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Subject: Connection Problems rss

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Jeromie Rand
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Littleton
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[Connection Issues]

The game covered in this post isn't all that interesting, but I couldn't resist the pun inherent to my evening.

I am in my last semester of a theology degree, and in addition to my normal course load I have to write a brief synopsis of what-I-believe-about-everything and defend my position in front of a panel of professors. The synopsis paper was due last night, so when I finally got it turned in I was eager to spend a night relaxing without feeling guilty about it. My wife was meeting with a friend for a couple hours in the early evening, so I decided to kick things off with a game of Go on KGS. I heated up some water, brewed a cup of sencha tea, and sat down in front of my laptop to start playing. (Not as nice as sitting across a real board, but we all have to work with what we've got.)

I noticed that the wireless was a little slow, but I didn't think that would be a problem for internet Go. (I live in an apartment that provides free internet access, but it can be a little flaky sometimes. Usually it works ok on my laptop, though. Smartphones are a different story.) I mean, the amount of actual data I need to send is minuscule. Surely a game of Go would work, right?

Wrong.

The first two or three moves went okay, but then I got hit by the mother of all laggy connections. Each of the next several moves took anywhere from thirty seconds to five minutes to register on the server. This would be highly annoying under the best of circumstances, but I was trying to play a real-time game with fixed time limits on each side. I was getting frustrated *and* frantic. Not a good combination for Go.



The opening looks fairly normal, but I was already getting frustrated by the slow connection


Let me tell you, when a DDK panics it's not a pretty sight. I killed a large group that belonged to my opponent, but then I made some foolish moves that simply helped him build a wall of influence toward the center. All was not lost, though. It was pretty clear (to me) that I was better at close fighting than my adversary. If I killed a few stones of his, then I might have a chance to connect to my large, living group and exert some influence toward the center.



The black wall is bad for white


Eventually I got access to the apartment office where the router is kept. Even at close proximity the wireless was buggy, so I stole the ethernet cord from the desktop in the office and plugged in my laptop. That eliminated the lag, but by then I was already down to byo-yomi time. And I was about to have a new kind of connection problem.

I allowed myself to get to this point:



Disaster


Things aren't pretty. My stones in the upper left are all cut off from one another, and I've given black an overwhelming wall of influence–the exact opposite of the situation in my last game. I thought at first that I could connect those upper stones... but it was too late. I didn't see that right away, though. I was doing a horrible job of reading at that point. I played at H14 and soon saw black capture the stones at 104 and 106. When those two stones fell, it created all kinds of disaster for the top left area. What little territory I had staked out fell apart chunk by chunk. So much for being better at fighting. Arrogance is a sure path to death in Go, especially when combined with haste.

I soon recognized that things were over. I resigned and called it a night.



Final game state


[Note to the stronger players reading this... please have mercy and don't give me too much feedback on this game. I was exhausted by a long week and frazzled by my wireless issues. I don't think this represents my normal game. blush]

I did still have some fun with Go that evening. My wife wasn't home yet, so I played the first 60 or so moves of a Shusaku game out on my Go board. I was even able to recognize a couple things I've been reading about in Kageyama's Fundamentals of Go.

1) Even as a DDK, sometimes the obvious move is right. A few times I was able to predict where Shusaku or his opponent would go next. At first I doubted my ability to see a good move. "Self," I would say, "you are but a lowly DDK. These were transcendent professionals. Surely a move over there, where you would gain no profit, would be good for them. But if you were playing, you would want to play right there." Lo and behold! Often I would be right, or at least close. Of course, other times they would tenuki when I was sure a local fight was starting. If I could get it right every time, I wouldn't be a DDK.

2) Focusing on the position of your own stones instead of merely responding to your opponent's play offers an entirely different perspective on the game state. It is easy to fall into the trap of thinking too much about my opponent–where he or she is making influence or creating a threat–but it is frequently better to step back and ask, "What move would work well with my stones that are already on the board?" One can't ignore the other person's stones, of course, but it seems to me that this approach is the difference between thinking in sente and thinking in gote.
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Jim Cote
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The only advice I'll give is to stop focusing on territory. Don't consider every area of the board with your stones to be yours. If you find yourself making lots of walls in the early game, stop and look at the rest of the board. Making a live group bigger by 2 points is almost meaningless when there are 30-point moves elsewhere on the board.

Focus on influence.
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Jeromie Rand
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ekted wrote:
The only advice I'll give is to stop focusing on territory. Don't consider every area of the board with your stones to be yours. If you find yourself making lots of walls in the early game, stop and look at the rest of the board. Making a live group bigger by 2 points is almost meaningless when there are 30-point moves elsewhere on the board.

Focus on influence.


Thanks. I know that in my head, but it's hard to do when I'm rattled.
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Don't feel bad. I sometimes get frustrated and frantic just from the game itself!

You're doing fine. Continue playing the game and evaluating your games like you're doing now and you'll be single digit kyu in no time.
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Steve Sisk
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jeromier wrote:
I know that in my head, but it's hard to do when I'm rattled.


Everyone is at least 3 stones stronger when they're watching and not playing. The main reason for this is that you get caught up in the local situations and forget to look at the whole board.

One thing to do, especially when your'e rattled, is to stop before each move and look around for a better move. Like Jim said, a local loss of 2-4 points is OK if you exchange it for a gain somewhere else. Of course this is hard to to when you're up against the clock and lagging.

One thing to remember (that I still struggle to remember) is that you don't need to save every stone. It's OK to give up one, two, or even three if saving them will cost you more than what you lose by letting them go. I have lost games running a three stone group to safety when I could have (as you opponent did in this game) used their sacrifice to build a wall that is worth far more.
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Jim Cote
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SiskNY wrote:
I have lost games running a three stone group to safety when I could have (as you opponent did in this game) used their sacrifice to build a wall that is worth far more.

If the opponent is desperate to save a group, you can often gain a lot by chasing it without killing it.
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