A Go Player

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

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?)


Blogger Kenneth said...

Hi! Your blog is cool!

I've always been a chess player, and have only dabbled in go. It seems like a really interesting game.

Just thought I'd let you know I enjoyed your thoughts on the topic.

8:11 PM  
Blogger Jay said...

Well, Kenneth. I have played a ton of games; even designed one once.

I have given them all up for Go. Yes, even chess. I do play cribbage on occasion with my daughter (and other games she requests), but I have never encountered a game like Go. I'll be studying it for a while.

10:52 PM  

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