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 Post subject: Re: Losing my grip on go
Post #61 Posted: Sun Aug 12, 2018 7:04 pm 
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Bill Spight wrote:
Having looked at your recent game, I would not call your play timid. But I think it does lack enterprise. :)


I can agree with that. Any thoughts on what moves I should try to make to be more enterprising?

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Post #62 Posted: Sun Aug 12, 2018 8:58 pm 
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BlindGroup wrote:
Bill Spight wrote:
Having looked at your recent game, I would not call your play timid. But I think it does lack enterprise. :)


I can agree with that. Any thoughts on what moves I should try to make to be more enterprising?


Sure. And some of this reflects what I have learned from AlphaGo.

Let's start with pincers. AlphaGo pincered about half as much as human pros. (And human pros, according to John Fairbairn, think that amateurs are too aggressive, in the main. So amateurs probably pincer more than pros.)

The flip side of that is that you don't have to worry (much) about getting pincered. You don't have to worry about a double approach to a star point, either. That's why I recommended playing in the open corner with :b5: in your recent game. If you are going to freely allow pincers and double approaches to take big points, you have to be willing to be attacked. In this context, taking a big point and allowing an attack is one way to be enterprising. :)

So when does AlphaGo play a pincer? Many, if not most of AlphaGo's pincers occur when AlphaGo has bolstered the stone being approached. Consider a normal pincer joseki. In response to the pincer the pincered stone often jumps out. Then the opponent replies on one side, and then the pincered stone puts some pressure on the stone on the other side, by a counterpincer or other play. In vague, verbal terms we have the sequence, corner play, approach, pincer, jump, reinforce one side, put pressure on the other side. We may think of the jump as setting up a miai. (Edit: I don't mean, however, that after the jump and the reply by the opponent that you can't tenuki.) For many AlphaGo pincers the sequence is this: corner play, approach, reply (reinforcing the corner stone), tenuki, pincer. Now a jump will not set up a miai. So the pincer is stronger. :)

In your game you responded with keima to the :w4: approach. White then approached from the other side. White should have taken the open corner, but the second approach is joseki. You responded by playing a keima towards the center. This also set up a miai by bolstering your corner stones. White extended on the right side. IMO, the time was ripe to pincer the approach stone on the bottom side. The pincer would be even stronger than the usual AlphaGo pincer because your three corner stones were quite strong. To allow White to play both sides of the miai was, IMO, not so good. (Leela Zero may disagree, OC. ;))

Later in the game, :b33:, you had built up more strength in the center and had the opportunity to play a pincer on the right side against a single White approach stone towards the top and at the same time against a weak two stone group towards the bottom. White would have been very busy trying to defend his stones. This was a golden opportunity for Black. The right side was urgent.:)

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Last edited by Bill Spight on Mon Aug 13, 2018 2:35 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Losing my grip on go
Post #63 Posted: Mon Aug 13, 2018 1:54 am 
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Tami wrote:
I also enjoy watching Dwyrin's videos, usually, but I think it's worth remembering that he tends to play much weaker opponents in many of these.


Yeah, but that's the point of his videos: as a stronger player, he beats weaker players (1d or so) by playing in a more basic fashion than he would do at full strength, showing that you can be 1d by playing quite mundane moves only ...

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It can be hard to tell for sure whether he beats the opponent because he follows basic principles, or simply because he knows a great deal more about go.


... but indeed I find his videos deceiving. At several occasions he stops playing intuitively and goes "doot, doot, doot ..." reading a couple of moves, and then often plays a not so intuitive move (or does but after calculating). Both the depth of the reading and (more importantly) the timing are aspects of his full strength that are deceptively added to the autopilot playing basic moves. In other words, he wins by playing basic moves except if it doesn't work.


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 Post subject: Re: Losing my grip on go
Post #64 Posted: Mon Aug 13, 2018 10:03 am 
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Tami wrote:

I wanted to address a point Abssyinica raised. It's understandable to feel nervous, especially if playing go is something you want to do well. The School of Life did a good video on Youtube about mastery a few years back. The main point is that we tend only to see very skilful practitioners as they are now: we don't get to see all of the many, many discarded drafts that they had to produce before composing a Ninth Symphony or painting a Mona Lisa. So, if you want to get good at go, don't you just have to accept that making mistakes and losing a lot of really crummy games is just part of the process? If I could be certain that it would help me to make a high dan rank, then I'd gladly lose another 10,000 games! Wasn't it Bill who said that he's 5d now, so who cares how many games he lost before that?

As for feeling nervous: yes, it can be unpleasant. You have to learn to deal with it. Play with your head and not your heart. Emotions tend to settle down if one makes a determined effort to stay objective; and enjoyment comes back.


You know, no matter how many times I've heard or tried to say this to myself, it hardly ever helps. (Probably because I care too much in the momentif I lose) I don't know if I can force myself to actually think that way instead of just fake-thinking it. I have been playing a little bit again, but in even my last game where I wasn't thinking about anything before pressing automatch, 50 moves into the game and I can feel my heart beating through my entire chest. I don't know why I'm so anxious like that. There wasn't even a tense capturing race fight or anything. It was just a normal board.

Knotwilg wrote:
Tami wrote:
I also enjoy watching Dwyrin's videos, usually, but I think it's worth remembering that he tends to play much weaker opponents in many of these.


Yeah, but that's the point of his videos: as a stronger player, he beats weaker players (1d or so) by playing in a more basic fashion than he would do at full strength, showing that you can be 1d by playing quite mundane moves only ...


I like to imagine that we kyus just get ourselves in trouble, and playing basics is just sitting and waiting while we get the rope to hang ourselves with.

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 Post subject: Re: Losing my grip on go
Post #65 Posted: Tue Aug 14, 2018 12:16 am 
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Abyssinica wrote:
50 moves into the game and I can feel my heart beating through my entire chest. I don't know why I'm so anxious like that. There wasn't even a tense capturing race fight or anything. It was just a normal board.


Do unrated games have the same effect on you?

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 Post subject: Re: Losing my grip on go
Post #66 Posted: Tue Aug 14, 2018 2:11 am 
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Tami wrote:
BlindGroup wrote:
Also, you mentioned basic proverbs. I think people in this range are probably familiar with them, but we still misapply them regularly. Dwyrin (https://www.youtube.com/user/dwyrin) has a nice series called "Back to Basics" where he tries to demonstrate that it's possible to beat SDK players just by focusing on basic principles and making large moves. In general, I think he's right, but his commentary also makes it clear that the application of basic princples often requires a decent set of complementary skills.


I also enjoy watching Dwyrin's videos, usually, but I think it's worth remembering that he tends to play much weaker opponents in many of these. It can be hard to tell for sure whether he beats the opponent because he follows basic principles, or simply because he knows a great deal more about go.


This got me curious, so I took a look at the first of the Back to Basics series. I got as far as his wondering whether playing hane to an attachment was one of the basics. I could already tell from his list of rules to constrain his play that I have a different view of what's basic. In this regard, my vote goes to Bruce Wilcox. Probably also to Janice Kim, although I have not read her books.

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 Post subject: Re: Losing my grip on go
Post #67 Posted: Tue Aug 14, 2018 6:13 am 
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jlt wrote:
Abyssinica wrote:
50 moves into the game and I can feel my heart beating through my entire chest. I don't know why I'm so anxious like that. There wasn't even a tense capturing race fight or anything. It was just a normal board.


Do unrated games have the same effect on you?


Definitely not. That's why I used to just play free on KGS before I quit.

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Post #68 Posted: Tue Aug 14, 2018 8:43 am 
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Abyssinica wrote:
jlt wrote:
Abyssinica wrote:
50 moves into the game and I can feel my heart beating through my entire chest. I don't know why I'm so anxious like that. There wasn't even a tense capturing race fight or anything. It was just a normal board.


Do unrated games have the same effect on you?


Definitely not. That's why I used to just play free on KGS before I quit.


Dear Abyssinica,

If unrated games are OK, then, at least for now, play unrated games. Your anxiety in rated games does not mean that you have the wrong kind of personality for go. Anxiety can be overcome. It can even be used to good effect. :)

If you would like to talk more about this, please PM me. :)

Bill

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Post #69 Posted: Tue Aug 14, 2018 9:09 am 
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Or you might want to make rated games a "rare" event, and the rest of the time play unrated games (online or on a real-life board) and study go.

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Post #70 Posted: Tue Aug 14, 2018 11:00 am 
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jlt wrote:
Or you might want to make rated games a "rare" event, and the rest of the time play unrated games (online or on a real-life board) and study go.


This is how it was a while ago, but I felt like it wasa duct-tape solution that didn't adress the actual problems I was having with playing the game. But I've been playing now a few more games so that's good. Losing against a 3k when I should not have because I rushed myself and didn't read. Winning against another. Trying to LEARN what I did wrong.

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Post #71 Posted: Tue Aug 14, 2018 11:36 am 
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Abyssinica wrote:
Losing against a 3k when I should not have because I rushed myself and didn't read. Winning against another. Trying to LEARN what I did wrong.


Playing a game at 3 kyu level is... something wrong ??

Maybe the anxiety comes from the idea that one has to make progress, has to correct mistakes. There is a moral pressure about things that are done right (playing the good moves) and things that are done wrong (not playing the good moves).

The tradition to review the games after the play is very good. But maybe it can go wrong when it becomes the place to expose what was "done wrong", and when it is mistaken to be a moral judgement : "you ought to play better than that", "you made a mistake", "how can you possibly have played this ?", "you are making no progress".

The review should be the occasion to look at what was nice in the game : "this attack was brillant, I didn't see it coming !". "I let you have the ko because the compensation was enough". "Since I had not enough points, it was the good timing to try an invasion." "I like this shape. Its weaknesses are hard to find"...


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Post #72 Posted: Tue Aug 14, 2018 12:10 pm 
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Abyssinica wrote:
This is how it was a while ago, but I felt like it was a duct-tape solution that didn't address the actual problems I was having with playing the game. But I've been playing now a few more games so that's good. Losing against a 3k when I should not have because I rushed myself and didn't read. Winning against another. Trying to LEARN what I did wrong.


If you feel you can overcome your anxiety and play only rated games, then of course this is the best solution. Otherwise, I don't think that playing rated games less frequently is a bad solution. Before the existence of internet go, people could only play friendly games at their club, and rated games at tournaments. Even now, some people still never play online, but participate in live tournaments once a month or so, and perhaps study go with the objective of performing well at the next tournament.

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Post #73 Posted: Tue Aug 14, 2018 12:36 pm 
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Pio2001 wrote:
Abyssinica wrote:
Losing against a 3k when I should not have because I rushed myself and didn't read. Winning against another. Trying to LEARN what I did wrong.


Playing a game at 3 kyu level is... something wrong ??

Maybe the anxiety comes from the idea that one has to make progress, has to correct mistakes. There is a moral pressure about things that are done right (playing the good moves) and things that are done wrong (not playing the good moves).

The tradition to review the games after the play is very good. But maybe it can go wrong when it becomes the place to expose what was "done wrong", and when it is mistaken to be a moral judgement : "you ought to play better than that", "you made a mistake", "how can you possibly have played this ?", "you are making no progress".

The review should be the occasion to look at what was nice in the game : "this attack was brillant, I didn't see it coming !". "I let you have the ko because the compensation was enough". "Since I had not enough points, it was the good timing to try an invasion." "I like this shape. Its weaknesses are hard to find"...


Those first two paragraphs are how go has been for a long time. :study: You actually captured it almost perfectly.
By 3k I mean I'm finally playing people AT my level, and not hiding behind playing people 1 stone weaker.

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Post #74 Posted: Fri Sep 07, 2018 4:33 pm 
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I have been reading the book Japanese Arts and Self-Cultivation, published in 2008 by Robert E. Carter, Professor Emeritus at the Department of Philosophy, Trent University, in Peterborough, Ontario, Canada. Therein I discovered some interesting insights into how arts such as aikido and ikebana are practiced in Japan. Traditionally, these arts were practiced as a way to cultivate character and other desirable virtues in a person. In fact, in much of East Asia, the practice of arts, as opposed to the imposition of rules and theories, has been and still is the standard means for conveying moral and spiritual values. Given that in Japan, before the 20th Century, Go was taught in schools run by an iemoto (headmaster), just like martial arts and tea ceremony, I wonder if originally competition in Go was secondary in importance to the cultivation of moral and spiritual character through the continued practice of the "art" of Go.

Maybe those of us accustomed to viewing Go as a competitive pursuit may gain fresh insights into and renewed interest in the game by looking at it as a self-cultivation activity. Of course, the competition will still be there, but winning and losing will not be the main focus. Rather, the main focus will be continuous practice, which is known in Japanese as shugyō (keikō also refers to the act of practicing, but actually means training for a specific purpose, whereas shugyō is the act of practicing conducted on an ongoing basis). In other words, the focus is on becoming stronger as human beings through becoming stronger at the game, not merely on winning and losing.

To answer daal's question on how to get out of the SDK plateau, I recommend, in addition to playing many games and doing many puzzles, replaying pro game records, on a daily basis if possible and at least 3 games a week to start. Unless one is already a strong amateur or professional, attempting to understand the moves in these games is not recommended nor necessary. (Commented games are good for that.) I can assure that, with practice and experience, the ability to clearly understand and retain important concepts of the game will be cultivated.

The main purpose of the exercise of replaying pro games is to cultivate the ability to observe and remember board positions, both local and global. This way one gets new ideas to try out on the board and observe just how they work in a variety of situations. The main and ultimate goal in replaying games in quantity on a daily basis is to develop the ability to observe and memorize board positions. There will come a point where one will be able to remember an entire game move for move, even after having seen it just once. At this point, one will be able to easily visualize Go positions and retain new Go-related information. This is especially helpful if one wants to benefit from professional commentary.

Replaying pro game records in quantity is a long-term practice, so it will be a while, maybe 6 months at least, before one begins to see results and it's recommended to do so for a few years if one wants to reach high dan level and stay there. Even so, the real benefit is that the ability to improve at Go stays with you.


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Post #75 Posted: Thu Sep 13, 2018 7:20 am 
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Just a kyu in the same situation here, so I would instead introduce what my teacher (Tygem 8d-9d) had to say on this topic. Each topic were written on different occasions, so please excuse any inconsistencies and overlaps etc.
- The best thing is to identify your bad habits. If you do not change it, you will not notice any progress even if you do tsumego or play games. One of my students did not take time when the move was a game deciding one, and realized it only after the opponent made a move and it was too late. For this, I suggested he thinks what the intention is every time an opponent makes a move.
- When you repeatedly play with bad habits or bad move, you repeatedly "practice" it, so that it eventually becomes your normal moves. First you have to identify them as such. Examples that I see is; a. you not review, nor identify where you went wrong, nor discuss what you intended to do when you made a move, b. you focus more on winning than learning, c. you become lazy at thinking, you make a less hearted move where there is no joseki, no textbook moves, or where you do not know how to play, d. you have not identified your thought habits, e. you are only interested in winning, f. you are hesitant to change. Majority of cases are caused by such thought habits rather than lack of skills. A student of mine, who was in her late 50s, stagnated at 1kyu because of reason c. but jumped to 3dan in a year, and started snatching wins against a 5dan. You cannot become a shodan by thinking like a 10kyu.
- There are 2 ways to break the wall that stops you from improving, that is; a. to study persistently, and b. to break what you have as common sense/knowledge. If a player likes to play close to thickness, he will not improve even if he gains skills because he will still be playing close to thickness. Gaining new thoughts is like getting a larger bowl to put more water (skills) in it.
- In order to break your common sense/knowledge, you need to change the way you think. What is important is not skills but the way you think. No matter how many josekis you remember, you will still be kyu if you do not think about, for example, sacrificing stones to gain advantage. I had a student who only knows a large knight approach to a 3-4 but is a 3dan (although I hope he starts studing a one space approach joseki). Then why am I still kyu? you might ask, that is because you and your teacher are focused on skills and techniques, like josekis.
- Playing games reinforce habits, so playing games will contribute to your improvement if you use it to reinforce your good habits rather than to win. (end of quote)

more on habits and ways to think later.


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Post #76 Posted: Fri Sep 14, 2018 12:12 pm 
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Well I basically seem to be out of my rut. The main thing that has changed, is that I have stopped playing blitz. I was really enjoying it for a while, and then not. The other thing is I have started a few malkovitch games on ogs with friends, and playing correspondence is something that I have not enjoyed in the past, but that I am liking more now. I do still keep running into situations in which I wish I knew some guiding principle, and I am looking forward to hearing if stronger players have one in these situations or not. As for KGS, Since the wild rank bump in the middle of August, I have been playing 25- 30 minute games there, and I seem to be able to keep the 4k. Another thing I have been doing is memorizing pro games. I have been going through the games fairly quickly, just memorizing the first 100 moves without thinking much about them. This is kind of fun, and I am enjoying the games. Whether it improves my go remains to be seen. In any case, thanks to all for your comments and for the support.

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Post #77 Posted: Fri Sep 14, 2018 2:08 pm 
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I basically seem to be out of my rut.
Congrats. :)
Quote:
Another thing I have been doing is memorizing pro games.
Training the deep neural nets. :)

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Post #78 Posted: Sat Sep 15, 2018 4:51 am 
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Surely going over pro games can only help you. It shows you a) what a well-played game looks like and b) how a well-played game "flows". It's the equivalent of watching TV shows, reading books, listening to radio, etc., in a target language that you're learning.

Anyway, I'm truly glad for you that you have regained your confidence and enjoyment of go.

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Post #79 Posted: Tue Sep 25, 2018 4:42 pm 
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Knotwilg wrote:
Your advice is to enjoy something else than winning. My advice goes the opposite way: if you enjoy winning, then practice winning.
It's one thing to win and another to have a winner's mindset. The latter is about preparing for victory. So even if you lose, just go back and see what you did right and what you did wrong. By constantly practicing and refining your approach, you slowly but surely get to the place where you are winning often. Go far enough and there will be no such thing as defeat; even if you lose, you will just see the loss as a source of gain.

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Post #80 Posted: Wed Sep 26, 2018 4:18 am 
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Winning is not difficult : just play weaker opponents.

There is no such thing as winning often against players of the same strength. It's an oxymoron. If the opponents are of the same strength, the win/loss rate is 50/50 by definition.

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