Endurance training starts

Happy Finland’s Independence Day! Finland is now 94 years old.

Last weekend marked my first negative result in insei training, and quite strikingly so: my result after the weekend was one win to five losses. While losing isn’t especially fun in itself, I do welcome the idea of finally starting to get the tough training I came to Japan for.

There is something mysterious behind my weekend result too, however. During and between Sunday’s games, I remarked that my mind felt for some reason really cloudy, and as of now, I can no longer remember what went through my head during the games themselves — even remembering the games takes quite a bit of effort now, which is not usual for me. The last game of Sunday, which was against my nemesis, Fujiwara, was pretty much completely dominated by me up to the very last dame, where I for some reason missed the simplest of atari, turning an 8-point win into an 8-point loss. Ouch! I’m not sure, but it might be that I wasn’t in the best physical condition to play; whether this hunch of mine is correct or not, I’m next going to improve on my physical fitness and see if that’ll make a difference.

All that’s left, after that, is to cast aside winning and losing from my mind, and focus on the search of the best move.

For the more worried readers, my game is definitely not in a slump. I’m performing as normal at wbaduk 8 dan level, and also beat a professional 4 dan player at a go salon just last Friday. All this goes to say that the stronger C class insei really are something else!

My weekly go schedule has gotten ever more full. From now on, I’ll be going twice or thrice a week to Mimura-sensei’s go dojo in Ichikawa; normally on Monday an Wednesday, but on Fridays as well whenever I’ve the time. Add to that the weekly English lesson, and I’m getting instruction by professionals almost every day!

Mimura-sensei’s dojo has about 10-15 pupils present most days, all of them children — some insei, some not. Along with Mimura junior, who is also in C class now, we’re the two strongest pupils. Daily training consists of league games within the dojo, drilling through go problems, game analysis and teaching games with either Mimura-sensei or a strong amateur instructor. So far I’ve seen two different amateur instructors in the dojo, and I played and beat them both. In both of the games the instructor utterly defeated me in the fuseki, and I’d no chance but to devise a do-or-die attack; in both games, a huge group died as a result. I’ve played Mimura-sensei twice as well, and got all my plans refuted both times.

On today’s agenda I have a visit to the Finnish embassy in Tokyo. I met the Finnish ambassador’s wife two months ago when I received the sponsorship for my insei studies from the Japan-Finland Society, and got an invitation to the embassy’s independence day party as a result. Needless to say, I’m already very much looking forward to the event!