About 2 weeks ago, I was playing a game of Go at the Stellenbosch club against Jaco. I had to give him 2 stones, and felt I had to attack strongly from the beginning. I let this cloud my judgment too much, and I left a group too weak at one stage…
Jaco pounced on the group, and ended up playing cat-and-mouse with it across the whole board. I realised that all was lost without a big kill somewhere, and spotted some potential cuts or kos which may be able to be used. He was in trouble with time, so I figured that was in my favour. After some more playing, I was also in byo-yomi, and it was time for my last ditch efforts. At this stage, the best I could do was force a small capture in exchange for him defending his huge group. The question was if he noticed the threat to his large group.
It turns out he didn’t. I managed to cut his group off, and it seemed as if I’d turned things around. If I’d won now: the ethical question is whether, since I had to rely on a reading error by him, I should have resigned earlier. And if, once he’d made the mistake, whether I should correct him or not. Given that he is under time pressure, brought on by bad time management earlier in the game.
Furthermore, the reading question was not entirely clear. After cutting him off, I blundered in response to his next move (as he and Bernard pointed out afterwards) – also due to time pressure. So all was lost. Until he started a ko I couldn’t possibly win. What we both missed at first was that by backing down from the ko, I once again threatened his whole group – my backing down move was one he would have seen the implications of if not for the ko. I noticed this before him, and he missed it. He connected the ko, and lost his large group again.
The result: he, who dominated the game, and was just unfortunate to make the last blunder of the game, loses rating points, while I, who was under pressure and outplayed and experienced the handicap as far too much, gain rating points. Quite a farce, in the end.
Should I resign these games? Some say yes, some say no: a high-dan player said the other day you should resign when you run out of ideas. The problem is that I have often got a lot of highly-unlikely-to-realize ideas, and they quite regularly win me games. Not because I’m better than the other player, but because they get careless, or overconfident, or inattentive. The question is if this tenacity by me is a good thing, or a thing to let go of.