This evening, at my weekly lost game, I actually scraped a win. I played a 9 handicap game against 10k Master at the Cape Town Go Club, and ended with a 30.5 point victory for yours truly! This compared to a pretty crushing defeat last time I played him. The first half of the game was confined to one (left) half of the board and I managed to use my handicap stones to my advantage, limiting his territory severely and cutting off several of his groups. The second half of the game was more even, with me taking the lower right part and him taking the upper right part; I tried an unsuccessful invasion after being egged on by someone observing – and kibitzing – our game. It was great to see my work pay off, as finally there has been clear improvement. On the other hand, perhaps we need to off set the score according to the amount of alcohol we both consumed; my game in the second half definitely suffered from my fourth and fifth Smirnoff Spin, and my opponent had started drinking before me… perhaps about 1 stone per glass? Sounds about right, it would make the final result be Black+10.5 ish. This actually leads me to an idea to make the handicap system more interesting: instead of taking handicap stones, handicap tequila shots… it would make for I interesting weekly games.
I played another game against a 9k rated player, and lost by about 25-30 points; we didn’t end up counting it out completely, as it had to be a fast game because the venue we play at closes around 22.00 usually; my loss was pretty obvious though. What I did manage is to invade his corner and live! After the first game of the evening, we reviewed and I was explained how to I prove on my attempt to invade and live in the corner; clearly I learned something, as you can see in the upper right corner. Based on these two games I finally made it on the SAGA ranking system, starting with the conservative estimate of 23k.
I also got two new books. Apparently when you become a SAGA member you get a free book, until stocks last at least; the book is by the Nihon Ki-in, Go: The World’s Most Fascinating Game. It is a basic introduction book, from a quick scan it basically takes you through the similar material as Volume I & II of Learn To Play Go. I also bought, for the extremely low price of 70 rands, Basic Techniques of Go by Haruyama Isamu and Nagahara Yoshiaki, and signed by Haruyama (9p)! The signature alone should make me a full stone stronger… while the bibliophile inside of me is doing little dances. I’ll be posting reviews of these two books as soon as I finish reading them, as well as a review of Volume II of the Learn to Play Go series that I recently bought and devoured (in a none book-eating way) overnight.