Monday, July 24, 2006

Winning Record

Well, we got back from San Diego pretty late Friday night. On about 4 hours of sleep, I picked up my friend Paul and headed for a go tournament. This one was called the "Congress Tune-Up", as it comes a few weeks before the 2006 US Go Congress. Though I won't be attending, it seemed a good way to build on my 2-2 record from the Virginia Open.

My first game was against a 20-kyu player. Since I'm now at 19 kyu, I gave him a one-stone handicap...that means he went first, but I didn't get any points as compensation (except for half a point to break ties in my favor). The game went very smoothly for me. At one point, I thought I saw a subtle attack that started with putting a large group of his stones in atari. He didn't notice the atari, however, so I was immediately able to take the large group of stones. After I successfully killed off an invasion of his, the outcome was obvious, and he resigned. (Paul later beat the same player for his first win of the tourney...proving that this guy just couldn't handle Arundel High.)

My second game was against a 27-kyu player. I had to give him 8 stones, which seemed like a lot...I'm not used to playing white (being the higher ranked player). My opponent played very slowly and conservatively. We got into a long, drawn-out ko fight. We didn't resolve that fight, but I tried invading a corner he controlled. He blundered, and I successfully took it over, killing about 30 of his stones in the process. He was running out of time, but he finally resigned, conceding there was no way to turn the tide.

My third opponent entered at 21 kyu. She seemed confused about how the handicapping system works...I had to explain that she got two stones, but had to put them in specific locations. She started her play with a couple of unorthodox moves, which made me fear that she had no idea what she was doing and that the game was going to be a pushover. After a while, though, I realized she was in pretty good shape in the game, and when she pulled off a fairly advanced maneuver called the "monkey jump", I knew it would be hard to win the game. I used up more time in that game than any other I've played, and at the end it looked pretty close. When we counted things up, it was 44 to 44 -- a tie, just like my last game in Richmond. But this time, I was playing white and won the tie, so I was off to a 3-0 start!

My final game was against a 15-kyu kid I lost to in May. I ended up losing that one by 4 stones. Close, but after the rest of the day, I couldn't complain too much.

When the tournament director posted the final results, I was in first place in the upper-mid kyu division (consisting of four players), so I got to go home with a trophy and a prize (a vase). Not bad. Undoubtedly this will push me to 18 kyu, so I'll have to get better if I want to keep tasting victory. The next tournament I know of is in late October, so I've got plenty of time!

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