Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Yukari Umezawa's videos for complete beginners

Yukari Umezawa, 3rd Dan Professional from Japan

This post is dedicated to all those who have just started learning Go. If you're a complete newcomer to the game, you may want to bookmark this specific post.

I'm guessing that most of you have heard of Yukari Umezawa, the Japanese professional player who was the consultant to the story of Hikaru No Go. At the end of each episode of the animated TV series was a short clip about Go and beginners' techniques (tailored primarily towards children).

Well, ShadowBakura on YouTube.com did us all a wonderful favour by uploading the collection of Umezawa's instructional videos. He currently has two streams. They are in Japanese but with English subtitles. Here they are for your enjoyment and education!

Part 1

Part 2

Short Biography of Yukari Umezawa
Japanese only. No subtitles.

HNG: Episode 02 and the LLNL Go Club

Last weekend, I met with Steve, Linda and Bob of the Lawrence Livermore National Labs Go Club. We played at the Panama Bay Coffee Company in downtown Livermore.

Bob gave me three teaching games and I'm very thankful to him for that. I learned a potentially useful new joseki in our second game. My Friday teaching game with lloyd gave me some good lessons that I was able to apply.

That afternoon underscored once more to me the value of in-person games; not as conduits for learning better Go, but as opportunities for enjoyable social interaction. What fun it is to sip on a cold chai while playing with no time pressure and a lot of casual laughs; trading Go stories and ideas.

Steve invited me to another event that the club will be sponsoring at the Livermore Valley Cellars Winery next month. I think I will be going.

Hikaru No Go: Episode 2

Well, a lot of you seem to have enjoyed the Hikaru No Go videos that I posted last week. Below is the second episode. Perhaps I'll make this a regular mid-week feature; something to relax with as your workday or schoolday builds-up.

Only a handful of episodes have been dubbed so most of what's available is only fan-subtitled. Admittedly, if you're impatient to watch all the 70+ subtitled episodes, you can always find them on YouTube.com.

Hikaru No Go: Episode 02 (Subbed)
Courtesy of fujitsuX on YouTube.com

Part 1

Part 2

Hikaru No Go: Episode 02 (Dubbed)
Courtesy of shiraganknight on YouTube.com

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Take-aways from my teaching game with lloyd

Some of you might have had a teaching game with lloyd on Kiseido Go Server. I had been told that he's a good teacher and I got an opportunity to discover that in my first game with him (SGF link) yesterday evening.

Much of what he taught me were concepts that I had known about, but are better learned in an actual game.

The tsuke-nobi joseki in a handicap game.
  • In handicap games, White will try to create complications. Black should keep things simple and go for solid profit. White wins because Black makes mistakes.
An example of this is the application of the tsuke-nobi joseki as illustrated above. If you know this joseki and its variants very well, then Black has little to fear by playing A or (in a non-handicap game) as far away as R10. But B is solid and profitable.

  • Recognize opportunities for furikawari (an exchange of territories).
The sequence to 5 confused me but it was, in fact, an opportunity to exchange territory. P3 is the correct response (I played Q3). White would get the corner and Black would capture the two stones to the left.

White attacks the two Black stones on K.
  • Make a fist before you attack (or build thickness and push your opponent against it).
Here, the Black stones on the K line look like they might be endangered. But the invading White stone on G4 is potentially weak. I originally approached it with F3 as my next move.

lloyd showed me that Black can, and should, build-up thickness to the right. Then F3 becomes a very powerful attack. I applied this concept in my third game of the night, which was played on Internet Go Server (and, yes, I won that match).

Other take-aways were:
  • Unreasonable invasion? Just seal it in and build your outward-facing influence (or a moyo).
  • Remember the Clamp tesuji. This could have saved a key group that I needed but I neglected to read it out.
  • Mind your cuts.
  • The empty triangle is sometimes alright.

Butting Heads

No, this isn't a about Zinedine Zidane. It's about a tactic in Go.

Butting Heads is what Bruce Wilcox describes the triangled moves illustrated at the top. They are generally inefficient at a beginner's level of play. This is pushing on a link in the hope that maybe your opponent won't defend against the cut. The move could be better spent elsewhere.

I've noted that this is a bad habit that I have so I'm trying to be more conscious of it. UTDEspy told me once that I have a lot of bad habits.

YMI gaining clout with manufacturers?

Yellow Mountain Imports must be gaining some influence over their manufacturers. It's only a small cosmetic change but their new bags for Go bowls now sport the YMI logo instead of the Yunzi logo.

Pong Yen has headed back to China. He mentioned that YMI will be looking for new items for the Christmas season. I passed-on some product suggestions that some of you had written to me about.

Second Hikaru No Go Music Video

I featured one of the music videos of the themse from Hikaru No Go in an earlier post. Here's the second.

This music video is Days by Shela. It was the fourth ending song from the series and one of my favorites.

Can somebody please find me a music video of Fantasy (the third opening theme) by Nana Katase?

Fuseki Quiz 17/20

White to move and get back the lead. I'm waffling between B
and C. Move B constructs a moyo but does nothing to Black.
Move C does a similar action but also puts pressure on
Black's stone;
so I'll go with that.

Scoring of last weekend's Fuseki Quiz 16/20
(Jump to the last quiz!)
  • A = 4
  • B = 6
  • C = 10, This move strikes at the weak point of the irregular corner enclosure. If White defends per Diagram 1, then Black can regard 1 as a forcing move and map out territory on the right with 3. If White ignores, then Black slides in with a move to P18; leaving the two White stones floating.
  • D = 2
  • E = 8

Thursday, August 10, 2006

And some of you don't like subtitles

Okay, for those of you who don't like watching your anime in the original Japanese language and reading subtitles, here is the dubbed version of Hikaru No Go.

For this dubbed version, Episode 1 was split into three.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Okay, so you don't know what Hikaru No Go is ...

I've often written and mentioned the anime and manga series Hikaru No Go. Most of the younger audience of this blog have seen, and were introduced to the game, by this story. As mentioned in a previous post, it is largely responsible for the game's renaissance in East Asia.

I found the above first episode in its entirety on YouTube.com. It's the subtitled version (which I personally prefer). There's just a little jerkiness to the video in the slow-motion opening sequences but it's otherwise fine.

You can probably find the entire subbed series on YouTube by doing a search for "Hikaru No Go Episode".

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Five liberties and you're stable

I played nine games yesterday afternoon and evening. My rank fluctuated from 16k down to 18k and back up to 17k. Rank is irrelevant to me now; except for the annoyance that I'm less likely to receive challenges from stronger opponents. I'm in an experimentation stage.

Two of my games were with Imagist (16k) and one of them was with waya9 (14k). Imagist plays a strong game and seems to be progressing quickly. I was humbled by waya9's genorosity. I had lost my game with him but he undid a life-or-death sequence that I had messed-up so I could play it correctly. He then did a rather thorough review of our game.

They say that a string of stones with 5 liberties is stable and, when it has achieved that many in a contact fight, one can tenuki (play elsewhere). It's not an absolute rule and I may be playing it to excess; not leaving a fight for fear that my strings are yet unstable.

Hikaru No Go Music Vidoes

I came across music videos of a couple of songs from Hikaru No Go. Some of you have probably been looking for them. Here's the first.

This music video is Get Over by Dream. It was the first and most recognizable opening theme for the series.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Augst 10th Go Teaching Seminar in Oakland

I had blogged about Iceman's work to launch an elementary school Go program (1st, 2nd and 3rd posts on his initial efforts and success). It's remarkable how quickly he was able to launch the program and how members of the online Kiseido Go Server community and Yellow Mountain Imports contributed to it.

Click on the image to enlarge.

Iceman dropped me a note about a special event taking place on August 10th in Oakland, California. It's a seminar on teaching Go sponsored by the Ing Goe Foundation. If you're in the area and would like to attend, please RSVP to Carolyn Doelling at (510) 208-0807.

At the very least, maybe attending the event can help one understand the Ing counting system and rules.

Fuseki Quiz 16/20

Black to move. The odd enclosure in the upper right looks big enough
to drive an 18-wheeler through so I'd go with C.

Scoring of last weekend's Fuseki Quiz 15/20
(Jump to the last quiz!)
  • A = 8
  • B = 10, Defending here is a good move. Such a move shows composure. If Black gets to invade at 1 in the lower diagram, a sever fight will immediately break out to White's disadvantage.
  • C = 6
  • D = 4
  • E = 2
Diagram 1

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Video from the Yunnan Weiqi Factory

This video is availabe on Yun-zi.com but it takes too long to watch the stream from their server. I uploaded it to YouTube where more folks can watch it.

It's narrated in Chinese but you can still enjoy the montage of images from the factory.