I will occasionally post Go games. I started out with Go in the beginning of 2011 and, after a rapid rise to about 9kyu, I’ve been gaining around 4kyu a year since then. I can really recommend chess players to do this for a number of reasons. First, if you are too tactically inclined a player, then by playing Go you will be forced to think about things like “structure” and “plans”. Secondly, if you work as a coach, reliving the struggle of being a beginner at a difficult game (like Chess – or Go) will definitely improve your understanding of those you are coaching. Thirdly, there are few things that let you appreciate the “nature” of what you have learned as a chess player and learning Go will make it obvious that you know stuff that transcends the chess board. I can go on like this, but let’s call it there. My current Go rating is around 1kyu and therefore it is a bit like a chess player rated around 2000 commenting on chess games, so do not take what I write below too seriously 😉 If you feel like visiting a more serious Go-site then I recommend gogameguru; especially solving the weekly problems is a great source of learning (and joy). If you find my vocabulary somewhat alien it is because I sometimes use the highly specialized Go vocabulary. The majority of these expressions can be found at Sensei’s library.

Saint Petersburg match against Alexander Morozevich, part 2.

…and the match continued. My hopes were slightly higher when it came to the go games, so it didn’t bode well for me to lose the first one like that. Now I had to win the second chess game in order to stay in the match:

Mmmm, however beautiful that was, it didn’t feel too great to be crushed like that and I didn’t look forward to losing the match 0-4. I had to get my stuff together and play my best:

It was a relief to win the last game. In the evening I celebrated with another five games of go.

After my return back to Sweden, Alexander Morozevich continued to play in the open group of the tournament and managed to score an impressive8/9. (The system for go tournaments is completely different from chess tournaments and you mainly play those at or around your own strength) Even more impressive, he managed to beat a 2dan opponent in the last round. In a later mail I got from Alexandre Dinerchtein, who wrote that Morozevich will likely be promoted to 1dan. So, although I still haven’t played a single turnament game in go, I feel it is reasonable to say that I’m close to 1 dan and lately, for the first time in a year, I have experienced an increase in my rating on the servers. Considering what I did in Cellavision Cup last weekend (which I will write about next), it is nice that some things go well.

Saint Petersburg match against Alexander Morozevich, part 1.

When I first arrived at a chess club in 1984, I was already hooked on chess. I had played with my father for a few years and was in the habit of writing down our games in i red notebook. If someone asked me then whether I wanted to swim, play, go for a walk, run a kite, or just about anything, then what I’d really wanted to say was: “I’d rather play some chess”. I usually didn’t say that, but the feeling was there. One of the things that I have loved about learing to play go is that I sometimes get that same feeling (to the annoyance of those close to me), that, no, I’d rather just play a game of go. I write this just to give you a sense of how happy I was when I was invited to the European Go Congress, to play a combined chess- and go-match against Alexander Morozevich in Saint Peterburg. The match took place the 27:th of July and although I lost it 3-1 it was a great experience; one of those that can make a guy like me go humming “je ne regrette rien” for days. The best part was that I managed to play another ten go games in the two days I was there and got to meet some very strong go players.


My opponent needs no presentation in the chess world, but I knew little about his strength in go. Alexandre Dinerchtein 3p wrote that AM was “close to 3kyu”, but when I heard that he had already played a few tournaments and was to play both weeks at the European Go Congress, I sensed that he would probably improve fast and that anything was possible.


I arrived on the 26:th and spent the evening going from hall to hall, checking all the side events and eventually I ended up at an outdoor bar where go players where hanging out, playing and analyzing games. I intended to prepare a bit for the chess games, but in the end my preparation came to primarily consist of a few hours of evening go.

The match started at 10 in the morning and we started with chess. The time limit was 15 minutes +5 seconds. I played Black:

I wasn’t unhappy about the game. My level in rapid games is not that good and Alexander is a world class act. After a short break it was time for the first game of go.  Now I would find out how strong he had become… (The comments below are heavily depending on the video with Wu Hao 2p and Vadim Efimenko 1d.)

So, down 0-2 after the first two games and a chess game coming up next. I wasn’t too optimitic about my chances to win the match. (To be continued)

Virtual ascent to 1 dan

After a rather long struggle to get up to 1 dan on KGS I finally managed the other day. It might seem like a rather small step for mankind, but it felt quite big to me and merited a rather bouncy and ungraceful dance around the livingroom. As a chess coach I always recommend my students to annotate their games and I do – of course – follow my own advice as I try to improve my go skills. Here are two examples that I have tried to make less go-diary-like. The first involves a rather simple but effective tesuji that caught a number of my opponents stones. The second game started out very well, but ended with me being in contest for a possible “the … of the year” price. You will get what the “…” stands for.

The “…” was obviously for “failure”. 🙂

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39:th Kisei titel match, game 1

There have been so many interesting games at the beginning of the year that it has been hard to decide on a single one that stands out. However, in the end, I felt that the game below impressed me more than all the others. It is the first game of the final series of the 39:th Kisei Title Match. Iyama Yuta plays the Black side against Yamashita Keigo:

Lately I have been watching the televised NHK Go tournament on youtube (the latest game can be watched here) and although I don’t understand more than ten words in japanese, I find it very relaxing. The tempo of the games gives you time to think for yourself before the next move is played and the comments are quite understandable even for someone who doesn’t get the language. This is something that worries me with the new DVD culture in chess. If you only use DVD:s as a source of information, there is a risk that you will become passive and instead of learning how to think, will learn not to think.

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