One of the best features of KGS is KGS Plus. I nearly always listen in on Guo Juan’s as well as Yilun Yang’s lectures each month. One thing that really struck me in one of Yilun Yang’s lectures was how much he emphasized the importance of patience. Lately I’ve been improving a bit and winning a good number of my games. I was surprised how many of these games I was able to win when I was unquestionably behind. If I were to attribute these wins to anything it would be patience.

By patience I don’t mean timid play. By patience I just mean not playing compulsively - to play only solid moves and to simply wait for real opportunities instead of trying to force them from nothing. Time and time again in my games I find that my opponent will play one slack move giving me a clear window to pounce and gain a significant advantage. And in so many of my losing games time and time again I see my own compulsive desires to be clever or create a complication that inevitably leads to a loss because the outcome was never clear to begin with.

Yilun Yang often refers to this kind of play as “gambling”.

One thing that’s really, really driven home the value of patience is handicap games. Handicap games against lower ranked players used to give me anxiety but now I view them as a kind of treat. Every handicap game is a delightful lesson in how to win a lost game. While it might seem that handicap games would require trick moves and overplays, all you need is a taste for light play and a healthy portion of patience. The rank difference means the opponent will surely play some inefficient moves and you absolutely cannot let these slide.

But this is exactly the kind of attention to detail you need in even games too!

Next time in your game when you’re a bit behind and are considering starting complications, instead patiently wait it out and keep an eye out for that slack move then pounce!