Game review by Yoda Norimoto 9 dan

As promised, here comes a summary of the review I received from Yoda-sensei last Saturday!

After finishing this blog post, my schedule of the day includes a trip to Akihabara, and taking the train from there to Ichikawa, a city in Chiba — about 20km off from Tokyo — where Mimura-sensei’s go school is located. It’s another busy day here, in other words!

Continue reading “Game review by Yoda Norimoto 9 dan”

Level up!

Although there’s one week of October left, the October Nihon Ki-in insei league is now over, and we’ll already start with November’s league this weekend. Since this way, one “month” only has 28 days, we’re running a little bit fast — this is compensated by the insei getting a Christmas holiday of two weeks, right after the December league stops at December 18. My final score in class E was 40 wins to three losses, easily giving me the first place of the class. From next weekend on, then, I’ll be starting at class D with a significantly smaller amount of games to be played, but with slower time settings. The exact settings are described here (in the first paragraph), in case somebody missed them.

Yesterday we had the fourth installment of the English lesson for professionals. The lesson went otherwise as normal, me presenting my insei games and the professionals commenting them in English, but there were two surprise factors. First was that Tom, my friend from the Nihon Ki-in, had through some contacts gotten us two new western participants: Andreas from Italy and Gediminas from Lithuania. Of them, Andreas had played a little bit some fifteen years ago, and Gediminas was new to the game. The reviewing part of the English lesson, then, likely wasn’t very useful or interesting to the newcomers, but after two game reviews, we had the professionals teach Andreas and Gediminas some basic rules of the game — again in English, of course! I helped a bit, but the professionals did very well on their own part. The second surprise factor was that Takemiya-sensei also attended the lesson! He was present for the first 45 minutes, commenting one of the insei games that I lost, and then went on to his weekly dancing lesson. Could I say, then, that I have taught Takemiya? Maybe best not to.

Continue reading “Level up!”

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.

Continue reading “EGC report”

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.

Continue reading “In China, part six: Last week, and return home”

In China, part five: Up against an 8 dan professional

Yesterday, on Saturday, was another special occasion in the Experience Go in China trip: the main organizer’s, Peter’s, teacher — an eight-dan professional — came to visit the program, and to play simultaneous games against some of the students. Six students were picked to play, including me, and the rest of the students were following my one-stone handicap game against the 8 dan in the other room, with Ben 3 dan professional commenting the game.

I started the game with my standard opening as of now, the modern sanrensei, and forced the 8 dan to invade. My handling of the invasion group was deemed a bit questionable, though not a complete failure, since I did end up getting a fair amount of territory and outside influence. I however failed to use the outside influence to attack the opponent’s positions, and seemed to fall a bit behind in territory. Later on in the game, I had to depend on two complicated ko fights to even the game. Though white seemed to be better off, he had no easy way to take the win home. Finally, white decided to ignore a big ko threat by black, and the result was pretty much decided for black’s favor. The end result was a black win by 12 points. Kifu is given below, with short comments based on what the teachers told me after the game!

[sgfPrepared id=”0″]

Continue reading “In China, part five: Up against an 8 dan professional”

In China, part one: Onward to China

A new blog post series begins!

My 22 days lasting trip to China, participating in the Experience Go in China program, will start in a few more hours. In about 12 hours, I’ll arrive at Beijing airport. I’ve packed most of my luggage already, but have yet to check if I really have all I need with me.

I have again somehow put off writing here more regularly, even though I’ve had plenty of time — I had an idea, just now, that I’d write a post series here about my experience in China while I’m there. If the program schedule is similar to that of 2009 when I last participated, in the morning, from 10:00 to about 12:00 Beijing time, there will be a lecture from a teacher. Then there’s a lunch break, and from about 12:00 to 14:00 everyone plays a game with another participant or with a teacher, which is afterwards reviewed by a teacher. If there are lectures with especially interesting content, I’m thinking of writing something here about them — and as I’m likely to play games with the professional teachers, too, I might as well post some of those games here with comments!

Last time, in 2009, I ended up getting almost no physical exercise while in China, which may have had a negative effect on my playing ability as well. Maybe I should go jogging every morning before the lecture?

Feel free to ask anything about my trip to China, or for specific topics for future posts – I’ll do my best to respond in kind!

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.

Nordic championship, finnished

It’s actually been well over a week since the Nordic championship was held, but that doesn’t stop me from writing about it now! As some of the readers likely know, I ended up winning the championship. Results of the tournament can be found for instance here. The Nordic champion, like the Finnish champion, gets to hold the challenge trophy for the following year. The trophy is pictured here!

Continue reading “Nordic championship, finnished”

Questions and answers, part two

Long time no see! I got a nice amount of questions in the first part of this blog post series, and will now address them. Once you think of new questions, please write them as comments for this post!

Phew, this is one long entry! Please do try to overcome the “too long, didn’t read” feeling – I feel like I wrote a lot of useful and important text for all go players!

Continue reading “Questions and answers, part two”