Sunday, January 20, 2008

Oza Baltimore - Day One

The Oza has been great fun. I've had an opportunity to meet NannyOgg, Flameblade and others for the first time as well as the opportunity to touch base with old friends from across the East Coast at least.

I played the lightning round at the reception the night before the first day of the tournament. There were four players to a table and we played three games with one player staying put and the others rotating around the table. Time constraints were 10 minutes basic time, sudden death. I don't play blitz online, so it was not like me to do this, but I had a glass of wine in one hand and a go stone in the other, and it worked out okay. I actually managed my clock very well, and won one of those games. It was fun.

In the main event I went 2-1 in the first day.

I played my first game against a very young girl who was quite a strong fighter, and who I observed later forcing resignations from her future opponents. I was in lightning go mode from the evening before, and unfortuantely got drawn into a quick game, which I resigned ten minutes into the game from a hopeless position. The slips hadn't even come out. How embarressing. Given the fact that four hours had been devoted to the round, I had time on my hands. My opponent had played a Chinese Opening, which I did not know how to handle. Later Massaki Hamaguchi, who is mh online and our Wings 2008 League King, showed me how to handle the Chinese opening as white, and also how to handle some other common opening situations to avoid a fighting game.

In my second game of the day I played black. I got to play my usual opening of 3-4, and 4-4 with a low knight's move shimari extension from the 3-4. I actually got to extend from that shimari in the optimal direction down the side, which surprised me since I nearly never get that opportunity. The game was ultra peaceful. I played quite solidly and succeeded in getting at least a 25 point lead. I then cut off a group, and a resignation swiftly followed. What was really eventful about this game, however, was the successful invasion which I played very lightly which drew praise from even the dan players.

In my thrid game of the day I was white again playing against another Chinese opening. Thanks to the advice from mh I knew enough to appoach the 3-4 with a large knight's move. But what really made me proud of my win in that game was that I came from behind in the end game and kept sente. Although I should have gone after the two double sente end game moves one move earlier, my opponent answered my small move in the middle of the board, and I went on to get those two sente moves by extending to the second line from the third line in both cases before doing hane from the second line to the first, thus maintaining sente and going on to get the other really big end game moves. The two double sente end game moves alone won the game, which was W+8.5 with komi being only 6.5, so I actually won it on the board by 2 points. It was slow, solid, and close.

I can hardly wait to see what the second day brings.

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