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Pieter Mioch, Go journalist from the Netherlands, is living in Nagoya, Japan, the very same city which hosts the 2005 World Amateur Go Championships. Pieter will cover the tournament with a series of articles, especially but not only focussing on the Western participants from Europe and America.


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Bernard Palmer, representative from Ireland

We have the microphone pointed at Ireland's Bernard Palmer for some question right after his game in round 7.

Before I continue, however, I first have to apologize for mistakenly posting that at the end of round 6 China had not played Japan yet. This was not correct since China already had beaten Japan's representative, the 75-year-old Kikuchi in round 4. The same Kikuchi posted a second loss in round 7 against South Korea. My mistake was probably due to lack of sleep and the fact that China appears three times on the scoreboard, China, Chinese Taipei and Hong Kong China. After Kikuchi had lost for the second time depressed Japanese fans could be found in front of the scoreboard looking quite uh, well, you know, depressed. "Now there's no telling what place he (Kikuchi) will end, sigh". To be sure, this year with two loses things look bleak for Japan. Some people seemed to, partially as least, blame the Swiss pairing system. This is used in Japan quite often nowadays but most are not really used to it here. Complaining at the side, everybody knows, of course, that China is just plain and simple very strong, no matter what tournament system is used. Bernard Palmer and Ertug Akkol

Palmer is 47 years old and picked up go about 15 years ago. "Well, I knew go long before that thanks to the novel "Meijin" by Kawabata. I am a chess player originally (ELO 2200) and was fascinated by this unknown game. I wanted to start playing and learned the rules but there was nobody to play with in Ireland at that time, say 20 years ago or something like that. It was when I was living in London for about a year that I finally got my feet wet. In the mean time when I came back to Ireland John Gibson had set up a club which was just what I needed.
Now we are with about ten, twelve people meeting regularly to play a game or two. We play in the pub so it's Carlsberg and games for me. There are actually about 30.000 Chinese in Ireland officially and some more unofficially I guess. Among the Chinese here there are some strong players but we don't see much of them because they tend to keep to themselves which for us go players is unfortunate, of course."
Palmer was late for his morning games a couple of times so it is easy to mistakenly conclude that because with one win he plays at the bottom area of the field he is not motivated that much anymore. The reason why he's late is because he desperately is trying to rearrange is return schedule. Reaching the people he needs to in Ireland is because of the time difference no piece of cake. Everyday in the morning now he has been trying to, so far unsuccessfully, fix matters in order to get back. This is why some of his opponents had to wait a bit although his clock was properly started and started the games with a substantial time loss.
"I like the games of Shusaku, I have this book of his "Invincible" I use to study. I am, by the way, by no means the strongest player in Ireland. I think I am somewhere in the middle. Noel Mitchel and Steve Flinter who have been at the WAGC before both are stronger than me. This WAGC is the first one for me but I was here already in 2003 for the pair-go championship. I must say, it is marvelous here and I like it a lot.
At home I am studying art history in order to get my Master of Arts. I also teach a little English to foreigners here who are learning English as a second language. Figure 1: 1-22
Event 26th WAGC, round 7
Date 2005 May 27
Place Nagoya, Japan
Black Ertug Akkol, Turkey
White Bernard Palmer, Ireland
Commentary Pieter Mioch, 6d
Game record

Figure 1: 1-22
The opening of this game was as common as they come. White 10 is a bit of a troublesome move, however. What I mean is that the easiest way of play shown in diagram 1 is not at all bad for white. So, as a general principle, when there's nothing wrong with the simple continuation play it.
Diagram 1 Diagram 1

White 16 diverts from the standard pattern but instead of (again) taking up a joseki dictionary I'd like to focus here on what to do when things go wrong.

  1. Realize that things are indeed not going quite right
  2. Don't panic!
  3. Play tight and don't force the issue.

In this case it boils down to this. Even though white's two corner stones are captured it is not the end of the world. White 20, however, makes it easy for black, of course he defends at 21. The point is, there are more moves possible for white, besides 20, which make black defend at 21 or, as shown in diagram 2, at 2. Diagram 2

Diagram 2
Now looking at diagram 2 after the exchange white 1-black 2 playing at 20 as in the game is not urgent. Instead playing somewhere in the direction of 3 is the way to develop the white stones. For people who like to play a bit thin white A seems to be a nice move too, although one has to be prepared for a black counter attack. Black wanting to attack would feel natural since the gap between the lower right corner and A is rather large.
Figure 2: 23-49

Figure 2: 23-49
Black's game move of 35 is a good point. As an alternative it is possible to play as shown in diagram 3 too.
Diagram 3

Diagram 3
Black 3 is tesuji, white's best answer is probably at 4. After black 5 he almost has two eyes already and his stones are by no means weak. By the way, if white plays 4 at A black B will become sente and this is not to white's liking.
Diagram 4

Diagram 4
Instead of black 49 in the game the alternative shown in diagram 4 develops the black stones a bit faster. Black is not trying to capture the white pillar but all the same, white has to watch his step in order to not find himself under attack and digging trenches.
Figure 3: 50-67

Figure 3: 50-67
White 56 is a dangerous move. The white stones in the top right corner are not alive so wherever white start a new fight he'll have to be very careful whether his stones can still escape or not.
That's why I'd like to add another move in the corner to make eyes once and for all. White 1 in diagram 5 is the move.
Diagram 5 Diagram 6

Diagram 5 & 6
Playing white 1 at at A still leaves black with no definite eye shape. If, as in the game, white starts on a new front then at the first opportunity black will play as shown in diagram 6 and make white eyeless. Even if white plays at A next, this is only one eye, gote.

Copyright © Pieter Mioch May 2005

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