Tak Blitz Tournament, February 2021

Another Tak tournament from US Tak Association right on the heels of the beginner’s tournament wrapping up. This one was a quick blitz tournament, Something I’d played probably a handful of times before today.

With fourteen players, the tournament consisted of nine rounds, clock at 3 minutes with 5 second increments, and a Komi of 3 points to black on a flat win. I rounded out my nine games at second-to-last, but had a great time, and was happy to have scored at least a couple points over the nine rounds.

Game 1: PlutoTheBrave

First pairing of the tournament, and missed the road threat across the bottom of the board. Of course saw the missed threat as soon as I played. Blitz is an unforgiving beast.

Game 2: Reimen

This was probably the most interesting (and longest) game. I wasn’t sure throwing the capstone’s stack at 21 was the right move, but I think glad I did it later. I was able to keep up the pressure of road threats in the NW quadrant for a bit, but nothing that could stick— Reiman was cutting them off right and left, and then I was down to a few seconds on the clock for quite a bit, so I was just placing flats without being entirely sure of the count. With the +3 komi, it ended with a tie, the only one of the tournament, I think.

Game 3: EVRNjayhawker

My brain was not functioning by this one. A straight line down the middle is just the worst kind of loss to see on the board. Somehow I thought I was being clever not capturing with 9. 2c4>. Trying not to think about this one any more than I have to.

Game 4: T0afer

My only win! The citadel in the middle was a nice position to gain, I think, then bi-directional road threat at the end gave me the missed threat.

Game 5: Ineria

This was one I definitely wanted to review after the fact. I had a great match with Ineria during the tournament last month, and was looking forward to this pairing especially during the blitz tournament. And it did not go well for me. By the time I dropped my cap (in a terrible location) at move 11, I was pretty sure I was already in trouble, and I’m not 100% sure where it all went sideways for me (or if there’s ever one single point like that), but on reflection:

  • I should have made the immediate road threat at move 6, instead of giving up tempo AND increasing the black cap’s influence by giving it two different places to threaten me.
  • Capstone was out when it was too late and was a desperate move. Maybe could/should have been a flat. Not sure of a better, earlier move with the cap unless I dropped it in D in the first five or six moves. I tried a preemptive cap in the middle of the road in my game with Simmon and I’m not sure it really did that much for me.
  • Wall at 14 b3 might have been more disruptive, but if I’d survived and we kept moving towards flats, would have been a liability as white.

Game 6: Reid

A surprise opening from Reid, not going for the normal opposite or parallel corners. Was wondering a few moves in if I should have made my initial road threat in the B column, but I suppose that would have likely meant granting Reid’s highwaymen control of C3 & C4. Looking back, why did I not place a d6 instead of Cd4? Might not have changed much, just a slightly earlier capture to break up that road. Somewhere along the line I realized I was going to lose the capture war(s) over B4 and B5, and then I was going to have nothing to stop Reid’s road.

Game 7: Ally

Interesting, Ally here went for the off-center road threat I was considering in the previous game. As I’d assumed above, that did give black (me) the chance for a citadel in the middle of the board, but this is not entirely a center control game, so that only got me so far.

In that final move, I had realized I was going to lose the stack war over B2, but had miscalculated that white already had enough stones to throw up the B column and win. If I’d kept capturing and Ally had to use C2 to capture the stack would no longer be enough for a road with a single throw, but it still might have been tough to avoid Tinuë within a few moves, as I had so little in place on the left half of the board.

Game 8: Morten

Another deviation from the “standard” openings, an edge crawl, less common in 6×6 games. I think I was pretty fried by this point. Not sure what else I have to say about this game except that even being able to make a couple weak threats at moves 13 and 14, I felt like Moreton never lost control of the board here. 17. f2+ might have been a better move than uselessly throwing 3d4>12, but with the cap right there I don’t think would have really won me anything.

Game 9: Simmon

A very satisfying game to finish on, even if I lost on time. I look forward to watching/hearing Simmon’s self-commentary on the match when he posts it. Simmon has been putting out quite a bit of content for the Tak community, including commentary for the last few tournaments at his YouTube channel. The early capstone-in-the-middle-of-the-road at 5 Cd2 was in direct response to not having a good place for my cap in my game with Ineria previously, but I don’t know how much it actually got me. The back-and-forth of the stack wars row 4 reminded me of playing some of the bots, which can sometimes go pretty wild on large stacks.

One of those throws in there (maybe 21 6e4+15?) probably took thirty seconds on its own as I debated what I was doing with it, how many stones I was dropping where, and then mis-clicked and had to retry a half-dozen times to get the right stones in the right place. After a bit more back-and-forth I was down to a no banked time for my last few moves, and the clock ran dry as I was partway through throwing that e4 stack.