Congress game against Svetlana Shikshina, with impressions from Ten and comments by Takemiya 9p

I got a sudden inspiration to finally comment a game for this blog, and what could be a better choice than the exciting game I played with Svetlana in the European Go Congress this year, to which I also received commentary by Takemiya Masaki 9 dan? The game was initially difficult for me for non-obvious reasons, but I managed to turn it around when the game started nearing the endgame. I played with white. Sit back, relax and enjoy!

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EGC report

It’s well past the European Go Congress already, and I myself am back from a short holiday. Even if it’s a bit late, I thought it’d be nice to write about the topmost impressions of my second trip to France, and my fifth go congress.

The congress was situated in a suburb of the legendary city associated with wine, Bordeaux. The suburb, Talence, itself seemed to be a large university campus. The organizers had arranged for several university buildings to function as the congress area — a common solution, if a bit cumbersome. Comparing to all the other congresses I’ve been to so far, the general distance between the congress buildings was the longest. The congress in Villach, 2007, was remarkably good in the sense that everything was under the same roof; it was incredibly easy to find all sorts of activity in case one got bored. In Bordeaux, although the setting was functional enough, many evenings felt somehow hollow. Luckily it was easy enough to get on the tram and travel to the downtown of Bordeaux, which was full of things to see and do. Indeed, Bordeaux provided for some really nice sightseeing:

The water mirror of Bordeaux, likely one of the city's best-known sights.

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In China, part six: Last week, and return home

Hi everybody! It’s been a while since the last post: things got surprisingly busy on my last whole week in China, and I thought it better to take the extra time out of my internet activities. I was asked to give a more comprehensive description about our life in Beijing, so here goes, albeit a little late on my part: I already returned to Finland last Wednesday.

The participants were divided to three apartments quite close-by to each other. All the apartments were situated in a neighbourhood named the Brown Stone Manor (He Shi Yuan) that was closed off by walls and guarded gates, to make sure that no unauthorized people got in. Two of the apartments were for students only, consisting of two bedrooms, one bathroom, one living room, and a kitchen. Surviving with one bathroom got a bit difficult at times, since there was about 8-10 people living in each apartment at the same time. The third apartment, which had three stories, housed some of the participants, but also worked as the teaching area. Unfortunately I didn’t come to take pictures of the apartments myself, so for now at least we’ll have to do without those.

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Short and long-term future plans

As some of the readers may already know, unless something goes badly wrong, I’m set to go to Japan next September to become insei for about eight months. According to present plans, I would start as insei in October, and return to Finland sometime in early May. I won’t be able to participate in the Nihon Ki-in professional exam during this time period, as that exam starts in the summer, but I’ll see if I can take a shot at the Kansai Ki-in professional exam for western players.

In addition to my Japan plans, I am also participating in the Experience go in China program again this summer, as part student and part teacher. Of course, I’ll also be going to the European Go Congress 2011 in Bordeaux. So, even before becoming insei, my schedule will be packed full with go activities.

While in Japan, I’ll continue to teach on the internet to make sure I’ll get by. The insei train only on two days a week, so in terms of schedule this won’t be a burden — I’ll have plenty of time to write about my experiences on this blog, as well!

Quite recently, we thought up a KGS league program together with Jeff and Namii. In the league, the participants play pre-paired games against other participants, and we teachers comment the game a bit later (as soon as we can), offline. Participation in the program takes a minimum of one month. We’re starting next weekend, and for now there are still spots left for players of KGS 1k-3k strength. The introductory price, up to August, is 45e per month, for which the participants play 12 games a month, getting comments to them all — and up to August, also, the teachers will play a simultaneous game against the participants once a week, commenting them as well. Detailed information can be found on the Nordic Go Academy home page.

European Team Championship, final round showdown

Last Tuesday, on May 24, was the ninth and final round of the Pandanet Go European Team Championship.  The final round was important in deciding which countries get to play in the European Team Championship tournament in the European Go Congress 2011 in Bordeaux, but it was also crucial in determining which team drops from the A league to the B league next year. The system is such that the last team of the league drops automatically and gets replaced with the winning team of the lower league, and the second to last team of the league plays a qualifying match with the second best team of the lower league. The ninth-round game between Finland and Serbia was to determine which team drops automatically, and which team gets to qualify.

The situation before the round was exceedingly exciting: Finland and Serbia were tied in both game points and board points. If a tie like this were to occur after the ninth round, too, the next tie-breaker would be the number of first-board wins; before the ninth round, Finland and Serbia were tied on this part, as well. In a sense, the first-board game of the match was worth two games. Having known about this situation well in advance, I had been training a lot during three weeks between rounds 8 and 9, my main methods of training having been doing tsumego and reviewing professional games.

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