Over the past weekend, I participated in the dan certification tournament organised by Singapore Weiqi Association. For the tournament, the top scoring ~20% of the players were certified as 1-dan level. Only players with a recommendation or are registered 1k-5k were allowed to play in the competition. Here's a quick report on my experience.
On KGS, my account(siowy) is 6k and my account on Wbaduk is around 11k(but I don't play there much).
The Bugis Clubhouse location
was alright. There was a playing room which was sufficiently large and another 'observation' or resting room.
I was surprised at the players
, or at least the composition of them. Probably 75% of the players were young(< 9 years old) children from China. Most of them were accompanied by their parents who watched intensely from the observation room. These children were deeply influenced in Go by their parents who settled here from China for work or other reasons. Having watched every episode of Murugandi's Go commentaries several times, I knew that many children from China were dan level players. This made me somewhat scared. The rest of the players were several teenagers, one guy in his 30's/40's, one girl, and me, a 24 year old guy.
After a couple of games
, I realised that not all the children were super strong. I won my first two games, and lost the next two to end Day 1. Both losses were seemingly avoidable with more focus. Historically, players had to win 6 out of 8 games over the two days to promote. I would say that at least some of the children were weaker than 5kyu. The children's strength generally was mainly in their reading and finding of tesuji in local situations, but they generally were weaker at whole-board play, dealing and creating moyos, sacrificing stones and having the patience to find the best move when their groups were not being threatened(they usually played really quickly and got distracted and played with the stones during my time). The teenagers and girl players had more distinctive and varied styles, strengths and weaknesses.Day 2
, I won two games, lost, and won the last game. It was not enough to promote, but that was fine for me. I felt that I played well on the second day.
how to focus more by playing games really seriously. Each game was 45 minutes absolute time. I also learned to play faster by recognising shapes and playing by intuition, whereas I never play blitz usually. Indirectly, this helped to improve my 'sense' of shape instead of having to thinking hard at it all the time. I learned that the simplest blunders are a key source of losses for me, so it's vital to make sure dead groups are dead and ladders which didn't use to work still don't work. I learned more about how to come back from 20 or 30 points down. Sometimes, there are two or even three chances to come back in the game, by seriously focusing on overplaying and killing large-enough opponent's groups to take the lead.
much from the tournament experience. I've developed an attitude that it can be relaxing to play go. I guess it could be because I strived to play lightly against the children and dodge local fights where possible. It's no longer as stressful when I lose groups, or when I lose stones. I also feel an increased desire to learn and progress more in Go. Because of that, I'm playing and studying more and I think I've gotten several stones stronger. I think I'm no weaker than 3kyu now. So all in all, it was a great experience.
Thanks for reading