Monday, September 14, 2009

My Approach To Improving At Go

So, this is a hobby, perhaps temporary. Part of the draw is to the objectively measurable improvement (via rankings), part of it the rich depth of new game understanding that improvement brings.

I can just barely see the remarkable gameplay aspects that ko fights and threats bring to the game, and I want to know more. I can watch pro games and be bewildered by some of the moves, then even more bewildered when someone resigns and I can't even tell who won.

My problem is that my leisure time is quite limited. Games, especially the 1-1.5 hour uninterrupted online games, are hard to squeeze into my schedule. I can much more easily fit in books and reading than I can games. I can fit in a solo game review (1-2 hours) easier than I can another game. It's the 'uninterrupted' part that is hard to deal with. And playing against computers? Dull and uninteresting, but can do in a pinch.

So my approach? Who the hell knows? A little of this, a little of that, and a lot of little.

I like Sensei's Library. I enjoy problems from the Graded Go Problems for Beginners series and those that come with SmartGo, but oddly not so much from goproblems.com.

I like to analyze and annotate my completed games in SmartGo, probably spending more time doing this than actually playing. I like SmartGo, but think the price is a little steep. I also want the mobile version for Android, and not just the damned iPhone. I find hugoban for Android mildly useful, if only for replaying pro games while on the crapper at work.

I read and re-read the Nihon Ki-In Proverbs book. It lives on the back of my toilet, but sometimes travels around. 80% of the proverbs made no sense to me when I first read it, not it's more like 40%.

Occasionally I try looking at my basic joseki dictionary, but it makes my head hurt. I've had better luck goofing around with SmartGo's joseki display on blank boards or old games. Part of me still doesn't believe in joseki, but I'm beginning to play standard joseki for a few moves on instinct (I see it on replay) -- 'course, it doesn't help if you can't follow it up.

So, I'm missing actual games. Especially games on a physical board (no nearby players!).

Today's definition (source):
Aji - n. 1. Dead stones you meant to leave there for later use. No...Really you did

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