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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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″]

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In China, part four: Playing at a local tournament

Peter, the main organizer of the Experience Go in China program, invited three of the participants, me and Namii and Sadaharu on KGS, to play in a local team tournament. The tournament was, as I understood, a match between the Beijing university (that’s who we played for) and a local go club in Beijing. There were only two rounds, and each team had 12 players: whichever team got more game wins in the two rounds won the tournament.

The tournament was held last Wednesday at a local middle school named RDFZ — Jeff’s opinion was that the random-looking letters actually represented some Chinese words. Me and Namii were content to pronounce the name as rdfz. Outside the school, they had one of those announcement screens that showed information about the tournament. We got some good laughs from the typo they made with Namii’s KGS nick, shown below:

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In China, part two: Arrival, and playing at the Japanese go salon

Yes, Japanese go salon – not Chinese. There’s, as far as I know, exactly one Japanese-type go salon in Beijing, with a go equipment store included. I was also extremely thrilled to find a traditional Japanese room with all manner of things Fujisawa Shuko inside: his old paper fan, eyeglasses, hat, go books, go sets, etc. I spent a good while taking pictures, one of which is included right below.

After seeing the room, I went to the equipment store and got myself a replica of the fan Shuko used to have — its price was equal to ten restaurant trips in Beijing, but I wasn’t concerned about money at the time.

Of course, a trip to a go salon also involves playing. I got paired against the owner of the go salon, according to what I heard, a Chinese 6 dan. The game was of good quality, and turned out very exciting. I’m hard-pressed to find enough time to comment the game at the moment, but here’s the kifu nevertheless!

[sgfPrepared id=”1″]

Apart from the go salon trip, there really hasn’t been time for anything but to getting used to the new environment. The arrival was especially difficult: I didn’t sleep on the airplane at all, so I was already tired when we arrived in Beijing in the morning. I did manage to stay awake until about 5 PM, but then couldn’t help falling asleep — and waking up at 10 PM! We then went to a restaurant and passed some time, and finally got around to sleeping at 2 AM. After that, my sleeping rhythm has become somewhat more regular.

Time to go sleep now, catch you all later! I’ll try to get around to writing some thoughts about the game presented earlier.

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!