European go congress 2013, days 3-4

The congress continued well on my part after the first weekend. On round 2, I faced Alexej Lazarev 6 dan, who I had also played against in the Takapotku tournament in Helsinki recently, and on round 3 I got to play my first tournament game against Artem Kachanovskyi 7 dan of Ukraine. Both games were quite eventful, but I was able to wrap both of them up in my favor—the game records are included below with short commentaries.

Similar to last year’s congress in Bonn, I’m not really participating in the congress side events; instead I’m using the spare time to relax, in order to better concentrate on the main tournament.

On Tuesday, after having won against Artem, I met up with Kuma-sensei and Ginny (acquaintances and friends from my insei time in Japan—Kuma, real name Shiung Feng, is a 6 dan professional who has given me great guidance on how to improve further at go). Mitani-sensei (Mitani Tetsuya, 7 dan professional) was present as well, though I’d already met him one day earlier. We went off to a local restaurant not far from the congress venue and had a really fun dinner together.

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European go congress 2013, days 1-2

Starting with this post, I’ll write about my experiences in the European go congress 2013 in Olsztyn, Poland in a diary-ish fashion.

I left for the congress on Saturday morning, July 27, just after getting done with the NGA summer camp that we were holding for the first time. The camp lasted for two weeks, and while the time was full of go, I didn’t actually really have time to get any studying in for myself. “Getting done” with the camp is a bit of a stretch as well, as the schedule got so busy near the end that I didn’t exactly have time to stay around to help with the final cleaning of the camp site, which I’m feeling quite bad for now.

I met up with my travel companion, Ilkka, in the bus on the way to the Helsinki airport. A bit later we were joined by several more Finns, and in the end it turned out there were 17 Finnish go players boarding the same plane. Juri, one of the three NGA teachers, almost didn’t make it in the airplane because of the flight company’s attempt to overbook, but in the end he did fit in—while me and Ilkka were moved into business class. We of course didn’t mind! After that, the flight to Warsaw passed by neatly while drinking free champagne.

We had to wait around a bit in Warsaw, and met one of Ilkka’s Polish acquaintances while at it. Some three hours later, a bus trip organized by the go congress staff took off. The outside temperature was about 30°C at the time, and the lack of air conditioning in the bus didn’t exactly make the trip light. Still, I managed to catch some sleep on the bus, hopefully paying a bit off of the huge sleep deprivation I incurred at the NGA camp.

Some four hours later the bus, filled with go players, arrived at the congress venue—a Polish university building in the city of Olsztyn. As far as I could see, the organizers were in good control of everything, and while the registration process wasn’t exactly smooth (one had to go through some 5 different registration booths before the process was done with), things in general went well. I also bumped into Mitani-sensei (one of my insei-time teachers at the Nihon Ki-in English class), and exchanged some words with him. By the look of things, my Japanese has gotten quite rusty by now.

After checking the congress venue around, we had a quick look in the vicinity, which is quite scenic with its forests, hills and lakes. Later in the evening we heard that the train that Jeff and some other Finnish players were taking from Gdansk was several hours late (and even the normal running time would be at best about as quick as taking the bus).

The following day, we had a remarkably good breakfast at the hotel, and took a cab to the congress venue (ridiculously cheap by Finnish standards). Unexpectedly, the first round of the main tournament was on time; its being late had kind of become a kind of a tradition during the last several years. My first game was with Ondrej Kruml, a Czech 5 dan—the game record is included below. I didn’t exactly hold much control over how the game proceeded, but I did get to plan a huge kill in the later part of the game. If white had defended a bit more carefully, it would have been difficult to say who wins.

Some unexpected results popped up already on the first round. For example, two major Russian opponents, Alexandr Dinerchtein and Ilya Shikshin, both lost to Dusan Mitic and Viktor Lin, respectively. I’ll have to be more careful tomorrow as well.

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Takapotku tournament final

Today I’m sharing with you an analysis of my decisive Takapotku tournament game with Jeff. If you’re not familiar with it, the Takapotku tournament is the largest, annual Finnish go tournament that also used to be part of the EGF European cup. The included comments about the game are partly my own thoughts, and partly thought out with Jeff.

The game had numerous twists and turns—if I had to think of a suitable attribute word for it, I’d probably come up with “rollercoaster”. Enjoy!

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World Student Go Oza game review 2

Here’s the second game review of my World Student Go Oza games! This time we’re seeing my fourth-round game against the Taiwanese female representative. This game effectively decided the third place in the final rankings.

This time, the comments are purely my own feelings and speculation.

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If you have some thoughts or opinions about the game, please leave a comment!

World Student Go Oza game review 1

It’s a bit overdue, but here’s a review of my game with Youwhan Kim from the World Student Go Oza! Most of the comments are my impression, but a few of the impressions are by the Nihon Ki-in English class attending professional players.

I’ll aim to review one or two games more from the tournament before long. Next up in line is the important, decisive match I played on the fourth round with Taiwan!

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Did the game evoke any feelings or impressions? Please leave a comment!

Fujisawa game review: Nihon Ki-in “first place” tournament, 1959

The following kifu and most of the comments included are from the Fujisawa Complete Works, volume 3. For advice on how to study professional games, read this essay.

Fujisawa Hideyuki got promoted to 8 dan just one month before this game.

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Gothenburg Open, 27—28 October

Long time no write! Last weekend, on Friday to be exact, I flew to Gothenburg to participate in the annual Gothenburg Open go tournament. I’d received a deal from the tournament organizers, basically getting my accommodation and flight expenses covered, in exchange for teaching players during the tournament. Benjamin Teuber 6 dan of Germany had gotten a similar offer. This year’s edition of the tournament ended up being the biggest one held up to date, with 68 participants.

I arrived in Sweden at Friday noon. One of the main tournament organizers, Robin, courteously picked me up from the Landvetter airport and drove me to the tournament venue along with Benjamin. The Swedes had rented a flat (probably) owned by a local chess club, and so the venue was very well suited for a go tournament as well.

Since it was my first time in the city, and I couldn’t be of much help with the tournament organization which was at the time under way, I ended up strolling around the city a bit. There were some nice sights around, but I ended up wondering why they have so many stairs in the city. It wasn’t only once, or even just a few times, that I had to walk up a long flight of stairs, only to find myself walking down another one the next instant.

Gothenburg, the city of stairs

Continue reading “Gothenburg Open, 27—28 October”

Takapotku 2012, first return tournament

Now after my return from Japan, I’ve noticed that without a strict weekly rhythm, it’s very difficult to get things (such as writing on the blog) done. Starting now, I’ll experiment if I can build myself a weekly rhythm, even though I’ve neither university studies nor regular work to do during the summer. It’s somewhat twisted, but I’m actually looking forward to autumn so that I can continue with my studies! The current plan is that I try to get my bachelor’s degree done within a year, so that I could try to miraculously gather funds and return to Japan in next year’s autumn.

Last weekend, I played in the first tournament after my return from Japan. The tournament was Takapotku open, conveniently (for me) timed for June instead of the usual February. Winning the tournament wasn’t a goal; from the start, I participated solely to get a real game with Jeff (Su Yang 6 dan). It then resulted that I succeeded in beating Jeff, but “accidentally” lost to Juri. In the end, we took the top three places, exactly like last year.

In the following are some photos from the tournament, as well as a detailed commentary of my game with Jeff. Click on the photo to see it in slightly more detail. A few of the photos are slightly blurry; my hands are at fault for that. Also, the borders still seem to be cutting off some of the photo captions: I’ll really try to work around that soon!

Continue reading “Takapotku 2012, first return tournament”

Last weeks in Japan, part 4: tv game with Fujisawa Rina

At the time of writing this blog post, I have actually already returned to Finland, but I’ll be writing the “returning to Finland” blog post a bit later.

In Last weeks in Japan, part 3, I’d forgotten May 3, Thursday, which was a day when Kobayashi-sensei had asked me to participate in her children’s go class as a guest. It was then that the famous tv face, Anti Torumanen (indeed, almost all of the kids had seen me on television), came to play some simultaneous games with the more promising children. I played three sets of two-game simultaneous matches, handicaps included (ranging from two to five stones), and ended up winning all the games too. Apparently some of the children came for the class from somewhere pretty far away (like, a 1-2 hour trip), which was fairly surprising, considering that the class itself only lasted for about two hours.

Last Monday, on May 7, I played in a tv broadcast game against Fujisawa Rina, professional 1 dan. Before the match, which started at 6 PM, I first went to visit a zen buddhist temple in Ueno with Kobayashi-sensei. We were shown around the temple a bit, and I was taught the very basics of zazen (sitting meditation). By the end of the one-hour visit, the monk who was showing us around was asking if I wouldn’t become his disciple. As monk life in Japan nowadays can be fairly modern, and not too ascetic, I might even consider such a proposal if I ended up going to Japan again (and if I could be insei at the same time). It seemed fitting that first there’d be some meditation, and then a tv match against a pro soon after that.

Since this was already the second time I was to be featured in a tv program in Japan, I wasn’t really nervous at all. It was interesting to see some details about how those go commentary programs that you see on tv in Asia are made. The commentator for my game was Sakai Maki 8 dan, also one of the insei instructors. There were two short interviews included during the recording as well — when I could, I answered in Japanese, but at times I had to have Tom from the Nihon Ki-in to translate for me.

As for the game, I did my best to go with a flexible, but influence-oriented game plan. I had two handicap stones, but as winning or losing wasn’t of especially big importance in the match, I didn’t go out to maximize my winning chance, but instead kept on searching for the strongest move. As a result, black had the lead for a long time, but eventually pushed a bit too hard, and white turned the game around. It should be interesting for the readers to see Fujisawa’s present-day game (especially after her win against Aoki Kikuyo 8-dan recently), so the kifu is of course included below. Commentary for the game is courtesy of the English class professionals.

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