I am really glad I decided not to self promote yesterday at the Philadelphia Cherry Blossom Tournament at the University of Pennsylvania. I had less than stellar performance with a record of 2-2. I lost my first two games and I won my last two. Any movement in my rating is likely to be glacial, and negative, at that. I did enjoy all four of my games, however, and there were interesting things about each of them. I recorded them all, and I will be reviewing them with Mr. Yang at our next lesson on Thursday.
I'll recount the highlights of each game here.
My first game was against an opponent I had played for the first time at the New Jersey Open in February. This time I had white against him. The game was very close. I believe I missed an opportunity to either kill or make seki in the upper left. I will find out for sure on Thursday. At the end of the game I spent an inordinate amount of time counting the board three times to determine if I needed to make a protective move in an area that looked s if it might need it. There were no dame left. Finally I realized that being white I had to either pass a stone or play within my own territory anyway, so the protective move became a no brainer. After we both passed my opponent told me that he assumed I had won, and I told him that if so, it was by no more than 2.5. We counted and saw that I had a 1.5 victory, or at least we thought I did. We approached the desk to report the results only to discover that there had been no komi for white. We were both surprised. So what had been a 1.5 victory turned quickly to a loss. This was a lesson to me to actually LOOK at the pairings rather than just accompany my opponent to our table on his say so. Let me be clear that my opponent had not looked at the komi either, but has also assumed 7.5 for white. There's always something new to learn about how to conduct oneself at a tournament.
My second game was against someone I had played two or three times at the Montgomery Go Club. When sitting down to play, my opponent commented that we are very evenly matched, which we both know to be true. An interesting game was sure to follow. I had black and my opponent had komi. We had both checked to be sure about komi after my earlier surprise. In this game my opponent did hane at the head of two stones after I invaded the lower right corner from a low one space approach to a hoshi stone. I extended to the 2nd line and cut after he extended to the 2nd line as well. My understanding is that this should have been successful, but I may have played it wrong, or the position may have been complicated by an additional white stone. I managed a successful invasion on the top, and did my little "snaking" routine where I managed to reduce one of my opponent's areas. At the end of the game white (with komi) had won by 7.5, so it was a jigo on the board. He would have won by 0.5 without komi anyway so I can't complain.
My third game was against a first time tournament player. He was a gentleman who had learned some lessons at the hands of the children in his first two games. In his first game he learned not to feel compelled to match the speed of opponents whose height does not exceed the bunny's ears at the amusement park. Just because one's opponent is rolling his eyes and acting bored is no reason to pick up the pace. I told him this after that game, and suggested that it is a much better strategy to allow the small children to figgit and look about the room. It breaks their concentration. In his second game he learned that his opponent might not remind him to hit his clock after each play. During our game, unfortunately, in spite of hitting his clock he ran out of time. I felt bad about that, and I would have said something if I had seen it coming, but I didn't notice until the red light on the clock started flashing. And not being familiar with how that clock handles byo yomi I had to call over the tournament director to confirm that time had, in fact, run out. It was sad, but it was a win. It was a close game anyway.
I toyed with the idea of byeing out of the fourth round and going home early since I was doing so poorly, but I was having fun and decided to stay. My fourth game was against a 12k. This time I had to give 2H. This game illustrates dramatically the extent to which I can gain a lead and then proceed to make idiotic mistakes to lose it. In this case, however, the lead was enough to result in a 9.5 victory even after allowing a large dead group to spring back to life. I even allowed a few dead stones to expand their numbers, and to result in a seki. This stole away at least twenty points from my lead. The highlight of that game was the fact that as white I was able to play the last dame by filling the third empty point in the seki, thus avoiding the need to play a stone in my own territory or pass a stone. We both had a good laugh over this. The huge seki made the board much easier to count since there was this vast expanse of stones we didn't have to disturb. :-)
I was actually ashamed of my fourth game, thinking that I did not deserve to win after having made two such huge mistakes. However, a dan player who reviewed it for me last night on KGS told me it was a very good game with advanced life and death reading just before my lapse and very pretty shape for white.
I know I am getting more from my tournament games by reviewing them myself and with stronger players, and by showing them to Mr. Yang. I am remembering more from each game, and I am particularly seeing more life and death situations in my games during the games and in review.