The day got off to a rather dreary start as I spent about an hour in rainy traffic trying to make my way down to the event. After grabbing a quick bite to eat, I found myself standing outside the building wondering how to get in. There was construction going on and with all the doors locked down I was running around trying to figure out how to get in for about 10 minutes. Thankfully someone was kind enough to let me in on their way out.
As I rode the elevator up to the 9th floor, I was a little anxious as I expected a bit of a crowd since I was running late. Although I think the real concern for me was missing the opportunity to play a teaching/game with the professionals. When I arrived however, there were only around six to eight people in the waiting area. For those who aren’t aware, the North American Go Convention (NAGC) is a two part convention that started out in New Jersey and made its way down to DC. With the traffic and crummy weather, the bus was unfortunately running late and thus everything was pushed back. So all my rushing to get there on time was for naught. xD On the upside, it gave me a chance to settle down and catch my breath.
While sitting in the waiting area, I couldn’t help but overhear as people were talking about their strengths and how long they’d been studying. There were a few Korean players and a couple Chinese players. The two younger players (around my age) had apparently started studying when they were around 5 years old and were 7 dan and 4 dan respectively. You can only imagine how I felt when I realized that I was the only kyu player in the room. Haha.
As if things couldn’t get worse, one of the moms asked me later on how strong I was. After all the conversation in the room about how the children were dans and had started studying go since they were young, I think she just naturally expected me to say I was X dan. When I responded that I was 6 kyu, she gave me a quizzical look as if she had never heard of the rank. In fact, someone even asked, “So wait, is 6 kyu higher than 1 kyu?”
“Dear lord,” I thought, “They don’t even recognize the kyu levels.” hangs head in shame
Of course, all you can do is really laugh as you realize how vast the world of go is and how strong people are.
Anyhow, we eventually moved into the tournament room and I had the pleasure of catching up with Yuan Zhou while we waited. In addition, I played a friendly game with a someone who told me he had not played in a while. In terms of evaluating his strength, I could tell that he was no pushover and probably even stronger than me. So much for letting him take black. =D It was a fun game and it would’ve been interesting to see how it ended. Before we could really get into the middle game fighting though, we were happy to stop our game since Joanne Missingham arrived!
The next thing I know, I was sitting before her as I was about to play my second professional simultaneous game. Earlier that night, I had learned that the Chinese word for dan is pronounced dee and the Chinese word for kyu is jee. So when she came around, everyone else had told her their rank in Chinese, I decided to do the same. Due to my nervousness however, I ended up saying “6 dee” instead of “6 jee.” You can only imagine my surprise when she only told me to put down 2 stones when she told the other dans to put down three. Hahaha. After realizing what had happened, I quickly got her attention as I was like, “Wait wait! I’m 6 kyu! Not 6 dan!!” xD
Even though this is not my first time playing a professional, it still blew my mind as to how strong professionals are. Their adherence to the fundamentals and unwavering will to exploit weaknesses and determine these things in matters of seconds is astonishing. Definitely awe-inspiring. I only hope that one day I will amount to even 10% of what they are.
Below is the game record for my game with Joanne Missingham (6P). Due to the event starting late however, I didn’t really get a chance to discuss the game much with her. On the upside, I did get a couple of comments from her to clarify a few areas that I was positive caused my downfall. =)
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And for those who don’t happen to follow my twitter, the day ended with a bit of a hitch. You see, I followed the signs for visitors to park in the garage. Lo and behold, you can imagine my surprise when I came down to the garage to get my car and saw the garage doors shut. I thought I was going to be stranded outside for the rest of the night. Hahaha. But luckily I found a way into the garage and then eventually got out. Lesson learned for the next two nights!