Visitors, March league begins, English class, NHK interview and team tournament approaching, commented insei game

Yes, the topic does imply that I should write more often. The good news is, I should soon start having more time for it again!

Since the last time I wrote, quite a bit has happened again. My parents came to visit me last Friday, and left back for Finland this morning. Thus, I’ve had a short break from really intensive training, and have taken the time to look around Tokyo again. I’m getting the feeling that having had a short break should be a good thing. I’m not sure how we did it, but in just four days, we visited more or less all the relatively important tourist sites in Tokyo. By our standards, at least. That’s about 80 000 steps walked, too!

Last weekend was the beginning of the March league — I’m still in the middle of C class. I opened badly with one win and two losses on Saturday, but miraculously got three wins on Sunday. Two of those three won games were initially very difficult, but somehow I was able to turn them around. In the third game, my opponent more or less came and killed himself in my moyo — the game was over in about 100 moves.

On Saturday, during the insei training after the lunch break, there was a small event: they’d prepared for a microphone and a loudspeaker in the insei classroom. It soon became evident that the occasion was for the newest three pros who are starting this spring. All of the insei instructors gave a small speech, and all of the new pros thanked the instructors and encouraged all the current insei to try their hardest to become professional. All in all, the event lasted for about 15 minutes. For hopefully understandable reasons, I didn’t take any photos.

We had our English class on Tuesday evening as normal. Last week we only had three professionals and four English speakers present, but this week we had something like sixteen people in total, including four Japanese newcomers, all amateurs. From the stronger pro side, So Yokoku 8 dan and Shuto Shun 7 dan were both present, too. I presented two insei games, got some really good commentary to both of them, and will be presenting one of the games with the commentary right here in this post.

Next week, Ōhashi-sensei will be accompanying Takemiya-sensei to play against Zen, a go AI, in a public match. Takemiya-sensei will play against Zen on a 19×19 board, and Ōhashi-sensei on a 9×9 board. I asked about that a bit from Ōhashi-sensei during the English class, in English of course, and it didn’t take long for one of the pros to comment that Ōhashi-sensei should shave his hair if he loses. To that, Ōhashi-sensei jokingly responded that he’d get an afro if he lost. Much laughing ensued.

As for more this week, on Sunday after the insei training, some people from the NHK (the Japan Broadcasting Company) are coming to the apartment I’m living in to do some recording, related to the interview I’m doing for them. This is definitely the biggest interview I’ll have done up to date — the one for Finland’s biggest newspaper, Helsingin sanomat, doesn’t even come close. If I understood right, they’ll do some recording at the Nihon Ki-in and at Mimura-sensei’s dojo as well.

On another note, related to Mimura-sensei’s dojo, he just earlier today contacted me if I’m interested to play in a team tournament on April 30. I’m not exactly sure what that’s about, yet, but I already responded that I’ll play by all means. The teams will consist of five people, apparently. I’ll give more information about the tournament once I get to hear more myself. I suppose this implies that insei aren’t strictly forbidden from playing in amateur tournaments!

Finally, let’s go for the insei game! The opponent is 岩田, who just a few weeks earlier missed passing the female pro exam by a margin of less than one win. She’d won against the girl who eventually passed the exam, but lost to another contestant, and apparently the tiebreaker system is such that the one who loses the game between the tied players is favored. As for this insei game, I ended up winning by 2.5 points. The comments for the game are again inside the sgf file. Enjoy!

[sgfPrepared id=”0″]

2 thoughts on “Visitors, March league begins, English class, NHK interview and team tournament approaching, commented insei game”

  1. Speaking of new pros, could you perhaps write a post about how the current system works in Nihon Ki-in (and Kansai Ki-in, if you can figure it out)? :)

    I’m interested in how does one go about becoming a professional go player in Japan these days, as the routes and possibilities undoubtedly differ a bit depending if you are Japanese or a foreigner, insei or not, and whether you enroll in Nihon Ki-in or Kansai Ki-in.

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