Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Goals for the Future

This coming Fall is going to be quite busy for me. I will be teaching 5 classes of highschool Latin, as well as taking two graduate classes as part of my Masters of Latin and Classical Humanities Degree. What I predict is that I will not have very much free time to devote to my hobbies (grading five classes of tests easily can take 10 hours, and translating 350-400 lines of Latin every week might easily take another 10 to do well. I have no clue what the work load for the Education class I will be taking is, but I imagine at least 30-50 pages of reading, a written response, research, and additional lesson-planning will be involved.

With this in mind, I must make sure my goals are focused and practical.

Currently my go routine looks like:

1) Playing 2-3 blitz games in a row, usually late at night, or in short periods of free time in the afternoon.
2) Reviewing games for several people in the Beginner's Room of KGS or the teaching laddeer.
3) Playing teaching games with one or two regulars
4) Watching the strongest on-going game on KGS
5) Playing through 3-4 professional games (Go Seigen or Shusaku) a week
6) Looking at modern 9p matches at

This is fine, if not scattered for the summer. Once the school year begins, this is no longer possible. My goals are now as follows:

1) Solve Tsumego.
2) Play one "serious game" per week.
3) Limit reviewing to only one player, review off-line and email them the sgf.

I can print out pages from the various sources on and solve them while riding the train and buses to work.

I will have to make time to play a serious game each week, maybe on Sunday or Wednesday.

The reviews can be worked on over the weekend when I might not have internet access.

We will see how well I work on my goals.

Book Reviews: Whole Board Living Tesuji; 21st Century New Openings

I have just added two books to my collection:
Chatterjee, Sangit; Huiren Yang. Whole Board Living Tesuji: Problems Drawn From Real-Life Games. 

Sung-Rae, Kim. 21st Century New Openings.

Whole Board Living Tesuji:
This book is clearly meant for dan-level players who have a lot of experience with the game. I have not read any other "whole board tesuji" books, but here is what I take it to mean. One player is in a situation where the normal move will give their opponent a huge global advantage (securing a weak group, being able to attack your own weak group, invading and stealing a lot of point). While there are many local replies, the one in question addresses the local and global problems. As such, this book is useful to different ranked players in different ways. A beginning player (DDK) will not get very much from the book at all, besides examples of good plays. Given the very specific nature of each problem, this is not going to lead to anything they can definitely grasp on to, but will give them an example of moves they would never think of, or would never understand the value of if they did happen to play it. An intermediate player (SDK) will get a little more out of this, because they have the background to pick for themselves the conventional (and wrong moves), and this book will be full of ways for them to see how the conventional move is not the best. If given the problems without context, they would likely pick the wrong move each time, and even in context there is not a great chance that they will pick the proper move, and even if they do, it is probably more luck/instinct than the reading that is required to find such moves when you are not sure there is a tesuji answer (ie their own games). However, the example that they find will be very useful for shaping how they see whole board positions, finding the key areas, and expanding their base of moves to consider. An advanced player (Dan Level) will have a chance at solving the problems and finding the right answer. As a 1-2d I am able to figure out some of the problems on my own, though the reading can get to be much (I acknowledge myself as a horribly lazy reader though). I feel like even players up to 9d could get some real benefit from this book, though some of the problems are surely quite easy for them to solve.

21st Century New Openings:
I love the concept of this book, and its hopefully forthcoming volumes. Every three years, the author is going to look for new moves and new opening trends that crop up in professional play, and then analyse the many variations that stem from them, compare with older methods, and give real game examples of the new play. This includes simple joseki, to new joseki in older fuseki patterns, and even novel fuseki. The book is clearly targeted at serious players who are trying to remain competitive in high level play. It assumes a good foundation of past joseki and fuseki knowledge, as well as being written in a thoroughly academic style. I would have loved this book when I was 4k, and probably been able to benefit from it somewhat, but as the author claims, this book is most useful for people looking to become professionals. While the volume I have is from 2006, hopefully there have been or will be new volumes coming out, given the fast-changing nature of these joseki and patterns in modern time.