It is snowy here in Alaska, so I have been able to get out and cross-country ski a few times since returning from Belgium. I love to glide peacefully along on the flats, but I have yet to develop technique strong enough to master steep, panic-inducing downhills. One of my skiing companions gave me the following advice: fall early and often.
My Go is a lot like my skiing. I can do it, and sometimes make it down medium-sized hills, but I’m not quite ready for the racetracks of dan-level competition. So for this entry, I decided to interpret the game through the lens of my friend’s advice, as Go is basically one steep hill, whether you are climbing up or falling down it.
Because I am in Alaska, the weekend game schedule for Yunguseng Group D ended up being quite early: 4:00 am! I could have rescheduled, but I learn much more from the reviews when they are immediately after the game. Anyways, I felt fresh and ready for competition; however, my 10-week-old cat, Ponnuki, always wants to play at this time of day. A strategically placed roll of toilet paper distracted him.
I split my previous two games with my opponent, “hdc,” so I knew that our game this time could go either way. The game was a gradual, peaceful climb to the top of a hill, where we both realized that whoever could get to the bottom first would win. I fell early and often as fast as I could, distracting my more graceful opponent, who missed an opportunity to finish the game.
In the process I discovered that my desire to win overpowered my sense of danger, which worked this time but probably won’t on future occasions. I’m thinking specifically of my jumps out into the center, which hdc could have disconnected with a double-wedge after my misguided peep at F11 (Black 115). I had a strong feeling that such a disconnection was possible, but I ignored it because I knew if I didn’t reduce white with the knight’s move at G6 (Black 125), I would lose. I should have taken time to regroup and play something like H13 and K11, then resume my “descent” into white’s area, even if it meant losing. Because I won, this is a difficult lesson to accept, but my next opponent might find such a weakness in my position.
As usual, In-seong had many great suggestions. My atari at B17 was bad, as it gives white the option of easy life should Black disconnect the group somehow. Black 71 should have cut the two stones on the other side to make the O16 group heavy. Trying to cut White with Black 95 was a bad idea. As In-seong explained, my pushes up to that point were good but I needed to “return home” with a peep at M11 and cut at M13, which I played but only after I lost the two stones on the right. Lastly: I need to review the double approach move I played on the bottom left.
Onward to the next hill!