Well I’ve just returned from a fine trip to my home town to defend my 15kyu ranking at go and also catch up with my family and a few mates. The weekend started well with a train trip down with no serious delays, which was always good. This was followed by watching siblings of mine engaging in the first successful Zul’Gurub raid of their guild, which was passingly amusing (watching 20 people get organised over teamspeak is always amusing, although they were surprisingly effective).
On Sunday I headed out to town, helped shift tables and get a laptop setup to try and relay the moves from the 2006 British Championship match that was going on in a quiet backroom, that failed to work so well and eventually the moves started getting relayed via mobile.
Anyway! The draw came out, and armed with a strong cup of tea I engaged in a mighty clash of wills, by which I mean I played a horrific opening and my first opponent started the game by taking me to the cleaners somewhat. Luckily for me he was I think slightly nervous about playing in a tournament and thus I embarked on a campaign of strategic rip offs and a very aggressive middle game, and due to him misplaying a ko (in my opinion he could have captured it but chose to play elsewhere) and not being quite as good at end game as I was, and hence I dragged it back.
The counting was tense, with careful counts by both sides, and I thought that he’d won, we applied the komi and indeed I’d lost by half a point. “But wait” said I, “Did you count this singular point of territory?”, and lo we did a recount, finding that he hadn’t. The balance of the game shifted and I had managed to scrape a win by a half point.
After this there was far less drama in the day, the second game I had was against a charming old lady I’ve played before, and I managed to play good and solid, then resist her invasions and hold out for a win. The third was a giant moyo style game, with both parties attempting to out wrestle each other for massive chunks of board, again I squashed a pair of invasions, letting them live small and managed to come through with three wins.
After this I was also treated to watching my first opponent play my second, he had built a largish bit of territory in the middle of the board running to one side, she had both sides surrounding it, both had a lot of very thick and immobile groups, then for the late-middle game the drama started, with him almost ripping off a massive group on the side, with her just about saving herself, then (as is typical for her) invading all over the place. He couldn’t play calmly enough, and her invasions worked, pulling a giant chunk from the side of one of his groups and winning the game through sheer impressive endgame prowess.
Anyway, in light of my three wins after helping shift all the tables away I was gifted with my first shiny object won from such a tournament, a small cup with a plaque for three wins, most fine. Although this does now mean I really should enter the next tournament I’m in (possibly the Lancaster) as 12kyu, which could well lead to me having my arse kicked. But still, at least I’m back into the game, and have studied hard to get past the 15kyu stumbling block I was stuck at before. Now I’m older and wiser I feel I understand the game a lot more than I did when I stopped playing to come to Uni.
Apart from this the rest of the time was nice and quiet (unlike the return to Lancs which featured finishing a nasty paper and submitting it to a conference), however there was a fine time to be had on the trains on the way home. I was on a train from Bristol Parkway, which happened to be the Leif Erikson, my ticket had me reserved for seat 25, and a few stops up the line I was surprised to see Baz getting on, with my copy of Illuminatus! and a reservation for seat 23 :)