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September 28th, 2005

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Contenders – insider report

The Contenders is the final stage of the annual SA Championship. This year the qualifiers formed the strongest field yet, with Bob Gale being the only non-dan-ranked player to qualify. However, being in Korea he couldn’t play. Cheng Lai 2d also had to pull out at the last minute, due to an unexpected obligation to attend a conference. So we had 6 players and 5 rounds. No one really doubted that Victor Chow 6d would cruise to a straight wins title, using less time to defeat all 5 of his opponents than is allocated for a single game; the questions were whether Ben Gale 3d would take 2nd, who would be the surprise of the tournament, and whether Julius Paulu 1d would get enough points to maintain his lead at the top of the WAGC points log and represent South Africa in Japan next year. For those who can’t wait, the answers turned out to be no, Welile Gogotshe 1d, and, er, it hasn’t been calculated yet.

Round 1: Victor and Ben won comfortably against Paul Edwards 1d and Julius respectively. The longest game was between speed freak Welile and yours truly. Pre-game conversation: me: “We haven’t played before, have we?” Welile: “No – I hope I kill you first time.” Sure enough, instead of making my group safe inside his moyo, I overplayed and ended up without eyes. He didn’t quite kill me, but connecting out on the first line was a dismal result and I had to spend most of the game in byo yomi trying to save a lost cause. Welile didn’t let me back into the game and at 15 points down in the late endgame I threw in the towel.

Round 2: I brought my camera along to this round (photos coming as soon as I’ve downloaded them), and luckily Julius had an early think in our game, giving me a chance to take a picture of Victor vs Welile inside of its first (and only) 15 minutes. Yes, Victor used 5 and Welile used 10. Ben beat Paul and I beat Julius.

Round 3: We considered having a competition to see who would make Victor use the most time. Victor suggested that the best strategy for this is to just continue to play silly moves without resigning. Anyway, people seemed pretty impressed that I managed to make him use 15 minutes – this may have been because I actually managed to capture some stones late in the game that he hadn’t intended to lose (I think), thus transforming the position from a loss into a slightly smaller loss. I celebrated by allowing him to rescue them again a little later. The earlier (more respectable?) part of the game, with a few comments is avalaible here: Victor thumps Konrad (Online replayer here).

The story of the round was Welile getting a great result by beating Ben and becoming the favorite for 2nd place. Paul beat Julius, who evidently was not having his best ever tournament.

Round 4: The game I had been waiting for: playing white against Ben I somehow managed to get an opening advantage and hang on to it throughout a marathon game (though not for lack of my usual efforts to throw away a won game near the end – at one point I was shaking my head and watching my byo-yomi time run out as I searched for a way to save the position – but I found a tricky move which saved the day). Meanwhile, Victor beat Julius and Paul beat Welile to throw the tournament open again.

Round 5: With my game against Ben overrunning the scheduled starting time for the next round, I negotiated a 10 minute lunch break before taking on Paul in the last round. Victor beat Ben and Welile beat Julius, which meant (with the tiebreaking system ruling in favour of the winner of the game between two tied players) that this game would make the difference between a final placing of Paul, Welile, Konrad, Ben and Welile, Konrad, Ben, Paul for places 2-5. So Paul had everything to play for and I co-operated by, again, allowing him to go for a kill when simply defending my group would have given a won endgame. But after the last minute fireworks my group connected out and the tournament was over.

Final standings:
1. Victor
2-3 Welile, Konrad
4-5 Ben, Paul
6 Julius

The top four qualify for next year’s event – tough luck to Paul who loses out on tiebreak and will have to play in the Candidates again next year. Thanks to all for a great tournament, and see you again next year!


Posted by konrad in Articles, Game records, SAGA, Tournaments


This entry was posted on Wednesday, September 28th, 2005 at 1:43 pm and is filed under Articles, Game records, SAGA, Tournaments. You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

16 Responses to “Contenders – insider report”

  1. tristen says:

    Not bad, Konrad. I’ve seen more savage games by Victor.

  2. Steve says:

    Thanks for the interesting report, Konrad. Did you eventually win the Victor time usage competition ;>

  3. Steve says:

    By the way, Konrad – which are the stones you don’t think he intended to lose – or is that after the end of the game record? Thanks for Victor’s insights that you gave as well.

  4. Hugo says:

    He does refer to “The earlier (more respectable?) part of the game”, whether this means it only excludes the “rescue”, or excludes the capture as well, I can’t be sure. The capture, however, happend “late in the game”, whereas the sgf contains the “earlier part” of the game…

    What I’m actually posting for, is to try and make a link to view the game in online replay. Let’s see if I have that right…

  5. Hugo says:

    Oops. Why can’t I edit my old comment? Grr. Let’s try again, better luck second time?:

    View the game in online replay

  6. Hugo says:

    Hehe, comment spam. Clearly something else is needed. A little learning curve here, that I hope Steve will help us (or just me) ease over. Steve, what am I missing?

  7. Hugo says:

    Ai, just lacking attention to detail. Third time lucky.

    Really view the game in online replay

    Wish I could go and delete those other comments.

  8. konrad says:

    Yes, after the end of the game record. And I suspect I did win the “Victor time usage” competition.

  9. Rory says:

    Same old Victor – “Victor suggested that the best strategy for this is to just continue to play silly moves without resigning.” , I guess he really doesnt think much of the dans in SA 🙂

  10. konrad says:

    He wasn’t disrespectful, and I don’t think he actually used the word “silly”. What he said was something like “just keep playing – if you make two hundred moves and I take 5 seconds per move…” But yes, us lower dans simply don’t play the same game as Victor.

  11. Rory says:

    That brings up another subject, if i get this correctly from steve, our ranks in SA are capped at 6dan – does this not distort Victor’s and the other dan’s ranks?

  12. Rory says:

    Oh – did it put you off a bit that victor played so fast , i can just think how that can unsettle a person somewhat.

  13. Steve says:

    This post definitely wins the “most comments” award in the history of the site 😉

  14. Steve says:

    It seems Julius’ lead for the WAGC representation is unassailable. Given just the results of the contenders’ and the last participiation points on the rank updates, the only person that could compete with him was Leander. If you add Julius’ participation points for the Contenders and his other club games for September, then Leander can no longer catch him, even if he scores a full 2000 participation points. Of course, that’s my personal calculations, not the official word from anyone.

  15. konrad says:

    To answer Rory’s questions:

    Ranks capped at 6d: this obviously affects Victor’s rank, but probably not that of anyone else, since he doesn’t tend to play games at full handicap anyway.

    Playing fast: it’s always difficult to play against opponents that play fast. I’m used to it by now, but the fact that you can’t think on your opponents time makes the game much more challenging. It affected me more against Welile, since we are of similar strength so there was more to think about and also more pressure.

  16. Steve says:

    Ah – I didn’t realize the participation point system changed in 2002 to count participation points between
    SA Closed’s, rather than over calendar years. Is this still being done this way?

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