Lesson 144: Learning From Review
Reviewing your own games is an excellent method of improving your understanding of Baduk. You can do it by yourself, with your opponent, or with the help of stronger players. When you review professionals' games, you can also think about possible better moves, criticize wrong moves, and learn their brilliant moves in fighting, etc. However, all these will be quite imaginary for you, and it is harder to keep the wisdom gained from another's game than the one from your own.
The first step in reviewing is to memorize your own game. You can get help from a recorder, or you can do it yourself while playing the game with paper and pencil, or even an electric game recording device. I recommend using as few of these aids as possible, relying only on your own memory. It is not easy at first, of course. However, if you keep on trying, you will be able to draw a logical map which will show you the paths you took. If all the moves you played in a game are made from proper reasoning, it will be difficult to forget what you thought at a specific moment of a game.
To record a game yourself while playing is not the same as using the GPS in a car or the spell-check in a computer. You cannot learn anything from the recording itself, and it is valuable only when you use it after the game. Also, to keep recording while playing can be pretty disruptive to your game. On the contrary, if you try to remember your moves without any other help, you can focus on the game and learn to reason on your own as well. I highly recommend that you record your game afterward, relying on your reasoning.
The next step is the reviewing itself. It is much better to have someone stronger than you and your opponent when you're reviewing. The question is what to review.
Usually a review focuses on the mistakes of both players. People want to know if there was a chance to change the result of the game. Therefore, most of the time, people spend their energy trying to find out the loser's mistakes. However, this kind of reviewing would be more local than general. You can also miss the chance to raise the level of your ordinary moves to brilliant ones. Sometimes you have to blame not the individual mistakes, but the entire plan or strategy. Sometimes it is more gainful to appreciate the winner's good moves than to be sorry about the loser's bad moves.
It is also necessary to be realistic when you're reviewing. The purpose of reviewing isn't to console the loser. You may feel like saying, "if I played this, I would have won," but if is only if. More often than not, the winners agree with the losers just not to upset them and their "I was lucky" is a politeness. Please keep in mind that a review is not another game, but a learning process.
The writer is a baduk professor at Myongji University and a professional player of the game.