Pandanet European Team Championship 2012, round 5: Finland vs. Israel

I figured the readers might be more interested in my game in the Pandanet European Team Championship from last Tuesday than anything from last weekend, so I’m prioritizing the non-insei game first. The tournament game actually took quite a bit of preparing from me. We had arranged for the game to start a bit earlier than the other games, at 17 PM CET, which means 1 AM here in Japan. The reason for putting the game forward was because Israel’s first board is also currently studying abroad — in South Korea, which is in the same time zone as Japan. I had to make sure that I’d still be in a good state of mind during the game, late into the night, so I altered my sleeping rhythm a bit for the game, and drank coffee late into Tuesday evening. I was successful in this, as I felt like I was in good shape during the game, but as I only got to sleep at about 4 AM, I was naturally incredibly tired the following day.

Currently, the fifth round’s situation is unfortunately 2-1 in Israel’s favor — the fourth game was arranged to be played next Tuesday due to some issues with the internet (or possibly IGS?). While Finland isn’t doing too well at the moment, I’m at least happy to say that I won my game against Israel’s first board, Ali Jabarin 6 dan. Here’s the game file along with some remarks! Some are my thoughts, and some are from Su Yang 6 dan. I’m thinking of also presenting this game to the professionals on next week’s Tuesday’s English class; if I get really good input from them, I’ll write another commentary relating to this game.

[sgfPrepared id=”0″]

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Excerpt from the Weekly go newspaper, part 3: ten classic joseki

Seems I got it wrong last week: we didn’t get ten most popular endgame moves this week in Weekly go, but instead ten most popular joseki! These are incredibly classic ones; all single digit kyu and dan level players are recommended to learn these if not already familiar with them. As usual, diagrams have been made with jGoBoard.

I’m pretty confident we’ll get ten most popular fuseki next week! What do you think will be the most popular one?

For those not familiar with the go terminology that appears in the following image captions:

  • Keima (“knight’s move”) means a shape similar to how the knight moves in chess (two spaces apart in height, one in width)
  • Ōgeima (“large knight’s move”) means a shape similar to keima, but three spaces apart in height instead of two.
  • Kosumi means a diagonal shape (one space apart in both height and width)
  • Slide is a play that literally slides under the opponent’s position, while (at least loosely) connected to one’s own stone that is exactly one line above. This means that a slide is usually also a keima, ōgeima or a daidaigeima (“very large knight’s move”).
#1: 80 votes: 3-4 point > one-space high approach > inner attachment

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Getting all the busier

This time, I’m writing a shorter status update only. There was a nice snowstorm yesterday here in Tokyo — indeed, the snowfall was pretty much at the same level with what we usually get in Finland. In addition to the snow, there was also some thundering, which is something we usually do not get in Finland. A few hours into the snowfall, the ground was all slushy, and even now, some eighteen hours later, it appears there’s some snow left on the ground. Just when I was thinking that I wouldn’t see any snow at all this winter!

Last weekend marked another pretty bad result for me (the last time was in December), with only one win and five losses. I’m not letting it get to me, and instead opt to learn from my mistakes — I find that getting to B class is something that will happen on its own if I actually do learn to play better. Furthermore, if I went to play next weekend with an attitude like “if I win all my games, I’ll get to B class”, I most definitely wouldn’t  make it. While the weekend didn’t go well, yesterday I beat Mimura Jr. (who’s in B class) quite easily at the dojo, meaning that I cannot really be in a slump or anything.

As of late, as the topic also implies, I’ve been having more and more things to do. Last week, I went to the Mimura go dojo on three days, and adding the insei weekend and our English class to that, I had only one purely free day. It’s not like these blog texts are quick to write, either, especially if I’m preparing a text with go diagrams. I’ve also the Nordic Go Academy to co-run all the while, and the Finnish Go Association’s new website to plan. While on the other hand that could sound like a lot to do, I prefer being busy over getting bored.

Adding to all the rest, tonight I’ll be playing a game in the Pandanet European Team Championship. On this round, Finland will face Israel, which appears to be the most decisive match in the B league. Hopefully many of my readers will come enjoy the match! Note that my game with Ali Jabarin is played earlier than the others, at 17:00 CET, because I’m located in Japan and Ali in Korea. This means the game will start at 1 AM my time, but I’m planning to do my best nevertheless.

If all goes well, I’ll write another blog post or two tomorrow, or the day after. The Weekly go magazine had “ten most popular joseki” in this week’s edition, and I’ve also something game-related to post from last weekend.

Excerpt from the Weekly go newspaper, part 2: ten classic tesuji

Remember the ten classic tsumego from last week? This week, the Weekly go newspaper conducted a similar research on the most popular tesuji among (most likely the same) 130 professional players, in an article named “The real pleasure of go”. When including the problem diagrams in this fashion, it is not obvious in all cases what black is exactly supposed to do; for that reason, I’m adding a short introduction for a few of the tesuji problems. The tesuji range in level from lower-end single digit kyus to higher-end single digit kyus — I would say again that most, if not all, dan players should be familiar with these tesuji already. And if not, now’s a chance to rectify the situation! Again, the diagrams have been made with jGoBoard.

I wonder if we’re getting ten best endgame moves next week?

#1: 54 votes

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Class C, second week; insei-level opening theory, part 2

To confuse all the readers who got in the habit of reading new blog posts here on Gooften about once a week — or even a bit less often than that during Christmas — here’s a surprise update! Finnish readers may be interested in knowing that there is also a new update at Insei Japanissa, posted yesterday.

Today was this month’s second week, and this time I got a clean result, getting wins against the insei number #5-7. Of these, only the last game was relatively difficult; the first two against 齋藤 and 新井 were relatively easy, me killing some larger groups from the opponent in both games. Here’s most of the current results in jpg format:

Note the winning streak of my nemesis: #12 藤原 (Fujiwara)!

Today, Yoda Norimoto sensei was also present and doing some game commentaries. My games were taking too long for me to get him review any of my games, unfortunately.

This time I won’t be posting a game record, but instead some more insight into specific joseki along with explanations. No, we’re still not getting out from the 3-4 point with a one-space high approach and a one-space low pincer!

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Excerpt from the Weekly go newspaper: ten classic tsumego

For this week’s Weekly go, they’d asked 130 Japanese professionals about the best tsumego; this research appears to have been conducted in a poll-like manner, giving the professionals a larger set of famous tsumego and then the pros picking their favorites. The ten most popular problems were then published in the newspaper, in an article named “Fundamentals are important”. The problems aren’t of exceptionally high level, but very important to know — which is why I’m posting them all here. I would imagine stronger kyu players can get most of them right even without initially knowing them, and dan players should know them all by heart — if not, here’s a chance to correct that!

As with tsumego normally, the objective is to find the best result for both sides. That’s why, this time around, I won’t be telling which side is to go first. In most problems, though, it’s still fairly obvious. All diagrams have again been made with jGoBoard.

#1: 48 votes

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New year, new tricks

I’ve yet to wish happy new year for my readers, so here goes: Happy new year! I’m not sure if the topic’s “new year, new tricks” is actually used in English — I translated it directly from the Finnish saying. The meaning is still obvious enough, even if the saying didn’t originally exist in English!

I spent a two-week break from the Christmas up to new year not really playing go. An exception, I visited the Mimura dojo on December 26 in the middle of my break to give Mimura-sensei a Christmas present, two moomin-themed mugs and some Finnish chocolate. As usual, then, I did some tsumego there and played a few games, and that time got mercilessly defeated by the fellow insei. As a Finn, I was honestly surprised that the dojo was gathering even during what would normally be Christmas holiday. And it wasn’t only that; normally the dojo is open from around 4 PM to 9 PM, but since the children had a break form school, the dojo was open from all the way from 9 AM to 8 PM. I got around to thinking what would happen in western countries with a similar dojo: probably both the teacher and the students would go: “Oh, it’s holiday now, I’d rather just sit back and not do anything”, and then there would be nothing ventured and nothing gained. I don’t have anything against relaxing a bit here and there, but I find there’s something really wrong in the western countries’, at least Finland’s, attitude towards holidays, as if “being able not to have to do anything” was a state that people should strive for.

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First Gooften essay!

I figured a few days ago that instead of writing yet another small status update about “soon publishing the kikashi essay”, I’d rather just take a few more days, actually write the essay, and then talk about it. Here’s a late Christmas present for my readers!

It has probably been nine years since my first encounter with the go term kikashi. Back then, I was neither much in touch with Japanese go terminology nor strong enough to figure out what was actually meant with the term, so I, like many others, assumed the more common western understanding of kikashi: that of a simple “forcing move”. While I’m certain many western players do have the right conception of kikashi, I’ve experienced that the term is also often misused. While this essay will never reach the whole of its target audience, I think it will be successful if even a few readers reach a moment of clarity after finishing reading.

My main incentive for writing this text wells from now having studied go in Japan for a few months. When I arrived in Japan,  I didn’t have an accurate conception of kikashi myself, but now I feel I have mostly figured the term out. Since most western players don’t have a similar opportunity to go absorb correct go terminology, I feel it’s my duty to contribute something on this part. If, after reading the hopefully-not-too-long essay, you feel you’ve learned something and you like what you’ve learned, I would like to hear any thoughts or commentary you have about it!

Kikashi: taking advantage of the opponent’s plans