Category Archives: Weiqi/Go/Baduk

About the game of Weiqi. It also goes by the name of Baduk (Korea), Igo (Japan) and Go (International)

Jeonju, Korea

So I am now back from Jeonju, Korea. It is a very nice town, serene and beautiful. It is a very good blend of the traditional and the modern. I could have lived there. It is also the hometown of Lee Changho, the top Go player who has won more than 20 world titles. Here is my picture with him. I was so fortunate to be able to have a photo with him. I met him in Singapore during the Ing cup but didn’t manage to take any photos, so here it is, one of my missions in Go has been accomplished :)


Photo credit: Billy

Jeanju is a nice blend of the traditional and the modern. On one side of the town we can see very traditional houses but just walk for a while and cross the street, it is a completely fashionable area with lots of teenagers and modern things to feast the senses.


Photo credit: Jayden

One of the dishes that Jeonju is famous for, the Bibimbap:


Photo credit: Xinwen

The Jeonju trip is for the Korea Prime Minister Cup (KPMC) Baduk (Go) Tournament. Here are some pictures:


Photo credit: Xinwen


Photo credit: Jayden

Some friends:


Handy – Indonesia Official


Sharen – Brunei Official


Jayden the superb photographer


Extremely blur guy Xinwen


Our player, the superb Zaid Waqi.

On the last day, we had a simultaneous game with professionals as well as touring. Here is the photo with the cute professional that I played with:

Some photos of the area (all thanks to our superb photographer Jayden.)


The champion from South Korea on the left versus Japan.

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Filed under 4th Korea Prime Minister Cup 2009, Weiqi/Go/Baduk

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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Filed under Weiqi/Go/Baduk

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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Filed under Weiqi/Go/Baduk

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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Filed under Weiqi/Go/Baduk

A Vow re Go

Here is something that I have been thinking about. I think I haven’t really put enough seriousness in playing Go. I mean I do play very serious games which all that is in my mind is to find a way to win, and win I must but a lot of my games are not serious at all. I noticed that all the strong players treat each game seriously, and they play to win. That mindset is the mindset to getting stronger. And I believe it and must now try to think that way too.

I am actually quite sick of having to say, “oh it’s just a teaching game, so the moves are to prompt the student”, or, “oh, I was just playing there to see if the ‘student’ replies correctly or not”, or “I was just testing my moves”, or “I ‘let water’ only”. I am truly getting quite sick of this and I think this is a major roadblock to anyone wanting to improve Go. I don’t think any good and strong Go player thinks like this. To improve Go, there is only one way. To play seriously together with a desire to win, or at least this is what I believe now.

Come to think of it, it really makes no sense to lose and then give excuses. Why not win first then only talk? Why must one lose to teach or experiment? Why not win first then teach the student what he played wrong or win first then only say you could have ‘let water’? I think it is all excuses and to cheat oneself, to want to believe one is actually strong but could not take the fact that one is actually not as strong as one would like to believe. And thus the masking and the excuses.

This whole idea is wrong. It feels wrong.

Anyways, from now on, I vow to treat every game seriously. Played seriously with a desire to win. So if I lose, there shall be no excuses. There is only one reason why I lose. I am weaker than my opponent. At least for the game that has just concluded. And this shall be admitted. Only then will there be a path to become stronger.

And of course, if I win, I will refuse all the excuses my opponent gives me. I will just think he or she is weaker than me. At least for the game that we just played. I will assume he or she played seriously. If not playing seriously, why waste time and play at all? Better go to a movie?

Remember: If you lose, YOU are weaker. No excuses. Just go and study and practice more instead of giving excuses why you “could” have won. Face the fact. Face reality.

“It’s not denial. I’m just selective about the reality I accept.” -Calvin and Hobbes

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Filed under Weiqi/Go/Baduk

Japanese Modern Visual Culture – Daicon

Yesterday and today morning we were at the Multimedia University in Cyberjaya as part of the Malaysia Weiqi Association’s promotion of Go in the Daicon event. It was really nice, full of youth and vigor. It is undeniable that the Japanese have been very successful in exporting their culture, from karaoke to manga to anime to J-Pop etc.

It has always been a wonder to me to see people dressed just like the characters in the manga or anime. But it is such a great thing that they did, do what they like, live the moment. Daicon is a great celebration not only of Japanese visual art but also a celebration of the spirit of youth.

Here are some photos (courtesy of my wife of course):

Figurines:

Cosplay:

Malaysia Weiqi Association promotion gang:

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Filed under Events and Happenings, Weiqi/Go/Baduk

Now That We Know – Secret To Winning Go

Now that we know that the object of Go is to get more points than your opponent, how do we then proceed to study Go so as to become stronger?

Recall from the post below that P(A)=pt(A)+pc(A), then to have more points, one has to surround more territory and/or capture more stones. However, unless your opponent is foolish enough to let you have your way, you will find strong resistance from your opponent so as to ensure that your points is lesser than his/hers.

Now, how does one learn how to create more points? The answer lies in the strategic and the tactical.

Strategic means study materials that increases your understanding of Go as a whole game. On the highest level, it involves the understanding of the basic strategic concepts of Go, such as miai, thickness, sente, gote, aji, value, etc. The next level will be thematic studies of things like thickness, direction of play, etc. Then the next level will be the study of various opening such as the san-ren-sei, Kobayashi fuseki, Mini Chinese Fuseki, etc.

On the tactical level, the highest level are things like positional judgment, strength and weakness of positions and stones, etc. The next level will be general reading ability to execute the strategy derived from skills developed in the strategic level and an indepth understanding of shape. Next level will be the basic tactical skills such as tesuji, haengma, joseki knowledge, yose skills and tsumego capabilities.

To improve on Go, one has to improve both the strategic and tactical skills, not just tactical skills alone which is the obsession of many Go players.

And the final thing is application. Application of the strategic and tactical skills in a real game. Therefore, when one plays a game, it is better to think and apply what one has learned, refine them, learn from the game and think about it again and again, and apply them again in games. Therefore playing games is extremely important to solidify the knowledge and skills. If not, the improvement is just only in your head, a make-belief, until you really start to win games against people you can’t win against previously.

Perhaps this is the way to improve Go.

P(A)=pt(A)+pc(A). P(B)=pt(B)+pc(B). If P(A)>P(B), P(A) wins. Reverse is true. R(B) is player B’s resistance so as to ensure P(B)>P(A).

R(B)={{[S(B)+T(B)] x E(B)]} + M(B)}, where S(B) is player B’s strategic skills and knowledge and T(B) is player B’s tactical skills. E(B) is player B’s experience level and M(B) is player B’s stamina.

If R(B) > R(A), then the chances are that P(B) will be more than P(A).

Ah hahahahahaha. There you have it. The secret to winning Go.

p/s: this is just a fun post done out of boredom. don’t take it seriously.

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