Flow

It has been a moment since I last wrote, again, mostly thanks to me being busy lately. I just realized that not every update of mine has to be a big one, thus I ended up writing this quick update!

Last weekend I played in the Oulu Spring tournament – Jeff was not participating after all, so my main challengers were Janne Määttä and Janne Kössö, 4 dan players both. After five exciting games, I did end up winning the tournament! My and Jeff’s game is postponed to next weekend’s Finnish Team Championship, then.

Right now I’m reading the book Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, and it is actually thanks to this book that I decided to write this short blog post. The book’s general theme is flow experience: the experience you have when you are incredibly concentrated on doing something suitably challenging, consequently forgetting about time and place – according to Csikszentmihalyi and his research, it is at these moments that people feel the happiest. The following quote got me thinking about go, for a change, and I’d like to share it with you readers:

One simple way to find challenges is to enter a competitive situation. Hence the great appeal of all games and sports that pit a person or team against another. In many ways, competition is a quick way of developing complexity: “He who wrestles with us,” wrote Edmund Burke, “strengthens our nerves, and sharpens our skill. Our antagonist is our helper.” The challenges of competition can be stimulating and enjoyable. But when beating the opponent takes precedence in the mind over performing as well as possible, enjoyment tends to disappear. Competition is enjoyable only when it is a means to perfect one’s skills; when it becomes an end in itself, it ceases to be fun.