Pair Go... As if I didn't have enough trouble trying to figure out where my own next moves are going to be... Now I have to see if my partner will follow what I think is right or try to discern what she is trying to do! Either way it is a lot of fun and an interesting twist on a game that doesn't need to be much more interesting. This variation had looked interesting for a while so the tournament looked like a great excuse to try this out and get to play cooperatively with another Go player for once. After much deliberation I convinced (talked, bribed, ...) my daughter, Amara, into playing with me and we actually managed to get in a few practice games before the tournament.
At the start I was worried that our rank differences (8k for me vs. 28k for her) would lead to big problems. But while I was dreading missed connections and slow follow-ups, actually the opposite situation came up! She kept making these big broad moves around the board that I was scrambling to make proper follow-ups to. And these were not bad moves either, just a lot more ambitious than my current style of play. So, after realizing that I was going to have to play up to Amara's plans, we set off in high confidence for the tourney.
On the day, we woke up to see snow falling outside our windows and immediately became worried about the turnout but, after arriving just before the start time, we were pleasantly surprised to see dozens of people already there, warm coffee in the pots, and donuts on the tables (coffee for me, donuts for her...). After a rule recap and introduction by Janice Kim, we then sat down for our first game of the day.
Our opponents were a pair of children from the Boulder club, Aichan and Yaphet. The game was pretty straight-forward, but still interesting. It soon turned into a large territory game with a few captured groups. So I wasn't able to use my mid-kyu skills (yeah, skills, right...) to start tricky invasions or steal eyes and we ended up losing this one, but we still all had a good time.
After this I perused the rest of the games and saw a lot of interesting playing and some tense players. A flat 45 minute time limit with no byo-yomi will do that to you. The 'no communication' rule cut out a lot of the friendly banter you see during some games, but the atmosphere wasn't any more severe than any other tournament I've been to and the large number of spectators made the room much more lively.
After lunch we played one more game with another pair of kids from the Boulder club. Amara wanted to get a third game in, but I got distracted from being invited to a single player game and didn't have time to squeeze in another one. Am I being a bad father or just a realistic player? I don't know...
The awards ceremony was entertaining and it was especially nice to see all of the kid players get an extra prize for attending (a Hikarunix distribution mini-CD), so lots of smiles all around. One interesting award was for "Most In-Sych Pair", determined by public voting. I cast my ballot for Yaphet and Aichan since they were the best pair I got to play against. That seemed like a good criterion to me, because I didn't get to watch too many other games for extended periods of time. This was quite a fun day and I look forward to playing or hosting next year's round.
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