|Table of contents||Table of diagrams
My "interesting" move
Move 123 - my probe
Monkey jump - normal continuation
Move 146 - The trap is sprung!
Computers make me feel stupid.
Invade and make points
Uberdude makes me feel stupid, too. :D
The ratings are finally in from the 2005 Cotsen Go Tournament. I helped run the tournament, but I also entered as a shodan and went 3-2. It was enough to push my rating to shodan. I think I would play better if I didn't have to worry about running the tournament.
Making shodan was one of my goals when I started, but now that I have, it doesn't feel like I'm strong. I still have problems reading, and I still am mystified by pro play. I also feel like I'm not spending enough time studying to really become strong.
Jon Boley mentioned to me that getting stronger was a matter of priorities. "Do you really want to get stronger?" he asked me. "Then you need to push yourself, and commit more time to Go." He was trying to convince me to go to the US Go Congress this year. I won't be able to make it, though, because a friend's getting married.
I'm looking for a new goal, now, to help me focus my effort. I want to play in the US Open, or at the open level of one of the tournaments. This means that I would need to reach 6 dan. There are a lot of strong players in the Los Angeles area, so even trying to be the best in my city would be really hard. It'd be easier to make it to the Open.
In the interim, I think I'm going to concentrate on consistency. I'm going to give up on blitz games, and raise my KGS (7k) and IGS (5k*) ratings to something respectable. I think I'm underrated, and I don't play online much. My last game on IGS was in November 2004.
Koreangrl8: Congratulations on making shodan.!! ^-^
Chris Hayashida: Thanks. Now I'll just have to get my other ratings up. :)
This weekend, I went to Las Vegas to play in the 3rd Toyota & Denso World Go Oza. I wasn't going to go, but my friend Ryan convinced me. After I decided to go, two other people from the club needed rides, so the three of us left late Friday night for the tournament. We didn't arrive until 2 AM.
Before this weekend, I hadn't played serious games lately. I've mostly been playing teaching games on beginner's night at the club. I didn't think my Go was in top form. I entered as shodan, but I wasn't sure that I would be able to maintain my shodan rating.
My first game, I played against Tom Tamura from Santa Barbara. I screwed up in the first corner and my group died. I couldn't believe it. "Just great," I thought. "What a way to start out a tournament!" I fought back hard and made a huge territory which almost offset the loss of the group. Just as we were beginning the endgame, my opponent played on another key point in one of my groups. The whole time, I thought that group was safe. I sat there, shaking my head, and trying to figure out whether or not to resign. A friend happened to come by and saw the game, and realized that it died, too. He shrugged and left.
I sat there and read for five minutes. I just wasn't ready to resign. I think this was the most time I had spent reading out a position. I found a tesuji. Using the aji of the first dead group, I was able to live because of damezumari. I ended up winning the game.
Even though I won, I felt like I had "stolen" a game. Since I recorded the game on my Palm, I had a couple of stronger players look at it. I suspected that there was a better answer then the one my opponent played. They looked at the position, and confirmed that it was a good move, and that there wasn't a better answer for Black.
Update: I posted the position as Tsumego from Games 64.
I played the next game against Tom Xu, a friend from the Chinese Go Club. He's 2-dan now, but I think he's been stronger than me since we met. There are a lot of strong players from his club, so I suspect he gets more practice than I do. One of them is an 8-year-old that is 3-dan already. So I'm only 25 years behind him if I make it to 3-dan by my birthday. :)
Anyway, the game went all right. We both ended up with huge territories, and I ended up with problems from the counting and I think I flubbed the endgame. I lost by 11.5. I made a mental note to practice counting more. I think it would make it more reliable. I probably should send this game to the Go Teaching Ladder. I think there's good study material here.
I played the final game of the day against Eric Chaput, another shodan. I held black, so I thought I'd have an advantage. I started with the Chinese Opening, but because of the way he played, I ended up approaching one of his komoku, and changed the dynamic of the game. He expanded quickly and starting making a huge moyo.
I played a splitting invasion. I thought it would attack the groups on both sides, but my invading group had to run for its life. I thought it was okay because I thought I could pressure one or both of the groups. I had read out the running fight to a point, but it got really complicated really quickly.
I managed to get sente to descend and threaten the two groups. My opponent responded incorrectly and his group died. There was a counterinvasion that I had to fend off, but after I managed to kill the invading stones, my opponent resigned.
I ended up 2-1 after the first day of the tournament. I beat two shodan, and lost to a 2-dan. I was happy with the result. I decided that it is a lot easier to play when you don't have to organize the tournament. It was especially nice to be able to relax after finishing my game, instead of worrying about boards, clocks, disputes, or the hundreds of other things that go wrong when running a tournament.
My first game of the day was against Gong Fu Ming, whom I had played previously. I played against him in the Cotsen Go Tournament last year. I lost that time because he killed one of my groups. I expanded ferociously and caught up. I still lost, but it was close. In post-game analysis, Rui Wang looked over my game and saw that my group wasn't dead. It was ko-for-life. My tremendous effort to come back (and fall short) was wasted. It sort of took the wind out of my sails, though.
This time, game was going rather well. I was ahead on points, but the other player was pressing the attack. He seemed to like invading a lot. I was able to fend him off, but he was starting to get more and more power on the board, and the game was proving more and more difficult.
The worst part was that I somehow forgot to hit my clock, so both of us had been playing on my clock. I entered the 20-second byouyomi in the early endgame. I'm not great at the endgame, and I definitely cannot play the oyose well in 20-second byouyomi. I did count the board, though, and found that I was a little ahead. Since I started speeding up, my opponent did as well. I think he didn't want me to be able to use his time to think. He ended up making a mistake, though, and I cut off and killed one of his groups. He pressed on the attack, and I kept backpedalling. I was trying to play safe, and not lose too many points. Stones were cut off, and groups were made into seki. In the end, I had won by 4.5. I could tell that my opponent was pissed. I later found out that he was badmouthing me after the game. :(
I was 3-1 going into game 5. My friend Ryan Downing, who convinced me to go to the tournament, was 4-0. His AGA rating is 1 kyu, but I think it's lagging behind his strength. He usually takes white or gives me two stones when we play at the club. We were paired against each other for game 5. We played even. I held black.
I don't really know how to describe the game. Ryan invaded a lot, but he seemed to manage his groups ok and made my shape overconcentrated. I sort of felt pushed around. I managed to win, but I'm still mystified how it happened. Looking at the game record, I still can't figure out where the tide turned. I think this will be an interesting game to analyze later.
After game 5, I was 4-1. Ryan was also 4-1, along with two other players in our group. For game 6, I was paired with Chris Kirschner. I held white, against a 3-dan!
Chris was the first person at the tournament I had played that stuck to joseki. No surprises, no weird moves, just standard play. I managed to answer all right, but I could feel that I was slipping further and further behind in the opening. I bet it all to attack one of his groups in exchange for letting him get a huge moyo. The attack failed, and I ended up resigning. Chris was generous enough to go over the game with me. It was interesting to see what his thought process was. It was a good experience, but I was sad to see my chances for an award slip away with this loss.
I don't quite understand how the tie-breakers work. My only losses were to a 2-dan and a 3-dan. Three other players in the division went 5-1. I think, though, since I played stronger players, the tie-breakers went in my favor. I ended up placing 1st. I won my first Go trophy. I also received credit good towards the Go Congress. Suddenly, going to the Go Congress seems like more and more of a possibility...
As one of the prizes, I also won a Go book. I chose The ABC's of Attack and Defense by Michael Redmond. I just started reading it, but I like it so far. That reminds me, I need to put up my list of book recommendations. I like David Carlton's Go Bibliography but I think I want to make a list of just the books (that I think) you need to buy, instead of trying to review every book that's out there.
I hope that this tournament will help my rating. I think it would be quite neat to be 2-dan for the next tournament.
Should you play when you're tired? I went to the club tonight, and I played a few games, but with only three hours sleep over the past three nights. For work, I have been staying up late to talk with clients in Japan, and I still had to wake up early to make it to work on time the next day.
Needless to say, the games sucked. I would like to say it was errors due to lack of sleep, but it was more than that. It was just plain old laziness. I didn't bother to read to see if I could be cut, nor did I look for problems in my connection. The part that pissed me off the most is that I played two quick games against one of the players at the club and lost both, so the next game is kadoban back to even.
Sometimes I wonder if I should play at all, but it seems like a waste to go to the club only to watch. Other people don't even have a club in their area, so I should be thankful, and get as many games as I can, even if they are bad ones. It's just really annoying to play badly...
The AGA ratings have finally been updated for the 3rd Toyota/Denso North American Oza Western Division. The AGA ratings were updated rather quickly with the results from tournament in New York, but the results from the Las Vegas tournament weren't submitted until this week. According to the AGA ratings system, my rating is 2.02903. I am now 2-dan. Barely.
Now I have to decide if I want to go to Santa Barbara later in the month for another tournament.
I had to travel to Grand Junction, Colorado on business. It's cold there. Because I was out of town, I couldn't go to the Go club. I ended up playing one game on KGS, but didn't really have time for Go. I managed to string together four wins in a row on KGS. They've been over the past month, though.
While I was sitting around in the hotel room, I realized that on my notebook, I had the PDF for "How to Play Against Stronger Players, Volume 2." I ended up playing through the first game and recording it and the variations on my Palm. I found that the first game has a lot of mistakes! In the variations explored, there is a stone that shifts on the board. As a result, I don't know how valid the moves are. I guess pros make mistakes, too. It's just odd to see a mistake published in a "Super Book" from the Nihon Ki-in.
I got home at 8:00 PM today, so there was no time to play Go. I had to pay a few bills, and try and get to bed at a decent hour. I logged on to KGS briefly, only to find that my rating has become 7k? - it's no longer a solid rating. :(
I think this means I need to play more.
Got home late again. Happened to look at an archived copy of Sensei's Library on Tour and saw that in October 2003 I was 7 kyu AGA. I guess I have come further along than I thought I did, but it really doesn't seem like it.
I get whistful, though, thinking that I could have gotten even stronger if I only had more time...
Last night, I played a game with a friend. It was kadoban to even. (I was white, no komi.) I kept counting the board in the endgame, and I was ahead, so I played safe and didn't play a few kos for a few extra points. We counted the game, and I ended up losing by four points. It was weird. Both of us counted as the game was winding down, and both of us thought I was ahead. I even tried to double-check the count on my Palm, but PilotGOne reported that black won by 30 points. (Stupid scoring bug!) I was pissed, more for my error in my skill in counting than for the loss itself.
After I got home, I looked at the game record. I uploaded it onto my PC. According to the game record, white wins by one point.
Something must have happened when counting on the board. I also ran out of stones during the game, so it's possible that something happened during the prisoner exchange. Anyway, it just makes me feel worse.
The final straw is that I can't actually bitch to any of my friends about it. I tried, and I ended up explaining end-of-game counting and leaving my non-Go-playing friends more confused, and me no more comforted. :(
I guess, in the grand scheme of things, this means that my board counting is better than I thought during the game. I just need to work on my counting at the end of the game. :)
Anyway, thanks for listening. Has this happened to anyone else?
Well, I finally got to play on KGS this weekend. I managed to pull my rating up to 6k before torpedoing it with a handful of blitz games. I dropped down to 8k, and managed to win a number of slower games to get it back to 7k again.
I really shouldn't play blitz. I think winning often feels undeserved, and the time losses just suck. It's definitely an adrenaline rush, but I don't think it's good for my game.
I might have to swear it off again.
Well, I got on to play four games while I was doing laundry. The first two games were rushed, and I spun out of control and didn't do so well. After my laundry was in the dryer, I played two more games. They were relaxed, and it felt like I was in control the entire game.
I just hope that I can start off this way, instead of having a number of bad "warmup games" every time I sit down to play.
Today at the club, I played my first game with Tony. He's one of the strongest players at the club, and is hovering right around AGA 6-dan. It's strange, but it seems like he avoids playing me. I'm not sure why.
I was happy to finally get a game. We started a 3-stone game, since I am 2-dan AGA and he is currently 5-dan. I did really well, I think. I had good shape, and fought to stay in the game. I managed rather well, I thought, and even saved a group that had been cut off. I was pushing to get ahead in the endgame and win the game. I ignored a small move after he pushed forward. I read out the variations: a cut across the waist of a keima, the wedge, and a few others. I was safe. I played a monkey jump, the biggest move left on the board. Tony pushed through and cut. It was the one move (and the simplest!) that I didn't bother looking at. I flailed a bit trying to salvage something, but in the end, the mistake cost me the game. Looking at the game record afterwards, it probably would still be hard to win the game, but at least I would have made a better showing. :(
Eric invites some of the members of the Go club to his beach party during the summer. This time, it happened rather late, and we ended up going in September. I brought along Yuan, Patti, and Aeris. Yuan played a bit online, but Patti and Aeris had never played before. I brought along a couple small boards, and we managed to get Aeris and Patti to play a game. They did rather well. I was impressed. I have to remember to get a board so they can play together.
Yuan had his own face-to-face game against one of the other beginning players. He had a hard fought game. He killed a large group in the center of the board, so I thought the game would be over. Later, though, he missed a threat and the group was freed and lived. However, he got to play a move to substantially reduce the other player's territory. It was a battle that went back and forth. Yuan ended up winning. I think it was his first win, and it was great to see. The game took two hours, though, and he had to leave afterwards.
I got in a game with Tom. It was good to play him again. I think we left things off where he had actually beaten me back to taking two stones. We played an even game, and I had to go back to basics. I used to play against him and invite diagonal openings, and try and work against his strengths. When I held black, I was doing really well with the Chinese Opening, so I switch and started experimenting. This time, though, was back to basics. While I didn't play the Chinese Opening, I did make an effort to play for the outside and get influence. I won handily, by over twenty points.
I missed out on the team game this year. I guess I'll play next year.
I started a new KGS account, hayashida. It's actually an old one, but one that I hadn't used for a long time. The rating went ?, so I figured it would be good to use for a blitz account. I ended up taking a picture of my hanko, a Japanese stamp Mayumi gave me with my name on it. I thought the picture was pretty cool. I started a blitz game against the computer. I barely won. The funny thing, though, was that my rating jumped up to 3d?. I'm sure it'll adjust, but it's fun to have a "strong" account on KGS.
While not Go-related per se, I started working on the registration for the Cotsen Go Tournament. That reminds me, I need to work on a Sensei's Library page for the tournament. I spent the past two days entering the pre-registration information into the computer. In case you happen to be reading this, please pre-register. It makes things go more smoothly at the tournament. I showed up with Ryan at the hotel downtown to set up the boards, clocks, and whatever else. When Chuck got back from dinner, we had to go over all the names I had pre-registered. Apparently there was a new tdlistn.txt file that wasn't posted on the web site. By the time we finished, it was already 2 AM.
Registration was a mess. After inputting all that data, Chuck left his computer up in his room while he went to breakfast. We were stuck waiting for him while he was still eating. Next time, we need to set up a computer specifically for registration. All in all, though, we weren't delayed too badly. There were a few mistakes in pairing, and they had to reprint a couple times, but other than that, it seemed to go okay. We were still late by an hour.
After the SNAFU of the registration, we started our first game. I played Joel Sanet, 2d. I held white. I don't know that I opened well, and I felt like I fell behind. My invading group lived, but I gave him an outside wall. I think my invasion skills need to be honed. I make groups that live, but it's nowhere near the beautiful sabaki that the pros make. As we were pushing in the endgame, I made a move that threatened to cut as well as push into his territory. He protected his territory, and I cut off his group. I was back in the game. In byouyomi, though, my endgame appears to be rather slack. I lost by a half point. :(
I played Scott Dossey, 1d, for my second game. I held black. BTW, I think this is one of the things that is interesting about the pairing system that winTD uses. It's set to pair even games against those one stone stronger or weaker. Essentially, it makes the handicap one less for games between players of different strength. It's supposed to increase the variance in the system, and it helps figure out the correct AGA rating more quickly for each player.
Anyway, I held black against Scott. I started with the Chinese Opening, and I don't think Scott ever managed a successful invasion. I managed to dumpling his group. Even though he stabilized it, I was leading on the board. He started to get power towards the center, so I played to reduce the middle. When I managed that, I started an attack against one of his weak groups, cut it off, killed it, and won by resignation.
For the third game, I played Ryan. I think I got too comfortable playing against him. We played without a clock. I think that was a bad idea. Usually, when I play with a clock, I tend to use all of my time. Without the clock, I think I picked up the pace of the game.
Things were going okay. I was getting a significant amount of territory at the edge of the board, but Ryan was starting to get a large middle. This seems to be the theme of our games as of late. Anyway, he pushed on one of my groups, and I responded. He pushed again, and for some reason, I tenukied. We played a few moves on the other side of the board. When he got sente and played again against my group, my position crumbled. I was pissed. I have no idea why I tenukied, or what I was thinking. ARRGH! I stumbled around a bit trying to get some foothold, but the game was over. I lost by resignation.
Some people went out for dinner afterwards. It sounded like a good idea, but I think the last thing I wanted to do was talk about Go after the games I had. The half-point loss was bad enough, but I was still pissed about the crummy game I played. (I wasn't mad at Ryan. He played really well. I was just pissed that I played so poorly.) I went to Patti's instead. We watched a couple episodes of Lost. I think it helped me decompress. It was probably was better for my morale.
Day 2 seemed to start better. We did better on the pre-registration, but we had to hold registration so that a few players could make it for the open section. This year, the pro demonstration game was held in the morning, so that players could arrive later. We need to schedule a check-in time, so that players that don't want to see the pro game will still be there an hour early so we can start setting up the games. We started a half hour late, but it wasn't too bad.
I held black against Wu Peng, 2d. He is one of Rui's friends. I was running around helping everyone with clocks and making sure the games were set up. When I finally made it to the table for my game, my opponent immediated started the clock. I didn't think it was polite, since I was running around trying to get everything working. Cut me a little slack! It turned out that Mr. Yang told him it was okay to start the clock if his opponent didn't show, not realizing that I was his opponent. Mr. Yang apologized at dinner. It's okay, though. I think he was within his rights, but I thought I should be extended some time as courtesy.
We fought, and I played an odd variation to the faux "Magic Sword" joseki and was pushed around. I didn't know the variation where Black cuts anyway, and then White sacrifices the corner group for lots of outside influence. I'll have to remember that one for next time.
I managed okay, but it wasn't great. He started to get a huge middle, so I made a move that thrust into the center. It ended up being miai for killing his group or capturing cutting stones and breaking into the center. He played a few odd moves, but then didn't play the correct move to defend his group. I could have killed his group, but, under time pressure, I played the wrong move and forced him to live. I had to settle for breaking into his center. I lost by seven points.
I knew Jon from when he played at the Santa Monica Go Club some time ago. He was taking lessons from Jeong-sensei and was a star pupil. He was getting rather strong. Then, for some reason, he stopped playing. I think we were around 5 kyu at the time. Since then, I made 2-dan. I was happy to see him at the tournament. Apparently he started taking lessons from Jeong again. He entered as shodan.
I held white. The opening seemed a little odd. I approached his corner instead of taking the last empty corner. I spent a lot more time in the opening than I do normally, since I was trying to figure out why he was playing this way. I even read out a variation that depended on a ladder, and realized that the ladder didn't work, so I changed joseki. It turned out later that I had the variation wrong, tho, and the ladder was in my favor. :(
I misplayed a situation on the side, and instead of winning a capture outright, it was ko. I played a threat against his corner, but got nothing for it. It helps when you play your ko threats correctly!
To salvage the position, I sealed off the lefthand side and went for a huge moyo. He had to invade, and I started to make his group heavy. He had to run out and connect, while also ensuring that my territory did not get too large. It was an epic battle. He thought he had an eye at the edge of the board, but I found a way to falsify it. His only hope was a counterattack against my group. I had read that out, and had a sequence that would make sure that I had life. It was probably the deepest that I read the entire tournament.
"Well, I guess that's it," he said. I thought he had resigned, so I was scribbling away the game in my Palm. It was a pretty big kill, 41 stones.
He said that he wanted to play it out, and played a move. I responded incorrectly, since I didn't see the move he had played. suddenly it was a semeai between our groups. He offered to let me take back the move. We actually played out a couple variations from there. The first variation, I ended up living anyway. By that time, the clock had already expired, and we had turned it off. With proper play, though, the center lives in seki, and I lose the game because I have no other points.
I wasn't in the money, so I told Jonathan that he could take the win. I'm kind of bitter, though, because I wanted the win to keep my rating up. Even if I went 2-3, though, I doubt I'd stay a 2-dan. My AGA rating is 2.010, so it would most likely drop, even at 2-3.
Well, after the game, I had to get back to running the tournament. There was a problem, though. Chuck's computer crashed and corrupted all of the game data! Crap! We had to figure out the awards by hand, and it was a mess. Reminder to self to bring a stable computer for the ratings for next time.
We managed, but it wasn't pretty. I missed the entire awards ceremony because we were frantically trying to figure out the rest of the awards.
Jeong-sensei won first place! It was a big deal when he lost to Jie Li, but it was a close game. I couldn't really tell what he was doing, but it seemed (to me) that he was reaching. He had a lot of territory, and it looked to me like it was enough, assuming that he could solidify and hold on. There was a ko to cut off one of his groups, and a ko for life on another group. He won both ko, but suffered heavy losses for them. He lost by resign. I thought that would have been it, but Jie Li lost his last game by a half point. As a result, the tiebreakers were in Jeong-sensei's favor.
A side note on tiebreakers: I think next year we are going to really limit who is allowed into the open section. There were a few players that were weak, and some of the top players "lost" because they played against them. The SOS ratings were low because of the pairings. I don't know the best way to fix this, but I suspect that we'll require a 6.0 AGA rating (or maybe, with discretion, a 5.9 or 5.8) before you are allowed to play in the open.
Ryan won second place in our division. He lost his last game to a 2-dan that went undefeated. He suspects that the 2-dan was underrated. Jon won third.
I ended up 1-4 for the weekend. With a little different turn of events, I could have been 4-1. I think the only game where I never had a chance was the game against Ryan. I need to play more carefully against him. I suspect my rating will drop to shodan. I guess that isn't a big deal, but it means that I'll need to play more cautiously in the next tournament.
Hard to believe that I haven't updated this since March. I think I forgot about it. I made a slew of posts and back-dated them, just to have a record of what I've been doing in the past months.
I have been playing blitz games when I can, and after initially screwing up a bit, the account has settled at 3k. My "normal" account is at 2k, since I haven't had time to play as many "normal" games as I would like. It's sort of surprising that they are so close. I used to be really bad at blitz, and I guess I'm getting a little more stable.
I also started playing on IGS. I was sick of watching pro games and having other observers gripe about the comments of kyu players. I figure it's time to work on the account and get it up to dan-level. I spent the past few nights playing some games on there, and with the new glGo client, I am able to see my instantaneously my new rating on the new IGS system. I was less than 100 points from the promotion level, so I knew that if I won a game, it would promote me to 4k. It took me three games, one loss and two wins, but I finally did it. I am now 4k on IGS.
One thing I noticed is that I have to be careful about using the "seek" command on IGS. It's new with the new version of glGo, but some of the pairings have reverse komi. I haven't been paying attention to komi.
It's been a while since my last entry. I haven't been playing Go competitively in quite a while, mostly due to the dearth of tournaments in the Los Angeles area.
Tonight, the Santa Monica Go Club had its anniversary party. We used the money we won from the Cotsen Go Tournament to throw the party. We had a large showing, and it was a lot of fun.
One of the highlights of the night was the simul games. Jong In Jeong, a strong player from the Korean club downtown, came and played a number of simul games. Jeong-sensei won the Cotsen Open last year. He is rated 8-dan. Four boards were set up, and he played four players of shodan or higher level at one time. As one player would be crushed, another would sit down and start a game with him. Most of our club members were crushed in the middle game. Several members wanted to see me play, so I finally sat down at one of the boards.
At first, I place six stones, since that was what the person next to me started with. Jeong-sensei looked at it and said it was too many. I placed five. One of the 5-dans at the club said to Jeong-sensei, "He's rather strong. He should only play with four." I was surprised. It was nice to hear that the stronger players at the club think highly of me. We ended up playing a four-stone game.
It's odd. I knew I was going to be manhandled. It was unsettling to sit down at the board and know that a huge fight would be coming. The game commenced. I opened well, and thought that my position was good. I did know that an invasion into my sanrensei was coming, but I thought I was prepared.
I attacked his stone when he approached my lone stone on the hoshi, and he dove into the corner. I got a wall on the outside in exchange for his group. As we started to push towards the center, he neglected a move on the inside. I thought it was odd. I played a couple move to ensure I was out into the center, and then I played a move towards his corner. He ignored it. I killed his corner. In exchange, he started to push on my stones. I needed more liberties, so I pushed out, made a base, and had enough liberties to survive. In exchange, though, I had thickened the stones surrounding my wall.
The invasion into my sanrensei came next. I managed my group okay, but he pushed me around with a driving tesuji after invading my side. Suddenly, he had thickness in my former moyo, and I had a running group. I was able to manage it though, and pushed into his moyo as I stabilized it. His center started to get big. I was trying to take territory on the side, reduce his moyo, and still get into the center. I counted the board, and I was still in the game. It was close, but I wasn't behind. The problem is that I know my endgame is not of the same caliber.
I made some points along the side. He threw a stone in on the third line. What gives? I read out the cut. It didn't work. I protected on the other side. He played a hane on the outside, and suddenly I had problems with liberties. I captured the hane stone, but then I had to go back and capture his stones inside my territory. I resigned. I was too far behind.
The people watching asked why I resigned. They wanted me to keep playing. They thought I was close. Play resumed, and I tried my hardest to continue to push into his territory. I was ignoring his sente moves and playing my own. It was still close.
At the end of the game, I had lost by eight points. I know that I lost in the endgame, but I was happy that I had faired so well.
Andrew Okun decided that there were not enough tournaments in the Los Angeles area. He found that we could hold a small tournament at the Unurban Coffeehouse, the regular meeting place for the Santa Monica Go Club. Sixteen people competed, so it was a small tournament, but it still gave us an opportunity to play some AGA-rated games.
My first game was with Jon Brown. He and I have a friendly rivalry. (Well, maybe he doesn't know about it. :) I didn't realize that a move that expanded his moyo also set up a ladder to capture my cutting stones. I tenukied and pressed down his group at the top of the board, but did not realize it was not sente. He answered one time, then ignored my second move and captured my cutting stones in the ladder.
I squirmed a bit, but after the cutting stones were captured, I did not have a good attack on any of his groups. I lost by resignation.
My next game was a three-stone handicap game against a 4-dan. Yulian Du seemed strong, but I was confident that I would be able to handle him with the extra handicap stones. I play 4-stone games against some of the 5-dan and 6-dan players at the club, so I figured I stood a good chance in this game.
Since it was a handicap game, White had to scramble to invade, leaving many weak groups. I was playing solidly, and managing to keep out of trouble, while keeping sustained pressure on his groups.
I started a fight in the middle of his moyo. I had a running group that split apart two of his. The battle was in my favor.
In the middle of the fight, I played a peep that probably wasn't sente. I should have just answered his move and kept him contained, but the peep threatened his eyeshape. He connected out instead, and let me cut off seven stones. In the review, it looks like I could have killed the entire group if I just surrounded him.
I ran into time trouble, and I think I fell apart in the endgame. I lost by over 23 points.
My final game was against Ryan Downing. He and I play at the club a lot. I lose to him at the club (at times, he's even pushed me down to three stones with kadoban) but I fare much better when I play him seriously in tournaments.
In the start of the game, I had a much better opening than he did. He invaded my corner early, giving much a lot of influence as I sealed him in along the second line.
When he started a group in the middle of my moyo, I attacked it too aggressively. My stones were cut off, and suddenly he had a stable group. The power from my walls went to complete waste.
I had no more groups to attack, and I was behind on territory. I resigned.
For the inaugural Santa Monica Coffee Cup, I went 0-3, ending up in fourth place in the Java division. I won some coffee beans from the Unurban, as well as a nice certificate that Andy made. It was fun to play in the tournament, but I really wish I made a better showing. When the games were finally reported to the AGA, I had dropped to a 1.5 rating.
It is always difficult for me to play at the Cotsen Go Tournament. It seems that I keep adding responsibilities. Chuck Robbins usually is the tournament director, but I have taken over the registration and computer management, especially after the fiasco last year. I think we managed better. I remember starting only a half an hour late, but I need to start keeping track of this sort of thing. I believe it wasn't as bad as the year before.
My first game was against Ray Tayek. I held white. The opening looked rather normal. He had a shimari on the left, so I made a one-space high approach to his 3-4 stone in the other corner. He attached under and played the tsuke-hiki joseki. I played the variation with the open connection, and felt that I had a good game.
He invaded in the lower right, but ended up getting shut in the corner. He invaded again on the right, but I countered and he ended up with floating heavy stones. I felt that the game was really going my way.
I made a mistake where I let him shut in my group on the left. Suddenly, the game was a lot closer. He had all the top and the bottom, and I had the left and the right. He was also starting to make territory in the center.
I tried to play careful yose, but I admit that I was reaching a bit to try and press harder. Some of the moves I probably shouldn't have gotten away with, but they were hard to read. I was in byouyomi, but I don't remember if he was or not.
He made a mistake where I could make ko to push into his territory a little further. The endgame finished, we counted, and I was a point and a half ahead.
It looked like my tournament was off to a good start.
The start to my game against Ted Drange seemed to be a good one. I held black, and started with the Chinese Opening. I managed well, splitting his big areas with stable groups, while keeping his invading group small.
Since I had strength on the right-hand side, and no real weak groups, I decided to cut and start a fight. He attacked my stones, and suddenly I found them floating and in trouble. I ended up sacrificing them to play elsewhere in sente. (The post-game analysis said that I should have just played it safe, and jumped to the center from my stable group. While it did not attack his running group, it would push me into the center and erase any potential territory there.)
Suddenly, I found myself in the same situation again. I had stable groups, but I was slowly being cut off from the middle.
I carefully counted the board and realized that I was behind. Instead of pushing in slowly, I made a two-space jump, reaching out to my stones that were cut off.
He pushed against my stones, threatening to take two of them and rob my group of its base. I thought for a while, then I ignored his threat. Instead, I made a move that would help me connect to the stranded stones. I was able to connect to them and push deep into his territory, but I did not have a base, and limited hopes of connecting to friendly groups.
I managed to make shape, and while he was threatening to kill my group, I was able to make threats to either make eyes or escape. I eventually connected to the top group.
I was short, though. The sacrifices cost me, and I lost by 7.5 points. I did feel that I played well, especially when I decided to sacrifice the stones to reach in to his territory. I think it was my only fighting chance, and the gamble paid off. I felt like my reading had definitely strengthened during this game.
Tom is a familiar opponent. I see him often at the Santa Monica Go Club, and also sometimes at Eric Cotsen's parties. We match up well. I think I have a better opening. Usually, I create a big moyo, then he invades. If I kill the group, I win. Otherwise, it seems like I lose by a few points in the endgame.
This game, I held white. He started by playing two 3-4 points, but his third move was the hoshi point between them. I approached the 3-4 point with support from my 4-4 stone. He attached under, I played the tsuke-hiki joseki with the solid connection, and started to create a moyo on the left.
He approached my lone 4-4 stone. I made a large pincer. Instead of responding, he played the hoshi point between our corner stones. I kicked his stone to make it heavy, then jumped to take the corner. He still had heavy stones.
I then invaded his moyo at the top. I played a two-space low approach to his 3-4, expecting a pincer. He protected the corner instead, so I made a base for the group and settled it. I ignored his atari and jumped out to the center instead. I thought that the atari was really an endgame move, even though it helped my group get a base. (Hopefully, I can learn this lesson eventually. :)
He counterinvaded, but I played solidly and left him with another heavy group. He threatened my corner, but I think I outread him and managed to capture the cutting stones.
He changed his attack to the upper part of the board, taking the stone in atari. Again, I had to scramble. I managed to make shape, but had to give up sente to defend the group. He used sente to start securing the side of the board as territory.
I then used sente to jump towards the center, and put pressure on his heavy group. By pushing on this group, I was able to play a lot of moves that strengthened my group at the bottom of the board. He had to run his group out, but slowly I was gaining more power to push into his area at the bottom. It was basically a leaning attack, and one of the first that I felt I put to good use. He did connect out, but not before I had made sizeable gains on the lefthand side of the board.
I felt that I was playing solid endgame. At one point, I played a move that not only gave me an eye, but gave me several sente followup moves. I think I made seven or more points in sente with that sequence.
After the game, I was ahead by 6.5 points. The 7.5 komi helped, but I think this was the first game where I beat Tom with good endgame.
At the end of day one, I was 2-1. Considering how tired I was, I felt it was a good result.
We closed up shop and went to dinner. We had steaks at the Pacific Dining Car. The food was really good. Afterwards, we went back to the hotel and started playing a couple games while we drank at the bar.
I played against Chuck Robbins. He's a 4-dan. It was an even game, but I took black. I don't really remember much about the game, and I resigned in the middlegame. Once again, the center got too large. To be honest, this wasn't really a serious game, but at the same time, I probably should have been paying more attention. I also might be criticizing myself too much, especially considering we had been drinking. Maybe I'll just chalk this up as a fun game, and not worry about it.
The pro game was in the morning, but I was busy with registration. I didn't get to see the game, but I watched some of it over the Internet. I was probably 100 feet from one of the players, but I watched the game on the Internet. I didn't get to hear the commentary, though.
Because the pro game was in the morning, and not after game 5, it made the start of the second day much less hectic. I think it was a good thing, overall.
We waited a bit for people to show up, then we started our fourth game.
For the first game of the second day, I played black against Jonathan Brown. It was sort of a rematch from the past two tournaments.
I started with the Chinese Opening again. Jon responded by approaching my 3-4 stone on the third line. This time, I attached over the top and then cut when he extended. It gave me a secure corner, but I might have been a little overconcentrated.
I created a stabilized group on the lefthand side to split up his moyo. I quickly settled the group, but Jon was starting to surround the lower left corner. I played a reducing move at the 9-12 point. He responded by playing underneath. I then invaded the lower left at the 4-2 point. I managed to live rather easily.
Yet again, I seemed to be shut out of the center. He capped the reducing stone, and suddenly I had to figure out how I could reducing his center territory without losing all my stones.
After losing half of the stones, I pushed up the righthand side and started making sixth line territory. Jon responded by pushing down on my groups to try and take the center. I pushed in the last open gap to reduce the center territory.
We fought along the outside. He was trying to lean on my groups along the edge of the board to cut off my group.
He counter-invaded on the righthand side. How I responded to this would determine how the game ended. I managed to keep my groups connected, but ended up with only fourth line territory.
As the endgame started, I found a way to make a hanami ko to connect to the previously cut-off group. We played the ko for a bit, but then I gave up on it. I lost the ko, but I gained about four points along the edge of the board.
At the very end of the endgame, I haned around the end of his group. He played the atari, but did not connect. I played a move to keep his group from getting an eye. I then cut. The cut didn't threaten any of his groups, but it forced him to take five stones that were in his territory. I think it gave me three extra points.
I ended up winning by six and a half points. I think my endgame is improving.
The last game of the day was against Sheng Lin. There isn't much to say about this game. I pretty much followed my opponent around the board, in a rather quick game. I lost by 17.5. It wasn't even close. When I showed my game to Jonathan, he saw that I could have killed his group with a tesuji from Graded Go Problems For Beginners.
I probably should have played better, but I think that I was just too tired. I need to make a mental note not to speed up just because my opponent is playing fast.
I was up north in San Francisco for my friend's wedding. While we were walking around town in the Pacific Heights area after breakfast, Dad, Ryan, Patricia and I found a Japanese antiques shop. While everyone else was looking at furniture, I found a floor goban. It was in bad condition, with a few dents, but it was still pretty neat. It came with bowls, but there were marks where tape was used to keep the bowls shut. There is also paper stuck on the edge of the board.
I ended up buying the board the next day.
I want to refurbish it. I was thinking that I might sand the bowls to get rid of the tape marks and then refinish them. I don't know what to do about the paper. I think Patricia's friend Patrick may have some advice how to clean up the board.
It's been a while since I updated this blog.
After going 3-2 at the Cotsen, my rating went up from 1.5 to 1.8. I am back within striking distance of AGA 2-dan. With the Oza coming up in January, I think I have a good chance of raising my rating again.
I still need to upload the expanded descriptions of the pairing for the 2007 Cotsen Go Tournament. Overall, I want to start posting the tiebreak lists and the pairing, simply because I think the transparency is better.
I also think we need to better describe how the tiebreaking works for prizes in the lower divisions. I suspect that's a post for another time.
On Friday, we had a reception to celebrate the opening of the 4th Toyota/Denso World Go Oza. The West Coast Oza was held at the Tom Bradley International Hall in UCLA. Sasaki Tadashi, 7-dan professional, attended and was going to help us at the tournament.
We were able to get into the hall at 5 PM, but we were going to be kicked out at 10 PM. While people were socializing, I was trying really hard to set up the boards and get everything running.
I brought my slate and shell stones for the top boards to use. I also brought a floor goban and some pillows, so people could play for fun in the back.
I met Negishi Akane. She is also shodan. She is from Oregon, was often in KGS. She was really nice, and apparently already knows a lot of the stronger players. She helped us work on broadcasting the games. She also was trying to generate interest to go to the Go Congress.
I also spoke with Ed Lee, from Santa Barbara. He had apparently read about my game with Tom Tamura on this Go blog. He let me know that Tom Tamura had recently passed away. I told him that I still remember my game with him. In a way, it's sad, but I think that Ed was touched that I was able to remember my game with Tom. In a way, it's sort of amazing how many lives you touch by playing Go. I think it's something that's very special.
Well, the tournament didn't get off to a good start. The other tournament director was late, and he was the one with the software, so the registration process was delayed. We were trying to do the pairings, but Jon's new software had some sort of bug in it, and it didn't work right. After fighting with the software a bit, I decided that I needed to work on the tournament, and not play. I was sort of disappointed. I think there's a lesson here somewhere.
The disappointing thing is that we actually had tested some alternate software versions beforehand. I was most familiar with WinTD, an Access 2000 program written by Chuck. Instead, we used Jon's software. It seemed to work okay when we ran with it. It wasn't until we had all of the players in the database on the day of, and tried to make changes that we noticed some problems. I think it was a bad sign when I found out that Jon was still coding the software. I think we should have had a code freeze before the tournament.
The new venue was nice. Compared to the downtown LA hotel where we had the Cotsen Go Tournament, the Tom Bradley Hall at UCLA was very nice. It felt like there was a lot more room.
Other than the bad start, I think the Oza went okay. It was good to see that a lot of people had fun.
The next day at the Oza was less hectic. I don't remember much about how it went. There were a few problems, and I actually had to "work" as a TD. One moment that was somewhat scary was when we had to settle a dispute in the open division. Jennie Shen, a 2-dan professional from Santa Barbara, ended up in a half-point game with her opponent. There was a problem where someone from the next board over accidentally took some of the prisoners.
To be honest, I had no idea what to do. I guessed that the best thing to do would be to use Ing counting, and see who was missing a stone. However, the board position was all messed up. How was I supposed to figure out the territories? I took a picture with my cell phone to keep the messed up board position, just in case.
I should have known. The stronger players agreed to replay the game from the beginning, keeping careful track of the prisoners. Both sides agreed, and we attempted to keep up as they replayed the game. Jennie Shen won by a half point. Crisis averted.
Sasaki-sensei did a great job commenting on games, on the live broadcast, as well as talking with some of the kyu players in a big group. He is really friendly. I wish I could have seen more of what was going on, but unfortunately, I was busy most of the time.
The rest of the tournament went well. We had a few problems, but for the most part, things went okay. I was tired when it was over, though. Besides being the assistant TD, I also was supposed to host Sasaki-sensei. I was worried that my Japanese would not be good enough to speak with him, and that I would mis-conjugate all my verbs and speak in too rude of a manner. It turned out that he was really down-to-earth, though. We ate are Jerry's Deli in Westwood and ended up drinking beer at BJ's. When Sasaki-sensei had his first beer after the tournament, he looking longingly at his mug, and said, "I missed you." I thought it was funny. :) We didn't stay out too late. We tried some of the pumpkin beer that was a specialty brew, talked a bit, and called it a night.
I took the next day off work. I had to help pack up equipment and figure out how to store some of this stuff. We also did a post-mortem on what went wrong (and right) at the tournament, so that we would be wiser for the next time. I probably should write up that stuff and put it on Sensei's somewhere.
Since I didn't get to play in the tournament, I was really itching to play Go. I ended up playing on IGS. I'm rated 4k on there, but I haven't played on IGS in quite some time. I blew my first game. The second game, I crushed my opponent. I won by more than 50 points. I really need to work on raising my rating.
For dinner, several members of the Santa Monica Go Club and the South Bay Ki-in met with Sasaki-sensei for dinner. We were trying desperately to get a hold of Dave Dows, since apparently Sasaki-sensei had met him quite some time ago and wanted to see him again. I made a panicked call out on the mailing lists, as well as trying friends of friends. Dave showed up just before dinner... someone had gotten a hold of him. It was a lot of fun talking with everyone. We had sushi and really enjoyed ourselves. Sasaki-sensei handed out little problem booklets to everyone as a thank-you gift.
I decided to start playing "seriously" online. For now, I'm playing slow games on IGS and trying to raise my rating. I'm currently 4k on IGS. The "revenge" game after the Oza was a 53.5-point win. I won another by resignation tonight. I was probably more than 50 points ahead.
I have 20629 ratings points, so I need to win three straight games to make 4k+.
I played my friend Allen at the Santa Monica Go Club tonight. In 2004, I was a 2-kyu and he was 1 kyu. We faced off in the 2004 Cotsen Go Tournament. Since then, he had stopped playing for a while.
We used to have crazy games with huge fights, all-or-nothing ko fights, and big kills. It was a lot of fun.
He started playing again recently, and guessed that he needed to work a bit to get back to his previous strength. Though we used to play even, we played a three-stone game tonight. I held white.
His opening has calmed down. He played solidly, trying to solidify his groups for the inevitable fighting in the middle game. He actually commented that my Go had gotten very aggressive.
In this game, I was trying to break up any big territory. After he left a couple weak groups, I invaded and used my splitting groups to help create a big moyo.
He countered by playing a reducing move, but I think it was too deep. I chased the group out, and still managed to solidify most of it as territory.
He then attacked my last weak group. I ignored an atari (that also reduced the group to one eye) and instead played a move to connect out. There was still a ko, though.
There was one point during the fight where I was considering ignoring a ko threat to push further into his territory. The move also threatened to capture some stones on the side when the group had fewer liberties. Terry was watching our game, and said something like, "Egads! Just connect! You don't need more!" However, I spent so much time reading because I wasn't going for points. I wasn't trying to win the game. I was trying to read as far as I could, and then play the right move. As a result, I was concentrating more on the moves and less on the score and trying to win the game. I did ignore the ko threat, and ended up with lots of aji that I could use in the endgame.
As we started to play endgame, I started pulling further ahead. I actually had a clamping tesuji to cut off his running group, but I misplayed the order of the moves. I exclaimed "Oh no! I meant to play there!" He offered to let me take the move back, but if I did so, the game would have been over. I said that it was okay to leave it, since I would get to attack the group on the other side and kill it.
It turned out that the pressure I put on the running group did allow me to capture another ten stones.
We started to run out of time. When I cut off a group in the corner, Allen missed a tesuji to jump in and get some endgame points. It ended up that the move also killed the corner group.
I felt really good about this game. It was one of the few times where I was really able to concentrate on the game, and really read deeply.
After the game, Elad asked me about how strong Allen was. I mistakenly said that we were both shodan earlier, and we had played even. Since then, though, I figured Allen dropped a bit since he hadn't played. I later looked it up online. He was rated as an AGA 3-kyu. However, earlier in the night, he played black and beat an AGA 1-kyu. I suspect that he might have regained a lot of his strength. It's possible that I have gotten stronger in the past three years. Allen is probably an AGA 1k by now. I think he has already gotten as strong as he was before. I suspect I just match up against him well.
I had to work nights this past week. I didn't even get to go to the Go club once. I got home on Friday after they postponed the network migration I was working on. It was already 11 PM by the time I made it home, but at least I managed to get a game in on IGS. I held black.
While we were in the opening, I was having problems with my Internet connection. I couldn't figure out what was going on. Was my computer trying to download something? Was there a problem with my Xbox 360? I actually lost my connection. I started worrying and shutting down all my programs on my computer. Then it dawned on me. I think my cell phone was too close to my wireless router. I moved it, and started playing again.
I had to figure out how to reconnect to the game. Luckily, I remembered the "adjourn" command, and was able to find the "load" command from the help. I reloaded the game. Thank goodness it was a 1/10 game. There was still plenty of time.
It was a rather easy game. I won by over 30 points. It looks like I need to win two more to make it to 4k+.
I played my first game in a while. I played against Ross Wolf from the Santa Monica Go Club. It was a no-komi game. I played White. It was a good game, but I don't think I was playing well. I played an endgame "tesuji" (maybe a dohsuji?) that didn't work and gave away points. When we counted at the end of the game, I had lost by one point. I was sort of kicking myself for making the fauxsuji move. I guess it shows that the endgame really is important. However, when I went over the game record later, I found that I had won by one point. I'm not sure if the game record is right (I often misrecord games on my Treo). It only ended up making me feel worse.
Today was the Cherry Blossom Festival in downtown Los Angeles. The Santa Monica Go Club had a booth there, to help promote Go. I was at the festival for Aeris's judo demonstration, but I stopped by a bit to play Go and help with the booth. I did get to play a game with Terry McIntyre?, who also goes to the Santa Monica Go Club. It was a six-stone handicap game. I had white. I don't really know what happened this game. I couldn't seem to keep any of my groups light, and he kept building influence all over the board. I ended up losing by resignation. I wasn't satisfied with that game at all, but I couldn't tell where it went wrong.
Later, I played a beginner that wanted to play. He was a kid, maybe ten years old. His mother was really proud of how he played. She left him at the booth to play, wishing him luck. We played even, because he didn't want to take any stones. It was fun, but I think it hurt his feelings that he didn't do well. I think he had played friends and was doing well, so it might have been disheartening to play me. He resigned, and left with his mom. I hated being in the situation, but I don't know a way around it. It's hard when people just walk up and play. You don't want to crush them and their spirit, but you also don't want to play soft. I'm still trying to figure that out.
After Aeris's judo demonstration, we closed up shop and ate at T.O.T., a Japanese restaurant in Little Tokyo. It was fun.
Tonight I played a two-stone game with Ryan. It was an interesting game. I fought harder than I normally do, probably to the point of being foolhardy. I managed to save a running group and was still close going into the endgame. I ended up winning by one point. Richard was watching our game and saw that I was getting the upper hand in the late middle game. I missed a tesuji that would have cut off his group and ended the game quickly. It was blantantly obvious after we replayed the game. I'm not sure how I missed it. I think I was busy calculating points. I probably need to make sure that when I'm in "endgame mode" that I'm still looking at the bigger picture.
It seems like I haven't played Go in forever. Things have been so busy at work that I haven't even made it to the club very regularly.
Ryan left for Korea on Tuesday. He's going there to teach English and see the world, but I'm sure he'll be playing Go as well. He also will be playing with some strong players, especially some people that are in professional training. He won't be moving back to LA after he leaves Korean, though. Now I feel like I don't have a "rival" anymore. I used to gauge my abilities against Ryan, and see if I was slipping or gaining ground. All of the beginners at the club use me as a reference point, but with the lack of sleep and all of the stress at work, I don't feel like I am giving them great games when I play with them. I haven't had much time to play anyway. It feels like my Go has stagnated.
So many things have happened in the LA area since I last updated:
I wasn't able to attend any of them. I have been busy at work, and it feels like I do not have any time to myself anymore. I remember griping that there were not enough Go tournaments in Los Angeles. This year, including the Oza, there have been five, and I haven't been able to play in any of them.
I found out that the Cotsen Go Tournament will be in September, but I won't be able to play. They couldn't afford to fly Chuck across the country, so I will be the TD. I am honored that they think I can do it by myself, but at the same time, I feel a little sad that I won't be able to play. Since I can't go to the US Go Congress this year, it looks like I won't play in a rated game in 2008.
I am currently on vacation in San Jose, visiting with family. While I was out in downtown Campbell, we went by a used/recycled book store after lunch. Out of habit, I was poking around for Go books. Usually I pick up beginner problem books for cheap when I find them. Instead, I found The Breakthrough to Shodan by Miyamoto Naoki. This book is out of print and extremely hard to find. Amazon used book store prices list it for $60-85. I picked it up for $5.
I am hoping that this will renew my enthusiasm for Go.
Eric had his beach party today. I invited Patricia, Aeris and Yuan to come along. Last year, Yuan's father came, too, but he said it was too far to travel.
Aeris and Patricia swam and relaxed in the sun while Yuan and I played Go. It seems like recently, every time I play, it feels like it's the first time I've played in a while. :)
The highlight of the day is the team game. Mr. Yang, the 7-dan professional that teaches Eric every week, plays with two teams and then reviews the game afterwards. I remember that I used to want to be "good enough" to play in the team game. Now, it seems like I'm one of the regulars. Maybe it's that fewer strong players are coming. At any rate, it feels like I accomplished a goal.
placeholder for Cotsen Go Tournament
placeholder for Go workshop
It turns out that I didn't play a rated game for all of 2008. If I were to make a resolution for the new year, it would be to play more.
It seems like all of the Go that I'm doing nowadays is organizing tournaments. This weekend was the North American Ing Masters. We had a qualifier tournament in Alhambra, CA.
It was a small turnout, only 7 players were playing. They were all strong players, at least AGA 6-dan or higher.
At first, I thought that I would need a lot of time to be able to help run the tournament. It turned out, though, that there was a lot of dead time. I ended up reporting on some of the games on twitter. (I'm still new at that, and was trying to figure out how to use the hash tags and all that. I think it was interesting for some people, but others thought that it was flooding their Facebook status messages. I have twitter and Facebook linked.)
I was able to play a couple games while running the tournament. The first person I played was Michael Andreasen. I had met him before at some of the other tournaments, but I think this was the first time that we played. I think the game was close, but I let him get a huge moyo. I had a counter moyo, but it was hard to tell who was ahead. I made an invasion that survived, but he was making a counter-invasion. We started a game, and was into the middle game when I had to go back to TD responsibilities.
I got to play Jeremy Belmont. He used to come to the Santa Monica Go Club a while back, but I guess he hadn't come in a while. Apparently, now that I haven't been at the club so much, he's started to become a regular. He's right around shodan or 2-dan now. We played an even game. It was the first time we had played. He played black. He started with 5-3 point. I took the opposite 4-4. He made a shimari, so then I took the facing 4-4 point. He then took the tengen, so I took the 4-4 in the last open corner. I knew this was going to be an interesting game.
He started by approaching the inside of my 4-4. I pincered on the third line under the hoshi, and then he approached the other corner. I ended up just trying to build up the sides, and extended from the corners. I know it's a classic mistake (I'm sure there's an article on Sensei's somewhere that says not to make territory with hoshi stones) but it seemed like a reasonable line of play.
After counterinvasions and some middlegame fighting, I was able to start to eke out a lead in territory. I haven't been playing in a while, so I really couldn't tell how accurate my counting was. I thought I was ahead by komi. We started the endgame. I was trying to counter sente moves with sente moves, so that I would not just follow him around the board and lose ground. He misread one of my counterthreats to take two of his stones in exchange for five of mine. He didn't realize that it would also save two stones. He went ahead and took mine. He didn't realize, however, that saving the two stones also threatened one of his groups. After we did that exchange, I was able to kill his group and had a sizable lead. I ended up winning by a little more than the kill was worth.
During some of the dead time during the second day of the tournament, Michael Andreasen and I attempted to start another game. I offered to start where we left off, but Michael preferred to start a new game. We just got through the opening, and then we deviated from a Magic Sword joseki. I think I was the one that made the mistake, but I think his attempt to take advantage of my mistake ended up overextending his position. I won by resignation, but I'm not sure about how the game would have turned out if we have had more time.
I received a message from Michael Loceff that he was back in town. He was going to visit the Santa Monica Go Club and wanted to see if I was going to be around. I haven't been coming to the club regularly, but this was an added incentive to try to finish work earlier.
I showed up around nine o' clock. Michael wasn't there yet, so I was just watching some of the other games. Terry McIntyre? was there, and asked if I wanted to play. I haven't seen him in a while. He moved downtown, and has starting playing at the Korean Go club there instead.
We started a six-stone handicap game. I played white.
From the beginning, it was an interesting game. I approached between his handicap stones, and he responded by with a one-point jump. I then approached the corner from the other side and started a "handicap joseki." I managed to settle my corner group quickly, and then extended from the other kakari to stabilize it as well.
Terry has gotten a lot better from playing at the Korean club. His reading in better, and I think he's gotten more confident. I also think that my time off from Go has hurt my reading skills. Regardless, I kept playing. It wasn't a rushed game, so I took my time reading and was careful to try to play my stones in good shape and safe from attack.
Terry didn't make any big mistakes in the opening. I was dancing around with three small but stable groups, while he was starting to create a moyo. I approached the opposite corner, and he played the attach-and-block joseki. After I connected on top, I extended down the board to approach the opposing corner.
Instead of extending, he made a one-space low pincer. I think it was an aggressive move, and possibly a mistake. Instead of diving into the corner, I jumped out to the middle of the board. He jumped from his pincer stone, separating my groups on that side of the board. I loosely surrounded the corner and tried to fight. We both settled the groups, and it looked like the fighting ended in a draw.
I tried to jump out to the middle to keep him from consolidating territory in the middle of the board. He pushed against me to solidify his points. It was my chance! I pushed against him more, and used the extra stones to start a leaning attack against his pincer stones. This rekindled the fight in the corner, and it bled out to the center of the board. My leaning attack worked, and it gave me the added strength to capture a 25-stone group.
I won by resign.
After the game, we replayed it. Several other players joined in the review. Michael had arrived by this time, and had seen the latter part of the game. We went over the game, where some of it went wrong, and some of the strategic mistakes. I think one mistake was that Black was jealous of White's territory. Instead of trying to build any, the invasions to wreck all of White's territory cost Black the game.
After the review, we thanked each other and cleaned up. Later, when I was talking with Michael, he noted that while my play was good, he thought that my reviews afterwards had improved. They were clearer, and he felt like I was explaining things better. I was really happy to hear that.
It's almost enough to start you playing more Go. :)
On Saturday, Sasaki-sensei is back in town for a workshop. I'm really looking forward to it. I'll post comments after the workshop.
I never did finish this update. I played a simul game with Sasaki-sensei. I won, sort of. When Sasaki-sensei saw that I was about to resign, he grabbed a handful of stones and added them to the lid of my bowl. Soon, he ate away at that lead. He added another handful, and that was able to last me through the endgame. I ended up with a bonus 11 prisoners, and I won by 3 points. I don't think it counts, but it did make the game interesting. I also played the entire game.
After playing the simul games, he reviewed game records. I didn't have any others, so I asked for a review of our simul game.
He made a comment about how I played after a blown joseki in the corner. He said, "I came to America, and I ended up learning new things."
What makes interesting is that it makes the marked stones a bad trade for White. White still needs to take at a, but it is no longer sente.
Granted, this result isn't as good as I had played the joseki correctly, but Sasaki-sensei thought that it showed good judgement.
Today I went to the beach party at Eric's house. I took my girlfriend and her daughter to the party last year, but this year they had a judo tournament, so I went with my friend Yuan. I haven't played Go in a while, so I wanted to make sure I got some games in. I made sure that Yuan got a couple of games with people that I thought were his level, but it's hard for me to judge, especially since I don't play at the Santa Monica Go Club that often anymore.
I played a two-stone handicap game with Bob Myers. We both haven't played in a while. I found out that he had gotten married since I last saw him and his then-girlfriend. It might have been three years or so.
It was a good game, and it was somewhat slow. We were at the beach, so it's hard to concentrate and play quickly. We did play hard, though. I thought I was doing well. I started solidifying territory, and didn't have any weak groups that he could attack. He then played a move that threatened to split my groups, live on the side of the board, or severely reduce my territory. I looked at the move and I couldn't decide what to do. I looked around at the board, and since I didn't have any weak groups, I played to swallow the stone and not let it out. Basically, I played a ko fight to connect my groups and solidify the side.
His first ko threat was against one of my (previously) safe groups. I had a hard time deciding, but decided to take another stone and resolve the ko. The top half of the board was solid, but now I had to scramble to work with the other group. His next move jumped his invading stone out, splitting my "safe" group in two. I played a couple of moves in the corner to guarantee an eye for the bigger half, then I tried to fight to connect the weak half to something. (Later, in the analysis, Bob said that I should have jumped the weaker half out earlier, since his invading stone couldn't pressure the big half of my group until the invasion itself was out of danger from being captured. I hadn't though of that at the time.)
We fought a bit more, and I lost the small half of the group, but I made up for it with the territory I gained at the top of the board. We started into the endgame. I was trying hard to take the big moves, but I think my endgame is still rusty. When the game was over, we counted, and I had won.
The next game I played was against Terry McIntyre. I hadn't played him in a while, especially since he started playing at the Korean club in downtown LA. We played a six-stone game. I was doing okay, but I was definitely behind. I tried to play a move to activate a stone on his side of the board and live inside his territory. He played a move on the vital point of the invading group which also threatened to split the group in half. I thought I had moves that threatened to live or connect out, but I think I played them in the wrong order. He solidified his wall, and my group was cut off. I lost by resignation.
I had to leave the beach party at five, but I wanted to get one more game in. Yuan was playing five-in-a-row with other players. He is quite good. He was beating some of the strong dan players, and I think it was annoying them. It was good, though, because some of the guests that were not Go players had fun playing gomoku.
I ended up playing a "fast" game with a 3-kyu from the club (I have to add the name later) while Yuan was playing gomoku. We ended up playing an even game. The speed of the game went from fast to normal, and soon I ended up behind. It was close, but I didn't have enough territory. I was making inroads in the endgame, but it didn't look like it was going to be enough. We started an endgame ko fight. I threatened his corner, and he responded wrong. I ended up killing his group. If it weren't for his mistake, I think I would have lost.
We didn't leave the party until 5:30 PM, but I still managed to get to my hockey game on time.
I guess I blame this on work. I took the day off to help prepare for the tournament. It's always stressful, but usually I'm able to input the names of the pre-registered players into the database ahead of time. Casie offered to put us up in a hotel, so we'd be closer to the site and it'd be easier in the morning.
I was behind in preparing. I did get the RSVP list from Casie, but I didn't actually input anything until Friday. I had a virtual machine on my work notebook that I had used the year before, but since then I had upgraded to Windows 7. (I work as a computer consultant. The company I work for is a Microsoft partner, so we have access to the newest software, so we can be prepared when clients ask questions.) I hadn't tested the virtual machine since last year. I made sure it installed okay, but I didn't test all of the tournament software.
I had another notebook as a backup, as well as my Eee PC netbook. When I booted the old notebook, I didn't realize that I had installed a test version of Ubuntu on it sometime this past year. Didn't matter, though, since I only needed it for KGS.
Anyway, I was rushing around, trying to get to the Unurban to pick up extra Go boards, as well as trying to get some other stuff done for home. Driving to the site downtown took a couple of hours. When I got there, Casie, Samantha, and Alex were setting up the tables and getting things working. Chris Garlock was also there, making sure everything would be set up to broadcast games. There was a penalty if we had the security staff work past 6 PM, so we had to finish by then. Things looked okay at the site, so I loaded up the computers so that we could get things working back at the hotel. The netbook wasn't connecting to KGS because Java wasn't loading right, and I needed to enter data into winTD.
Patricia met up with me at the hotel. We had dinner in Little Tokyo, and shopped around a bit. After dessert, we went back to the hotel. I was working on the data entry. She was helping me out by reformatting the old computer with Windows XP. She was sad that it was busywork, but she was also keeping me company. I had my Nintendo DS with me, and my new game, Scribblenauts. (Quite cool, by the way. It's a puzzle game where you conjure up items by writing on a notepad. The item then appears in the game for you to use. Need to get a star out of a tree? Write "pterodactyl" and then ride it as it flies up the tree.) She seemed to have fun playing, so I figured it was fine if she did that instead.
I had most of the stuff set up, but winTD wasn't printing from the virtual machine! Oh no! After a bit, I gave up. The new computer was formatted, but it didn't have Office 2000 loaded, or the winTD software. I left that CD at home. What's more, the wireless connection at the hotel was really slow -- Windows updates were taking forever. At least I got the netbook working.
I ended up driving home at 3 AM to pick up my winTD CD. Driving home and back to the hotel took thirty minutes. I guess LA driving is okay without traffic. I installed it and started data entry. I think I finished at 6 AM, just in time to get to the site for day 1. Starting a tournament with no sleep is not fun. :(
Registration for the tournament started on time. I didn't get any sleep, but Patricia and I managed to get to the site on-time. People had already started arriving, but we spoke with all of the early arrivals and got them in the tournament software. Part of the problem we have with our tournament is that we accept pre-registration, but then we do not require any payment. We end up entering people in the database ahead of time, but then if they do not show up, sometimes they are still paired. This means that more than one person may end up with a bye. We've been trying to make sure that everyone is in the database, but we end up having to call out names to check to make sure that everyone is here. Casie and LaNida? had the good idea to check against the pre-printed nametags to see if the no-shows in the database were not signed up at the front desk. After a couple of announcements and a double-check, it looked like we had everyone. We paired up and started game 1.
I was called over a couple of times to make sure the KGS broadcast was running okay. At first, we were trying to use a friend's notebook, but we couldn't get it connected to the wireless. We ended up using my Linux netbook. It ran KGS, but Ubuntu Netbook Remix was doing funny things to the "create game" dialog, stretching it out to full screen and sometimes making it unusable. Luckily, I work in computers, so I was able to kill the Java process, restart KGS, and get them back online rather quickly. In the future, I think I should just have Windows installed on the netbook.
Things seemed to be going okay. I had a chance to get some coffee and look around. While I wanted to watch the commentary on KGS, I really didn't have the time.
Another problem we had was with the clocks. Some of the clocks were set with the settings on the rules poster, while other players had set the clock to the time settings originally announced. Since both players using the clock had the same time settings, I let it slide for the time being. We decided to use the published time settings for the next game. Little did I know that it would cause more problems.
At the start of game two, I started hearing about different problems with the clocks. The clocks were not counting down the time in byouyomi. We had a player in the open division lose on time, and was upset with the clock. I had to arbitrate. I looked at the clock, set the byouyomi, and made sure that it announced that the player was in byouyomi. I thought the clock was okay, so I said that the player lost on time. He wasn't happy. I was a little upset with his opponent, because I looked at the board and I thought she was playing to win on time. There was a dead group, and it didn't look like a close game. (Later, I found out that I had the colors reversed. It made me feel even worse for chiding her.)
Later, Curtis Tang mentioned the same problem to me. He told me that it was doing that because we were using 45-second byouyomi periods. If we used 1-minute or 30-second byouyomi periods instead, then the clocks would count down properly. (How the heck was I supposed to know that?!?!? Grrr...) We decided to change the time settings again, and use 30-second byouyomi periods.
During game two, one of the beginners asked for the tournament director. She said that in the middle of her game, another player was kibitzing on the game. She asked if that was legal, and also what she should do about it. I told her that it wasn't legal, and asked her to point out the players. It turned out that the two players were from my club. :( I took them aside to ask what had happened. The stronger player told me that, at the end of the game, he had pointed out a dame. Both players had missed it. Since both players had passed, he let the first player get the first move, and they finished up the game as normal. he actually said that even if the player cut and took territory, it would have been an eight-point swing, and it wouldn't have affected the result of the game. He apologized, saying that he knew he shouldn't have said anything, but it was an honest mistake.
I asked the player actually playing, and tried to figure out what was going on. He did say that he made a rhetorical comment, something like "Well, I guess that's it," which might have prompted the stronger player pointed out the dame.
I really didn't know what to do here. I could have disqualified the stronger player for kibitzing, the player who he was helping, or awarded a loss. I really didn't know what to do. I ended up telling them both that they could be disqualified from the tournament, but I really didn't want to. I spoke with player that first came to me. I thought it would be fair to void the win, but said that I didn't think it was right to disqualify either player, especially since it was a first-time offense. She reluctantly agreed, and didn't press to have them disqualfied. I ended up making the game a no-result. It basically saved her from having a loss, while at the same time, it "took away" the win because of the kibitzing. She seemed okay with it. I sort of felt like I dodged a bullet.
Things seemed to go smoothly by the end of game three. At least the time settings and the pairings were going okay.
After game three, one of the players let me know that the bands were wrong for one of the opponents. It appeared that we recorded a game wrong in the first round. I was in the practice of checking the results against the games before pairing the next round, and I thought I did so. (However, I did remember that I misclicked one time, but couldn't tell if I had actually changed anything. In hindsight, I probably should have re-checked all the results. I think this is a good argument to add a prompt (or something) in the tournament program when you click to change a result.) At any rate, we updated the results. It looked like things were going ok.
The big problem for us is that the open division was taking too long to finish their games. We had to pay overtime for the security staff for the site, since the games were taking so long. Previously, we had a discussion online whether or not to reduce the time settings for the open division down to 45 minutes main time, instead of the hour that we had before. It's starting to look like we'll have to do that, especially if we stay at this site.
At any rate, day one of the Cotsen Go Tournament was finished. We met up for Korean BBQ with some of the AGA people, but Patricia and I were so tired that we ended up leaving early.
I didn't sleep much before the second day of the tournament. I ended up doing computer work to try and get things prepared. I let Patricia sleep in. We ended up showing up well ahead of time, but Mr. Yang had already finished his discussion of the game by the time we were ready. I didn't even get to watch the discussion of the pro game, let alone the game itself.
One of the players had a friend come that wanted to be in the tournament. I said that he could be added on the second day. I added him as a complete beginner. We did roll call, and found that there were a couple of players missing from the Santa Monica Go Club. I marked them with byes. I probably should have added them to my "issues list," a clipboard I keep with any people that are missing or any comments that players have, so that I can check against the next round.
After we paired for game 4, we only started 30 minutes late. (As a side note, I think I want to take more notes about when we start and stop, since it'll help us plan more in the future. I keep forgetting to take notes, especially to see if the open division time settings are too long. It would be helpful to have that kind of data.) I started walking around the tournament to see what was going on.
When I was looking at some of the games, I saw that Tyler was playing an interesting game with Lisa, one of the shodan I had met the day before. It was a complicated game, with a few ko on the board. The more I read, the less I understood. I suddenly panicked. What if this is a triple ko? What the heck am I supposed to do? Void the game and have them play again? No result? What's the rules? I quietly snuck away and hoped that they'd sort it out themselves.
By the time we started game five, I was beat. Again, we had problems with the open division taking too long. We might run it as a separate tournament next time. It might just make things easier.
Before we started game five, I made an announcement: The loser of the game has to clean up the equipment, and stack it in the corner. The winner is supposed to "supervise" and make sure the equipment is cleaned up before coming down and reporting the results. It was basically an idea to help us clean up. I think it also made the game a little more important to those who were out of the running.
(I had an ulterior motive, though. If only the winners come down to report the results, I think there's a smaller chance of recording the wrong result. Sometimes it's hard, when say, your friend Jeff, comes to talk to you about his game and hand you the result. You see him, so you click "Jeff" in the software. But really, his opponent, Mike, is the one who won... (It's kinda like looking at the word "blue" and trying to say, "red." :)
It's always a rush right after game 5 finishes, because we need to tally up the points and declare winners. Last year, I had actually made a mistake and didn't award a prize. (A 4-1 winner was hidden in the fold between the sheets on the tiebreak printout, and I had skipped him.) I was determined not to do that again. I think this is a place where PyTD is better than winTD, since it can do the prize bands for you. I'm still doing it by hand.
We ended up getting most of the prizes settled, so all we had to do was the awards. I didn't have to do much, so I was already winding down.
Cleanup was hectic, especially since the volunteers seem to evaporate after the awards are handed out. If I were less tired, I probably would have been cleaning up while they were doing the awards. As it stood, I think I just lazed about while the awards were handed out. We only had four people that could help clean up. It kinda sucked, because I wanted to have dinner with the people from out of town before they left.
I don't know if it was luck, or just good planning, but we managed to clean up rather quickly. I think we were done in about an hour. Maybe when you have tired and hungry volunteers, they move more quickly to get to dinner. We managed to catch up with Lisa, Andrew, Andy, Eric, and Chris. They had already finished dinner, but we got to chat with them while they were eating dessert. It was a little sad for me, because I couldn't join in with any "war stories" about games that had happened during the tournament. Still, I had a lot of fun talking with the people at dinner. I think seeing people is the best part of running the tournament.
Now I really want to go to the US Go Congress next year.
Joe said that he wanted to take a break from beginner's night. Now that I work in Irvine, it's harder for me to get back to the Go club on time to teach. I showed up after nine o'clock. Samantha wanted to play a handicap game, but she didn't know how many stones to place. I told her nine was okay. Dammy thought that it was too many, and that I didn't have a chance.
I like playing handicap games, but I don't like to bully. I try to play in a way so that the other player gets a feel for the game, without just making a complicated fight and then bullying the other player into submission. I try to use the direction of play to make profit, and also keep the other player from making huge moyo.
Samantha was playing in a way that seemed indecisive. She would protect in one direction, and then switch to protect in another. The resulting shape ended up with a lot of cutting points. I would only cut when I could read out that it would work.
I was able to set up a ko at the bottom of the board. We fought the ko. I gave up four stones to win the ko. Winning the ko put pressure on her group -- not only did I take away her territory, but I also threatened her eyespace. A wedge ended up splitting her groups in two. She saved one of them, but I killed the other. After that, I was significantly ahead.
This was my first handicap game since the Cotsen. I felt like I played well, and I felt even better than I was able to take the time to read deeply. I still think I lack the finesse (in handicap games) that the stronger players had, but I feel like I was starting to hit my stride again.
After working on the tournament results most of the week, I wanted to play Go again. I was still dealing with getting the results in, still working on the aftermath, and still explaining the tiebreak to people with questions.
Anyway, I logged onto IGS. Apparently, the last time I was on was in 2007. I played a 3k. Since I was rated 4k, I held black. I started with the Chinese Opening. He invaded, and I started a splitting attack. I was able to chase his two weak groups around the board. They got out to the center, but I had built up territory along the bottom edge of the board.
We then turned our attention to the lefthand side of the board. This time, I played a leaning attack. I gave him third-line territory in exchange for thickness. Then I started a fight with his two weak groups. I started taking away his eyespace. I threatened to take three of his stones. I thought he had to give them up to survive. He connected his stones, but he misread. He didn't make his group live. Instead, he attacked my corner group.
I pushed out and tried to make eyespace. It was miai for a section of my group to connect back to a live group, so I ignored his threat and played on the vital point of his weak group. He read for a bit, then tried to attack my corner group. With a bit of overconfidence, I played too fast! I played the wrong move. He tried to make a nakade. Luckily, I saw the sequence to make a seki. After my group lived, he resigned.
This was the first game that I played in a while. For once, I felt calm and in complete control of the game. I started to think that my 4k rating was a little low. I was only 100 points away from being promoted 4k+.
After work on Monday, I wanted to play more Go. I logged onto IGS again. I started playing, but I think I was playing too fast. Before I knew it, I had lost three games in a row. I did win one game (on time, but only because my opponent let the clock run out.) It wasn't looking too good. I didn't have the concentration that I had before. I won the next game. My opponent played only along the sides, and let me seal off the middle of the board. I won by 28 points. I then lost the next three games.
I took a break when Patricia called. I wasn't happy with my play, so it was good to talk to her and take a break. But I really wanted to play more. We talked for a bit, and I think it helped me calm down. After we hung up, I played a few more games. I won all three. Maybe there is something to keeping a calm mind. :)
I ended up 5-6 for the night. Not bad, but I think I played way too fast for five hours of Go. (Considering there was a phone call in there, I think I played less than twenty minutes for each game.)
After sending off the results from the Cotsen Go Tournament to the AGA, I headed home from work. I wanted to make it to the Santa Monica Go Club. I didn't get there until after 9 PM. There wasn't anyone to play, so I was watching games. Samantha and Dave played a handicap game while Scott asked me about possibly coding tournament software. Joe broke open one of the books that was donated to the club. We reviewed positions from the book, and decided (as a group) what the best next move would be.
A little later, Andy came by. He said he had time for a quick game, and put a black stone on the board. I played a response, and soon we were in the middle of a quick game. The game started to look really interesting, so I stopped to get my Palm and recorded the game. By that time, though, I was in a bind. Andy had a better opening than me, and I was back on my heels. I was behind. I played to reduce his moyo, and it turned into a fight. I had read out that I won the capturing race in the corner (it was 11 moves deep), so I cut to take a stone and make a base. Andy played the other variation, and I ended up capturing his stones. I then misplayed when I was trying to expand, and ended up in seki. It was a horrible position. I was alive, but I traded a lot of thickness for no gain in the corner. I also lost sente.
When he invaded my side, I aggressive pushed on his group. It had living shape, but I solidified some territory on the side. I needed a better attack. His moyo was becoming huge. I cut off a bit of his invading group, and then chased it to try and get more power in the center of the board. His group was wriggling free, and he was slowly solidifying his territory. I was still intent on trying to cut off his group. I read out that I could push out and create a crosscut in the center of the board. I also saw that I had a ladder breaker that could break the seki if he didn't respond. I played the crosscut, then played the ladder breaker as a forcing move, and then cut off his group. The problem was that my center group was also floating. I was able to keep him from catching the group quickly, but I needed something better.
I played ko to try and reconnect to my group. He firmly captured my floating stones, but he let me break into his side territory as a trade. It put some pressure on his side group to live, but I didn't think I could kill it. He extended to get more eyespace. I started another ko. This time, I threatened a group at the top of the board. He resolved the ko, but I killed his group. I counted. I was still behind, but not by much. "If there was komi," I said, "I think I could win in endgame. Otherwise, I'd have to resign."
He expanded into my territory. I played hard, but he cut off another four stones. I was falling further behind. I starting trying to take points where I could. The group on the side, while I didn't think I could kill it, I thought I could squeeze it down. I read out a sequence that I thought could kill it, but it ended up being a gote seki. I didn't finish the seki, and tried to keep sente through the endgame. I was slowing gaining ground. One point here. Another point there. Still sente. I made the seki as my last gote move.
He played a move I didn't expect, and captured two stones. I sealed off my territory in sente, but losing the two stones hurt. There were fewer and fewer endgame moves left.
There were still a few half-point ko on the board. I filled one, only to realize that I missed a ko that was worth more points. We were running out of time, because the coffeehouse was closing. It was an intense ko fight, because we knew it was close. I lost the ko, but was able to fill two of the others on the board. I ended up winning by two and a half points.
This was a rough game. I was actually sweating when it was over. I think we both played well, despite some mistakes on both sides. The game was over 300 moves. I think we played two hours or so. It was the first time in a while that I slowed down and really tried to concentrate. I'm glad that it paid off.
Tadashi Sasaki, 8-dan pro, visited Los Angeles and taught a Go workshop. I have been to his Go workshops before, and I really enjoyed them.
Though the Go workshop was both Saturday and Sunday, I was only able to attend the Sunday session.
I had a busy Saturday. I had three rollerhockey games on Saturday. We ended up winning the first by forfeit, so I only played two. The second game, though, we only had five skaters, so I was dead tired at the end of the day. After I got back, I helped prepare some training materials for workers for the upcoming judo tournament. After that, I watched the Sharks-Penguins hockey game, and then went to bed.
I got to the Southern California Chinese Broadcasting building at 10 AM, but a lot of people were already there. Sasaki-sensei played simul games with three players at a time. Andy Okun, Jerry Shen, and I played against Sasaki-sensei. I played a five-stone game with Sensei. I didn't remember how many stones I took in our previous game. (It turns out that I took five stones.)
After playing a san-ren-sei at the top of the board, I pincered when Sensei approached. Normally, the response I see is to dive into the corner or jump out. Sensei attached to the outside of my pincer stone. I haned, then made a tiger's mouth. After that, he pressed from the other side. I ran my corner stone out to keep the groups separated, but I didn't see a good result. I ended up capturing the pincered stones, but I was completely wrapped up in the corner. It didn't feel like a good result, and now Sensei had a huge wall in the upper right of the board.
He then attacked my stone on the upper side of the board. I tried to run it out. I knew that I couldn't let that stone be captured. There would be too much territory, and I'd have to resign. (Maybe he's fill the lid of my bowl with 30 stones to make it fair. :)
As I was jumping out, it also threatened his approaching stone. I saw a move where I could either jump out, or make a base in the middle of his moyo. I know it's proper to jump out, but it was just too tempting to live. I secured a base, but let him surround my stones. He played a contact move that also secured his weakness in his wall. I answered. He descended, blocking me from expanding eyespace. I read and re-read the situation, and it didn't look to me like the move would kill the group. It looked like trouble, but I was still alive. So I tenukied and took more territory in the corner. The attack came, but I survived.
I felt ahead after that. I needed to break into the center to break up potentially a huge amount of territory. I managed to poke out, and push into the territory. In the analysis, Sensei said that he was setting up a position to resign. He laughed, saying that students rarely see the situation. I didn't. The sequence was only seven moves deep, but I was looking at endgame sequences and I didn't even read that far.
Sasaki-sensei also gave me a picture from the last workshop. I want to post it on the Santa Monica Go Club web site.
After the workshop, we had dinner together. There were twelve of us, but it was still intimate enough to be able to talk with everyone and catch up. I think I enjoy the fellowship afterwards about as much as I enjoy playing Go. It's too bad that it takes a special occasion (like having Sensei visit from Japan) so that I can block out a day to play Go.
This was my first even game in a while. I haven't played in quite some time. Gus was visiting from the Boston area (I think) and we had a game. It was towards the end of the night. I held white. Gus opened with a sanrensei. I played both 4-4 points and approached. Instead of a pincer, he played the kosumi. I didn't know how to respond. I started an invasion, and I managed to live, but I was falling behind. I played another sequence and managed to live on the other side, too. I thought I was gaining ground, despite the fact that I was losing more and more stones.
While I managed to live, Gus's moyo was getting bigger and bigger. I was trying to find a way to break in.
1/20 - Robert Schrader bad game. Manhandled.
1/26 Captain C. Charisma and Suzanna Pfeffer - simul teaching game
2/9 Nicolas 8 handicap - was losing. Found L-group in the corner.
2/16 Terry 6 stones - two groups died. didn't have a chance.
2/18 - blitz games on KGS - does it really prepare you? 2/19 - two more games
2/20 last time I played a rated game was at the 2007 Cotsen Go Tournament game 1 - Robert Schrader - payback? When we were paired, I saw that I was matched againstt Robert Schrader - the same person I played back at the Unurban the month before. I held white, so I was worried about the same situation that happened last time. He played a 4-4 point and a 3-4 point like last time. Last time, he approached my 4-4 stone, slid into the corner, and then made a shimari. I found it really hard to eal with. This time, he approached my other 4-4 stone. I immediately approached his 3-4 stone, so the game ended up working out differently. He attached underneath, and I haned to play the tsuke-hiki joseki. I considered playing tenuki to respond to his kakari, but it seemed more important to stabilize my group on his side of the board. I made the hanging connection and had to deal with the double-kakari. I played the attach-and-extend joseki, so I ended up with a bamboo joint that separated his two groups. Instead of sliding into the corner, he extended down the side of the board towards his 4-4 stone.
game 2 - Li Yun Xuan - half-pointer game 3 - bye because of "date night"
2/21 game 4 - Ted Drange - I don't do well as white. Ted started by playing two hoshi points, so I followed suit. He approached, and I made the low extension from my 4-4 stone. He slid into the corner. I felt like I would fall behind if I just played the joseki. Instead, I approached the opposite corner. He responded similarly, so we ended up with symmetrical positions on the board. I thought this might be in my favor because I had komi.
Ted then approached my corner. I played a low one-space pincer, and he dove into the corner. It ended up okay, but my group that approached his corner was not in the ideal location - it was one space off. He started to enclose his corner, so I played a 4-2 invasion. I'm not sure if it's a valid move or a trick play, but I thought that I'd be able to settle the group. He attached and traded a ponnuki for the corner, so my group settled rather easily.
He then played the middle hoshi point, starting to create a huge moyo on his side. I responded by making an ogeima from my corner group to make a competing moyo with my wall. He played at the edge of my moyo. The fighting in the middle game was on!
I thought his move was a little deep. I capped, figuring that as I chased his group to the center, I would get additional stones that would help me invade or reduce his side. As his group ran for its life, I was getting more and more stones in the center of the board. I was even able to slide underneath, keeping most of the territory in the area. I did give up two stones to secure the side, though, but it was a trade I was happy to make.
Because my two stones were captured, I ignored his threat to connect to his corner group. Instead, I attached to his hoshi stone in his moyo. I figured if I could make a base there and run out, I would wreck most of his territory and be ahead in the game. He haned. I crosscut. After we both extended, I jumped to the middle. He captured my cutting stone, but in return, I was able to make a base. he jumped out from his corner to split my group from the ponnuki I already had, but he had to play another move to enclose my group. I then played a kosumi towards the edge of the board and made shape. I didn't think he could kill my group.
Since my group on his side was alive, he played in my side to split my groups and capture one. I considered trying to make a base along the side of the board, but it looked rough. I also had an open skirt, so there didn't look like there was much hope for making two eyes.
Instead, I decided to try and connect out. His stone didn't have much support either, so I thought I might have an advantage when I capped his stone. Not only did it put pressure on his group, but it also helped my group connect out. He attached and then crosscut. I was reading out the different variations. I thought I could either connect out or cut off his group. I also thought I might be able to live on the side. He threatened to connect out, so I cut. He ataried, and then played to capture my cutting stones. I was in trouble. I thought I had more liberties for my group on the side, but I didn't read out what was going to happen with my cutting stones. Even though it was bad shape, I had to extend and make an empty triangle. He kept pushing, so I kept extending. He made sure that his cutting stones were safe by capturing my two stones firmly, but that gave me the chance to turn the corner and get more liberties. I was able to connect my stones my stones on the side together, so I had more liberties. My group was safe. I made sure that my group on his side of the board was alive. I think I was ahead after that. We played through the endgame, but I was ahead on the board at the end of the game. I won by thirteen and a half points.
game 5 - Kevin Chou (2-stone game as white)
Hard fight. Shodan. Two stone game. He played a 3-4 point, so I approached. He pincered. i attached and make a tiger's mouth. Instead of extending along the top of the board, he played atari. I counter ataried and took the outside.
2/22 - Good news!
2/23 At the club. Ryan's back! Showed him my games from the tournament. Lost the game records to games 4 and 5.. :( Played lots of blitz. I think I lost six games in a row. Andy came by with my trophy.
3/09 - Played Richard tonight. No komi. Close. Resigned. Didn't know how to handle the invasion.
Registration cluster - The dispute
What a difference a day makes!
Lose to Lisa in front of Jeong-sensei
Game with Andrew Jackson
two-stone game with Dave Dows, lose by one point
This is my first time updating my Go Blog in quite some time. Over the past few years, I haven't been able to play much Go. Work got busier. I have spent more time with Patricia, so making it to the Santa Monica Go Club and spending all evening there became more and more difficult. I was able to visit for the anniversary parties, and loved to see and talk to the friends I've made there, but it was becoming more and more difficult.
When the COVID-19 pandemic started, I wasn't sure how it was going to affect my life. I started working remotely more, though I wasn't driving into the office as much. The Santa Monica Go Club stopped meeting in-person in March. People thought they might be able to meet after the shelter-in-place order was lifted, but as the pandemic continued, it looked like that wasn't going to happen.
Since I wasn't playing enough on my online accounts, most of my accounts were under-rated. I was an AGA 2-dan at one point, but none of my online accounts were above 7 kyu. My KGS rank had disappeared, and I found that it was hard find games.
I started playing on IGS, but the quality of games wasn't that great. I was often ahead by 50 points or more, but either the other player didn't realize, didn't count the board, or wanted to see if I'd make a mistake. They'd often resign during scoring.
The nail in the coffin was when I finally finished a game where I was over 50 more points ahead. I didn't know how to score in the GoPanda2t? client. (I hadn't gone to the endgame in a game since the new client came out.) My opponents' dead stones weren't marked correctly, and it said I lost. I was pissed.
I happened to gripe on Facebook about the game and how online go wasn't that fun - so some friends mentioned that they play on online-go.com. I had an account there, but it also was under-rated. Matchmaking wasn't a problem, though, because I already had two friends online that play there. It's been fun playing with them online - it's been stretching and warming up my "Go muscles" that have atrophied over the years. The games aren't ranked, but it's given us the chance to play more experimental games - tengen openings, and other things like that. There have been massive kills, epic running battles, and lots of fun, complex situations to get lost in. In short, it's been all the things that I've missed about playing Go - but now it's accessible on my phone, so I can stare at a problem in one of my games while I'm in line at the store, or waiting for someone.
I also decided that it's about time to update my rating on OGS. I joined the ladder, and I'm in the middle of two rated ladder games. I'm hoping this will move my rating up a couple stones to where I think it should be. I'm currently 6 kyu there, but my even games are with my friends who are rated a couple stones higher than that. I'm hoping that's close to where I should be.
I haven't decided if I should continue on IGS. I love that they broadcast games there, but I also hate that most of the competition is during prime time in Asia. It might be worth it, but I'm not sure yet. Quantity of games is probably better than quality right now. It's like exercise - I need to get back into "Go shape." And, as every Go player knows, you really don't want to be in bad shape.
I'll update again after my ladder game finishes. There's a really interesting corner position and monkey jump that I want to share.
Now that my OGS ladder game is over, I can comment on the game. I was really happy with my move, the marked stone. It's a simple probe. I thought it was most likely that White would connect at 'a'. If White doesn't connect there, I can wreck a lot of the corner.
But the reason why I like this move is that it also makes the monkey jump at 'b' really hard to deal with.
However, because of the marked stone, I can cut instead. This cut is hard to deal with, and the marked stone may help me make life in the corner.
I exchanged the two marked stones first, then I made a monkey jump. White did play the 'hane', so I cut.
This was the continuation. might have been a mistake. I was deciding between and . After at , at was the follow-up move. But when I actually played a move, I clicked on the wrong spot. (I sometimes think ahead too much and this happens I click where I thinking about when I read ahead. It also shows that I shouldn't play late at night when I'm tired.)
Luckily, I had already read out the response to , and I knew that would live in the corner. 'a' and 'b' are 'miai' for one eye. The marked stone actually helps me make my second eye.
My monkey jump only happened 23 moves later, but in a correspondence game, it felt like forever!
After the game is complete, OGS does give you an AI analysis of my game. I played through the game, and I'm happy that I played the best move in many cases. (There were also a few times where I responded right after my opponent's move - and then immediately regretted it. Another reason why I shouldn't play at 3 AM.)
It didn't like my monkey jump sequence, though. It thought I should have immediately hane, instead of pulling back. I end up wrecking a lot more territory than I would have with my monkey jump (assuming my opponent had responded correctly).
Uberdude Hope you don't mind me commenting on your blog; I would not be thinking about farting about on the 1st line with a monkey jump here, but this invasions point in the 3rd line jumps out. If white plays the natural moves you end up making some points for yourself as well as destroying white points. White could resist with some other choices like 2 at a though so needs some reading. If you have the support in the centre like shown in your later diagrams then it's easier to play.
Chris Hayashida: No worries, I post stuff to have people read/discuss it. Thanks! I don't know why I didn't think of your move - I think I might have had tunnel vision after my previous exchange. I need to look at it with the other stones in place and see what my thinking was. Would had to have it be a problem of a mistranscribed diagram. :D
I went back and checked the game, and the OGS analysis suggested a move at instead of 'a', with White answering as 'a'. The followup ends up with Black capturing the three marked white stones and White connecting out to the center.
Well, I've been playing off and on online since my last post. I've played 23 game on IGS in that time. It's one of those things - switching from video games to Go, I tend to play too fast and don't calm down. I was managing okay at 6 kyu, but then I had a disastrous losing streak and I dropped through 7k+ all the way to 7k.
I didn't know what was going on. Was I rusty? Was my counting off? No... it turns out that I didn't know that some of the games had reverse komi. I also didn't know how to look it up in the client. I had to post on Facebook and ask.
I'm 13-10 in the last 23 games. Right now, I'm trying to concentrate on each game, and go for consecutive wins. It shouldn't be too hard - I'm underranked compared to where I was before, and most of the games are blowout. I still need to take care and not make stupid mistakes. All of the games are 1/10 games, so with 10 minutes to make 25 moves, there's no excuse for me not to slow down, read, and count.
I also started playing a lot more on OGS. I find that there, I have the opposite problem. I think I'm winning, but somewhere over the course of the weeks of play, I end up losing. I think I start losing the thread of where to play, and sometimes I make moves late at night, when I shouldn't be playing. It's the boon and the curse of being able to play on your phone. :D
I'm sad that there won't be a Cotsen Go Tournament this year, though I've missed the last few. I suppose it's too be expected, but with all my other plans falling through, it would have been nice to somehow see and chat with everyone in the LA area. But patience is something I need to work on, and I can work on in it real life (and not just Go).