Monday, August 20, 2012

The World Mind Sports Games

I just returned from Lille, where I competed in the 2nd World Mind Sports Games on the US Team for the game of Go.

The venue
The event was very intense, with participants forming 30 teams from around the world. The way it works is each team has three players, and each round consists of games between two teams. The team with two or three wins is the winner of the round.

The tournament room

As usual, the Asian countries were dominant at the event, going 1-2-3 and sweeping the medals. Our first round opponent was eventual gold medal winning team China Taipei 1.

In general, when playing a much stronger opponent, I try to complicate the game and play chaotically. The idea is to entice the opponent into overplaying and starting a fight where the result is unclear. In contrast, I think that playing simply against a stronger opponent is more difficult.

I tried this against China Taipei and made a game out of it, but eventually was forced to resign. My teammates also lost so we lost 3-0.

Round 2 we played Italy, and this time my opponent was much weaker (around 1D AGA). He made a mistake on the top and I captured a large group, but he played well on the bottom and made the game playable. In the end I won by over twenty points and round 2 became a 3-0 win.

Round 3 was against Thailand, and I played well early despite a joseki mistake and captured some stones on the right side. My opponent was very strong, probably around 6D AGA. The game was very intense and close throughout, and I estimated myself behind by 1 - 3 points late. Unfortunately, I made a mistake in the endgame and became down about 8 - 10 points. At this point in the game I couldn't find a way to overcome the deficit and I resigned. My teammates were both losing as well, but on board 1, Thailand made a careless mistake late and lost 15 stones. He was forced to resign, but as a team we lost 1-2.

Round 4 was against Romania, and I played very poorly. My opponent was around my level (European 2D being about AGA 4D), and it was a game I needed to win. I made a terrible mistake early on and spent the rest of the game trying to come back, but in the end I lost by 1.5. My teammates both won, however, so we won the round 2-1.

Round 5 was against Hong Kong, another strong team from China. Despite my opponent's strength (AGA 6d or 7d), I played a very good game, one of my best in the tournament. I found a nice tesuji late that made the game very complicated, and after I failed to kill his stones I resigned. However, he remarked after that I should have continued playing, and this may have been the case. In the end we lost the round 3-0.

Overall, we finished 2-3, and the other USA team finished 2-3 as well. It was an exciting event, and I hope to be able to go to another one in the future. I'm happy to have had the opportunity to represent the US, and to increase exposure to the game of GO worldwide!

Gold medalists China Taipei (not sure why they gave kids champagne)

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