Disappointment and relief

I have been planning to write something about every tournament that I have participated in since October, but at the end of every tournament I have been so disappointed with myself that I needed a break. Then, some days later, when it would have been reasonable to write something, I got into the I-will-win-the-next-tournament mood, and I did not feel that I had the time. But that is not completely true either. I have commented games, lots, for publishing, and perhaps the real reason for not publishing is that I did not find a frame for them that included myself and that wasn’t all negative.

This is all quite typical for a chess player, to have to change, always. And for me it has been more dramatic in the last few years, with new (stronger) engines that have made some of my go-to openings, if not unplayable, then unappetizing. I have spent more than 500 hours last year changing my opening repertoire, so that it is up to the demands of the time. In the process I forgot about having to play the games too, and virtually every other aspect of my game has deteriorated.

There was also the book that I started writing in 2007, which I have finally finished. (I will write more about it later) Perhaps, due to my slow writing tempo, it will not free up a lot of time for me not to write it anymore, but it is a relief not to think about it, all the time.

So, I have made a plan for playing better, but until it has kicked in the reader will have to suffer games of my current standard, although not today.

Since posting last time, I have played for Sweden in the European Team Championship B-league three more times and have won all my games, which is a nice change to losing all my matches before that. As a team we are doing well, and we have only lost to Germany so far.

The last match, against Finland, was streamed by Anton Silfver (2d) on his twitter channel “ClynchTV”, together with Anton Christenson (3d). In my comments, I refer to them as Anton & Anton in my comments to the games. (I believe the stream can still be found on Twitch)

I will comment on all the games of the match, starting with my own. Take note that I am significantly weaker than the two top boards, and I am trying to make sense of their strategies, although these might be hard for me to grasp.

My own game first. I was very, very lucky on move 152, when I made a ko-threat that was not sente:

A shaky game on my part. I was in horrible time trouble when I made the faulty ko-threat, and it is not very likely that I would have survived if my opponent had not gifted me a big part of his stones.

Next I will  give my thoughts on the other three games in the match.

First win on National Go Team

I have played a few matches representing the Swedish National Team, at the online European Championship, but up to date I had never won a game. My last game, in the spring, against Germany, was perhaps my best so far, and I got very close winning against a significantly higher rated opponent. I was quite pleased with that game, but it can never feel quite good when your team loses. This year around Sweden plays in the B-league, and South Africa has also been given a spot there (an initiative that I fully support), and we were paired to play them in the first round.

Team composition

I felt more confident that I have before:

I celebrated the win with rather ungraceful bouncing around the room. We also won on board 3 and 4, and went on to win the match.

Posted in go

Swedish Go Championship

Once every year the Swedish Go Championship is played, and the last two years it has been a strong tournament with the Swedish top player, Fredrik Blomback, taking first place. This year, in Linköping, it was expected that he would win again, although players like Anton Christensen and Charlie Åkerblom were in the race. In round 2 Fredrik played the Black stones against Charlie, and after a hard fought game with small margins, the players passed, and started counting the stones. In the end it turned out that Charlie had won the game with 0,5 points.


You can press the score-button, to the right in the OGS-interface, to get the result.

As you will notice at the end of the game, the record says that Black wins with 0,5 points, quite the opposite from the official result. It is not clear whether the reconstruction of the game went wrong, or whether a stone was lost at some point (in time trouble this is quite possible). Perhaps an intersection was forgotten. We do not know, but since the players agreed on a result after the game, this stands.

It feels strange that a Swedish Championship is decided in this way, but these things are not unheard of, especially when it comes to lesser tournaments. It is quite easy to make a mistake in the counting. The only way to make sure it does not happen is by recording the games as they are played, and in the “big” matches in East Asia, it is usually done by an arbiter (a rather work-intensive solution). In chess, it is obligatory to record your games when playing with “classical” time limits (more than and hour per player and game – I am not sure), but in go there is no such rule. Recording or not recording is up to the players, and only few do it for the whole game. One reason is that the time settings make it very stressful to record the moves in time trouble, since the board is so big. Perhaps the cheapest and best low-tech solution, in important games, in tournaments with less resources, would be to record the games with a cell-phone set on some kind of stand. A second way would be to extend the byoyomi with a few seconds and make recording compulsory. In the Facebook-group for Swedish players, Fredrik Blomback pointed out that Chinese counting (which I still do not understand), would make a mistake less likely to happen.

Whatever the mysterious result of the game, it is an interesting game that the players produced, and perhaps – as Fredrik, jokingly, pointed out – it would have been fair with a chess-like result: a draw. Personally, I believe the matter ought to be addressed. The Swedish Championship should not fall into the “lesser tournament” category. There are two ways to deal with it; either to accept that these things happen, that it is not a problem, and continue player for the love of the game, thinking that the result is not what it is about. Or, we decide that some tournaments are too important for this to happen, and then we find a solution.

Posted in go