Category Archives: World Mind Sports Games

Go Players – Calculative Lot!

Besides the professional players there are many other amateur celebrities present at the World Mind Sports Games in Beijing. Among them, of course, are the regulars, such as Christian Pop, Cornel Burzo, Ondrej Silt, Rob van Zeijst, Benjamin Teuber, Pal Balogh, Csaba Mero, etc. However, one amateur player that I have been following is Artem Kachanovskyy from Ukraine. I have been following his games on the KGS go server (his ID: artem92). He has a very solid style and has some very powerful reading skills. Needless to say, he has a high winning percentage. Given that he is just merely 15 years old, his Go career, if any, is going to be very interesting. I met him at the WMSGs and really he is just so young. I couldn’t believe it when he ranked himself as a 4dan but obviously, based on his strength, he is easily 5dan on the European scale.

Anyways, rank is a very deceiving thing and I have cease to rely on it a long time ago. As proven by Artem, he won all his 7 games in the preliminary round, beating many 5 dans and above players. I find a lot of inspiration in him.

On another totally different topic, many people know that there is a lot of similarity between warfare and Go. This is undoubtedly true. Many of Go’s startegy can be applied to warfare and vice versa. Similarly, Go has also been liken to business and there are books written on how to apply principles of Go to business. This is indeed also true. But one aspect that I have come to realise more significantly is that Go players are really a very calculative lot.

I was not very aware of this, probably because I am in general not known to be a calculative person and when I play Go, I also rarely calculate. But perhaps my Go skills have improved a bit and I come to realise that to play better Go, one has to have a keen sense of calculation. One point missed there. Two¬† points to be gained there. If I play this Ko, I will gain 2 points. This Ko threat will result in me losing one point. Etc. etc. You see, I am talking about very small points. 1 point, 2 points, at most 3-4 points but caring about these points is a hallmark of a good Go player. I have ignored this a lot in my Go and as a result, my Go couldn’t be brought to a higher level.

In the recent WMSG, I have made a concerted effort to give a lot of respects for small points and I realise I can play better Go. This is thanks a lot to one of my Go buddy, Alex Chan, who always seem to have a very keen eye on points and thought me a lot on how to calculate points and pay attention to seemingly “small” points. That guy is amazing in his calculation and there is a lot for me to learn there.

In the mind of many businessmen, my current boss included, the ability to be calculative, even on small points as I have observed, led to many successes.

Okay, in life and in Go and in business, I have decided to be the God of Small Points.

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World Mind Sports Games – More Stories and Pics

During the tournaments, I have learnt in more depth on especially three aspects of the games from the games that I lost. These are:

1. When you reach dan level, you need to know joseki. Memorise them if you have to, by hook or by crook, you need to know joseki. It is best if one can understand joseki and like Yang Yilun said in one of his lectures, treat complicated joseki as if it is a fighting sequence to gain supremacy, but to only look at the variations during actual games do take too much time and is just too mistake prone. Wrong joseki sequences (not selection) will lead to a serious disadvantage early on and it is very hard to recover if your opponent is worth his salt. In some cases, wrong joseki moves will lead to a complete breakdown of the game very early. This lesson is learnt from my game with the Slovak player where a wrong joseki sequence led me to so much misery early on, and then resulted in me having to make a risky deep invasion where my invading troops was finally captured and the game lost.

2. When one has an opportunity to fight, one has to fight and do not give up stones too easily. I thought I know this and I have always, in the past few months, tried as hard as I could to brush up my fighting skills. However, it seems that I am still missing some things and misreading the status of groups. I let my cutting stones die too easily, in a position where I should have split. A wrong judgement on the status of groups is one key reason why I didn’t run away my cutting stones. This happened in my game against Yamashita Keigo sensei. He showed me how I should have continued the attack on his group.

3. Know how to sacrifice stones. Again I thought I knew this already but it seems like I still need to work on this. In my game against my opponent from the Czech Republic, there is an opportunity for me to squeeze his corner and gain quite a significant advantage with a wall facing the center of the board early on. This is a result of one of his mistakes quite early on. The problem with me is I knew I could squeeze but somehow, I chose to start a ko to try to capture all his stones. This mistake is probably more related to greed rather than to know how to sacrifice stones. I was greedy. I wanted to capture everything, which if successful, will give me a huge corner and a very big advantage. However, the ko was too heavy, I needed too many ko threats and hurt my other positions on the board too much. At the end, I lost that game badly.

Okay, some photos:

Photo of our team with Hane Naoki sensei. He is such a wonderful person.

Our first opponent was the team from Chile. They are really nice people and I even get a nice little key chain souvenir from my opponent. I also owe one of the member of the Chile team one great thanks for his advice when I was about to play my last opponent from Azerbaijan.

My game against Yamashita Keigo sensei. What a dream come true to be able to play with the Japanese team. Being able to play with them made our trip that much more amazing.

This is a scene from the living room of our apartment hostel. Go Go Go and Go every single opportunity. We play Go like crazy people. So much fun.

We visited a very famous Go club in town. It is located near the Tian Tan temple. The club looks good and there are some good players there. We met two ladies from Bulgaria who also took part in the WMSG there. The little kid girl is quite strong and played with an old man.

Team photo at Wanfujing. We have such a great team, each one a great personality. Am so happy to know them. We went out a lot at night, and walked a lot.

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World Mind Sports Games – Team Japan the GREATEST!

One week passes really quickly, especially so when one is enjoying the days. We are back from Beijing for the 1st World Mind Sports Games where I participated in the Men Team event. It was an exciting and great tournament! And we got our dream come true which made the trip so worth it, besides the opportunity to participate in an international event and meeting many people from many different countries.

What dream was that? That dream was to play against the Japanese professionals in the tournament. There are basically two ways to get a chance to challenge the professional players. First is that if you are lucky enough to be drawn against them in the first round, the drawing which is random. The second way is to earn the right to play with them by beating your opponents so that you get enough points to have a chance to be matched with them.

And our team got to play with the pros via the second way, by defeating our opponents and we got matched with the pros in the 4th round. My pro opponent was Yamashita Keigo sensei! Imagine having Yamashita Keigo as an opponent in an international tournament! I was totally thrilled and excited. My other team mates got to play with Yoda Norimoto sensei, Hane Noaki sensei, Takao Shinji sensei and Kono Rin sensei. What an experience and of course we got many photos taken ;-)

We met so many professionals there and got to get their autographs on our books and fans and get to take photos with them. I think all of us amateur players had a field day and apparently there are no other events that see so many amateur players playing and mixing with so many professional players so freely and can get such an up close look at how the professional thinks when we observe them discuss and review games. I had a great lesson from Yamashita Keigo sensei despite me not being able to speak a word of Japanese. He showed me how I should have played by just arranging the stones and uses hand gestures.

I cannot but have to express great admiration for the Japanese professionals. Not that I say this because we got to play against them but throughout the whole event, they are just so nice people, attending to fans, always being so nice and kind and obliging, having such a great team spirit amongst them, and such a great respect for the game. They are simply great. The Koreans may be the world champion now but in terms of the game as a totality of human culture, the Japanese are still the top, way way top.

Lee Sedol is really such a painful person and really looked like a jerk. No point being a world champion but has such a horrible personality. He refuses not only to sign autographs but did not appear to have much respects for his fans. Already a couple of my friends who are great fans of him have now turned sour due to his personality.

All in all, it was a great trip and a great tournament and in terms of results, our team had 3 wins out of seven which saw our team being placed at number 12 out of 20 in our group. We should have won 4 games but then again, there is no point to sulk since we have had the great opportunity to play with the Japanese. Personally, I won 3 games too, two games a against a 1 dan and one game against a 2 dan. My personal ranking is number 55 out of 112 players in my group which is quite okay given my 1 dan ranking ;-) (full results page: http://sites.google.com/a/go.art.pl/kamyszyn/wmsg2008/teamsmen).

More stories and photos to come.

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Filed under 1st World Mind Sports Games, Beijing, Weiqi/Go/Baduk, WMSG, World Mind Sports Games