Monday, October 24, 2011

Testing out

I am still playing Go, I just haven't improved. But I discovered a coworker that is a 6k! He plays on PandaNet, so I decided to give it a try. Here is my first game. PandaNet exports with a UGI file. A site that reads UGIs is They let you export in a bunch of ways.

How should I play move 73* ?

My friend suggested to stop the growth of white's moyo with a play around G9. He guessed I should be able to run to safety either up the board or down, depending on how white defends.

*NOTE: this is a 2 handicap game, and gokifu starts counting a stone too early. So, the move in question is really move 72. (Not that it really matters much...)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Attach - Bend - Retreat - Protect

This is just a sequence that was pointed out on a Go forum (Life in 19x19 I believe).

I think it is kind of a mini-joseki, and you will see it all over the place.

Move 5 can protect the cut with a Tiger's Mouth as shown in the image or with a solid connection.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Next Topics

Yeah, I am still around. In the 12 kyu range on OGS. I haven't played on KGS in so long my account expired and so did the graph posted here...

But I am still playing and making slow progress. I do have a few things to share - hopefully get to them soon!

1. Attach - Bend - Retreat - Protect

2. Watching Thecaptain, 4-corner tsumego, reading and the path to progress

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Malkovich games

How do you learn? What is the quickest method for you to see how your thinking is flawed and then fix it? If you had a brain dump of exactly what you were thinking during a Go game, you could replay it and see where you missed things, where you valued areas too highly and where you assumed your groups were safe when they weren't.

Normal Go commentary can't really do this. Adding comments to a game record after it is complete is like rereading a book when you already know the ending. It does add enjoyment to replaying a game, but I don't think it helps as much as it could as a training aid.

Recently on an effort to capture player's thinking while a game is progressing has started gaining momentum. The term "Malkovich game" has been coined which refers to the movie where people are somehow inside John Malkovich's brain (Being John Malkovich). To find threads about this go to GoDiscussions and search for - you guessed it - "Malkovich".

I think having players capture their thoughts as they make each move helps reveal what they think is going on, without any real guess of how the game will progress or end. It presents a more rounded version of all their concerns at each move and will capture flaws in their thinking. Once the game is complete, going back and reviewing those original comments is like having a brain dump! The players should be able to clearly see the flaws in their thinking and make real improvement in their games. Including some post-game additions/corrections to the game file could help other players see how they can avoid the same false thinking as the player in the game.

I really think this is a valuable method of learning. It is tough to use in a real-time game, but with a little discipline, it is easy to do in a turn-based game. Before you make each move, write down why you decided that was the best play. Once the game is complete, go back and review your thinking. Get others to take a look at your game and do some post game analysis. Seeing moves where you made "bad" decisions and your reasoning behind them will help you be alert to your faulty thinking in the future.

Doing a "1-man Malkovich" where you are the only one doing your in-game comments seems valuable. I believe that you will get the most out of your own comments - seeing other player's in-game comments will help you see how they think, but it isn't the same as analyzing your own brain dump.

Having both players making in-game comments seems potentially even more exciting. So, find a buddy and see if you can convince them do play a turn-based Malkovich game with you. When the game is over, trade notes and see what your opponent was thinking, and how you could have done better!

These "2-person Malkovich" games are exactly what the players on GoDiscussions are trying. Here are the first 2 games:

Vap vs Joaz
Joaz vs Sol


Review of posted material

I just went back and reread the whole list of posts. I think most of the postings are pretty good - even though I am no master, they are generally accurate.

For a quick recap, here are the most important points I think I have touched on:

1. Resign a lost game. (Or ask your opponent if it is okay to play it out.)
2. Claim the same screen name on all the online servers when you start.
3. Don't play "hope Go". (Assume your opponent sees everything you do.)
4. 30 kyu starter kit:
First off, go through this tutorial: The Interactive Way to GO

If that all makes sense do some life or death problems here:
1. Click the button in the top middle that says Problems.
2. Set "How Many" to 50 or so.
3. Set the difficulty from 30kyu (easiest) to 25kyu (a bit harder).
4. Click the "Get Problems" button.
5. You will see a list of problems, click the top one.
6. Try to solve it, retry, etc. until you understand it (or just want to move on).
7. Click the "Next in Set" button.

Next, download IGoWin. (Only works on a Windows PC.) It is a 9x9 GO player that remembers your strength. It will give you handicap stones to try to make the game even. As you improve, it will give you less and less handicap stones until you are giving the computer the handicap!
5. Don't attach when attacking.
6. Basic moves (Extend, Diagonal, 1-Space Jump, Keima).
7. Ranks (30kyu - 9P, each server/organization is internally consistent, but ranks may differ across different bodies).
8. Rulesets (don't sweat the details until you start joining tournaments).
9. Resist spending extra stones to kill a nearly dead group.
10. Sent and Gote
11. Go Terms
12. Ladders
13. Center vs. Edge
14. Killing eyes
15. Playing online (KGS)
16. Urgent before big.
17. Bases, Moyos (I screwed this post up. Bases are not Moyos.)
18. Ripped shapes
19. No posing on Ko (I am still avoiding Ko battles in my games.)
20. the Clamp
21. Extending from walls
22. CORNERS!!! SIDES! center...
23. Shape
24. Nose Tesuji
25. Online Go Anxiety
26. OGS Issues
27. 4-4 Opening
28. Tsumego
29. Traditional 1st move
30 Stronger Opponents
31. OGS Ladder
32. Play - Review - Tsumego - Books

Having these line items all in one place will help me remember what I haven't talked about that might be worth discussing. So, if you are new here, and some of these topics look like they could be helpful - try to go back and read the blog in order. (I just did to make this list, and it isn't really designed to be read in chronological order...) :P

The better you get, the more you realize you don't know

My original intent on this site was to play Go and improve. As I improved I wanted to analyze that growth and capture the critical things I learned. Then I wanted to share what I learned to help others ramp up faster.

So, a couple things are slowing me down. First, I have not improved much in the last few months! It is a lot of things combined: Go gets harder as you improve, I haven't been playing a lot, I haven't been studying books or doing much tsumego. There is also some level of unexplainable effort. When I play now, I strain to make the best move, but I can't explain why I select a lot of moves - they just feel like the biggest plays. Finally, there is the realization that what you thought was rock solid fact ("empty triangles are bad") turns gray ("empty triangles are usually bad") and then loses the feel of a rule at all ("empty triangles are often inefficient, but should be used whenever appropriate").

So, it is tough to act like a fountain of knowledge for others when I am questioning everything I have used to get this far.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Lots of distractions

Sorry I haven't updated the site recently! I haven't made a ton of progress lately, and life has been pretty hectic. Hopefully I will have time for a few new posts soon. Since I don't have anything wildly original to say, I'll leave you with the proven wisdom of the ages:

Play games. (and review them/have them reviewed)
Do tsumego. (then do some more tsumego)