After the article “The hardest game to win is a won game !”, I have decided that another article is needed on the topic. I also rechecked a book that I have in my library at home “ Winning a Won Game by Go Seigen”. This article is presenting 7 tips which I believe might help readers to deal easier with their advantageous positions in their games. Three of these tips are written by Go Seigen in his book. Over time I will also reread this article, because myself I might reach moment when I might forget all of the tips written below.
1.Be aware of what is happening on the board –
I have noticed that many of these won games, are lost in exactly such moments. It feels like the time is passing too fast, that things are happening too fast. It is good to stop and to understand what is going on, on the board. Focus on your groups and understand if each group is safe, this is very important. After you have ensured that your group is secure, you can check if your opponent has any weakness that you can focus on. Now since you have established clear understanding on strength of the stones, you can count the points on the board. When you finish with this, you can ask yourself questions like “How should the game continue?”. Although this question might seem strange, I notice that many times, each one of us knows how more or less one game will look like at the very end. Try to understand what should happen in the next 50 or 100 moves, to get some idea what you should be doing. Many times it happens that you feel that you are ahead, and then suddenly you screw up and you end up with zero chance in 10 moves. Awareness of what is happening on the board is very important.
2.Never get relaxed, the game is not finished yet –
The most common thing is that many people get relaxed and feel like the game is already over, while the opponent is catching up point by point and eventually wins. I remember once when I lost a really painful won game, Lukas Podpera European 7 dan approached me and told me something about these kind of situations. He said he treats such moments when he gets ahead or when the game feels like over, like the real beginning of the game. He says that this is the moment when the opponent will try everything he can to turn it around and to win. So if you gave only 50% of your best until this moment, now it is time to invest all your energy to finish the game. I remember Catalin Taranu 5 dan professional saying something similar as well. He was saying that once a player gets ahead and relaxed, this is very dangerous moment, once he is relaxed, he starts playing passively and giving opponent chances. Myself I think it is also related to some kind of respect towards the opponent. Since I started saying this sentence in my head, I avoided losing a lot won games “My opponent is strong enough and although he is behind now, he might catch up, so I should focus and not relax.”.
3.Be realist when counting yours or the territory of the opponent –
This is very interesting one, it is towards these people who on purpose count more points for their opponents to make sure they are ahead safely. Although I completely understand the reasons behind, I still think it is better to count realistically on the board. If you count more points for your opponent than he has, you might end up feeling like you are losing, while the game is completely even for both. It is very important to know exactly what is the score to avoid feeling behind for no reason, which might lead to overplays. Last about this tip, I want to add that it is important to count at least. Some people do not even count when they feel ahead. This way they do not even realize that the lead they have is not as much as they thought it is, which of course make them play like clear winners and lose.
4.Improve your knowledge on value of endgame moves –
I noticed that many times even if a person is focused and he gives his best, he might still lose just because some simple lack of knowledge in yose. I believe it is very important to learn how to count value of moves, because even if you handled 200 moves well, you might lose the game in the last 50 moves, due to some simple endgame mistake. Although it takes a lot of time to learn all of the endgame positions and their value, it takes much less time to learn how to estimate the value of each move, which saves a lot of time. Instead of exploring all endgame positions, you might learn how to count value of moves, which will be useful immediately in the next game. You might get surprised how often you make 5 or even 10 points mistakes, because some move “looks” bigger than other.
The last three tips are from Go Seigen’s book “Winning a Won Game” called “Three Golden Rules”
– Go Seigen said to Mr.X, “The Reason why you cannot maintain your lead is that you give your opponent opportunities to recuperate. This is like helping your opponent to get back up on his feet after delivering a knockout punch. Such opportunities can often help the opponent to turn the game around.”
– Three Golden Rules
5. Rule One – Avoid Uncertainties When You Have the Lead
Go Seigen: Do not stir up uncertainties or make risky plays when you are comfortably ahead.
6. Rule Two – Seize the Opportunity When It Is Presented
Go Seigen: When opportunity knocks on the door, take up the challenge and wrap up the game. Do not be indecisive and miss the opportunity. Indecisiveness is often the main reason for defeat.
7.Rule Three – Attack the Opponent’s Weakness and Deliver the Fatal Blow
Go Seigen: When the opponent is behind, he will make overplays to try to turn the game around. Such overplays will usually leave weaknesses. Do not let the opponent get away with overplays. Seek out the opponent’s weaknesses and find the fatal blow.Follow me in social media: