When I first walked into the tournament room, I remember staring longingly at the trophies lined up at the front of the room thinking, “Wouldn’t that be awesome if I could bring one of those home one day?” Never in my wildest delusions did I think that it would happen that very day. Nevertheless, there I was, with a 4-0 record and standing with the rest of the winners of the NOVA Pumpkin Classic 2012.
After all was said and done, I headed downstairs to try and take in everything that had happened to me. When I was meandering around the first floor looking for a place to sit however, I saw Anderson and Rob walking in my direction. At first, I thought about avoiding them for fear of being ridiculed for the second round, but I quickly brushed aside such an absurd notion and walked up to talk with them.
For the next thirty minutes, we had a great discussion regarding the various aspects of tournament play. For example, one of the aspects of tournament play that Rob found difficult was when he would get paired with children. As a grandfather, he cannot bring himself to win against them, so he was feeling a bit frustrated by his predicament. Fortunately, I had actually given this concept some thought before and suggested to him that he should instead try to make the game a tie. Or in the instance of tournaments, he should try and control the score so that the kid wins only by +0.50 points. By doing so, the game would become far more interesting and challenging.
In addition, not only were my fears of being ridiculed for my play in the second round completely unfounded, but Rob praised me for being someone who really earned and deserved the results I got. I was grateful to hear him and say that, and expressed some of my guilt and regret at the reckless game that he saw me play in the second round. We all had a good laugh and talked about it a bit more before going our separate ways.
There was still some time before I needed to leave for DC, so I sat outside and stared out into the open as I contemplated the day. I was completely drained, but it felt good to give everything I had and know that the experience from that day would serve as an excellent base for growing my skills for future games. To top it all off, a few days later I was mentioned in the AGA article as well! And to think that I was crazy enough to want to leave in the middle of the day because of one poorly played game. For shame… for shame…
All in all, I’m definitely glad that I pushed myself to return to the competitive arena in go. It was an incredible experience, not because of the fact that I had great results, but because of the lessons that I have learned from my games and the people that I got to meet and socialize with that day. Thanks for reading this series and I hope you got something valuable out of it!
Many thanks to Gurujeet and Gary for hosting an awesome tournament!!! Looking forward to next year!!!