Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Go Congress Tune Up

Go Congress is August 4th this year in sunny San Diego, California, and I am planning on making my way there.  Last year, I went 3-3 in the 4 dan division.  In China, I played 4 dans comfortably and could occasionally beat a Chinese 5 dan if the stars aligned.  I know that once you get up to the dan level ranks, then progress becomes a lot slower.  Also, the training regimen tends to get a bit dull.  It's basically "play games and do L&D."  I learned early on in my Go career that half the battle is putting your nose to the grindstone and doing the boring, unexciting work.  After all, it works and leads to improvement.

I joined the BIBA league this month so I would be able to play some serious games, have them reviewed, and do life and death problems.  I work quite a bit each week so I only have so much time I can devote to serious Go study, and the schedule seemed about right.  One thing about Go, is it's a lot like riding a bike.  I haven't played in months, but picking it back up is not too difficult.  I just have to make sure I play regularly enough so that I'm not rusty.

My current record in the BIBA league is 1-1.  The second game I lost in spectacular fashion because of a single tactical misread.  I have to take more time to do the intricate reading necessary to make the game work.  My style of Go is inherently complicated.  I lost my last game because I didn't properly read out the life and death situation of my group and thought it was unconditionally alive, when in fact it was a ko.  The ko was unwinnable for me because I had made a weak group nearby live, but in doing so left a lot of ko threats.  This constantly happens in my games, where one misread causes an avalanche.

I'm entering Go Congress as a 4d, even though my rank is like 3.7 dan.  The games at high level are a lot harder because my opponents are usually more tenacious and the games grind on.  No one accepts defeat and they hang on to the last stone.  In a way it helps me to be stronger, to be mentally tougher. I've been getting in shape for the past month, weightlifting and doing cardio, and it has remarkably improved my concentration, which is a skill I hope to bring into my game.  I'd like to think I'm a strong Go player, but I'm still human and make dumb mistakes (like missing simple nets).  I need to stop thinking every loss is a disaster and every win is a ticket to 7 dan.  You just do the work, and when you don't know what to do, follow the advice of my Korean Go instructor Yi Jae Il: Do more. comments