Saturday, May 10, 2014

Friday, May 9, 2014

That's It, We're Movin'!

I've been thinking about getting server space of my own.  And migrating to WordPress.  Blogger's been great to me, but, you know ... a place of one's own.  That's why I recently registered my own domain at goingshodan.com.

Now, how do I make it so that when someone just types goingshodan.com it ends up at www.goingshodan.com?  I'm hoping the move will fix that.  I've also been told (thank you bengozen) that my comments aren't showing correctly anymore.  Which is why I'll be doing this a little earlier than I anticipated: I'm hoping that these problems will be fixed by the move, but even if they aren't, there's no sense wasting time fixing them here before I move.

So, this site might be down for a little while.  If everything goes smoothly, probably no more than 4 hours.  If it's much longer, I'll throw something up to let you know I'm still working on it.  What do you have to do?  Probably nothing, if you already switched over to the new domain when I first announced it.

Make sure your shortcuts and aggregators are pointed at http://www.goingshodan.com and that's all there is to it: everything is taken care of on your side!  This journal will stay here, but future posts, beyond a final one after the move is complete, won't be showing up here on blogger.  The new domain will always point at the current blog!  So check your links!

Yep, we're moving!  Not today, maybe tomorrow ... but soon!  I wonder if there's one of those see-ment ponds in the new place?  I'm wonderin' if that's where the host gator lives.  Guess we'll see when we get there.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

NEAR ... far ...

Sometimes, our brain ... well, not our brain, that'd be fatal ... but sometimes, our MIND floats itself too close to the Go board.

I thought I'd gotten past that.  When we were 20 kyu, the board was still an ocean, with little islands we were fighting over.  The first stones on the board looked like the bobbing heads of people floating in a vast ocean, clinging to each other in groups, until suddenly the board was full and the ocean was gone and the endgame was upon us.  At least, it was like that for me until the board started to come into some sort of focus around 15 kyu, when we started to understand influence just a little bit: how different areas connected to each other with invisible waves of power.

Then 10 kyu, and finally just starting to feel the zones of power, where we can win every fight if they're foolish enough to dare start something without some radiated power of their own.  Just a glimmer, but coming into sharper and sharper focus: the big picture.

That's how it's been for me.  But then, my first major plateau hit.  I needed to learn how to fight.  so began a year long trek back to the basics.  Like grover in that picture there, I had to not only know what was right, but how to, well, ride the horse frontwards.  I had to take my brain, which had spent years learning to back up from the board ... well, not my brain but ... I had to take my MIND, which had backed up far enough away from the board for me to gain some limited understanding of the game as a whole, and push it back towards the board.

It's been working.  Until a while ago.  The board got too near.  Every little mistake, I looked for a decisive advantage in the local fight that would win the game for me.  Sometimes, it worked ... because I was getting to be a pretty good fighter.  But there was a second stall, a plateau which I rode in until just last week.  I got sick, and started losing games due to a decrease in being totally practiced, yes, and my joseki knowledge rusted a little because I hadn't put it to enough use to totally remember it forever while I took some time off from Go.  And suddenly my positions kept falling apart.

But I never worried about positions anymore!  I just fought when they made a mistake, and kicked their butts!  I was close enough to the board that I could do this feat with people around my level, and find a weakness that I could exploit even though my position was relatively rubbish.

In short, I was doing exactly the thing that used to annoy the hell out of me about good fighters around my level who didn't have a clue what their position meant.  I had come full circle, and played too far from the board, and now was playing too near the board.

So I took half a step back.  It'll take some practice ... but when it all comes together for me now, wow, what a feeling.  My rank is still about the same, but I can fluctuate in how I'm doing so widely, that I'm probably playing one game at 5 kyu and the next day I'll play little better than a 9 kyu.  At a guess, I'm finally a strong 7 kyu ... and maybe, gaining strength fast.

If I can keep up the work.  And find a place to stand that isn't so NEAR or so far.

***

Sign up for the Canadian Open is, well, OPEN!!!  After signing up for your free membership, you can click on the league button, make sure you're signed in, and click on tournaments to find the button to toggle yourself in to the open!  AGA members are, as always, also welcome, so if you are going to be/ can be in the Vancouver area the last week-end in June, get your butt there!  I'm planning to be there.  I'll wear something Yukonish.  No, not a parka, but probably something touristy that says Yukon on it.

***

Finally, the few people who checked in on my yesterday, sorry I'm a day late.  I'm still aiming for Wednesdays for my regular post, but I'm horrible and deadlines.:)

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

A Place For One's Self

I love places like this in the real world.  I liked places like this in Skyrim when I used to play that, too, which is, I think, where someone got this picture.  I'd credit whomever took it, but I'm not sure, it's floating around out there on the internet.

A place you have to yourself.  Most often a high place.  A lonely place.  It's probably why I used to meditate, and probably why I will probably take up meditation again, soon.

A place like this is something I need in order to really study Go.  Not really way off in the woods, something more comfy, with coffee or a chip stand nearby.  Starbucks will do.  But home, it seems, will not do.  There are too many distractions at home.  Studying while I was in University often took me to out-of-the-way places, the student center at 2am, a sports bar in the off season on a Wednesday afternoon, lonely places with people around to stop and watch a bit ... or to bring you food and stuff! ... lonely places where other people go to be lonely.

Go was entirely lonely, really, in fact, until I started the Go club.  Which is why I couldn't do Go for more than a few months at a time.  I'm drawn to the lonely and repelled at the same time.  Go, when playing OTB regularly, and planning to go to the Open to meet new people and old online friends, still needing the alone-time lonely studying ... this is a good balance for me.  But I have to take the time for myself, and go enjoy the loneliness of just me and a support team of barristas and waiters, or Go loses its seriousness and I lose my way again.

Like most things: it's a balance.  I'm finding mine.  Are you finding yours?

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Good News, Everyone!!!

I've invented a way to make any website have an appropriate and easily remembered name by simply making them exist in two places at once!  Please redirect your links to http://www.goingshodan.com and you'll find us right here where we always were, although from now on you'll get here by going there.

Yes, this counts as this week's Wednesday entry.  You had a perfectly good entry on Tuesday that you wasted by reading too quickly, didn't you?

Now go: change those links.  No, I'm not going to have a na...zzz....zzz...zzz

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Wednesday, and Rousing the Spirit: Back To It!



Wednesday is a much better day to get a blog out, for me.  So I'll try writing every Wednesday for a while.  I can't do worse than I did trying Mondays!

While I was ill, and not doing much Go, I couldn't focus to study Go very well either.  Being exhausted does make the part or parts of the mind which play Go cease functioning, or at least cease functioning well.

Since then, as I've mentioned, I haven't been studying much at all.  It's just a matter of getting back into the habit: I enjoy studying Go.  Studying Go is more like what other people do who like crosswords or sudoku and stuff like that, really.  Even the Baduktopia books, really, although they're a little more hand-holdy in places, they still make me go through things in my head until I find a solution for myself.  This = fun.

An interesting side-effect seems to be that my play over the last few Whitehorse Go Club meetings seems to be very erratic.  My competition doesn't do a lot to study, it seems ... one of my Go friends does enjoy reviewing games in depth, and I think he is getting stronger ... but I digress.  My main two competitors at the club have come up maybe a stone, maybe a stone and a bit, just from playing weekly games for a few months after not playing for years, with maybe a little of what I'd call "study" on the side.  But one week I'll beat them, and the next, they'll beat me.  My concentration level and reading ability might be a little off from week to week, but my strength seems to go from a couple stones stronger than my competition to a couple stones weaker lately.  That's a four rank fluctuation!

When I get back to practicing and studying regularly, I'm wondering if I'll suddenly pull ahead of my competition more regularly.  If, without study, my strength is around the same on average as when I stopped studying, with greater variations, then the same must be true of my competition, so my fluctuation probably is 2-3 stones, while their fluctuation is also 2-3 stones.  Which is why the guy I played last week and almost effortlessly beat totally crushed me this week!

Oh, and an honest reason why maybe I'm also slow to get back to studying?  The game where he crushed me seemed so much more fun than the one where I crushed him!

Ah, well.  With the league starting up again (I WILL get my games in this time, I'm pretty much healed up, if a little tired still), and the Canadian Open just a couple months away, I want to be playing at a sufficiently reliable rank that I can claim a rank at least one stone stronger than where I'm currently listed for the competition!  If I'm fluctuating four stones, who knows where I should be registered anyway ... it would seem a waste of a trip to the Open.

So.   Yes.  Back to work.  Starting over on the Jump books, volume 1.  I should get through all five of those that I have easily by then, and get through GGPFB 4 and maybe some get-strong books, or ... well, we'll see.  First things first: Jump Level Up number 1!  If I can get through it, after two false starts, I'll feel happy and motivated again, and see where that naturally leads me.:)

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Gearing Up My Go Game



Hello, Go friends.

I've been sick.  Nothing life threatening, but I've had no energy for Go, and everything I wrote made my blog entry sound like the rambling you'd find in the therapy-journal of a worried well Go obsessive.  I may be a worried-well Go obsessive, but I hope I (ordinarily) come off sounding slightly better than a therapy-journal.

And with that said, it's time for serious gearing-up of the Go game!  I'm planning to head to the Canadian Go Open in Vancouver at the end of June (June 28th-July 1st), and I want to be ready.  The only information out there about it seems to be that there will be an Open this year, the above dates, the cost ($90 for adults, or $110 if you`re also playing in the pair-Go tournament) and it will be at 8853 Selkirk St., which is apparently the Taiwanese Culture Center.  And that the fee includes 3 lunches.

Vendors, pros, seminars, anything else going on?  No idea.  How many registered?  Well, it seems, with a little more than a couple months to go, that registration will be first day at the door only. Booking deal?  None mentioned.  Digging for myself, there is a hotel a couple blocks away or so, but if we could book on the same floor or floors or something neat like that, maybe with a convention rate, it'd sure make those side-games away from the Open more likely to hapen. There are apparently prizes, but I'm not going out of any interest in a prize anyway.

I can't help but compare this, just a little, to the US Go Congress.  Thrown together in the Penn hotel, $1100 gets you a room for a week with full access.  For a week!  So, yes, it's a bigger deal, by far, and the Open isn't in a league to compete with it in any way, really.  I mean, the congress might end up being organised in a Canadian city one of these years, they're totally open to it when we're ready.  But maybe it should learn something from its American counterpart, at least so far as publicity and advance booking goes.  Maybe that's a step toward some of our own Go organizers being ready to organize a congress of our own, if we want.

Next week, maybe I'll talk about actually playing Go!  It could happen.