Tag Archives: ranks and ratings

2015 SAGA Winter League – Game 3: halfway to SDK

So I entered the SAGA Winter League, which has replaced one of thee quarterly internet tournaments. The league has two groups, and I’m in Group B with people ranging from 5k to 18k (the 18k being yours truly); Group A has all the players upwards of 5k in it. While Group A plays even games, in Group B – due to the bigger rank difference between players – the choice is to play proper handicap -2. So far, I have played all games with the handicap, and have lost 1 and won 2, with 4 more to play. In the process I’ve move from 18k to 16k (with some help from 2 regular games I played during a club night).

I found this game interesting, as I usually play badly online… I tend to speed up really fast, just clicking away… It doesn’t matter if I start out with all sorts of good intentions. This game, I sat back and didn’t touch the mouse until I knew where to move… I got all excited when I managed to play slowly… Though after this game I played another free game on KGS, and clicked myself to an early grave; guess that lesson didn’t stick.

So here is my third game, and my second win, against a 6k:

B+23.5; 8H & 6.5 deom [덤, komi]
B+23.5; 8H & 6.5 deom [덤, komi]
The overall result is good, I think I made one major mistake when I let the five stones at  E17 die; if I hadn’t the result would a 42.5ish instead of 23.5 point win. Considering the proper handicap would be 10 stones (i.e. 9 stones plus an adjustment of 9.5 reverse deom [덤, komi]), it was quite a good win. In fact this win got me from 16k to 15k in one go, as league matches – like tournament games – count 1.5x on the SAGA ranking system. I played my two previous games over the board (either is allowed, since the players are divided between Johannesburg and Cape Town), with one loss at 7 stones against a 5k and a win at 5 stones against a 10k; I’ll post the latter game later, as I snapped a few pictures of the board.

Also looking at the rankings, If I make it to 13k, then I’ll be the best female player at SAGA; this probably says more about the lack of female players in South Africa than anything else, but still ^_^

Quick recap

The opening was started simple, it being an 8 stone handicap game it turned quickly middle game-y. We settled the top and the left side of the board fairly quickly:

Board by move 53
Board by move 53

Then we moved to the lower left corner, and danced around a bit. However, I was really sure I had made a mistake with the sequence after White played 55 at C3. 20150727 league game 01 Somehow, with the stone already at G4, I thought I should block at C4 instead of playing 56 at D3 and allow White to get the corner and link up, however in the end it turned out okay. So instead of doing the jeochim [젖힘,  hane] underneath at C2, I attached with 58 at E6; I’m not sure if this was good or bad, but with the three stones there already, I though I could. My logic here was to not get white to simply box me in and start building a wall on the fifth line; though in retrospect, 5th line territory doesn’t sound too bad in exchange for   a wall towards the centre. When white played 59 at F5, I panicked a little, and my first reaction was to safeguard my territory at F4 and sacrifice 58… But I didn’t, I ended up playing out a sequence that got me a small part of the corner, and enough liberties to ensure my group didn’t die; at the same time I was able to develop to the right… Part of me still thinks I was really lucky though.

20150727 league game 02Next we went to the other side of the board, and White made a low approach with 75; I decided to pincer with 76, thinking that if white played R3 I’d just give him the corner and take the wall. Instead White counter pincered with 77 at R6, and I didn’t know what to do at first. Now the sequence 78 and 79 is jeongseok [정석, joseki], though I’m not sure if 80 and 81 were… I’ve never dealt with a situation before, only seeing the situation up to 79 in a book somewhere with the note that it is jeongseok… But overall, I felt okay with the result, apart from losing my second corner.

We moved on, and slowly started to divide the rest of the board; I didn’t think I did anything majorly wrong, and by move 150ish I was ahead.

Board by move 150
Board by move 150

I did make one small mistake around that time…I played 160 at L7, aiming to gain a few points by swallowing the stone at L6… 20150727 league game 03 So far so good, but I misread when Black played 163 at O7; I thought I could save the two stones at N8 and O8 by moving underneath with 164 at O6… but I was wrong, I misread the push at N7 as I didn’t see that it would put my two stones in dansu [단수, atari]; having to capture the one white stone meant that White could play 167 and kill two of mine… Stupid mistake, and probably the reason why I am still DDK after a year of playing this game.

20150727 league game 04This is the biggest (obvious mistake I made), and something that should teach me the meaning of dwitmat [뒷맛, aji]; specifically I thought the stone at G17 was dead, and I just ignored it while I played out the sequence 181 to 185. After 185, I patted myself on the back on gaining some points and went sonppaem-ing [손뺌, tenuki]; we danced around the board, doing some endgame, until White came back and played 193 at G18… which cost me about 19 points… I was still happily ahead, but I just could kick myself for making such an obvious mistake. If I’d had played maybe E19 after White played 185, before going somewhere else, this could have been avoided… But ooooooh nooooooo HeJin just had to go and think she had seonsu [선수, sente]….

The rest was endgame, and in any case I did win. I then sent the game of to a dan player from the Cape Town Go Club for a review, while staring at the screen at my new status as 15k for a while. Though, if you want to see the game as a sgf, I’ve uploaded it on EideGo; we’re listed as 5k and 15k respectively, but that’s cause our KGS ranks aren’t the same as our SAGA ranks.


Reflections on the status quo, and moving into 2015

As my leave is ending, and I am returning to the office today for another year of stress and travel, I am happy to inform you all that, as usual, I barely did any of the things I was planning for my holiday in terms of baduk related study… Nothing out of the ordinary for me, I’m always full of great plans that make me feel good; besides, I live in Cape Town… this place is just not conducive to serious study efforts over the holidays.

But to start of the year, let’s see how I ratings are looking:

Server Rank  Ranked games
Real-life (SAGA) 19k 7 wins | 4 loss
KGS 20k 9 wins | 10 loses
IGS 17k? 5 wins | 6 loses
OGS 20k 11 wins | 8 loses
DGS 20k 19 wins | 23 loses

Overall, I’ve managed to move from 23k to 19k in about 6-7 months of playing, which isn’t all too bad. But I think my major obstacle is two-fold: not enough life and death problems, and not enough games. I played a teaching game with a 3d at the club the other day, and he remarked that my opening is very good, and my early middle game as well; where I lose is in my tendency to run away from fights. In high handicap games that usually works (up to a point), but for the most part I run from fights due to my frequent disasters in reading things out and failing to notice snap backs. In terms of not playing enough, while I play a lot on turn based servers, I think I need to get over my live online game phobia, and bring my IGS and KGS accounts back to life. One dan level member at the local club suggested that I actually play online with the board in front of me, and play – for the opening and first part of the middle game – the moves on the board as they happen online; this would maybe alleviate my tendency to lose focus of when I’m staring at the screen of death (also known as a computer screen).

I would love to make a new years resolution here, but if I do, then I pretty much assure myself of not doing those exact things… I basically need something to motivate me in doing more baduk study, and I’m out of ideas…

Officially a “casual player” now

So according to the baduk page on Wikipedia – the bastion of human knowledge and creative trolling – I am now a “casual player”, as opposed to a “beginner”… I’ve promoted to 19k on the SAGA system. It lists the 20k to 10k as casual player stage, though I have no clue on what this is based; I’d actually feel that this line should be drawn around 15k, personally. But anyway, apparently a game I played recently got recorded, or something, I’m not sure… I won a game against a 5k and a teaching game against a 1k recently, but I considered them not rated… or so I thought… or maybe it was a mistake… not sure… maybe I should check up on this… hmmmm…

I think the issue here is, according to the other players at the Cape Town Go Club, I’m under-ranked… so this jump isn’t that big a of a deal; still I hate to rank up without actually winning a game.

Update! Promotion time…!

So it has been a while since I posted; the main reason is that I have spent a lot of time traveling for work, and I ended up spending a sparse 4 nights or so at home in the last month and a half… Thus my little hiatus in keeping this blog alive; not to worry, CPR starts now! And hereby a quick run down of what you’ve missed:

I got promoted to 20k! On the SAGA system that is, if you look me up on any of the online servers my rank remains below that… I’ve played a total of 7 games over an actual board in the last month and a half, and have won 5 of those. 6 of those were against an 18k in Johannesburg; they were 5 handicap games from 5 to 3 stones, of which I lost one played at 3 stones, the 6th game was an even game at 6.5 dum [덤, komi] where I took white and won as well (this game didn’t get registered on the system for some reason, or I might be edging towards 19k by now). Upon my return to Cape Town I played Mr. 10k Master, with 9 stones handicap and 19.5 reverse dum to even the game out (being 21k on the system at this point.) The result was a win by about 40 points, which means I won on the board without the help of that reverse dum. And tada! 20k! Slowly I am catching up with 10k Master, very slowly, and next time we’ll have just a 9.5 reverse dum… My aim is to catch him, he is the Akira Touya to my Hikaru Shindo! And after that… someday… Mr. Corner killer 2k will be my next rival… someday…

My last match, the one that promoted me, was interesting. I played 10k Master more than I’ve played anyone else, and having not faced him in real life for over a month, it was interesting to see how the game has shifted. It is the first time that I’ve actually noticed my own progress, as I recognised when he was trying to trick me; his style of play is familiar now, while mine is still developing (and thus still somewhat unpredictable)… I wonder if this actually gives me some advantage…

So what else? Well the South African team has moved ahead, won against Cyprus and Ireland; so they’ve chosen the Springboks route over the Bafana Bafana one… Currently they are 3rd in their group, with 5 points, behind Bulgaria and the United Kingdom. Next match is against Iceland, in Round 4, on Tuesday 9 December; tune in on IGS!

My first win!

1st game of the evening
B+30.5! Enough to make a gerbil cocky!

This evening, at my weekly lost game, I actually scraped a win. I played a 9 handicap game against 10k Master at the Cape Town Go Club, and ended with a 30.5 point victory for yours truly! This compared to a pretty crushing defeat last time I played him. The first half of the game was confined to one (left) half of the board and I managed to use my handicap stones to my advantage, limiting his territory severely and cutting off several of his groups. The second half of the game was more even, with me taking the lower right part and him taking the upper right part; I tried an unsuccessful invasion after being egged on by someone observing – and kibitzing – our game. It was great to see my work pay off, as finally there has been clear improvement. On the other hand, perhaps we need to off set the score according to the amount of alcohol we both consumed; my game in the second half definitely suffered from my fourth and fifth Smirnoff Spin, and my opponent had started drinking before me… perhaps about 1 stone per glass? Sounds about right, it would make the final result be Black+10.5 ish. This actually leads me to an idea to make the handicap system more interesting: instead of taking handicap stones, handicap tequila shots… it would make for I interesting weekly games.

2nd game of the evening
And cocky I became… a loss by 25+ points about 5 minutes later

I played another game against a 9k rated player, and lost by about 25-30 points; we didn’t end up counting it out completely, as it had to be a fast game because the venue we play at closes around 22.00 usually; my loss was pretty obvious though. What I did manage is to invade his corner and live! After the first game of the evening, we reviewed and I was explained how to I prove on my attempt to invade and live in the corner; clearly I learned something, as you can see in the upper right corner. Based on these two games I finally made it on the SAGA ranking system, starting with the conservative estimate of 23k.

Sally Gross, also listed as 23k here, passed away earlier this year; she was the Director of Intersex South Africa and a giant in the activist community in South Africa… rest in peace.

I also got two new books. Apparently when you become a SAGA member you get a free book, until stocks last at least; the book is by the Nihon Ki-in, Go: The World’s Most Fascinating Game. It is a basic introduction book, from a quick scan it basically takes you through the similar material as Volume I & II of Learn To Play Go. I also bought, for the extremely low price of 70 rands, Basic Techniques of Go by Haruyama Isamu and Nagahara Yoshiaki, and signed by Haruyama (9p)! The signature alone should make me a full stone stronger… while the bibliophile inside of me is doing little dances. I’ll be posting reviews of these two books as soon as I finish reading them, as well as a review of Volume II of the Learn to Play Go series that I recently bought and devoured (in a none book-eating way) overnight.

Signed page of Basic Techniques of Go
I went all geek-nerd-groupy over this 9 pro dan player that, honestly, I know nothing about.