Saturday, March 20, 2010

Today's Lesson Part Deux

So right now I'm working on revamping my original 3 books on Go and starting work on the dan level version, so I've been kind of busy and not so much with the posting as of late, but I promise I'll put up more stuff as time goes on.  If anyone has happened to have read any of them, I know some people were able to get a copy when they first came out, I'd love comments or questions.

My schedule at school is pretty brutal in that Monday and Friday I have like, what, 10 or 11 classes and a lunch duty in a row so I go from 10 until 6:50 straight save for a 25 minute break which is sometimes only 10 minutes if the kids are having a hard time putting their coats on.  When I get home I'm pretty blasted.  I'm taking like a month or so off of taking lessons on Monday, Wednesday, and the weekend, so I can have some time to relax and rebuild.  I was exercising, taking evening lessons, changing my diet, working on Baduk World stuff, taking Korean lessons twice a week, and working at school all at the same time and I just said to myself "Self, you're not a machine.  Cool it."  I'm learning it's okay to be ambitious but know why you are working so hard and for what purpose, and always realize that since you will eventually get to your destination there is no reason not to enjoy the scenery.

During this time I thought it'd be a good time just to study on my own so I could begin to work through what I've learned by myself.  A rest period would give my brain some time to absorb new stuff, and I think it's working.  I just turned 4d on Tygem yesterday and my inaugural game was a success, although I did have to kill everything to win, but hey, that's always been my style pretty much.  Whether or not I'll stay 4d remains to be seen but I'm confident, as long as I keep studying.  My study schedule has been focussed on pro games, joseki and plenty of playing.  My friend Bernd came up with a great way to study joseki (joseki is a set series of moves where the result is supposed to be equal for both players).  You learn a new joseki or do X pages of a joseki book one day, then do it the consecutive day, take a break for one day, then do it the fourth day, take two days off, then do it the following day, lather rinse repeat.  This helps you to not forget a sequence after you learn it.  I do the same thing when I teach languages, constant repetition of what we previously learned because once you don't use something, you forget it.

Speaking of joseki, I'm working on that section in the Go book for dan level players and I thought I'd include a part of it here.  It's high level, so it's kind of complicated, but I think high kyu's will understand.  Here's a joseki that I learned recently and I think it's a fairly new move.

7 is kind of a neat move and is not what my instincts told me to play at first.   It's really an aggressive move that aims at forcibly blocking the center so to descend at 7 may seem counterintuitive but actually it hems White into a small area so it does the job.  Black could try other things but they don't turn out quite as good, but it does depend on the board.  I've never really thought of joseki as being truly equal since no one just plays joseki in a real game and then declares the game a tie.  The rest of the board exists, so I don't like to judge the "non joseki moves", I would just rather examine them, and if the move is truly bad then I can throw it out.

For instance some may feel the need to hane at 7, but once White cuts Black falls apart.  This isn't really a matter of board position, it's a matter of being split into three groups, which is rarely good.

Black could be all fancy and play a one space jump and seal White from the center, but like, White isn't really all that sealed since he gets more points in compensation.  But still, my personal thought is that if Black has a big enough framework this might be ok, not a complete failure for Black save for maybe a possible cut should White later be able to play above 13, but that's really stretching it.  But again it's not great since White gets sente (it's White's move after black finishes with 15).

White has a much easier time with 8, but then Black harasses him by playing at 9 because Black 1 is pretty much on an awesome point.  The peep at White 12 is a good move and then a fight ensues, which gives White territory but Black gets all the outside stones.  This is a basic sacrifice technique but always be sure to play to close White in at 25, otherwise he just squirms away.  I think this is better for White than the previous stuff because he gets, what, 15 points of territory or so.  The aji for Black isn't that bad, there's a peep and the possibility that White will use 30 and 32 to erase Black's outside influence, but that remains to be seen.

As you can see, when I teach joseki I am not rigid.  I don't think you need to have a strict sense of right and wrong with joseki, to think that such and such a sequence is "Bad" and can never be good, but just to observe it calmly and judge for yourself.  Some sequences are just plain bad, but only put that label on them if there is no conceivable way it could be good.  If you can't, then tuck it away into a mental drawer and wait for the right chance.