I had trouble sleeping due to my excitement about the US Open. I ended up waking up around 5am today and couldn’t go back to sleep. To pass the time I played multiples moves on my DGS correspondence games till about 7am at which point we started getting ready to leave.
We arrived at the venue about 10 minutes before 9am. The pairings were posted on the entrance to the main hall and I walked over to my spot. As I was configuring the game clock my opponent walked up. She was also registered as a 7 kyu like myself. Before the game we chatted a bit about our background with Go. She hailed from Portland, Oregon and had been playing for about 3 years. She seemed like a very experienced player to me and we had a very enjoyable evenly matched game.
The time settings were 1 hour 30 minutes for each player plus 5 periods of 30 second byo-yomi. Komi was 7.5. I’m a pretty slow player so I completely ate through all of my time. The game lasted three hours. In the end I won by a tiny margin - 2 1/2 points. At no moment did I feel like there was a significant difference in our skills, so perhaps the 7 kyu rating I assigned to myself is right on the money over a real board. At the end of the game I knew I had made a lot of bad moves so I really looked forward to getting a professional perspective on the game later that day.
One side lesson I learned was that the main hall was quite cold and that it’s a pretty good idea to bring a sweater especially if your game might go on for three hours.
We broke for lunch and returned around 1:30pm. Pro reviews, simuls and lectures were all underway!
I briefly attended Kim Myungwan’s Liberty Racing lecture but this was primarily aimed at Go teachers so I quickly moved onto Stephanie Yin’s (1P) game reviews for beginning to 5 kyu players. I really enjoyed Stephanie’s review style and was hoping to get a review but unfortunately I joined too late and she ran out of time and needed to deliver another lecture at 3pm. I was a little disappointed but the following reviewer for the same player levels was Feng Yun 9P and she gave me an unforgettable commentary. There were sequences I struggled over for many minutes that she saw literally in the blink of an eye. As I predicted there were many, many mistakes and quite a few times she pointed out moves I had considered but had discarded for all of the wrong reasons. The experience was both incredibly humbling and thrilling and I was extremely grateful for her time. The following GoKibitz embed is my game along with her commentary as I remembered it. I stayed on for several more commentaries as there was just tons to learn from her reviews. After this experience, I fully plan on getting my games reviewed each day.
After the review session I took a break from the conference to wrap up my blog entry on the first day of the congress. By the time I returned around 7:30pm the evening activities were in full swing. My Go friend participated in the AGA ranked games while I merely observed as I was pretty exhausted after an intensive day fueled by only 5 hours of sleep.
After his rather fast paced game we took a quick peek at the 9x9 tournament. I spied Nathan Eagle and I took a moment to introduce myself. We ended up having a long delightful chat about our experiences with Go over the years, his fantastic GoKibitz project, and the new National Go Center planned for DC (he’s helping out with the website). Turns out that Nathan is also good friends with BenGoZen who heavily inspired me in writing this congress series in the first place.
At this point I was pretty exhausted so we called it a night. Tomorrow I’ll be participating in the US Open again and having won the first game Nathan Eagle said tomorrow I will be facing a stronger opponent. I also signed up for a simul with Lee Dahye Korean 4P and co-author of Falling In Love Baduk.
With these challenges ahead of me, I’m planning on getting a full night’s rest!