My Blog List

Friday, August 12, 2011

2011 US Go Congress: Wrap-up - Part 2

In the afternoon, Bill, Kalinda, and I played our last club team match against the Orange County Go Club, whose team comprised of Curtis 7-dan, Gansheng 7-dan, and Calvin 7-dan. :P As though that weren't bad enough, Curtis was the North American Masters finalist, losing out to 13 year old Ziyang Hu 1P of China in the last game, and Gansheng and Calvin were the finalists in this year's Redmond Cup for the strongest youth players. So yeah, not your average 7-dan players. Kalinda got 20 points reverse komi in addition to 9 stones in her game against Calvin and lost by 31, Bill was absolutely wrecked by Gansheng, and I was forced to resign at 6 stones against Curtis. Oh well.

After the last round of soccer in the afternoon, came the award ceremony and banquet. I won my section in the Die Hard tournament, which I expected, having gone undefeated. I was surprised to find that I had also won first place in the 1-dan section of the US Open, getting a certificate from the Korean Baduk Association.

Deborah, a friend of mine from the AGA summer camp I attended at Mills College in high school, did the inscription of my name inside. :)

So these are all the awards I wound up with. Later on, I found out I had won the US Open tiebreaker with Kevin, because he had taken a forfeit win in the first round. The universe works in strange ways, sometimes. Initially, I was actually paired with the guy who forfeited, before the TDs had to redo the pairings because of other errors. The guy who I did get paired with, Jack, won all of his remaining games to go 5-1 and take third place.

9-Dan Showdown is the book I got with my vendor certificates; it covers the ten-game matches between Go Seigen and Fujisawa Kuranosuke. I hope to post my thoughts on the material in the near future.

This is the fan I purchased on the second to last day, as a symbol of my becoming a dan player. Pretty meaningless, since it won't help me play better, but I still like the motto on it.
The characters read SEKISHIN in Japanese or SHIXIN in Chinese, which translates as "Stone mind". Supposedly, the idea is "to reach a state like a heart inside a stone". It was written by Otake Hideo, a professional I admire for his aesthetic style. I believe Takemiya said of him, "He will not play ugly moves for love nor money.", which is something I hope to emulate one day.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

2011 US Go Congress: Wrap-up - Part 1

Some crazy stuff happened at the end of this Congress, which took a while for me to process, so I'm posting about it in two parts.

My last day did not start off especially well, when I found out the AGA's meal plan for my residence hall didn't cover Saturday's breakfast. I paid with my debit card anyway, not wanting to play the final US Open game on an empty stomach; this turned out to be a good move.

I really wanted to win the last game, since I figured going 5-1 would surpass my previous Congress best of 4-2 and assure me a spot in the top three of the division. The kid who had beaten me Thursday, Kevin, had also won against the only other 4-0 player (Brady) in the division on Friday, so I figured he was guaranteed first place. Since Brady and I were both 4-1 now, we were paired for the last game, so I was hoping to win it and get second place.

The game itself turned out to be a little anti-climactic. It seemed as though he were playing on insufficient sleep, and I got an early advantage. Then he played way too aggressively, and I killed his group to force a resignation. Afterwards, I played a self-paired game against a guy I'd met at a Bay Area tournament and won, achieving a winning record of 3-2 in the self-paired tournament. This made me feel better about my overall performance at this Congress, so I was pretty happy at this point. A lot more happened in the afternoon, however.

Friday, August 5, 2011

2011 US Go Congress: Day 7

Won my US Open game today, against a remarkably weak Japanese 2 dan. I also won two self-paired games, both against people I knew, taking 2 stones in one and giving 2 in the other.

In more exciting news, the Santa Cruz Go Club team advances to play an all-7 dan team in the final match of the club team tournament! There is literally insufficient handicap to make it competitive, so we're thinking about asking for reverse komi as well. Bill and Kalinda have done well up to this point, including winning their games today to get us to the final. (I didn't play, because the other team's first board forfeited due to other commitments.) Still, playing against 7 dans is a different proposition altogether. Funnily enough, one of the tournament organizers told me that the all-dan player team that went up against them in the previous round couldn't manage better than a 1.5 point loss between the three of them :P

Tomorrow's the last day of Congress, with the final games of the US Open and the awards banquet afterward. Obviously, I'd like to win my last game and go out on a high note, but I've had a great time this week no matter what happens.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

2011 US Go Congress: Day 6

Had my first loss in the US Open today; also lost a self-paired game. But at least the games were fun and interesting, unlike yesterday.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

2011 US Go Congress: Day 5

I think I've offended the god of Go; maybe I should make some kind of offering or sacrifice. After my frustration yesterday, I decided to play in the Die Hard tournament, which is a 4 round tournament for those who don't have other things to do on the day off, in hopes of getting some good games. Instead I got a series of progressively less interesting games, until I was so bored I wanted to cry.

My Congress roommate Kfir made the first game at least a little enjoyable by catching me in a joseki mistake and nearly killing my corner, but I counterattacked and killed him instead. Then to make the second round game interesting, I played 5-5, tengen, and 5-5 in succession. We both played abysmally, but I caught my opponent in an endgame error and won by 8.5 points. The third game was the worst by far, however. After a fairly normal opening, I began attacking a dragon and building territory around it with no risk to myself. My opponent used up all his allotted 45 minutes without really playing moves that were worth thinking hard about, so I used only 11 minutes and spent most of the time waiting for him to make a decent move or resign. By the end, his dragon was 25 stones long and still had no eyes! The only reason I didn't bother trying harder to kill it was because I already had enough points to win. Then to cap off my crappy day, my fourth round opponent didn't show (he'd gone 0-2 and then forfeited the third round too) so I didn't even get to play. I wanted to go 4-0, but not like that. Like I said earlier, I think I've pissed off some higher power. Oh well. I'm sure my fourth US Open opponent will be a tough challenge, since it's likely they'll be 3-0 as well. Looking forward to it!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

2011 US Go Congress: Day 4

Today was frustrating; I won my US Open game to reach 3-0, but found myself wishing my opponent had been more of a challenge. Be careful what you wish for though, I guess. I went 3-0 at the 2008 US Open, before losing my 4th game by 2.5 points and then dropping the next two to go 3-3. Still, part of the reason Go is fun is that you can learn interesting things from a strong opponent.

The second club team match was today, and we won out over a Seattle club! Funnily enough, their first board was my US Open opponent from the morning. I opened with tengen to make it more interesting, which I regretted later. I felt that as team captain, I should go for a safer win over a person I already knew how to beat. Fortunately, I won even more convincingly the second time, and Bill won his game to seal the match. Like the first match, when I looked at it, the game seemed clearly lost. But clearly Kalinda inherited her comeback ability from her father, since he pulled it out.

I got a series of lessons in humility in the afternoon, getting absolutely wrecked in a simul against Yilun Yang 7P and playing terribly in soccer to boot. Good thing tomorrow is the designated day off, I think I need some time to get my mental state back in order.

Monday, August 1, 2011

2011 US Go Congress: Day 3

Pretty crazy day. Started it off by winning my US Open game, which featured several weak groups and a lot of fighting. Then I wandered around for a bit before getting lunch and playing my first self-paired game of this Congress. (I lost)

In the afternoon, I played soccer again. Did a bit better as goalie, only allowed one goal (and it was like one on five -_-;), and I scored a goal when I was playing forward. Somehow the final score ended up 5-5 though.

The evening was the lightning tournament, with ten minutes of time per player. I just played 5-5 and tengen openings; won 2 and lost 2. There were two adults and two grade school brothers in my group. If you can't figure out who I lost to, refer to the end of my very first post. ;)

After the lightning tournament came the club team tournament. I signed up with Bill and his daughter Kalinda, who are 5 kyu and 18 kyu respectively, to represent the Santa Cruz area, because there were so few of us who had played or lived there. This turned out to be the craziest part of my day. Our first opponents were 5 dan, 4 dan, and 2 dan, so even with handicaps, I expected us to lose. However, my pride as team captain kept me playing, even though I was exhausted, and I managed to just barely win the final crucial fight. Now, I figured our best bet to win the match would be for Bill to scrape out a win from the 4 dan, since he was taking eight stones. Unfortunately, he lost around the same time I won. And when I looked at Kalinda's board, it seemed as though she were losing, so I assumed the match was over and started reviewing my game with my opponent. Next thing I know, Kalinda had reversed the game, winning us the match 2-1! Never underestimate kids who play Go....