Twenty-eight players — fourteen teams of two — competed in the “Rengo with Pie and Coffee” tournament on Saturday, June 9, 2018. Pair Go stalwart Bill Thompson organized the event, brought the fancy pies, directed the tournament, and even played in it.
The event was run with the International Pair Go Association rules, but with no restrictions to team composition. Bill used a spreadsheet from Todd Heidenreich to calculate the teams’ handicaps and komi, averaging the individual ratings of the team members.
League of extraordinary hats
In Pair Go / Rengo, teams members are not allowed to communicate with each other during the game, so many teams discussed strategy ahead of time. Christian and Nick hoped their eye-catching hats would garner an advantage during play — or at least reduce the sting of losing, if such came to pass.
The event was run with the Japan Pair Go Association rules , but with no restrictions to team composition. Bill used a spreadsheet from Todd Heidenreich to calculate the teams’ handicaps and komi, averaging the individual ratings of the team members.
Socializing ceased as the first round of play began about 6:30. The players focused intently on their boards. At each table were 8 players, 4 teams, 2 boards, and one goal.
The tournament was two rounds. Each table held four teams composed of adults, children, and adults together with children. In the second round, the first-round winners faced each other, and teams that lost the first round faced each other.
Time limits were 45 minutes absolute (no byo-yomi). The players at Table 1 had competitive spirt — one of their games finished with 9 seconds on the clock for Black, and 6 seconds left for White; and another of their games ended in a tie.
During the lull between rounds, the players had coffee, tea, and four kinds of pie (strawberry-rhubarb, coconut, wild cherry, and apple) from Pie Bar, a gourmet pie emporium. (Alas, your intrepid reporter forgot to snap some photos of the pie. Too busy sampling it perhaps.)
When the dust from Round 2 had settled, four teams had won their tables, and got to choose from a table full of fabulous prizes — books about Go! As sometimes is the case at tournaments, younger players were represented disproportionately among the table winners, having bested their elders. Kids learn so fast, their ratings tend to lag behind their actual strength.
Table 1: Lusha Zhou (9k) and Tzu-Jen Chan (3d) (in back).
Table 2: Yulissa Wu Lu (10k) and Lucas Wu Lu (9k) (front center).
Table 3: Hotaka Ozaki (3k) (at far left) and Abigail Chen (20k) (front far right).
Table 4: Joshua Yang (11k) and Shirley Yang (30k) (not pictured).
Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. Several teams stayed long after the prizes were awarded, analyzing their games together and socializing. Rengo / Pair Go events are consistently popular at Seatle Go Center because they are a lot of fun. Anyone who’s running Go tournaments would do well to consider hosting an occasional Rengo event. The technical barriers are low, advice is available, and the payback, in terms of smiles-per-minute, is enormous.