As almost every more or less serious go player, sooner or later, at one point accepts: in order to become stronger or even to reach true dan level one has to develop good reading skills.
I once was meeting a go player of dan level who claimed that he never did tsumego… but apart from some exceptions i think nearly every dan or even signle digit kyu player does or did do tsumego practice on a regular basis.
But let`s go to the point quickly today.
What problems can arise when having the goal to successfully practice tsumego?
1. Trying to solve it only or mainly with the help of my intuition. Looking at the answer, while thinking i „maybe“ solved it, before i`m really sure.
I often do that. There are some tsumego where my intuition is right and i see the correct first move without thinking… i just spot a point where i feel „this has to be the vital point“ and play it…
… but wait, you can`t play in a tsumego book? What? You don`t use a book? Apps? Websites?
I almost do 70 % of my tsumego digital… theoretically it is the same thing like with a real book, you can check smomehow the answer… but i think with a book the psycholigical barriers are a bit higher…
Anyway, after having some „sucess“ with this bad habbit of „intuitive guessing“ it is often the case that i don`t read carefully or long enough.
Lesson to learn: Good intuition is not enough for solving life and death problems and go is not a game of luck. Only look at the solution if
a) you are at least 99% sure to have the right answer
b) (in the case of setting a time limit) the time is up
c) (in case you doing it without time limit) you fully accept that you could not solve it and just whant to know the answer
2. I can`t get to the solution or a solution, of which i thought is 100% right, is not right, because i did not think about:
c) Dead shape (most obvious)
d) Under the stones! (often the least obvious i guess)
e) Tesuji like: Snapback, all kinds of geta and ladders etc.
f) Self atari
Lesson to learn: keep all these techniques in your mind, especially if you think you can`t solve a problem… but as well if you think you got the right answer; often a overlooked seki etc. makes your answer wrong.
3. Having to hard or too easy problems
Lesson to learn: choose wisely your material.
4. Loosing concentration because of self doubt or laziness
Sometimes, especially if wasn`t able to solve a tsumego correctly, for example labled as 10 kyu in the goproblems.com app, i think that i`m not very talented for being a good go player somewhere along the line.
When i`m in a good mood (which is most often the case) i think: „even if not, you don`t have to be talented to enjoy and study the game and with enough effort you will reach your goals someday.“
But if my mood is not that good i think: „why should i continue doing something which is much easyier for people with talent, i have to push my self too hard. I hate tsumego!“ 😀
So on the one hand i actually can be lazy, and one the other hand that is one of the reasons why i have self doubts… so solution here is simple.
Lesson to learn: Concentrate harder and just stop the laziness (or stop with go) and the self doubts will disapear automatically.
And now some Advice regarding tsumego from a well known professional:
I was recently letting some of my games be reviewed by Alexandre Dinerchtein 3p and i asked him what he would suggest as good tsumego practice.
Here is his answer:
Try to find source where you can solve 2 from 3 problems.
Maximum 5 min per problem.
Without board and putting stones. If you cannot solve the problem – just check the answer after 5 min. It’s also useful. Even better if you can mark such problems and resolve them again (from your memory) 1 month later.
I asked Alexander if i can publish his game reviews here and he was fine with that, so watch out for some commented games of his soon.
If you want to get a review or a lesson from him as well, here is his website:
http://breakfast.go4go.net I can highly recommend his teaching.
By the way: No, i`m not getting payed by Alex to promote his website and his reviews 😀 I just share it because i think to get good game reviews and good go lessons is a great thing to have for every go player and while being a go enthusiast and go blogger it is obvious that i share my experiences with his teachings.
So… after my „baby break“, which was maybe half a year or even more, were i did not much Go related stuff appart from some bad played DGS games (most of them i lost by time) i started again about 2 month (?) ago. After restarting playing Go more serious again… i realised that my reading was allways and is still very poor and that i will never ever reach my „Go goals“ if i do not work on my reading skills – serious and hard. Now i do a lot of tsumego every day and i hope i will overcome all these bad habbits.
(I fyou found some spelling or other bigger mistakes, just let me know)