Here is a summary of all the professional simuls I played in at Go Congress:
- Day 1 - Dahye Lee, 4p
- Day 2 - Ho Yuu, 6p
- Day 2 - Jungsang Park, 9p
- Day 3 - Bo Ding, 5p
- Day 3 - Mariko Deguchi, 1p
- Day 3 - Yuhong Zhao, 5p
- Day 5 - Jennie Shen, 2p
- Day 5 - Shirley Lin, 1p
- Day 6 - Francis Meyers, 1p
My goal was to play the strongest professionals that I could while experiencing as many brutal defeats from as many styles as I possibly could. In addition, while I am happy with my collection of 9 simul games, I must admit that I was aiming to hit double digits. Haha.
For those of you who noticed, I took some rather low handicaps in my pro simuls (went from 5 stones down to 3 stones). The reason for this is because after playing a couple simuls at the beginning, I learned that I was actually managing quite well at 4+ stones against professionals (though it’s important to remember that I’m talking about simuls which are vastly different from any legitimate game). And for those who know me, I’m always about taking a challenge head on (even if it’s completely crazy).
After withdrawing from the tournament, the professional simuls became my one venue for gaining solid go experience. So naturally, the best way to do that was to challenge myself to playing my absolute best with only a 3 stone handicap. When playing with 4+ stones, I personally feel like there’s not as much opportunity for practicing decision-making in the opening and it boils down more to punishing overplayed and keeping White split. With only 3 stones, the professional will have one corner which makes for a far more interesting game. Go big or go home right? Haha.
While I was not fully immersed in Congress and ended up withdrawing from the tournament, I really don’t feel like the trip was a waste in any sense. I made the best of it with great company and amazing food. On top of it all, I got to spend a lot of time with the pros, which was really what I wanted to do at Congress anyhow.
After talking with a number of Go Congress veterans, I came to learn that Go Congress in NY was quite different from the standard Go Congress. From what I heard, most Congresses are generally had at smaller community areas (i.e., college campuses) where meals are usually together which allows for a lot more socializing and interaction. With Congress being hosted in New York, you can only imagine how many people dispersed (like I did) to either eat or even just to do touristy activities. So while it was awesome having Go Congress in New York, I am definitely interested in experiencing Go Congress in its more typical environment.
At the end of the day though, I had a blast and am really glad that I got to see everyone in person. Many thanks go out to all of the professionals who took time out of their busy schedule to come and impart their knowledge to go enthusiasts like myself. Of course, extra thanks goes out to Myung (9p), Jungsang (9p), and Dahye (4p) for their help and spending time with me. It was great getting to see you all in person! Finally, a big shoutout to all my friends who I got to see and/or meet: Nate, Diego, Satoru, Michael, Dalan, Anders, Keith, Mark, Nathan, Gurujeet, Terri, Mark Lee, and Evan!
And to all those who couldn’t make it, I hope that you’ve enjoyed this series and will have the opportunity to attend a Go Congress sometime! Thanks for reading!