Last weekend took place the “XXXIII Barcelona Go Seigen Tournament”. Class A, qualifying for the Spanish final. This year only 39 players joined the tournament, a little bit less than last year. However, there were more dan players than DDK players. Though you may regard this as good news, since the level of the players if increasing, some may argue that the amount of newbies has decreased. Personally, I had some trouble trying to settle my initial ranking.
Last year I joined as a 10k and got 3 victories and 2 defeats. I lost against a colleague of mine who is 9k by 1.5 points. During this year I’ve improved very little. Meanwhile, this colleague went to Finland and played an EGF tournament as a 5k and got reasonably balanced results. Recent games against him have been about 60% winning rate for him. So, I’d say I’m around 7k. But, in Spain, rankings between 5k and 12k are full of people with an unstable ranking. Players with very rare attendance to tournaments. Actually, last year’s 10 kyu players were actually people between 12k and 5k. In the end, my ranking remained unchanged.
The first game I had a 11k player as an opponent. As always, my fuseki left me in a bad position, so I made a terrible invasion and the bottom and my opponent did at the top of the board. The two weak groups collided and I won the capturing race thanks to an eye-stealing tesuji.
Played against a 10k. Again, terrible fuseki leaves me with a weak central group and black with lots of influence in a quarter of the board. Luckily, I manage to create some tsumego madness and my opponent misreads the black’s 60 move tesuji. Moves around the K10 area are blurry in my memories. Black actually left white with very few liberties and white escaped through K9… somehow. White got a nice moyo in the bottom and right side, but black invaded the corner. Close to the end, black was winning by around 5 points.
However, the D18 stone has lots of aji. More than I saw at first glance. After a few minutes fiddling with the idea of invading the top left corner, I played D18. Below you have the sequence.
It’s now, that I’m writing this post, that I’ve realised that if black had played 6 instead of 2, white wouldn’t have been able to reduce black so many points. And thus, black would have won.
First game against a 8k. My opponent started very strong at the fuseki but messed it up during a ko fight. It involved a wall of his main moyo and the life and death of the wall. We estimated the ko to be worth around 40-45 points. This was his ko threat. Interesting idea, but this time it didn’t work. The game was pretty much over after this sequence.
Improving through the 8 kyu players. The game started with me starting to create a moyo at the bottom. An early invasion by my opponent resulted in a life-and-death situation.
White just played the marked stone. There is a battle going on between L7 and M7. After a few stones both groups escaped and black tried to start a capturing race between K4 and L4, by playing at G2. White descends and blocks the connection. Later, a white stone at M2 creates both a snapback and steals the eye-shape.
A few move later, black creates a few walls towards the centre. However, white manages to reduce through K10 and makes two small living groups on the edges of the board.
At last the fifth game, against the 8 kyu with best results. This was actually the nicest game of all since I didn’t start too badly. In fact, my opponent played too close to my Kobayashi opening, so this allowed me to pincer. I created two nice moyos. On the other hand, I didn’t handle properly the 3-3 invasion of my opponent on the bottom left right corner and it allowed him to both reduce my territory and create a nice wall. I tend to neglect the F4 hane. Wrong. Terribly wrong. Most of the game is available below, but first I’d like to point out this sequence. After some counting, my opponent was ahead till I found this sequence. It was actually white’s mistake to answer at B. But we were just playing the endgame… so this was somewhat unexpected. You can find the results in the SGF file around move 194.
In the end, I got a book as a present for my good performance. Others claim I’m a sandbagger. Next year I’ll be into the single digit kyu league. Though I’m certain I’ll lose some stones…
By the way, the local club, La pedra, recently moved to a new place, more fashionable, with more space, less dusty… so if you ever happen to be in Barcelona, visit them.