Sunday, May 2, 2010

The Return

So today, on May 1st, I took the subway to Migeum.  For the past month I've been taking a break from Go, and for the past two weeks, I havent touched anything that had to do with Go.  No books, no Go TV, no problems, no logging onto online Go servers, nothing.  I was nervous when I got on the elevator to go to the eighth floor.  After all, I was going to be rusty and the kids are merciless.  I walked in, and everyone was surprised to see me, many of the kids that had been there for awhile were happy to see me, and class resumed.  How did I do?

I owned them.

I went 3/3 today against pretty strong kids.  The class has mostly changed in just a month, there are 3 or 4 new kids and only 2 that I remember from last month.  My old teacher changed jobs and went to the Korean Go Federation, which was sad because I didn't get to say good bye.  I didn't get to see James, the Australian who came to study, but maybe he'll be there tomorrow.  It was nice to get back into the swing of things.  I missed studying hardcore like I had, but at the same time it was good to refresh my mind and body.  Plus running in the morning is helping with my concentration and overall energy level.  Although, after the 3 games I was spent. 

As for my play, I didn't think that it mystically became so much better, but rather, my shapes were ... how do I say this.  I saw the shapes more clearly, I knew where the vital points were and more quickly.  Sure I made mistakes but my moves weren't cataclysmic like they had been and my opponents were the ones that made big mistakes.  Take the first game for example:
I'm White.  I play White 6 because that is just my style, it's a way to avoid the Kobayashi formation which I hate playing against.  Black of course double approaches when White plays elsewhere, and I play 10 to make sure Black stays low.  Black 13 is okay in my opinion but Black could choose another option.
Black can play 13 when the ladder is good for him.  White will throw away a stone at 14 (remember, in situations like these where you have to sacrifice to atari, cut the side you don't want first) and then ladders the Black stone with 18.  Black gets two moves in the lower right while White gets his wall.  Because I can press Black down at the top I think as White I'd be okay with this. Lately I like thickness rather than territory.

The game continued and I played White 18 for influence, although I think Black 18 at 20 is Joseki.  Black 19 should most definitely be at A, and we'll get into why in a sec.  I knew that the move looked weird but I didn't read correctly so I didn't see the punishment.  I want to make sure if in the future I can attack the Black group I'll be able to, I played 20.  Black reduced my influence with 21 which is a good move.  I then proceed to press Black down and played at 22.  Black played 23, when she should have blocked the other side.  Now we get to the interesting part.

Getting to play White 24 was like taking a big bite of a double bacon cheeseburger, just delicious.  Black played 25 which is big because B is a weak point for White (I'll get into that in a bit).  I rushed to play 26.  The old Jon hated two space high pincers, but he also didn't like puppies, chocolate, or rainbows, so that has to say a lot.  White gets yet another wall and my box shaped moyo comes to life.  Instead of playing defensively at A, Black felt she had to come in.  White 32 seemed like the obvious choice to make sure the wall on the left got used, and Black played 33.  Everything is hunky dory until 37, which should be at 38, where I played.

Black 37 is Joseki, and one of many let me tell you.  I planned on playing 38 to continue building center influence.  Black can cut but White will just sacrifice the stones with 42.  The sequence of 44-48 is important because it leaves some aji (potential plays that require certain conditions) at B should White ever get a chance to play A.  White 52 is good for endgame as it seals Black up with no aji.

I played 42 and 44 which is really painful for Black, as he gets pushed out of a corner.  However, I played 48 which my teacher didn't initially like but I told him I don't care about the corner, the center is still my bag.  Black takes the corner, and she takes White 44.  True there is a ko there but not really, Black can live so there is no need to lose sente to kill 44.  Since I get sente yet again I play the monstrously big move of 52, which removes much (if not all) of the effectiveness of Black's corner enclosure. Black played 53 to stabilize her left group, and I played the awful move of 54.  Seriously, I lost some serious street cred when I played this.  It makes Black's group needlessly strong.  I played 56 to start an attack, although exchanging A for B first would have been better.  I thought about it but I wanted to attack so bad that I just threw caution to the wind.

Black 57 picks a fight but not a good one.  White presses in on Black's shape.  Of course, I screw up by playing 68 (I'll leave it to you to see why it doesn't work and why White should have played one move to the right).  Black didn't see and then let me capture three stones, and then defended her corner.  Now White is ultra thick for mots of the board, and I start the onslaught with 72.  

Black tries to capture the invader, but I end up sacrificing it.  White 84 does indeed let the 3 White stones die, but White 86 is so incredibly big that who cares about those 3 stones anyway.  I go onto win the game because my influence is just incredible.  All in all, it was a great first day.  Now, what do you think I did Sunday.  Did I rush back there, trying to throw myself headlong at Go so that I could gain that one little piece of strength I used to crave? Nope, I had a feeling I should rest that day, and I did something I love.  I got into the kitchen and started cooking.  Which brings me to a new addition to this blog.  My goal by the end of the year is to master 50 recipes, I mean really perfect certain dishes to increase my cooking skills.  I'll post pics of my creations and we'll see what happens.  Today I tried my hand at baking cake, which I have to say is much improved from the first time I tried.  It's not dense at all and the test is pretty good, although it's not half as fluffy as I had wanted.  

Anyway, hope you enjoyed the post and I'll see ya later!