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.