Slow down, you move too fast

Unlike the topic could imply, this text isn’t about about the process of placing a stone on the board, nor about playing times, but instead about the pace of stones played on the board themselves.

The exact wording of the topic comes from a story I saw on the internet, in which Washington Post conducted a social experiment: Joshua Bell, one of the greatest musicians in the world, played some of the world’s most intricate violin music for one hour on a public place with a $3,500,000 violin, and no passer-by realized it. The punchline of the story was as follows: “If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world, playing some of the finest music ever written, with one of the most beautiful instruments ever made… How many other things are we missing?”

Seeing the 1994 movie recently, The Shawshank Redemption, made me think a lot about time (some minor spoilers about the movie included in this paragraph). The movie is about prison inmates, the main characters being sentenced for life – they’ve got the time to do what not, but there’s not too much you can do in a prison. For most of the time, the protagonist is taking his time leisurely, without a worry in the world, yet making the prison a better place for other inmates. The movie made it seem like the inmates actually had it pretty well: food, shelter and basic hygiene and other needs guaranteed, and certainly not many things to be concerned about. With less content in each of their days, they could spend more time concentrating on what they’re doing, instead of having to hurry and conduct different businesses all the time. That certainly leaves more space to appreciate the beauty of things. A released, old inmate sends his friends a letter that begins as follows: “Dear fellas, I can’t believe how fast things move on the outside. I saw an automobile once when I was a kid, but now they’re everywhere. The world went and got itself in a big damn hurry.” Was a pretty touching scene.

How do these stories relate to go? Other than the more obvious realization that one well-played and enjoyed game could well be worth more than multiple fast and hastily played games, I also found an allusion to sente (“preceding move“, in common usage meaning a move or sequence that tempts the opponent to respond in some fashion) and gote (“following move“, meaning a move or sequence that doesn’t tempt the opponent to respond in any fashion). The amateurish way of playing unnecessary sente and forcing moves, extremely often seen in internet games, I could very well dub “getting in a big damn hurry”. It is not uncommon at all that instead of trying to do everything at the same time (like real-life multitasking), doing one thing properly is much better. Sente is well-used if there is a task you absolutely have to accomplish in a way that you also get to some other part of the board first. The forcing moves you may have to make will make the opponent’s position significantly stronger, but sometimes it may be worth it. In the opening and middle games, I consider it safe to say that trying to settle multiple positions in sente is never ever a good idea.

Here’s my game against Wang Wei 6 dan in the London Open Go Congress – I think I was able to play a few good gote moves, even if I did get hasty during the middle game. I was black.

Continue reading “Slow down, you move too fast”

Post-London

Happy new year! I just returned home from London – was supposed to do so already yesterday, but the flight got seriously delayed. We couldn’t manage to get internet connection for our lodgings at the International Students’ House side building, that’s why there’s been no updates during the tournament.

Despite minor inconveniences (none of which related to the tournament organization – the organization was fabulous!), the LOGC was indeed a lot of fun, as I’d heard many times over. Even better was that I was able to perform well in the tournament, coming in on the first place, undefeated! Results and photos can be found at LOGC’s website.

A bit later, once I have gotten rid of my sleep debt, I’ll be adding the “decisive” game against Wang Wei here with some comments, partly courtesy of Guo Juan. I’ve also been forming an idea for a gote-related text as a result of watching The Shawshank Redemption during the London trip – hopefully I can make something really good out of it. I really liked that movie!

Christmas update

Merry Christmas! It’s been incredibly difficult to muster some energy to write here, when I’ve finally been able to simply relax and have a good time with my family and friends. There’s a good number of questions I’ve yet to answer, as well as the game review I promised – however, with the trip to London being such a short time off, I’ll probably reserve this day as well for relaxation.

The plan for close future is as follows: on December 27 (that is, tomorrow) I travel to London, the tournament being held on the four following days after that. If I can get access to internet, I’ll try my best to post some tournament games here with my own comments. Then there’s two days of free time on London, and I arrive back on January 3. I’ll get back to working on the questions and the promised game review then.

I’ve no clear picture of the London Open Go Congress’s organization, but I would guess they are relaying some games on IGS. If that’s the case, please do come and cheer on me, again!

Preparing for the London Open Go Congress

Long time no see, everyone! The past ten days have been increasingly busy for me, what with the Finnish Championship league (where I managed to get a 5/5 result) and the university exam week. Now, however, I’m officially on Christmas holiday!

Next up in my tournament calendar is the London Open Go Congress, where I’ll be fiercely fighting for the first place. Now that I’ve free time, I’ll probably play some games in the internet (KGS or wbaduk) as a preparation, as well as review some more professional games – probably by Nie Weiping. The Finnish Championship final will be held on 15-16 January: a best-of-three match with Javier-Aleksi Savolainen. The games will surely be broadcasted on KGS.

I’ve no real game-related content for this update, but I’m pretty sure I’ll be posting some more tonight – maybe a review from the Korean Ambassadors’ Cup tournament, or from the Finnish Championship league. Fast readers can make requests here about which game I’ll review, and about what I’ll be focusing on in the review!