Friday, February 19, 2010

Today's Lesson

So I met my teacher Mr. O today (Yes, his last name is a letter of the alphabet) at a nearby go club and we played a teaching game as usual. I've found my play has gotten a lot less aggressive since I have to play little children all the time. Little children tend to overplay a lot and do not stop until all of your stones are dead, so in response I developed a style that is fairly solid and waits for the right moment to strike back when they play a move that just plain doesn't work. The problem is I stopped seeing the ultra-aggressive moves that were the hallmark of my Go style, so I miss golden opportunities to strike back.

The game began like this and everything was hunky dory up until I played Black 10. It's a pretty bad move but the problem was I didn't like my alternatives, although I should have. Since my style is largely based off of my reading ability I tend to simply read out variations instead of just having joseki at my fingertips. This means that I spend a lot less time going over the pro's and con's of variations and instead try to just make sure I have the plays move for move read out correctly.

This is a much better variation than the game. I would not have thought to connect at 1 since coming out or blocking come more readily to mind. It makes sense though since White's high double pincer aims at blockading Black, which means Black must ensure that does not happen. My move in the actual game gives White a chance to totally seal me in. The reason I played it is because...

If White plays the second pincer low rather than high, then Black can get out with 8. Sure White has some annoying aji at A, where he can possibly connect out to either group, so that keeps things okay for both Black and White, although I think some people don't like Black that much. Just depends on your taste I guess.

In the game I got blockaded and had to run out through a narrow corridor which was not to my liking to say the least. At Black 20 I needed to push out one more time before attacking with 22 so that my inside group has some breathing room.

36 should have been a one space jump but I misread and thought White could cut, so I played an empty triangle to move out. Yes, I am not of the "Empty triangle is bad! An Angel dies when you play an empty triangle!" school, I play it if I think it's good. Here it isn't, but that's okay, I'm not going to lose any sleep. White 39 continues to blockade me in and now my top group loses the initiative. So far this game isn't over, it's just not that pretty for Black.

44 was being a bit too fancy, although not neccesarily bad strategy, it's just better if I push out with my top group instead of aiming at cutting White by using a ladder breaker. My top group lives painfully small but my plan was to offset that by gaining from the fight in the lower left. My plan was fine but I needed to play more aggressively and take the vital points when they are right in front of me.

Black 1 is the vital point as it aims to connect all of Black's groups and closes up any eye space White could hope to grab onto to make his group strong.

I know, it makes your eyes bleed, but this is how I should counter attack. Black 11 is a tesuji that maintains Black's connection since Black 11 can be saved if White atari's it. Black 17 keeps White squeezed in the middle and the fight rages on.

This is how the game was going to go in my mind, where I get very nice thickness with a meager sacrifice. Too bad I didn't see white could jump out, but even then I still could have been more aggressive.

The game went like this and I played the slack move of 17. I thought that the fight would be ok for me if I make the left and bottom stable but I could have accomplished that while going on the offensive at the same time if I had instead attacked with A.

Not sure what happened to my Go. I still fight and I still aim for shape weaknesses and tesujis, but now the truly aggressive moves don't even appear in my mind. By the way, in no way am I down about this game, in fact I'm elated. I'm so happy that I won't be making these same mistakes again (at least I hope not) it makes me feel like I've already improved. My reading and calculations have to include the "crazy" looking moves I've weaned myself off of since I was 2d, so that I don't miss opportunities in the future.