UK Battles Italy for Promotion
Having finished second in the B-League our team would have to play a best-of-five play-off against the second bottom A-League team for promotion. At first it was thought it was going to be against Serbia, but Italy had their lost points reinstated as the allegations of using computer assistance were over turned. Unfortunately short notice at exam period meant some of our top players were unavailable, but the five players we did field definitely stood a chance of winning their way to the A-League, the opponent's grades being 5d, 4d, 4d, 3d and 3d.
The first two boards were played on 29th May, which were both lost, and so we had to win all three games a week later on 5th June.
Chris Bryant wrote: I lost my game against Carlo Metta by resignation. It's been a long time since I felt that outclassed in a game. He played a beautiful diagonal move (N14 it might have been?) to turn the fight at the top of the board in his favour, and ridiculously efficiently used the aji on the left hand side of the board.
He misclicked at one point and I checked with Sandy before letting him undo it. I didn't want to play dishonourably. Maybe I should've. Going into the game I was pretty paranoid after the cheating accusations, but assuming he was playing unassisted he sure as hell isn't going to be only 4d for much longer.
Games like this make me remember, even at mid-high dan, I'm still doing so much wrong. Painful: I'll be doing a lot of thinking over this one.
Sandy Taylor wrote of his game against Davide Minieri: I lost by 3.5, after a long game. I was fairly happy with how I played, not backing down from some complicated positions after both of us played some computer-like joseki, but I think I ultimately fell slightly behind with a slack move in the early endgame that put me on the back foot. Oh well, something interesting to analyse at least.
Alex Kent wrote: I lost my game against Alessandro Pace by resignation. I was happy with the way the opening went initially as I managed to cunningly thwart my opponent's plans for the lower side. He then started a fight on the upper side and played a nice shoulder hit - I ended up living small while my opponent gained thickness.
We continued in the centre and my opponent got more thickness while I gained a nice amount of territory on the right (though I played some silly aji keshi...). Next black invaded on the left and white surrounded, somewhat countering the potential in the centre. A weird sequence happened in the lower left where I gained a fair bit of territory and my opponent got a wall. After this sequence I felt happy with the position as I had lots of solid territory.
The lower side then became critical and unfortunately I misread a semeai after playing some nice moves... simply playing atari from the other side would have given me a decent position! I resigned a few moves later as my opponent had an unassailable advantage of about 15 points.
Jon Diamond wrote: Moi aussi. Got myself into a little difficulty early against Tashi Walde with a couple of weak groups, but managed to get myself out and created some weak groups for him. Unfortunately, I mishandled the top side - not only not creating territory when I thought I ought to get 20 points, but ending up with his getting 10 points and no compensation. I thought a cut would create problems for him, but it turned out even worse for me, so I had to resign…
Andrew Simons lost to Matias Pankoke by 14.5 in the last game to finish. Andrew made a huge moyo that his opponent started put stones inside. These managed to live on a big scale whilst keeping two big corners and Andrew could not catch up. He wrote:
I also lost, to Matias Pankoke 5d. He approached a lot in the opening, did a solid joseki whilst I made AlphaGo-style shimari and attachments. I constructed a moyo and then attached on top of his 4th line extension, pleasantly surprised to see LeelaZero actually thinks it's a decent move and his answers are soft. Then came his reduction and I didn't play so well, making a clumsy shape whilst his group got strong. I switched my moyo to the left, he invaded the lower side (LZ says I should have defended there instead), I let him live (which also unsettled my group), but vaguely connected over the top to also develop left moyo and enjoyed playing a cool haengma at 79 which LZ agrees is best as a surround left plus attack middle move. But I then messed up in answering his 80 push in an overly cautious way and got painfully double forced. He then took sente to play a severe attachment and I started to fall apart with the thinness I'd left behind (plus overtime pressure). I got a bit more than I deserved on the left side, and at move 123 might have made it a closish endgame had I blocked at the lower left, or found the sharp tesuji at tengen that Facebook's Elf engine saw.
Final result 0 - 5: we remain in the B-League next season.