Glift viewer

Recently I’ve tried to focus my own go studies, and when adding to this my occasional teaching work at the Nordic Go Academy, I’ve unfortunately had little energy to write on my activities in this blog. To try and give myself a motivation boost, I thought of trying a small technical change to the site, namely the Glift javascript viewer which Go Game Guru introduced recently. Below you can test the viewer out on a commented A class game, one of the few that I’ve managed to win.

Leave a comment and share your opinions!

 

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Hard mode insei training

The May insei leagues started last weekend. I again scored reasonably well with a 5-1 result, which currently puts me on the shared second place (this time with good promotion prospects, as the two insei sharing the place with me have lower positions in the league). Meanwhile in the D class, Leon from Germany performed a little below average with four wins and six losses. On the plus side for Leon, however, he was the first to score a win against one of April’s new insei, who had gotten something like 44 straight wins last month, and who was winning all of his games in the D class as well. For a quick comparison, two and a half years ago I lost three games in the E class. Because the readers no doubt would find Leon’s game interesting, I’m including it along with the English class teachers’ comments in this blog post. Last weekend, the U20 Globis cup was won by the Japanese Ichiriki Ryō 7 dan, a former participant in the Nihon Ki-in English class, and the second place got taken by Kyo Kagen 2 dan, of Taiwanese origin but playing for Japan. If I remember right, I saw a remark in a Japanese go newspaper or magazine that the last time Japan got a double win in an international professional tournament was over ten years ago. It is no wonder, then, that the Japanese go world is currently in high spirits. Last Monday me and Leon went for a visit to the Ichikawa go dojo, owned by Mimura Tomoyasu 9 dan, who was kind enough to invite both of us in. While Leon is returning to Germany already after June, I’m considering if I should continue my regular training in Ichikawa; not only is the dojo an optimal place for studying and its teacher incredibly nice, but it currently also has two B class insei. The only downside is that it takes me some 40-50 minutes to get there. As for the title of the blog post, that is something that came up recently in a talk with my teacher. As this time my goal is to actually become pro (instead of getting more experience like two years ago), my training is of course to be more rigid than before. Instead of just getting good results, I should strive for the content of my games to be good; after showing a few of my last weekend’s games, though 5-1 could hardly be called a bad result, I got a great deal of criticism for my moves and decisions. Finally, I was warned to not accept any compliments that I might hear from other professionals who see my games, as the Japanese have their culture of not speaking their mind in a direct fashion. It is also interesting to see how many mistakes one can still fit into a game even at this level of play. Below is an example from one of my insei games last weekend, which was a fairly comfortable and uneventful win. As I need to include some variations this time around, for a change I will go back to using move diagrams. I am playing white. Antti-insei_fig1 Up to black 17 we have an opening that at least I haven’t seen before. By the time white gets the cut of 14, he seems to have a comfortable position, but white still needs to be careful with his handling of the two top-left corner stones. White 18, while looking like a tesuji for sabaki, is dangerous. It might well be something that could be found in a bloody Chinese or Korean professional game, but it would have to be backed up by a lot of reading; and still, it would be making things unnecessarily complicated for white. Instead— Antti-insei_dia1 White should probably attach with 1 as in Dia 1, after which the sequence up to 8 could be expected, and white could take sente to for example claim 9 on the right side. The top-side result is in general favourable for white like this, apparent when comparing the white top-right corner with the black top-left corner and the white top-left corner group with the black top-right corner group. Antti-insei_fig2 While black found the most severe way to cut white back in Figure 1, black 23 and 25 in Figure 2 are vulgar. Up to 35, white lives easily on the top side with a good deal of territory. I had thought that cutting with white 36 and 38 then would come as a natural continuation, but it is not an interesting way for white to play at all; white’s top-side group gets confined in, and black can make relatively good shape on the outside with 43. Instead of 36— Antti-insei_dia2 White should move out directly with 1 in Dia 2. This way, white could force black to make bad shape with 4 by playing the atari of white 3, and up to white 13, white would live comfortably on both sides. Antti-insei_fig3 Continuing from Figure 2, white attached at 44 to make sabaki on the left side, similar to white 1 in Dia 2. This time black was forced to go back to capture a white stone with 47, and by the time white gets to extend to 52, he anyway lives comfortably. However, in the process black also got thick shape in the centre, so he wasn’t too badly off. White 64 was a simple reading mistake. Instead— Antti-insei_dia3 It was possible for white to connect with 1; even if black cut with 2 and 4 afterwards, white would keep his shape intact with 3 and 5. This way, white is also bound to get A in sente, which means something of a ten-point advantage over the actual game. Stronger readers might notice that black can prevent white A by forcing black B, white C and black D in sente, but in that case black loses the sente block at E, which is bigger. Back in Figure 3, black played tenuki to 65 too early; he should first block at 66 in sente. Now that white got to exchange 66 for black 67 in sente, white profited by about five points. Antti-insei_fig4 The game continued in a relatively normal fashion, as in Figure 4, up to black 75. Black again went for complications there; when white responded with the sabaki move of 76, black again responded in the most severe way with the cut of 77. Up to 85, white was content to fix his shape in sente, going back to connect at 86. Black then again went to challenge white with the tesuji-ish move of 87, forgetting about the endgame technique mentioned in Dia 3. White then found the time to exchange 88 for black 89, which meant a free profit of three points. Antti-insei_fig5 The rest of the game was fairly straightforward. While white’s play was far from optimal, he was still able to capitalize on black’s problems with timing, and by 142 white had generated a lead of almost 20 points. Upon seeing white 142, black resigned. Below is the Eidogo-plugin version of the game.

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Lastly, below is Leon’s game with the prodigy from the E class, along with comments by English class professionals.

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End of April, Golden week, Kamakura

April’s insei games got finished last weekend. My final score was 16 wins to 8 losses (last weekend was five wins and one loss), which just barely wasn’t enough to get promoted to the B class: one of my two competitors losing their last game would have sufficed. As such, I will now start at seat #4 in the C class next month. Meanwhile, Leon was able to keep his place in the D class with about 50% winning ratio. Below is the almost-final results sheet from the C class. Edit 4.5.2014: Apparently showing the results is not allowed, and the sheet is now removed. Right now Japan is celebrating Golden week, a series of national holidays that provides the longest continuous yearly holiday aside from the summer holiday. Consequently we don’t have insei training this week, and many Japanese people take time off to go on holiday trips and sightseeing. Yesterday on Saturday, then, me, Tom from the Nihon Ki-in, Leon and Leon’s German friend Nico went on a day trip to Kamakura, roughly an hour’s train ride away from Tokyo. The day was almost ideal for such a trip, aside for the fact that a huge number of Japanese people had come up with the same idea.

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At the Kenchōji temple in Kamakura: Go Seigen and Kitani Minoru played one of their jūbango games in the house barely visible in the photo
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Sweet potato flavoured gelato: a local speciality, apparently. While it certainly tastes weird, it’s surprisingly edible!
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The main focus of the sightseeing trip, the 13-meter-tall world’s second-largest Buddha statue

Other activities of the week included participating in several go meetings organized by my teacher, Kobayashi Chizu-sensei, and participating in a go study meeting at Mitani-sensei’s place, which among others included playing rengo with Leon, Ōba Junya and Matsumoto Takehisa. Finally, below are two of my last weekend’s insei games with professional commentaries.

 

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Second week and revisiting Mount Takao

A lot has happened in the past week. Firstly, last weekend I got another 4-2 score, putting me in total at 8-4 in C class. Unfortunately I forgot to take a photo of the results sheet, so I right now it is impossible to speculate on my odds of getting promoted to B class next month. Then, among other things, on Tuesday we had the English class as usual, and yesterday, on Wednesday, me, Leon, Mitani and Kuma paid a visit to Mt. Takao.

The trip to Mt. Takao was orchestrated due to its being a relatively must-see point of interest (at least if one is visiting Tokyo for a longer period of time), and due to Leon’s plan to return to Germany in late June. The mountain is easily reachable from Tokyo and offers a fairly spectacular view from its top (at about 600 meters’ height from the sea level). Unfortunately the air wasn’t at its cleanest on our chosen day, and we were unable to see all the way to Mt. Fuji. Some 2.5 million people visit the mountain yearly, which makes it one of the most popular mountains for tourists in the world.

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Our intrepid explorers at the root of the mountain. From left: Leon Stauder, Mitani Tetsuya and Yū Hō.
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Our intrepid explorers ascending the mountain
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Mt. Takao is said to be inhabited by tengu, a kind of bird-man-folk from Japanese folklore. The statue in the photo depicts a tengu, though often you’ll see a slightly different depiction with a red face and a long nose (instead of a beak).

After the trip to Mt. Takao, Mitani invited us to his place, where we spent the rest of the evening, among others by eating nabe (a Japanese hot pot dish) and playing go. I played on black without komi and lost by three points after a fairly good game.

As for my insei games, I wouldn’t say I’m quite back to my original good playing shape yet, or at least many of my game plans are shaky at best. Included below are two of my more interesting games from last weekend, along with remarks by English class professionals.

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Tomorrow will be an interesting day, as in the evening we’ll get to attend the Kisei prize-giving ceremony together with Leon and Tom (of the Nihon Ki-in staff). I got to attend a similar ceremony two years ago, when Chō U won the title.

First return insei post

One week has now passed since my return to Japan. So far, among other things, I have:

  • gotten settled down in my own small apartment,
  • met up with Leon Stauder, currently a D class insei from Germany,
  • met up with familiar English class teachers,
  • bumped (not physically) into Chō U at the Nihon Ki-in lobby and gotten a nod, and
  • finished my first insei weekend with a 4-2 score.

To my luck, I arrived in Tokyo just in time for the flower-viewing period, of which I can share the below photo.

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Hans Pietsch Memorial, round 1 review

Last weekend I was playing the Hans Pietsch memorial tournament in Budapest, Hungary. I originally intended the trip to provide for several good games and a chance to talk with my teacher, Kobayashi Chizu 5 dan, about the possibility of becoming insei again (more about that in another post, sometime much later). It however happened that I ended up winning the whole tournament, with a 6-0 score! Originally I had expected to place somewhere near third.

For those who don’t know Hans Pietsch, I recommend reading an article on him at Sensei’s library. In a nutshell, Hans was a German player, student of Kobayashi Chizu, who became professional in the 1990s. He died tragically in an armed robbery in Guatemala in 2003, after which it’s become a tradition to hold an annual memorial tournament for him in Europe. He was a rather strong professional, too, having for example beaten Yoda Norimoto, Meijin in the LG cup.

In this post, I’m including a quick commentary of my first-round game against Ali Jabarin 6 dan of Israel, with more reviews to come later. Enjoy!

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Pandanet European Team Go Champs, round 1

Yesterday on Tuesday was the first round of the Pandanet European Team Go Championship tournament in the A league. Finland’s team, consisting this time of me, Juri Kuronen 6 dan, Juuso Nyyssönen 5 dan and Javier-Aleksi Savolainen 5 dan—our strongest possible line-up—faced Russia. Though we had several good opportunities to tie the match or possibly even take the win, in the end Finland lost 1-3 after a rather breathtaking fight.

In this post, I’ll provide you commentaries on the board 1 and 2 games, Antti Törmänen vs. Ilya Shikshin and Juri Kuronen vs. Alexandre Dinerchtein, respectively. Juri was the only one of the Finnish team to win their game. The comments are provided by the Nordic Go Academy!

Board 1: Shikshin (b) vs. Törmänen

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