September Challenge

In this month's challenge it's all about playing games because it is....

Tournament time!

My go has been neglected quite a bit in the past few weeks/months, so it's time for me to jump back in, and 'force' myself to get some games. And what better way to do that than play some tournaments!

I came up with this challenge after seeing that this September the KGS Iron Man tournament will take place, and after finding the "European Tournament Group" on OGS.
So, my plan for this month is to participate in the European Weekly Tournament on OGS that will take place this Sunday, and to participate in the Iron Man tournament that will start the 20th.

Quite honestly, I am still very unfamiliar with OGS. I have played maybe 1 or 2 games, so my rank is still provisional. I can't enter the tournament with a provisional rank, so I will have to play a few games in the coming days. I'll just figure that out as I go I guess.

For the Iron Man tournament I'm quite excited. For anybody who doesn't know what it is, basically you will play a game every 6 hours, for 5 days, so 20 games in total. Both players have 45 minutes main time, so they're pretty serious games as well.
Originally I wanted to play all of the rounds, but I have to work on the Saturday it starts, so I'll have to miss two rounds then. I also have classes from uni, so that means I'll miss one more round. Aside from that, I should be able to at least play the remaining 17 rounds.
I'm sure that during/after the tournament I will be tired, cranky and probably hate go, but somehow it still seems like a lot of fun to me. I'm crazy. I know.

Of course, I want to challenge you to do this as well!
As much as I would like everyone to participate in the Iron Man tournament (let's suffer together!), it will probably take too much time for most of you. But OGS has quite a lot of tournaments, so I want to challenge you to at least play one tournament this month if you can!


I'm back (sort of)!

I have returned to the land of the living!
Or, well, not quite.

Last Tuesday I arrived at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport after a very, very long journey from Australia. The past months have been amazing, but very tiring. For 6 weeks I have only slept in hostels (8 people in one room) and haven't been in the same place for longer than a few nights. Now that I'm back, I am not only jetlagged, but also quite sick.
But, the travelling has not kept me from go. Not entirely, anyway, as I visited the Sydney and the Brisbane go club, which was awesome. Aside from that I didn't really have the time and energy to do anything go related, so I'm pretty sure I have lost a few stones (and I'm not talking about my weight, unfortunately).

Regardless, I have my pretty go board back (I used a cardboard one all the way through last year), and some time on my hands before my last year of uni starts. Although I won't be able to spend an entire 2 weeks on go (how I wish I could), I can at least go back to a few problems and maybe a game a day. I hope my strength is back where it once was before I move back to Arnhem and visit the go club there! Apparently there is one, but I hope it's still active. But more on that in a few weeks.

As I start picking up go again, you can also expect new blog posts, although (obviously) no August challenge, but I'll try to prepare a challenge for September!

And with that, I am OUT.
Literally. I need some sleep.


End of May challenge and 'hiatus'

Hello world.
Unlike what some of you might think, I have not fallen off of the face of the earth.

First things first; May has ended and therefore so has the May challenge!
I am pretty sad to say that I have not entirely completed the May challenge, which was to review all of my games, at least 10, shortly, and at least an additional 5 in detail.
I have shortly gone over every single game I played, which were 11 in total, so in that sense I sort of completed it! I have, however, had no time at all to review an additional 5 games in detail. As you may have noticed, I also haven't really had time to write any posts. Which brings me to my next point:

The challenges are going on a hiatus.
I know, I have done one and a half challenge and I'm already stopping them now. But here's the thing, I really don't have much time right now, and that is not going to improve any time soon.
Let me explain:
The semester at uni is ending in a month. A MONTH!
This doesn't just mean that I have to hand in assignments every week from now on and study for exams, but it also means that I am leaving Adelaide in a month. Aside from uni work, I have to arrange everything to return to the Netherlands. Honestly, I really don't want to have to stress about completing a June challenge as well.
And then in July and part of August I will be travelling in Australia, which is awesome, but won't leave much time for go, obviously.

After this I will be back in the Netherlands and, provided I survive the immense cold that once used to be normal for me, things will go back to normal.

Don't get me wrong, the entire blog is not going on a hiatus, as I will still play/study go and probably feel the need to write things about it. There just won't be any monthly challenges for while.
I'm also thinking of starting a bit of a study-journal to track what I CAN do during these months (go problems, playing games, etc.), but I'm not sure if anybody would even be interested in that.

Now that this little pity-party is over:
I do hope that others were able to complete their May challenge, even though I failed! So let me know!


Quote Mania 7

"Before I fall, I’ll look up to the sky with a smile." 
 From a song from the Prince of Tennis Musical

I am writing this right after I lost a pretty interesting game. I was white and my opponent played a cross-fuseki (well, I accidentally let him). Cross-fuseki's are my mortal enemy. I don't know why, but whenever one is played, either by me or my opponent, I start playing badly. That is not the topic, but I just wanted to throw my frustration out there.

Anyway, I felt like I was on the losing end the entire time, made some not-so-smart decisions (as if I ever make smart decisions) and he/she ended up with a big moyo that I had to invade. I almost lived, but almost isn't good enough so I lost. To get to the point, the game was frustrating, but fun.

In Quote Mania 3 I said that losing games is important to get stronger (which also happens to be general knowledge). But that's not the only thing. For most people, it would get boring to always win their games. Where is the fun if there is no challenge?
Sure, the best would be a game that is a challenge but you still win (for me anyway), but should I let that stop me from enjoying a game where I lose?

Not only did I learn something, I had fun playing and got motivated to do some more studying. Losing can, and should, be fun as well!


May Challenge

Yes, this is way overdue and I apologize! But, even though May already started a few days ago, there is still time to start this months' challenge!

This months' challenge will focus on something that I have been systematically forgetting and avoiding.
Reviewing my own games:

Learn from your mistakes
Game count: 10+5 

 For some, this will be no challenge at all, as reviewing their games is second nature. After you played it, you go over it to see what could have gone better, where you went wrong/where your opponent went wrong, what went well, etc.
For me though, well, I just don't do it. There is always this idea in my head that I can't find my own mistakes anyway. So, it's time for change!

For this month, I will go over all of the games I play (at least 10, but more is always better) and find at least one 'learning point' that I should work on. This doesn't have to take very long, just a quick look is enough. But, I have to review at least 5 more games in depth, and find 3 'learning points' per game.

Of course, if you don't already do it, I challenge you to do the same!

Do you accept the challenge?

You can change the game count to fit your playing schedule, so let me know if you join me!


April Challenge: Complete!

April has come to an end, and so has the April challenge!

Of course, the big question is, did everybody complete it?

As for me, well, I barely completed it. Between university assignments, travelling and training, I didn't have as much time as I would've wanted for go. The biggest issue being that I was gone for 2 weeks to travel (which, by the way, was amazing) and I got a bit sick before that. So I had to play 4 of my 5 games in 3 days, with a deadline for an assignment looming over me.
On the other hand, it's not a challenge if it's easy, right?

So, without further ado, here are my results for this challenge:

Losses: 3
Wins: 2

Actually, that is not too bad! I think I learned quite a bit during this challenge. The 3 losses all happened in the same way. My mindset was focused on one goal: 'Be aggressive!' I cut and invaded anywhere I could and ended up scrambling around, trying to take care of all of my own weak groups. Oops.
Then I changed my mindset. Sure, I had to be aggressive, but that doesn't mean I should be stupid about it. So I stopped cutting and invading everywhere, and tried to think about what I should attack, and how in order to get profit. Although I of course didn't get it right all the time, it proved to be a much better strategy than forcing myself into a blind rage.
I also noticed that my small, but (almost) daily go problem sessions are paying off. In one game, I saw that I could use a squeezing tesuji and killed a big group!

For now, I am quite happy that I can allow myself to go back to playing calmer games, but I also feel that I am less afraid to attack when I see the chance. I really hope that will benefit my go!

So, even though I hardly completed the challenge, I do consider it a success!!

Now, how did your challenges go?
So far, I know from the awesome bengozen that he completed his challenge, at a tournament even!!
I look forward to hearing how you all did and if you consider the challenge a success or not!

PS. May has already started, and there will be a may challenge, but it won't be up until tomorrow or the day after (because, uni..)! Of course, if you have ideas for challenges, they are still very welcome!


April Challenge update

As promised, here is an update for the April Challenge!

Actually, this update will be quite short. I got a bit sick last week and I had to hand in a few assignments, so I only had time/energy for one game.
And I lost. But the real question is, did I play aggressively/out of my comfort zone? Seeing how the game ended up; me with 2 weak groups, one dead and not much territory, I guess I did. Sort off.
Some moves I would not really think about, almost as if I'm playing a fast game (which, in case you didn't know, I NEVER EVER do), and suddenly I would realize that I was supposed to be aggressive. Then I would plop down a stone somewhere in his territory and be satisfied.
Short story, it still needs work. Good thing that I still have 4 games left to 'complete' the challenge! What I need to work on most, is to actually think about every move, and make sure my play is consistent.

I also went back to doing daily problems, because trying to fight without reading won't get me anywhere. It's not much though, maybe 10 to 20 minutes a day. But still better than nothing!

Since the coming two weeks are a mid-term break, and I will be travelling through Australia, there won't be an update until the end of April, unfortunately. That also means that I will have to play the remaining 4 games in 3 days, but that should be no problem :)!

More importantly, how are your challenges going?? I am really excited to hear how many games you have played so far (if any) and how they went, so let me know!