Category Archives: Tournaments

Round 5 results, European Team Championships

So yesterday evening South Africa lost… 1-3 against the UK… I observed all the games, and I was really hopeful for this, but it turned around against South Africa fast. Andrew Davies resigned first, giving SA its first loss; John Leuner scraped a win, which made me hopeful again; then Ben Gale’s resignation made me cry… Victor Guang Chow lost by 0.5, sealing our fate. The sgf files are online here, if you go through them you can see me trying to kibitz a bit, but mostly being lost as to what was happening.

First board – Victor Guang Chow 7d (white) v. Andrew Simons 4d (black)

B+0.5; 6.5. deom [덤; komi]
B+0.5; 6.5. deom [덤; komi]
279 at S7
This game went over my head… at some point (around move 100 or so) someone commented that White was comfortably ahead. But I didn’t see it… Though what was clear to me was that Victor (white) played slow and steady; at some point I thought he fell behind, which most people agreed with. I thought he’d pull of some near pro brilliant move towards the middle of the endgame, but no… He caught up, played a very close endgame but ended up losing by half a point.

Second board – Jon Diamond 3d (white) v. Ben Gale 4d (black)

W+Resign; 6.5 deom [덤; komi]
W+Resign; 6.5 deom [덤; komi]
This game was relatively short in terms of number of moves, but was the second to last to end. Ben (Black) lost due to a simple mistake in byoyomi; he had literally 5 seconds per move at that point, so the pressure must have been immense. If he had played the right place, played 147 at M9 instead of D8, he would have won. Basically, he didn’t have time to count liberties, and didn’t realise he had to connect. So he resigned after he made that mistake, as at that point he would be too far behind.

Third board – Andrew Davies 3d (white) v. Des Cann 3d (black)

B+Resign; 6.5 deom [덤; komi]
B+Resign; 6.5 deom [덤; komi]
This game… well, I was all cheerleadery for the only Capetonian on the team that day… But to no avail… I know Andrew is a very territorial player, but in this game he ended up struggling. Some comments suggested that he played too solidly and too close to his thickness with 30 at B8; instead perhaps a move somewhere else would have been better; I’m not strong enough to assess that, but from then on Black pushed White around the board, Andrew struggled to find life for his group and Black made big territory in that process. Resignation is the result…

Fourth board – Paul Taylor 2d (white) v. John Leuner 3d (black)

B+20.5; 6.5 deom [덤; komi]
B+20.5; 6.5 deom [덤; komi]
189 at R1; 208 at K12; 211 at J12; 214 at K12; 217 at J12; 220 at K12; 223 at J12; 226 at K12; 229 at J12; 232 at K12
This game was the only win for South Africa, though it shouldn’t have been… White was ahead by move 146, as the entire upper left corner had only dead Black stones in it… But the Black’s throw in at R2, robbed White of its only eye at move 187, meaning that suddenly there is a 30+ swing in the game. White kept playing, but ended up losing. In the end they played a ko fight, which I didn’t get… it was beyond insignificant, the game was over… Maybe White just wanted to win at least another battle before losing the war…


European Team Championships 2014/2015 – League C, Round 5

South Africa is playing the United Kingdom today in the European Team Championships; the match will take place at 20:00 CET/CEST on IGS (19.00 WET and 21.00 EET/SAST). Currently United Kingdom is at the top of the League C with 8 points, tied with Bulgaria, and South Africa is third with 7 points; so this will be an interesting match, if South Africa pulls of another win, then we’d be tied with the UK, and Bulgaria will be at the top (unless they lose their match against Spain, but that’s unlikely.) But for this match, South Africa is playing its secret weapon: Victor Guang Chow, the top player in South Africa at 7d; currently the best player on the UK team is ranked at 4d, so this match is far from equal… This is the line up:

  • 1st board: Victor Chow 7d
  • 2nd board: Ben Gale 4d
  • 3rd board: Andrew Davies 3d
  • 4th board: John Leuner 3d

A  3d, and bunch of 2d players are in reserve… And thus, maybe the odds be ever in our frakkin’ favour. The lineup for the UK isn’t listed online yet, but the top players in their team are a 4 dan, 2 3 dans, and 3 2 dans. For a bit of background, our 1st board used to be whatever the Chinese equivalent is of a yeonguseng [연구생; insei], and started playing at 6 years old; I heard he almost made pro before he came to South Africa. Of course, anything can happen, but still I’ve got a good feeling about this one.

[DGS] On stupid mistakes

W+17.5; 6.5 deom [덤, komi]
W+17.5; 6.5 deom [덤, komi]
move 52This is the first game from the DDK division of the Dragon Round-Robin tourney that I’m playing in. We finished this game in a matter of days, and it was an exciting game. My opponent seemed to be ahead by move 52, at least in terms of influence, so I tried to invade and rip the developing diagonal moyang [모양; moyo]; we were both developing those essentially, but his was clearly bigger. Also after he took the upper left corner, I took the lower right one… Or at least I thought I did (this will come and bite me in the lower buttock region soon). I was a bit scared that we’d build a wall in that only open space, and I’ll end up losing by quite a bit. So it was time for some decisive action.

Move 53 to 60
Move 53 to 60

I moved to take the cheonweon [천원; tengen] point, it seemed to be the right balance: not too far in so he can cap it and potentially make it hard to live there, and not too far out so that even a reduction would have some effect on the balance of the game. Also I love taking the centre point, I really do. The sequence up to 60 turned into an invasion; with 59 I defended, in order to not isolate my three stones, and he pushed in with 60.

move 61 to 103
move 61 to 103

So I pushed an invasion after I defended with 61; and overall I succeeded in seriously reducing his potential territory. My aim was, however to kill the stones to the left that were getting squeezed by the Black stones that were already there and my invasion. However, as I tried to find a balance in invading and staying connected, he managed to connect with 98 to 102… Still at this point, I seemed to have a slight edge over my opponent.

But then disaster struck…move 136 After we danced around on the board, moving towards the end game, and I was solidifying my – roughly – 10 – 15 jib [집; moku] lead, he moved to the lower right corner that I had left precariously open earlier. 134 shouldn’t have killed the corner, but I clearly wasn’t thinking, and I made a very basic 130k level reading mistake… I should have played at A instead of playing 135 at O1… His response at Q2 killed the corner; I calculated the that this cost me 22 jib, and thus the game swung around… I actually considered resigning at this point, because so close to the endgame it is hard to catch up that many points; at least for me it is… I ended up playing it out… and the result was W17.5, which shows that one mistake can cost you a game that you pretty much had won already.

Dragon Round-Robin 2015

So I’ve entered the Dragon Round-Robin  2015 Tournament – 19×19 – DDK Division; it consists of several rounds, with the first one seeing the 247 participants divided up in 27 pools. Pool 3, where I ended up, looks as follows:

Name ID Rank
FIRAT ASAR Enigmight 10k (+46%)
a space apollospace 11k (+36%)
Aimé CARON stonerider 12k (-9%)
selbstlaut selbstlaut 13k (-19%)
Adam Brown Hylidae 15k (+9%)
Benjamin Hillier CaptainSumo 16k (-22%)
W. Spencer Clark I DoubleU 18k (-25%)
HeJin Kim yearsago 20k (-5%)
Hanspeter Schmid hanspi 25k (+36%)

As you can see, clearly the odds will be ever in someone else’s favour. I mean, there are 2 stones between me and the next higher ranked person, and 10 between me and the top player in the pool (if only it was a swimming pool). Though I didn’t think I’d have a chance of winning when I entered; I find that tournaments on DGS or OGS are just good ways of getting serious games. Also, the timeframe is often perfect for me, fast paced but still correspondence. The settings for this is Canadian, 1 day main time and 14 days with 14 stones; this is quite fast, a lot more so than the games in the ladder, but in order to get this tourney finished, I guess it makes sense… otherwise it would be the Dragon Round-Robin 2015-until-the-better-part-of-FOREVER. My aim is to just see how high I can get in the pool, only the top player of the pool moves on to the second round, so no chance I’d make that; but we’ll see how it goes.

An interesting loss

DGS game 20141203
B+12; game setup: 6 dum [komi], Fischer 10d+1d
This is a game that I finished on DGS a few days ago, it was a challenge on the DGS 19×19 ladder tourny. The game was against a 19k, and I ended up with white and a 6 point dum [덤; komi]. I lost the game, however I truly enjoyed playing this. At first, I was playing it like any usual game on DGS, between breaks at work and on the go; the result was that I wasn’t counting liberties properly, and en entire group died… Black 153 was where 11 of my stones were doomed, a pointless death it was… The sequence actually began at White 142… which I should not have played at E13, but rather at F13… I voluntarily gave away seonsu [선수; sente] and thus set up the death of those poor, unfortunate stones… may they rest in pieces. At this point I wanted to resign, as I could not see a way out of this…

move 153
I felt like Frodo… climbing the slopes of Mount Doom with gardener and a psychotic addict on my heels… It seemed impossible

As you can see, it looks like a clear win for Black here: two major groups are surrounded in the middle and have no eyes, or eye potential… But in the end I decided to muddle on; I knew I’d lose, that was a given, but I wanted to see how far I could come back from this. I moved to cut two stones off from his group with W154, which essentially saved the lower of my dead-and-buried groups, resurrecting it from the dead (kinda like Harry Potter in the last book.) My opponent secures the death of the upper group by connecting, though I’m not sure if it was necessary, it was fairly dead already. Then I we had some up and down, securing the borders on the upper left side and the lower right side.

move 202
The reverse situation has happened too many times to me…

Then, grabbing the initiative, I threw in a stone with W202 at H3… Which put the 6 stones to its right into dansu [단수; atari], but also threatened a lot more… if he connects, I’d go down to H2, creating a double dansu, that would take the thusly formed B2 bomber; so then he’d have to connect at G3, and after I capture immediately has to connect at F6. I felt pretty good about reading this out properly. It is one of those things that I usually get done to me, losing groups left right and centre; doing this to someone else, felt kinda nice. He played things exactly out as I spelled out here. Since I had the initiative still, I decided to do something similar again, since he hadn’t protected all the cutting points in his territory on the lower right side.

move 210
I was just hoping, truly hoping, that I could kill his entire corner! Too often such was taken away from me with violent invasions! It was time for payback!

I threw in with W208 at R2 (marked 1)… he has to connect by playing Q2 (marked A) in order to prevent me from capturing, and I knew he’d lose one of the two B2 bombers flying around in that corner – I mean, one without a nose and one with a disformed wing… I played W210 at R4 (marked 2), and how he has two choices: if he plays B, I’ll play C and his stones above would dead; or he plays C, and I’d play B, killing his group to the left. Actually, if he played C, I think I might have had a shot at killing the entire corner; my three stones would have one extra liberty.

alternative move 215
If only… if only… 😦

I read out the sequence marked 1 to 8, and it basically would give me the corner, and the game. Unfortunately, he played B instead of C; I probably had read this out as well. Thus I took 5 stones and 5 extra points of territory… But unfortunately it wasn’t enough to catch up, I lost by 12 points… If only he had played C, I’d have won… Or, if only I had not let that group in the middle die in the first place, I could have won. But I loved the game, I felt I managed to apply some of the lessons I’ve learned over the past few months.

First time taking white!

So I entered the 19×19 Ladder on DGS, because I thought it would be fun; I have no illusion: if I manage to keep out of the bottom 100 I will have achieved the impossible. Right now I am at 595 on the ladder, after winning my first game. Now, what makes that a surprise is that I actually took white in this game… I’ve never taken white in a 19×19 game, so it was really strange; constantly I had to remind myself of this fact, because I almost accidentally played in the wrong places a few time thinking that white was getting too much territory. The ultimate result was a very comfortable win, and I thoroughly enjoyed it; while winning is always great, this game gave me quite a few reading challenges that could have cost me the game.

W+52; 6.5 dum [komi], Fischer 10d+1d
W+52; 6 dum [komi], Fischer 10d+1d – Black 191 at R9

160 at J3 was one of those moves that put a smile on my face; with the response at H2, I extended to J4 and managed to deprive the two black groups at H2 and E2 of life (163 and 164 could have been played the other way around, but to the same result I think), I killed them, murdered them, mwhohahahahaaaa (=my evil laugh)… or so I thought. After Black connects with 165 at J7, I move to F4 , realising that I if Black had played there he could have made those groups live (I think…).

So we move to elsewhere on the board doing some typical endgame moves (move 167 to 175) in the upper left and the upper right areas, and I secure some cutting points with 176 at G7.  Then Black proceeds to play 177 at G17, and I pause (luckily) to make sure I respond correctly to prevent his stones from going all zombie apocalypse on that particular area and depriving myself of 25 points; luckily my head was clear for once and I play at F1, going all serial killer on the same corpse… which is a weird visual that you should just forget.

179 and 180 are just minor moves to secure boundaries and cutting points. But then, black plays at O2 before I could secure that particular point… and I panick a little bit (a lot)… So I run with 182 at N1, black chases with 183 at N2, I run harder with 184 at N3… I’m thinking I’ll just run, and suddenly that previously twice killed group is threatening to rise from the dead, and this time take away a lot more than 25 points! However, instead of following me, he played M3. So I managed to read it out properly, because there was only one way to keep my stones (and basically the entire game) alive. I actually wrote a note in the private notes section spelling the sequence out and adding: THINK AND READ THIS THREE TIMES BEFORE PLAYING YOU DUFUUS!!! which helped. I played 186 at M2, knowing that he’d have to play at L2 if he continues playing in that area, and I read what I wrote 15 times and read it out again before playing 188 at N3… And I breath… and do a dance… literally… I did a actual dance…

He tried to invade at another cutting point at P8, but I knew that I could prevent him from living; the sequence 189 to 202 maintained the status quo. I tried to do some funny stuff with 204 at R17, but that ended up in nothing and the game was done…

I knew I had won… and I felt like Frodo after he had just deposited the One Ring in the fiery chasms of Mount Doom… I beat a 26k with white on DGS, and jumped up to 26k on that server myself, while moving up to 595 on the ladder.

Reviews of South African games from Round 1

So Victor Chow (7d), the highest ranked player in SAGA, and thus probably in South Africa, has graciously reviewed the recent games of the South African team at the Pandanet European Team Championship 2014/2015. Just to reiterate: South Africa drew 2-2 against Spain; next round we’ll go up against Cyprus. The reviews are posted online at the SAGA website, but I’ve linked them through directly here:

Board 1 – Andrew Davies (adavies) 3 dan W

Board 2 – John Leuner (jemna) 3 dan B

Board 3 – Andre Connell (iaznab) 2 dan W

Board 4 – Chris Welsh (sente) 2 dan B

You’ll need a viewer of some sort to view the files and the comments; if you are on any online server through a client, your client probably can open these files as well. If not, here is a list from which to choose an sgf editor/viewer. I haven’t gone through the comments yet, but I’m looking forward to it; while not everything will be comprehensible to me, I always find it useful to see the kibitzing when observing games on KGS; I imagine this is similar, but more static, and less sarcastic humour.



South Africa at the European Team Championships & and drinking wine while playing

All we needed was a high-level dan or a pro waving a hand-fan to give us live commentary

So SAGA (the future SABA) has gained some sort of observer status with the EGF… Kinda sounds like the start of a a post for my other blog, all about acronym ridden NGO issues, but it isn’t; SAGA, also known as the South African Go Association, became an observer member of the European Go Federation; because South Africa, in defiance of its name, is in fact a country in Northern Europe. Okay, all jokes aside, I do understand the reasoning behind this, as there are no other countries with the amount of active baduk players as South Africa has in the rest of the continent (and I think SAGA has only two digits on its membership list.) I guess if we set up an African Baduk Federation, and create a team championship, I’d have more luck in snatching a title at some point in my amateur career, though that is the only sense that would make. In any case, yesterday at the weekly Cape Town Go Club we ended up spending quite some time watching the South Africans play as it is an online tourney on the IGS server; we’ve got a team of four players ranked around low dan who were taking on Spain in Round 1 in the C League, outcome was a draw 2-2, and they better don’t pull a Bafana Bafana stunt on us after this. I mean I really hate supporting anything rugby related, but that is the safest bet when it comes to South African sports; please let this be my alternative! The official results are online, but I’ll spell the ones relevant to me out here:

Spain vs. South Africa   2 – 2

Tuesday 30 September 2014, 20:00 CET/CEST

Spain South Africa Score
B Juan Francisco (“Paco”) García de la Banda (palmero) 3 dan W Andrew Davies (adavies) 3 dan W+3.5
W Jesus Roldan (jesusin0) 2 dan B John Leuner (jemna) 3 dan W+Resign
B José-Manuel Vega (spaniard) 1 kyu W Andre Connell (iaznab) 2 dan W+11.5
W Rogelio Gomez (Saurox) 5 kyu B Chris Welsh (sente) 2 dan W+3.5

The links under the score lead to .sgf files with the actual games, both game played by South Africa that we won (those were the ones I was paying attention to while I should have been paying attention to the game I was playing at that time) were very close throughout the matches. So Tuesday 21 October South Africa will move to play Cyprus at 8pm SAST. Cyprus lost to Portugal 1-2, with the remaining game ending in no result (because they didn’t pay their ADSL bills on time, my theory.)

For some reason this picture is on its side and I can't change it, which bugs me...
For some reason this picture is on its side and I can’t change it, which bugs me…

So after looking at the three tablet screens for a while we decided to play an actual game, instead of commenting on the games that our South African compadres were playing. The guy (4k) I played against last time, played simultaneous games against me and a 10k that beat me the week before. Actually let me call the 4k dude “The Corner Killer” because every-time we play, he manages to live in my corner and annihilate my stones there. So my game against the Corner Killer was as usual, I got ripped to pieces… We didn’t even bother counting, see the result for yourself here by way of a picture of my obvious defeat. When I finished, I observed Corner Killer take on… lets call him 10k Master, cause he might be 10k but loves teaching others, to my delight. That game was close, Corner Killer won by 10 points in a 3 stone handicap game, which means that 10k Master might actually be closer to a 7k than a 10k.

Part of my feels that I’m not improving, but I’m rebuked quickly with a lot of baduk theory as to why it feels like that and why I am improving and why they can see that I am improving… Though I have to watch out, Corner Killer and 10k Master might just be toying with me, I mean the latter has a cat… and he has pictures of his cat playing baduk… so you never know.