By John Pinkerton
I knew I was in trouble as a game recorder when I saw the draw for Board 2 in the final round of the Gotham Go Tournament last Saturday.
On one side of the board — or I should say, “in one corner, with a quick right,” playing white — was Lee Kyoung 7D, whose lightning-fast game had left me in the dust two rounds earlier. In that game, before I had time to enter a well-known joseki in one corner, the players finished josekis in two other corners and started a fight. At the same time, we lost our internet connection, so the live broadcast was dead and catching up became a largely moot point. Hardwired to KGS now, and with another round under our belt, I’d thought I was ready for the final round. However…
In the other corner is the champion of speed himself, Andy Liu 1P, who often uses his speed as a lethal weapon. In the World Amateur Go Championships a few years back, where each side got an hour and a half of basic time, Andy’s strategy was never to use more than 10 minutes, keeping his opponents under constant time pressure. On top of that, Andy loves to play ko’s. In a ko, every third move is obvious, but the recorder still has to enter it. The ko threat may be in almost any area of the board, so if you miss it, it can be hard to find. Then the response is also obvious—another chance for a quick move.
As expected, the game starts fast and doesn’t let up. At move 47, Chris Garlock, recording on Board 1, says to his audience, “Wow, stones are flying on Board Two…John’s gonna have his hands full keeping up.” An accurate assessment, but things were about to get even more interesting.
Kyoung holds up the clock and says, “You don’t need this, do you?” He starts to explain, adding “I mean, you play fast.” But without a moment’s hesitation, Andy has already shot back “Absolutely not.” In other words, game on.
As Kyoung turns off the clock, I’m mentally groaning, thinking uh-oh, someone’s going to crash and I just hope it isn’t me again. Eighty moves fly by in the blink of an eye before there’s a pause as Kyoung says “Oh my god…I made a reading mistake.” As he and Andy begin their review I breathe a silent sigh of relief as I type in the words “White resigns” and wrap up our KGS game broadcast.
NOTE: Complete Gotham Tournament standings/results have now been posted on the Gotham Go Group’s Facebook page.
Pinkerton is a regular game recorder and photographer for the American Go E-Journal. Anyone interested in volunteering as a game recorder at AGA tournaments or events can email firstname.lastname@example.org