The idle old lady
repp: This happened just a few months after I started playing Go. I figured I had spent enough time playing a few friends and Internet strangers, so I wandered out into my community to find Go-related events. I came across the Canada West Tournament - perfect, I thought, to find out how strong I was.
Unfortunately I showed up at the tournament far too late to play, so I looked around for idle people. Taking up a vacant seat across from a little old lady, thinking she might be easier to beat than the various other people around, we negotiated a handicap of 6 (I was black, naturally) and began to play.
Although her English was not strong, her Go certainly was and it quickly became clear to me that I had no idea what I was doing. Half way through the game she hollered, "Too strong! Too strong!". Thinking that she was complimenting me (and somewhat confused as to why she might be doing that) I retorted, "But I don't know how strong I am!" After reflecting upon the game, I realized that she was telling me that I was too defensive, my stones were inefficiently placed, and I needed to lighten up. So began my study of efficiency, turning away from the school of thought that states "one must save all stones."
It turned out that she was idle because she was awaiting her trophy, having won first in her class. Since that time I have been thoroughly humbled by a 7-year old, so the destruction of any prejudice regarding age on my part has been quite complete.