3 years ago
, I attended the Singapore Weiqi Association (SWA) Dan Certification Tournament. The report is here. The result was that I came away with 5 wins, needing 6 to be in the top 20% to make the cutoff for 1-dan. http://www.lifein19x19.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=54&t=7311
Life and work took over since then, and I didn't spend much time on Go, just playing a bit online on and off. About two months ago though, I happened to be in the Bishan area with time to spare, so I dropped by the venue at Bishan Community Club and found out that this semi-annual tournament was coming up again, and I decided to try one more time
. It has been my goal to become 1-dan since shortly after I learned the game 6 years ago.
by playing games on wbaduk not concerning myself about my rank but with only a mindset to improve. I frequently played faster games on public transport and had a number of disconnects which were counted as losses. I did problems using the android app Tsumego Pro. I re-watched and studied Hwang In-seong's (who is a very skillful player and an incredible teacher) free lectures on ASR (Advanced Study Room). I watched and studied gocommentary's "The Secret of Corner Invasion" series (of which I find the probes/invasions against komoku-keima and star-keima the most useful). I posted some positions in this 19x19 forum which I needed help with. I read dan reviews of others' 1kyu-5kyu games, but not before reviewing the game myself and then comparing my thoughts to the dan's.
I made a list of things to remind myself
of in-game, as I very rarely play with physical stones and even more rarely play in competition matches.
1. Consider basic instinct, atari and moves to short liberties. Practical.
2. Count five liberties for tactical stability. Good to keep at the back of mind.
3. Be 100% sure of your connections and the sente moves against them. Most important.
4. Don't attack to kill unless 100% sure. This is how my losses online usually go.
5. Look and evaluate post-sente board states. Useful to keep at the back of mind too.
6. Win by no more than 35 points. Incredibly useful. Playing safe when sufficiently ahead is a useful tournament skill.
The top 9 of the tournament
, determined by 8 swiss rounds, were promoted to 1-dan. Rounds were timed at 45 minutes absolute (which was tight for me, as I'm used to 20-30 minutes and 30sec byo-yomi[(I ended all games with less than 10 minutes to spare, and 2 games with less than 2 minutes left]). There were 46 players in the tournament this weekend, of which only about 5 were not children whose parents came from China (they were raised in Singapore, and most spoke English well). The children attended weekly Go lessons, and also played with their parents, who were often skilled players themselves. Being Chinese parents, they subjected their children to extra homework and pressure in the form of problems. The kids were therefore mostly experts in basic instinct, local tesuji and fights. The strongest kids combined that with a keen sense of whole-board thinking and a patience in reading.
I encountered an incredible variety of personalities
on the Go board in these two days. Some players just want to kill your groups. Some players want to build beautiful moyos. Some players just want to make you react to them. Some players passively protect their territory when you threaten it. When a player is too single-minded on any of these things, it can be taken advantage of.
I promoted to 1-dan
today, winning 7 of the 8 games (with a Day 1 loss) to rank first in the competition by points and strength of schedule.Ranks
in Go mean different things across different arenas. A KGS 1-dan is different from an AGA/EGF 1-dan is different from a wbaduk 1-dan is different from a Singapore 1-dan. Nevertheless, I feel happy that I have achieved my goal, but I also realise today how much further there is to go, before I can honestly think of myself as "strong". The road ahead is a beautiful one, and it stretches out into the horizon.