Just what is it with me and Life & Death problems?
But you all probably wanted to see what problem 212 looks like.
Black to play and live with 1 move.
Problem 212 (that's page 44 under Intermediate problems, Level Three, Life & Death Problems). The old rank-range for this book was 20-kyu to 15-kyu. It has since been re-ranked as 15-kyu to 8-kyu which probably conforms to AGA ranks.
With James Davies's book, Life And Death, my progress is even worse. I've gone as far as page 39 (of 157 pages) but am currently re-reading from page 26. tetris would probably want to whack me with her avatar's pillow when she reads this.
Most of you have probably heard of Janice Kim's advice to solving Life & Death problems; do them in your head and not on a board. James Davies takes it up a notch; consider if either side can live (or kill) depending on who plays first.
It seems a bit odd, but I tend to breeze through tesuji and fuseki problems, but I notably slow-down (and sometimes struggle) with life & death.
One nasty habit of mine
At least one of my difficulties can be traced to this habit that I have of trying to keep track of each stone in sequence. It was probably programmed-in from all those statements like "Black to live in 3 moves" that you often encounter in tsumego books.
This image illustrates what I tend to visualize in my mind; stones with numbers on them: "Black 1 here, White 2 there, Black 3 here, ...".
If the analysis variations are wide, it gets difficult for me to keep track of where move 1 was and where move 2 went! For me, this sequential book-keeping seems to slow down the analysis.
This is another visualization method that seems to make it much easier for me. It's akin to Toshiro Kageyama's advice of just going systematically: "Black, White, Black, White, ...". Place the stones in your mind and count the moves later.
If it comes to the required number of moves, then great. Even if they don't, it seems that I can reset the board in my mind and analyze the alternatives faster.
Everyone's mind is wired differently, so this method may or may not work for you.
Speaking of wiring ...
Steve Fawthrop (aka DrStraw on KGS and GD) wrote an article about how to study Life & Death problems. His methodology seems to be hard-wiring the patterns into the brain. It's worth a look and your consideration.
Aaah ... Lupicia!
Each of those boxes in the wall contain a particular variety of tea.
The tins on the counter are for scent-sampling and examination.
As a tea-drinker, I consider myself rather blessed to be living in the San Francisco Bay Area. Lupicia has two stores in the city. If you love tea and happen to be in town, it would be well worth your time to visit one of their stores (as well as the tea-shops in Chinatown).
Lupicia is a large tea chain in Japan and they currently have three shops in the United States (two in San Francisco, California, and one in Honolulu, Hawaii). There are also two shops in Australia (both in Melbourne) and three in Taiwan.
ChiyoMama has a preference for floral-flavoured teas while ChiyChan likes fruit-flavoured ones. Our current favorite is No. 8503 which is called Paradise. It is also suitable for iced tea.
Lupicia sells by mail and by phone. So wherever you are in the US, you no longer have an excuse for not trying their teas. They can be contacted at (415) 227-0533 [Fax at (415) 227-4161] and are located at 865 Market Street in San Francisco. Ask for a free copy of their English catalog.