Last weeks in Japan, part 4: tv game with Fujisawa Rina

At the time of writing this blog post, I have actually already returned to Finland, but I’ll be writing the “returning to Finland” blog post a bit later.

In Last weeks in Japan, part 3, I’d forgotten May 3, Thursday, which was a day when Kobayashi-sensei had asked me to participate in her children’s go class as a guest. It was then that the famous tv face, Anti Torumanen (indeed, almost all of the kids had seen me on television), came to play some simultaneous games with the more promising children. I played three sets of two-game simultaneous matches, handicaps included (ranging from two to five stones), and ended up winning all the games too. Apparently some of the children came for the class from somewhere pretty far away (like, a 1-2 hour trip), which was fairly surprising, considering that the class itself only lasted for about two hours.

Last Monday, on May 7, I played in a tv broadcast game against Fujisawa Rina, professional 1 dan. Before the match, which started at 6 PM, I first went to visit a zen buddhist temple in Ueno with Kobayashi-sensei. We were shown around the temple a bit, and I was taught the very basics of zazen (sitting meditation). By the end of the one-hour visit, the monk who was showing us around was asking if I wouldn’t become his disciple. As monk life in Japan nowadays can be fairly modern, and not too ascetic, I might even consider such a proposal if I ended up going to Japan again (and if I could be insei at the same time). It seemed fitting that first there’d be some meditation, and then a tv match against a pro soon after that.

Since this was already the second time I was to be featured in a tv program in Japan, I wasn’t really nervous at all. It was interesting to see some details about how those go commentary programs that you see on tv in Asia are made. The commentator for my game was Sakai Maki 8 dan, also one of the insei instructors. There were two short interviews included during the recording as well — when I could, I answered in Japanese, but at times I had to have Tom from the Nihon Ki-in to translate for me.

As for the game, I did my best to go with a flexible, but influence-oriented game plan. I had two handicap stones, but as winning or losing wasn’t of especially big importance in the match, I didn’t go out to maximize my winning chance, but instead kept on searching for the strongest move. As a result, black had the lead for a long time, but eventually pushed a bit too hard, and white turned the game around. It should be interesting for the readers to see Fujisawa’s present-day game (especially after her win against Aoki Kikuyo 8-dan recently), so the kifu is of course included below. Commentary for the game is courtesy of the English class professionals.

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12 thoughts on “Last weeks in Japan, part 4: tv game with Fujisawa Rina”

  1. Nice post, thanks!

    Regarding the game: You said you were not nervous, but to be honest the game did not feel calm at all. It seems not the way you usually play, and also not the same mindset. I’m not trying to be offensive or anything, but are you sure you were not nervous?

    1. You’re welcome!

      Well, looking at a regular game and then a game recorded like this, it’s natural I’d be more nervous in a recorded game. Still, thinking back, I do think that any nervousness that I might have felt didn’t have an impact on the game. Looking at my own play now, I don’t see a meaningful difference to the other games I’ve played recently, either.

  2. Nice game, doesnt matter you lost.
    Looks like you feel confident playing the best, impressive.

    Good luck!

  3. I’m about 9k at the moment, and one of the areas in which I’m trying to improve my game is how to use weak groups. In that light, I’m curious about move 60. Why play there as opposed to the shoulder hit on C6. It seems like D7 would either reduce white a lot or would cut off that one stone from one of its escape routes. Is the reason that there is a lot of aji in the surrounding groups, and white could get a stable group easily by exploiting all of that? Thanks

    1. Hi!

      Your guess is right: I played h8, because the black group at j5 has several cutting points and weaknesses that white could aim at. D7 instead wouldn’t be exactly a bad move, but then white should be able to live quite easily in the centre, for example with k6. In addition, black d7 wouldn’t have a big effect on the white corner group, which is incredibly solid already. Even if black got d7 and c7, white would have no need to add a stone into the corner.

      One general principle is that defense is the strongest attack: I wasn’t so much looking into killing the white invasion with h8, as I was looking to strengthen the weakish black group so that white would have to spend a lot of effort on living.

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