As planned, I had a Go lesson with Alexander yesterday night. We started with a game review, a game that I have played and lost, and then he will go over the game with me, pointing out the errors in the way I think about the game, showing me some joseki, often non-standard joseki or trick plays and teach me how to read ahead in fighting. After that, I play a handicapped teaching game with him and he will use the game to teach me some new ideas and more. It is actually a very good way for me to learn because the teaching is tailored to me, not some standard lessons where everyone else can learn. If I need that, I will just go to Guo Juan’s One Euro Audio Go Lessons to watch some lectures, which are actually marvelous for just One Euro!
One comment that always come up during our game review, be it yesterday or last week was spoken by Alexander in our game review yesterday. He said it to purposely drill it into me:
“THANK YOU FOR BEING SO KIND TO MY GROUP”
Oh my goodness, I am doing it again. Why can’t I play tougher Go? Why is my Go so soft?
Actually, real life do mirror Go in this aspect. In our owrk, we cannot afford to be soft. I don’t mean that one has to be a B**** or an A**h*** but by being soft, it actually impedes performance. One has to be kind, that is for sure, but that does not mean one has to be soft and slack. Being kind is not synonymous with being soft and slack. One can be kind yet firm and push for the best performance. Very often, in my work, I have to be firm and make many hard decisions but I have learnt over many years of working experience, I have to do the inevitable. By being “kind” I hurt the company, myself and also the person that I am supposed to be “kind” to. By being firm, frank and candid, I find that it is the best way forward for everyone. But first, you need to get out of the thought of “needing to be liked” and “fearing a response”. Trust me, if you can’t get out of this mind set, you won’t go very far.
So, this is the same as in Go. By being “kind”, I am not being fair to myself and more importantly, I am not being fair to my opponent because I am denying him/her of a good game. The trouble with me is I don’t really know when I am being “kind”, when I am playing actively, and when I am over-playing! Without the ability to recognize the situation that called for more active play and yet not over-playing and being over-aggressive, I won’t know when to be hard. Sometimes, I do have a feeling that I need to punish an opponent’s overplay but I do not have the tactical skill to really punish the opponent. Plus my reading skills really sucked.
The other big problem with me is my endgame (yose). I can easily lose 20-30 points to my opponent in the endgame play alone. I think I can improve on this by being more vigilant and study endgame more. Alexander recommended the Ogawa and Davies book which I do have and hold in very high regards. He recommended that I go over the book again and again. Again and again?? I can’t even get through the book even once through. It is a tough book and ironically, the book is part of the “Elementary Go Series”! This book is a gem, together with another book in the series, “Attack and Defense”. I recommend this Elementary Go Series to all Go players.
So, lots more to learn but I truly enjoy the experience. Luckily I have Go. I love Go. More lessons next week Friday with Alexander.
P/S: The lessons are not cheap and sometimes I wonder if I should really go ahead with the lessons. How much can it really help me? I really don’t know how much but I think there is some effect. Anyways, I will complete the 5 lessons course and see how it goes after that. It is really not cheap at all….