The Desire to Win - Part 2

I have to admit that the responses that I received yesterday from my post have certainly made me reconsider my position from yesterday’s post, but ultimately I think it is more of a paradigm shift than necessarily regretting my decision to resign.

For those of you who have never seen this video, please take 20 seconds and watch this unbelievable and tragic event happen to a professional 9-dan.

Can you imagine? Playing a professional game on live television as a professional 9-dan and then putting yourself in self-atari? Although you have to admit, the man handled himself quite well and his reaction was quite priceless.

That being said, the reason for the second part of this post is due to a friend of mine, Justin, who commented on a distinction that I had not really considered: the competitive setting. For those who would like to read about his personal experience with both sides of the regretful win/loss, see his comment in Part 1 of this topic.

Although I may have declared that all games should be won with as much honor as possible, I was not fair in considering the many aspects that go contains.

Like anything else in life, as much as we may try to make the right decisions, we are human and are prone to our mistakes. I recognize that the first post of this topic argued to “do the right thing,” but that does not take into account the fact that luck and mistakes are just as much a part of go as it is in anything else.

Last night, my friend Nate said it best when he told me that, “In some regards, the basic notion of trying to catch up in a game is to hope that your opponent will make a slack move or even a mistake.“ Those words really struck me and as a result, I’m sitting here re-evaluating the stance I had taken just hours ago.

As Justin stated, competitive go is a completely different setting. Each win is coveted by every player. Your opponents will take advantage of every slack move, and they will punish you for your mistakes. Do not err in thinking that the “honorable win” will draw any sympathy from your opponents.

Ultimately, for my own experience, the decision to resign is still not a regrettable one. While improving your rank may be arguably “competitive,” I would argue it’s more a casual thing where there is very little at stake except your ego and pride. (Granted, some people would say that a person’s ego and pride is extremely important. I fall into the camp where I think ego and pride is overrated.)

When the time comes to tournament/competitive play however, I have every intention of winning with everything I have that day… and that includes skill, luck, and even my opponent’s mistake(s). Otherwise, I plan on winning with my strength alone, because that is the basis where our pursuit to become one stone stronger will ultimately come from.