Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Humble Pie

So this past week I was on cloud nine.  I was winning my games at the Go salons, I even beat my teacher, Mr. O, by 4 points in a two stone handicap game, and I was studying Go like nobodies business.  I was hooked to Baduk TV, and evening following along with the commentators as they showed sequences I was thinking about while watching the game.  I was plowing through games of Dosaku and somewhat following his awesome reading (as much as a mere human can anyway), so I thought I was really making some progress in Go.  I even dreamed I would just skip to KGS 5d in no time.  Then, fate walked up to me and handed me this:

Yes, good ol' humble pie.  It looks sort of like this, except its filling is made of anguish, its crust of despair, and its all topped off with a creamy, cool dollop of cold hard reality.  The fork is also conveniently there to jam through your eye.  Last thursday I sat down to play some Go on KGS.  I ended up losing two games to 3d's because I went down in flames, and dropped to 2d.  I thought...

"Ok self, 2d.  That's...not what we're going for here but that's ok.  Maybe there was a rank shift and you haven't played online Go in awhile. Just beat a 2d and you'll be fine."

Upon saying that, I proceeded to lose to 2d's.  In one of the games, I killed my opponent big and still lost (I hate those games).  So, I drop to 1d.  I tried to keep the rage from boiling over but that wasn't going to work, so I proceeded to play more and more games until I got my rank back.  I then proceeded to lose to 1 dans, and even had a hard time against 1 kyus.  It was maddening.  The more I played, the angrier I got, and the worse my play became.  By the end of the evening I had totaled my rank into the ground.  I tried telling myself that I wouldn't go to bed till I got at least 2d back, but in that state I couldn't do anything.

So, the next day I dusted myself off and just said "Self, you're not half as good as you thought you were."  I reviewed my games and I saw that all I did was go all out for the kill.  Every move was single mindedly aimed at destroying my opponent.  Of course it was fueled at having been beaten by players I thought were weaker than me, but they ended up winning, so they weren't so weak after all.  Now that my KGS rank has been trashed into the ground and my self confidence in the gutter, I'll have to pick up the pieces.  So far, I've been playing ranked games on kgs, 2 a day to get my average back to snuff, and even when I told myself I'd be calm and concentrate, I still lost to a 1 kyu (lemme tell you, that's a bad feeling).

I'm sure anyone reading this who is low dan or one kyu will feel standoffish but the fact of the matter is I studied hard and I did gain strength, so it's hard for me to swallow that someone who is 2-3 stones weaker than me was able to achieve victory.  It just means I'll have to redouble my efforts.  More exercise, more eating healthy, more tsumego problems, more more more until I get to where I'm going.  I was actually nervous playing a one dan today and even though I won handily the scar of having been dethroned so completely is still on my mind.  I guess the moral of the story is, be patient, and keep your ego in check.  Whenever mine starts going out of control I always have one of these episodes.  We'll see if I bounce back.