North American Go Convention - Day 2

IntroductionDay 1Day 2Day 3Day 4Day 5Conclusion

Although the weather was much nicer this time around, it seems the fates were conspiring against me as I spent a good twenty minutes stuck in traffic due to an accident. Fortunately for me, I had left early enough that the delay was not going to make me incredibly late. On top of that, based on my experience yesterday, I didn’t have good reason to believe that arriving late would cause me to miss anything nor should I have worried that a huge crowd of people would suddenly appear on a Thursday night. Nonetheless, I still couldn’t help but feel anxious that I would arrive to find that the teaching/simultaneous games had started or were full.

By the time I parked my car, it was about 3 minutes prior to 7pm. I rushed into the building fully expecting to grab the first elevator and make it there just on time. Lo and behold, what do I see when I walk in the lobby? The elevators are being maintained. In case you’re not getting the full effect of what I felt, remember that the convention is on the 9th floor. (-.-)

Next thing I know, I’m bolting up 9 flights (although more like 18 since they were two flights per level) of stairs in a rush to get there on time. And when I finally make it up to the 9th floor, I am crestfallen as I look around and fail to see anyone around. The room that was setup for go lecture was full of employees holding a meeting, and the room where the we played our simul game yesterday was completely covered up.

“CRAP. Did I miss the memo about it getting cancelled or the address moving?!?!?!”

Panic mode started to set in as I thought back to the fact I just rushed up all those stairs and might actually be in the wrong place. Gah!!! After a couple of calls in hopes of getting in contact with someone (which were all failures), I stood around a bit helpless and frustrated as I thought I had missed something. Fortunately, I did not leave in a big rush because I see someone who looks like they are associated with the convention walking around and he lets me in (the doors to the office are locked from the elevator lobby).

When I’m outside the go room, I find out that Joanne Missingham is being interviewed (by a group that I cannot remember right now). I breathed the biggest sigh of relief as I realized that I had not missed anything and that nothing was cancelled. Since it didn’t seem like anyone was there yet, I sat outside in the hall listening to music and practicing some easy tsumego problems. After 20 minutes or so, I notice that some of the staff are looking for an overflow room in case a lot of people show up. They never come back to the interview area, so I figure that they must have found it.

I walk around and end up finding everyone sitting in the waiting area enjoying iced tea. I hesitated for a moment before joining them, but realized that it was probably in my best interest to wait with them since they will be the first to find out if anything is starting. To my great surprise, the next thing I know I am being introduced to Myung Wan Kim (9P) and his friend James.

Myung Wan Kim (9P)

After the basic introductions and finding out I was 6 kyu, Myung asked me if I had a game for him to review. I was a bit taken aback at first since I did not expect such an incredible opportunity, but told him I did and started getting my iPad out. In the middle of getting my iPad however, the conversation somehow turned into wondering if we could play on my iPad. And without missing a beat I responded, “Of course!” (Thank you SmartGo Kifu!!!!!) Myung then suggested that I play with James and then he would review the game afterwards. Words cannot describe how excited I was to hear him suggest that.

We were about 11 moves in when we were interrupted and asked if we would be willing to play with Joanne. The interviewers wanted to get some footage of Joanne playing amateurs. Play with Joanne? Possibly be part of some interview footage? Yes please!

In a whirlwind change of events, I suddenly find myself in front of Joanne once again. Earlier in the day, I thought that I might ask if it would be okay to play an even game with her since I wanted to see how she would play under non-handicap circumstances. With the video recording and all though, I thought it best just to play at 4 stones again. Below is a partial record of the game since I thought the game was more for show than for a serious game, so this was the best I could do with the recreation in the midst of all the craziness.

We got a little further than my record, but the game was ended prematurely in order to allow the interviewers to get other footage.

As everyone took a break and went off to get a drink and such, I stood around wondering what would happen next. After all, it seemed that Joanne was rather busy with the interview and was clearly in high demand. A tournament was out of the question since I was one of two local players who came. So, what would happen the rest of the night?

Before I could think too much about it though, Myung and James walked over to where I was standing and Myung asked if I would like to review the game I mentioned earlier. Um… YES!!!! (And I should mention that being able to tether my iPad to my phone so I could download SGF files from the KGS Archives was a 1000% win!)

For my first professionally reviewed game, the best way I can summarize it is to say that I was absolutely blown away. Myung’s review and insight into various aspects of the game were so eye opening and revealing. I wish there was a way for me to capture everything onto an SGF, but so much of what I was told involved conceptual gaps that I still haven’t quite come to terms with. When I do though, I promise that I will make it my first priority to write an article on it.

As someone who has had his games reviewed a number of times, I had forgotten what it was like to have a game reviewed in person. It’s really a completely different atmosphere. Although much of the credit is due to Myung’s ability to teach and illustrate his points clearly, I do think that reviews flow much better in person. Not only can Myung use my facial expressions to determine whether or not I’m understanding something, a real board makes it very easy to switch out positions and show why one is better than another. Maybe it’s just me or the fact that Myung was reviewing my game, but the game review just felt extremely effective.

Although the night was rather uneventful in the sense that I was the only person there, the time that I got to spend talking and learning with Myung and James was invaluable and has already made the convention incredibly worthwhile. Definitely looking forward to tonight!

IntroductionDay 1Day 2Day 3Day 4Day 5Conclusion