One good thing about playing Go online as opposed to over-the-board is that, by eliminating travel time, it’s easy to get a few games in. Tonight I played 6 games with my friend Vox.
We’ve been using a generous time limit of 20 minutes for each player + 30 seconds byo yomi 3 times. For non-go players, that means that once you’ve used up your main time, you have 30 seconds to play each subsequent move, but if you use up that time, you lose one of your byo yomi periods, so you have 2 X 30 second periods left and so on. For our online games, this has been plenty of time. Maybe that means we should learn to slow down and consider our moves longer.
In recent weeks, I’ve burst ahead in terms wins and I haven’t been quite sure what to think of that. For quite a long time, Vox has been the stronger player. At one point he was offering me 3 stones handicap and I needed them to beat him. However, slowly but surely I’ve evened things up. Now for the 3rd evening in a row, I’ve really dominated play, winning 5 of the 6 games tonight. Two of them were by resignation. Another was by a lot of points. Vox won one game by 6.5 points and one of our games was so close – I won by half a point. We each played the black stones 3 times tonight, and komi was 6.5, meaning black goes first and to balance that, white gets an additional 6.5 points.
I’m convinced that studying, watching teaching videos and especially doing life and death problems recently has strengthened my reading and given me an advantage.
In the game pictured above, Vox resigned when he could not save the large black group in the centre top half of the board. Even if that group survived, I think I was in control of this game.
It will be most interesting to see if I can continue to dominate our games. I know (because I’ve been in the same situation plenty enough), it’s very difficult to see what you need to do to win when you’re on a losing streak. It’s easy to fall back into play that is too defensive and that just makes matters worse. However, Vox is a tenacious player and in our history playing, anytime I’ve found an advantage, he’s usually figured it out and negated it fairly quickly, and many times just when I have thought I’ve gained an advantage, he’s punished me. If the difference is really that I’ve upped my reading skill and jumped a level or two, he’s going to have to do the same to even things out.