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.

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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European Team Championship of Go

Sweden vs. Finland, that classical ice hockey match, was lately played on a quite different turf; the go board. I get the feeling that Sweden won the match, but I have not been able to corroborate it. The go media still seems obscure to me. However, yesterday evening I followed this exciting go game between two of the strongest Nordic players Antti Törmänen and Fredrik Blomback (part of the above mentioned match). So, there we are again. I’m trying to make sense of a go game played between two players much stronger than myself. Feel free to either laugh or enjoy:

So, Fredrik Blomback won. I have earlier recommended Antti Törmänen’s excellent homepage “Go of Ten” and now he has posted a very interesting thesis, “Building a Human Master”, dealing with “how expertice is developed” in chess and go. Ought to be interesting stuff.

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Meijin title match, first game.

The Meijin-sen match between Iyama Yuta and Yamashita Keigo is under it’s way. If you compare the English speaking go world with the English speaking chess world, I am astounded by how little news there is to be found on the great Go matches from China, Japan and South Korea. If these matches were between chess players, then you would be able to find comments on them in a number of places. The best news service I have found is gogameguru. Also, if you are interested in learning a bit more about go, I recommend you to type “Bat’s + lectures” on YouTube and you will find a lot of commented games by this entertaining Bat character. Also, I recommend a blog by Antti Törmänen. This guy is a very strong go player (6 Dan) and comments (mostly) on his own games.

The first game of the Meijin-sen was played last week and (as usual) I am not sure that I have understood anything. Still, I have made an effort to comment on the game. Beware though; I am not a strong go-player. My current raking on IGS is +1Kyu.

As the match proceeds you will be able to find the games here.

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