Visitors, March league begins, English class, NHK interview and team tournament approaching, commented insei game

Yes, the topic does imply that I should write more often. The good news is, I should soon start having more time for it again!

Since the last time I wrote, quite a bit has happened again. My parents came to visit me last Friday, and left back for Finland this morning. Thus, I’ve had a short break from really intensive training, and have taken the time to look around Tokyo again. I’m getting the feeling that having had a short break should be a good thing. I’m not sure how we did it, but in just four days, we visited more or less all the relatively important tourist sites in Tokyo. By our standards, at least. That’s about 80 000 steps walked, too!

Last weekend was the beginning of the March league — I’m still in the middle of C class. I opened badly with one win and two losses on Saturday, but miraculously got three wins on Sunday. Two of those three won games were initially very difficult, but somehow I was able to turn them around. In the third game, my opponent more or less came and killed himself in my moyo — the game was over in about 100 moves.

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Student go oza, snow and earthquakes

Long time no write! Life in Japan is hectic as usual: in addition to my normal weekly activities, I’ll be doing some interviews in the near future, and I’ve got some visitors (including my parents) to entertain as well. The interviews will be for Igo Mirai, a Nihon Ki-in go magazine, and for NHK. On next week’s Sunday, some reporters will come to the apartment to take a few pictures of me!

It’s certainly been interesting here in Japan lately: in the last few days, there’s been several noticeable earthquakes, albeit they’ve only been worth 2-3 richters in Tokyo. It was rather interesting to wake up this morning due to the building moving. Apparently there’d been a 5-richter quake somewhere along the east coast of Japan.

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Two insei kifu

As promised earlier, here come two of my last weekend’s kifu with some commentary! Mostly, the comments are based on what the Japanese professionals remarked at the English class last Tuesday. This time, the comments are included in the sgf file!

First up is the only game that I lost last weekend. There’s not an awful lot to say about it, though, as much of the opening follow’s one of Cho U’s and Takao Shinji’s Kisei game from this year.

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Watch out in the second sgf — at least at move 22, half of the comments aren’t instantly shown (you need to scroll down). I’ll have to see if it’s possible to make the text field bigger.

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Out-of-ordinary insei training and a go party

Today marked a slightly more special insei training day. Out of the blue during the day, the insei instructors came up with the idea of switching the classroom to the sixth floor from the normal seventh. That means that today, I played two of my three games in a traditional tatami room, which the professionals normally use for their games! Of course, it wasn’t my first time in a tatami room, as I’d participated in two kenkyuukai before. Still, it was a welcome change.

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Status update and a 30-minute tsumego test

The last week’s been usually busy again. Around last week’s Wednesday I caught a cold, although for a Finn, the temperature’s been really high for this time of the year. During daytime, it’s something like 5°C here in Tokyo, while it’s been -30°C in my hometown of Oulu for the last week or so. That’s the kind of temperature that you cannot be sure whether you’re able to start your car or not!

While I did catch the cold, it wasn’t luckily too big of a deal. I probably had a temperature, but nothing past 37.5°C — not enough to prevent me from participating in the weekend’s insei games. The headache that came with the cold made playing slightly difficult though, and I noted an interesting shift in my play: playing the opening game was easy, as I wasn’t able to over-think things, but I lost control further into the games. In the end, I did manage to win three of the six games, which is a fine defense.

For the past week, I’ve been continuing my professional game memorizing plan, although at a slower rate of new games. In addition, I’ve done something like a whopping 1000 tsumego just this week. When I yesterday returned to the Ichikawa dojo from about one week’s absence, I scored both three wins out of three games (including a win against Mimura Kenta, insei B class), and also got the top score at a 30-minute tsumego test we had. Usually I would have trouble even solving all the tsumego in time, but somehow this time around I finished five minutes early — and while I did miss two solutions, I still got the top score out of the students. As we didn’t hold our English class this week, and the last weekend’s games weren’t of too high quality in the end, I thought to include the afore-mentioned tsumego test this time for the readers’ interest. All the 15 tsumego are in the following sgf file!

edit February 9 20:55: Whoops, forgot two key stones from the very first problem. Sorry! Fixed now.

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PETC game revisited — and some other stuff

As I also tweeted earlier, I missed getting promoted to B class by a hair (that means, by the amount of one single win — I’ve got to work harder in February!). My score for January was 13-11 in the end, which is not too good a winning percentage yet. As added pressure, Kobayashi-sensei just recently returned from her trip to the US, and brought me a small gift to celebrate my promotion to B class — which I finally didn’t make. Now I possess the gift, but am not allowed to open it before I do get promoted. The usual Japanese reaction to this would be to exclaim “厳しい!” (= “kibishii” = severe/strict) The aforementioned gift looks like this, and will be situated right next to the go board I’m using for the time being:

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Getting all the busier

This time, I’m writing a shorter status update only. There was a nice snowstorm yesterday here in Tokyo — indeed, the snowfall was pretty much at the same level with what we usually get in Finland. In addition to the snow, there was also some thundering, which is something we usually do not get in Finland. A few hours into the snowfall, the ground was all slushy, and even now, some eighteen hours later, it appears there’s some snow left on the ground. Just when I was thinking that I wouldn’t see any snow at all this winter!

Last weekend marked another pretty bad result for me (the last time was in December), with only one win and five losses. I’m not letting it get to me, and instead opt to learn from my mistakes — I find that getting to B class is something that will happen on its own if I actually do learn to play better. Furthermore, if I went to play next weekend with an attitude like “if I win all my games, I’ll get to B class”, I most definitely wouldn’t  make it. While the weekend didn’t go well, yesterday I beat Mimura Jr. (who’s in B class) quite easily at the dojo, meaning that I cannot really be in a slump or anything.

As of late, as the topic also implies, I’ve been having more and more things to do. Last week, I went to the Mimura go dojo on three days, and adding the insei weekend and our English class to that, I had only one purely free day. It’s not like these blog texts are quick to write, either, especially if I’m preparing a text with go diagrams. I’ve also the Nordic Go Academy to co-run all the while, and the Finnish Go Association’s new website to plan. While on the other hand that could sound like a lot to do, I prefer being busy over getting bored.

Adding to all the rest, tonight I’ll be playing a game in the Pandanet European Team Championship. On this round, Finland will face Israel, which appears to be the most decisive match in the B league. Hopefully many of my readers will come enjoy the match! Note that my game with Ali Jabarin is played earlier than the others, at 17:00 CET, because I’m located in Japan and Ali in Korea. This means the game will start at 1 AM my time, but I’m planning to do my best nevertheless.

If all goes well, I’ll write another blog post or two tomorrow, or the day after. The Weekly go magazine had “ten most popular joseki” in this week’s edition, and I’ve also something game-related to post from last weekend.

Class C, second week; insei-level opening theory, part 2

To confuse all the readers who got in the habit of reading new blog posts here on Gooften about once a week — or even a bit less often than that during Christmas — here’s a surprise update! Finnish readers may be interested in knowing that there is also a new update at Insei Japanissa, posted yesterday.

Today was this month’s second week, and this time I got a clean result, getting wins against the insei number #5-7. Of these, only the last game was relatively difficult; the first two against 齋藤 and 新井 were relatively easy, me killing some larger groups from the opponent in both games. Here’s most of the current results in jpg format:

Note the winning streak of my nemesis: #12 藤原 (Fujiwara)!

Today, Yoda Norimoto sensei was also present and doing some game commentaries. My games were taking too long for me to get him review any of my games, unfortunately.

This time I won’t be posting a game record, but instead some more insight into specific joseki along with explanations. No, we’re still not getting out from the 3-4 point with a one-space high approach and a one-space low pincer!

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New year, new tricks

I’ve yet to wish happy new year for my readers, so here goes: Happy new year! I’m not sure if the topic’s “new year, new tricks” is actually used in English — I translated it directly from the Finnish saying. The meaning is still obvious enough, even if the saying didn’t originally exist in English!

I spent a two-week break from the Christmas up to new year not really playing go. An exception, I visited the Mimura dojo on December 26 in the middle of my break to give Mimura-sensei a Christmas present, two moomin-themed mugs and some Finnish chocolate. As usual, then, I did some tsumego there and played a few games, and that time got mercilessly defeated by the fellow insei. As a Finn, I was honestly surprised that the dojo was gathering even during what would normally be Christmas holiday. And it wasn’t only that; normally the dojo is open from around 4 PM to 9 PM, but since the children had a break form school, the dojo was open from all the way from 9 AM to 8 PM. I got around to thinking what would happen in western countries with a similar dojo: probably both the teacher and the students would go: “Oh, it’s holiday now, I’d rather just sit back and not do anything”, and then there would be nothing ventured and nothing gained. I don’t have anything against relaxing a bit here and there, but I find there’s something really wrong in the western countries’, at least Finland’s, attitude towards holidays, as if “being able not to have to do anything” was a state that people should strive for.

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Season’s greetings!

Ie. Merry Christmas from me! This year’s insei training concluded last weekend; I played against insei numbered 3-6, 8 and 9, winning five games and losing one against 齋藤, more or less because of a poka. With a total result of 13 wins and 11 losses, I kept my seventh place in C class for the next month.

Up until now, I’d been playing rather peaceful games, quite unlike my usual style — my reasoning to that was that Japan would be the perfect place to train more on that. Since my staying in class C was in danger, last weekend I went for my more usual crazy fighting games, which may be why last weekend’s result turned out as it is.

Now, we’re having two free weeks from insei training, which means some time for relaxation and looking around Tokyo for a change. A complete break from go is of course no good; I’ll be at least doing tsumego each day in order not to accumulate any rust in my play. Once I find a suitable timing, I’ll probably start planning and writing the kikashi essay I thought of earlier.

Here’s the final C class results sheet and one of my crazier games last weekend! The kifu is shortened a little bit from the end (mostly because I don’t remember exactly what happened), but has all the required information as to what finally happened.

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