Wednesday, August 31, 2005


While running some late-night jobs for a project I'm working on, I played a couple games of go and watched a few games of ChiyoDad's, as well. Despite the fact that a silly endgame mistake cost me a 2 stone handicap game against a 17k player, I learned quite a bit. A lot of that can be attributed to the fact that NannyOgg stopped by to watch and review the game with us. I need a virtual NannyOgg bot to always review games afterwards!

Alas, the go server picked a horrible time to go down so we could not finish. :( I waited probably 20 minutes or so before giving up, and since the jobs were finishing I decided to head off to bed. Maybe again some other time.

Thanks again, nanny!!

Monday, August 29, 2005

cgoban2 unplugged

This entry isn't so much a blog as it is a way to document something I found useful in the event that it might be useful for others. When playing on KGS this weekend on my unplugged laptop, performance was abysmally slow. Window redraws took at least 10 seconds, switching room tabs took at least that much time, and observing a game was impossible. All other applications ran fine, CPU utilization was less than 5% at all times, and I saw that the CPU speed was throttled down to 600MHz - still a reasonable speed.

A quick google found others with similar problems. The situation looked a bit grim and I began to wonder if the holy grail of go playing - wireless internet bathroom go - was out of reach for KGS players. I had such a great time playing wirelessly on IGS at Panera that I knew I had to take that next step and I wanted to be able to do it on as many servers as possible.

Now, stepping back, I know java's slow, but it cannot be THAT slow, can it? Well, I still don't have an answer for that. But another post finally did get a response that pointed to a solution.

It would appear that ATI video adapters (mine included!) include configurable functionality called "PowerPlay". This is intended to decrease battery usage by allowing you to throttle video performance in order to conserve power. Honestly, I don't really notice much of a difference with all my other applications, but for some reason it just brutalizes java apps, cgoban2 included. Disabling PowerPlay or simply configuring it toward more performance while on battery power is the simple fix.

Friday, August 26, 2005

10th PandaNet Cup

IGS seems to be having lots of events lately, and that's really great. The Cho Chikun Judan Cup Marathon is still running and, even though I'm out of the running, I continue to enjoy it. Their latest event is the PandaNet Cup, which are a couple tournaments (even and handicapped) with cash and and "original goods" prizes. This is apparently the "10th Internet World Amateur Go Championship".

Even though I'd have absolutely no chance, I'd love to play in the handicap tournament. Any opportunity to get in a number of matches against better players is not to be missed. The only problem is that I really cannot in good faith make a commitment to play the required matches since I will have a number of outside influences directing my free time for the next few months.

Maybe next year.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Sandbagging My Way to 1 Dan

I've been sandbagged again. And I feel fine!

Sure, I lost by 77.5 points against a 22k with barely 600 IGS-PandaNet rating points but, gosh darn it, people like me. I learned a bit, enjoyed the game, and I'm 150 points closer to 1d. ;)

What more could I ask for?

Anyway, tangential words for the wise. If you're just looking for a close game and you're a 20-22k goon like me:

* avoid 22k players from Japan with ~600 rating points and gobs of games played :) :)
* avoid BC players with gobs of wins
* don't use the seek function ... you'll probably end up playing an aforementioned BC player

Otherwise, go for it. As Peter wisely pointed out to me, if they're willing to play the game, take advantage of the learning experience.

Monday, August 22, 2005

New glGo

I'm happy any time I get a chance to upgrade my software and, today, glGo has been updated to v1.3.1. This version has a number of excellent changes, including one that allows for a skin configuration file. This makes the flat skin look even better by allowing last-marker location control.

Download it from here:

Along with the new version of the software, the main IGS-PandaNet glGo web site now has a skins page which points back here for the flat skin.


3-3 Invasion

I think I need to study senseis much more. I failed miserably on back-to-back 3-3 invasions which cost me a game I think I would have won against a 19k (which I played as white). I made a true misclick in the first invasion, but just bumbled through the second.


I don't know if I've ever successfully made one of these basic invasions and I don't think I've ever stopped one of them, either. :( I think I'm just going to play it out on my real goban over and over and over. :)

Friday, August 19, 2005

Wireless Go

I'm off to pick up my brother who's in town for the weekend. I'm leaving early so that I can hang out at a Panera and play go over their free wireless access. So, if you see me on IGS and I suddenly vanish, perhaps my battery died or I lost a signal. :) And if you see me doing crazy, stupid things, then someone probably sniffed my password. :)

- update -

I did manage to play one game while drinking a decidedly poor coffee at Panera. It was a blast, even though I ended up losing to a 22k? player by 4.5 points. I should have won but komi was set to 0.5 for some reason. I'm guessing it was because I was 22k+ at the time versus his 22k? provisional rating. Either way, that's not the point. I really enjoy the close games as every small point matters in the end. This evening I won a game against a 22k by over 50 points and, despite the fact that it pushed me back up into the 21k range, it did not have quite the same tension and suspense.

On the Cho Chikun Judan Cup front, I had a miserable week and did not play more than 3 games in any one day. Partly I was busy, but partly I had a bit of trouble finding people to play matches with. I don't generally play BC players because most that I see are simply much better unranked players (but I am reconsidering this decision since I should probably WANT to play better players). The 21-22k players just didn't seem to want to play when I was looking. Oh, well. I'll have to come on strong next week if I wish to place top 50.

On a related note, I think the switch from NR to BC is a bit of a mistake on IGS. The idea of having a Beginner's Class is a great one, however there are clearly some very good players who simply do not wish to have a rank. Right now there is no good place for them, since they're lumped in as BC. It makes it much more difficult for a player like me to give the true beginners a game or to perform a seek and find an even game, since a BC still falls under an even game for me at the 22k and (I think) 21k ranks. Perhaps we need to keep BC and simply bring back NR for those who don't wish to take on a rank.

On a completely unrelated note, I ordered an official Ricky Williams 2003 All Pro football game jersey and it arrived by UPS today. It's awesome. :)

Monday, August 15, 2005

Great Go Day

I don't have much to say for today, except that it was a great day for go. I only managed to play 2 games, but one of the games was with Peter Strempel, author of my favorite go program, glGo. Being rated 8k?, he gave me 9 stones of handicap. Even that was not enough, as I found myself struck dumb and intimidated like I usually do in these situations. It was one of those games when you make stupid moves that you actually know are stupid AS YOU'RE MAKING THE MOVES. Oh, well. I don't think I can actually learn much from this particular game, considering how badly I played. :(

So why was it such a great day for go? Well, after the game, I chatted his fingers off for a few hours. :) I now know quite a bit more than I did before about glGo, IGS, and internet go in general. I have to say that I have even more faith now that glGo (already the best go client program IMO) will continue to get better and that IGS also will continue to be an excellent place to play and may even improve, too. We also discussed some of the small work I've done on the non-textured skin, the rank grapher, and the stats html page generator, which was fun for me.

Anyway, I'm tired, so I'm signing off, number 22k+ in the rankings, number 1 in your hearts.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Hope for the hopeless

Just an update. Since the last entry I've played some of my best go ever and, despite a few "hopeless" invasions, I was able to weather the storms and pull out a few victories. A good deal of credit should go to NannyOgg who reviewed a game of mine and gave me lots of great insights that I immediately put into work.

Just goes to show that, for me at least, go is heavily influenced by one's current disposition.

By the way, right now I'm observing the Jie Li 9d vs Thomas Hsiang 7d US Masters Final on IGS. Incredible commentary. I wish we had this kind of input on all high dan matches! :)

Thursday, August 11, 2005


If you've read previous posts, you've seen me say that I welcome hopeless attacks into protected territory as a learning experience. Well, maybe I don't any more. This morning's first game was against a 19k. I played really well (for me!) and managed to find myself ahead once all the borders were basically completed. Sigh. Take a deep breath. Relax. Then came a slew of white stones flying in on what were well-protected positions. "Oh, brother, this guy's a sore loser!" was my first thought. Immediately my disposition soured and I just wanted to get the game over with. Of course, what happens when you get ornery? You make stupid moves. And I made a bunch. Big loss.

He offered to play another and, despite the fact that I was still ornery and making relatively quick moves (I'm on tilt! I'm on tilt!), by the time the borders were completed I was ahead again by a decent margin. Of course, in flew the white stones, this time into even better protected areas. At that point, you could stick a fork in me, because I was done. I considered just resigning (as my IGS opponents might) but I played it out, made a bunch of stupid moves, and then resigned (while whining about how I need to improve my corner protecting if I'm going to play him again).

Now, all this just stinks. I didn't start off the day in all that great a mood, and go (which I play strictly for fun) has worsened my mood. This is bizarre to me. I can lose a few hundred dollars in poker and not think twice, but lose a couple games of go where I thought I was ahead? No way.

Now, get this. As it turns out, I wasn't actually ahead in the first game. Nor in the second game! So, I'm the sore loser and I'm the one who wasted a learning opportunity. Ouch.

I'm going back to play. :)

Sunday, August 07, 2005

glGo flat graphics

I really love the glGo application and I love its realistic and beautiful graphics. However, there are times when I actually would prefer a graphics set more like cgoban2's or smartgo's. Whenever I'm using those, I feel like I'm studying out of a book or something, and that somehow comforts me. ;) So, I decided to make an alternate graphics "skin" that would replicate those other applications. I think it's worked out pretty nicely.

Click on the image for a larger screenshot.

I've made this available right here. Simply download it, unarchive it, and copy the data folder to the appropriate location for your platform. This is all documented in the excellent glGo manual, however if you're too lazy to look for yourself, here are those locations:

Windows: C:\Program Files\glGo\share\data
Linux: /usr/share/games/glGo/data/
Mac: /Applications/

As I update the skin, I'll just replace the old file, so the download link will always get the most recent copy:

Happy non-textured go-ing!

Saturday, August 06, 2005

The man in the coffee beans revisited.

Referring back to the entry from a few days ago, my wife found the man in 10 seconds and my 2 year old daughter found him in less than 2 minutes. Me thinking me the dumberest in the fambily.

Friday, August 05, 2005

I blame exhaustion.

Well, it was late, and I was tired. Either way, I don't know what I was thinking. Rather than relying on blogspot to provide a backup facility, I should have just used my own. Once I decided to do that, the solution was easy on my Ubuntu Linux system.

# apt-cache search http mirror
# apt-get install httrack
$ mkdir docs/blog
$ cd docs/blog
$ httrack

Backup complete. I think I'll stick here at blogspot for now. :)

Thursday, August 04, 2005

New blog...

Well, I really like blogspot, but there appears to be no way to easily backup the blog. For someone, well, concerned about backups like I am, that's just not going to work. So, check out my new blog:

Go Server Curiosities

Every so often I try to get in a few games of go before heading out to the office. Since I don't have much time and it's still usually easier to find a game on IGS, and since I'm still competing in the Cho Chikun Judan Cup, I've been exclusively playing on IGS during these hours. I managed to play two games today which really illustrate to me how different IGS and KGS are for my level. Remember that I'm 22k on IGS and 21k on KGS. I am probably still a bit overrated on KGS due to having beaten GNUGo (13k) in a 6 stone handicap match but that doesn't really change things.

Anyway, the first game was against a 22k player from Taiwan. I was absolutely crushed and outplayed all over the board. At the very end, I tried to play out a somewhat complicated border attack and ended up failing. Just as I was about to click the pass button to begin scoring, he resigned, despite the fact that he was probably ahead by over 100 points! Immediately I chatted with him to apologize for the bad game and to explain that I'm still learning. He did not seem upset, but he must have been peeved enough to resign. I don't think he knows me personally, so it couldn't have been a birthday present. :^) This type of thing has happened before to me at IGS...I was playing someone who, by his rank, is a beginner like I am. However, near the end of a game he was (by my count) leading, he chose to resign rather than let me finish it out. Perhaps I'm reading too much into the resignation, but I feel like it's his way of saying that I'm insulting him by not resigning myself.

This has never happened to me on KGS and, personally, I don't quite understand why playing out a game or trying to exploit some weak stones would be bad etiquette, at least at our beginner level. We're all learning, after all, and obvious defeat is not always so obvious. I've been on the other side of this situation a few times and have welcomed the opportunity to defend against what appear to be somewhat hopeless attacks. I've defended against most, but have failed in a couple, too. All have been at least mildly educational.

Either way, I played a second game, this time against a 21k from Japan. This game I won by 18.5 points. And here is the whole interesting thing about IGS. At my level, anyway, it seems like a 50-50 proposition whether I'll have a closely matched game or not. I'll win an even match against a 20k+ then badly lose an even match against a 22k. Some 22k players have played (and won) hundreds of games, which doesn't quite make sense to me. Some 21k players have thousands. On KGS, it seems like this just doesn't happen. The better players move up over time, as I would expect.

In the end, it was fun, I chalked up two more games toward my CCJC score, and enjoyed a nice cup of coffee. Hopefully I learned something, too...

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Find the man between the coffee beans.

Wow, two blog entries. I'm really cool. But I just saw this and now have a clinical explanation as to why I am not a good go player. My right brain is a mess.

Apparently, if you can find the man within 3 seconds, your right brain is functioning better than most. It's functioning normally if between 3 seconds and one minute. You need more protein if it takes from 1 to 3 minutes, and your right brain is an absolute mess if it takes longer. The only advice at that point is to do more of these types of exercises in order to strengthen the right side of the brain.

Well, I tried for 3 minutes or so and didn't find it until a friend pointed it out. I'm not going to provide spoilers as to my search method but, in the end, it doesn't matter because I failed. Being vegan, I suspect I may possibly require more protein in my diet. And I also suspect that playing go could assist in developing my brain since it's so pattern and shape oriented. Very interesting stuff.


Well, perhaps I do have something to write, even if nobody's reading. After all, most blogs are read-only so why should this one be any different?

Lately, I've been playing a lot of go (also known as igo, weiqi, and baduk). Being relatively new to the game, I am not very good. I'm playing at the KGS and IGS-PandaNet go servers where I have 21k and 22k ranks, respectively. I've read a couple books by an american professional named Janice Kim and they've certainly helped create some sort of foundation for my game. In the end, I'm having a lot of fun with it.

As a side project, being a programmer, I wrote some software that generates html statistics pages and graphs for my IGS account. I enjoy this functionality from the KGS account so I wanted to duplicate (or improve) it for my IGS account. I've found myself playing there quite a bit now that the Cho Chikun Judan Cup marathon tournament is running. Here is my resulting graph:

frankiii's IGS Rating Graph

For now, until I get authorization, I am not going to allow for other users to generate their own graphs. Hopefully that will soon change.

But why?

I don't actually have anything to say.

First Blog

Well, it's finally happened. I have a blog. I'm so cool.