The last day of the year you would dare call summer. Eyes addicted to flames in a metal basin, a cardboard burn for warmth against the coming winter. Moths of ash flickering up to the canopy of goldening birch. A new friend’s front yard: collapsible lawn furniture, a rainbow hammock, a perimeter of cherry trees. Grass a little wet. Three large, lovely dogs begging for pizza slices and games of fetch, eyes that can only see good in yours. Sky the remnant of sunset gathered from the fast drive across town. The day’s hours forgotten in the evening’s peace, voices to prove our orbit around the fire.
The long game with Lukas continues, following 10.0 and 10.1. I’m ambivalent about my position now, though I’m still having a blast. I am eager to discuss this game with Lukas, and perhaps do a little AI analysis, but I’ll be patient until the game’s conclusion. Admittedly I am frustrated after certain moves, particularly L14 – not to mention the disaster on the left side – but trying to stay strong.
At rest before the glacier’s pour And dwarfed by breadth of Admiralty On Summer’s edge of evening light He slits a pack of bait, Stuffs the rectangular prism Inside the cylindrical cage: A crab pot to sink in the orange boat’s wake, This island on the placid sea. The ferries are running, he tells me and points— I smile and agree, Fearing the edge of the map and the knife, The cut of horizons I’d never see without him: A current of birds drifting on water, Low clouds protecting a mountain, A captain commanding me in Carhartts. I pretend I’d drown before I’d fight, Laugh underwater, mistake my phone for a life. But later, driving back from the dock, I think of the crab, the bait, the cage— And wish for a boat to sail through night.
The long game with Lukas continues below. I am satisfied with my position, but when playing a much stronger player, early misunderstandings about the status of certain shapes can bring about a swift collapse later in the game. What I experience as a stable position may in fact be tenuous. In any case, I am doing my best to approach this game with confidence – there is no sense in playing fearfully, as if I am going to be punished at every turn. Instead, I play as an equal, and will learn all I can from the experience of defeat.
EDIT: The time settings are 3 stones/week, but we have each been playing roughly one move per day.
When evening parts with day At midnight
I turn on the light the house begins to shake
And show old surfaces: a soft cat
Unraveling carpet seams in slumber.
A broken window— A bear at the window—
Who knows whether asking for a treat
In darkness a smear of licorice
I find my dreams inside a wrapper.
I am always looking for new ways to learn Go. Poetry keeps me on the tsumego train, but I felt the need to spice up my regular games. Inspired by the long game in Yasunari Kawabata’s The Master of Go, I decided to ask Lukas if he would play a long correspondence game with me. This way I can think a little more carefully about each move, and write about the game as I play. I don’t know if this will produce a higher quality game on my end, but so far it has interrupted my usual habits and forced me to think of at least a few more possibilities than I normally would.
Below are the first 20 moves of the game. I am playing white. The time settings are 3 moves/week, giving me the freedom to check in when I have some free time and ponder some variations. Although black controls three corners so far, I’m satisfied with my position. Lukas probably has other thoughts, but I feel confident – a bit of the Dunning-Kruger effect, perhaps.
Raven struts on rooftop’s edge Pauses by the mast Wonders of the treasures Behind each building’s glass. Something shiny? A yogurt? A morsel of bread? Never mind, says the raven, flaps his wings by the flag— The sun shines. The forest provides. Wait— What’s inside that plastic bag?
Call across the canyon Carved in heart’s striations Scarred by empty days That history has drowned. The echo makes an absent bridge That falls and falls and falls To the gone old world That never makes a sound.