Go

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 gained 4kyu a year up to 2013. A chess player have some skills that can be transferred to go, so this “fast” improvement for a 40+ year old guy, is not too strange. From 1kyu in 2014, it has taken me another 8 years to get to approximately 2dan (European ranking). I can really recommend chess players to try out Gofor 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”, and you will improve your ability to hold multiple aspects in your mind at the same time (if you are able to improve, that is). Second, 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. Third, 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 make the list much longer, but let’s call it there. My current Go rating of 2 dan, is comparable to a chess player rated around 2200, so I am by no account a very strong player, and you should not take what I write on go too seriously 😉 If you feel like visiting a more serious Go-site then… you are in for a disappointment. There are no sites for go comparable to chessbase or chees.com, but instead there are plenty of good apps for go. I recommend Go Books, Tsumego Pro and – if you get more serious about the game – SmartGo (which I use extensively). There many good channels on Youtube dealing with Go, but they come and go, and it depends quite a lot on your strength what will benefit you most.

Solving Go problems is a great source of learning (and joy), and in my case, since I have lost my passion for Chess problems, it is good way for me to keep my ability to calculate alive. If you find my vocabulary in the commentary 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. I teach go for beginners, up to 1 kyu, and I do coaching, but only over periods of minimum three months.

European Go Congress, free day no. 2

Last wednesday (also a free day), I visited the music related attractions in central Leipzig, and on this day, the second free day, I did a café tour. I have walked more than 10km in sandals and deserve a break.

The view from inside Café Puschkin.

(I am using my I-pad to comment on the games, so there are quite a few misspellings that I miss. I hope they are not too bad.) My only loss, so far, came in the 5 round weekend tournament:

For chessplayers, my current score of 10/11, with 7/7 in the main tournament might seem weird. Why am I not leading the tournament? It is a bit comlex to explain, but if you want to know more about the Macmahon system, then you can read about it here.

Posted in go

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.

On my way to the European Go Congress

Tomorrow evening I will travel to Markkleeberg, a suburb of Leipzig, to participate in the Open European Championship (and play as much go as possible in twelve days). Usually I am unable to participate in go tournaments like this one, since they tend to collide with important chess events, so I have been looking forward to this for a long time. Last year I had planned to play in Vatra Dornei, in Romania, but it collided with the Chess Olympiad in Chennai, and I had to cancel.

We will be a small contingent from Malmö, with four players and one supporter. I will try to write and post games about every second day. My goal is – as usual – threefold: I want to play some good games, and preferably in a more solid style than i use to, and I would like to play some interesting and adventurous moves. Also, it would be nice to get above 2200 in rating, but it is only a side-goal, since good games will most certainly get me there.

I will take on new (chess) students in August. I charge 90EUR for 1½ hours online coaching, and if you want to give it a try I offer the first half an hour for free. I just discovered that the contact-button in WordPress does not work, and I will try to get it fixed shortly. In the mean time you can contact me through Messenger, or WhatsApp. I will keep a look out for new messages.

Posted in go

Experimenting with Twitch

Twitch was not my usual cup of tea until i found out that there are plenty of strong Go-streamers, much stronger than I am. I watch almost everything that the European Go Federation streams, and only occasionally do I get a bit depressed that such magnificent commentators have so few viewers (relativeto other games). It seems to me to be a sign of the times, and as I am getting older and grumpier, you can probably guess where that rabbit hole leads. Don’t get me started on the times.

But, I will try out streaming now and then in the next month, some Go and some Chess. Perhaps there will be Youtube videos soon thereafter. “Baby steps”, I tell myself. Hopefully I will be able to walk.

So, check on “grumpy”, but check on “evolving” too.

The Swedish Go Team managed to take second place in the B-group of the Pandanet European Team Championship, and it gave us the chance to play a qualifying match against Austria. For the second time this year I got to meet a lower rated opponent:

It is very unlikely that I would have found the kill (move 169), unless I had help from AI-sensei to analyze the game. It is a tool that I find indispensable.