1. In Korea, when you go to the restaurant, the youngest person in the group should arrange the chopsticks, give a cup for water to everybody and put water in the cups as well. It is a Korean tradition and you show respect for the others who are a bit older than you. Of course, it is not a strict tradition, and Blackie never pushes foreigners to do it, but I like this tradition a lot. Since right now I am the youngest one in BIBA, I do it very often, but even I am not the youngest one I like doing it.
2. I think everybody knows Gangnam Style, right? It was and still is a phenomenon, one of the most popular songs on YouTube. Psy, the singer of the song is Korean, so the video was filmed in Seoul. Do you know what is interesting about this? Gangnam is the name of a district in Seoul. What is more interesting about this? This district is very close to our school, BIBA and our flat as well. So I went there with Nastya and she was telling me that Gangnam is known for a place with many dance clubs, pubs and overall partying. So Gangnam Style means partying style, just like people who go to Gangnam and have fun.
There we found a huge book store, my pleasure, and we spent couple of minutes to look around. Unfortunately, not so many options for foreigners, but I found this nice classical book!
Days pass, routine remains. The first thing that I do when I arrive to BIBA is to play a game on Tygem. After, I review it with my Sensei, Blackie and sometimes check what Leela thinks as well. After this game, I solve a set of 40 problems. 10 are usually black or white to kill, 10 are black or white to live, 10 are joseki/tesuji/yose/capturing race and 10 are fuseki problems. In the beginning I was very slow, for some reasons I was never managing to solve them all in 20 minutes. Maybe 15 or maximum 20 with at least half of them wrong would have been the good case.
Now, after 7 weeks of studying in BIBA, I solve them all easily in 20 minutes, and lately only 5-7 mistakes. I was feeling so hopeless in my first weeks, because I felt it is really not normal the way I solve tsumego and the speed I have as well. Even though my opening is good, you can do nothing without reading.
After solving tsumego, I play a game on real board. And mentioning this, 2 new people arrived in BIBA. Welcome! One of them is Denizay, from Turkey, Istanbul and he is oficially 12 kyu. He started playing 5 months ago and already I feel he improved, so looking forward to seeing his progress. Another person from Israel came, Levav and he is oficially 1 dan, but he is a little bit stronger than me, so not sure about his strenght. He will stay 2 weeks.
Clovis, our good friend left one week ago, he is from Hong Kong and we really spent a lot of time together. We studied a lot and we had nice games, since we have a very similar strenght. Also, he was always managing to drop Go stones on the floor and the noise was very powerful. And his expression: ”OH, NO!” still remains in BIBA. We miss you, Clovis!
In a way, it is very interesting to see people coming and going back home. On the other hand, it is difficult, because you get used to each other’s company. It is a continuous cycle, but nice to meet so many different people!
I was very surprised to see that Denizay recognised me in the first day because of my Blog and he asked me why I don’t post lately. Hehe!
In the first minutes I was so excited, because I finally met a follower of my blog in real life. Then we started talking more and when I was telling different stories about my past related to Go, he knew already because of my posts. It was weird and nice at the same time.
Then of course, I told him that when you are caught into a routine, you don’t have that many things to say, so I am mainly waiting for more interesting things to happen, rather than boring you all with my tsumego. Tsumego you do find everywhere. Telling you some memorable experiences than everytime saying, well, I just study the whole day, is more fun for the readers, I believe, or if not, waiting for you to tell me. 🙂 It is what I want, to study a lot everyday, so to me it is very interesting.
Going back to the routine, few days ago, I played a game with Nastya. We played a game with 2 stones handicap plus 6 points for Black. The game was going normal I could say, until I entered the san-san point and I wanted to try a new joseki that I studied these days. It has around 25 moves. At the middle of the joseki, I made a blunder. Game over. I struggled, but it started a very bad fight for me. After that mistake, I didn’t have any chance.
After a game on real board, I usually study josekis from a dictionary, putting them on the board and trying to memorize them. I think the best way to learn a new joseki, is to play a game and apply it on the board after you learn it. If you make mistakes during the josekis, you will for sure remember how is it, in the correct form.
Talking about books, I finished in 3 days a book called Haengma, from the ”Think like a pro” series of books written by Yun Yeong-seon, translated into English by Les Waller. For those who don’t know what Haengma means, it is a Korean word and it represents the flow of the moves. I enjoyed a lot studying it, I put all of the variations on real board, and the purpose of the book is for you to develop a good flow of the moves. Let’s say you finish the Fuseki, you enter the middle game and you don’t have many ideas of what to play next. This book is really useful because it gives you ideas of nice moves that you can try in your game.
When Clovis was still here, we had a guest when we were studying. His name is Lee Minho (kgs Green pig) and he is a strong amateur player, who was wunguseng (insei). He played a simultaneous game with me and Clovis and he gave us 5 handicaps. Our Sensei, Blackie, warned us that he can give many handicap stones and win. It is his secret skill. Me and Clovis didn’t take this warning seriously. We started the game, and we were dying already from the beginning. I was laughing so hard, because after I finished the game, dead on almost the whole board, I looked at Clovis’s game and the situation was the same.
Everyone is very excited! The BIBA team will go next week on Thursday to cheer for the best 32 players of the world in the Finals of Samsung Cup. Can you imagine I might meet my idols, like Ke Jie, Lee Sedol, Iyama Yuta and all the best pros that I follow on a daily basis? I cannot imagine. It is such a dream. Looking forward to telling how was the experience. After Samsung Cup, we will go as well to the Korean Prime Minster Cup to watch the games of strong amateur players from all over the globe and I will meet my very good friend, Mirta Medak, 2 dan from Croatia. Isn’t that exciting? After these 2 tournaments, I will also participate in an International Tournament for foreigners, so I can prove myself how much did I improve these weeks. The next 2 weeks will be interesting for me, 3 tournaments in 3 different places in South Korea. The next article will be fun, stay tuned!