The Takapotku Open 2011 tournament is now well over! The situation got very interesting towards the end: I lost a game to Su Yang (known as Jeff) 6 dan, who in turn later lost a game to Juri Kuronen 5 dan. So, in the end there were three people from the top group with five wins, and the winner would be decided by the sum of their opponents’ scores (SOS). My and Juri’s games ended well before Jeff’s, and for the last two hours we were zealously calculating how the SOS scores would turn out – it seemed I was in the worst position of the three. In the end, the unlikely event of four different games ending up in my favor occurred, and so I beat Juri by one SOS – only losing by one to Jeff! A bit ironically, the calculations proved gratuitous: prize money was divided evenly between us, save for the fact that Jeff wasn’t eligible for the Pandanet prize money.
On a somewhat different note, for the last month, I’ve been attending a philosophy and systems intelligence course in my university. The most important part of the course are weekly 3-hour lectures, in which the lecturer aims to provoke dynamic living experiences for the attendants – the themes vary each week. Last week I found one of the themes very close and applicable to go: the will to get results. The lecturer’s points were as follows:
- Do what works
- Fix what doesn’t work
Simple, huh? The main thing to look out for, here, is that you don’t start lamenting the situation or looking for guilty parties. Further applied to go, this means that if you find you have made a mistake, you are not to lose heart or to throw the game immediately away by doing something utterly reckless. Instead, keep going at it, carefully formulate a plan on how to turn the game around – one by one fix the problems on the board, and do what works. Rome wasn’t built in a day, either. A key thing in all this is to analyze the whole board carefully.
The lecturer also provided the attendants with his analysis of the key points of 007 philosophy, very closely intertwined with the will to get results. I’ll list the points that are easily applicable to go:
- Never get annoyed
- Act immediately (if there is a point on the board that you really need to take, don’t do “something else” first)
- Be confident (don’t doubt yourself)
- Let your style be a part of your playing strength (play the kind of game you’re familiar with – unless you’re looking to learn new things)
The lecturer even told a short James Bond story that I also found analogous to go: in one movie, there’s a situation in which Bond is thrown off a flying airplane, without a parachute – we might call this an awkward situation. Bond doesn’t get shaken up, however, but instead analyzes the situation carefully, looking for other flying objects, and indeed notices a parachute further down below. He then takes an ideal flying posture and flies down straight for the parachute. Talk about improbable!
Further on the theme “the will to get results”, I’ve got here the game I lost to Jeff in Takapotku last weekend! I had white.
The game started as shown here. There’s not much to note here – after the game, Jeff said that he chose diagonal corners to prevent my possible plans to create a large framework. After black 13, I was faced with a small dilemma.
I considered different moves on the lower right corner, but none seemed very good – in all cases, there will be the points of A and B for black to invade, so the lower side will actually never become a significant white territory. A white move at C is almost an interesting defense, but then black still has D left to invade white’s territory. Thus, I decided to approach the situation differently with the pincer of white 14.
The joseki sequence shown here, up to white 26, followed. Black then plays 27 to prevent a big white framework on the right side. Furthermore, the white lower side is still not really white territory – black still has moves A and B left, there. For now, white is building influence, and black is playing in a more territory-oriented manner – as is the case usually in games between me and Jeff!
I then used some effort to devise a plan to build the right-side framework. The white move of 28 is commonly played soon after a 4-4 point stone in the corner is strengthened with a knight’s move along the side . The reasoning for white 28 is, that the black knight’s move is looking to create territory in the corner; white 28 forces black to take a smaller corner territory, also getting white a strong group. The moves shown here are pretty often seen. Most often, after black 33, white plays an extension along the upper side. Here, however, I set my ploy in motion by playing white 34 and strengthening the lower right: because white didn’t play the extension on the upper side, black is sure to play a pincer next!
As planned, the black pincer did come – I had prepared white 36 for that. The sequence up to 42 doesn’t provide the best shape for the white group, but it works – after them, black needs to play 43 to make sure his four stones get two eyes. It was here that something inexplicable happened in my head: I scrapped my plan of building the framework with white A, instead hurrying to protect the upper-left white group with 44. Actually, the white group there would have been easily safe anyway.
If, after white A, black played B to rob the three white stones of their eye base, I might (now) even consider playing C to further enlarge the framework. My only explanation for what happened here is, that I stopped thinking about how to win the game – I stopped thinking about how to get results on the board, as well. I had a fine plan all formulated, and then I just didn’t follow it.
Black, surely, took sente on the upper side to play 51 – now the white stones on the right side don’t work together, anymore. I replied with up to 56 to create a smaller framework on the right side, believing that the white upper-right group will survive.
Seeing that the white framework will manifest into territory anyway, black played the sacrificial lamb of 57 to get 59 in sente, and then went to surround white with 61.Thanks to white 62 and 64, white seemed safe enough, but after black played the forcing move of 65, again something weird happened in my head – I went to make sure that my group, which would have survived anyway, got out to safety – sacrificing the profit I had made on the right side. I can’t help but feel, now, that I was really confused during this game.
The following, here, happened next. Black 79 was really difficult to answer – white’s stones are not working together at all. I remember thinking for a moment, and then deciding to go with an all-out plan.
Something had to be done about black’s potential on the left side: I created a ko fight situation in the lower left to make the situation complicated, aiming to either lay waste to black’s left side or to attack black’s lower-side group. I made two unjustifiable mistakes: I let black connect the ko easily with black 91 -instead of white 90, I should have for example cut with A, instead – and I ended up trying to get both the left side and the lower side. In response to black 93, white really needs to take the point of B instead. Then, once black captures two white stones in a ladder with C, the black group is actually not yet even alive: white can force black to take the two white stones off the board with white D, leaving black with only one eye. After black 97, there’s actually no choice for white but to run with E – after white 98, black 99 is the last nail in white’s coffin.
Here’s how the game continued for a bit longer – I tried one more all-out plan, aiming to kill the black stones in the centre. Black’s choice of sacrificing the stones was cool-headed. In the end, white simply doesn’t have enough territory to compare with black. The game continued for some more moves still – I tried my luck in trying to assassinate (that’s right – some surprise effect was needed) the two black groups near the upper left corner, but surprisingly didn’t succeed. Here’s the sgf file:
Despite my rough analysis on this game, I did enjoy playing it – the main thing is, that I really cannot reason what was actually going through my head at the time. From the looks of this game, I think had some great plans and visions, but didn’t feel like actually carrying them out. Thus, my only conclusion is that I wasn’t actively looking to win the game, as nonsensical as it might sound!
My plan for the next two weeks – to prepare for Dublin – is to get around to playing some internet games; to get used to not only forming effective plans, but also to carrying them properly out. In other words, you might catch me playing on wbaduk or on KGS with one of my secret accounts in the near future!