Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Go Essay!

As cliché as it sounds, it was love at first sight. The smooth curves of the bi-convex stones, the satin sheen of the board, and the sheer simplicity of the game all attracted me. Go itself is a paradox: there are really only three rules, yet it is an intricate game. Beneath the facade of simplicity lies deep strategy and countless millions of permutations. It is a highly mathematical game, yet mathematical genius does not lend itself to strength. Of course, I did not believe this when I started playing in my junior year. It seemed like just a fling. It's a silly old game, I said. I'll master it in a year, I said. And a year later, here I am, still a middle ranking player: 5 kyu by the American Go Association standards. I failed to reach my goal, but that hardly means I failed completely.
Go was an attempt to connect to my culture, my heritage, my past. It embodies so much of Eastern culture, as well as philosophy. Go is a representation of life, which, at the premise, is simple, yet we derive so many complexities from it. This is similar to Taoist philosophy, which preaches the simplicity of life. Go is rooted in the history and soul of East Asia. Growing up Asian in America, I am caught in a conflict of culture. Of this culture clash arises a persistent and awkward struggle conform to both identities while still assimilating into American culture. In short, I abandoned a part of my heritage for an awkward identity that did not fit. I drew apart from my culture for too long, because in the end, I am Chinese and always will be. I should never have allowed myself to let that go. My parents told me, all the time, to be proud of my five thousand year heritage, but I did not realize its importance until much later on. And now that I do understand, I try to connect back, but its like attaching a severed limb. I can only hope the endings can heal and again become a part of me..
Yet I have learned much more from Go than just cultural lessons. Go teaches life. Beyond the typical lessons about dedication and perseverance, Go has taught invaluable lessons. It punishes greed; a greedy move may result in losing much more. It teaches sacrifice; sometimes one will have to give up something to stay alive. And in the end, it's not about winning, or capturing your opponent; it's about maintaining balance and harmony with your opponent's moves.
However, the most important lesson I learned from Go is humility. After a few winning streaks, I began to think I was “pretty good” but the truth is, I wasn't. I quickly became arrogant and overconfident, but when this happened, I began to lose . And I continued to lose, until I managed to suck up my pride and listen advice from stronger players. This pertains to life as well: sometimes, my pride gets the better of me, but I need to remember that no matter what I do, there will always be someone above me. No matter how well I play, I will never be a match for the masters of old. It's a bittersweet, yet reassuring feeling.
Maybe it started off as a harmless pastime. But it surely isn't that way anymore. Go has allowed me to improve pattern recognition skills as well as combinatorial game theory, but beyond that, it's given me much insight into not only my heritage, but into life itself. Go is life.

Sunday, November 26, 2006


I swear I'm alive. Schools been getting me down ish. I haven't been playing much: I keep losing to 4ks. :/

So. I wrote a college essay on go. I think that counts

Oh, my AGA rank is now -5.998. Boo.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Blogger Beta

Blogger Beta is awesome

I haven't been playing go.

I think my 3-5 5-4 opening is completely valid, just I don't have the positional judgement/reading to back it up. I'll stick with common openings until then.

KGS3/ CGoban 3 is coming out soon.

I hate physics. English is crazy. School sucks. :( *emo*

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Interesting Summer.

So. I started the summer as a 12k. I ended the summer as an AGA 6k, and being able to occasionally beat a KGS 5k. But I still have trouble at the 8-9k level, so that's what, 4 stones improvement over 3 months? Still far from KGS 1d. Whatever. I'll get there one day. Soon. Hopefully.

I tend to not play go when I have excessive amounts of free time. I tend to knit and draw in that time. I tend to play go when I really dont have the time for it. -___- figures.

But this summer was awesome for go. I met so many strong people. Wah. Lots and lots of cool people, esp James Wu. ;D

Friday, August 25, 2006

Last thing you'd expect

at Go Congress


Yeah. Note the audio.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Guo Juan

While at Go Congress, I was lucky to watch Guo Juan review one of Calvins games. I think this was the main thing I learned from Go Congress. It's easier to attack two groups than just one. Attacks should not be direct. When attacking groups, know which of your stones can die, and which should not die.

I haven't applied this much though. I'll try, I guess.

Monday, August 21, 2006


Go Congress was amazingly fun. I feel that I didn't take full advantage of all the lectures, etc there though.

Pair Go was fun. Frustrating, but fun.

Meeting all the strong players was also just so cool.


Friday, August 11, 2006


I just totally gave up on 1d. I havent played, with the exception of a blitz game, in like, a week. Whee... :( Instead I've been doing totally useless things because I have the attention span of a goldfish.

Oh well. Congress tomorrow.. I'm dreading it. Ah well.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Uh. Wtf.

My parents think I'm going to get either
a) kidnapped
b) killed by an axe murderer
c) die in a plane crash

at Go Congress. They also believe that all go players I met online are secretly online predators out to kill me/bad stuff.

yeah. Someone convince them you're not axe murderers.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006


Forgot to post this on Sunday.

Happy 20th, Wayne. Sorry, couldn't make it to shodan.

I fail :(

Ah well. Before this summer ends then.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

I'm bored.

This was the first thing that came to mind after seeing INVINCIBLE posters.

.. Yeah.

I should be playing go.


I'm home. And home is wonderful.

7 days left. Guh.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Chicago, here I come.

Ohnoes. It's AUGUST. School starts soon. D: Summer's almost over! 29 more days! Crunch time~!

I'm off to Chicago for 5 days. Damn you, college interviews ;_;. There are 12 days until Congress. That leaves me 7 days to get stronger, unless I spend loads of time reading go books.

Goal: AGA1d in 7 days. Woo! for ambition.
How I will achieve this: I probably won't.
I'll start by playing more games as W. Playing as B gives me this wonderful, tremendous advantage. I need to learn how to win without that advantage.
Then, I'll reread Lessons in the Fundamentals of Go until I need to pass it off to Calvin.
Then it's Attack and Defense, How to Kill and the Chinese Fuseki. Again.
I guess I should print out some professional games to review. Maybe I can borrow my mom's laptop to play a few games, too. That should be it for the amount of time I'm in Chicago. Bah, sightseeing. Who needs that. Ehe0

Lawrence's dad kept telling me to play slower in my games. So I slowed down, and found I can do much, much better when I slow down. Hey, at least I havent been blitzing. >_>;
So I guess I'll be playing games without time limits, or ones with very slow time limits from now on.

Can I do this? I can get to AGA1d probably. KGS, I don't know. I'll find out in September, when the next San Francisco tourney thing is.

Ugh, ambition post. One day, I'm going to look back on this and wonder what I was thinking.

In other news, yesterday, there were lots of spectators. I ended up teaching a girl from Miami and her sister how to play go. Then, her grandma asked where they could buy a goban. BWAHAHA. One more go player!

Sunday, July 30, 2006


Woohoo! Won one game!

.. eheheh. I won against a 4k but lost against a 6k. Guess I'm really 5k now. Just a bit more and I'dve reached my goal this summer! In the game to the left, I was w. Almost killed, but ended up getting killed. Overlooked a cutpoint. Ah well.

Hm, results.
As far as I can remember, Michael (Cheng..?) won 1st place in the 1st division, Lawrence Ku won 1st in 2nd, Hugh something (little kid, really really cute) won 1st in 3rd, and I have no idea who won 1st in the 4th division.

8th place in 3rd division! Our of 9! Woohoo! XD

Yay for dramatic shots of people playing go. Haha, yeah...

This little kid was horribly cute. Don't think he played in the tournament, but he knew how to play go. I believe that's Tony something's little brother. Awwwwww.

Ah well. I'll figure out my real rank when the AGA updates it. I still have a month left. I can do this.

But man, I'm tired.

PS: Taiyaki is good. Little fish pancake things with red bean paste. :9

And, pictures to come once I upload them.

And uploaded...

Saturday, July 29, 2006


Um, I fail. Good news is I'm 5k AGA.

Lost all my games. Made super stupid mistake in a 3h (I'm taking W) game. The result of too much internet go- I didn't see the board correctly.

Oh well, two more games tomorrow. Maybe I won't lose them all. Thanks for your well wishing :P

Ing counting is weird.

Friday, July 28, 2006

NorCal Open

It's tomorrow. And transportation's being stupid. I might need to ask my parents to take me. :/ Which is yeah.

I haven't played recetnly. Did a shitload of go problems today though.

I don't know what rank to register as.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

A game.

Have a game.

This game was played under "timshel" (Hey, I just read East of Eden.. It was sort of asking for it. Anyways, I'm apparently 5k now, though I haven't been winning consistantly. More like consistant, but kindasorta close losses. ) This is one of the few games that started out really nicely. Time for me. Note my opening.

Unfortunately, this game doesn't illustrate the opening I'm experimenting with very well. :/

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Experimental Fuseki

Lately, I've been experimenting with different openings, namely 3-4+3-5 and 3-3+3-5 openings. I find 3-5 to be very useful, since it emphasizes outer thickness as opposed to the corner. With outer thickness facing an enclosed corner, I get a nice moyo, and attacking position. Trouble is, I haven't played enough with this fuseki to learn what its weaknesses are.

I've also found that I'm a couple stones weaker when I take white. I feel that I'm around 7k as black, and maybe 10k as white

Sunday, July 16, 2006


Woohoo! 5k?! I beat a 6k today, though it was mostly a fluke. He overlooked something and I killed a huge group

Saturday, July 15, 2006


Wow. I beat Wayne with 6 handicap.

.. wow.

I was totally slaughtered though.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

North California Open

Oooh. NorCal Open. Its going to be July 29-30 (Its a weekend) in the hospitality room of Union Bank in Japantown.

AWWRIIGHT. Hella cool. Gonna go get my AGA rating~.

I totally gave away my location with this post, didn't I...

And someone make me stop playing blitz. :/

Tuesday, July 04, 2006


Mayonnaise is solid9k now. I've played pretty well against 8 and 9ks, though I havent played many games as white.

This position arose in a game I played today, against stivel 9k. I was black. Woot.


Actually, this entire post was just an excuse to use that GoodShape thing. :D

Thursday, June 29, 2006


Lessons in the Fundamentals of Go is V. Good.

Though I shouldn't really read it in precal. :/

Anyways, lets see how much it helps me improve. :)

Sunday, June 25, 2006


This kind of thing probably shouldn't make my day, but it does. XD I got accused of sandbagging. So this means I'm stronger than 12k!!!

Its kind of depressing though. I should make my goals more realistic. Like, Shodan before age 30 or something. Will stop playing for a while. Maybe a week. Maybe a day. Who knows. Not feeling the "go vibe" XD;

Maybe 5k by August is more realistic.. afterall, I've only got about a month and a half to do this in.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Stay Calm?

If I focus and stay calm, I play much better. How come it took me this long to realize it?

But it's really hard for me to stay calm. I'm usually hyper or angry.

And, in "real life", I guess staying calm is always better than getting angry. I should work on that...

Friday, June 23, 2006

Kinokuniya= go book suckage.

Went up to Games of Berkeley and got Lessons in the Fundamentals of Go. Heee, I got the last copy. (Also got a chess (bah!) book for brother but that's beside the point)

Chiyodad: It doesn't look like they've restocked the Ishi Press books. :/ I don't think they've restocked at all since that one beginners tournament.

Kinokuniya's go book supply = one shelf. Not even a bookshelf, just one shelf. All it had was the Get Strong Series and some of those Go starter books. Depressing. Searched for quite a while to find it, too. Oh well, they make up for it with manga. and erasers. whee. And Malice Mizer CDs cost too much. $44?! Crazy. [/off topic]

Sigh. KGS tournament in an hour. Bleeehhhhh....

Will update later. Am dying from heat. stupid weather.

Alright, now I'm pissed. Lost a game I should of won due to neglecting to connect. I don't know what the hell I was thinking at the time, but I failed to see that I would have cut them off. Even then, it was close, but I failed to count, and only then did I realize I could have possibly made up the difference in endgame. If I had taken two sente points instead of a gote point, I could have possibly won. Ugh, oh well.Misread a kill sequence. I'm so off today. Ugh. I hate this. Gotta stay patient throughout the game... bleh. Why do I suck at Go?

Off to slaughter (hah!) 5ks..

I get pissed off too easily.
And then I just resign when I fail to kill or something, and then I just keep getting more pissed off and etc. I hate go. :(

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Spare the Air Day

I live in the Bay Area, and Spare the Air day(s) is today and tomorrow.

This means I get a free ride to SF and Berkeley!

Free ride! Saving 15 bucks , right there!

This is pretty sad, but the first thing I thought of is Berkeley --> Games of Berkeley --> Go books.

And then, San Francisco --> Gamescapes --> Go books.

God help me. D:

In other news, I'm going to switch to "mayonnaise" for a while, and see how high I can inflate the rank, and then see what I can stabilize it to. Gotta cure the rankophobia...

Wayne sucks. He played me a game, but it was ranked. So now mayonnaise is 5k?.

Oh well. Ill see what I can do.. yuck.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006


That is the sound of my forehead hitting the table.

I don't know, I don't want to play serious games lately. I just want to blitz. Does this have something to do with a constant desire to win? Blah, I need to get rid of that. I feel like I'm playing less games because I'm afraid it'll kill my rank. Ugh, that's so bad for me though. I haven't played anyone higher ranked than 12k unless it was for a tournament, also..

I need to listen to Wayne and play more games against higher rated people.

I think I'll hop on "mayonnaise" for a while. Maybe more free games are needed.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006


WIth my current schedule, I don't think I'll be able to make shodan by August 6th.

I'd need to gain like, 2 kyu strength per week. :/ This is kind of bad.

Oh well, after classes, it'll be Go, 24/7!

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Yet Another Go Blog

Alright, this is another Go progress blog.

I'm a 16 year old living in California. I started Go in the start of September 2005. My KGS nickname is "toastcrumb", and I'm currently about 12k. I have no official AGA rating, having never played in a serious rated real life tournament.

Hm. So, my goal is to achieve shodan (1d) by August. Preferably before Go Congress, and preferably by my teacher (Wayne Cheng)'s birthday.

Wish me luck?