Saturday, October 31, 2009

Pattern: Tiger's Mouth Snapback

This is a little blurb I stuck on my Senseis's Library home page. (How's that line for too many links :P )

It's reproduced here:

I have seen a lot of problems lately (especially in Graded Go Problems for Beginners, 20-15kyu), where this pattern comes up.

The play at 1 should be considered an atari on marked stones, just as if played at a.

This is because, after this setup, a play at b will kill those marked stones ... they could capture the stone at b, but then be captured via snapback by another play at b.

Black's play at 1 may be more useful than playing at a, and is a good pattern to know. If nothing else, important not to fall into it's trap! (tiger trap? heh).

Rank Upgrade
Oh, I may have slipped into 13k finally on KGS. Let's see how long I stay there :P
I need more game time.... 

Monday, October 26, 2009

Iron Man and stuff

I played a 4 out of the 5 minimum tournament games needed (out of 20 total) in the October Iron Man tournament on KGS. The times were 2am, 8am, 2pm, and 8pm every day for five days. I could only make the 8pm, and not even all the time.

I came in 13 of 27, if you discount the fact that I was disqualified. That's slightly better than median, so that's not terrible :P

I can't quite get to 13k, but I have not had much opportunity to play lately.

I've been pummeled the few times I have. Each time I immediately expected that I was destroyed by higher level player whose rank has not settled yet. Sadly, I was destroyed by people at or near my rank, and with ranks well established. Maybe I'm not even 14k? It depends so much on the moment ;P

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Are you sure you lost?

I need to learn to count.

So I (14k) played a 16k in a handicap game. It's a tough battle, and we're approaching endgame (or in endgame), when the other player resigns.

I look at the board... I honestly cannot tell who was in the lead. The conversation was thus:

(yaretsu resigns)
antinoun> Are you sure you lost?
yaretsu> yes
antinoun> Then you're a better player than I.

Which, oddly enough, is true.

I had won, but I could not tell, and he could.

I really want computer assisted go....


It's tough to start playing go. I mean beginner-beginners, people who have literally just started playing, like not having played ever.

I can remember how frustrating it was, even after 10 games or so. The problem with go is that you have to know how to play it reasonably well (mid 20k?) to even be able to know when to stop playing.

I recall that, as I finally got to that level, the game became tremendously more interesting. Before that, the only word that describe it is frustrating.

I had a game challenge out the other day, and this new player with no rank at all took it up. I've avoided these people since they are often high level players starting new accounts, and they destroy me. This time is just a new player, and by new, I mean brand new.

Presumably this player new about making two eyes (which isn't a core rule, but an emergent one, resulting from the three core rules), because he/she was intent on making eyes. Just two corners for the first 54 moves.

The game was effectively won for black at move 10 or so, in a way that does not require great reading to know.

Once I realized this was a brand brand brand new player, my first concern was in trying to disuade discouragement. This is difficult.

Once you get a player over the 'beginner's hump',  then they're hooked.

Interesting Side-Note:
The KGS scoring thing was unable to deal with the game when we initially double-passed (I passed like 20 times during the game, in an attempt to demonstrate that it was done). Because territory borders were not firm, if I marked the stray dead pieces as dead, it would mark the live white stones in the corner as dead too.

We had to keep playing just to seal the borders.

Go Problem Problem

"Graded Go Problems For Beginners", vol 3, problem 1

Black to play: "How should Black play so as to completely surround the white stones?"

The solution is given as 1 in the diagram below. BUT, I cannot figure out how that would work, given the white follow up at 2! The single 'incorrect' solution is given as black play at 2, white play out to the left somewhere. But it seems better than their 'correct' solution!

I've tried every variation, B at 1 then W at 2 always results with white breaking out, and smacking B around in the process. What am I missing?


I posted this problem on the go discussions forum, and got a reply pretty quickly. 

I think I understand now -- it required deeper reading (about 8 moves) than I am accustomed to. This is the first problem in a book for 20k-15k, and it's stretching my brain to solve them. Perhaps I've gotten to used to reflex plays and do not bother to read out enough. I need to work on that.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Yikes! A week without a post!

I'm slacking! Busy week.

Too early to celebrate tipping over 14k on KGS? Probably.

That'll just jinx it. Bad when you're almost afraid to play a game for fear of losing measured rank. That's ridiculous, an inversion of what the rank is for: the rank is for measuring your quality of play -- you don't play to increase your rank. Still...

Alas, no time lately to play. Blogging from a pub next to my hotel... not an ideal playing environment.

I have been looking for a page I saw (I thought on Sensei's, like everything else) about the 'killing game', possibly called something else.

The deal is you surround every other 1st line point with a black stone. The goal is then for the white player to try to make groups that live, black's goal is to kill all his groups. Sounds like really good practice for me, I have a hard time making groups away from the edge live.

I wish there was a program I could use to do this. I will attempt to set up a SmartGo board with this and play against the computer. My concern is that SmartGo will simply attempt to make territory, and not kill my groups.

UPDATE: Yeah, it doesn't work. SmartGo ignores me, trying to make territory (the normal goal)

Monday, October 5, 2009

Recovery Day, and Move-Of-The-Day

Monday was recovery day, and I was able to squeeze in two quick games, including my closest game to date (that I recall, meaning closest that I won).



Also, what's going on with my KGS rank graph?

There are weird gaps at the end... server auto-adjusting?

Move Of The Day
Today's move is 'the slide', where you extend territory by sliding in under enemy territory (usually on 4th line) with a one space gap in between (so, usually you play on second line).

This move occurred in spectacular and amusing fashion in the posted game, moves 150-156. Technically, what I did was not what is described at the link, and probably could have been countered (but wasn't).


A Go-Free Weekend

Saturday was paintball, and by the time I got home I was too exhausted and sore to play go.

Sunday, I'd play, after doing all my chores I missed Saturday.

Alas, twas not to be. Sunday was stomach flu day! I didn't accept it as stomach flu for the first four hours or so, but after the fourth... er... I'll spare you the details. Needless to say, no go, no chores, nothing but bed rest and trips to the bathroom carrying a trashcan for the infamous double-ender.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

To Dominate and Be Dominated

I'm not talking weird S&M stuff. At least, I don't think so.

 Finally got opportunity to play two real games.

My goal was to force myself to:
1) Play conservatively, try to keep groups strong and stable.
2) Focus on territory, and not get distracted by the fighting.
3) Take time to think out moves, and not play reactively.

I kept this up ok for a little while, but then got back into old habits. I think. I honestly wasn't focused enough to even tell, so I clearly did not do well. I did better with this on the first game.

The first was against a 16k guy, and we seemed fairly evenly matched at first. I was focusing on making territory, and doing a fairly good job. We finally got into some fighting and I lost the upper right corner! On one of the same bonehead unsecured tail thingies that I lost the last few games with. So I'm feeling like I'm losing, although even with that corner gone I had plenty of territory.

Then something amazing happens. I start killing large groups. Not once, not twice, but THREE times. Killed a big center group, then two separate corners. Not due to my tactical brilliance, but due to blunders on the opponents part and my maintaining at least enough competence to take advantage of them.

A couple of really fun kills too -- why is that so fun? Dunno. Oh, and half of my decimated corner ended up making tiny life. So, fun.


I got cocky and decided to try to up my rank and play someone higher (besides, no one my rank had an open game). I played a 9k guy and got a 6 stone handicap.


I felt like I had already won.

How could I lose?

All I had to do is play conservative and safe, and victory should be assured.

I'm not sure what happened, but something definitely went 'tits up'. I'll have to go back and analyze this game when I have time (you always learn the most from losing to stronger players!).