Life & Death regimen
tetris convinced me to shift the focus my studies to Life & Death to help deepen my reading ability and improve my game.
Our discussion was prompted in part by shygost's List; fundamental questions a player should ask oneself when assessing the next move.
- Am I okay? (Am I about to get hurt or hassled?).
- Is my opponent okay? (Can I chase or hassle to get profit?).
- Where is big area (going for wide area or big points).
One problem most kyu players have with applying the list is that they have absolutely no idea if they (or their opponents) are okay or not. Ergo, they will waste moves when there are bigger points to be had on the board.
I had shied away from L&D for a while after an unpleasant experience in my earliest kyu months. After doing a series of these problems I began to look at every situation as if I had to kill any adjacent stones. I've gotten past that crazy 28-kyu fixation (I hope).
I'll be using the 4th book of the Elementary Go Series, Life and Death by James Davies. This book distinguishes itself from similar books in that it uses the status approach to solving problems.
Most tsumego problems give specific instructions like: "Black to kill" or "White to make life". To improve the reader's analysis, Davies instead presents positions and asks the reader to determine the status if either Black or White moves first. This method makes more sense to me.
To-date, I've only gotten to the 5th section of this book. There are 36 sections in all. I'll need to pick-up the pace a bit.
A 19-kyu KGS wall?
My L&D regimen is intended to help me break through my 19-kyu plateau. All excuses aside, I just can't seem to move forward right now. Thus far, I think my win-to-loss ratio is about 4:5 and I'm barely holding on to my rank.
Maybe it's just my imagination but I'm suspecting that there is some sort of KGS wall in the 20-kyu to 18-kyu range that some of us have difficulty breaking through. Some of you have moved easily past it but I've also seen others like myself who seem to stay in this range for more than a couple of months.