mardi 25 mars 2014

Be stronger - Interview with Zeno - European Pro-applicant.

An Interview with Zeno van Ditzhuijen, 5d EGF. (MrZNF on kgs)
Zeno qualified to be a member in the Cego Project, a project which aims at training and helping strongest players from Europe to become pros in the next few years. The level in this league is pretty high (Ilya Shikshin, Cornel Burzo, Jan Simara, Pavol Lisy and other have all qualified for it) and so is the level of competition.
More updated information can be read on the "Half a Year in China" senseis page

First, if you could introduce yourlsef a bit, that would be great, maybe some players don't know you yet. What's your official egf rank, when did you start learning go ? And you're dutch right ? Work in real life ?

>My name is Zeno van Ditzhuijzen. I am a Dutch, 23 year old 5 dan and I have been playing Go for about 5 years now. I learned the game when I was younger from my father and was lucky enough to have a small local Goclub in another school opposite of my own. I betrayed the Chessclub I was attending to become a member there and did so without regret. Sadly I quit playing after about half a year, but I rediscovered this game when I was 17 by stumbling upon the anime "Hikaru no Go". I remembered I played this game when I was younger and found the Kiseido Go Server to play Go online. Everything went from there. I’ve made a lot of friends, traveled the world, all because of this amazing game. Which to me, has become more than just a game, it has become a part of my life. And I expect it to stay that way.

 I am currently unemployed, trying to make a living by teaching go online and going to tournaments. Other than that, I’m trying to learn the Czech language, as my girlfriend is Czech and I’m also learning the basics of programming (html, css, java). But mainly, I’m playing Go and trying to improve.

You made a very fast improvement in the last 4 years or so. I remember you as KGS 12k back then. You got involved in the ASR, as a player and as an admin pretty much. Did that help a lot to improve your Go ? 

My involvement in the Advanced Study Room, has of course helped me to improve. However, I think it all depends on the approach of a person. The Advanced Study Room offers a good competitive environment in combination with the reviews offered by the/a stronger player. So if you have the right mindset, and are willing to put in the effort, the Advanced Study Room is a nice place to improve

Is there a professionnal player you enjoy watching (or even replaying ?) in particular ?

I do not enjoy watching/replaying professional games that much, in particular by myself. I don’t get enjoyment out of it somehow. I rather play games and do problems. However, in a group setting I do enjoy replaying, as it becomes possible to discuss moves and positions. I’m bad at studying games by myself and would rather just solve problems. This problem solving craze, is something that has benefited me throughout my Go career, as I have been relatively strong at reading, due to it.

Recently, after my trip to China, I think it is not my only strength anymore. My whole game has caught up and I only need to overcome losing focus near the end of the game. I have been known to crush opponents in a severe way, only to give the game away at the end by making some kind of blunder. If I solve this problem, I feel that I have the potential to become a professional player, at least on a European level.

Do you have a teacher ? (or did you ?) It appears that you won ASR Alpha class a few times, and got rewarded with a free month in Dinerstein "Insei- League on KGS". Please tell us more about this experience ? did it help you correct your weaknesses ?

I’ve had several teachers, including: Koen Pomstra 5d, Su *(Jeff) Yang 6d, In-Seong Hwang 7d, Kim Sung-rae 8p and many other professionals that I’ve met on my trips to China of which most recently Zhao BaoLong 2p. 

And now, after all this training, you qualified to be in European-pro project (CEGO) under the guidance of Li Ting 1p and Zhao Baolong 2p. In the league, are there any players you have played against before in an official game ? It is likely to be an hyper-competitive environnement, do you have a plan ? like your fighting skills, reading skills ? What's your major strength ? I won't ask your weaknesses - your opponents might just read and exploit this, hehe :)

Koen taught me the basics when I was still a kyu player. While Jeff taught me to calm down my “unguided missile style”-like play, which helped me reach 3-4d. In-Seong Hwang then gave me back my edge and I reached 5d egf. Now after China, I learned to be even more efficient, by indirectly doing something about positional weaknesses. You cannot simply protect, you have to try and be more efficient by doing something more active. Not giving your opponent time to abuse your weakness and solving the problem along the way. I’ve learned a lot about direction as well, which was my Achilles heel. Now I need to learn how to finish a game, in contrary to always winning by creating an upset. Quite a change.

If you had to give 3 advice to kyu players who want to reach dan level ( or become pro in the late future, or just become stronger ), what would they be ? 

My advice to any player that wants to become stronger: 

The more serious you are and the more effort you put into becoming stronger, the faster you will improve. Do whatever you enjoy most and you’ll see that improving comes naturally, as you will end up spending a lot of time doing something you love to do. Of course it should be noted that it is necessary to review your own games and be confronted with your own mistakes, but this should come naturally to someone that is eager to improve. Other than that, doing problems, or some other form of reading-practice, is a must. Your reading ability is the engine of your game. If it breaks down, it doesn’t matter how far you’ve traveled, you will lose in the end. Keeping this in mind, I say, Go improve!

Anyway, we wish the best luck in the CEGO League and we are looking forward to seeing MrZNF [1p] in the next year ! 
Thanks for all your helpful answers !

For lessons with Zeno, you can contact him by email ( zeno131vd[at] ) or on KGS ( MrZNF)


You can find below, one of Zeno's latest official games. It was played on March 4th for the European Team Championship event (Belgium vs Netherlands). His opponent is François Gonze, 4d. Commented by myself. Have fun ! (Zeno is Black, wins by 7,5)
(;GM[1]FF[4]CA[UTF-8]AP[CGoban:3]ST[2] RU[Japanese]SZ[19]KM[6.50] GN[European Team Championship Belgium vs Netherlands.]PW[Chmol - François Gonze]PB[MrZNF - Zeno Van Ditzhuijzen]WR[4Peruvian]BR[4Peruvian]DT[2014-03-04]RO[Board 3]PC[IGS-PandaNet]C[Francois Gonze vs Zeno Van Ditzhuijzen (Board 3) European Team Championship 2014 (March 4th) Belgium vs Netherlands Board 1, 2 and 4 were : B Peter Brouwer (breeze) 6 dan W Lucas Neirynck (Cucurucucu) 4 dan W Gilles van Eeden (gigago) 6 dan B Jan Ramon (janr) 4 dan W Ruben Cornelissen (Rubenmc) 2 dan B Nelis Vets (nelis) 1 dan Netherlands won 4-0. Perfect !] ;B[pp] ;W[cc] ;B[qd] ;W[cq]C[Two sansan : pretty much unusual.] ;B[oc] (;W[qn] ;B[qk]LB[nq:A]C[Black pincers, serves both to put pressure on R6 and as an extension for the shimari. Had he answered at A, white would extend on right side and steal the shimari's extension. It is good for Black. If white doesn't want this happening, he should approach in the middle instead.] ;W[np] ;B[pn]C[Splitting white stones and going out is natural.] ;W[qq] ;B[pq] ;W[pm]LB[qo:A]C[Black can decide to block at A] (;B[on] ;W[qp] ;B[qm] ;W[qo] ;B[po] ;W[om] ;B[rm] ;W[nn] ;B[pr] ;W[qr] ;B[no] ;W[mo] ;B[nm] ;W[mn] ;B[ol]TR[qk][ol][nm]SQ[jp]C[Result slightly better for Black. The marked stones are consistent with upper right shimari. And white still needs at extension at bottom, to avoid being attacked.] ;W[mm] ;B[nl] ;W[rn] ;B[lk]SQ[dd][jd]C[Black optimizes his potential. White has no time to play at bottom now. Black would immediatly k16 or d16, to optimize even more.] ;W[kd]C[White figures and plays the big (and urgent ) point.] ;B[id]SQ[kd]C[If white helps the marked stone immediatly, black J16 and follow-up will grid all of white's potential on the left (see var.)] (;W[fc]C[Wise move. It's not easy for black to attack L16.] ;B[jf] ;W[kf] ;B[kg] ;W[lf] ;B[jg] ;W[oe]C[When at a disadvantage : play lightly. ] ;B[pf] ;W[mh] ;B[of] ;W[nc] ;B[nd]LB[od:A]C[Black cannot just block at A. It would be too soft on white. Use thickness to attack.] ;W[md] ;B[ne] ;W[ob] ;B[mc] ;W[nb] ;B[ld] ;W[lc] ;B[me] ;W[lb]LB[kc:A]C[This move is probably a mistake. Leaves a bad aji at A] ;B[dp]C[Black tries to flatten white down : target --> N5] ;W[cp] ;B[do] ;W[lg] ;B[jp]C[Black finally takes the big point. Vital.] ;W[dq] ;B[lp] ;W[jn] ;B[jl] ;W[ko] ;B[kp] ;W[hn] ;B[hp] ;W[go] ;B[fp]LB[nq:A]C[This move is not easy to find. It seems reckless, but Black is confident as he can connect at A anytime.] ;W[gp] ;B[gq] ;W[hq] ;B[eq] ;W[gr] ;B[fq] ;W[ip] ;B[iq] ;W[ho] ;B[hr] ;W[ir] ;B[hp] ;W[pl] ;B[io] ;W[pk] ;B[qj] ;W[pj] (;B[nq]LB[pi:A]C[Forced. Black can't keep attacking at A for now (see var)] ;W[qi] ;B[ri] ;W[qh] ;B[rh] ;W[qg] ;B[rg] ;W[ml] ;B[ke] ;W[le] ;B[je] ;W[md] ;B[dd] ;W[dc] ;B[ld] ;W[co] ;B[dn] ;W[md] ;B[in] ;W[qf] ;B[re] ;W[od] ;B[pe] ;W[pc] ;B[pd] ;W[cm] ;B[dk]C[White cannot cut.] (;W[ej]SQ[hn][go][ho][gp]C[White is sacrificing the 4 stones. He will use them as a lure, to try to make points in the upper side.] (;B[fd]LB[ek:A]C[Logically, black reacts. It would be blind to block at A] ;W[dj] ;B[ck] ;W[dm] ;B[em] ;W[el] ;B[dl] ;W[bl] ;B[ek] ;W[fj] ;B[fk] ;W[gj] ;B[ec] ;W[eb] ;B[ed] ;W[gc] ;B[cd]C[Black strengthens his top group] ;W[cj] ;B[bk] ;W[bj] ;B[aj] ;W[ai] ;B[ak] ;W[bh] ;B[gd] ;W[hc] ;B[qb] ;W[oh] ;B[ic] ;W[ib] ;B[jb] ;W[hb] ;B[cg] ;W[bg] ;B[ch]LB[bi:A]C[This move shows black's will to kill, makes a false eye at A.] ;W[cf] ;B[df] ;W[bf] ;B[bc] ;W[bb] ;B[ce] ;W[im] ;B[eg] ;W[gl] ;B[gk] ;W[hk] ;B[hj] ;W[hi] ;B[ij] ;W[fh] ;B[jm]LB[im:A][jm:B]SQ[bf][cf][bg][bh][fh][ai][hi][bj][cj][dj][ej][fj][gj]C[White's move earlier, at A was a big mistake. It allowed black to attack the marked group, and black now finally cuts at B. It may have cost the game.] ;W[hg] ;B[jc] ;W[rf] ;B[sf] ;W[kk] ;B[hl] ;W[kl] ;B[kj] ;W[jj] ;B[jk] ;W[ji] ;B[ld] ;W[qc] ;B[rc] ;W[md] ;B[km] ;W[ll] ;B[ld] ;W[pb] ;B[md] ;W[rb] ;B[sb] ;W[qa] ;B[mb] ;W[ma] ;B[kc] ;W[ps] ;B[os] ;W[qs] ;B[or] ;W[dr] ;B[kh]LB[mg:B][lh:A]C[Very good endgame move. It is not easy for white to block because of the A / B cut.] ;W[ii] ;B[ik] ;W[lj] ;B[li] ;W[lh] ;B[ki] ;W[mj] ;B[mi] ;W[ni] ;B[ng] ;W[nh] ;B[bn] ;W[cn] ;B[bm] ;W[cl] ;B[al] ;W[bo] ;B[bd] ;W[ab] ;B[gf] ;W[am] ;B[fl] ;W[an] ;B[lo] ;W[hs]C[This endgame was brilliant. ] ;B[fs] ;W[hq] ;B[ip] ;W[fr] ;B[er] ;W[en] ;B[fn] ;W[gs] ;B[fo] ;W[es] ;B[jr] ;W[ra] ;B[hr] ;W[sg] ;B[sh] ;W[hq] ;B[ds] ;W[cs] ;B[hr] ;W[ds] ;B[is] ;W[fs] ;B[mp] ;W[sm] ;B[rl] ;W[sk]C[Note this endgame tesuji. Black cannot block or he finds himself with a lack of liberties !] (;B[sj] ;W[sl] ;B[rk] ;W[sn] ;B[op] ;W[se] ;B[sd] ;W[he] ;B[hd] ;W[hf] ;B[gg] ;W[gh] ;B[ja] ;W[fa] ;B[la] ;W[ka] ;B[kb] ;W[na] ;B[la] ;W[eh] ;B[ci] ;W[bi] ;B[oc] ;W[od] ;B[pg] ;W[ge] ;B[fe] ;W[fg] ;B[ff] ;W[di] ;B[ph] ;W[pi] ;B[dg] ;W[ln] ;B[kn] ;W[nk] ;B[ih] ;W[hh] ;B[ia] ;W[ha] ;B[ae] ;W[af] ;B[mf] ;W[ie] ;B[lm] ;W[ok] ;B[oe] ;W[oc] ;B[jd] ;W[] ;B[] ;W[]) (;B[sl] ;W[rk] ;B[sn] ;W[ql]LB[rj:A][sm:B])) (;B[ek] ;W[fj] ;B[fk] ;W[gj] ;B[hl] ;W[dj]LB[fk:A][hl:B]SQ[dd]C[The black stone in top right would be under severe attack. A and B are greed.])) (;W[dm] ;B[em] ;W[el] ;B[dl]LB[cn:A]C[There is a severe weakness at A ] ;W[cn] ;B[fl]C[Easy for black to contain white.])) (;B[pi] ;W[oi]LB[qi:A][ml:B][nq:C]C[There are too many problems.])) (;W[kf] ;B[if] ;W[kh] ;B[ih] ;W[kj] ;B[dd]C[There is not much potential left for white on left side.])) (;B[qo] ;W[on] ;B[po] ;W[rm] ;B[om]C[Another game.] ;W[pl])) (;W[qj]C[White may prefer to take the extension immediatly. Approaching the lower hoshi will be pincered.] ;B[qh] ;W[qn] ;B[ql] ;W[on] ;B[nq] ;W[rp] ;B[pk] ;W[qq] ;B[kq]LB[pj:A]C[This is one of the multiple standard follow-ups. Black still needs to add a move at A eventually.]))

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