory book every day. That gives me new ideas and things to try for the next games. So I always have some additional motivation to play the next day, even if I played poorly recently and I'm a bit demotivated. I don't think that just reading go books makes one better, but the combination of reading about strategies and tactics and then trying to implement them in games shortly after and getting immediate feedback helps.

For the past months I've been on a 2 lectures per month schedule with my teacher (a 4d player). We do 90min lectures going over a review in detail, speaking about joseki and other questions I have. We've also done pair-go vs AI for one lesson. That was fun and an interesting experience! I also ask my teacher nearly daily short questions about certain positions or single moves.

Having a stronger player to consult regularly who is tracking my progress and identifying my weaknesses really helps a lot!

Besides that, I watch go players on Youtube and some video lessons as entertainment. I don't think that this helps as much as playing or doing tsumego though. Reading something in a book seems to stick better for me than to see it in a video lesson.

So, my recommendation is to play a lot more, do more tsumego for a bit longer maybe, play on different servers and, maybe, get a teacher (?).

It is also important to constantly keep being motivated to play and there are various ways to do that. Just having fun is one of them of course. However, it is entirely possible that I will hit the same kind of wall and get into a similar state once I reach 2-3k (if I ever reach that). There will be plateaus at different ranks for me of course and only then it will truly show if my current approach can help me in these situations.


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 Post subject: Re: Overcome the wall or give up
Post #27 Posted: Wed Feb 24, 2021 7:02 am 
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Two thoughts:

1) Correspondence games are probably better for improvement the stronger you are and the long it normally takes to gain a stone of strength. For two ddk players they may begin a game at 15 kyu and then when in the endgame two months later both be 2-3 stones stronger which can be odd feeling.

2) With watching very strong players play, the main takeaway can be what they're thinking about, settling weak groups vs playing big places vs attacking vs being patient and shoring up surrounding groups before attacking. Not so much helping your reading but if you're watching thinking "Oh, I'd attack that weak group now" and they say "I need to be patient and making myself a big stronger before attacking" that's useful I think.

Regardless, yup, enjoying the game is far more important than anything else. :)

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 Post subject: Re: Overcome the wall or give up
Post #28 Posted: Wed Feb 24, 2021 7:36 am 
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It's a common question and the answer by professionals is always the same but I think it's often misunderstood in its brevity and not always achievable for the amateur.

Quote:
Play. Review. Tsumego.


When professionals say "play" they mean serious games, with decent time limits, where you give everything. Not a blitz game after three beers late at night. There are two problems for amateurs: 1) we need to squeeze the beer and the games into a few hours after work/study 2) at our level, even if we are serious, we may encounter not so serious opponents, like escapers and there goes your valuable time.

Review with a very strong player is now in reach for all of us.

When professionals say "tsumego" they mean training your reading capacity. That's why looking at the solution is really irrelevant, rather recommended against because it's not part of the reading process. It can reveal blind spots and teach new techniques though.

Finally, there's another difference between amateurs and professionals. We have the luxury of being allowed to give up. The flip side is that it's easy to give up. Professionals don't need to keep the motivation, it's a matter of livelihood. We need to take care of our motivation. And here's a big dilemma for many: if you are motivated by a rank (reaching 1 dan) but the process is not motivating, then you'll give up. Make sure the process is not making you quit, even if it means delaying or letting go of your initial objective. Or quit, of course.


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 Post subject: Re: Overcome the wall or give up
Post #29 Posted: Wed Feb 24, 2021 12:52 pm 
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This is the kind of thread that I hesitate to get into, because so much depends upon the personal equation. But let me offer my 2¢.

First, everybody reaches their final plateau, their "level of incompetence", as the Peter Principle puts it. ;) As an amateur, yours is probably four or five years off. :)

Second, as has been pointed out, amateur shodan is not master level. Hell, it's not even expert level. IMO, expert level is the top 5% of regular players, which is probably around AGA 4d or so.

Third, the idea of a wall is largely psychological. Not that plateaus do not exist, but thinking that you are facing a wall hinders advancement.

Fourth, if you want to go into training, I think that 15 hours per week is necessary. You do not have to devote that much time to go, but if not, don't worry about advancement, just let it happen. Which it almost certainly will, in time. :)

With the preliminaries out of the way, here is an important point for dealing with problems in life, not just go.

If what you are doing isn't working, do something else.

At your level of play, and feeling that you are facing a wall, unlearning bad habits is almost certainly necessary. But you do not know what those bad habits are. Altering your style of play can be a big help in overcoming those bad habits. If you are an influence player, try out a territorial style, and vice versa. If your are an attacker, try a more positional style, and vice versa. If you make invasions, try making reductions, and vice versa. Et cetera, et cetera.

Edit: Changing your style will take you into unfamiliar territory, where you may make mistakes for that reason. Until you learn how to avoid those mistakes, the result may be that your rating goes down instead of up. Often the price of breaking bad habits is for things to get worse before they get better. :)

One thing that you are doing that I think is a sine qua non for advancement is reviewing your own games. You are using Crazy Stone Deep Learning. Fine. I agree with not worrying about deep sequences of play.

There are some things to improve that you are not doing. One thing that is, IMO, important, based not only upon go but upon other games, is playing against stronger opponents. They will provide meaningful feedback by punishing your mistakes. They will make good plays that you did not see. The usual advice given is to take three stones. Players who are three stones stronger will make plays are better than yours, but not so much better that you cannot understand them. :) If possible, review your games afterwards with them. Since your goal is to become a dan player, find out how their thinking differs from yours.

Another thing you are not doing is playing over and reviewing professional games. Humans are quite good at learning by imitation. One way of learning by reviewing pro games is to guess the next move. Even better is to review using Crazy Stone and try to guess its next move.

Good luck! :D

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Everything with love. Stay safe.


Last edited by Bill Spight on Fri Feb 26, 2021 4:28 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Overcome the wall or give up
Post #30 Posted: Thu Feb 25, 2021 11:45 am 
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Knotwilg wrote:
When professionals say "tsumego" they mean training your reading capacity. That's why looking at the solution is really irrelevant, rather recommended against because it's not part of the reading process. It can reveal blind spots and teach new techniques though.


As with amateurs there are a different takes on this in the professional realm:

Fang Tianfeng 8p: "Life and death is easier to learn, but requires a lot of effort. There are two types of study. You can look at problems and memorise their solution, or you can look at problems and carefully calculate their variations. After calculating you can compare to the answer. Each method has its advantages and disadvantages. You don't need to calculate is the advice from pros. They need to memorise lots of problems. But amateurs may say it differently. They may like to spend some time to analyse a problem. If you memorise lots of problems, you can train over time a so called "move instinct". When this is rather good, then in lots of different shapes, you can tell at a glance what move you should play." (https://lifein19x19.com/viewtopic.php?p=263507#p263507)

Also Fang Tianfeng 8p in Weiqi Study Method and Overview of Study Content: "Life and Death: Refers to the problem of life and death of a group of stones in a local situation. There are two ways to learn and practice this:
(1) First look at the answer and memorize it repeatedly
(2) Do the problem by yourself and then compare with the answer
" (https://tchan001.wordpress.com/2012/08/ ... y-content/)

Li Ang, Li Yue in Korean Baduk Classic Life and Death Drills: "As problem difficulty and people’s solving ability vary across a wide range, the number of problems to be done each day is not important. Rather, you need to focus on the time spent on drilling life and death problems. The key is to derive the answer based on your own effort and not worry about whether it is right or wrong. After careful consideration to arrive at your final answer, check the model answer along with the variations and failures to see what you might have missed. Don’t look at the answers without completing your final analysis as it will cut your efforts to strengthen your skills in half. As with any other subject, mastery is achieved by drilling yourself to analyze and think over the questions, rather than by rote memorization of the model answers." (https://tchan001.wordpress.com/2011/11/ ... anslation/)

Li Ang, Li Yue actually quoted Cho Chikun in their book:
Cho Chikun 9p in My Views on Go: Life and death problems are the same. Don’t rely on memorization. In the past I have looked at Mr. Maeda’s life and death problem collection from the beginning to the end, but with only a cursory look, there are bound to be two or three problems I solve incorrectly. I would review and note where I went wrong. After a period of time when I look at the problems again, I would still miss two or three problems. This proves that every time I do life and death problems, I always make fresh calculations rather than rely on rote memorization. (https://tchan001.wordpress.com/2011/06/ ... lculation/)

Cho U 9p has looked at the answers as a kid/aspiring pro(?) (I can only quote Bill Spight here: https://lifein19x19.com/viewtopic.php?f ... go#p258924)

To go full meta: The question how can I improve is rarely the right one (or what do I do wrong for that matter). Concretely asking players, who reached the strength I want to have, what they did to get where they are now at least offers some footsteps in the sand to follow. This thread woudn't be past the first page then, too :blackeye:

Years ago, I asked a EGF 5-dan player how he started out into the dan-ranks. He told me he just played a lot of blitz. I also asked a EGF 6-dan, he did a lot of tesuji problems. A EGF 5-dan went to town on goproblems.com and watched a lot of pro games, journeyed from EGF 12-kyu to 1-dan in a year. Everyone consistently played in multiple tournaments every year.

Pick your cherry and have fun : )

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 Post subject: Re: Overcome the wall or give up
Post #31 Posted: Fri Feb 26, 2021 2:22 am 
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SoDesuNe wrote:

As with amateurs there are a different takes on this in the professional realm:



I won't argue with the pros, even if they disagree among themselves :) but ...

I still think this discussion is more about acquiring techniques (tesuji) which is indeed one outcome of solving problems, i.e. do you acquire those techniques by memorizing solutions or by (re)discovering them for yourself or by the hybrid method of read and compare. This is an interesting debate but derails from what I (now) see as the primary benefit of solving problems, which is training your reading skill in settings that don't require positional judgment and have no time pressure. The "solution" is more like a carrot held in front of you while doing the reading.

Quote:
Years ago, I asked a EGF 5-dan player how he started out into the dan-ranks. He told me he just played a lot of blitz. I also asked a EGF 6-dan, he did a lot of tesuji problems. A EGF 5-dan went to town on goproblems.com and watched a lot of pro games, journeyed from EGF 12-kyu to 1-dan in a year. Everyone consistently played in multiple tournaments every year.


Nice :) if this is a reliable sample, the last sentence points at a potential necessary condition, while the rest is auxiliary.

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 Post subject: Re: Overcome the wall or give up
Post #32 Posted: Fri Feb 26, 2021 2:51 am 
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Memorizing life-and-death problems may work... if you have a good memory. Some people are naturally able to reproduce a local position on a board after seeing it, but I am unable to do that. Maybe practice could help, I didn't really try hard.

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 Post subject: Re: Overcome the wall or give up
Post #33 Posted: Fri Feb 26, 2021 6:10 am 
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jlt wrote:
Memorizing life-and-death problems may work... if you have a good memory. Some people are naturally able to reproduce a local position on a board after seeing it, but I am unable to do that. Maybe practice could help, I didn't really try hard.


I imagine for a professional or aspiring professional the time and effort (and motivation) available to dedicate to the task may make it efficient whereas the methods may be dubious for amateurs who can dedicate less time every day. Mostly, it's a hobby, finding ways of studying you enjoy is probably the most important thing. I'm unsure there's much merit in someone forcing themselves to never look at answers or forcing themselves to memorise problems if they dislike doing these and end up being less inclined to study life and death. The situation is different if you're trying to get good enough to make a living out of it. Similar to language learning where if you're not on some deadline to reach a particular level how you study vocabulary and grammar doesn't need to be about efficiency as much as being something that works which you can maintain long term.


Personally, I think people should just mix it up a bit. Memorise simple (for them) problems, solve easier problems purely through visualing the position with no diagram or board to help, attempt hard problems with the goal of reading deeply for 10-15 minutes rather than finding the solution quickly and so on. The greatest enemy here is probably people repeating the same practice methods over and over, it's an easy way to miss out on some low hanging fruit alternative study methods might catch.

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 Post subject: Re: Overcome the wall or give up
Post #34 Posted: Sun Feb 28, 2021 6:02 am 
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This is my reply to OP.
First is whether you should improve. Cho Chikun 9p once suggested that when you reach shodan (Japan. probably 4k-5k in US/Europe) to stop there, cause you can easily find players at around your strength, thus making your go life enjoyable.

Say you reject his advice. Next, my teacher says that to make a stride in improvement, you need to change your way of thinking. If you play close to thickness (either yours or your opponent's), you will not improve much by studying tesuji, joseki etc, as long as you continue playing close to thickness, he says. He also says that changing how you think is a multiplication where studying tesuji etc is an addition, to your strength.
Also, he adds that when you change your way of thinking, you will start losing your games, because your skills have not adapted to it, and it will be some time, like 6 months or maybe a year, before your stride culminates in a win.

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