Saturday, March 19, 2016

Farewell, Druidtree

I never met Max Neill, but I did beat him in a game of Go last year.

The 49-year-old Englishman passed away on Leap Day after a long battle with cancer.

His condition first came to my attention late last year when he made an unusual post on the Go server's message board, essentially asking about the etiquette for dying in the middle of a Go game. His concern was that he would lose a number of games when the clock ran out, and
"I'd like my rating after my death to reflect my actual rating, rather than drop like a stone due to unfinished matches. Not sure why this is important to me. I suppose it's so that people researching my legacy don't think I was a total beginner at the game."
Earlier this month, some other site users noticed he had stopped making moves. I was able to do a little research to connect his user name (Druidtree) with his real name, and I found his obituary.

In light of this sad news, the site administrator restored his rating to what his was before his death (18 kyu). People will thus know he's not a total beginner at this game.

Me? I'm not a total beginner, either, but I haven't improved much since I last posted about the game almost five years ago. I'm still 15 kyu. I had a 4-4 record in the server's 2015 Double-Digit Kyu Tournament. One of those victories was over Druidtree, aka Max Neill. According to the site, our entire written exchange over the 204 moves that comprised the game consisted of:
1 Black Enjoy.
2 White Hi
3 Black Enjoy.
204 White Thanks for the match.

I won by 18.5 stones. Not a squeaker, but not an overwhelming game, either. About what you'd expect of someone 3 stones better in ranking. So he was good enough to give a game to someone like me who was plodding along for a decade. Definitely not a total beginner.

Thanks for the match, Max.

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