Thursday, April 06, 2006

Hey from the UK

I've flown into London a bunch of times (I have 5 Heathrow stamps in my not-yet 3-year-old passport), but every other time it's been on a transatlantic flight. My flight from Cologne yesterday was on a small plane (regional jet) which came into Heathrow nice and low (it also came in from the East). So we were treated to a nice view of London, which I realized as soon as I heard the camera (or phone or Palm or whatever) of the guy behind me taking pictures. I took a couple myself -- this is what I think is a nice view of the Thames from the north. Can you spot any landmarks?

I can! There, that's the London Eye.


Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Pictures from a Go Game

Here are some pictures from the Cherry Blossom Tournament taken by my third opponent. (I'm playing black here.)

My opening wasn't too bad...because of my bad experiences having groups killed in the first two games, I took a conservative approach, opting for enclosures rather than approaching my opponent's corners. In general, this is not a bad approach, but in retrospect this was a mistake for me. It's not the way I usually play, so I ended up in an unfamiliar configuration.

I think the second picture shows where things started to go wrong. I haven't really staked out any additional territory. I have broken up White's territory on the left, and I'm starting to make some territory on the top, but in the mean time, White has made some solid territory on the left.

The third picture shows that I have made some territory along the bottom, but not as much as White did on the right.

In the fourth picture, I've conceded too much of the right to White. He's built up a solid territory there that's going to prove the difference in the game.

The fifth picture shows an abortive invasion I made on the right, but it was really too late at this point.

In the end, White had about 80 points on the right, which is about as much as I had in all of my territory combined. We didn't even bother to count the final score. Looking back, I am not as displeased as I was at the time. I did a few nice things in the game. I like the way I broke up the territory on the left, and I did a decent job of building territory -- just not enough.


Final Tally

Well, the NCAA tourney is over, and it's time for one final evaluation of my picks. I ended up with 87 points out of a possible 168, good for #34,429 in the Yahoo! tournament picks. That's the 97% percentile...surprising me by improving from last weekend. I guess picking UCLA to lose the championship game was worth a lot. Too bad I didn't join a real pool this year...

Monday, April 03, 2006

A Splash of Cologne

Greetings from Cologne (or Köln, if you prefer). My flight got in late yesterday, so I didn't have as much time for sightseeing as I had hoped. My main goal was to see the Cologne Cathedral, a World Heritage Site. The parts that you have to pay to see were open until 6 pm yesterday, so I headed over there with about 2 hours to spare. Once I got there, I realized that these parts (the tower and treasury) weren't the impressive parts, and I had no great interest in them. The interior of the cathedral itself was quite impressive, but I couldn't wander around because there were services going on. I'll probably try to stop by today or tomorrow. The cathedral was built to house the bones of the Three Magi. It was started in 1248, but not completed until 1880. Unlike other cathedrals that took a long time to build, they managed to stick to the original Gothic plan.

I sat outside the Cathedral and enjoyed some falafel before going in.

From the conference reception, the cathedral is the dominant sight in the city. Unfortunately, someone decided to build an ugly building in front of it. The Cathedral is the one major pre-war structure. Allegedly, Allied bombers spared it so they could use it as a landmark to find the city. I've heard that story about other sights in other cities that were spared bombing, so I'm a little built skeptical.

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Sunday, April 02, 2006

How Do I Rate?

Greetings from Germany! It's my first time here (besides the Frankfurt airport) since '72. I had hoped to post some pictures, but while I brought my camera to the Internet cafe, I appear to have left the cord back in the hotel room. Sigh. Hopefully I'll remember to download the pictures to the laptop tonight so I can upload them tomorrow.

Recently, I told you of my (mis)adventures in the Cherry Blossom Go Tournament, which I entered as a 15 kyu. I said, "My understanding of the ratings is that I will be bumped down from 15 kyu to something worse...17?" Well, the new ratings are out and guess what -- I'm a 17 kyu (closer to 18 than 16). To a certain extent these ratings are nonsensical -- since I lost all my games (and since the score of the game doesn't get reported), for all the rating system knows, I'm really a 35 kyu who resigned all my games. But it takes the (reasonable) assumption that people are probably somewhere near their first guess. So "17 kyu" is the answer to the question of, "What's the most likely rating of someone who enters as a 15 kyu and loses all of his games?" So I have a starting point for next month's tournament, which I hope to enter.