Resolution: achieved

Last year, my resolution was to reach 5k. I didn’t do it by the new year, but I am happy to say, 1 month late, I have now reached 5k on KGS!

Who knows how long I’ll stay there, but I feel I can put a check mark next to that goal now.

I also have been continuing to play games, I have probably a dozen or more that I haven’t posted about, I’ve just been falling behind in writing posts, not in playing! Though I do have a vacation starting this week, so I may not be posting much then either.

I will continue to play every day, and maybe… reach 1d by new years??

One can hope!


Game 9: Pass, Pass, Pass… lose

In this game, my opponent gave me so many free moves that I ended up winning by around 40 points.

I am white in this game. He opened with san ren sei, then repeated josekis in both corners that in my opinion were bad for him, and also left me with sente each time.

I came out ahead after a fight on the right side, then made the cut at 1. Below, is what I expected him to do:

BoardShot (13)

Or something similar, to use forcing moves to get a wall, then try to make something on the top side, which was the last open area.

Instead, the below happened:

BoardShot (14)

I’m sure he expected me to connect when he played 1. But connecting that stone gets me about 5 points in gote. The extension that I played gets me much more than that, and radiates power into the center, I mean, just look at it! How could I resist playing it!

I’m feeling pretty happy at this point, my upper right is huge, and I’ve got good potential on the top. I’m still expecting him to approach the left corner, or maybe play in the middle top somewhere.

But then…

“No,” you say, “he can’t possibly have…”

Yes… he captured. A two point move, that is not sente, giving me another free move. Playing something on the top side looks bigger in retrospect, but in the game I decided to try and reduce the bottom some more:

BoardShot (15)

After this sequence, the triangled group is starting to look pretty cramped. I was expecting for black to make a few shape moves for that group, hopefully leaving me with sente to go back to the top. Instead, you guessed it, another passing move:

BoardShot (16)

He first protects his corner with 1, and I respond with 2. Then, he plays 3, and I realize that the previous two ‘passing’ moves he played were all an effort to connect his groups up. A good idea, in general, but not with so much else going on! This gote connection allows me to play 4, and his group is now in dire trouble.

I have fun chasing it around for the rest of the game, making loads of points in the process.

So, beware of your weak groups! And play big moves / sente moves!


Game 8: Ko Confusion

In this game, I was behind by a fair amount until the end and then my opponent either misunderstood a ko threat I made, or thought that his group was in danger if he lost the ko, so ignored it. Leading to his loss.

This is another read on reading is so important! What is your opponent actually threatening to do with that ko threat? What will happen if you ignore it? Knowing these things will win or lose you the game.

Here is the threat I made for the ko on the top of the board. This is not a big ko, and his group is not in danger of dying, though he may have thought it was:

BoardShot (12)

That’s a pretty huge threat, at least 20 points, but he ignored it to play N17 and capture my one stone…

All I can think is he either hallucinated that capturing that stone would not connect my groups (hallucinations in go are all too real) or he misread the top and thought his group was in danger of dying and was too afraid to fight the ko any longer.

Either way, it pays to read read read, and read again just to be sure!

The full game for those interested. 

Game 7: Atari Blindness

I still have it. I wonder how long before I cure it, if I ever do. Anyone has played go has seen the infamous self-atari played by a professional. So maybe it will always be there.

But it sure is frustrating! I played a game yesterday on IGS and was ahead by 30 points or so, and was clicking my way through endgame when I ignored an atari… and lost. I just somehow didn’t see it!

Here is the game. I’m black and the move I played is highlighted. The move I should have played… well, I’m sure you can find it:

BoardShot (11)

So.. so painful…

Here is the full game for anyone interested.

Game 6: Don’t chase yourself to death…

The second game I played at the bar on my phone the other night. This one I won by resignation.

Both of these I played on IGS, and that server is strange because it seems like a gamble whether you get someone good, or someone horrible, there is no in between. At least not at the 10k level, which I am still at, even though I’m 7k on KGS and OGS.

Anyway, I got a group into a bad position, and I’m sure you can see an easy way to kill it, or at least surround it and get lots of influence. I was white:

BoardShot (7)

The triangled group is looking pretty uncomfortable there, AND it’s blacks turn. How would you attack it? M8 maybe? Or O7? Both good choices. What you wouldn’t want to do is below:

BoardShot (8)

Just because you can atari doesn’t mean you should! But it’s still looking pretty bad for white. Black’s next move could be at N8 or O8, and white will still be surrounded. What you wouldn’t want to do is touch, touching weak stones make them stronger!

BoardShot (9)

See the problem that is starting to arise here? Now black is starting to be surrounded too. There isn’t much room for eyes down there!

BoardShot (10)

Black continues with his brute force pressing strategy, and presses white right into himself.  With white out into the center, the group is dead.

So! Play away to attack, touch for getting strength if you have to.

Game 5: Blundering though my days

I played a couple games at the bar today on my phone, using the IGS client. It’s fun, but also a bit hard to get an idea of the whole board sometimes, when you have to zoom in and out of a position.

This was a two stone handicap game, and I think I was having a hard time, and probably being too aggressive in trying to make up for my deficit–then I made it even worse and fumbled a basic life and death problem.

BoardShot (6)

Here’s the game. I’m white. How can the white group on the left live?

Well it’s pretty easy if you think about it for 10 or 20 seconds, which I didn’t. This is DDK level stuff, and I still am screwing it up somehow!

I was thinking that if I descend with A9, that leaves me with dead shape and the throw-in kills me. So…. I played A8… and the throw-in still killed me. Oops.

The obvious thing I was missing, is that in this board position, A9 is sente. If black tries to throw in, white can just capture with A11 and connect to the upper group.

Of course, I also missed the other obvious answer of just playing B7 myself… sigh.

Reading goes a loooong way folks! A life and death problem a day keeps the capture away!

Game 4: Unranked, painful cut

I’ve played a couple unranked games by request of my opponents, which I wasn’t going to count toward my 100, but… I started thinking about the point of playing these 100 games, and it has nothing to do with rank, so why shouldn’t I count them?

So here is one I played yesterday, I think it was not a fair match because I played on OGS where I pretty much only play correspondence games, so my rank was not accurate for the live game setting (OGS has separate ranks for Live, Blitz, and Correspondence time settings), it had me at 9k when I am more like 7 or 6k. But I decided to post about this one because of a misplayed joseki that allowed me to win pretty early on with a very painful cut:


Here is the move. I’m sure you’ve all see this pincer and 3-3 invasion. The mistake is to play the hane at 1, expecting your opponent to just follow along and crawl on the second line. The problem is, the cut at A works. White needs to play A himself. This is one of the situations when a proverb is wrong, that being ‘hane at the head of two stones.’


Because now, after 1,2 and 3, white can not protect against both A and B. Sad day!

So, don’t hane on the 3-3 invasion! Unless you have some other stones nearby to back you up and are certain you’ve read out what happens!

Here is what the sequence should look like:


Which gives black the corner and gives white influence and sente.

Knowing these corner josekis will improve your rank drastically it seems. In my games lately I’ve noticed having a good advantage from knowing about the weaknesses that arise when josekis are left incomplete or played wrong.

Learn them, you won’t regret it!