I want to improve at Go. Often, stronger players suggest reviewing games by professional or very strong amateur players. When I’ve tried to do this in the past, I’ve very often ended up feeling mostly confused and frustrated. My sense has been that I’m usually better off reading a book aimed at my level or doing problems.
Today, all that changed.
A few people on the OGS forums suggested the go lectures at Go Commentary, so I found myself at a page with commentary for a game between Huang Longshi and Jiang Tianyuan – game four in the site’s small but hopefully growing Greatest Games Ever Played series.
I clicked the first of the four videos and was instantly hooked. I don’t know who the commentator is – he seems to go by countsheep in the guest book comments – but I am officially now a fan.
Countsheep went through the entire game, step by step, and gave a very clear and thorough explanation of what was going on at each step. He explained the thinking behind the moves, and he also spent time showing what might look like ‘natural’ moves at each step and explaining why they weren’t played in this particular game.
The game itself was presented as an example of how to utilise influence in a game and, I must say, it is a perfect game to illustrate this concept. In the first third of the game, I couldn’t image how white was going to turn around and compensate for all the stones he (seemingly) sacrificed in building up his great white wall.
I reviewed the .sgf before reading the commentary and felt completely lost, but I had no trouble following the commentary. Somehow, countsheep managed to make most of the moves feel normal and natural. In the end, there were only three moves that seemed rather magical to me. I now understand why they work, but they were so far off my radar that I don’t know if I’d be able to find them again in a similar situation.
I’ve just started watching some of the other videos on the site. There are several short videos that are aimed at kyu-level players and are less than 10-minutes long. There are also a few more in-depth game analyses. Everything I’ve watched so far has been very helpful and interesting. Also, the website tagline, “Love Life, Love Go” immediately makes one feel welcome.
I particularly like learning a little bit about Go in China and about Chinese Go players. I hope that more classical games are discussed in the future.
Thank you, countsheep, for taking the time to make these excellent videos – I look forward to the next instalments!
PS Huang Longshi is my new hero.