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)