ADUTL $100 common mistake

Now the summer vacation is coming, and many of you may travel. When you travel, please do not make a $100 mistake below in terms of Go. I’ll show you how to prevent that, too.

When you review my materials or study a Go book, you should not copy just sentences.

I’ve met many Japanese adult players who copy only commentaries (sentences) and don’t copy diagrams probably because copying sentences is faster and easier. They mistakenly assume that learning commentaries (sentences) will help them.

Unfortunately, many of them do not realize the fact that without understanding a shape, memorizing a sentence is not at all helpful, but can be harmful.

( I state “shape”. This can mean, a good shape, a tesuji, a life-and-death problem, etc. It can mean anything. )

Why is it harmful? Here is the reason.

There are so many diagrams that look the same or very similar to amateurs. But even if two different diagrams seem to show almost the same in the eyes of amateurs, they are often completely different in the eyes of pros or top amateurs.

In most case if there is a subtle difference, a correct move can be completely different, and the results are totally and utterly different.

For example, for native English speakers, the words “memo” and “nemo” are completely different. But for English speaking beginners, they look very similar.

The words “evidence” and “evince” do not the same meaning. The word “basic” and “basis” are not exactly the same. The words “different” and “deferred” are not the same. ( I wish I could come up with better examples in terms of English words.)

For some Americans, Cambodia and Laos may look the same. For some Asians, Canada and the U.S.A may look the same. (Maybe these are extreme examples… But Go beginners make that kind of mistakes. )

There are so many misunderstandings in Go because of similar shapes.

Every game is different, and every situation can be different. The stronger you become, the more you will sharpen your ability to see the differences. To do so, you must understand shapes and differences of shapes. (BTW, this is why I try to make problems that show differences sometimes.)

Many talented children can become very strong very quickly. In less than a year, a 1dan talented child becomes a 7dan amateur and then becomes a pro because they never forget shapes.

But adults cannot remember many diagrams at once. So some adults try to rely on words, but that’s not a good idea because of the reason above. So please be careful.

Now the summer vacation is coming, and many of you may travel. When you travel, please do not make a $100 mistake by copying only sentences. You must copy your diagrams, too.

If you have iPad, all you have to do is to transfer my texts to the iPad.

One of my students sent me the following info. I don’t have iPad, nor have I ever used it, so all I can do is just copy his sentence below…

Here’s the process in case you wanted to share it with other students:

1. Create a zip file of all problems on computer

2. Buy Easygo app

3. Connect iPad to computer, open iTunes in computer, go to “iPad -> Apps -> EasyGo” and Add.. to EasyGo the zip file you created in 1.

4. Open EasyGo on iPad

5. Create new folder (“Kaz Problems”) and click on Import button – this should open the File Manager and you should see the zip file from 3.

6. Last note – view problems in Edit mode otherwise you will miss some comments on some moves.

Good luck to you!

via Go, Igo, Weiqi, Baduk. Kaz’s original Igo-advice & fundamentals of Igo

June 03, 2014 at 01:36PM

criteria of common amateur mistakes and understainding pros’ games

I teach Go in a very unique way. For example, I send various problems after each lesson; as far as I know I’m the only Go teacher who sends problems after a lesson. I make and send problems because of the following reasons:

Using the following criteria is one of other unique teaching methods (As far as I know, I’m the only Go teacher who has made the criteria. Before I made these, I had to teach hundreds, perhaps a thousand adult players, to analyze their mistakes, and to understand the level of their mistakes. So it took me many years to make the following criteria:

☆I often comment like “$30 common mistake.” See below:

$100 mistake = With this mistake, you can lose a game instantly. So you must avoid it.
$ 90 mistake = Excruciatingly bad,
$ 80 mistake = Excessively bad. It’s so bad that you may not forget it for a week.
$ 70 mistake = It’s so bad that you may not forget it for the next day,
$ 60 mistake = It’s so bad that you may not forget it for the next an hour,
$ 50 mistake = Very bad,
$ 40 mistake = Bad,
$ 30 mistake = No good,
$ 20 mistake = Not so good,
$ 10 mistake = It’s a light mistake and not so important for kyu players.
$ 5 mistake =A small mistake; 1 and 2 dan players don’t have to worry about it.

BTW, the other day one of the students asked me why a top pro
did play a certain move. I couldn’t answer that.

Here is what I wrote in the email:

With regard to top pros’ moves, I’m sorry, I’m afraid, but I couldn’t answer that.

Top pros’ moves are beyond my understanding. Even if I spend many
hours, days, or months, I could only guess what each move means.
They could read a hundred moves in a flash according to some pros.

If I understood the meaning of each move, I would be getting pros’ titles today.

BTW, I believe that in order to become strong as fast as possible,
I recommend studying the following way:

Of course, playing top pros’ games is a lot of fun, and their moves, tesuji,
and shapes are beautiful. It’s really great to spend some time and appreciate
their games.

If you review pros’ games, I strongly recommend that you buy a book with showing a
commentary. Consequently, you will understand some of the moves and appreciate their games.

So if you like to review pros’ games, you should by all means do that.

Thank you very much for reading this blog again out of your busy life.


via Go, Igo, Weiqi, Baduk. Kaz’s original Igo-advice & fundamentals of Igo

May 29, 2014 at 09:56AM

The importance of studying at your level

Many people try to study very advanced things. Some kyu adults try to memorize 4dan, 5dan, and 6dan joseki variations.

This could work for talented kyu children who could beome a 1dan and then a 7 dan within a year or two years. But that doesn’t happen to adults. Also children will never forget what they learn. Adults can forget lessons much more easily.

In the years of teaching hundreds of kyu players, I’m convinced that you should study things at your level..

If you’re a 10 kyu player, you should study tesuji, life-and-death, joseki at 10 kyu levels, and I can tell you why.

Please think about it this way.

Suppose you learn a ski jump. As a sky jump 10 kyu player, would you go up to the top of a take-off ramp from 100m above the ground like top amateur ski players do?


If you tried to slide and fly from the 100m top ramp, you could die or at
least end up with broken bones.

You probably start with learning how to jump from a 50-cm hill,
and then 1m-hill, and then 2m-hill, and so on down the line.

But kyu players often try to learn 4dan, 5dan, 6dan, 7dan things. For example even if they successfully play a 4dan joseki, they should keep playing 4dan moves in order to maximize the joseki. But that’s probably impossible for kyu players.

What often happens is that many of their stones often end up with dead or broken bone stones in the middle of the game when they play with a bit stronger player.

This is why you should learn basic things at your level. Otherwise, your stones
will keep facing dead stones or a lot of broken stones, and you will only lose confidence.

Also if you study at your level, you will understand things much more
easily. Then you can retain them and apply them. Further, you probably enjoy
learning them because you can understand them.

When I give a private lesson, I examine my student’s games (10 or 20 games at first) to learn how much they understand things because every key player has a different understanding. (Ideally I should examine 100 games, but I don’t have time.) Then I start commenting on their games.

After commenting on their games, I try to choose problems at their levels. If you’re interested in my private lesson, please take a look at my website (which will be updated sometime very soon. So please wait. I’d appreciate your understanding. )

I hope you find this advice useful.

via Go, Igo, Weiqi, Baduk. Kaz’s original Igo-advice & fundamentals of Igo

May 05, 2014 at 08:46AM

Studying tesuji is far more important than joseki

More and more I’m convinced that one of the most effective ways to study Go is to learn tesuji than joseki. I’m sure I have already reiterated some advice before, but many of them are new.

(I’m not saying that learning joseki doesn’t help you. It does help you become strong. But I believe it’s better to spend more time on learning tesuji than joseki, and I’m giving the reasons below. )

1. Learning tesuji helps you not only in the opening, but also the middle game as well as the endgame.

2. Some joseki variations become out of date, but tesuji never gets old or uncommon.

3. One of the hardest things to learn about Go is the shortage of liberties especially for adults. Often adults lose a winning game because the shortage of liberties often makes you lose stones.

Tesuji problems often contain a lot of shortage of liberty problems. So the more you learn tesuji, the more likely that you will be able to spot that.

4. When you learn tesuji, you not only learn tesuji, but also learn good shapes. It’s always good to make good shapes than bad shapes, so you can fight better.

5. The more you know tesuji and good shapes, the more you can understand the meaning of joseki moves. But just memorizing joseki will not make you understand tesuji and good shapes, especially for adults.

It’s partly because many joseki variations contain 5dan, 6dan, or 7dan tesujis. If you’re a kyu player, when do you expect to understand 5dan, 6dan, and 7dan tesujis and learn them

Keep in mind that all pros were talented when they were children and easily memorized hundreds of josekis as a children. They also got from a kyu player to 1dan and then 7dan within a year or two years. So all the joseki moves would make sense quickly. But this doesn’t happen to adults.

For adutls, it’s much better to understand the meaning of each joseki move so that you can remember joseki moves more easily. To do so, learning tesuji is probably the best way. Also I think for most people it’s more fun to understand the meaning of moves than pure memorization.

I’ve taught hundreds of adult kyu players and helped them learn long, complicated joseki variations. But they will eventually forget them if they don’t keep playing it. Pure memorization doesn’t work for adult kyu playres.

Moreover, some joseki variations contain exception moves, which can be bad in ordinary situations.

For example the Chinese opening has many exception moves rather than basic moves. So I don’t like to recommend it to the people who haven’t solidified the basic foundations. Unfortunately joseki books don’t explain which moves are exceptions and why.

6. The more you know tesuji, the more you are able to respond correctly to new joseki moves and an opponent’s incorrect joseki moves. I’d like to explain this further.

You can’t learn thousands of josekis as well as all new josekis. New josekis come out everyday, especially in South Korea and China, and even Japanese top pros can’t keep up with everything.

Moreover, regardless of how many josekis you memorize, you always meet an opponent’s moves deviating from a correct joseki move. (Keep in mind that not everyone studies joseki extensively.) When that happen, your joseki knowledge no longer helps you. What helps you is the knowledge of tesuji, which also helps you find good shape as I’ve already stated.

This is why I’d like to recommend that you learn tesuji more than joseki.

via Go, Igo, Weiqi, Baduk. Kaz’s original Igo-advice & fundamentals of Igo

May 05, 2014 at 07:43AM