Tuesday, September 29, 2009

I Think I Know What Happened

I am feeling a little bit better now after researching my opps from Hoboken. Apparently I was paired in all four game against someone weaker than myself. The system punished me severely for my one loss, and it didn't reward me at all for my three wins. Being on the borderline to begin with, I got burned. It's as simple as that. I will be checking the stats of my opps from now on before I allow myself to expect anything.

It was a mistake thinking that I couldn't drop after a winning tournament.

Win A Prize - Lose a Rank - What?

Last week I checked my rating to see if the results of the Hoboken tournament were in yet. They weren't, but I found that my rating had increased to -8.92, which was up from the -8.98 I had achieved immediately after the congress.

I checked my rating again this morning.

Imagine my surprise, having gone 3-1 in Hoboken, to see that my new rating had dropped to -9.10 after having achieved prize winning results in my last tournament.


It just doesn't make sense.

I would rather that I had stabilized at 9 kyu as a result of my 2-3 record at the congress. At least that would have made sense.

I came back from Hoboken feeling that my 8 kyu rating would at least be solidified. I didn't really expect it to change for the better by more than a couple hundredths of a point.

It just doesn't make sense to win and have your rating go down as a result.

At least my sigma is up to 0.47773

But now I have to enter as 9 kyu at my next tournament.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Hoboken Tournament Report

Yesterday I played in a tournament in Hoboken. I was lucky enough to get a ride to the playing site with five other players from the Princeton Go Club. We had a nice time riding up and back together. I met up with them on campus for the ride.

I saw lots of people I know from previous tournaments and enjoyed my time chatting between rounds.

I went 3-1 to defend my tenuous rating of -8.98, which I earned through a two stone self promotion at the Congress this year just the month before.

I will admit to having been very nervous about this tournament because I did not want to slip back to 9 kyu. There is something nice about having a rating that matches one's AGAID number. However, it seemed unlikely that I could defend this rating, especially in New Jersey where ratings are particularly tough due to the location of the Fen Yun Go School. We are lucky to have such good competition, but it makes New Jersey events particularly tough when the young strong locals come out in force.

My four games were all with opponents under the age of 20. Three of them were with young students of Feng Yun, so it was quite a challenge to go 3-1, and I am particularly pleased with my record.

My first game was a loss, and I braced myself for the rest of the day. I recorded my first game, and sat down with Masaki Hamiguchi, one of my strong long time go buddies, and we went over the game. He is such a good teacher, and showed me where I went wrong. Primarily I failed to reduce the Chinese opening with a shoulder hit at the proper time, making it difficult for me to reduce it later. I had taken a smaller move along the side instead.

My first opponent was a young boy who made sure I knew before the end game started that he was winning. I am sure that was my subtle hint to resign, and in a club game I would have. But I was there to play go, and if I resigned every game I played with a child under the age of ten once i was behind, I would have some very long waits between rounds. I told him that I agreed with his assessment, but that I would enjoy finishing the game nonetheless, and so we did. I lost by 36.5, which was less than I would have expected given the massive kill. This boy was so committed to the Chinese Opening that he chose to play it as white. I am not sure that I have seen this before. It is time to review my Guo Juan Audio Go Lessons on the Chinese Opening.

My second opponent was the only one who was not a student of Feng Yun. She was a sophomore in college who was attending her first tournament. She had been playing go for about three years, which she had discovered in high school by way of Anime. That game turned out to be a decisive victory for me at 56.5, and I recorded that game as well up until I was about ten minutes away from byo yomi.

As much as I like having a recording so I can benefit from my mistakes, I found that I had worn myself out considerably with recording those first two games. I ended up in byo yomi in both of them, which was no surprise given that I was playing what looked like an eight year old boy who didn't need long to decide his next move, and a college student who was a self proclaimed fan of blitz.

Masaki suggested that I stop recording, and predicted that I would be two stones stronger if I did. Whether he was right about the increase in go strength, or not, I definitely found myself refreshed by not recording, and I felt a definite increase in stamina.

My third game was with a very young boy from the Feng Yun Go School who was playing as a 7 kyu. I managed to isolate some of his stones early on in the game to create a huge area of territory, which he added to by attempting unsuccessfully to live. It turned out to be an easy game, and I came out of it refreshed and with a 15.5 victory. We both played quickly so I had more than an hour to relax and do tsumgo before the 4th round.

My fourth game was with a young teenage female student of the Feng Yun Go School. This was also a relatively easy game. This opponent had won all three of her games to this point, so she was being matched up to play a stronger player even in the fourth round. Given that the handicap was inadequate for her stated rank, it was an important game for me to win. I did so by 26.5

At the awards ceremony I received some cash, and I got to choose a go book. They had more than a handful of books I did not already own, and I selected "The Go Companion: Go in History and Culture" by John Fairbairn and T. Mark Hall the Creators of GoGoD.

I came back seriously pumped and logged in immediately to KGS to look for my friends so i could brag. I found a few, and by 12:30 I had come down far enough to attempt to sleep.

It was a very exciting day, and I am very glad I went.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Exciting Evening At The Princeton Go Club

My first game was with an AGA 3kyu. I took 5 stones and ended up winning by 19 points. I counted the game a number of times, but aside from that, I played pretty quickly. We replayed the game up to the point where he felt that the he had suffered a meaningful loss, which was actually early in the middle game when I isolated two of his stones. It was nice to replay the game up to that point from memory. It is entirely different from clicking through it online.

I am keeping track of who I play and how I do, so I can come up with a reasonable handicap for each individual. He and I should try four stones next time and see how it goes. I know I don't do well giving handicap, so I am sure when I play weaker players I will be unlikely to give the proper handicap and win.

My next game was with a young girl who is 8 kyu AGA. But her mother wanted to get her and her younger sister to begin heading home shortly after 9:00 PM, so we discontinued play when the mother, being a strong player, offered to review the game for us.

Oh, and did I mention, the mother's name? She is Feng Yun, 9p. Just how cool is that?

It was quite an honor to have the opening reviewed by Feng Yun. I will be going to the club again next week. I feel really lucky to be at the proper level to give a reasonable game to both of Feng Yun's daughters.

Going To Princeton Go Club Again Tonight

In about a half an hour I will be out the door to attend the Princeton Go Club again tonight.

Since my husband wakes me up at 5:30 AM every weekday, my leaving the house at 7:00 PM to attend a go club feels like venturing out at 10:00 PM if I were getting up at at a normal time. I don't like playing at night, and I have stayed away from evening clubs because I have a fear of doing poorly. But let's face the fact that I have a fear of doing poorly online too, or at a tournament. I have such a fear of doing poorly that I will use almost any excuse to not play, but to watch instead. So I have decided that I am simply going to face the fact that I am likely going to show performance that is anywhere from one to two stones below what I am capable of at a decent hour, and I will just suck it up and play.

When discussing the club with my friend Charles, who has no fear of playing at all, I realized that what I like about the club is that if I go I am forced to play. Online I can say, "No". But at the club if I am not playing I look like a chicken. And if I am not playing, then what on earth am I doing there?

So, off I go, to be brave, and to play.

I am wearing the tshirt from the 2004 New Jersey Yang Workshop. That is the one that has Yilun Yang's face embedded in the grain of a 9x9 go board.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Went To The Princeton Go Club Last Night

On a weekday I get up at 5:30 AM, so by the time the evening rolls around I am pretty tired and reluctant to play go because I feel that I am about two stones weaker than I am in the morning. But I finally dealt with my fear of playing at night, and forced myself out of the house to go to the Princeton Go Club last night. It felt really great to play some casual games over the board.

There were only two other people there because it was the first meeting of the semester and the word had not gotten out to all the students yet. The three of us in attendance took turns playing and watching, so each of us got to play two games and watch one. It was great to play over the board rather than online. It was also great to play without a clock as I would at a tournament. I play quickly, so I actually play faster without a clock than with a clock. I had forgotten what club play feels like. It is a whole different experience from online play and tournament play.

The only thing I missed was actually reviewing the game in depth since no one recorded, and we did not attempt to replay.

I will be going back again next Wednesday looking for a ride to the Hoboken tournament on the 20th. Maybe I can persuade my friend Charles to come to the club.