27 October 2005

Greg Lefler Memorial Tournament, Pt. 3

My second round, I played… you guessed it, White with a handicap. 5 stones this time.

I have to say, I have the utmost respect for my opponent in the second round.   He was a thoughtful player who put everything he had into it and fought well.

We got a tutorial on the clock to start off so things went smoother already.   The game was very evenly matched for the first 150 or so moves.   Both us have similar playing styles, concentrating on building frameworks in the opening.   I realized I could never win with that strategy in a handicap game and I wanted to win badly.   We got into a fight in the lower right which spilled all across the board, blowing out all the moyos and creating general chaos.   We were both treading carefully at this point, knowing that one mistake with our groups in the center could mean life or death.

Finally I see a weak spot in one of his large groups.   I started building up and it became apparent I had a chance at killing a 15-point or so group and swinging the game completely around. He saw it, too.

My hands were trembling as I placed each stone.   I had to give up on proper holding of the stone because I was afraid I was going to knock the other stones and mess up the board.

Black was at the end of Basic Time and about to go into Byo-Yomi when I finally found the right move and killed his group.   That was the end of it.   We kept playing for practice but at that point he acknowledged the defeat and the pressure was off.

I had hoped to play a third round but we were running behind schedule at that point.   With the third round scheduled for 3:30 and most of the players leaving for lunch, I reported my win and went home to sign up for the North American Oza in New York City.

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