July 29, 2022
I haven’t been writing in this space for some time, mostly because I’ve been having a fairly easy time of it in my Go sessions with Rik. I’ve won 96 of 148 games this year while giving some komi as handicap (I take .5 as white and give 10.5 as black) for a 65% winning percentage.
As we’ve been playing this year, and I’ve been looking at many high-level games, I have come up with some ideas about just why I’m ahead:
1. Early in the game, Rik doesn’t put enough pressure on my stones so I can comfortably play where I want on the board.
2. Rik doesn’t ask for enough and often plays too low to get enough territory.
3. Rik does OK finding any available aji once areas are well defined and occasionally finds a successful late-game tesuji, but I think he needs to work on attacking groups way earlier in the game.
4. I am too often able to surround Rik’s groups, forcing him to live small. When I pressure his groups, he tries to make eyes right away rather than avoid being surrounded. He would do well to make not being surrounded a priority.
5. Rik is too concerned with making sure I don’t get territory and not concerned enough about building his own things. Sometimes he makes reckless invasions to reduce me which are too high risk. He should reduce lightly from the edges and only make an all-in kind of invasions when absolutely necessary.
Last night, I won 3/5 games but in at least 2 games, Rik opened with 4-4 stones. Previously he has avoided this and prefers taking 3-4 and san-san points. In one of the games, Rik played san-ren-sei, which he has rarely done. This is a fighting fuseki and I think it is good for his game. If he keeps trying this kind of opening, he will get better at fighting.
March 12, 2022
It’s mid-March and we’ve played 52 games so far this year at the same handicap (I give 10.5 when I play black and take .5 as white and we alternate colours). I continue to dominate in the win-loss department, with a 71% win rate for the year. I’m OK continuing at this handicap. I think he is better to keep the komi as is because being a bit behind promotes improvement – but on the other hand, if I gave him 2 stones it would be a bigger challenge for me.
Many of our games come down to one slack move or one mistake but I don’t think my win rate is random. In many games, I’ve been able to assess what I need to do to win and find ways to make it happen. Rik needs to start attacking me and creating weaknesses in the early middle game. Instead he often plays moves to grab cash, leaving me free to choose the direction of play. It seems that Rik starts to think about attacking more late in the game, when the stones are all but settled, and he looks for tesuji to try to attack my positions. He also has a tendency to make moves that prompt me to become stronger. I think he would do better if he avoided those moves and instead look to surround my groups.
I’m held back by sloppy play. Sometimes I play too fast, though I know I should slow down. If I’m ahead through the endgame and I think the game is locked up, that’s when I tend to blunder.
Recently we’ve played some cross-games. I’ve been enjoying these, though I’m not sure how to go about playing them. They have been scrappy, low-territory games for the most part.
February 21, 2022
This year, we’ve payed 40 games to date and I’ve won 28 of them for a 70% win rate. This suggests the current handicap should be a bit more generous and that’s something we’ll have to look at if this keeps up. For may part, my strategy continues to be: develop fast and attempt to create frameworks, then attack invaders for profit. As long as Rik continues to play low to make life shapes, I’ll continue to try to surround his groups and pin them to the side. .
January 31, 2022
Another successful session. For the year, I’m ahead 18-7 and I’ve won the past 8 games in a row. Some of those games have been very close, but it seems lately, I’ve been able to find what I need to win.
Usually, anytime I hint at making a moyo, Rik jumps right in. His logic is that if he can dive in and live, He will deny me important territory for my game. The problem with that strategy is that sometimes he dives in very deep, and while he can find life, the cost of being surrounded and pinned to the side is very high. So, what should he do instead? It’s a generalization, but I think he needs to concentrate more on developing potential territory. The issue may be timing of the invasion/reduction. I’m coming to the conclusion that many times, the best timing for an invasion is later when an invasion doesn’t make one’s opponent stronger. It may be more difficult but at the same time far less costly to live. Of course, wait too long and the door is closed.
As a principle, I think it’s a good idea to avoid making moves that make your opponent stronger. If instead, you focus on your own territory more early, later, you can attach to your opponent where he is already strong. When you attach, both players gain strength, so you want to attach when your opponent already is strong and you are weak.
On another topic, I’ve been thinking about the san-san. In modern high-level go, invading the san-san is the way to go. That wasn’t the case previously because players believed the cost of diving under the star point was too high. Today, the AIs have shown us that invading the 3- 3 is big if you’re strong enough to handle your opponent’s influence. At our level, I’m not sure if it holds true, though, because handling the influence is difficult. I believe there exists a go proverb that says, if you take 4 corners – resign. One think I can say for sure about my games with Rik is that he usually goes for cash early, and the corners if he can get them. On the other hand, I often cut him into 5 or 6 groups and I think I’ve become better at taking advantage of that strategy. Go is known as the surrounding game and for every good reason. I think it is almost always bad to be surrounded.
In a corner or side situation, I will almost always try to get out to the middle. Many times, Rik will instead ignore that option and play low stones to make shape instead. If he is to get stronger than me, I think he needs to get batter at avoiding being surrounded.
January 28, 2022
I have continued to do well this year – we’re at 15 – 7, playing at the same handicap. If there is a theme, it is that I’ve been successful at splitting Rik’s groups, sometimes pinning them to a side. I’ve been trying to threaten to make a big framework. If Rik challenges that, I try to make his invaders a target. As well, sometimes Rik runs groups that might better be left dead and I profit by attacking.
January 18, 2022
I haven’t written here in some time but Rik and I continue to battle using the KGS platform. As well, we’ve also continued playing with the adjusted komi. That is, as white I take .5 points and as black I give10.5. So far this year we’ve played 16 games of which I’ve won 10. This is consistent with my assessment that I’m just a wee bit stronger than our handicap, but perhaps not enough stronger that we should adjust it again.
November 19, 2021
I had a measure of revenge in last evening’s Go session, winning 3/4. In the first game, Rik had a terrific middle game, cutting off and killing a group of my stones in the middle, and taking a lead. The only problem is he failed to properly defend his bottom left corner, and his reluctance to make another move down there cost him greatly, as I found the weakness and killed off the corner. He had to resign.
In the second game I was able to turn Rik’s top left corner for a seki and the win. I made some positional errors in the 3rd game and Rik played well for an easy win. In the final game, I was able to isolate 3 of Rik’s stones in the bottom left, giving me a corner that was too big for him to withstand.
November 17, 2021
Rik had a great session last evening, winning all 4 games. It is true that I threw a game. I thought it was over and we were just finishing up and I didn’t even notice he could disconnect me. Well, I deserved to lose – I know full well, he will explore all possible endgame tesujis. It is also true that he won the last game by just 1.5 points after I gave 10.5 komi.
Rik made an effort to not be trapped along the side last evening, and that helped his game out quite a bit. I think if he figures out how to pressure my groups earlier on, and worry less about his cash, his game will improve quickly.
November 10, 2021
I looked back at our game records from my notebook, going back to August 10 – 3 months. During this time we’ve been playing with an adjusted komi, which seems to be about right. My win-rate during this period is 55% – pretty close but I have had a bit of an edge. I think Rik needs to work on faster development around the board early in the game and as well needs to resist being surrounded. As I wrote in the last entry, I often have the freedom to choose direction because Rik doesn’t put my groups under great pressure, especially early in the game. I think he is too often content with having small surrounded groups in the hopes that he can accumulate enough territory to be ahead.
Last night I won 3/4 games. One was very close, and the game I lost was due to a huge stupid blunder. I’m still prone to making some really bad moves!
October 13, 2021
I’ve noticed that very often when I have a weak group, Rik will push against it to get the most points along that edge. At the same time, he strengthens my group which often becomes unassailable. I think if Rik is to surge ahead of me, it will be when he instead plays moves that attack the shape of my weak groups. Rik seems reluctant though, to attack my groups until later in the game. He may be concerned it opens him up to counterattack if he is not successful. We’ve been quite even in the past couple months with the komi adjustment as a handicap. If he can avoid making me stronger and attack my shape, it will be much tougher to beat him.
September 22, 2021
Last night I won 3 of 4 games, losing 1 by half a point. My wins were by 5.5, 5.5 and 2.5 points. Though these margins were not great, I felt in control of the games I won. We’re still playing with an adjusted komi – I take .5 as white and give 10.5 as black. Rik tends to worry more about reducing my potential than in developing potential for himself. I think he’s comfortable with this approach but I’m convinced that to beat me with any consistency, he’s going to have to change that. For my part I’ve been trying to make bigger moves early in the game. What this sometimes means is leaving a weakness in exchange for making bigger extensions and asking for more.
August 11, 2021
Recently, I’ve been doing very well playing the black stones, even though I’ve been giving up 10.5 komi. I usually start with 2 star points, then approach one of his corners. Often, I’ll set up a very broad and loose framework. Rik often responds by diving in and challenging a side or corner. I try to keep him hemmed in and small and if I’m able I attack the invading stones. I’ve been trying to let go of the small stuff and challenge more ambitiously.
July 31, 2021
It seemed the theme to today’s Go lesson was: keep the aji until the best time. Don’t push unless you’re prepared to cut. Both Rik and I will be able to benefit from this lesson. Harvey showed several examples today from our play when one of the other of us used up aji without any gain. In fact, using up the aji can also cause a problem later because it often means filling one of your own liberties. As well, Harvey pointed out that if we start a sequence, we should complete it.
July 8, 2021
The last two times out, Rik has done very well. Tonight though, I dominated play, winning 3/4. I deserved to lose the second game as I played a sequence in the middle-game very poorly. I won both games playing black. I was giving up 10.5 points komi but still won those games by 18.5 and 15.5 points.
June 29, 2021
We’ve been alternating playing black and white. When I play black, I give up 10.5 points. The last 3 outings I’ve won 2/3 games. It is difficult to overcome the big komi but I’ve won some games so it’s possible. Tonight I won the first game as white by resignation. I won the second as well by 6.5 as black. Rik won the very close third game by 3.5 points. I continue to have an edge over Rik, but that can change very quickly.
June 19, 2021
Email to Rik:
I think your assessment is spot on. I have a bunch of questions I try to keep asking myself over and over again, yet in the heat of battle, it seems I’ll sometimes forget about most of them. The flow of the game is a very powerful force.
1. Was that really sente?
2. When is the right time to tenuki?
3. Can I make profit by attacking a group (when is the right time to start a fight?)
4. If I can surround a group, is it possible to kill it or is it better to make profit by keeping the pressure on?
5. In the middle game – what are my win conditions and how do I go about achieving them?
6. Throughout the game, what are the biggest places on the board and how can I get more of them than my opponent?
7. Can I find a move that does more than one thing?
8. When invading, how deep is too deep?
9. In the endgame, where are the sente moves and after that what is biggest?
10, Where are the favourable exchanges?
With no time limit I should have an opportunity to consider all these over and over, but still sometimes I’ll play a move in a second or two.
With no time limit I should have an opportunity to consider all these over and over, but still sometimes I’ll play a move in a second or two.
June 14, 2021
Harvey suggested we try switching colours with me giving Rik extra komi. We did that in one of the games last time out. It felt easy to me, even with a 10.5 point komi. Playing white all the time, I’m always having to react but with black it seemed I could much more easily dictate the direction of play.
May 31, 2021
Time. At Harvey’s suggestion, Rik and I have started playing without a time limit. In fact on KGS we’ve set the time to 2 hrs + byo yomi, way more time than we could manage to use. I’ve been making an effort to use more time and to avoid rushing or playing moves without considering several possibilities. Some games one or the other of us still play too fast, but overall I think this has improved the quality of our games.
May 22, 2021
Last night, Rik broke my streak of 9 winning evenings. Coincidentally, we changed back to a -4.5 reverse komi, but the komi did not figure into any of the results. Rik played much better than I did and won 4/5 games. His level of play was much higher than it has been recently. I think in one of the games I played very poorly, but in the others I feel he just played better. I’m going to review a couple of the games with AI and also hopefully Harvey will review a couple of them.
May 14, 2021
Last session I won 4/5 games. Rik played generally well but he made some mistakes and missed some opportunities. He mishandled corners and blundered away a group and in our games, he can’t afford any major mistakes. On reviewing the 4th game, we found a way Rik could have killed one of my groups. As it turned out it was the game he won in any case. The kill involved a throw-in which neither of us saw during play.
May 12, 2021
I won 3/5 games last night marking my 7th winning evening in a row. Most of our games have been tough fought. Sometimes I’ve been able to take advantage of a slow move. Other times I’ve found something, an attack or a tesuji or an endgame sequence to pull off a win. I’ve been making my share of mistakes as well, and Rik has scored some strong wins too.
April 30, 2021
Last night I won 4/5 games for the 3rd session in a row. It is difficult to generalize about what is going on as games are won and lost for all kinds of reasons. For instance, last night I managed to steal one of Rik’s corners underneath several stones. On review we found a way he could have killed me, but he couldn’t find it in the actual game. For sure sharpness in reading is a factor. In the game Rik won, I also played very badly in a corner and watched a large low shimari evaporate into nothing. That game I rallied back as Rik played conservatively and almost stole the game. Two of the things I’ve improved on are living in small areas and reducing Rik’s territory.
I’ve also noticed some strategic choices Rik tends to make which he may have to rethink if he’s going to start winning more. Sometimes he will make an approach into a corner where there are no other stones, which is 2 or more spaces away from my first corner stone. I think he does this because the stone is hard to attack and so makes a position in the part of the board I started in. This works for sure, but it is gote. It doesn’t put much pressure on the corner and even if I tenuki and he plays another stone in the area, I’m still OK. As white, one of my goals is to play for fast development to seize the initiative as early as possible. If he lets me do that, it can’t be good for him.
I’ve also noticed that in early middle game, Rik tends to make 2-space extensions along the 3rd line. In itself this kind of move takes 6-8 points and threatens to do the same again. From my point of view, whenever he does that, if I can make a move that is worth more points than that which also puts pressure on his stones, I make a gain. Whenever he makes a low extension, the first thing I do is list in my mind the moves that are bigger than the one he made, prioritized by sente.
He likes to take cash early in situations that don’t require a fight. In fact, I’ve noticed that Rik is quite willing to fight for a position in my strength in order to reduce my potential territory, but he is less willing to fight for taking more territory for himself. He is less comfortable with making big ambitious extensions and frameworks when he knows I will engage in a fight. I think he would be better off making really ambitious moves that force me to fight, then to attack my invading stones severely. The result of this kind of attack will be territory elsewhere. Rik plays this way because he has had success doing it in the past, and against me sometimes it will work, particularly when he can reduce my potential once he has cash in the bank. For me to be successful against Rik’s strategy, I have to do 2 things: play big moves and find sente sequences that allow me to punish Rik by taking more cash and potential than he is getting.
It seems to me that the kind of relationships between one’s stones which are most successful are those that have a balance between low and high stones – the low stones are the anchors and the high stones ask for good territory. If I see that Rik is playing all low stones along a side to make territory my job is to punish him by keeping those stones flat and making dynamic positions on top. All 3rd line territory should not be enough to win.
April 27, 2021
I did a calculation tonight. Since Rik and I have been playing online due to the pandemic, we’ve played 206 games and I have a winning percentage of 59%. I feel pretty good about this result, especially since I’ve been giving handicap or reverse komi. Now we play at .5 komi and that too is a bit of a handicap as white should be getting 6.5.
April 23, 2021
Sometimes the difference between a very successful evening of Go and a mediocre night – at least in terms of results – can be a handful of moves. Last night I won 4/5 against Rik, but the results might have been very different.
I won the first game last night by 5.5 points (and I should point out we’re now playing at .5 komi), but on review Rik saw a great late game attack he missed during the actual game. Had he seen it, he would have won the game.
In another game it looked like Rik had the game locked up but a strange thing happened in the top right corner. He killed two stones along the top edge. I blocked, he filled and I pushed along the top edge into his corner. He blocked on the edge with a hane, a move that looked quite reasonable. Unfortunately it left him with a weakness. I played on the 2-1 point and was able to create a ko for life in the corner and ultimately kill it. Had he drawn back instead of playing the hane, he would have given up a couple points but his corner would have been fine.
In the final game, Rik poked my bottom right group. I attacked his poking stone, he drew back and attacked what appeared to be a key stone for me. However, my group was just fine and I aimed my sites on Rik’s stones along the bottom. Rik misread the situation, missing a snap-back and I ended up killing his group.
When 2 players are closely matched, a single mistake can be game ending, and last night my reading was just a wee bit better than his.
April 21, 2021
I’ve had a string of losses online recently, punctuated by dumb errors and misreads. I’ve held my own against Rik, but last session, I threw one game I might have won by making a blunder. This is about focus more than anything. Part of the game is managing many fronts at the same time and maintaining focus while dealing with all the details.
April 9, 2021
Last night both Rik and I made (losing) moves which Harvey has previously told us we shouldn’t play. It seems we’re stubborn. In the first situation, Rik had a big outside wall and made an extension from it to snag territory. In the review it seemed obvious to both of us that he should have made a move far away from his wall, putting pressure on my somewhat weak corner group. In the second case, Rik made an invasion against a small but stable formation on the top of the board. I played a move to secure territory because I was worried he otherwise would have split my group in two. In our review we played through a move on the other side of his invasion, which would have been highly successful. Harvey has emphasized these type of situations on multiple occasions, so why is it that we have failed to learn our lesson? I think it boils down to fear or lack of confidence. We’re both too protective of the cash.
We’ve been pretty much even at a reverse komi of 4.5. I think Rik has upped his game in some ways. I have to be patient and look for my chances and try to exploit his mistakes. Compared to a normal 6.5 komi we’re dealing with an 11 point spread I have to overcome. I feel I have to overplay some to win.
March 27, 2021
Harvey reviewed 2 of our games tonight and I found these reviews to be exceptionally helpful. There were 2 situations in particular I want to pay attention to. In the first, I was pressing from the 4th line out from a corner and Rik was taking 3rd line territory. I didn’t want to continue to push because it seemed I was giving up too much real territory in exchange for a stick and all the influence it might have. Instead, I backed off to make shape and Rik turned, assuring him of some territory underneath. Harvey showed us that what I was thinking was a weak stick was in fact a strong wall, and the outside influence was bigger than the cash. This is the case as long as there are not other stones on the other side of the wall. I’m aware that I’ve made the same bad shape in numerous games because I’ve thought pushing meant giving up too much territory and leaving myself open to attack. Now I’ve corrected that error in judgement in my mind and I’ll play those situations differently in the future.
The second situation was one in which I approached Rik’s corner thickness from a distance. Harvey asked, why not invade closer? I thought if I got too close and was pincered my stones would be in trouble, but Harvey showed us how easily the invading stones could escape. In both situations I think my choices were driven in part by fear.
Another take-away from tonight’s reviews was the value of jumping out a weak group to the centre rather than getting pinned in while trying to make eyes. In the games we looked at tonight, we were both guilty of playing to take an eye instead of sallying forth into the centre. Harvey commented that Rik tends to play too slowly, meaning he needs to stretch out and use stones more efficiently. Harvey pointed out some examples of bad shape and showed how those shapes come from not playing efficiently.
One of the teaching tools Harvey used tonight was looking at situations in a different order. Sometimes that exposes inefficiencies.
March 16, 2021
Last session, I lost the first game, then won the next 4. The second game was close, just a half point difference with the reverse komi. In the third, Rik made a very poor move which solidified the game for me and he resigned. The third was a 7.5 point win and the last was a fairly easy game for me.
More and more it seems I have to focus on the details, read more and better and calculate more accurately in order to judge next moves.
March 11, 2021
Last evening we played 5 games, continuing at 4.5 reverse komi. Rik did really well winning 4 by the following margins: 4.5, 5.5, 18.5, and 6.5. I won just a single game by 6.5 points. Although the wins/losses column was not in my favour, we had some great, competitive games, and I have to keep in mind that had I been receiving the normal 6.5 point komi, I would have won rather than lost 4. As well, I’m much more satisfied with the result than last time, when we split 6 but I felt I was guilty of very sloppy play. Last night’s games illustrate why I love the game. They were just terrific. If the margins hold true, we might consider changing to a .5 komi, but I’m also satisfied with the challenge of the reverse komi as well.
March 9, 2021
Go requires so much focus. Although last night we split 6 games, for a significant chunk of our session, I had difficulty with focus and details. In 2 of the games, I missed some obvious, even beginner level situations, and I felt as if I was defeating myself. This isn’t to say Rik didn’t play well because I think he did and it’s only reasonable he punish me for my poor attention. I felt as if I couldn’t slow my mind down or slow the play down, but Rik pointed out I was using more time than him. Still I found myself making moves without ample consideration and I was making mistakes. As well I felt more than usually distracted by things outside of the game.
Perhaps I’ve had other sessions like this and simply got away with dumb play. I don’t know. Rik too has had evenings when he has blundered after playing a fine game. Harvey has said we are getting stronger, but now the focus is on smaller issues. That includes endgame, but I think he means details more generally.
March 2, 2021
Harvey has suggested we start reviewing our games with AI. I tried to get Leela/Lizzie on my computer but ran into errors I could not figure out. Instead I was able to get the KaTrain Katago package. I looked at one of our recent games with it. At one point early in the middle game I took a lead, then later in the middle game lost it. It was a close game. I would have to do more analysis of this game to figure out how I might have held onto my lead when I had it. It wasn’t one of those games with a dramatic shift in fortunes. I think the AI opens up the possibility of analysing many variations. I think it will also take me a few tries to get the most out of the AI.
February 23, 2021
The focus of our most recent lesson with Harvey was all about endgame. To demonstrate the importance of endgame, Harvey took us to the beginning of the endgame in the game he reviewed for us. We then played against Harvey. That is, Rik and I could discuss our choices and agree on a move. He beat the actual score by over 15 points. We then switched colours and tried again. The second time, Rik and I did much better, but that was with the benefit of what Harvey did to us the first time around.
One of the things we have to do is get better at prioritizing our endgame. The first priority should be moves which are sente for either side. The second priority should be sente moves. Finally come the gote moves prioritized by the number of points involved.
February 13, 2021
Last night as Rik and I split 4 games, I felt – in spite of both of us missing some obvious kill moves – we were both making some tangible improvements in our play. I was able to slow down for a change and use my time to consider many more options. As well, during our reviews I think we’ve had our best discussions to date about the judgement decisions we made on the board and how we might have improved them.
February 5, 2021
Harvey gave us 3 challenging problems and after some back and forth with Rik, we came up with the solutions. Tonight, we reviewed the 3 final games in the LG Cup. As well, we watched Harvey play a game on Fox, which he also reviewed. Harvey reviewed one of our games from the previous evening, a close one which Rik won by 5.5 in a game with a reverse komi of 4.5. In this game, Harvey found only small problems. He commented that he thought we are both improving. I too think we’re making some progress.
January 22, 2012
Harvey divides up learning go into developing judgement skills and succeeding at tactical problems. He wants us to do one problem per day, reading out the correct answer. This may take going through all the possibilities, but I think the idea is to not guess or intuit an answer but figure it out. Harvey says we both need lots more puzzles, but to reach 1D we need to do at least one per day as described.
Tonight he reviewed game 4 from last night’s play with Rik. Although I was very successful in the game, Harvey said I was overly aggressive and made overplays which could be punished. I was fortunate that Rik was unable to do so. I’ve been trying to be aggressive in an effort to dictate the direction of the game. As well, it’s right to keep testing my opponent’s ability to defend. I want him to always be worried about his groups, so he isn’t in a position to try to harass mine.
January 21, 2021 – much later
We changed komi tonight to reflect my recent success. Now, I’m giving Rik 4.5 points komi – a full 10 points different than a normal even game. I won 3 of the 5 games we played, and all my wins were by resignation, so I’ve continued to have convincing wins. In the last 15 games we’ve played, I’ve won 12. That’s about an 80% win rate.
Rik won the first game, and as I said in the review, I broke a commandment. Just last lesson, Harvie told us that when the other guy invades a moyo, we shouldn’t be using our framework for making territory, but instead should use it for attack. In the first game, I had a really good centre position but when Rik approached to reduce it, I made a move whose only value was securing territory. In review we looked at a better alternative, which was to attack the invading stone and take profit from the attack elsewhere. During the game, I think I defended my territory as a reflex. I’ll try hard to not do that again.
Rik also won the 3rd game. I had a stone a one-space jump away from what I thought was a secure group and I left it that way, thinking it was fine. I needed that stone thought. Its job was to wreck a chunk of Rik’s potential. He found a weakness I had to defend, and when I did so he was able to cut off my stone. I could not find any other way to get in and ruin what now looked like territory. Rik won by 3.5. My consolation was that he needed the new komi to get the win. I still made it close. Rik deserved the win for finding and exploiting my weakness, recognizing he had to stop me from destroying his potential.
I can’t expect to win every game. Winning the 3 by resignation after last evening where I won by good margins, suggests to me I’m getting stronger. I played a few games online as well in the past couple days and did pretty well in some scrappy games. I moved up a rank on KGS and a few more strong games and I can advance another one as well. It will become clearer in the coming weeks if I’ve just had a bunch of really good games or if I’ve made sustained progress.
January 21, 2021
Later tonight I’ll be playing some online Go with Rik. In 10 games over the last two session we’ve played, I’ve won 9. What’s more, most of my wins have been by significant margins. What’s happening here? Did Rik simply have a couple bad nights. That’s possible. Or, the opposite could also be true and I was playing above my level. On the other hand, I may be digesting our lessons from Harvey a little faster and I’ve jumped ahead some. During the last session, I experienced the “feeling” several times that I knew just what I had to do to win.
I suggested to Rik during the last session that I thought he needed to play more ambitiously. By that I meant that he ought to try to claim more to create a situation in which I must invade and survive to have a chance at winning – rather than settling an amount of territory he knows he can be successful in surrounding. . It’s good to have some cash in hand but I think if you invest too much in the early part of the game to grab cash there is a big cost to it. I’m coming to believe that playing ambitiously is the way to dictate the direction of the game, or to say it another way, to be the player to set the terms.
I’m looking forward to tonight’s games. Can I continue to dominate or will Rik figure out how to take some corrective action?
January 15, 2021
We had another great lesson with Harvey tonight, which included a lengthy review of one of our games. In this game, the key point he made was to not use walls to make territory, or not passively make moves to take territory between walls. Instead, expand the moyo, ask for more and force your opponent to dive in where he can be attacked.
I took notes from the lesson tonight. Here they are in the form on an email to Rik after the lesson.
Hi Rik,Here are my notes from our lesson tonight:
- In a tight spot, don’t reduce your own liberties (ref. your group on the right side in the review tonight)
- In a tight spot, hane and don’t worry about the cut. The hane is flexible
- When attacking, don’t make your net too tight. Back up and get around the whole group (ref. left side group in review)
- Identify the vital point in any shape before trying to attack it
- Don’t waste your ko threats; you might need them later
- Avoid fighting with your own groups. Leave the area and let your opponent play there (reference top left)
- Don’t make a passive move to protect territory. Instead, expand your moyo and ask for a lot. Your opponent will have to dive in and then you attack. Big walls aren’t for making territory, but for attacking.
- When attacking a corner, don’t block when your opponent is not yet alive because blocking can give him sente he can use to make 2 eyes.
- In a capturing race, attack from the outside.
- When attacking, cut the connection first. Don’t let him get a base easily and try to force him to make bad shape.
January 14, 2021
In the last 2 sessions with Rik, I won 6/10 games. A more interesting stat to me though, is that 4 of my 6 wins were by a margin of more that 15 points. A fifth was by 8.5 and the last one was a .5 point squeaker. 2 of Rik’s wins were by half a point, so at normal komi, I would have won those.
I think I’ve been making improvements in my positional judgement and more specifically I’ve improved my ability to choose the right direction and attack for profit. I still make occasional dumb mistakes, but I think these are getting fewer. In general, I feel more confident about what I need to do to win and how I might go about it.
January 5, 2021
We’re continuing to play with white getting just .5 komi. I dominated a 5-game session. I won the first 4 and lost the last, but only by 1.5. Rik played a Low Chinese opening for the first 4 games and played a pair of 4-4 points in the final game. Harvey went over some Chinese opening variations last lesson and that helped me out for sure. I made a huge kill in the 4th game. Rik didn’t recognize that a stone parachuted into his group imploded it and didn’t defend. The move he made instead was big but the kill was huge.
December 30, 2020
Tonight we played our last games of 2020. Hopefully sometime in 2021 we’ll be able to play over the board again. We played 5 and Rik won 3 of them, the first 2 and the last game. He’s trying some different things and with the exception of the 4th game, in which his game fell apart in the middle game, I thought he played very well.
I tried playing a kakari with my second move rather than play into an open corner. This is likely not the best strategy, but I was trying to encourage some different looking games and not make it very easy for Rik to play openings the way he wanted. I think next session I’ll go back to playing the open corner.
December 26, 2020
I won 3/4 games tonight, as I did the last session we played. I feel that my positional judgement has improved. In general, I was able to find key points and as well, I had a stronger sense of the order in which I had to play in various areas.
Lately we’ve been playing just 4 or sometimes 5 games. I recall it was not that long ago when we were getting in 9 or even 10 games in an evening. The obvious difference is that we have been reviewing games and Rik and I agree these reviews have been very helpful.
Tonight, Rik tried some new things in the opening particularly. This includes playing the star point, which he rarely plays (except as a handicap stone, when I was giving 2 stones). I think this was positive for his game, even if it meant having to deal with some brand new situations.
In the first game I was able to attack a weak group of Rik’s for profit. He had to run the group across the board without taking territory, and I think that was the difference in the game.
The second game was close. I opened with a pair of san-sans. I don’t believe this is the best approach for white, but I do feel that mixing up the looks I present Rik with is a good thing for me to do. In this game the opening did not play out as I expected, in that I was able to split 2 of his groups and force them to make eyes. However, I did not have good position to make big territories myself. I took a small lead into the end game and just did hold it.
In the third game tonight, I opened with a 4-4, a 3-4 and tengen. Rik immediately split me. The good thing about this opening is it is flexible and gives me the key ladders. This was the easiest game for me.
In the last game tonight, Rik played the low Chinese. I stole his corners but that helped him form a big moyo between them. Rik won fairly easily.
December 10, 2020
Rik and I split 4 games last night. Many of Harvey’s lessons are resonating with me as I play, yet I’m not sure if my strength is improving. I suppose the best way to find out is to play more online games and see how I do.
We started yesterday’s session off with a close game in which featured some sloppy play by both of us. In the second game, I took to heart some advice from Harvey, who suggested, if I don’t want to face the same opening sequences to try some alternatives. I did so in this game, starting an influence-based game. Rik took cash early and plenty of it, while I built up a large central moyo. Of course these big moyos are so hard to hold. I made a big kill but given how much early cash I Rik had landed, as well as the fact that I couldn’t take all the territory I wanted in the middle, Rik won a by 9.5, a game he characterized as easy for him. If the second was easy for Rik, the third was easy for me. Rik ignored a ko threat inexplicably. I only killed a few stones but it meant plenty of territory for me on top of the board. The fourth game was characterized by sloppy play on Rik’s part. He failed to attend to eye-shape with a big group on top and I killed it off.
We have homework now. We’re to do tsumego problems regularly – I’m using BadukPop. As well, Harvey wants us to review pro games on a real board with the help of video commentary. As well, each week we’re to learn 4 joseckis he has written out for us.
November 28, 2020
Lessons with Harvey continue to be thought provoking and very useful. I think both Rik and I are trying to apply our new knowledge/skills in game play, though we recognize it may take a while before that translates into actual improvement as we try out ideas we’re learning and making them part of our play.
In our last session, I won 3/5 games. This session was characterized by some strong attacks I was able to launch in the first 2 games. In both I killed groups for big wins. In both these games Rik made errors during the capturing race while I was able to focus in on clean kills.
Rik got ahead early in the 3rd game, taking a big top left area. My game was focused on finding ways to catch up. I came close, in part thanks to Rik neglecting to protect a 3 stone group – but still I lost by 2.5.
Sometimes Rik gets too caught up in protecting small groups rather than thinking of the whole board. This was certainly the case in our 4th game. I took cash under his stones on the left side, and then poked my nose out into the centre, disrupting his wall. If this was an easy game for me, the last one was an easy game for Rik. My opening was terrible and I gave up too much too early and couldn’t get any traction after that.
Overall, I continue to have an edge with the current handicap – even game with just .5 komi for me.
November 17, 2020
I was excited to play Rik tonight after our last lesson with Harvey. For the second time in a row I won 4/5 games. Reflecting on Harvey’s comment that we play peaceful games, I set out tonight to try to be pushier or more aggressive, with mixed success. I need to learn to attack more effectively. This led to some different sort of games as I tried to not allow Rik to play in his comfort zone. In a couple of the games I made a corner approach rather than play in a vacant corner. I think that worked out ok and changed the flavour of the games.
Typically Rik’s strategy is to grab available territory and try to not allow me to develop uncontested frameworks. The last couple sessions he has not been able to get enough or reduce me enough. He could try making more ambitious territorial frameworks, but then that also leads to more fighting. Sometimes he allows me to pin him into the corner after an approach, and I believe that to be very good for me. It can’t be good to be surrounded, even if you are alive.
November 14, 2020
I thought tonight’s lesson from Harvey was excellent, in particular when he reviewed one of our games. Harvey commented that we tend to play peacefully. I suppose that is often the case, but not always. Certainly we occasionally have big kills. I do feel that I could play more aggressively, and I guess I would if I could figure out how to. I asked how I might have played more aggressively in the game he reviewed. He showed a possible splitting attack as an example.
Harvey also suggested that into the middle game he feels that we don’t know what to do. What an interesting comment. I think that’s the same as saying that what we do is not so effective, since neither of us have too much difficulty coming up with moves we think are good at the time. He offered up a specific method involving looking for the biggest points mostly on the 3rd or 2nd line and trying to get a sequence of sente moves to turn areas of uncertainty into actual territory.
Also in the game review, Harvey discussed at length my approach to Rik’s large low shimari. He didn’t have a problem with my doing this and he was fine with the initial move. However, he said in this circumstance I shouldn’t play the 3-3. I should be playing the outside hane instead, trying to make a base beside his corner.
November 11, 2020
I played 5 games online against Rik last night. I’m continuing to take .5 komi. I won 4/5 games, by 6.5, 1.5, 8.5 and 7.5. Rik won one game by 3.5. I felt I had a good handle on these games. Rik made some errors, which I recognized and was able to punish. For the most part, Rik denied me much in terms of building frameworks, but in doing so, he wasn’t able to be very ambitious about finding territory himself. Rik has been playing the low large shimari quite a bit and I’ve done reasonably well going right after it and grabbing a fair position.
November 7, 2020
We had a fairly short session with Harvey last night. He started the lesson shortly after writing a mid-term exam, and before Rik came on he told me he was concerned he messed up one of the questions. Harvey had a visitor after an hour of lesson and had to stop early.
The focus last night was on some life and death corner situations and then on nets. Harvey continues to use a text, selecting key problems from it to show us. My takeaway is that sometimes you have to net from a distance, and sometimes too a net may be combined with series of ataris or even a ladder.
There are a lot of different common shapes in corners. It would be really good to be able to break these down to see at a glance if they should be alive or dead, but at the same time, in games the shapes are often not perfect and one outside liberty, for instance can change the result.
An example: 6 in the corner with no outside liberties is dead. If there is on outside liberty there can be a ko. If there are 2 outside liberties, the shape can’t be killed.
November 5, 2020
Tonight I did well attacking Rik’s positions. In the first game, I separated off 11 stones on the side from the corner group and killed them. In the second, we both left the bottom left corner unresolved for the longest time. On review it was surprising to me neither of us played in there as it was clearly the biggest unresolved area on the board. Rik attacked a single stone, which I gave up in favour of the whole group, killing 15 stones. The first two games were decisive for me.
Rik won the last 2 games by narrow margins. The 4th game was interesting in that i attacked two of Rik’s corners, finding a vital interior point. In both corners Rik was able to survive his group – but on review, we found variations that killed both groups. I was pleased to have recognize the weaknesses and find a place to invade, but disappointed I could not close the deal on either in the game situation.
October 31, 2020
I spent quite some time this afternoon grappling with a group of 10 life and death puzzles Harvey gave to us. I was buoyed by having some success finding solutions for several of them, although in some cases it turned out I had not seen all the implications of the problem. For me it seems the key to solving many of these situations is to attempt to verbalize the heart of the problem. For instance, black seems to be one liberty short, or black has to find a way to reduce white’s liberties. In another example, the important thing to focus on might be how to kill two particular stones. In other words, I’ve been trying to ask myself, what is this problem really about. So for instance, if I know I am one liberty short, it tells me I have to find a series of force moves, because if white gets to choose a move, he will reduce my liberties.
There are some specific tactics to tackling these life and death problems, which should be applicable to real game situations. For instance, can I reduce his space from the outside? Can I make a move that increases my liberties enough? Can I find a series of force moves? Can I collapse his shape by throwing in a stone he has to capture.
When we started lessons with Harvey, they seemed all over the place to me and I felt to some extent that there was so much to learn and I was picking up pieces of the puzzle all over the place a bit at a time. Now it seems that Harvey has a plan. He seems to be following the structure of a Chinese text which covers specific skills.
October 19, 2020
Tonight, Rik was able to drive the komi to +.5 after a series of wins by less than the 4.5 point komi. It’s remarkable how consistently close we’ve been. I’m increasingly aware of lessons from Harvey, and trying to apply them to my games, and I think Rik is as well.
One example occurred in the 3rd game, a big win for me. I played a high extension from a pillar. Rik played against the single stone. I recall Harvey saying that when you play the high extension, you shouldn’t be expecting to hold territory with it, so if your opponent plays to take away the territory, let him and tenuki. I did it this game, leaving Rik’s single weak stone. In this game I was able to break a possible connection then attack his eyeshape, killing his single stone and many more.
It will be most interesting to see how the lessons change our game. I expect it may take a while before our overall strength increases, but I’m confident it will as we internalize lessons over time. Harvey is very generous with his time, and he’s such an enthusiastic teacher. Hopefully we won’t disappoint too much.
October 11, 2020
I started this page to record notes about the games I play with Rik. My real purpose was not so much to keep a game record as was to make the games less disposable in my mind. Now that we’re in the habit of reviewing games, though, and we’re also getting more detailed reviews from Harvey, I’m going to change the focus of this page. Instead of keeping game records of all the games (KGS does this for us in any case), I’m going to use the space to write about learning points or particularly interesting games.
One of the ideas we talked about in last night’s lesson was big or important points vs urgent points. The series of problems Harvey provided us with which ask us to decide which among 4 points should be the next move for black, illustrate to me one of two big areas we have to improve. In some of these problems, my choice, and Rik’s as well, was a big move rather than an urgent move. Interestingly, in one of the problems, Harvey disagreed with the author of the problem. He wanted to make a big sente move in the bottom left then shift to the book answer. I was able to get a couple of the answers correct, but in some of the others, I could see making a case for two or three of the answers to be best, and my instinct didn’t direct me to the correct one. One I got correct was a situation in which both sides had a weak group. A black play in this area put pressure on the white group and strengthened the black group.
It seems to me that improving at this skill is particularly important as we shift from the opening into the middle game. I think in games I have to pay particular attention at this point in the game to look at alternatives and not necessarily settle for the move that “feels right”. If I can find, say 4 alternatives and weigh them, I think it will become more likely I choose better moves.
Harvey spent time showing calculations in deciding if one area is bigger or more important than another. I find these calculations somewhat challenging, and I know I avoid doing it. I weigh areas against one another, but more on a “this one looks bigger” kind of level. Harvey is constantly calculating.
Getting better at life and death is also important for both of us. Harvey gave us a problem at the beginning of the lesson in which there were 3 ways to succeed, but it required a sequence of the correct moves. Neither of us saw the full correct answer, but Harvey commented that he sees the answer to a problem like this in 2 seconds. More life and death problems are on the horizon for me.
October 4, 2020
Rik won 3/5, 4.5 reverse komi
In the first game, I went for a big outside moyo. Rik reduced lightly and reduced enough of my potential to win by 10.5
Rik won again in the second game. I played too slow in trying to secure territory in the bottom left, allowing Rik to take a lot of the left side. This was an easy game for him.
Rik took 3rd line territory along the top in the 3rd game. I took good territory on the left and a big bottom right corner and found enough territory to win by 3.5
Rik took good territory in the top left in game 4 but overconcentrated his position to do it. Easy game for me.
I neglected to either take any note or a screen shot of game 5. I must want to forget it. I recall Rik got a good early lead and continued to injure my stones until I resigned.
September 29, 2020
I won 3/5 online, 4.5 reverse komi.
We started with a good tight game, which Rik won by 2.5.
Rik made an early error at the top, allowing me in. I got a good lead and held it. Later, I found a big endgame tesuji on the left and killed some stones. I won by 29.5
In the 3rd game, I built a strong position on top in the opening. In the middle game, Rik cut off 2 important stones. I had to give up 3 to rescue the others. I won by 2.5
In game 4, Rik flattened my top nicely and took a centre position, making it hard for me to find territory, while Rik took the whole right side. He won by 15.5
Rik made a big early blunder, costing him 8 stones, but recovered well. I felt fortunate to win by 1.5.
September 25, 2020
5 games, 4.5 reverse komi. I won 4
I successfullly invaded Rik’s big shimari on the top right and took good territory on the bottom and up into the middle. I won by 16.5.
In the second game I gave up the entire top side. However, I had 2 good corners and a pretty big territory on the left. I won by 4.5.
Rik had a strong opening in the third game and got off to a good lead. I tried to wreck his middle and found my group in deep trouble. I escaped and made it close but Rik won by 3.5.
In game 4, I did pretty well negating Rik’s top side strength early on. Rik made an error on the bottom and I killed 2 stones. Later I killed 2 in the top right. I won by 10.5
My perspective on this game was that I invaded Rik’s strength and reduced his potential in the top left, and also killed 2 stones near the top. Harvey reviewed this one and suggested (among other things) that I never should have made the top left invasion that early, especially when there was a single stone on the right to attack. He also pointed out that I missed a lot of the endgame sente, costing me quite a few points. Still, I won by 7.5.
September 21, 2020
I again won 3 of 5 online games this session. We continued to play with a 4.5 point reverse komi for Rik.
Rik dominated the first game, winning by 16.5
The second game featured even development. Rik took 3 or the corners, but my 1 corner was pretty good. I got ahead in the middle game and hung on, winning by 2.5.
Rik got off to a good start in the 3rd game but in the middle game I broke through Rik’s defenses on the bottom and killed 2 stones, putting me ahead. I won by 4.5 points.
Game 4 was all about a big fight. Rik ran a group down from the top with me destroying his eye potential along the way. He found a way to connect up his stones. In review we saw 2 different ways I could have assured a kill. I wish I had seen them in the actual game. Rik won by 17.5
In the 5th game, I killed 2 stones on the left size, connecting my side to my bottom left corner and putting me in the lead. I won by 13.5.
September 17, 2020
We played 5 games online. I won 3.
Rik started on the 4-4, not unusual in Go but unusual for Rik. He staked a lot on a big framework on the top which ended up about 40 points. I took the corners with pretty good territory on the bottom right. I made a light reducing move against his big group, which was enough. I won by 13.5
Early in the second game we engaged in infighting on the top of the board. I had a weakness I was late to settle and Rik exploited my weakness by making territory along the sides for a big lead.
The third game was characterized by my killing his group on the top and then also his stones in the bottom left corner. A 19.5 point win for me.
In game 4, Rik had an early lead but I had a good wall in the top right. Unfortunately I failed to make the extension I needed to convert it when I had the opportunity. Rik jumped in and reduced my potential, winning by 13.5 points.
In our final game of the evening, Rik took 3 corners to my 1 larger corner. I was able to run stones through the middle and take some side territory for a 10.5 point win.
September 14, 2020
This session we played 5 and I won 4.
I started a joseki in the top right but instead of following it through, I shifted to a probe in the top left. I made a series of force moves including a ko (there are no ko threats at the beginning of the game). This opening propelled me into a lead and eventually I won by 16.5
In the second game I started with the sanren-sei, occupying the 3 star points on the bottom. Rik played a shimari in top left and again I tried a probe to bet a position and split the side. I won by 10.5
Rik was ahead through most of this game but I attacked his centre group, and he was unable to find the way to save the group. As usual it was clearer on review.
I neglected to protect a group of 4 stones inexplicably in game 4. It cost me the game. Rik won by 9.5
In the final game, I pressed Rik along the right side to the smallest size and made a strong wall. Rik tried to run a group out to break my potential. I attacked for profit. The win for me was just 4.5 points but there was no room for Rik to catch up and win.
September 11, 2020
We played 5 games online, continuing to play at even stones with Rik taking 4.5 points komi. While Rik has won other evenings in which he has needed the komi, this session he won 4/5 and didn’t need komi for any of his wins. On the whole he outplayed me until the last game. In most of the games, we identified on review a bad move I made which he exploited to gain a lead.
After a strong opening, Rik took 3/4 corners and shared the 4th. He was able to turn a couple stones floating in the centre to close to 15 points of territory. I had too many weaknesses to be able to attack them effictively.
A weak early move on the left side cost me dearly in the second game. Rik got a good top left corner and he strength there helped him reduce my side territory on the top. I did well on the bottom but it wasn’t enough.
In the 3rd game I saw an opportunity to break through Rik’s defenses on the top but I left behind a weakness and the result was that he greatly reduced my top left and managed to grab 25 points in the centre. I would have been better to let him take 3rd line territory on the top and expand my territory into the centre, grabbing that space for myself.
After Rik played a stone on the bottom in the second game I pushed up with my corner group. Instead, I should have forced Rik to take a base by extending from the left, then advance my stones on the right up to keep pressure on his stones and preserve more territory on the left for myself. I made it too comfortable for him to settle.
I got off to a strong start in the last game. I went right after his big shimari in the top left. The result was that the top was mostly a saw-off. I was able to get great territory in the bottom left. After my opening, it was an easy game for me.
We played 5 games online. Even game with a 4.5 point reverse komi to Rik. In the first couple games, that reverse. komi was difficult for me to overcome.
The first game was very even. On review we found one move I made which was actually unnecessary, giving up sente. Was that the difference? Rik won by .5 points
In game 2, in the early middle game, Rik overlooked an opportunity to kill my corner on the bottom right. He was a bit ahead when he missed an upcoming double atari. I killed 4 stones. Almost enough to steal a .5 point game.
The third game was a disaster for me. He had a weak group on the left and I started an attack. I wasn’t able to either kill or make gains elsewhere as a result. Rik won by 32.5
At move 14 in game 4 I played tengen. I made a mistake in direction that allowed Rik to break into my potential and threaten my stones in the centre – but I was able to recover ok. Rik had only cash and little more potential. I made an endgame kill of a few stones but was already ahead enough to win. I finally won by 35.
For some reason I don’t understand I can’t upload a screen shot from the fifth game, which I won by 22.5 points. Rik had 3 corners but I kept them small. He had 6 groups in this game and couldn’t get much territory with them. I didn’t have huge territories but easily more than him.
We played 5 games online last evening. Rik played black and took 4.5 reverse komi.
In the first game, Rik took 4 corners and aggressively tried to stop me from making any territory. This strategy left him thin. I started a splitting attack. He emphasized the upper group and I captured the side group for a 19.5 point win. I was worried about having to kill a group to win, as I’ve been playing somewhat sloppily lately, but I was able to secure the group calmly. I think Rik would have been better to give me some territory and keep his own groups stronger. It is true that had he survived everything he would have won but I think his strategy was unreasonable.
We started the second game with 3-4s all around. Rik took 2 shimaris and I blocked the big extensions by playing around the star points. He was ahead going into the endgame, but made a mistake allowing me to kill off 6 stones for a 3.5 point victory.
The key move in this game was a beautiful tesuji on Rik’s part, attacking my right side invasion group. I saved the main group but he took 4 stones in a flower shape. He went after 2 more, but that was a mistake, as it allowed me to break through to the right side, separating his corner stones. he was able to save the corner for a 3.5 point win.
I made a mistake in the middle game in the 4th game, choosing to atari an invasion stone in the wrong direction. The result was Rik was able to run the stone and my potential was erased. This left him quite a bit ahead. I could not catch up and resigned.
Our last game of the evening was a scrappy and messy one without a lot of territory on the board. Rik won by 7.5.
Last session we played 5 games and Rik won 3.
The evening started with a 26.5 point win for me. I stole Rik’s top right corner. This led to a splitting attack against 2 groups plus I was able to steal the bottom right corner. Rik was left with one big territory at the bottom left, but not nearly enough.
One of the themes to this evening’s session has to be woulda/shoulda. In this game, Rik set up a big centre moyo. It was ominous but I broke through and won a close 5.5 point game. On review, Rik identified what he ought to have done to defend against my breakthrough invasion. It would have been game-winning.
In this game I played poorly against the top right corner by playing a knight’s move toward the corner instead of simply making a base. I found myself behind and while I did everything I could think of to catch up I still lost by 5.5
Rik had a good start to game 4. I was behind but I still thought I had a chance…until he found a tesuji that tore apart my position in the top right sector of the board. It was a beautiful attack and I was forced to resign.
More woulda/shoulda. I got off to a great start in game 5. Rik made a decision to run out a weak group. If I killed it, it was game over. In the game, he escaped, connecting up to the bottom. I took points above that group but still he won by 5.5. On review, it was obvious there were 3 places during the battle in which I could have sealed the deal and killed his group, yet during the actual game, I couldn’t see them. Very discouraging.
Last night we played 5 games online with the usual handicap. The results were 3-2 for Rik. Three of the games were decided by a hair.
Rik won the first game by 1.5 points. It was an excellent, well-fought game all around.
I gave up all the corners in the 2nd game and early on that strategy looked poor. Rik played to stop me from getting territory at every turn, and I erased his territory as well. By about 3/4 through the game I felt I had pretty much caught up and had a shot at the game but Rik took it by a half point.
In the third game I went after cash early and Rik pressed me down so my cash didn’t look promising. He had a big ugly outside wall on the right side that really worried me. However, I was able to create a situation where cutting off the bottom chunk of that wall and chase it for profit. I did really well out of this. Once he found a way to survive his group, I allowed the connection, but at that point I had done a lot of damage, taking the bite out of his wall and building up good centre territory myself. I won by 20.5
Game 4 was another tough close match, this one littered with kos. I had a bit of an edge and hung on to win by 2.5.
Our final game of the evening was one featuring large territories. Rik won by 8.5 but the score is deceptive. He developed a strong lead then played a conservative game. I caught up some but it seemed impossible for me to win.
Last night we got a late start and only played 4 games. That must be the fewest games we’ve played in a session in a very long time. I won 3 and Rik won 1.
Rik started the evening with a strong game (sorry no screen shot). I played an invasion on the left side. I should have jumped out to the centre but didn’t and he attacked my group effectively. I should have let the stones go and played on the outside but instead I tried to survive them. I did so but the cost was really high and I was well behind, finally resigning the game.
In the second game, I took 3 corners. Rik played too slow defending 3rd line territory on the left. Instead I think he should have jumped to the centre, creating an ambitious moyo. As well this game I had more than my share of sente. Rik finally resigned.
The 3rd game was decided by just half a point in my favour. Rik was sure he had won this game and the server had miscounted, but finally determined he neglected to count F6-7 for white. Rik’s strategy for grabbing 3 corners and some middle was strong, but he did make some mistakes which allowed for some profit on my part. I felt fortunate to win this one.
Rik misplayed the top left corner and I killed it, putting him behind early. It seemed to me that he didn’t want me to have anything this game, not the top left corner, not the left side and not the outside. It was unreasonable for him to expect to take everything. It is after all a game of give and take. I won this one by 37.5. I think he would have been better to emphasize fewer areas but be more ambitious in those areas.
Last night we played 5 games online, continuing with my giving Rik 2 stones and receiving 6.5 points komi. Rik has continued to play well, and again won 3/5. We started with a good close game. On review it was clear I should have capped to kill the weak group he ran out from the right side. He won by 3.5
In the second game it looked like I was going to win by just a few points, but I invaded his corner and survived for a 20.5 point win.
Rik tried to establish a big moyo outside the bottom left corner. I invaded on the sector line and created a strong group for a 4.5 point win.
In the 4th game, Rik threatened to take a lot of territory on the right side. He ran out a weak group from the top left and I chased it down the board but his position gained more strength we descended. He won by 4.5
The 5th game was Rik’s best game of the night. I made a couple poor directional choices and he took full advantage.
We played 5 games on the 13th. I’ve been busy with a lot of other things and haven’t got around to putting together any comments about the games, beyond that Rik had a winning evening and generally outplayed me. He won the 1st by 6.5, the 3rd by 12.5 and the 5th by 3.5. I won the 2nd by 19.5 and the 4th by 1.5. Here are the game records.
We played 5 last night at the usual handicap. I won 3/5. It may be noteworthy that Rik’s wins were squeakers compared to my wins – 13.5, a resignation, and 55.5
The first one was tight. I missed a chance at killing a centre group and Rik won by 2.5.
In the 3rd game, I went for a big centre territory but Rik broke through and won by half a point.
I took 3 corners including a big top left which grew into good centre. Rik finally resigned.
Rik got off to a bad start, misplaying a joseki and losing his stones in the top right. Easy game for white – 55.5 points.
August 8, 2020
The night before last, we played 5 games online, a 3-2 result in my favour. It started badly for me. Rik approached my top right corner and I should have simply blocked without giving it a second thought. Unfortunately my little brain was focused on action in the middle of the board, trying to figure out if there was some kind of forced attack I could make. I failed to block and he killed my corner and just like that the game was over.
In the second game, I thought Rik got ahead early, but I chipped away at it and came close to stealing the game, losing by just 2.5 points.
In the 3rd game, Rik decided to run a weak group from the right side of the board. This was a high-risk idea because it meant the whole game rested on the survival of that group. I ended up killing 29 stones for a 40.5 point win. On review, we found a successful counter-attack for Rik, but he was unable to find it in the heat of battle.
In game 4 I got a nice wall against Rik’s bottom left corner and turned it into the best territory on the board. in the top right I got the corner but also got modest territory outside of Rik’s covering stones. I won by 17.5,
The last game was interesting in that Rik invested in getting a very large territory on the right side. I mitigated it a little by taking the top right corner. As formidable as his side was, I had a really good top left that spilled out into the middle, and also a good bottom. I won by 9.5 August 4, 2020
The other night we played 5 games online – I again won 4.
Game 1 was a close match throughout. The tide turned around move 85. Rik had a weak group and to survive it he ran toward his moyo. I followed, keeping the pressure on, destroying potential along the way. Rik missed an opportunity to create a ko later, which may have enabled him to catch up. I won by 5.5.
Another close one. I won by just 2.5
In the 3rd game, Rik tried to make territory outside my top right corner, but I was able to reduce it quite a bit. I pulled ahead in the middle game and held my lead for a 12.5 point win.
Game 4: yet another close one.
Game 5 was Rik’s best game of the night. He kept a lead through much of the game. I found it difficult to destabilize his positions this game.
July 31, 2020
I won 4/5 games last night.
Overall, I’ve had a great July. Rik started the month off by winning 4/6 and then 3/5, but then I won 4/6, 3/5, 4/5, 3/5, 4/5 and 4/5. I won a total of 26 games to Rik’s 16. So at this handicap, I’ve got a 62% win rate for July.
Just over 20 moves into the first game, Rik made what I think is a glaring error. He played R11, which extended his top right corner territory a modest amount in gote. In doing this he allowed me access to R5. In this corner situation, the very best he can hope for is to survive and give up huge outside strength. I killed the corner easily, giving me a big early lead. After this I played a conservative game, taking decent, safe positions and won by 15.5. In my opinion, if Rik kicks against a kakari against a 3-4 stone, he should follow it up with a 1 space or possibly a 2 space jump along the side from that corner. I have to then extend from my pillar. If you kick you need to finish the corner. Alternatively, Rik could respond to the kakari by making a pincer, putting pressure on the kakari stone. I can respond to that by pressing and the result can be joseki.
The second game was quite even. When I counted in the middle game, I thought he was a little ahead, but gradually I caught up and won by 4.5 points.
Rik got off to a strong start in the 3rd game. I tried unsuccessfully to invade the bottom left corner. I found myself with little potential for decent territory. I needed a kill to win but his groups were stong and I couldn’t find a target.
In the 4th game, I connected up my bottom territory to my side territory. Rik had 3 corners but I contained those and did not allow much outside my 1 corner.
Again Rik claimed 3 corners and they were pretty good, but I was able to come out toward the centre with my1 corner and make my territory 3 dimensional, getting almost 50 points. I won by 10.5.
July 28, 2020
We played 5 games online the other night, and again I had an edge, winning 4 of them.
Rik started the evening off with a strong game. On review, we discussed an opportunity I missed to invade his right side, a move which would have made the game close. He won by 11.5
In the second game, I got off to a strong start. Rik came close to catching up….but not quite. I won by 4.5.
In the 3rd game, I caught 7 stones in the bottom left about 90 moves in. In exchange, Rik weakened my 3 outside stones. I took a move to strengthen them, though and made some centre territory. At about move 185 I threatened to push into Rik’s top area. He responded by attacking a single stone in the centre, but even if he captured that stone, I could contain him. I ignored his move and advanced, erasing lots of his potential territory in the top right. I won by 27.5
Rik was doing ok in game 4 until I caught 4 stones and stole the top right corner. This was devastating to his chances and I won by 25,5.
I took the bottom corners, but Rik made a great big moyo between them. This promised to be difficult to overcome but I was able to steal the top right corner for a 6.5 point win.
July 23, 2020
I won 3/5 online last night, but I needed a blunder on Rik’s part to accomplish it.
In the first game, Rik got off to a strong start and maintained a lead throughout for an 8.5 point win.
He would have won the second game too but blundered away 10 points and lost by 8.5.
In the 3rd game there was a window of opportunity for me to split Rik’s big group on the left but instead I came out on top into the centre. It turned into an easy win for him – 14.5 points.
In game 4 I was able to cut off 6 of Rik’s stones on the right side. Once they were dead, I had an easy time winning by 20.5. On review we could see there was a narrow opportunity for Rik to try to run them out. I don’t know if he could do it successfully or not but on review it looked as if it was his only chance to win.
In the last game, Rik had good potential on the bottom, but I was able to establish a position and also run some stones out to the centre, getting underneath a group of stones and surrounding but not killing them. This turned out to be quite powerful, giving me centre influence and reducing his right side potential. I won this one by 13.5.
July 20, 2020
I took 4/5 online games last night, but I needed the 6.5 point komi to win 2 of them. I’m still giving Rik 2 stones.
We started with a good scrappy game marred by a blunder on Rik’s part, which cost him 10 points. I won by 14.5
I misplayed the bottom right in the opening, choosing to play on top of the corner when I should have blocked on the left side. Rik won by 14.5
In the third game, Rik misplayed the bottom right corner and I killed his stones. Much later, he disconnected 5 of my stones from my base in the top left and killed them but it wasn’t enough to catch up. I won by 9.5
Game 4 featured a good equitable opening. I dove into his moyo in the bottom left sector but Rik proved to me it was a little deep. I salvaged the situation to some extent but had to give up a stone. In the top right, I successfully invaded his corner. I won by 3.5
In the 5th game, I successfully invaded the top right corner and to make matters worse, I pushed further down, winning this one by 3.5.
July 15, 2020
We had an exciting set of 5 games this time out.
In the first game I found myself behind in the middle game. I looked for something I could kill to catch up and take the lead. Rik had a centre group which didn’t have life shape but he did have many liberties and there was a lot of open area above and the possibility of connecting up as well. I didn’t think I could win unless I killed the group so I launched an all-out attack. Needing to kill a group to win is not a position I want to be in, but I felt I had no choice. It was a very complicated battle and even after review I’m not sure if there were better lines of play for me or not. I was not able to kill the group and lost by 11.5. Very exciting game.
In the second game, Rik invaded deep into my right side framework. As it turned out it was too deep and I killed off 10 stones. Later in the game, Rik left a big weakness in his bottom left corner group. I found the invasion that destroyed his shape and he was left with nothing more to do than click resign.
In the third game, I got off to a great start, and was able to maintain a good lead throughout the game until Rik finally resigned, unable to find any way to catch up.
In game 4, we each claimed good chunks of real estate, but Rik had more and there wasn’t much aji for me to exploit. Late on, Rik attacked my top right/side group. I misplayed it and lost part of the group and resigned. On review it was obvious to me what I ought to have done.
I think when I stole the top right corner in Game 5, it gave me a decent lead. I held onto it and won by 11.5.
July 12, 2020
Adjusted handicap: 2 stones, 6.5 komi.
I won 4/6 and needed komi to win one of them.
I had a good, fast opening to start the evening, then got more of the big endgame points than Rik, for an 8.5 point win.
Rik came right back in the second game, holding a lead throughout.
In the 3rd game, I caught 4 stones at the top just 30 moves in and pressured another group. As well, I had strong invasion on the right side. I won by 9.5.
The result of this game had much to do with my successful invasion into Rik’s corner enclosure in the bottom left. I won by 23.5.
Game 5 was a close one. I needed the komi to win by 1.5.
In game 6 I thought the game was over and took the screenshot but Rik showed me my centre group was not so safe after all. It was a close game until he killed some centre stones for a 20.5 point win.
July 7, 2020
Rik had another winning evening, taking 4/6 games. Next session we’re going to adjust the handicap back so that I continue to give 2 stones but I once again receive 6.5 points komi.
In the first game, Rik got off to a strong start and held the lead throughout. I couldn’t find a way to catch up and finally resigned.
I didn’t take a screen shot of the second game. I had thought I had misplayed the early middle game but it turned out my position was better than I imagined. I was able to get out to the centre from my upper left position, allowing me to pressure some stones in the middle of the board, which I killed off for a 32.5 point win. One note on this game. Rik played for a ko in the bottom right which was going to be hard for him to win. He should have simply settled the area.
In the 3rd game, Rik made a close invasion against my wall – hard to kill. I moved away from the key battle too early. Rik won by 16.5
Game 4 was quite scrappy. I got 3 corners and killed 3 stones on the bottom. I won this game by 26.5 points.
In the 5th game, Rik took a really big territory on the top and held his own elsewhere. I couldn’t find enough potential anywhere. Rik won by 18.5.
In game 6, Rik had a lead, but I successfully invaded his bottom left corner and just about stole the game. He won by 1.5 points.
July 3, 2020
Rik won 3/5 games last night. The first game was the most interesting because it was a comeback game. Rik did really well through the first half and I found myself well behind. However, he had some bad aji which I was able to exploit. Here is the final game, which I won by 25.5 points
Here is one of the attacks.
In the second game, Rik limited my top nicely then started forming centre territory. He was well ahead with centre + 3 corners when I resigned.
Game 3 was a close one. Rik made a right-side moyo. I invaded then established a good position. Rik won this one by 4.5 points.
Early on in game 4, Rik trapped 6 stones, creating good corner and side territory. I fought back and evened things up. In endgame, I brought 2 stones back to life which gave me my 5.5 point margin of victory.
Game 5 was an easy 23.5 point win for Rik.
June 28, 2020
Rik had a great evening, defeating me 5 games in a row. In the first game, I pushed up against Rik’s bottom right corner. On review it seemed obvious I should have extended out instead. This gave Rik a lead, which he was able to maintain through the game.
Game 2 was the closest game of the evening. Rik won by 5.5 points. I killed 6 stones early in the bottom left by splitting Rik’s forces. It turned out to not be quite enough to win.
Game 3 was painful for me. I had quite I thought was a strong moyo in the top left. Rik split my stones, destroyed my moyo and stole the corner, for an easy 17.5 point win.
In game 4, Rik took a little more than me everywhere and it added up to a 15.5 point win.
He continued to dominate through the last game where I finally resigned, hopelessly behind again. This was Rik’s best night since January. Has he figured out how to use his handicap successfully to win consistently? For sure his play was very strong. I found his shapes hard to attack and I was under pressure in most of the games. The first two games were in reach for me, but the others were fairly easy wins for Rik.
June 25, 2020
Rik had his most successful night of play last night, since around the time I returned from Vietnam back in February. We continued at 2 stones with .5 komi and he won 3 of the 5 games we played. The first game was a half point game. All the others were decisive one way or the other.
Early on in the first game, Rik played a probe in the top left. He forced me to kill his invaders in exchange for a position on the outside. I failed to recognize I could have severely attacked his outside stones but for unexplained reasons I could not see it until Rik defended the area. It turned into a very tight game, and Rik won by a half.
In the second game, Rik made a mistake in the bottom right and I caught 5 stoned and gained a great position and leading to a fairly easy game for me. Late in the middle game, Rik separated my stones in the bottom left from my force. I was ahead enough to win even giving them up, but I found a way to connect them up with a ko. There was a second two-step ko available to Rik on that group which he didn’t recognize.
Rik established an early lead in gae 3 and held on to it. I got myself in trouble early, making an ill-considered invasion at move 14 – too deep and too weak.
I stole two corners off the top in game 4, then played tengen on move 19 as a big ladder block on opposite corner areas. The main theme in this game was my attack on his group on the left side above centre. I destroyed his eyes and blocked his exit, killing 16 stones, winning the game by 23.5.
Although I took 3 corners, they were small. Rik jumped out to a lead and maintained it through the game, winning by 20.5.
June 21, 2020
Last night we adjusted the handicap so it is now 2 stones and I get just .5 komi instead of 6.5. We played 5. Each of us won 2 by decisive margins and I won the last by 5.5 points.
In this game I was able to significantly reduce Rik’s moyo on the left side to a handful of points. I was also able to bring 3 stones back to life in doing so. I won by 10.5
In the second game, I was able to kill 12 floating stones + stole the top right corner for a 45.5 point win.
Rik won the third game by 17.5 points. Rik played a good reduction stone agains my group on the left. On review, it was obvious I should have attacked that stone right away. I didn’t and it easily connected up.
Rik won the fourth game as well, this time by 26.5 points. In this game I established a good moyoon top but Rik got a bigger one in the middle. I note that he also solved the problem he had last session with invasions into a corner structure.
Game 5 was a tough and tight game. I won by 5.5 points.
June 18, 2020
We played 5 and I won 5 last night, all by greater than komi.
I had a strong opening and maintained a lead throughout the first game, winning by 7.5
The second game was an easy one for me. One note on this one. I stole the bottom left corner. On review it looks like he should have been able to kill me.
The main theme of the 3rd game was my splitting attack on two groups through the centre. Rik saved the bigger group, but killing the smaller group was also huge. I won the game by 8.5. It’s hard to win when you’re busy defending your groups. He did well to keep it close.
I attacked Rik’s group on the centre left, destroying his eye shape. He defended until the point where it was possible to connect – but when I made the move which allowed me to disconnect his groups unless he connected up right away, he didn’t see it and played elsewhere. It turned out to be a 50 point kill and he resigned.
In game 5, I made a 2 space high extension in the top left. Rik peeped against it and I was able to gain territory on both the top and side. He should have invaded the 3-3 or attached to the lower stone to mitigate my strength. I won by 11.5
June 13, 2020
Last night I won 3/5 games, giving 2 stones handicap. All the games I won were by a greater margin than the 6.5 points komi I received.
I got off to a pretty good start collecting cash along the top of the board. I also limited Rik’s moyo in the top right sector. He made an error, costing him 3 stones (O6,7 and P7) in exchange for S10. A 7.5 point win.
Game 2 started out as a close game, but I took a lead and pulled away. Rik failed to see a liberty shortage situation costing him 4 stones in the bottom left. A 29.5 point win for me.
Rik had a really good opening and kept a lead throughout, winning by 8.5 points
I thought I was ahead enough to win in Game 4, and didn’t see any aji about, but Rik saw it and was able to create the ko in the bottom left area you can see in the diagram. I couldn’t win the ko. He ate up just enough of my territory to win by half a point. In review, Rik found a defense for me to his whole sequence which would have been successful. Too bad I couldn’t find it during the game.
Rik had stones in danger on the 13th line on the right. He decided to run them out and was successful, but the cost was giving me territory as compensation. I won by 12. 5.
June 9, 2020
We played 5 games last night online, 2 stones, 6.5 komi again – I won 3. Four of the games were close. I won the first by 3.5 points.
I was behind for most of the second game, which Rik won by 5.5 points.
In the 3rd game, I tried an unusual opening, ignoring the open corners initially and approaching the handicap stones. Mostly I was trying to give the game a different look and find some different ways to complicate it. In retrospect it was not the best opening, even if it wasn’t a disaster. In the middle game I attacked a 9 stone group just above the centre. Rik defended then I attacked the 30+ stone group below it, cutting it off and killing it. The kill was more than decisive, worth over 70 points. Rik should have given up the smaller group and defended the larger one. He would have been a little behind but it was a game. I think attacking multiple groups or attacking one with an eye to targeting another is a path to success.
Game 4 was one of those unusual games which turn out close even though there is a lot of territory involved. I find these games difficult to get my brain around. Rik won this one by 1.5 points.
I won the fifth game by 8.5. I was able to steal the top right corner and also mitigate his strength on the outside of it.
June 5, 2020
We played 5 very competetive online games last night. It started with a disastrous game for me. Rik played a strong opening. I misplayed the corner and was faced with Rik having lots of strength outside + a large moyo on the lower right side.
I tried to kill some of his stones and reduce his moyo at the same time, a strategy which he showed me was highly unreasonable. He killed my stones sharply, leaving me with an impossible game, which I resigned.
In game 2, I stone Rik’s top right corner fairly early on. He tried to convert his wall into some territory right away, but I found a way in and erased his potential.
This left Rik with a wall across the centre that was alive but floating. I got great territory on the right side and pretty good on the left, plus I was able to burst down through his territorial framework to the bottom. On review, it was clear I got away with about a dozen points more than I should have. I won the game by 18.5
The third game was a good tough close game, which he won by 3.5. I started this one with a 3-5, but Rik pointed out I haven’t been very successful when I’ve tried this opening in the past.
Game 4 was a bit of a rollercoaster. I started with a 3-3 and Rik echoed that play in the opposite corner. I killed 7 floating stones in the middle nicely, but Rik caught up by killing what I had thought was my corner on the bottom right. I counted and realized I was still a bit ahead and managed to maintain that lead for a 3.5 point win.
In our fifth game, I started with a high 2-space enclosure in the top left. Rik staked out 3 corners but my corner was a better size. This game featured a big endgame ko. Hi might have been able to pull off a victory by winning the ko, but unfortunately for Rik, I had more ko threats and won the game by 5.5.
Overall, I though Rik’s play was tougher than it has been and I needed to komi to win more games than he did last night. In particular, I felt he was playing more ambitious openings and I had a difficult time targeting his groups and dictating direction.
June 1, 2020
I had a good session, winning all 6 games.
Rik played a stone into my strength at the top. The result was that he played 44 stones in the top left quadrant of the board for only 10 points of territory. I think for Rik to start beating me at this handicap he needs to worry less that I might get some territory somewhere on the board, and concentrate more on making good positions for himself, and concern himself with reducing me later in the game.
Our second match was a good tight game. In this game, I played a kakari against his top right 4-4, then left it and played elsewhere. Rik ended up playing 3 stones against this one stone, to assure its death. For future, I want to think more about how I can play this kind of aji stone that he cannot ignore. The question is, how much value can I get by sacrificing a single stone. If it takes 3 stones to kill it, it can be really good value.
Rik made a big moyo with plenty of real territory along the right side – 60 points worth. I did quite well elsewhere but was still a little behind. I needed to gain something somewhere. I needed 2 moves to kill Rik’s bottom left group. I made the first attacking move. He had to give up some stones to protect the rest but didn’t. After my first attacking stone he could not kill it with one move so I was able to play the kill stone on the bottom, winning the game by 43.5 points.
I won this game by the value of komi, 6.5 points. In the top left quadrant, Rik has again used a lot of stones for little territory – 56 stones for only 8 points. I think he has to figure out ways to make his stones work harder for him.
This was a fairly close game – I won by 8.5 points, but it was one with a couple big territories. I had a good top left corner and made it 3 -D. Rik had a good top side but I was able to range out to keep it flat. We both felt Rik was a bit behind through much of this game.
Game 6 – no screen shot. I won by 13. 5 I was able to make territory at the top left and along the left side early. Rik had potential on the top but I was able to keep it under control.
May 29, 2020
We played 5 games last night. I won 3/5 – but game for I won by just a margin of 1.5.
Rik played a very solid game, with 2 really good corners + we ended up sharing the top left, which I had staked out. I did very well in the bottom left. I sacraficed the 3 stones at the bottom on the F&G lines and in exchange stole that corner. It was not enough to win, though and Rik took the game by 14.5
I won the second game by a comfortable 12.5 margin. This game involved a ko, one which could only benefit me. Rik won the ko, but it enabled me to make gains elsewhere.
Game 3 was one-sided. I won by 90.5.
Game 4 was a good close game. Rik thought he was ahead in this one, but I won it by 1.5.
In the final game, Rik carved a huge swath down the centre of the board, killing 3 stones in the process, winning by 20.5. I missed an opportunity to take advantage of a weakness on the right side. I didn’t see it at all, and Rik pointed it out during review.
May 24, 2020
Last night we played 5 online games, of which I won 3. Both of us make plenty of mistakes during these games.
In the first game, Rik got off to a disastrous start. He allowed me to surround him in the bottom right corner and kill off his group. The ugliness continued as I picked off another 6 stones on the bottom. He was trying to make a big moyo on the top right but his wall wasn’t facing any strength and it wasn’t difficult for me to negate it. Easy game for me, and a 32.5 point victory.
Game 2 was close – I won by 5.5 points. The critical point in this game was when I pressured Rik’s centre group at move 85. He defended and I used that stone to kick off a reduction of his bottom right territory, bringing down to just a dozen points.
Rik dominated the 3rd game. He build a lead and maintained it. I was desperate to find some way of pulling a rabbit out of a hat. I tried an invation on the bottom which failed. Rik made a seki in the bottom left. He won by 15.5.
I won the 4th game by 8.5. Rik made a slow opening, playing a 3-3 under his 4-4 in the top right. The indirect result of this was a good top left corner for me. I did well reducing his potential in the bottom right outside of my corner. Late in the game I blundered away 4 points but I had enough margin of victory to withstand this.
In game 5, I made an error responding to a peep in the top left. This left him with both the corner and a position on the outside and it put me behind. Had I responded correctly, it would have left him with a lonely stone on the outside. I felt all was lost and was ready to resign. In fact I was so ready to resign I didn’t even see Rik’s huge blunder, neglecting to connect at K13.
May 20, 2020
We played just 3 games last night, and had to stop due to a problem with the server, which froze and locked us both out.
In game 1 (no screen shot), Rik misplayed the bottom right corner and I would up with corner territory I had no business having. I think the real key to the game though was my reduction of Rik’s moyo in the bottom left. I won by 14.5
Game 2 was a wacky one. Rik had a weak group on the top of the board and when I pressed he ran out. I tried to right straight out on the right of him, destroying his potential and take profit on the left. On reflection, I likely ran him out further than I should have, but I could taste blood and could not resist trying to kill. The game got interesting on the left side. Rik needed to reduce my moyo in a big way to win after being attacked. He played 2 light stones. My usual inclination would be to split his stones and pick off one or the other of his groups but I wasn’t sure I would get enough territory to win, so the big kill follies continued. I played lower on the board to try to push all his invaders into my strength and kill everything.
As seen in the diagram, I killed Rik’s stones and won by 29.5 points. During the review though, Rik came up with a beautiful tesuji that would have killed my stones k12-15, allowing his group to survive. It would have won him the game. Neither of us saw the tesuji during live play. Too bad for Rik, because it was beautiful.
Rik was tracking to win the 3rd game. About the only way I could win was to kill his 2-space extension along the left side. I was successful in doing so, but only because Rik made a reading error. We both recognized the gift he gave me. I took this screen shot during the review. This is after his error, just when the server froze us out.
I won all 3 games last night, but I needed Rik to make errors to do it. That too is part of the game.
May 17, 2020
We played 7 games in a highly competitive evening. I won 4.
Rik played a solid, steady first game. I found it difficult to destabilize his positions. There was no need for him to do anything extraordinary. I made a 9 point endgame error, but Rik’s margin of victory was 12.5
Again, Rik played solid and steady. He secured a really good right side and 3 of the corners, and won by 10.5
In the 3rd game, Rik took top territory and I made a good outside wall. Rik invaded deep. I pressured his stones and took decent left side territory. I also had a strong position on the bottom which translated into about 40 points of territory. I felt I played a more dynamic game this time, and won by 9.5
In the 4th game, Rik played a different variation when I dove under his 4-4 points. He was concerned that I was playing 4 stones underneath, just enough for life, then peeping on the outside. He played to protect the peep and I was able to curl up around the side of his position. I think he was better to not allow that as the peep is not unmanageable.
In game 4, I opened with a 3-4, then grabbed two other corners. I took a lead and maintained it, winning by 13.5
Game 5 was tough and tight, and we both fought for every point. I had the tiniest of an edge and won by half a point.
Game 6 was another very close game. I had a bit of a lead into the endgame when Rik came up with a game-winning endgame tesuji, killing 4 stones. He found a second one as well, exposing another weakness in my position, but the second time I survived. On review, we found a way he could have killed more stones. Rik won by 4.5 points
Our 7th and final game was the only game which was fairly easy for me. I opened with a 3-5 in the lower right. Rik played a cross-cut. The result of this was that he got a modest corner and I contained him. I started making really strong structure facing the centre. Rik dived in and I attacked him. His main group survived but the cost was great. I killed 2 stones on the right sied and got territory all around his centre group. I won by 23.5.
May 13, 2020
We played 7 game, of which Rik won 4.
In the first game, I wasn’t able to attack Rik’s top group effectively. He played solidly throughout and won by 15.5
The second game was very close throughout. Rik’s endgame tesuju at L15 sealed the deal for him. He won by 1.5 points
In the 3rd game I took two corners by invading the san-san, then successfully attacked and killed Rik’s group on top. A 20.5 point win.
Game 4 was a tough close game. Rik got a bit of a lead and hung on. I made an endgame blunder in my desperate effort to make something happen, lost some stones and resigned. The game was Rik’s in any case.
I opened with an unorthodox 5-3 to give the opening a different look. In the bottom right corner, I blocked the escape route for his stones then killed with Q2. On the top, Rik managed corner life under my moyo. Rik made a small endgame blunder which was just enough to cost him the game. I won by 3.5
In this game, I had Rik under a lot of pressure in the bottom right quarter of the board. We played 2 kos in that area. He saved both groups but at some cost. I was able to encroach his big territory on top and lay wasted to it. As well, I was able to kill off quite a few stones above the two groups in which we fought the kos. Sometimes keeping attacking pressure on is successful even if you don’t kill the target and this game is an example of that.
I opened with the 5-4 again. This was a very equitable game. I needed to reduce Rik somewhere on the board to win – he took this one by 6.5, exactly komi.
May 8, 2020
We played 6 games, with Rik receiving 2 stones, komi 6.5. I won 5.
In game 1, Rik had a weak group on top, which I chased toward the centre. This group finally died, as did Rik’s group in the bottom left corner. Easy game for white. This was a strategic problem for Rik. He tried to have his cake and eat it too, grabbing the top left corner and having a presence on the top side. He would have been better to get a base on the top side and cede the corner or go for a bigger corner and give up more of the side.
Rik took big territory on the right side in game 2. I had opportunities to invade and disrupt it but instead I played to take some territory along the bottom and reduce some of the bottom right corner. Rik’s territory was overwhelming and he won by 25.5
Game 3 was an 18.5 point win for me. I did very well hemming him in on the bottom right and getting some territory on top of his corner. As well I reduced his bottom left territory quite successfully.
Game 4 was defined by the killing of a huge group of Rik’s stones in the centre. He had numerous opportunities to take a second eye, but failed to do so, giving me an opportunity to kill the eye and the group. The game was Rik’s to win had he kept his stones alive.
Rik was ahead for much of game 5. There were two key moments. In one I was able to atari a stone and reduce Rik’s territory in the bottom left. As well, I threatened 4 stones in the centre. Rik misread the situation and thought he had to let me take those stones or risk a greater loss. When we looked at it on review, there was no way for me to damage his position if he saved his stones.
Game 6 was equitable through much of the game. I converted a good column of territory from centre to bottom and I think that was the difference. I won the game by 11.5 in a game in which I took 6.5 komi.
Overall, my reading was sharper than Rik’s in this session. He made some reading errors which cost him a great deal.
May 5, 2020
We played 7 games. Although I won 5 of them, it was not indicative of the level of competition. Three of the games were decided by a total of 6 points.
Game 1 was tough and equitable. I won by 3.5. Komi was 6.5.
Game 2 was defined by play in the bottom left corner. Rik defended the corner incorrectly and I immediately cut. The capturing race led to a 2-step ko. I not only won the ko but also penetrated Rik’s line of defense in the top right.
Game 3 was a solid 25.5 point win for Rik. I misplayed the top right corner. Instead of invading, I should have approached from the outside.
I played the bottom of this board poorly. I played a splitting move that was not sente and Rik was able to press against it and develop big potential, then made a huge move to convert it to big territory. I wound up resigning.
Game 5 was an excellent, tight game. I managed a half point win.
I stole this game by 2.5 points by making a late-game kill of some of Rik’s middle stones. Rik failed to see the kill move coming up and misplayed his defense. I had 4 stones in atari and allowed Rik to connect them up. I should have killed those 4 stones because I had no business being successful in the larger kill. Still I found the sequence and it won me the game.
Rik got off to a bad start in that I trapped and killed 14 stones on the top left early on. That gave me over a quarter of the board in territory. I won by 48.5.
I would say based on this evening’s play that we’re fairly even at 2 stones right now.
May 2, 2020
Tonight I gave Rik 2 stones. We played 6 games and I think to the surprise of both of us, I won 5 of them.
Although I gave up 2 stones, I took 3 of the corners in this game. Rik took a good side that flowed to the outside of my bottom left corner. I created a wall against his side and the game became all about what happened on the other side of that wall.
Rik had stones on the top and a lonely stone in the centre. He tried to save all of them. I split the groups and was able to deny them eye-shape and killed over 20 stones. The margin of victory was 68.5.
In my view, Rik had to give me something in the centre. For instance, he might have given me a stone or two to gain time to make shape for the stones on the top.
In the second game, Rik ran a weak group to the centre. If it lived, I was left with little potential for territory. If I killed it, I could win the game. I chased his group toward the centre, then changed direction and played a move to secure a little bit of territory on the left. On review, It seemed that was a slow move. I thought if I capped his group instead, I had a good shot at killing them, but when we played through variations during the review, I was unable to kill his centre group. I have to conclude then that running them to the centre was not the right direction. This was a strong win for Rik. I was forced to resign.
Game 3 was a tough and exciting game. It was quite close until Rik initiated a ko by playing atari against my first line stone at P1. He didn’t want to allow me to push in and eat up a couple points of territory in what was a close game. I played atari against his attack stone and we were into a ko. I had plenty of large ko threats, won the ko and advanced into his corner. At this point I thought the game was locked up. I ended up winning by 30.5.
Another interesting sequence occurred after this. I found P9. This was a troublesome move because I could also atari the stone at P8 + threaten to cut off and kill all his stones on the 10 line and above. I think he should have Played Q8 to defend, giving up a little space. Instead, I was able to make life-shape in Rik’s area. The game had already been decided, but it was still a very interesting situation.
Game 4 was defined by 2 kills. First I killed Rik’s stones in the bottom right. He had started on the 3-3 in that corner. How did he get killed?
I split Rik’s groups on the top and left, then attacked the left side group by throwing in to force him to take a single eye, then denying an escape route. In review we looked at an alternative line of play for Rik on the left side, in which he gives up a stone and in return gets to run lightly to the centre. I think that was the best approach for Rik, but he was not convinced in review.
Game 5 was a tough and competitive game. I needed to convert the centre into territory to win. I had a strong sequence defining the boundaries on the right side of my group, then made the knight’s move to K7 to secure my territory. I wound up winning by 9.5
In our final game of the evening, Rik created a moyo along the bottom which promised him quite a lot of territory. I was able to run some stones along the 5 line to limit the extent of his territory some. I was also able to secure a kill agains his stones along the top left of the board, and with the strength I had from that, I killed the stones he tried to drop on the other side of my guys. Rik resigned.
April 29, 2020
We had a scrappy session. Although I won 5 of the 6 games, they were almost all very competitive. Next session I will give Rik 2 stones. This will test the edge I’ve had in recent weeks.
- Our first game was very scrappy. I had Rik’s stones under a lot of pressure but he held his ground. I won but by only 5.5 points.
2. I played white. I thought this was a tight game with me ever so slightly ahead, when Rik found some weaknesses in my position and suddenly he won decisively.
3. I played black and won by 12. 5. Rik had a dragon along the 8th line he had to survive. That allowed me to enhance my territory on both sides
4. I played the sanrensei fuseki (3 star points) as black and Rik played two sansan (3-3). I was able to kill two groups and force a resignation.
5. I played white. In this game I was able to kill a significant group in the lower right sector of the board and won the game by 29.5
6. I played black. Tight game. I won by 4.5. Critical to my game was the kill of 8 stones in the lower right.
April 22 – Eugene 4; Rik 2
April 25 – Eugene 5; Rik 1