Monday, March 02, 2009

New Jersey Open

I went 1-4 at the New Jersey Open this year.   For over a year I have tried to record every one of my tournament games.  I have had them reviewed by Yilun Yang as part of my biweekly lessons.  I was hoping to continue this tradition, so  I recorded my first game on Saturday, and started to record my second game as well. However, I was feeling particularly tired, and felt that recording was getting in the way of playing more than it usually does.   I abandoned recording shortly into the second game.  I actually won that game.  It was the only game I played against an opponent I had faced across the board previously, and it was also the only one I was to win in the two days of the tournament.    I ended up simply being outplayed in three instances.  In one instances I lost by a mere 1.5. 

It was an unusual tournament from the standpoint that three out of five of my opponents were female.  Two qualified as women, but one was a very young girl.   It was the young girl to whom I lost by 1.5 in the final round of the tournament.  I suspected she was a Feng Yun student, which was confirmed after we were done with our game.   But I also discovered that she had gone 5-0 in the tournament thanks to my not having handled some of my end game well.   Yet I felt proud to have possibly given her her toughest game at the tournament.   She played one board down from me in the 4th round against another Feng Yun student approximately her own age.   Their game was played at lightning speed, and I had a hard time keeping my eyes from it while I was trying to concentrate on my own game.  During the scoring phase they were having some difficulty adding up the points.   Playing is easy for these little ones, but math can be hard. I handed the boy a piece of paper and a pencil and he added up the areas on the paper.  I can relate.  After a really tough game I don't want to do the math in my head either.

I can say without a doubt that this tournament was the most physically demanding I have ever played.   I ended up in bed and asleep by 8:00 PM on Saturday night, and feeling just as exhausted on Sunday evening.   I attribute part of that to the fact that I am actually using so much more of my time in my games, and not leaving myself with nearly as much time to rest between rounds.   I am going to have to get used to that because as time goes on I use more and more of my time. 

There Is Death In The Dame

Another name for this post might be "Dame Disaster".

I will report on my own results at the NJ Open in another post.  But here I want to tell about the most exciting part of the tournament for me. Perhaps it might be more accurate to say it was the most fascinating part of the tournament for me.   It was fascinating, yet tragic.  After observing this event I felt as if there ought to be a lesson in it, but I don't really think there is.

Two of my go buddies were playing each other, and I was watching the very end of the game. Black seemed to have won the game for sure, by perhaps eight or more points.  There seemed to be agreement that it was over except to fill the dame and move the stones around.  In fact, white seemed tacitly prepared to lose gracefully.   Black played a dame.  White handed over a stone.   Black could have passed, and it would have been over.  But black searched for another dame, and found one.   White was poised to pass another stones, but decided to find that one last elusive dame.   He played a stone.  I froze in terror for black as I saw the damesumari from which there was no escape.   After a pause white said, "I just saw something.".  Black saw it too, and played the move he had to play to minimize his loss, hoping he still had enough to win the game, but knowing in his heart that he did not.

That was yesterday.  These two guys actually have to work together today.  They not only play in the same club.  They also work for the same employer.   Luckily there were no hard feelings, but plenty of sympathy to go around for black yesterday.

The take home lesson here, if there is one, might be "Rich men don't seek dame".