Go Tournament for Teachers of Aomori

[Taylor]

Yesterday I had the opportunity to participate in a Go tournament for the teachers of my prefecture.  Going in, I thought I’d get last place.  In order to even compete you must have a 5 kyu rank.  I thought mine was somewhere between 9 and 10.  In Go, the lower your rank is, the stronger your game is.  However after 1 kyu, a player becomes 1 dan.  After that, 2nd dan.  In this “dan” ranking system, the higher the rank the better.

Anyway, when I arrived I was very nervous.  Not only did I feel out of my league (there was one person with a 5 kyu rank, one with a 2 kyu rank, one with a 1 kyu rank, and the rest were super strong dan players), but I knew I’d be experiencing language barrier issues all day.  If that wasn’t enough, they gave me an 8 kyu rank (making me looking stronger that I really am).  It wasn’t looking good.

Then I played my first opponent (5 kyu) and completely destroyed three or four of his groups.  He had to resign before we finished the match.  I won a game.  It was one more game than I thought I’d win.

Then I lost two matches to the other kyu players, but they were very competitive.  In each game I made one mistake that cost me the game.

For the last match I was paired with a super strong 3 dan person.  This guy is 11 ranks better than my own.  He was given the maximum handicap against me (9 stones).  And, somehow, I beat him.  Truthfully, there was some luck involved.  It was the last match and we were both a little tired.  Because of that I was able to box him into each of the four corners and gain more influence in the middle.  But still, I was shocked.

Many people at the tournament complimented me on my games.  Although I did experience some language barrier issues I was still able to communicate that I had been in Japan one year and began studying Go last year in September in Noheji.  One of the people I explained this to was there for a newspaper in a nearby city.  I’m not sure if I’m in there or not, I’ll have to check it out later today.

To top off a wonderful day, after I congratulated the champion (a 5 dan player), he offered to play a teaching game with me.  He tested me but didn’t go at me full strength.  The main purpose was to check my level and show me a few moves in case I got into trouble (which he did).  After that the officials of the tournament invited me to a Go festival in Aomori City in October.  It’ll be held for four days and I’ll have the opportunity of receiving a free lesson from a professional.

As I was leaving one of the officials, a wonderfully sweet and kind middle-aged woman who I’d been talking to in between games, said to me, “Happy day?”

“Yes, happy day,” I replied smiling.  I then went back to Noheji with the windows down, listening to music as I drove down the coast.

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2 Responses to “Go Tournament for Teachers of Aomori”

  1. Yumiko T. Says:

    Hi. unfortunately, I couldn’t find your igo article in Hirosaki newspapers. But my sister promise she will check that week’s papers next Monday. Have good summer holidays!

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