So, back from the buzz from the Korean Culture Festival on Saturday, we all converged again in a café in Observatory, Cape Town, for our weekly club evening… Perhaps it is because it is the end of the year, but attendance was low, with just 6 of us there, initially; however, two people we had come by our table at the festival actually showed up, purchased two sets of stones and joined us for dinner and a teaching game, a 7th club member was delegated to teaching them as he came late.
I ended up playing The German, which is what I’ll call him here… He slaughtered, butchered, and served me up for dinner to… whoever… in two 9 handicap games. His ranking though was a bit confusing at first, he’s apparently listed as 2k on the SAGA system, but he’s from Germany – here to study – so on the EGF he’s 1k, though a few people who played him before rated him closer to 1d on the SAGA scale… I guess my defeat shouldn’t be a surprise, and the fact that I managed to have 5 points on the board – versus his 150 or so – means quite a bit… Because in the second game, after filling in all the prisoners, he had at least 40 left that couldn’t fit on the board! It reminded me of those games I played when I first came to the club, when 10k Master was doing exactly this to me; now, however, he struggles winning on the board against me at 9 stones.
After two games, which in essence turned into blitz games – he played really fast, and for some reason made me speed up – I asked for some advice on doing better. Turns out The German is a really eager teacher, and showed me where I went into the wrong: at 9 stones, I should avoid fights and just run and try to keep things connected… Basically, the 9 stones mean influence, but aren’t a base for attack, and I get drawn into fights easily; against 10k Master this isn’t a disaster, as I tend to be able to survive, but against a stronger player with better reading skills it is futile. So we ended up playing a third game, a teaching game; at every move I thought about what he said. That game ended at about 10 point victory for me, mainly cause a snapback lead me to capture a 10 stone group, turning my defeat into a win; but overall, I just did better… Of course I had the advantage of discussing my moves with him as I made them, but still I feel I learned something.