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)
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)
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)
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)
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…