Exciting and not-so-exciting things!

This is just an update on my personal (go and not go related) life!

My internship in Malaysia is nearing it's end. I have been here for a bit over 4 months now and have had a great time. I got welcomed in the go-community here and met some great people, which is awesome. In that regard, I am a bit sad that I'll be leaving soon. On the other hand there are quite a lot of great things happening soon.

My parents will come over to Malaysia in less than two weeks and we'll travel in Malaysia for two weeks, after which they will return to the Netherlands and I'll be going to Hong Kong for a week of sightseeing.
And, the most awesome next to seeing my parents, after that I am going to study at Blackie's International Baduk Acadamy aka BIBA in South Korea for a week! Which is totally super amazingly awesome, of course!

I'll be in South Korea for two weeks in total, the first week I'll study at BIBA full-time and the second week I will stay at BIBA, but mainly do sightseeing and maybe do some studying if I have time left. I have no idea what to expect, but I am sure it will be a great experience.
Of course, I will let you guys know how it went (but it's still more than a month from now).

And after that I am off to Adelaide, Australia for 5 months of study abroad! Which is also awesome because 1. Australia, 2. summer, 3. Australia, 4. back to studying, 5. I'll get to see kangaroos, 6. summer, and 7. Australia.
Did I mention I like summer? And Australia? Because I do. A lot.

 (Admittedly, I am little scared because, well, it's Australia..)

The only downside is that I don't know how much time I'll have for go. I only have to take 4 courses, but I have no clue how much workload those will be. Also, I had more time for go here because I didn't really have another social life, which was fine, but I'm not planning on doing the same in Adelaide. And as far as I can see online, there isn't much of a go-scene in Adelaide.

Don't worry though, I will still keep playing (even if it won't be that much) and updating this blog. I am determined about not dropping go again, and even if there is only a very small go-scene in Adelaide, I will still look it up.

Regardless, all of this is still far away, and we never know what the future will bring!
For now, I can't wait to see my parents again, to travel and (of course) to study go!


Quote Mania 4

Welcome to 'Quote Mania', the series where I take a random quote completely out of context and forcefully relate it to go!
The 4th quote to be discussed is:

'If you keep running away, it will become a habit.'
Taken from the k-drama Monstar. (Ok, how did this end up in my list? I've never watched Monstar..) 

Although this might not be as relevant for players with different styles, for me this is actually a big problem.
I have been told a few times that my style of play is 'too gentle' and 'not threatening'. Which is true, because I am not a big fan of fighting.
Up until a while ago, I would even actively avoid fights because I didn't feel confident and had no idea on how gain profit from fights. Needless to say, I lost a lot of games because of this.
So, I needed to change that. I have been watching some lectures on attacking, and doing some problems everyday to improve my reading. Most of all, I try to force myself to play more aggressively during games. I made a rule for myself that I have to attack something (unless my opponent is very aggressive) and get into a fight. This might lose me some games I would have otherwise won, but I'm never going to improve if I don't practice. 

But, and this is where today's quote comes into play, it is hard. It happens to me quite often that by the end of the game I realize that I didn't actively attack anything, or that when I got attacked I just ran away, instead facing it head on. I keep running away from a direct confrontation, even when I should be able to get a decent result out of fighting. 
This habit was so 'natural' for me, that I didn't even want to get rid of it, before I realized that it was completely hindering my progress.

Of course, this doesn't only apply to fighting or the lack thereof, but also to other things. (Bad) habits are formed easily, but hard to get rid of. But even then, it is not impossible, and I believe it is important to at least try to get rid of them.

So for now, I will just keep trying to become a more aggressive player and to stop running away. 'Attack and Defense', here I come!



A comment on my previous post (from Nate Eagle) got me thinking about the first games of playing go.
Unless you're some crazy genius, I am pretty sure that everybody who starts playing loses. A lot. There is a reason that we tell beginners to lose their first 100 games as soon as possible.
This got me curious on what other peoples first games were like.

As for me, I could have just gone to the father of my friend and asked him to teach me, but I was too socially incapable and decided to just play online. But not the big servers like KGS or IGS, those were too intimidating. I chose for the small server that (at the time) only had about 20-30 players online at any given time.
For anybody unfamiliar with FlyOrDie, it is an online games website that also has a small go server. Additionally, I would say it might very well be the worst place to play your first games. At that time the only board size available was 15x15 and no komi (not that the komi would've made a difference).
Anyway, those 100 games were lost very, very quickly in quite horrible ways.
They weren't teaching games (honestly, my opponents also had no idea what they were doing, I just knew even less) and there was no review options or anything like that. So I learned by having my mistakes punished over and over again.
I did become stronger after a while, but I accumulated a lot of bad habits that I am still trying to get over.

My first teaching game was when I slipped to my friend that I had been playing every now and then and she told her dad who then invited me for a game. I played two games with him (and he gave me a self-made board he had left, which I still treasure), but then I stopped playing again for quite a while and it just never came up again. Regardless, I learned more in those two games than from any of my games online.

It's not that I think the way I learned how to play is very bad, because you'll have to get through that 'losing phase' anyway, but some guidance can make a big difference.

So those were my first games. What were your first games like?


Quote Mania 3

"Don't just give up. 

Life is about getting knocked down over and over, but still getting up each time. 
If you keep getting up, you win."

Another quote from NANA by Yazawa Ai. 

Maybe you remember me mentioning that I kept quitting go? It was kind of the reason I even started this blog. Maybe you also remember that I said that every time I went back to playing go, my rank kind of jumped. No extreme amounts, but usually I would 'skip'  1 or 2 stones.
So for a while I would then feel that I was getting stronger very fast, and honestly I was. But then after a while I would naturally stagnate. Even though I knew there is more to go than just a rank, frustration would ensue and I would feel that nothing I did would make me stronger and I would give up. And all that in less than 2 weeks.

But go isn't something where you will improve a lot in a very short time. Of course, it depends on the amount of time you put in it, and your initial rank (ddk's will improve a lot faster than dans, usually), but even then you'll have to be patient for the 'results' to kick in.
You will have to do tsumego on an almost daily basis for a while until you notice a difference in your reading skills, you'll have to apply newly learned theory a few times before you'll get it right, etc.

Honestly, you cannot get better at go without losing, because you need those learning moments to get stronger. It might be almost impossible for me not to think about my rank or getting stronger (because I'm competitive like that), but at least I shouldn't let it hold me back from enjoying go.
From now on I will not see losing as a bad thing, but as an essential part of improving.



Just a short update on the Student Go Oza Preliminaries that took place last weekend.
As I mentioned before, I was very, very nervous. I didn't want to make a fool out of myself (which I totally did in the end), or piss people off by being sucky me (which I didn't, so that's nice).
But actually, as soon as the game started, I wasn't even that nervous anymore. I just wanted to play my best and learn as much as I could.

In total there were 8 people participating (for the category European female that is). One was 6 dan (needless to say, she won), most were around 1-2 dan, there was me and a 9 kyu.
I played against a 2 dan, made some pretty big mistakes in the opening and middle game and end game and lost by more than 40 points. The polite thing would've been to resign half-way through, but really, I just wanted to get as much out of the game as possible and played on till the end.
Afterwards I apologized for playing on, but luckily my opponent didn't mind, and was very nice about it.

It was a straight knock-out tournament, so this was also the only game I played.

I have no clue how to add the actual game in the post, but I managed to upload it to Eidogo so if you want to see the bloodbath you can click here.

Even though it ended as I expected, it is nice to play somebody quite a bit stronger than you, because your mistakes become a lot more obvious. Needless to say, I learned a lot from this game, and I don't regret participating!
And who knows, maybe next year I will stand some sort of chance! Probably not, but let a girl dream!