European Go Congress, chess & go

Coffee before the game is a must.

”What is the difference between chess and go”, is a question I have now encountered many times, and I have also tried to answer it to the best of my abilities. My comparison is affected by the fact that I am a far stronger at chess than at go, so I see the games from different perspectives. One thing that really attracts me to go, as a chess player, is that you do not have to remember volumes of theory to become good (memory is still important, but not to the same degree). As a go player, I have become more aware of the density and elegance of chess, and of how beautifully balanced it is. Both games have been heavily affected by the development of computers. Chess has been transformed slowly, over about twenty years, from a game where ”unclear” was a common evaluation, to a game where everything is measured in fractions of numbers. The technical side of chess has been ousted the creative side of chess as the dominant aspect. In Go, the change came suddenly, when AlpaGo and ”Master” tore through the world elite in 2016, and it revolusionised the game. The game is played differently now, and the positions are measured in fractions of numbers there too. But, different AI:s still have different evaluations, so it is still unclear what is the ”best move”. Also, even if we would know what the best move is in go, it does not affect the game as much as it does chess, since it is impossible to memorize more than a few moves in a whole board context. We can remember local sequences, but their evaluation can differ depending on what the rest of the board look like. There are more than a dozen aspects where it is interesting to compare the game, and how to study the, and it is very likely that this is what my next book will be about. I love both games, but my love for chess is in constant competition with my will to win, and it is a complex relationship that makes chess less enjoyable, some days.

”Can you look like you are doing something?” The staff goes the extra mile.

On Saturday, and Sunday, I scored 3/4 in the ”weekend” tournament, which was played with a slightly faster time than the main open. The game I lost was probably my best, and everything boiled down to a fight between two weak groups, where I made a fatal error and everything fell apart.

The playing hall for boards 64-20…-isch

Today I played against a 4 dan from Lithuania, and won. Instead of commenting the sgf-file, I will give a short account of the game:

I tried to play more calmly than I usually do, and in the bottom left corner I played a sequence that I knew to be slightly suboptimal (25 and 27), although it seemed to the point in the position that we got. I was surprised by his choice of direction, in the lower right corner, but it turns out that it was all right. My 51:st move was a slight deviation from the best road, but over all the position was somewhat better for me after all the corners had been played  out. 55 got the AI:s approval, and when he attached to my stone, in the top left, I thought for a long while and chose a rather unusual respons. I have added a line to the game to explain. Move 65 was my first real mistake in the game, and this calls for a bit of celebration as I don’t believe I have ever played 32 such good moves in row before. The fight in the top middle ended with a slight loss for me, but the game still looks good. Move 75 was not the best, and for the first time since the beginning, White had a small advantage (according to AI-sensei). Then came the moment I am most happy with, move 81, where I played the ”blue” AI move, in a complicated position. The game remained rather even, but eventually I misplayed a fight in the center, and it was only due to my opponont that I got off the hook. By this time I do not remember the order of the moves. In the endgame it felt close to me, but I might have been a bit behind, when he peeped on one of my connections and then forgot that my move allowed me to catch three of his stones while saving one of my own. After that I was safely in the lead.

Tomorrow I will have to play even better if I am going to have achance to win.