Go, Igo, Weiqi, Baduk Go, Igo, Weiqi, Baduk. Kaz's original Igo-advice & fundamentals of Igo: How to achieve a high winning percentage

An ideal invasion and an ideal attack

An ideal invasion and an ideal attack

In my commentary, I often state the following:

EXTREMELY IMPORTANT: In the opening and in the middle game you should avoid a fight in a place where you're outnumbered. Instead you should try to fight in a place where you outnumber an opponent's stones.

Yet, many people invade an opponent’s moyo or territory first, which is unnecessarily. And then their invading stone gets attacked; they give an opponent’s a chance to get an advantage.

I understand that "grass is always greener on the other side of the fence." But you have to overcome this.

If you get Black, you always have one stone ahead. So in many cases it is White who has to invade first. If you are Black and make a moyo by making the three-star point opening or the Chinese opening, it is definitely White who has to invade. This means that Black will attack a white group.

If you have a chance to attack a weak group, you will have various opportunities to attain an ideal attack such as the following:

1. You attack a weak group while increasing your territory.
2. You attack a weak group while expanding your moyo.
3. You attack a weak group while erasing an opponent’s moyo.
4. You attack a weak group while reducing an opponent's territory.
5. You attack two or more than two weak groups at the same time by making a splitting attack. (I’ll elaborate on this below.)

As you can see 3. and 4., you should let an opponent invade, attack an invading stone, follow it, and then invade an opponent’s moyo. You usually follow a weak group and get an influence in the center, so your invasion becomes safer and easier.

If you invade first, you will get attacked and let an opponent invade your moyo or your territory more easily, and that’s not good.

So if you play Black, especially if you make a moyo, a person who has to invade is White, not Black.

In fact, even if you have White, this strategy works.

If you are White and make a moyo by making the three-star point opening or the Chinese opening, and if you keep expanding your moyo, most people as Black will invade your moyo because we all have “green-eyed monster” in our mind.

So if you see an opponent’s invasion, your strategy works. But that’s not enough.

The question is how to attack an opponent’s invading stone. If you attack incorrectly, then you will not attain an ideal attack above.

EXTREMELY IMPORTANT: Before you attack, you should look at the entire board, find where you can make the most profit, and then consider which sequence of moves will lead you to an ideal attack.

As I have stated above, making profit can either make a bigger territory, expand your moyo, erase opponent’s moyo, or reduce an opponent's territory.

But you can also make a splitting attack (A splitting attack is attacking two or more of the opponent’s groups at the same time.)

An ideal splitting attack is to separate two group right before they are about to connect.
(This is why ‘Romeo-and-Juliet shape’ is really effective because they split two stones right in the middle, right before they are about to connect. If you haven’t received ‘Romeo-and-Juliet shape” yet, please ask Kaz to send problems in the near future.)

All ideal attacks are not easy to achieve. You will have to learn how to attack an weak group. But at least you will know that in many cases you don't have to invade frist and put yourself in danger first.

BTW, if you read this blog and follow my advice, and if a game didn’t go as well as I explained here, please you MUST tell me that. I’ll find out why your strategy didn’t work or where you made mistakes.

Emotions can make you four stones weaker. Be optimistic if you want to be strong!

Emotions can make you four stones weaker. Be optimistic if you want to be strong!

If you play a very bad move, you may get angry or feel depressed.  
If you have a tendency to become like that, then you have a very hard time turning around a game.

In fact, the more angry or depressed you become, the more you make a bigger mistake, and you lose more stones. Then you will get even more angry or depressed, and you will make a even bigger mistake. It’s a vicious cycle.

If you do that, you will never learn anything from that kind of emotional game.

Believe me. I’ve experienced it many times when I was an apprentice.

In my case I tried to study at least 10 hours, often 15 hours every day, Monday through Sunday, for 365 days without going to high school. Then I lost often for almost 3 years. Can you imagine how angry and depressed I was?

If you think you made a terrible mistake and lost a game, feel free to resign a game. Then watch a movie, walk outside, or do anything to refresh your mind. If you think you calm down, then you can review your game. If you don’t want to review it, then study a Go book.

Your main goal is to become strong. So don’t let your emotions control you. You have to manage yourself to control your emotions.

People who don’t care about their mistakes and / or people who are optimistic, tend to have a higher winning ratio in general. So it’s important for you not to get angry or depressed.

My first Go teacher was really good. He taught me that when he played a mistake, he naturally got mad at himself. But then he closed his eyes and counted 10 seconds. Then he often calmed down. When he opened his eyes, he could often find a move to minimize the loss or find a move to turn around a bad situation.

So you might want to write that down, put the note on your computer before a game, and when you make a big mistake, you should read it, close your eyes, and count 10.

Also you should keep in mind the following:

1. Regardless of how strong you become, you will always experience making a mistake or a flop. We are all humans, so we all make mistakes. So you might want to live with that. Even top pros make a serious blunder. A top pro couldn’t resign a game and resulted in 35 point loss. Pros usually resign a game when they are losing 10 points or so. So counting a 35-point loss was such a shame. I guess this pro really lost his mind during a game. In fact, he did it more than once. Later he never lost his mind during a game and won more than 50 titles.

2. You may think you make mistakes more than your opponent, but that may not be true. Your opponent also makes lots of mistakes, maybe more than you do. But people tend to feel that you always make mistakes more than an opponent. When I look at my students’ games, their opponents often make more mistakes or bigger mistakes. But I don’t pay much attention to it because they are not my students.

3. You may think that you made a mistake, but it can often be a good move. I have had experience like this many times. I thought I really played badly. But when my first Go teacher reviewed it, he told me that my moves were good. When I review my students’ games, the moves they thought were bad, were not necessarily bad. Some moves are good. So be optimistic.

A state of mind can make you two stones weaker very easily, sometimes four stones weaker. I've experienced it many times. So the psychological effect is really big.

As long as you’re my students, I’ll help you. So be optimistic. So be optimistic, then you may very well increase your winning ratio.

“If you want to have a high winning percentage, this is what I recommend”

“If you want to have a high winning percentage, this is what I recommend”

Many of my students take my lessons in order to get strong as well as to have a high winning percentage.

Recently I’ve noticed that some people are missing a chance to have a higher winning percentage. Let me point that out, and then I’d like to make some suggestions.

Some of my students often do the following during a game:

"Some Go players chat during a game."

When I see a chat even once or twice briefly in a game, I wonder how destructive that is for a player. A chat is not only very rude, but will prevent you from improving your Go.

I’ve taught hundreds, probably a thousand of people. Those who improve have something in common. When they play a game, they concentrate on a game from the beginning to the end.

Those who don’t improve also have something in common. They don’t look at their game until the end. They often look around and see other players’ games, not just once, but many times. They have a short attention span.

During a game, you must avoid any destruction, including a chat. To do so, here is what I suggest.

Before a game, you should turn off your cell phone and even a landline if possible. You should go to a bathroom, too, before a game. You should ask your family member not to disturb you (Of course, I’m assuming that you don’t have any children. If you have a child, that’s probably impossible. )

You might want to look at top pros’ games or the World Amateur champion’s game if they play a game at a U.S. or European Go Congress or on the internet. They never chat. Not even once. It’s because they are concentrating on a game. They want to concentrate and hate any destruction that would lose their concentration.

If I played a tournament on KGS, I would never chat with an opponent or anyone. If an opponent tries to chat with me during a game, I think that’s very rude. I would not respond because that would be very destructive to my concentration.

Think about this.

If you look at a chat, read it, think about a response, and type it. It may take you a few seconds or a minute at the maximum. You may think that it takes only little time.

To me, that’s a matter of life-and-death. Once you lose your concentration, it may take more time to get back to a high concentration level. That means that I would lose more than a couple of minutes. If you get a chat more than twice, and if you have only 30 minutes, that can be lethal. You should expect that you could lose a game.

In each game, your time is very limited.

Many people play a game with 30 minute-time and then 30 second-byoyomi or 1-minute-byoyomi. This means that you literally have no time to chat. Even for me, that’s very little time. Even if I had an hour, that’s still very little time. That means that you never have time to chat or look at something else. Every second counts.

During a game, you have so many things to think about.

When stones are attached, you have to read. If you’re an adult, you should pay attention to the shortage of liberties throughout a game. You also have to look at a situation globally, think about an attack, defense, invasion, etc. You also have to think about territory to see who is winning and losing. If you’re losing, you have to find a move to upset or turn around a game. It takes a lot of time to find a move like that.

Since both players have very little time, whoever has a higher concentration usually wins a game and improve fast. There is no time for chatting.

If someone constantly chats, I doubt that he or she is not interested in improving his or her Go. During your game, if a viewer tries to chat with you, I think he or she doesn’t know a manner. It doesn’t matter how strong they are. It’s very rude to chat with someone who is playing a game.

I was an insei (Go apprentice, like a Jedi knight) and recorded many games and watched hundreds of pros’ games.

There were pros who chatted very briefly during a game once or twice. But those pros never became a top pro or title holder.

Top pros, especially title holders like Cho Chikun 9dan and Kobayshi Koichi 9dan, never chatted. The late Sakata Eio never chatted with anyone during a game. Never. From the morning to the mid-night, his concentration was always amazing (He always had the eye of the tiger). He stayed at the top even when he was over 60 years old.

If you want to have a high winning percentage, there is no time or no room for chatting because that will destroy your concentration.

there is no time or no room for chatting, You need to improve your concentration. This is crucial. (I talked about how important it is to improve the ability to concentrate in my blog below: )

Yes. I assume that you might think “Hey, come on! We are not top pros or amateurs. We play Go for fun. We don’t want to lose Go friends.”

Yes. I understand that. It’s definitely good to be friendly to fellow Go players. But you can be friendly after a game or a before game.

If someone interrupts your game often and prevents you from improving your Go, do you think he or she can be a good friend for a long time? There are many people who never interrupt your games. You might want to make friends with them.

So if your opponent often chats with you even once during a game, this is what I suggest.

Before you play a game, you might want to tell your opponent why you want to avoid any chat during a game. Please feel free to show this blog. Then your opponent will blame me, not you.

Also you might want to play a game “private”, so no one can enter your game. In order to make your game “private”, this is how you do it.

When you can click “Custom Game”, please take a look at the top. In the middle, there is “private? “. Please click that. Then, during a game, no one can enter unless you allow them to enter.

If someone tries to chat with you during a game, please copy this “Sorry, I’m playing now and need to concentrate. I cannot answer this right now.” After a game, you should leave the same message. Then, eventually no one will chat with you during a game.

Please remember that trying to chat with someone is very rude when he or she is playing a serious game. Please also remember that whoever has a higher concentration usually wins a game and improve fast.