Half-time, I am now here for 6.5 weeks. Time for a quick review:
When I came I had two main goals, in this priority:
- to get a feeling if I really want to focus on go. Three months of very intensive training is a good opportunity to figure this out.
- to improve my skills (reading, joseki etc, but NOT to dive into go-psychology or history)
If we look at the results: two times "Yes".
Though I study 10 hours+ per day I have a lot of fun. And fun is the crucial point, according to my opinion. I am enjoying, and if you can do what you like to do, perfect.
I started with go one year ago. During 2007 I started to take lessons with Alexander Dinerchtein, 1p. At the EGC 2007 I played with 7 kyu, and I came here with maybe 5 kyu (my best guess). On the way from the airport An Yan asked me about my strength etc, and I told him. I sensed that he has for me (and I am sure also for the other students) an individual learning plan. Nevertheless, the beginning was difficult. Maybe due to new environment, maybe due to new teacher, maybe because you want to attack instead of defending. So, it took me some time to accept and then also to follow his advise, his plan. But it seems that it has paid off: My playing experience is now 1/2 kyu, my reading is 1/2 dan. I think it is good that my reading is better than my playing experience, to improve the later is a "technical" question; and I recognise how much I learnt in the last few games, much more than in the beginning. My play has become much faster, more efficient, smoother, more structured. Last, but not least, when I came here I hardly could memorize 20, 30 moves of my games. In the meantime I memorize my games easily.
What were/ are the main obstacles and how did/ do I handle them (to be fair, I need to say we):
One main issues is the language. I started to learn to Chinese what is actually fun, but I am far, far away to have a normal conversation. Nevertheless, I understand enough to follow a game review. I am going to continue to learn Chinese.
The second point is "isolation". Unfortunately the other foreign go students left quite early, meaning I am on my own. In these 6.5 weeks I have seen 6 foreigners (despite the other foreign go-students). I have with me some books that are not related to go, music. And the internet enables me to follow news and to stay in touch with my family.
Relationship/ Family: I have a girl-friend, and to be separated for three months is not an easy task. I may say that it is for her more difficult than for me. I am busy all day, 7 days a week. She has her daily routine. We miss each other, evenings/ weekends together. We handle this situation by emailing a lot and by using skype. It gives some comfort, but it doesnt replace the other person. A BIG thank-you to my beloved ones.
My advise: if you have family and you want to go for a period of three months you should have the strong commitment of your family/ partner.
Ok, enough about the review. Let me tell you something about Chinese tradition:
I, and also my girl-friend, have a new family. According to Chinese tradition you treat your teacher as your father (in old days a teacher was always a man), and the teacher's wife as your mother. So, my girl-friend and I are now adopted by An Yan and his wife...
Secondly, the teacher is to be tough and rough, and his wife kind and nice.