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

Antti-Ilya-annotated-gowrite_fig1

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Studies and future plans

Time sure flies! It’s already one month since my last post. Unfortunately, I don’t have anything very productive for this update either, but I thought it best to write about what’s going on.

As you may by now guess, my current biggest time constraints come from my university studies that have been going on since the start of September. I’m attempting to get my bachelor’s degree done during the current year, which means that in addition to my otherwise big number of courses to complete, I also have a bachelor’s thesis to write. Luckily for me, however, the thesis is related to go: its subject is vaguely “expertise: what is it, and how does it develop — approached from skill-based board games’ point of view”. In roughly one and a half months, I should have about 25 pages of literature research written!

While I am indeed busy with studying, I cannot let myself have a break from go. So, while I’ve cut down on my online go activities, I still quite regularly attend Finnish go club meetings, review pro games and do tsumego. Also, eg. during the following weekend, I’ll play at the second Finnish championship preliminary. You should in fact be able to follow some game relays on KGS!

The next Gooften essay is still on its way, though I’m starting to have an idea for it in my head. Also, lately I’ve been fiddling around with the idea of writing a go book — I’ve done quite a bit of go teaching during the last few years, and together with the theory of expertise that I’m studying lately, I get the feeling I should be able to write something more or less instructive. If I were to start writing the book, it would approach the game from very general points of view, explaining fundamental strategy and tactics on several levels. Imagine Lessons in the Fundamentals of Go, but with somewhat different topics, and maybe going more into detail. In fact, I might co-write the book together with the other Nordic Go Academy teachers.

That’s all I’ve to share for now. Hopefully I can soon get back to writing more here!

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.

Congress game against Svetlana Shikshina, with impressions from Ten and comments by Takemiya 9p

I got a sudden inspiration to finally comment a game for this blog, and what could be a better choice than the exciting game I played with Svetlana in the European Go Congress this year, to which I also received commentary by Takemiya Masaki 9 dan? The game was initially difficult for me for non-obvious reasons, but I managed to turn it around when the game started nearing the endgame. I played with white. Sit back, relax and enjoy!

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Japan plans and the Nordic Go Academy

In exactly three weeks, I’ll be arriving in Tokyo for my insei period. Most of my preparations, including getting the visa, are done with, although I still lack a proper insurance, as well as barefoot running shoes for the winter. I haven’t studied Japanese quite as much as I would have liked to, so far, but even if I’m a bit late on that part now, I can catch up the hard way when in Japan. Having studied Japanese well before my plan to become insei, I could understand Takemiya-sensei’s lecturing in Japanese quite well in the European Go Congress in Bordeaux, so I shouldn’t have big problems in Japan on that part.

From what I’ve heard, while the insei only formally assemble in the weekends, there appear to be study group meetings during the weekdays as well. If I remember correctly, the numbers were something like at least five meetings month, but if I want to go to as many as possible, up to three times a week is possible. Add to this any teaching I may do, and some self studying, and my weekly schedule is fairly full already.

Another thing that I have yet to work on is how exactly I plan to continue teaching go while in Japan. Practically all of my students so far have been westerners, but with something like a seven-hour time difference and the fact that my weekends are always full, it’s looking somewhat difficult for me to keep holding internet lessons. For this reason, I’m right now working with Jeff and Juri on our Nordic Go Academy project, to get it well enough known in go public to ensure a constant, sizable pool of students. Offline reviews at the moment seem like the best way to continue doing go teaching while in Japan. For those interested, our September league is starting this weekend (with October 1-2 being counted as the last September league weekend, as October has five weekends), and we will also have promotional simultaneous games (with a quick review afterwards) with the students every Friday at 21 PM CET. Our website will be updated shortly about the September league.

Short and long-term future plans

As some of the readers may already know, unless something goes badly wrong, I’m set to go to Japan next September to become insei for about eight months. According to present plans, I would start as insei in October, and return to Finland sometime in early May. I won’t be able to participate in the Nihon Ki-in professional exam during this time period, as that exam starts in the summer, but I’ll see if I can take a shot at the Kansai Ki-in professional exam for western players.

In addition to my Japan plans, I am also participating in the Experience go in China program again this summer, as part student and part teacher. Of course, I’ll also be going to the European Go Congress 2011 in Bordeaux. So, even before becoming insei, my schedule will be packed full with go activities.

While in Japan, I’ll continue to teach on the internet to make sure I’ll get by. The insei train only on two days a week, so in terms of schedule this won’t be a burden — I’ll have plenty of time to write about my experiences on this blog, as well!

Quite recently, we thought up a KGS league program together with Jeff and Namii. In the league, the participants play pre-paired games against other participants, and we teachers comment the game a bit later (as soon as we can), offline. Participation in the program takes a minimum of one month. We’re starting next weekend, and for now there are still spots left for players of KGS 1k-3k strength. The introductory price, up to August, is 45e per month, for which the participants play 12 games a month, getting comments to them all — and up to August, also, the teachers will play a simultaneous game against the participants once a week, commenting them as well. Detailed information can be found on the Nordic Go Academy home page.