Written by alejo on January 10th, 2015
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gobanDuring the last few weeks I’ve settled as a 4 kyu in KGS. I remember being told the difference among ranking increases the stronger you are: there is more difference between a 3k and a 4k than a 9k and a 10k. Though I was already certain of this, it hadn’t hit me in my face till I reached 4k. Once you get to this level you start to play against 3 kyu players… and the game turns into slaughter.

Though it may be sheer coincidence, 3 out of the 4 games I had against 3 kyu players had something in common: unusual josekis (at least for me). We all have seen unusual josekis played by dan players. However, during the weaker SDK phase, players tend to stick with the most traditional openings. While playing a game, we try to settle traditionally the corners and avoid messing up with the josekis. Strong SDK are quite the opposite. In order to improve, they are trying different opening and josekis and learning from their experiences.

Unfortunately for me, I’ve had to deal with some avalanches and 5-4 corners, even some facing each other. Being used to the most traditional 4-4 or 3-4, the results I get in the corner while facing a 5-4 are anything but a fair result for both players (i.e. joseki). Either I end up surrounded or my groups killed or the result is somehow unequal. Therefore, the term weird-o-seki. It’s not that the sequence doesn’t exist, but it none of the classical ones among weaker SDK players and we get a bad result out of it.

The first time I faced a 5-4, it was a bloodbath. I tend to call it a shit-o-seki. However, it doesn’t make it for the post title.

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Round one: FIGHT!!! (or playing in Tygem)

Written by alejo on December 21st, 2014
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gobanA few weeks ago I read a couple of posts about Korean servers, mainly about Tygem and Wbaduk. Some other players had already advised me to try new servers, specially Tygem and Wbaduk because there are lots of professional games available. Since playing ranked games on both and establishing a rank in both of them would take me a while, I decided to join only Tygem. Dwyrin, on one on this videos, laughs at the fact that “Tygem is the server that you log in when you want to play a traditional and peaceful game”. In the end, the actual text that pushed me to give it a go is below these lines.

Wbaduk Korean players are youths who learn the game from their parents from very young and love to keep playing to win… They played quickly, impatiently and restlessly, fiddling with their stones during their opponent’s turn instead of thinking… But they were also strong fighters. While I was still ~5k at KGS, I played games on wbaduk, but after 20-30 games I found myself hovering around 15k(or weaker, I can’t remember) instead.

It made me think that pre-dan level, wbaduk kKoreansplay like lions: wild, fearless, bestial, powerful. KGS players play like military school graduates: scholarly, full of theories but without the experience of actual hard fighting.

Extract from Siowy in Lifein19x19 forum

As a KGS  player and, more or less, self-teaching western go player, I wanted to know and experience the difference by myself. I consider myself to around 5 kyu KGS, when in good mood. So I joined Tygem as 15 kyu. I lost the first game against a 18 kyu, giving him two stones of handicap. Mainly due to underestimating my opponent and a couple of overplays. Though this first game was lost by some silly mistakes of mine, I still felt amused by the difference of level between tygem and KGS. I could certainly not give 9 stones to this player and expect a victory.

The next game was against a 17k, which felt more like a 10k in KGS. I won, I could have given more handicap too… but still felt uneasy about some moves. After a couple of days, I played a 15 kyu. After my previous overplays, I decided not to underestimate my rival and played my best. He was really around 12-13k on KGS.

The last game I played was against another 15 kyu. Though I was playing my best, the game was close till the endgame. I lost after he invaded my territory and kept sacrificing stones till I made a mistake. This game summarises my experience in Tygem: they are strong fighters, play fast, solve tsumegos in a few seconds and exploit your weaknesses (even if you though you hadn’t). Pretty much like Siowy said: wild, fearless, bestial, powerful. However, I’m still waiting for a “traditional” joseki to show up and be played correctly its full length.

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