A Go Player

One man's fascination with the world's best game

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Yet another tool

Drago looks like a cool .sgf viewer and printer. I currently use MultiGo for my viewing, but I am going to download and try Drago for the next few days.

What I really like is a couple of links on the Drago page which I had not seen before: ByHeart's game collections, and Arno's fuseki database.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Doing better, but just barely :)

Okay, I had to take a break on DGS. It's not actually the Go that's getting to me, but a bunch of things in my life that I have to manage. Until I get some free time, I just put myself on vacation. C'est la vie.

Damn it.

But I did manage to log on to KGS to play my first two games in the Western Go Ladder. I won the first one, which was a nice surprise, and then I lost me second.

But I shouldn't have!

See, we were battling. Battling all over, sprawling all over the board. He was winning, and then I saw a tesuji which would allow me to squeeze his corner group down to one eye and then come out one liberty ahead in the capturing race, and really, it would have been the end of the game.

So what did I do? Well, I played the tesuji, squeezed him down to where I had a choice of allowing him to make one false eye or one real eye. In the heat of battle, under pressure, what do you think I did?

Yep. That's right. I played the move that gave him one REAL eye, and ended up one liberty short and lost the game. Although I'm disappointed, of course, that I made the wrong move, the mere fact that I saw the tesuji and that it would have worked has I played correctly is deeply satisfying. It tells me that no matter what my ranking shows, I know I am improving, because I could never have read something like that out, or even have seen it, a few months ago.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Death Patterns

Just thinking about this... I played a game on DGS a few months ago, and I am going to have to go back and look at it, because it brings an interesting subject to mind.

See, I caught my opponent in a pattern at the edge where he kept trying to escape by moving out on the 2nd or 3rd line, and I would press him down again. I was squeezing with my moves as well, so he couldn't make eyes. After the second repetition, he resigned, but it made me think:

Besides a ladder, what are other dead patterns? I obviously found one, but couldn't repeat it. And it wasn't an atari-able pattern like the ladder, where you drive your opponent with repeated ataris. Instead it was a pattern where the only possible escape move led to a repetition of the same pattern of stones, only moved over about 3 lines.

Anyone know anything about this subject?

Another Baduk Blog

At Sensei's Library I found nachtrabe's Baduk Blog, written by someone who obviously thinks quite a bit about their game, as I am just beginning to do. Some very interesting reading for your pleasure...

As a side note, I could read about Go forever it seems like, unless it's a really-over-my-head book like the Direction Of Play, which I can only read a few pages at a time if I want to understand what I am reading.

This brings me to The Girl Who Played Go. A friend gave this to me for Christmas, and while it was a good book, there wasn't enough actual Go in it for me. The same with First Kyu, which was good, though short, and reads very interestingly, being translated by the foreign (to America) author. The book I want next is The Master Of Go. I think that's what it's called. It sounds like it has a lot of really meaty Go chunks in it.

Anyway, go read Nachtrabe's blog and learn something.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

New Understandings

Okay, so my ranks are beginning to even out again. I'm 15K (weak) on DGS, and 17K (weak again) on KGS.

But I think I am starting to see some things that I hope will take me to the next level in my play. First of all, there's some things I need to study. I still have a serious problem creating strong bases from which my stones can move out into the center. As a result, I find myself consistently being split apart on the edge by my opponents. Also, I haven't been keeping up with my tsumego studies, and I need to work on that some more.

However, there are some things that I have seen which I am trying to incorporate into my play now.

First of all, playing to the left in order to attack right. I have been incorporating this idea into my play on local levels and it has been working more often than not. However, I have recently realized that it works on a global scale as well, and I am trying to put this into play in my game.

Second, I have been reviewing professional games, and I now think that I should not be afraid to make bad shape when it helps the local situation. As a rule of course, don't make an empty triangle or overconcentrate your stones, but when the local situation requires it, don't let shape rule your moves.

Third, and I have no idea if this will actually help my game or if it is even true, but I think that there is a distinct possibility that good shape is good shape in a global sense. To illustrate, imagine a table shape except that the stones are in the four corner areas. It seems to me that this has some benefit, but I wonder if I am fooling myself. Anyway, it's something to explore as I move onward.

Finally, in a game with an 8kyu player, he made an off-hand comment which really gave me pause for thought. As I watched him connect his stones against my invasions, and they all ended up in basically the right places, he mentioned that he likes to connect the dots in the midgame. I felt stunned. Suddenly I realized that I need to stop playing so heavily and begin sketching more lightly.

But there is a problem with that. In order to sketch more lightly, one must be familiar with the ways that the stones interact. I need to figure out a way to predict what sequences of stones will occur in a given position. I think joseki may help me with this, but it reminds me of something I read that Milton Bradley wrote - that one must think in terms of sequences instead of single-move-and-response.

So. I'm trying to stretch my play. And I also need to start playing stronger players again. I noticed that on KGS many of my recent games have been with weaker players. I didn't want to get the "~" mark, but I'm way ahead on credit, and I think I'll take on some higher handicap games coming up soon here.

I wish I knew exactly what to do. I think that it may be true; something I heard once, that having a very strong teacher is probably the fastest and easiest way to become strong onesself.

Okay, teacher. I'm ready!

(Do I have to pay you?)

2005 Cotsen GoTournamet

Oh man! I would SO like to go to the 2005 Cotsen GoTournamet... It's a possibility at this point, after all, LA is only 6 hours away!

And the price is definitely right. After I looked at the 2005 go congress pricing, I realized I might not be able to make that one at all. Which is terribly sad, I must say.

Monday, February 14, 2005

As if I needed more activities...

So I am the organizer for the Phoenix Go Meetup. We had a meeting Saturday night. It worked well, since I am not able to attend the Phoenix Go Club regularly.

We only had one other member show up, but hey! It's a start.

And I just signed up for the Western Go Ladder. Maybe one day I can make it to one of the top tiers :)

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Go i Bergen

My friend Kjersti from Norway has a go club in Bergen she has been attending, and in fact is one of the founding members I believe. I can't read a word of the web page, but knowing people far away like this is another reason I love the internet.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

SunXI Screen Saver

This is kind of cool. It's a screen saver for your windows machine that replays .sgf files in 3D. There doesn't seem to be any spyware included, and my anti-virus hasn't kicked up it's heels, so it appears to be safe for your use.

Dirty Harry Go

There's a pretty amusing thread on rec.games.go about what Dirty Harry would be saying if he were a go player. Enjoy.

Phoenix Tournament

Now, I don't know if this is actually the "1st Annual Phoenix Go Open" or not, but there is a tournament tomorrow at the Chinese Center at 44th St. and Van Buren St. in Phoenix. It is in room 121 and starts at 12:00PM. There ought to be some strong players there, and if you're in the area, why not stop by? I hope to make it, but prior engagements may prevent it.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Hikaru No Go

Okay, I know I shouldn't be pointing to this, but scans of the first 34 books of Hikaru No Go are available on sourceforge. A misuse of everything - of sourceforge, of intellectual property, and other things I am sure.

However, for those of us who only have the first few books out in the US, this is a boon. And I know it won't keep me from buying the rest of the books. It's just nice to see more of the story.