In the first edition of the Ellie Cup I scored 3:1 after losing the first round. In the result table I’m shown as 6th place, but due to the particular K.O.-System for the top 16, I ended up taking the 10th place. The tournament was sponsored by the famous Hwang In-seong 8d (“Insane Hwang”) and named after his baby daughter. He implied that the ordinal number of the Ellie Cup represents the age of Ellie, hinting that there will be future editions 🙂 More details here.
In order to show his gratitude to European Go players who have assisted him in his hitherto 10 years of staying in Europe, the prizes were differentiated between 2 prizes for Non-European players (both rather expectedly went to the two Korean 7d participants) and 8 prizes for Europeans, out of which I narrowly got the last one \o/
Below I will present two of my games:
In the first round, I played a youngish 6d who just returned from training in Beijing under the CEGO Academic Programme. The game was a parade of weird moves, mistakes and wrong punishments. At some point I got behind and couldn’t catch up anymore. I elected to skip this game in this post; I looked quite hard and found nothing instructive for you, the readers of this blog. The second round wasn’t interesting either: due to a pairing mistake I faced a 2k player who eventually collapsed without me doing anything special.
On the second day of the tournament, I had two opponents who displayed in their games the blatant contrast between youth/ambition and experience/maturity. You probably won’t find it as funny as I did:p Well, here goes:
In the third round, I faced a youngish player who took every chance to retaliate in order to deprive me from the optimal results.
(Var.) I played Black in this game. To White 1 kakari, I decided to kick 2 and jump 4. But if I leave the shape as it is to defend at 6, I was afraid that White would enter 3-3 immediately.
(Game) So I tried to insert the sequence starting with the invasion 1 and hanetsugi 3-5, expecting White to defend at 10 so I could go back to pillar at 6. In theory this sequence should be sente, but White was smart and exchanged 6-8 before coming back at 10. Quite annoying:p
(Game) I then proceeded to harass the corner with the placement 1. I think White played the wrong tigermouth 2 in this sequence (should be at 3 instead). The hane 5 is a move that cannot be found in joseki books, I learned it from a European 1p player who is famous for his “cheating” on the Go board by outreading his opponents in complex sequences.
So the corner is in trouble now.
(Game) Nonetheless, my opponent was unperturbed and played tenuki! Even after Black added a move at 2, there is an annoying aji with the ko sequence A-B-C, so although this result was not intentional, White made Black add one more move compared with the pillar in the first diagramme, and there is still an obvious aji! Thus is the tenacity of youth 🙂
I don’t understand White 3, and went on to reduce the lower moyo…
(Game) After leaving some aji in the lower left, I attempted to connect everything and White also tried to connect his four stones underneath by jumping at 2.
(Game) And thus the aji activated. After some exchanges in the corner, Black’s descent 7 became sente and White lost his connection. Now Black is not floating by himself anymore, but also dragged White’s group into the tumult.
(Var.) However, it was not a technically clean sequence. Black’s tigermouth is actually gote x(
I have to admit that I used my experience and bluffed my opponent here. Similarly to the third bluff explained in this video, when I saw my opponent reach for his stone while hesitating over whether to kill at A or not, I also reached for mine (because it’s a two-move sequence), prompting him to play A.
(Var.) Indeed, young players detest local losses and he wouldn’t simply let me live, even if it’s small.
Therefore, the descent 1 became sente and Black even got sente to peep at 9 before taking the vital keima in the centre. The sequence shown here is probably the expected result after Black 1, but I I strove for a better one…
(Var.) If Black can insert the atari 1, White couldn’t defend perfectly with the tigermouth, so there would still be some sente moves around the triangles.
(Game) But of course, White retaliated with the counter-atari at 2 instead of connecting at A!
Next, if Black takes at A and White goes out at B, the attack and defense in the centre suddenly turned. With a cut left at the triangle, White’s groups are strong and Black goes back to the floating state.
(Game) After some contemplation, I judged that the corner is still smaller than the A&D in the centre, so I calmed down and acknowledged my mistake and let White take at 6. The result is as though I threw in into Whites tigermouth. It is a minuscule loss compared to what would have happened if Black had rescued the corner.
To the peep at 7, White retaliated again with the tesuji at 8. After some unclear fighting, it finally became apparent that I am slightly stronger than White when I managed to keep calm and took control of where the territory was, so I won in the end.
In the final and fourth round, I played White against a famous grandmaster who is considerably stronger than me. He displayed his matured understanding of Go from the very beginning of the game.
(Game) In the diagramme, you can see Black’s extensions 7 and 11, both moves I would never play. To me they look like the minimal extensions from the ogeima shimari in upper right. (Black 7 is a direct quote from Go Seigens “Modern Go of the 20th century”. We could say that this is an “obsolete” style of playing, but who am I to criticise these masters.)
(Var.) If I were Black, I would put the marked extensions one line farther. The one of the right would have continuations at A and B, but it’s true that White also gets a potential invasion at C.
The other extension would deny White the invasion between 9 and 11 (previous diagramme) and eventually force White to enter at D or E. Black’s choice in the game means that he will add a jump on top of 9 to complete the shape, but it’s much too slow for my taste.
(Var.) Next, what should White do? My first instinct would be to kakari and make the 21st century extension at 3. White builds the triangles on the lower side and Black builds the squares in the corner.
Before you read on, please go back to the first diagramme and see if you can find something better.
(Game) I tried to transcend the 21st century Go and copied Master (P)’s 3-3 invasion. It’s my first time and the perfect opportunity to try it: If someone could show me why it’s considered bad, it would be the very opponent I was facing.
My idea was simple: In this variation, only White makes triangles and Black makes no squares.
(Game) Subsequently, Black indeed added the jump at 1 and spent another move with the shoulder-hit.
White got to peep 8 and jump 10 into Black’s eyes. (The crawl at 6 was to prevent Black from blocking there immediately.) After the game Black commented that this development was in White’s favour.
(Var.) He added that Black should have capped at 1 which I must say I do not fully comprehend. Unfortunately my opponent didn’t have time to explain as he had to leave almost immediately to act as an interpreter for Yumi Hotta’s press conference (the author of Hikaru no Go). The fact that he was busy with work certainly contributed to my victory.
In fact, he lost to almost everyone in this tournament :p I look forward to playing him again under neutral circumstances.