Saturday, November 16, 2013

Goodbye Blogspot

I have decided to move my blog to Wordpress.

Here is the new address:

I don't think I will be writing any more things on blogspot.

Thank you for accompanying me all these years...

Good bye.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Decrease in Go Level = Emotional Maturity?

My Go level has been decreasing recently.

But somebody told me that it is good that it is dropping.

Because it means that I'm growing emotionally.



But how come I know of people who play better after they found a partner?

Can't my partner also become a motivation for me to play better?

If all the Go Players' level drop when they grow emotionally.

Does that mean those top pros shouldn't grow?

They should remain childish in order to play Go well?

In a way it's true, because now he recent trend is that the younger the player the stronger he is.

And when a player grows older his Go skills tend to drop also.

Furthermore, Go is a game where you cannot get too emotional.

If you get too emotional, you will tend to lose focus and lose the game.

However, I believe that understanding Go alone is not the only way to improve in Go.

If it's really true that I'm growing emotionally, it's good.

But I don't want my Go level to drop either.

Maybe in the future I wouldn't really care anymore.

But for now.

I still want to be strong.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

What pros do in last 10 seconds of byoyomi

1s: Think

2s: Think

3s: Think

4s: Think

5s: Think

6s: Think

7s: Think

8s: Think

9s: Puts hand to stone. Continues to think

9.2s: Grabs stone. Continues to think

9.5s: Checking whether the reading is correct

9.7s: One last thinking

9.8s: Plays stone on the board

Thursday, July 18, 2013

What's the most important factor to play Go well?

What's the most important factor to play Go well?

Somebody asked me this question.

Stunned with the sudden question, I didn't really know how to answer, so I told her there are many.

And I gave a few examples.

But it is really true that there is no such thing as "most important" when it comes to playing Go.

You need a combination of many different factors in order to play it well.

In my opinion, here are some of them:

1. Reading Ahead

In its very essence, Go is all about reading.

It's a competition to see who can read faster and deeper.

To see who can find out the best move in different situations.

It is very hard to improve in Go if you do not make the effort to read ahead before playing them out.

2. Organising Thoughts

Just reading out the variations alone is not enough.

After reading each variation, you need to organise them properly.

You need to judge which one is better, or which one has a higher chance of winning.

You may have thousands of ideas when playing, so it is important to cut down to the correct ones which are more likely to gain you an advantage.

What if the opponent doesn't respond the way you want?

That's something you need to consider as well.

3. Memory

Go is probably a game which requires more memory work than other board games.

No matter how strong your reading is, it is impossible to read out every single variation on the board.

There are some things which are harder to find out through reading also.

Either you know, or you don't know.

Hence, it is important to spend some effort to remember certain ways of playing in certain situations.

These are commonly known as "Joseki".

These are also the what the great players of the past and modern have found out through research.

Learning them is akin to reading through research papers.

You can only gain, not lose.

Of course, common shapes and tesuji are important as well.

4. Creativity

Just like many subjects, other than memorising those important stuffs, you need to have your own idea as well.

This is not really compulsory.

But if you want to make the game more fun, you should have your own ideas and try them out.

There are also many hidden good moves that are out of common knowledge.

So a little bit of creativity will be useful in finding them.

5. Instinct

This is not really something that can be trained.

Rather, it can only be built with many years of practice.

Some people have better instincts than others.

Just continue playing and doing problems, and your instincts will come naturally.

6. Willingness to Learn

Just like many other things, it's very difficult to improve when you are not willing to learn.

Always have a learning attitude, and never be proud just because you attained a certain level.

Review every game with your opponent, and listen to what stronger players say.

Of course you can have your own ideas, but you won't lose out by listening to other people's ideas.

7. Patience

Go is a game which requires a tremendous amount of patience.

The size of the board is 19x19, and there are 361 coordinates on the board.

Of course you don't have to fill up the whole board, but it's still a very long process from the beginning to the end of the game.

If you rush the game, then the chance of you making mistakes are much higher.

This is especially the case when you are losing the game.

It is important to always be calm and patient throughout the game and wait for chances.

You never know when it will come.

And trust me, it's not easy to do that for the whole game, hence you have to start by doing it consciously.

8. Stamina

After reading all the above points, I'm sure you know why Go requires a lot of stamina.

A typical game of Go usually lasts from 1 hour to 3 hours for amateurs.

For professionals, they can last longer, from 5 hours to even 2 days.

And during all that time, you need to constantly be reading out variations, organising them, and judging whether they are good or bad.

The moment you loosen your brain is the moment you lose.

That's why, if you want to play Go well, get a strong body and build up your stamina.

You are definitely going to need a lot.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Off to Incheon, Korea

Flying to Incheon, South Korea for the 4th Asian Indoor & Martial Arts Games.

There are pros joining this tournament, unlike the World Mind Sports Games last year.

So it will be harder for us to get into the top 4.

Nevertheless, we will still try our best!

Singapore Team, fighting!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Tsumego #076


Black to live.

I like this problem.

Can black live unconditionally?

Friday, May 31, 2013

Tsumego #075


Black to kill.

Some problems are really funny when you see the solution.

They just seem to go against common sense.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Tsumego #074


Black to live.

I just realised I still have not posted this famous problem.

It may be difficult for those who see this for the first time.

This problem also illustrates the wonders of Go. :)

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Tsumego #073


Black to kill.

The end result of this problem is quite funny.

Friday, April 26, 2013


Every time I hear somebody say something like "I will never be a dan player" or "I will never get stronger", I feel like giving that person a huge slap on the face.

Unless you have a mental illness, I don't think there's are any reasons why you cannot be a dan.

The speed may vary from people to people. I've some friends who can get from nothing to 1-2 dan in 2 years. Some even faster.

Everybody will definitely get there eventually, if you have two things.

1. Belief in yourself

2. Interest aka passion

If you have these two things there, there's no way you are not getting there.

Getting to the dan level is not like getting into the top university in the world or getting full score for SAT.

The requirement is not very high.

All you need is to know some basic josekis and shapes and be able to perform some basic reading and judgement.

That's all.

If you are still struggling at the kyu level.

That means you are either lacking one or more of the two things I mentioned above.

Or you are learning it the wrong way.

In which case I would suggest you look for a proper teacher.

Otherwise everything will be alright.

Believe in yourself!

Go is not so difficult.

And once you get to the dan level, Go will be much more enjoyable.