Yesterday was the Vernal Equinox Day, meaning the day in spring when the day and night are equally long. That’d mean now we are on the better side again, with the day lasting longer than the night! The Vernal Equinox Day is a national holiday in Japan, meaning that people (generally) have a free day from work, and as such most shops are closed as well. While outside, I spotted an incredible number of families taking a walk together with their children — something that you totally don’t see on a normal working day.
Go players don’t take needless breaks here. Instead, the Ichikawa go dojo gathered already in the morning at 9 AM, as opposed to the normal 4 PM. I didn’t go to the dojo until slightly after noon however, as, 10 AM from 12 AM was dedicated to “physical exercise and children’s games”. Not that it couldn’t have been fun as well, but I instead got a few hours’ worth of sleep more.
From 1 PM to 5 PM the Ichikawa go dojo personnel attended a tournament held by the Tengen go salon, conveniently located in the same building and on the same floor. I’ve gotten many questions like “Isn’t it forbidden for the insei to play in amateur tournaments?” It turns out that was more or less made up for Hikaru no Go, and doesn’t affect real-life insei — at least not in small tournaments like this. Koyama Kūya from A class participated in the World Youth Go Championship 2011 as well, so it definitely didn’t affect there, either. Yes, Koyama was insei at the time.
The people from the dojo have gone many times to the Tengen go salon to play before as well, but this was a first to me. The tournament system seemed fairly simple, with ranks given to the participants, and then handicap games played. I was ranked as an 8 dan along with Mimura’s son Kenta, and Satoshi-san who also once a week attends the dojo (though he’s somewhat older, likely past 40). It turned out that most of the 7 dans were people from the dojo as well. So, throughout the four games that I played, I didn’t get to play the regulars of the go salon at all! Instead I played (in order) Satoshi, Kenta, Sejun (a boy of about 10 years) and Hana (a girl of 11 years). The first game with Satoshi was an incredibly close game, with me winning by 0.5 points in the end — the rest were relatively easy wins. As such, I ended up winning the whole tournament, and got a really nice trophy out of it as well!
While I played as an 8 dan and the cup states that as well, it’s still not an official Nihon Ki-in ranking or anything. The Japanese ranking system is pretty loose in these things.
I’m sure the readers would appreciate a game record from the tournament. I unfortunately don’t have the 0.5-point-game recorded due to time constraints yesterday, but here’s the straightforward game I had with Kenta instead:
Funnily, after the tournament had concluded, it seemed like half of the go salon was talking something about “finrando”. I’m guessing I did some pretty good marketing work there!
After the tournament concluded at about 5 PM, we returned to the dojo, and continued straight away with a light 40-minute, 80-problem tsumego quiz. I spent a bit too much time in the first parts of the quiz, and didn’t make it in time to solve all the difficult problems that were concentrated at the end of the quiz — as such, my score was only 70 out of 80, which got me the second place (after Kenta). Excuse me if I don’t post the quiz here, as that’d take at least one hour to scribe up!
At the same time elsewhere, yesterday in the Pandanet Go European Team Championship, Finland tied 2-2 with Serbia, defending its third position in the B league. I likely won’t be playing for Finland before I get back from Japan, as the time difference makes it really hard to play from this side — I don’t feel like forcing my game to be played earlier in the day, either. The last round is on 22 May, meaning after I’ve returned, so that time I might take up the challenge.