In my entire go playing experience, I have only participated in two tournaments: the UMBC Go Tournament (2010) and the New Jersey Open (2011). In both instances, I ended up participating because of friends who encouraged me to do so. Otherwise, I’m pretty sure my lack of confidence would’ve prevented me from doing so. When I recall both tournaments, I remember not doing so well at either. My record was 0-3 at the UMBC Go Tournament and (with confirmation from Nate) 3-2 for the New Jersey Open. (For those thinking that 3-2 isn’t so bad, I recognize that; but I assure you that I don’t recall the greatest feeling about my victories. Can’t say why, but that’s what I can recall.) I’m sad I didn’t blog more about those experiences, so I’m hoping to make up for that with this tournament.
This is a six part series that will be released once per day (excluding weekends). So as the hors d’oeuvre to next week’s entree of daily posts, let the story begin…
- Event: NOVA Pumpkin Classic Tournament 2012
- Date: October 26, 2012
- Hosted by: NOVA Go Club
- Rounds**: **4
- Game Format: AGA Rules
- Main Time: 45 min
- Byoyomi: 20 moves in 5 minutes
The morning of the tournament, I was running late and worried that I would miss the registration time. As someone who has run a tournament before, I should’ve known better than to think that they wouldn’t let me participate in the tournament. At worst, I would have to miss the first round and then participate in the rest of the rounds. Nonetheless, I was still relieved to make it in time for registration.
When I got up to the registration table, I was asked to confirm whether I’d be registering as an 8k. My mind faltered momentarily as I second-guessed my decision to enter as an 8k, but memories of being crushed as an 8k at the Baltimore Go Club quickly brought me to my senses. Sure, I might be 7k on KGS, but that was me on my best days. There was no telling whether my KGS rating was truly accurate in terms of tournament play where there would be multiple matches whether I liked it or not. (I will be writing an article on this in the near future, but hopefully you understand my rationale for now.)
After registering, I made my way to an empty table toward the back and sat down. As I sat around and waited for the tournament to begin, I fidgeted as I tried to figure out how I would pass the time. There was approximately 30 minutes before it would start, so I pulled out my iPad and tried to calm my nerves by solving some simple tsumego. After a few problems however, I got fidgety again and decided to review one of Lee Sedol’s games while waiting.
When one of the stronger players saw me pull out his book, he joked with me about how if I was studying his games, than I would be able to beat everyone in the room. I smiled at his humor and nervously replied that nothing could be further from the truth. The book generated some interest with the players in the room, but it wasn’t long before I was trying my best to immerse myself in the his game.
It wasn’t long before I heard Gurujeet (the tournament director) mention that the pairings were up. After cleaning up my area and packing away my stuff, I got up to check out the list. As I scanned down the list, I found my name - Ben [8k] v. White [5k]. As I stared at the matchup, I couldn’t help but feel dread creep up as I recalled the multiple times I had been trounced by Nate in our handicap games. After a few moments though, I tried my best to shake it off and made my way to the table.
Table #6. I found it after circling the whole room, only to realize it was actually the table closest to the list with the pairings. As I put my stuff aside and sat down, I pulled out my iPad so that I could record the first match. The SmartGo Kifu was being a bit temperamental with the way it was putting the handicap stones (it put it on the upper left, upper right, and lower left stars instead of upper right, lower left, and lower right stars). After trying to fidget with it for a bit, I decided to flip it upside down to record.
Once that was taken care of, we placed the handicap stones on the board. My then opponent extended his hand toward the clock to signal that I could hit the clock whenever I was ready. I looked at the clock momentarily as I wondered if I was ready for what I had gotten myself into. Then, reminding myself that this was not my first time playing with a 3 stone handicap, I shook off the feelings of doubt, looked up at my opponent, and hit the clock.
“Have a good game.”