Insei report after the first weekend

Insei training isn’t light, I’ll give you that! The schedule is strict and incredibly full, and being an insei isn’t just about playing go. The school is, after all, meant for children who are potentially going to become professional go players. In addition to gaining playing strength, then, the teachers will do their utmost to also get the children to act like professional go players should. This also goes for wannabe-pro foreigners who find their way to the school. In a sense, it’s kind of like I’m back in elementary school, just the manners that are being taught are from a different culture. It is a relief that the teachers, while being strict, are also nice, and recognize that I’m to break the form at times, coming from a different culture myself.

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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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Aftermath of Rabbity six; preparing for KAC, part one

Rabbity six is now happily over! The whole tournament trip’s length was three days for me: on Friday I arrived at Tampere, helped organize the playing area, and participated in the Finnish Go Association board meeting. Saturday and Sunday were full of go and fun, and a bit void of sleeping – a normal tournament weekend, in other words! Some tournament games were relayed on KGS with the accounts KaniKuusi, KaniKuusi2 and KaniKuusi3.

The registration for the tournament ended 10 AM on Saturday, after which there was a 50-minute-or-so break, during which the first pairing was made. Pretty close to 11 AM, then, was the opening ceremony, and the games started soon after. There were a good 60 people present. As a funny side event, just before the games started, thanks to a faulty table, a player dropped a full but opened can of energy drink on the floor. We then spent about five minutes getting rid of the sugary pool.

My first game was against Mikko Siukola 4 dan, who put up a really good fight; I had trouble playing the kind of game that I’m good at playing, likely thanks to his efforts. In the end however, the fighting started going in my favor, and Mikko resigned.

After the first round came the lunch break: many players ate meatballs and rice at the university restaurant, which was advertised in the opening ceremony. The chance for this was nice, people not having to go outside to endure the -15 or so Celsius degrees to get their meal.

My second game was against an even more familiar player, Ville Ainali 3 dan of Oulu. This was an exciting game as well, I spent a lot of effort in trying to create a decisive fight. In the end, I couldn’t capture anything big, but I had the point lead anyway.

On the third round on Saturday evening, then, came the likely-decisive game: me against Jeff! As we know each other’s styles really well, the game was almost more metagame than real game; many observers commented they didn’t understand the game at all, while to us it was fairly simple. Jeff did well in preventing my moyoplans, and so the game shifted to close combat. One questionable move by me made the situation extremely complex, but to my luck Jeff misread a capturing race. According to his words he was just looking for a place to resign after that – I, on the other hand, couldn’t stop fighting. This eventually led to my demise, when I tried too hard to kill a group that wasn’t easily killable. Once I resigned, Jeff seemed extremely surprised, seeming as if he’d just woken suddenly up.

Thanks to Pyry Pakkanen for these two pictures!

Our aftermath of the game was rather high-flown. We’ve already established our own concepts to go, “angel” and devil”. Here angel style means creative and fun play, while devil style is less creative and fun, and more winning-oriented. With these terms, I’ll have to study the devil style in order to increase my winning percentage in games in which I have a leading position. Could be a suitable time to start studying Kobayashi Koichi, for example. Humoristic readers who are familiar with some anime series could make an allusion between “devil mode”, “sage mode”, “super Saiyan” and “bankai”. It’s supposed to make me one stone stronger!

After the third round, the sauna and game evening came around. The sauna was located in the middle of a dark dark forest, near a lake – a very nice setting, in other words. Having to walk two kilometres in -15 °C to the sauna was no problem in these terms. The sauna building was nicely full of go players, and a local pizza company had the privilege of transporting close to 20 pizzas to the middle of a forest. The sauna was excellent as well, I remember nearly burning my skin there!

On Sunday morning, then, I was up against Juri Kuronen 5 dan, one of my main opponents of the tournament as well. This game was very eventful, and ended up really close, too. In the end, I made use of Juri’s lack of time – he had to play 6 stones in 21 seconds – and won thanks to that. Expect to find a more detailed commentary about this game later!

The game with Juri took a lot of time, and the lunch break ended up quite short for me. I came ten minutes late for the fifth round, which was bad enough on its own. I then proceeded to play a moyo vs. territory game against Andrey Gomenyuk 5 dan of Russia, but alas he had to leave for his train in the middle of a fight – the game was still completely open, the winner not decided at all. I then ended up on the second place in the tournament, Jeff winning the tournament and Janne Määttä coming in on the third place. In other words, OGP (the go club of Oulu) claimed all the three main prizes! Not a bad tournament at all. :)

After the prizegiving ceremony was over, the goodbyes said, a random new go club created, and the playing hall cleaned up, we went to the downtown of Tampere to the local go players’ haunt of restaurant Konttori. Some more go playing ensued (yes, I have trouble getting enough of it). Later in the evening, around 11 PM, I went to the train station – and got home only after 2 AM, thanks to the national railway service failing once again. Luckily I had no appointments on Monday, so the time of arrival at home didn’t really matter in the end.

Some more studying is in order, and the next tournament up ahead is the Finnish Korean Ambassador’s Cup just next weekend!

Preparing for Rabbity six, part three: learning from past mistakes

Long time no write! The past week has been a bit busy for me, hence the small amount of posts here. Right now I’m in Tampere, ready to play in the Rabbity six tournament which begins tomorrow. I decided to share with you readers what I reviewed with Jeff concerning the game I played with smartrobot on KGS last week. I had black in the game.

Generally, I thought the game was very good, the number of noticeable mistakes being rather small for both. Apart from this game, I’ve played several other games as a preparing for the tournament – also in the European Team Championship tournament on IGS. My general feeling is that I’m pretty much in top shape now!

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