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 Post subject: explo's journal
Post #1 Posted: Tue Aug 21, 2018 3:57 pm 
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It's been quite some time since I considered creating one of these but I see it as some sort of commitment and I didn't feel ready yet.

I'm 33 year old. I started go in 2004 and reached 1d EGF in 2010. I became much less serious about go in 2011 when I moved to a city with no go club and I got a bit burned out. I didn't give up on go but serious games have been rare and weeks without a single game more common.

I see at least two reasons for my "comeback". The rise of strong bots makes it easier to review my games (since leela 11 last summer) since I have no player around to review with. Several players I've known from before who were around my level or slightly weaker in 2011 have risen to 2d/3d/4d and I wonder if at my age I still have what it takes to catch up to them.

I might join a tournament in November, which would be the first since May 2016. Until then, the things I want to focus on are:
- Finding a way to play slower. I've always played fast but playing many mindless games since 2011 has only made things worse.
- Doing problems regularly. I have all the material and I've done problems in the past, but often in huge burst. I want to do less problems per sessions, but more often.
- Playing more agressively. I like gote moves. I see my stones weakness way more than my opponent's stones weakness.


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Post #2 Posted: Tue Aug 21, 2018 6:05 pm 
Honinbo
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Hi explo,

You start Go around age ~19... :clap:
Quote:
I like gote moves.
:blackeye: :study:

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Post #3 Posted: Wed Aug 22, 2018 12:31 pm 
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I indeed started go when I was 19 but I can't figure out what's so great about it :scratch:


I heard about the Fox go server when alphago master played some games there. I made a account in spring last year to give it a try. Sadly, I made the mistake to set my rank at 5k so I could fully deserve making it to the dan ranks but I underestimated how many games it would take. Fast forward to October, I'm now 4d there with a great winrate which I think is making it harder for me to find games. Games are not easy anymore and I stopped playing with a 13-6 record, one win away to promote to 5d. ~10 days ago I finally decided to play to hopefully promote. A couple hours later I had played 4 games and lost all of them :clap:. Overall I was satisfied with my attitude in these games but my play wasn't sharp at all.

I went on vacation last week and played some more games since I came back last weekend. Results were better this time as I won five and lost only one. In most of them I screwed up the first corner "joseki" and fell behind for quite some time. Eventually mistakes were made from both sides but I managed to turn them around. At least getting behind so early gave me a good chance to play more actively than usual.

Below is one of the wins after the first corner didn't go too well.



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Post #4 Posted: Sun Aug 26, 2018 2:09 pm 
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I played another game today, the first since last post. I was sort of watching TV at the same time so focus wasn't great, but the review will help me, as I'm usually not so comfortable with dealing with this sort of moyo. I'm away from home and can only use my old laptop to check with Leela. I added some comments to the game record.



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Post #5 Posted: Sun Aug 26, 2018 4:12 pm 
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Quote:
- Finding a way to play slower.


Consider IGS Pandanet instead of Fox. (You will have to wait some minutes for a game.)

I would not consider 30 seconds per move slow.

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Post #6 Posted: Sun Aug 26, 2018 6:14 pm 
Honinbo
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Hi explo,
Quote:
I would not consider 30 seconds per move slow.
30s/move is blitz for me.

The US Open's 90-min. initial time for each person is nice, for me.
My default online setting is Canadian (30mins. / 20moves),
averaging 90s/move.

You started ~19 and are still quite young,
so naturally you, like 'most' people I observe, enjoy faster time settings. :)

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Post #7 Posted: Mon Aug 27, 2018 6:30 am 
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Gomoto wrote:
Quote:
- Finding a way to play slower.


Consider IGS Pandanet instead of Fox. (You will have to wait some minutes for a game.)

I would not consider 30 seconds per move slow.


I haven't played on IGS in a long time, maybe 10 years, but I have played almost 1000 games on the server in the past. I quit because I didn't enjoy the playstyle as much as other servers. From what I witnessed from streamers, the playstyle hasn't changed that much.

How much time I'm allowed is not really the issue but how I use it. I think there are two things to work on for me:
- Online play: the temptation to do other stuff while I play is often huge and I usually don't resist. It's not really a playing too fast thing, but a focus issue. I don't devote my whole energy to the game and blunders happen. I've been able to focus while playing online in the past especially when playing leagues or taking lessons. I suspect ranking up on fox would really help as I would have a hard time winning while not being 100% careful. Being more serious about studying will help as well.
- Offline play: Playing face to face has been rare since 2011. Focus when playing tournament games has never been a problem. On the other hand, out of around 200 rated games, I only remember entering overtime twice. In my last tournament, I didn't use more than 20 minutes out of the 60 minutes main time. At my current strength, I don't think I would gain anything if agonizing over my moves for a long time, but I have regretted a lot of moves played in under 10 seconds, that would have been much better if I had spent 30 seconds instead.

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Post #8 Posted: Sat Sep 01, 2018 9:16 am 
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I mentionned in my first entry that I might join a tournament in November. The website is now up. I registered and booked a room so I'm commited now. Incidentally, the venue is in the same street where I lived from 2005 to 2010. They haven't really advertized for it yet for I hope we'll see some high dan players there.

I played a few more games on Fox since the last entry. Here is one I played today.



I reviewed it with Leela zero. There would be a lot more to say but the three main points for me are:
- after move 42, LZ thinks E10 is important for both of us. Whenever there was somewhat of a pause in the topside fight, it should probably be played. Eventually black got it at move 75.
- for move 64 I didn't want to connect because I have afraid it was too passive but I ended up playing a lot more moves on neutral points in this area instead and eventually I connected (move 98) anyways. LZ really wants me connect from the start.
- I wasn't very optimistic after black 87 but actually the position is overall still good for white until move 108 whose location (and timing?) was terrible. After that black tried really hard to die when he should live but it wasn't enough to throw the game.

I haven't done many problems this week but I bought Robert Jasiek's book on endgame values which started some heated discussion. So far I've read about 50 pages (~20% of the book total). I'll probably post more about it later today or tomorrow.


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Post #9 Posted: Mon Sep 03, 2018 12:35 pm 
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I said I would write more about reading The endgame2 over the weekend but yesterday I still wasn't sure what to say about it.

My opening is average, for my level. I started reading theory books and replaying progames very early, so it's natural that my opening is very "textbook". It avoids some terrible mistakes I can see when I play online. On a downside, I lack creativity, which is hard to work on. My taste for gote moves also hurts, but this can be corrected.

My middlegame is my weakness. My reading used to be weak but nowadays I think it is correct. My judgement isn't great and it's too emotionally driven: I see my ennemy groups as stronger than they actually are and my groups as weaker than they actually are. My opponent can invade in places I'd be scared to invade. I don't know what to do to change that. Do some of you, when wondering what to play, ask themself "what would I suggest if I was reviewing this game for someone else?" ?

Obviously it means that my endgame is a strong point. It doesn't require as much creativity as the opening. I don't need to judge if my groups are weak or strong but if they are dead or alive, so emotions are not involved anymore. I don't know that much about the tesuji or the theory but I'm doing a better job of paying attention to connections, liberties, life and death and values of easily calculated moves. I don't outplay my opponent, but overall I make less mistakes.

Last week I thought about the endgame books I own. If I didn't miss any, I have:
- a tesuji book, which unfortunatly is at my parents' place and I couldn't find it on sensei's library. It has 200 problems and a light blue cover. Author is Japanese. I got it when I was much weaker (weak SDK?) and I haven't touched it in forever. I recall the problems being fairly easy.
- the endgame, by Ogawa and Davies. Also a book I bought when I was much weaker, though I've been through it several times. Its content pretty much sums up my knowledge of endgame theory.
- Yose, by Motoki Noguchi and Dai Junfu. Structure and content is quite similar to the previous book. Tone is a bit lighter and I like the examples more. Many of them cover very common shapes so if you want to simply memorize the value of some moves you'll be sure to meet them in your games. I got it when it was released in 2014.
- get strong at the endgame, a collection of problems. Some problems are only about one local positions, but some of them are small boards position where you have to read the end of the game. I got it for Christmas last year and I enjoyed it a lot.

So now there is the endgame 2 - values, to add to the list. Seeing Bill Spight talking about miai values has often caught my interest but I never took the time to carefully read the pages about it on sensei's library. Robert Jasiek's book seemed like a good timing. In this era of strong IA, our vision of the opening and middlegame has changed a lot and it's not about to end. The endgame though, was left alone in the craze, and it's probably a good time to study it.
So far, I learned things about counting moves and positions, but I haven't read the chapter about miai counting yet. It feels awkward so far, because some of the problems in the book are taking me much more time using the method described rather than going back to deiri values. As a math teacher (but I wouldn't call myself a mathematician), I think I would have structured the beginning of the book differently as I find it hard to keep tracks of clear definitions. On the other hand, I truely enjoy the examples so far. You have some for each new point, with a lot of diagrams and explanations.

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Post #10 Posted: Mon Sep 03, 2018 5:17 pm 
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explo wrote:
My middlegame is my weakness. My reading used to be weak but nowadays I think it is correct. My judgement isn't great and it's too emotionally driven: I see my ennemy groups as stronger than they actually are and my groups as weaker than they actually are. My opponent can invade in places I'd be scared to invade. I don't know what to do to change that. Do some of you, when wondering what to play, ask themself "what would I suggest if I was reviewing this game for someone else?"?

You are stronger than me so I am wary of offering advice, but what has helped for me in similar circumstances is instead of thinking "What do I think is the best move?", to think "If I were playing the other color, what move would I be most afraid of seeing?" It may not be the optimal strategy but it is good for getting out of a passive rut. And it often leads to pretty fun games. :)

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Post #11 Posted: Mon Sep 10, 2018 12:36 pm 
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I got back to work last week so it was an exhausting week. I didn't do problems, and mostly looked at videos from the yunguseng dojang. I highly recommend it to everyone who can afford the money. I found the energy to play the game below yesterday.



It was an account with over 24 000 games played so I think it's the kind of account shared in Internet cafés and I wasn't sure what to expect. LZ/ELF think overall I was in the lead almost all the time but I didn't feel like it.
Move 24 feels natural in my human eyes but bots disagree and think I should answer at S12 which feels submissive.
At move 32 I was afraid that turning at P11 would not be sente and black would use it to defend his right side group. Move 33 at Q8 would make things very difficult for white but we both missed it.
Move 73 is labelled as the biggest mistake in the game. Already for move 57 is was important to play around the top side but at least the sequence in the bottom right was mostly sente. 73 wasn definitly not needed though. Hurray for me not defending in gote.
After that the lower side became huge but bots seem not to care, even before I secured the right side.
Bots thought the situation was dangerous for me after some point (move 146? I don't remember exactly) if black peeps at L14 and cuts. It was easier to handle before black played too many stones in the area.
I eventually won by time but it would have been a 3.5/4.5 win depending on the ko.


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Post #12 Posted: Sun Sep 16, 2018 12:03 pm 
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I complained about being tired last week but this week wasn't any better. I was in bed before 9:30 three times which is highly unusual.
I didn't play this week but hopefully next week will be better (he can't get worse...). I watched some more lectures from the yunguseng dojang and I found the time and energy to do problems on several occasions. I wanted to ask about tsumego books today.

I started yet another run of graded go problems for dan players volume 1. I bought it in 2011 and I've done the problems at least once per year ever since. Overall I like it but I'm getting very used to most of the book. It's probably time to expand to another book. Here are some books I own but haven't really spent time on, I'm happy to hear you opinion if you have them.
- essential life and death volume 3 and 4. Probably easy for my level.
- speed baduk level volumes 10, 11 and 12. I did some of the early problems and they also looked rather easy.
- train like a pro. I can't tell why I never really spent time on those as the difficulty seems to fit my level
- graded go problems for dan players volume 2. The early problems look rough and I know it won't get better.

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Post #13 Posted: Fri Sep 21, 2018 4:44 am 
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Nobody has replied to this latest comment yet so I'll give it a shot even though I am significantly weaker than you.

I really like the Essential Life & Death books because they're comprehensive and because they seem to concentrate more on techniques and situations that come up in actual games as opposed to tsumego. If they're easy, you'll get through them fast and can move on to something else! I bet that even if they're easy you'll discover a few holes in your pattern dictionary, though.

I'm currently on Speed Baduk 12 and have been sailing through them except for the life and death problems. As with Essential Life & Death, they seem to have more realistic diagrams than many tsumego problems. If you have the books already, it might be worth going through them, maybe mostly for speed training.

I know that Kirby is a big fan of Train Like A Pro. As you may be aware, Train Like A Pro is really Speed Baduk 16 and 17. So if you can easily get your hands on volumes 13-15, they might be a good bridge.

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