As I have always said when people asks me how is my Go, “My Go is Kindergarten”. This is true especially when I see the numerous mistakes that I make and my utter lack of knowledge and understanding on various aspects of Go, be it on the strategic or the tactical level. And my condition does not seem to be improving much and I love this game too much to just give up and play at my current level. Don’t be mistaken, I am not one of those misguided kids who think that the goal of Go is to achieve a high rank but to me, the process is the other way round. I want to play really good and respectable Go, and I believe that when I achieve this, my rank will naturally follow. We should not be slaves to rankings.
But my Go really isn’t improving much and I have now sought professional help and appointed Alexander Dinerchtein as my sensei (teacher). He is Russian but has a good command of English. Started to play Go at the age of 6, he went to Korea to train as a professional player and is now a 3p professional at the very tough Korean Baduk Association. I hope that his professional help will help me overcome my current barriers and spur me on to further discover the beauty of Go and find greater enjoyment in playing it.
I had my first lesson last night where he reviewed a game and played a 3 stone handicap game with me so that he can assess my level and my weaknesses. He realised that my main obstacle is that my Go is too passive, i.e. I do not play actively and tends to avoid conflict and be too kind. However, he said I am a very solid player and as such must be more active (e.g. attacking) so that I can make use of my solid play to attack the opponents. After more than 1.5 hours, his assessment is that we will continue our lessons by focusing on training me to play more actively, to attack more and don’t let my opponent be too comfortable.
I told him that my objective is to improve to about a 3 dan’s level of skill and after the lesson, he said that it should not be too much of a trouble since based on his assessment, I am already about 1+ dan on the European scale (which, if sensei wiki is to be believed, it is equivalent to 2 dan on KGS and in China). I just need to work on the weakness he mentioned and he will design our future lessons along this line. I hope this effort of mine will help me achieve my objective of playing better Go.