Monthly Archives: October 2009

Bango Report

In my earlier post, I have made a vow to treat each game seriously and play seriously. I think I have more or less done that, I have tried to play more seriously although there are games that I have tried some new fuseki ideas (those I played with will know what I am talking about).

However, playing seriously is different from playing the most severe move every single time. You still can have a serious game but yet the moves may not be the most severe that one can imagine or play. This is because when you have a game that is won, you can safely play the moves that do not take the highest risks but play perhaps a second best move that can safely lead to a win. I am sure Hane Naoki sensei will endorse this idea as he has himself said this in his book “The Way of Creating a Thick and Strong Game”.

For example in my game with Anthony (one of the up and coming player, who is very determined to improve) yesterday, the first game I played him I gave him 4 handicap stones and won. Then we played a second game and Chyn playfully asked us to play a 6 handicap game which I thought, well why not? I won that game by 55points and Anthony said how come he lose so much more in a 6 handicap game compared to a 4 handicap game? I told him that it’s because in a 6 handicap game, my moves will be much more severe compared to a 4 handicap game. In that way, it is like what Hane Noaki sensei said, there is no need to take the highest risk and play the most severe move. Sometimes a low-risk second best move will win the game too.

Okay, today’s topic is about the 2nd Gobango Game that I have played. Since per my post below, I will write briefly on the bango games, here is something that I must pay more attention in my next game. I missed a handful of endgame moves and I realise I tend to really make mistakes in my endgame.

The game is against Philip (2d). I took black with no komi and I won that game by 22 points on the board. However, although it doesn’t affect the result of the game, I could have done something in the diagram below (approximate position only since we didn’t record the game). Black to move. What is the status? Can Black do anything? (this position is probably a 6-8kyu question. haha).

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So Much To Study

There is so much to study on Go. It is only slightly lesser compared to the time when I self-studied my way to the ACCA qualification. Studying Go now gives me the same self-study feeling. A rundown of the study materials as are currently on my desk which forms part of my self-devised study plan:

1. Fuseki

a. Dictionary of Basic Fuseki by Rin Kaiho. This is to read through and understand the fundamentals of fuseki. Although a bit dated, it is really an excellent survey of fuseki thoughts and ideas.

b. A Dictionary of Modern Fuseki – Korean Style. This is to complement the above, to bring it more up to date, although fuseki ideas keep on improving by the day. One has to put a line for study, furthermore, just by understanding this materials will be good enough to up my games by at least a couple of stones.

2. Joseki

a. Dictionary of Basic Joseki by Ishida Yoshio. This is an excellent survey of joseki. The explanation of moves and why they are good and why some others are bad is really illuminating. Joseki is like contact fighting. By understanding joseki, one will have a better understanding on fighting.

b. After Joseki by Kim Sung Rae. Joseki is just that many moves but what happens after that? This book explores some of the common joseki, in fact so common I just played some of it in my last game. But the book succeeds in showing me all the danger points after the joseki and how to defend or exploit those points.

3. Problems (Tesuji/Tsumego/Reading)

a. Segoe Kensaku and Go Seigen – Tesuji Dictionary
b. Segoe Kensaku – The Book To Increase Your Fighting Strength At Go
c. Gokyo Shumyo
d. Shuko – The Only Move Vol. 1 & 2

[already recently completed the Lee Chanho Tsumego and Tesuji set of 6 volumes in each set]

4. Pro Games

a. The Complete Games of Go Seigen – I am now only focusing on volume 4 and 5, covering his games in the early 1933 and all his Jubango games.
b. Gu Li Games compilation. Gu Li inspire me a lot. I like his style.

[already read and studied Kamakura twice and all of the Shusaku vs Ota Yuza’s Sanjubango, also twice. Went through about 30 Lee Changho games seriously once. this is besides the normal reading of current pro games that is freely available from the internet.]

Quite a lot of things to study and now with the Gobango series, there is now good avenue to put into practice the lessons learned and Confucius would have been proud.

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The Obvious and the Not

“sharpening the eye that observes and the eyes that see”

Day by day, I appreciate Musashi’s words more and more. What brilliant insights.

What is obvious may not be the truth, the truth may not be obvious. If one relies only on external signs and jumps to conclusion, how foolish indeed. To be able to “see” beyond the obvious, to be able to deduce the truth from both obvious and not obvious signs, it is a deep skill indeed, a skill that is worth cultivating. Only then will one steer clear of danger.

As Sun Tzu also said, “Warfare is the Tao of Deception. Although you are capable, display incapability” etc. Therefore, since time immemorial, to have mastered the skill in seeing through deception, to be able to see things as they really are, and not only what they appear to be, will therefore lead a person out of danger and steer safely through a jungle of deception and false appearances.

This is applicable to many aspects of our life, whether playing a game of Go, bringing up our children, negotiating a business deal or going to war.

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Disastrous Game

For the fun of it, we have started a Gobango series in the club. The gobango is inspired by the old Japanese masters where they have a series of 10 games but because we don’t have that much time, we reduced it to 5 games and thus Go bango. Each player in the club is free to choose his or her opponents. My opponents confirmed so far are Alex, Xinwen and Philip. I have two more slots of which to fill.

Yesterday I had my first game with Alex and it was a disaster especially towards the late midgame/early endgame where I lost a lot of points and needlessly throw away stones because I have failed in my second precept in Go, i.e., to always think and verify before playing. I failed to do that and as a result my opponent captured the stones that I have carelessly played and increased his territory. If not the result won’t be as disastrous as this.

At the beginning, it was still ok but a joseki mistake and some psychological problem resulted in my stones getting sealed in. The joseki mistake was the star point-kakari-pincer-jump joseki which I am not very good at but somehow chose. I have used the low Chinese Fuseki which I am currently studying and below is the board position up to move 8:

I have had a game with Alex previously and the board position up to here is exactly the same. And Alex made the same jump. As I was studying this fuseki, none of the games in the database suggested this jump. Here is the board pattern search of over 100,000 professional and high dan amateur games. The most common reply for White is at “a”, i.e. san-san. There must be a reason why no one in that 100,000 plus games played the jump as Alex did with move number 8. I wanted to experiment to find the answer but the results for me was disastrous. Perhaps I am not strong enough. Maybe someone strong reading this can help.

My theory is that it is bad for White to let Black get territory on both sides of the board, i.e. the right side and the top side. But I am not sure.

Below is the position up to move 81. I notice my weakness of loving territory too much and getting sealed in everywhere, resulting in my opponent getting a huge center framework. I am working towards improving this psychological weakness and be more daring to venture into the center and be non-attached to corner and side territory.

As per above, I have failed strategically to limit White’s center potential and did not exploit the weakness in the formation and this breaks my first precept, i.e. always have a plan. I have failed to evaluate strategy and failed to formulate a plan to counter that central potential.

So I deserve to lose this game but my next game, I will improve and do my best again. Go is such an enjoyable game. Even more so when playing with great friends :)

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Innuendo-Belaian Jiwa

Old song but quite nice.

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Emptiness

Wrongly viewed among people of the world, not understanding anything is itself considered emptiness. This is not real emptiness; it is all delusion.

Without any confusion in mind, without slacking off at any time, polishing the mind and attention, sharpening the eye that observes and the eyes that see, one should know real emptiness as the state where there is no obscurity and the clouds of confusion have cleared away.

Wisdom exists, logic exists, the Way exists, mind is empty.

– From the Book of Five Rings.

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