World Amateur Pair Go Championship, 3—4 November, and return visit to Japan

Last Sunday I returned from my first visit to Japan, after my period as insei earlier this year. We’d qualified with my girlfriend to be the Finnish representatives for the World Amateur Pair Go Championship, held in Tokyo, and while we were at it, we stayed in Tokyo for a little bit of extra time afterwards. I’m not sure if it’s odd or not, but this time around, visiting Tokyo felt almost like returning home.

The pair go championship was held in Hotel Metropolitan Edmont Tokyo, a higher-class hotel. I’d in fact “gatecrashed” the championship tournament already one year ago (it was held at the same venue), back when I was insei, so how the tournament operated was already quite familiar to me. 32 pairs took part this year. The tournament organizers had asked for all the pairs to bring with them a national costume to be clad in during the friendship match on Saturday 3rd November, which made for quite a show:

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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

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Bergen Open, 30 June — 1 July

Some time has already passed, but I’m now returning to report from the Bergen Open tournament that was held two weeks ago. This was the first tournament that a Norwegian friend of mine, who I first met in China three years ago, organized — and if I may say, certainly not the last! This was more of a smaller club tournament. Me and Juri (Finnish 5 dan, both NGA teachers) got invited to play and teach at the tournament, while the other participants were ranked 2 dan and under. The total number of players came to 19 people. I won the decisive match against Juri, in a sense getting revenge for my previous loss to him at Takapotku, and claimed the first place of the tournament. This time I’ll pass on game commentaries, and instead write from the future potential perspective:

Bergen has some spectacular sights to see. An example here is the Rozenkranztårnet in the downtown.
This is what you could call a standard view from Bergen's city centre. I'm somewhat jealous that Bergen has the same number of inhabitants as Helsinki (around 500 000), yet Bergen has a lot of architecture like this, while Helsinki's is universally much more boring.

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Incoming tournaments

This year is going to be a busy tournament year for me, both in terms of Finnish tournaments and tournaments abroad:

This week, tomorrow in fact, I’ll be going to Bergen, Norway, in order to participate in the Bergen Open go tournament. Bergen Open is going to be a relatively small event, but I’m looking forward to seeing some old friends from China there — and the small holiday trip is quite welcome, too! You may expect some photos from there, next week.

In July, there is of course the European Go Congress in Bonn, Germany. There’s going to be another reunion there: just in terms of Japanese professionals, there’ll be six English class participants present there! And that’s only for starters, as there’ll still be many many more friends and acquaintances present (I find this to be one of the best characteristics in go congresses). Lately I’ve been training both my German and Japanese in order to be able to function as an interpreter. Also in July, I’ll be participating in one tournament in my home town of Oulu (where I’ll likely get to play another game with Jeff), and possibly in another tournament in Turku, also in Finland.

Since I missed out on the Finnish championship tournament last year, I’m going to have to restart there all the way from the qualifiers this year. The second qualification tournament will be in early October, probably one or two weeks after the Hans Pietsch memorial in Germany, which I will also be attending. Finally, I also already registered to Gothenburg Open 2012, 26.-28. October. Seeing how this probably still isn’t all in terms of tournaments for me, I’m probably looking at well over a dozen tournaments for this year!

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!

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Vernal Equinox Day and Tengen go salon tournament

Yesterday was the Vernal Equinox Day, meaning the day in spring when the day and night are equally long. That’d mean now we are on the better side again, with the day lasting longer than the night! The Vernal Equinox Day is a national holiday in Japan, meaning that people (generally) have a free day from work, and as such most shops are closed as well. While outside, I spotted an incredible number of families taking a walk together with their children — something that you totally don’t see on a normal working day.

Photo down the street right next to where I'm staying. It's not quite summer yet, but the temperature is already in the range of 10°-15° C during the day!

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Visitors, March league begins, English class, NHK interview and team tournament approaching, commented insei game

Yes, the topic does imply that I should write more often. The good news is, I should soon start having more time for it again!

Since the last time I wrote, quite a bit has happened again. My parents came to visit me last Friday, and left back for Finland this morning. Thus, I’ve had a short break from really intensive training, and have taken the time to look around Tokyo again. I’m getting the feeling that having had a short break should be a good thing. I’m not sure how we did it, but in just four days, we visited more or less all the relatively important tourist sites in Tokyo. By our standards, at least. That’s about 80 000 steps walked, too!

Last weekend was the beginning of the March league — I’m still in the middle of C class. I opened badly with one win and two losses on Saturday, but miraculously got three wins on Sunday. Two of those three won games were initially very difficult, but somehow I was able to turn them around. In the third game, my opponent more or less came and killed himself in my moyo — the game was over in about 100 moves.

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In China, part four: Playing at a local tournament

Peter, the main organizer of the Experience Go in China program, invited three of the participants, me and Namii and Sadaharu on KGS, to play in a local team tournament. The tournament was, as I understood, a match between the Beijing university (that’s who we played for) and a local go club in Beijing. There were only two rounds, and each team had 12 players: whichever team got more game wins in the two rounds won the tournament.

The tournament was held last Wednesday at a local middle school named RDFZ — Jeff’s opinion was that the random-looking letters actually represented some Chinese words. Me and Namii were content to pronounce the name as rdfz. Outside the school, they had one of those announcement screens that showed information about the tournament. We got some good laughs from the typo they made with Namii’s KGS nick, shown below:

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Nordic championship, finnished

It’s actually been well over a week since the Nordic championship was held, but that doesn’t stop me from writing about it now! As some of the readers likely know, I ended up winning the championship. Results of the tournament can be found for instance here. The Nordic champion, like the Finnish champion, gets to hold the challenge trophy for the following year. The trophy is pictured here!

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Irish go congress report

Long time no write! I’m now back from one month of quite intensive university studying, and also from a six-day trip to Dublin. Ireland was a completely new experience to me, and also a really nice one: I very much liked the feel to Dublin as well as the architecture, not to mention the natural sights. The tournament went reasonably well: I got a 4-1 result, beating Wang Wei after a lucky turn in the game, but lost to Ondrej Silt in quite a similar fashion. In the end, we had a completely even score with Wei, and so ended up sharing the first place!

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