Donnerstag, 10. Mai 2012

No-No Shapes

Warning: This post consists entirely of bad shapes. The persons involved in creating this post are highly trained professionals in this field. Do not try at home.

Througout my Go career I have seen many bad shapes that make me facepalm, over and over again. I have collected samples of common bad shapes and I will clarify their badness using picturesque explanations. My goal will have been achieved if you, dear reader, start facepaming more often than you ever had.

I'm sure you are familiar with

The Empty Triangle

The B2 Bomber

and The Angry Potato

Those are seemingly bad shapes which are, needless to say, indeed bad shapes.

However, I will be writing about stuff which involve hostile stones, like

The Futile Thrust (while giving them cool names)

(followed by a short explanation why it is bad) The exchange of B 1 for W 2 is a bad shape because all it does is improving the enemy's shape. It looks as though White had played two moves in a row.

Which would be these two:

(then I add a picture which shows what the shape looks like to me, which spares me a thousand words of explaining)
To me, the black shape looks rather like

Let's get started!

The Dissected Knight

Sadly, this is a very common shape. Sometimes it is simply the best move to create this shape. However, you need to accept the fact that one of your stones is going to face a harsh destiny of doom.

I see many people voluntarily do this to their poor stones, while being convinced that they are playing on both sides, which is very efficient (not):

Again, this simply looks like Black has played two moves in a row.
Hell, please treat your stones better! They do not deserve getting backstabbed like this by their comrades. A lot of tesuji are about paying a sacrifice to make your opponent play this shape!

Examples of variations of the Dissected Knight:

The Injured Elephant

The Injured and Insulted Elephant

The Galactic Doornail
(There is a joseki that features this one. We can conclude that the Knight is perfectly aware of their Dissection in this case.)

The Dissected Knight shape sort of reminds me of this:
You may argue that this is actually art.

The Masochistic Headbump

Imagine doing this to yourself

The Interstellar Banana

This looks like Black got three moves straight!

Something That Would Traumatise Little Kids

Believe it or not, I've seen this being allowed to happen more than once.

The Vengeance of Alcoholic Ignorance

W 1 is actually a good move... is what I would say if there wasn't a black stone already.

The last shape of this series shall be accompanied by a video.

to be continued

Mittwoch, 7. März 2012

Twisted Logic

I recall a proverb that stated 'There lie bad moves next to tesuji'. However I cannot find it on sensei's collection of Go proverbs so you'll have to trust me it exists. It is not hard to imagine that the spots next to a move which is tesuji are inferior to the tesuji for a tesuji is per definitionem the smartest, coolest, whateverst move in its vicinity.

As some of you readers might know, I've been hospitalized since a while and this was one of the things I spent thoughts on as I have shitloads of time on hand to contemplate every possible flibbertigibbet.

So there I was, playing some on KGS, and this proverb randomly popped into my mind. 'Hmm', I thought, 'this proverb is pretty handy for finding bad moves.'
'How about', I concluded, 'I modify this proverb a little to look for good moves?'
And thus a proverb was rephrased: There lies tesuji next to bad move!

So whenever I am about to play a move I feel weird about, I would apply this and look for the hidden tesuji that may be adjacent to the move I want to play. In theory. In reality I keep forgetting it and play the bad move anyway.

So guys, please try out this fresh method for discovering tesujis in your games and tell me whether it works, thanks a bunch:)

Dienstag, 24. Mai 2011

another blog

while browsing facebook I stumbled upon a (better) blog about the way of go.

you can find lots of other cool stuff there:)

Mittwoch, 18. Mai 2011

Go and Power

Sometimes I feel that people think that the only thing that determines your strenght in Go is how many moves you can read ahead.
I am the living proof that this is not true:) Reading is one of the things I am very bad at. During my progression from 2d to 5d I have improved at many things but reading. Sure reading is important, but it is by far not the only thing that matters.

quote/ Miu from History's Strongest Disciple Kenichi (a manga on martial arts):

Imagine that power equals reading power in Go, I don't have much power, but I do beat strong people occasionally. There must be something else to strenght besides power. (As for me, recently I had a level-up at getting lucky, hehe.)

(Altough I know that it is unwise to reveal details of my Go – my friend wrote about his style in his blog and it was effectively used to scheme a counter strategy against him – I'll just hope that those people who would do that to me don't read this.)

I have relatively strong skills in positional judgement. Another friend pointed out that this enables me to control the flow of a game: when I think that I am ahead, I play along with my opponent, when I don't, I resist. And it might be somewhat true.

Since I am not strong at reading, I try to simplify the game whereever I can. It is the exact opposite of what most people in Dan range do on KGS, I'd like to call that technique randomizing a game. It is somehow scary to play against those people, but in around 50% of their games they just defeat themselves.

If you get the right idea of it, even if you don't have much power, this is what can happen:

Looks cool huh^^

(And this is what can happen to you too if have great power but nothing to back it up.)

I'm sorry that the post didn't turn out as informative as I had planned. I have a non-disclosure agreement with myself and cannot reveal confidential information. (Apart from the manga, all origins from my head. You probably won't find anyone else telling you the same thing. If you do, cool:) )

Donnerstag, 12. Mai 2011

Random sequence

time for another random move
(so, 5k again? If you don't understand the diagrams you can read and try to grasp what I wrote too.)

This is one of the first josekis I learned.

some 20 moves later...

When black plays 26 (the stone is not cut off, it's just your imagination), it would be honte for white to answer at 28. If he decides to tenuki and do nothing else, black can do this trick.

If the ladder works for black, white can only connect to the peep like this. And thus black connects underneath, robbing white off his base and white becomes what you call floating in mid-air.

Where is the ladder?

That is, when white plays kosumi-tsuke with 4 preventing black from connecting underneath. Of course black cuts with 5 and w's sagari with 6 is the tesuji for the corner's capturing race. Since black would lose the semeai if he just takes liberties, he breaks out with 7 and it becomes ugly.
Up to b 13, if the ladder at B works for black, white cannot cut with A. So when black gets to connect at B eventually, the white stones in corner die a natural and peaceful death.
But even if the ladder doesn't work for black, black can settle for an exchange by playing 13 at 11.

Nothing new so far:)

Now we change one stone in the joseki. Black extends with a keima instead of the two-point extension (6 in the very first diagram).

By shifting one stone, if white cuts directly at A, black can play the ladder of 12345 with the help of the triangled stone even if there is the starred white ladder breaker.
Black thinks he is smart, but there is a way for white to outwit black's plan...

Now black should pretty much be swearing again.

Because if black connects to white's attachment, the long awaited ladder has been obliterated.

Dienstag, 10. Mai 2011

the Go player's posture

When I learned under Kobayashi Chizu sensei, she taughe us about the differences between the habits of European Go players and Japanese conventions (sitting at a Goban on a table).

From what I remember of her teachings, this should be a pretty good example:

Since the guy in the picture is right-handed, his bowl is placed at his right and the lid where prisonders are supposed to be put is in both players' field of vision (though for pros it is impolite to count the prisoners in the lid).
Furthermore you can see that the elbows are off the table, the hand is off the lid until the moment he knows where he would play and reaches for one stone from the bowl which he would place on the board in a confident way.
From my experience it is not that strict at the tournaments, but you should avoid rattling with stones or play with them making a lot of noise because it annoys approximately 100% of Go players. Except of course the one Boom! you make when putting the stone on the board.

Alright! Find 3 mistakes in this picture:

Montag, 9. Mai 2011

endgame in another nutshell


dedicated to the notorious term double sente.
Double sente means the yose is sente for both players.

What's the size of the endgame in this area?

If white plays first, the sequence is sente for white.

The same goes for black. The difference between this and above diagram is 4 points (marked with the green Xs). We learned that if and endgame is sente for one player and gote for the other, the size is doubled if the gote player gets to play it because the sente player was too stupid to grab it.
As for double sente endgame, both players have the chance to get it for free, so it is hard to calculate the value.* (Someone said that it is worth infinite points.)
However, getting a double sente endgame can give you a psychological advantage. Imagine that your opponent will be all like "oh damn... I should have played that... what if I lose by 2 points now..." and become more overplay-prone.

So much for the theory!

In reality, this kind of endgame is (almost) always more sente for one of the players. White A threatens the black corner (if black blocks once and tenukies, the corner is dead in ko, or alive in ko, whichever you prefer), and black B threatens to ruin white's eastside territory. In a perfect game, whoseever threat is bigger will get the endgame. In a game between two stupid humans, it is the one who is more lucky who will get it.

When you are unsure whether your opponent might tenuki your supposedly sente move (this goes for single sente moves too), there is this rule of thumb (found on senseis):

If you hope your opponent doesn't answer your move, your move is probably sente.

But keep in mind that there are situations where playing endgame too early can be bad.

Feel the power of white's moyo!

And now look how black's moves have increased white's power (in sente).

*The nerdy way to calculate is to assume that everything is gote and calculate the net value of the move and add the half size of the continuation to a gross value, and do that for both sides. However, it is probably easier to do an overall score estimation for every move than calculating that (and see rule of thumb).