Last night I had the opportunity to attend a meeting of the Syracuse Go Club. I was a bit (okay, very) nervous since this would be my first time playing against a stranger in person. Fortunately, everybody was very friendly and welcoming. The gentleman I had previously emailed to get more information about the club was present, and we sat down and played a 13×13 game for him to get an idea of my strength. I was nervous and slow to play, and it was clear where some of my weaker areas of play were.
If the game was scored, it’s without my knowing. Immediately after the game was over, we started talking about living and dead shapes, and I was given a worksheet that would help me learn a bit more of the basics of life and death. While we were discussing this, a girl arrived and sat down with us. She apparently joined the club a couple months ago, and was also still learning. It was decided we’d play against each other next on a 19×19 board.
I never really felt that I was in control of the match, but at times I felt that I was doing pretty decently. I made a few mistakes which she immediately punished, and vice-versa. I was able to invade a couple of the sides and take a decent amount of territory from her. Unfortunately, I failed to create living shapes in a couple of the corners and at the end of the game I had a massive number of dead stones which counted against me. I ended up with negative territory.
These games reaffirmed what I thought about my playing ability. When defending or attacking, I tend to get entirely too focused on “winning the battle” and end up with a large group of dead stones. I see myself doing this in every game, and desperately need to break the habit. I think once I’m able to take and defend territory without building up clusters of dead stones, my game will improve significantly.
I’m really looking forward to going to club meetings as often as possible. The only real downside is that they are about a 45 minute drive away. The amount of fun I had made the trip worth it though.