Category Archives: personal

How I didn’t stop eating food

I’ve recently read How I Stopped Eating Food and think the author is nuts. Rob claims his wonder-potion helped him clear his to-do list and got him rid of his coffee addiction. While his approach is questionable, I’ve long shared many of his goals, such as a healthy and balanced diet, while not wasting time preparing food.

Here are some dishes I’ve been cooking lately:

  • First my absolute favorite: fast, clean and super-healthy. Take broccoli/cauliflower/spinach/green beans/other vegetable. Wash, cut up in a couple of pieces, put in a plastic box, add a bit of water, and microwave between one and three minutes. Steamed vegetables retain both their taste and vitamins. Meanwhile, grate some cheese to sprinkle on top and wash side-dish tomatoes/paprika/carrots/other vegetables. Add a bit of pepper and pour olive oil over it all. Voila, that took about 7 minutes, dirty dishes amount to one plastic box and the grater.
  • Preheat oven. Wrap fish in aluminium foil and put it in the oven. Go read a book for 10 minutes. Wash side-dish vegetables and perhaps cut a slice of bread. No dirty dishes.
  • Scrambled eggs are pushing it, preparation takes like 15 minutes and there’s the dirty pan left afterwards. But sometimes I still enjoy them.

I eat tomatoes and paprika with almost every meal. For meals without much protein, I add few slices of dead animals. If the dish doesn’t have enough fat, I add generous amount of olives and snack nuts afterwards. Oh and I’ve just discovered avocados!

Breakfast is my guilty pleasure, oats (+ banana and nuts) with yogurt, often times of Greek variety, with 15 grams of saturated fat per half-a-cup, instantly getting to 75% of maximum recommended daily saturated fat intake. Oh well.

LSG 2010

Intro

I’ve happened to be the organizer of LSG 2010. While I had often been helping to organize various types of events, I’d used to be just a grunt dragging the heavy boards around. LSG 2010 was my first time doing high level organization. Perhaps it’s time to reflect on it a little.

Before LSG

First, I fought hard for getting access to the lsg.go.art.pl domain without success (big no thanks to PSG for that). That greatly hindered my initiative to organize LSG. Actually, I almost gave up. What can you do when you don’t even have the domain that has been used for many years and everyone knows about it? They just redirected lsg.go.art.pl to some PSG site, which didn’t even bother to link LSG 2010 site.

I decided not to give up when Jacek, the owner and manager of Alaska, contacted me and proposed that we could organize it together. He was taking care of accommodation, food, money and non-go side events. I was taking care of everything go-related.

I thought many people would never find out without access to the official site, but I underestimated two factors: word of mouth and Benerit. The first doesn’t need much explanation. The second one – Benerit – was responsible for even more. He not only answered questions from people about why there’s no LSG site and redirected them to the new one, but also sent an email to everyone who has ever attended LSG. Combined, this led to almost everyone knowing, though some people found out too late.

Jacek handled registration. Artur would be taking care of the “other board games” part of LSG. Myszcz promised to help with tournament organizing in return for free accommodation and food. Kamyk helped organize the playing material. Two weeks before the start, Hajin wrote she’d come as a teacher. I got lucky.

LSG itself

I came to Alaska on Saturday, two days before the start. Kamyk wasn’t too sure how much material was coming from there, but in the end it ended up really well (we weren’t missing anything). It turned out that Myszcz wasn’t all that experienced with tournament organizing, which led to Kamyszyn joining our organizing team. I couldn’t be happier about that – having Kamyszyn organize the tournaments meant that I wouldn’t have to worry at all.

As for teaching, aside from miss Hajin [3p], who was the main teacher, we got plenty of volunteers. Among them were Jun Tarumi [5d] with unforgettable lecture about fully cut keimas, Leszek Sołdan [5d] the Polish champion, and myszcz [1d] the Chinese opening expert. I only had one lecture, and as fisz was ready to help me, we played an “open” game – playing on the magnetic board and immediately explaining what we were thinking about. I think it was quite a success.

I scheduled 4 rounds of simultaneous games, which is quite a lot considering the whole event lasted practically only 11 days. I think that was a good decision, as everyone wanted to play against Hajin. The first simul was Hajin, Jun, fisz and me playing together against everyone else. It was a lot of fun (and we won most our games!). The other three rounds of simuls were individual, with each of us getting 6-8 opponents. I found out I got very weak in simultaneous games.

Tournaments were a bit painful in the beginning, but we managed to improve the process quite a lot – instead of running to the shop whenever anything needed to be printed, we simply used a projector to display the pairings and other information. I say simply, but it took 6 hours of hard work to get everything needed for the projector to be set up the way I needed. After that, Kamyszyn and Myszcz were handling tournaments themselves – I didn’t even have to be there. There was no one shouting “RUNDA” but nevertheless, most people got to play their games. No one was forced to play in the tournaments – participation was completely voluntary.

After the initial confusion, which was really tiring for me personally, my workload suddenly became much lighter. Aside from creating the daily schedule and making sure that our whole organizing team was on the same page, I didn’t have much concrete work to do. Except for solving emergencies, answering complaints, and responding to the same question 100 times a day (I swear it was the same 5 people asking all the questions, repeatedly).

I didn’t micro-manage and did let people help me, which worked out pretty well (because the people helping were awesome). Aside from volunteer teachers mentioned above, we had even volunteer organizers. Ela organized shooting tournament and drew the board for LSG 2010 signatures. Fisz organized volleyball and ping-pong tournaments. Kotasia made the torus tourney. I’m sure there’s many events I forgot. :)

Aftermath

There were no major disasters. Worst thing that’s happened is that I left two boards with two ING clocks (cough, good riddance, cough) outside overnight. They were pretty much gone after it had been raining throughout the whole night.
Beers and other small stuff were getting lost, but we never found out who did it. People have started locking down their houses.

All the people who brought playing material left after one week. Jacek, Kamyk and volunteers are making sure the material doesn’t get lost after LSG. Some of it might stay at Alaska.

Thanks

I was told that I should thank PSG. Organizing Polish summer go school is Polish Go Association’s job. That PSG failed to do so and a Czech guy living in the Netherlands had to help is surprising. Well, I’d like PSG to thank me first for doing their job. Whatever. Thanks to PSG for paying for Hajin’s stay and for most generously allowing their playing material to travel to Przystanek Alaska.

Big thanks goes to Jacek, Mariola, and Alaska team for organizing accommodation and meals, to Hajin for coming (and to Korean Baduk Association for paying her flight) and teaching, to Joon, Leszek, myszcz and fisz for helping with teaching; to kamyszyn, myszcz, Artur, Ela and kotasia for tournaments; to Janusz Kraszek for a box of prizes, to Kamyk and other people for making sure we have the playing material and to everyone else who helped make LSG a success!

Summary?

It’s easy to organize something when you have the right people to help you.
I think everyone had fun at LSG, that’s what matters the most in the end.

Bonus: Photos!

You made it! Either you’ve read through (doubtful) or you scrolled down here or you got the magical link… anyway, here goes!
I’m not quite sure if there’s a public list of all photo galleries from LSG 2010, so I’ll create one here:

As for my gallery, it’s nothing amazing, but it’s still pretty decent by my standards. The pics I like the most are: 1, 5, 10, 12, 32, 33, 35, 58, 61, and 64.

If you know about any gallery missing, please do leave a comment!

How I won the 23rd TwixT championship

Who is this post for? Who is going to read it? Who is going to enjoy it? Anyways…

First, a bit of history…

I learned to play TwixT in 2004. You can have a look at my rating graph. As you can see, after the initial jump, my progress was slow — TwixT never was the main thing in my life.

There are three types of tournaments on littlegolem: rated tournaments, monthly cups, and championship league. The league is by far the most prestigious. You can read more about littlegolem tournaments.

My first championship was third division of the third league — twixt.ch.4.3.3, the games look a little funny now. In the next championship I won 5.2.2 with one loss and proceeded to the first league. I finished fifth in 6.1.1, scoring 4 wins out of 8 games.

I had similar results in 7th and 8th championships, in 9.1.1 I even finished fourth. 10.1.1 was the first appearance of the amazing polish brothers, who finished second and third, but it was a small disaster for me — I only won two games and got demoted to second league. After that I continued jumping up and down between first and second league: 10.1.1 down, 11.2.2 up, 12.1.1 down (though I won against Klaus in a very short game), 13.2.1 up, 14.1.1 down, 15.2.2 up.

I got lucky I didn’t get demoted in 16.1.1 … 17.1.1 and 18.1.1 fifth places again. In 18th I had a very interesting game against Axel. I had a bad start, but managed to exploit his weaknesses to create a draw — but I blundered at 44 and let him connect with 45. In 19.1.1 I had my usual fifth place, but 20.1.1 saw me underperform and fall to 21.2.1. As a warm up, I finished fourth in 22.1.1.

History over, back to the present

The start of 23.1.1 looked like I’d finish in my usual fifth place. I lost against David pretty quickly, and I had a surprisingly easy game against Steven. Meanwhile, I was losing three other games — against spd_iv, Klaus and crclum. Against Klaus, I had a bad game from the start, but Klaus blundered with 39.t19 (s20 or u19 would have done the trick), giving me an undeserved victory.

My game against spd_iv wasn’t that bad in the beginning, but then something went wrong, though I’m not sure what. I think spd_iv could have just played 21.h7 for an easier win. But actually, his variation would have led to a win too, if it wasn’t for his unnecessary 25.d7 which I responded with the best TwixT move I’ve ever played. I think that made me deserve the win.

I have no idea what happened in my game against crclum. I was losing from the very beginning, and it was just getting worse all the time, but I still have no idea why. In the end, he just resigned in a won position (23.q7 24.r5 25.t5 26.v5 27.r4 28.t6 29.n6 leads to a win as does 23.q7 24.r5 25.v5 26.t5 27.t4 as does 23.r6 24.q4 25.p7 (spd_iv pointed out the last variation)). So, I was extremely lucky.

On early resigning

As for crclum’s resignation, I didn’t have the guts to ask him about it or point out that he could’ve won. While I admire early resigning and often myself try to resign lost games as soon as possible (it’s good manners and it shows confidence in one’s judgement), it’s better not to overdo it and resign won games!

King’s Baduk Center

Lately I’ve been spending my time at King’s Baduk Center. I study go (it is called baduk in Korean).

When I manage, I get up at 6:30 and go running (this is becoming increasingly difficult with temperatures getting lower and lower). Then I go to my computer, hang around on KGS, chat with Europeans who are staying up late, postprocess my pictures, and generally have fun.

At 8:00 we have breakfast. It usually includes toasts, meat, eggs and jam, which is pretty good. Recently we had a week in which we only got rice for breakfast. Half of Westerners just couldn’t manage and decided to skip breakfast alltogether. After breakfast we have a little more free time and at 9:00 we start studying.

Morning is devoted to solving problems. I’ve taken a few problems from our collections and put them here for your enjoyment:

You can click those 1’s to see the problems. No solutions are provided because life is tough (we also have no solutions, but our teachers sometimes look at our books and draw stars next to problems with wrong solution, needless to say, our books are full of stars).

Lately we have tests at 10. It starts with a joseki test (we learn one chapter from “21st Century New Openings” every day) after which there’s “speed test”, mostly not too hard tsumego in large quantities. Like 72 problems in half an hour. When you mess up badly, you have to run. Also, after few days/weeks, we get the same speed test again, which is pretty evil, as it shows how little we learn.

At noon there’s lunch (rice, why are you asking?), and at 1pm we start our league games. I’ve uploaded a few league games that I’ve recorded. Please note that these were played with the time limits of 30 minutes main time plus 3 times 30 seconds byoyomi (which is pretty tough, in my opinion).

Right after I came to KBC, I lost the biggest group I’ve ever lost in what had been a comfortable game until move 87 in which I forgot to protect my corner. One of my next games against Mateusz was a rather interesting fight of influence against territory, but instead of an easy kill (move 110 push down from two stones), I let Mati live and died myself. Then a funny game against Tunga, which I won by an accident.

Here’s a game against Pierre that we played right after he came to KBC:

(you can use arrow keys on your keyboard to move around the game)

I had a bad start, which changed to amazing game after his 32, which gave me plenty of points in return for nothing. The game proceeded well until I got to byoyomi (move 83), where it quickly went downhill as I lost my cutting stones, but Pierre unexpectedly decided to die with his huge corner, which suddenly ended the game.

About a week later I played against Him, and after his overplay at move 56, I managed to keep an edge in the fight and ultimately killed his group. In a game against Ben I forgot to create territory but got a lucky win after he overplayed and died. The I gotbeaten by Seolki in a 3-handicap.

I had a promising game against Him after he forgot to secure his corner, but I died because of utter lack of global insight at one point (move 83, also at 63 we both missed a simple geta :-|). You can see the game here:

You can also see Seolki’s one man show — I started a fight which was bad in the first place and then played it wrong. Tungalag Tunga is direct descendant of Genghis Khan and so she tries to kill everything (but fails). Oooops, Pierre forgot to connect his stones (but he would have lost anyway).

Next is a typical Mateusz game, which went very good for me until I started a completely unreasonable fight when I didn’t need it. Luckily, Mateusz blundered few times and let me win. Several failed attacks cost me the next game against Him. Some of the higher handicaps can also get pretty rough (though I usually win those).

I had a very interesting game against Pierre today:

The start was better for him, then he ataried 68 without hesitation (“my teacher told me not to think about that”), and we made an interesting exchange. In my opinion, it would have been about even had he killed the corner. I made a bad trade while escaping with my group (move 97) but more than made up for it when I surprised Pierre with easy life of my supposedly dead corner.

The last game is perhaps more interesting than any of the ones before, as it contains commentary by KBC teacher, Kim sabomnim.

(it might be more comfortable to view the game with fullsize interface on eidogo.com)

If you look at the commentary carefully, you will be rewarded. There is one standard situation which happens very often and is played wrong by any European between 5kyu and 7dan (players worse than 5kyu don’t know the trick, and those better than 7dan know that the trick in fact isn’t that good).

After the games and commentary there’s dinner (yay, rice!), and after that a lecture with Seolki or free time, which we invariably spend at the computers (except when we go drinking).

I’m being kicked out of here so I don’t even have the time to read it after myself. I hope at least short fragments make sense. If not, just enjoy the tesuji problems and games (although those don’t make sense either :))!

PS: It is pure coincidence that of the four games displayed here, two are against Pierre and I won both, and the other two are against Him and I lost both. In fact, I lose to Pierre quite often, and I certainly beat Him more often than never. 8-)

PPS: Brought to you by EidoGo. EidoGo rocks. Takes a minute to set up and works like a charm.

Korea, here I come

My blog is dead. Long live my blog!

My plans have changed. I am going to Korea for three months to study go. Then I’m going back to Amsterdam, almost moneyless, to begin the new life.

You can have a look at amazing amounts of new photos.

The EGC was mostly eneventful. After a promising first week, second week was a small disaster.

I am in Amsterdam now. I love Amsterdam.

Tomorrow, I’m flying to Korea. I was urged (by several people!) to put some info from Korea here — I will try not to disappoint you.

Good night.

LSG 2009, pictures, and my life in general

LSG has ended. It was too short but a lot of fun. I’ve made about two bazzilion photographs, which I’ve managed to reduce to just 212. You are invited to see pictures from LSG 2009. They are mostly portraits, as I’m still in love with my Samyang 85/1.4 and I mostly refuse to use the kit 18-55mm lens.

You might be also interested in my gallery from Warsaw go tournament, or more generally in my pictures from the year 2009.

Again, I have no time to write much more, but hopefully all the pictures will keep you interested for a while. European Go Congress is coming up shortly, so I’m not getting a break in go nor in photography… And then — well, there’s time to slack off, travel, play go, make pics, drink vodka, and have fun, and then there’s time to work. Time to work is getting close, and to my own surprise, I’m sort of looking forward to it. :)

Quartermarathon in an hour

It used to be that I could barely run few hundred meters. The two main problems were that I couldn’t catch my breath and that the side of my stomach started hurting.

I started running regularly few months ago in connection with my extra hour a day program. I abandoned early rising — nowadays I just get up at 9 during the weekend feeling completely drained, not to mention Mondays. Changing this to rising early again is definitely on my to-do list. It rocked, and it sucks now.

When I was starting, I ran a little over 3.5km at a very slow pace (almost half an hour). After reading few articles about running, I started paying more attention to proper breathing and few other things. I added a longer 6.5km route along the river to add variety to the routine. I found it surprisingly easy to run almost twice as far.

And now, feeling pretty comfortable with 6.5km, I connected the two routes to make it over 10 kilometers (I am not sure how far it actually is, but according to google maps it’s something between 10km and a quartermarathon (10.5km)). I ran it in 57 minutes on my first (and so far the only) try. I’ll try again the next weekend, if the weather is any good.

Running is good because:

  • it is rather demanding and makes you tired quickly (so that you can get back to your beloved computer as soon as possible ;))
  • you need no special equipment and you can run anywhere
  • runner’s high is not a rumour
  • it helps your health in various ways (I used to have half-asthma and after running few hundred meters I couldn’t breathe for another two hours (really), but now I trained my lungs and improved my breathing technique)
  • you have plenty of time to think when running, so you are bound to get various good ideas while running

Also, running is simply fun.

Money is time

As any economist would tell you, time is money. What people sometimes fail to realise is that it works the other way around just as well: money is time.

That is, when you have time, you can work and get money. There are many things you can do with money. Most people just buy things they neither need nor want.

Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don’t need.
— Tyler Durden from Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk

Now, I mostly like my job. :) But this quote is still worth thinking about.

Advertising is the art of convincing people to spend money they don’t have for something they don’t need.
— Will Rogers

On a less serious but still related note…

By the way, if anyone here is in advertising or marketing… kill yourself…you’re the ruiner of all things good… you are Satan’s spawn, filling the world with bile and garbage… kill yourself.
Bill Hicks

So much for quotes. Back to the topic.

I live in an abundance of luxury. I have food to eat, a warm and dry place to sleep, and clothes to wear. I’m not willing to submit to pointless consumerism.

That said, I am left with some money. I can leave it in the bank waiting for the economical crisis to eat it up. Or I can use it to buy some free time to do what I really want to do…

Happy New Year, by the way. :)

Touch typing

I started trying to touch type about two months ago. I used Klavaro (if you are on linux it’s most probably in your distribution’s repositories) to learn, and I’ve also learned by trying to use the right fingers for typing and not to look at the keyboard whenever typing.

My typing speed was promised to increase dramatically in few weeks while practicing a little every day. No such thing happened, although I’ve practiced almost all the time. I still write considerably slower than I did before I started touch typing. Am I unhappy that I started touch typing? Not at all — let me explain:

The advantage is that I can just look at the screen while typing. That might seem like a single advantage, but it’s actually several in one.

First, I can read other stuff while typing or look at people who are talking to me while I type (I learned that from a colleague, it’s real intimidating).
Second, I don’t have to switch display, keyboard, display, keyboard, display, keyboard… I just look at the display. This is much cooler than it sounds — it enabled me to move the monitor cca 40cm above the keyboard (both home and at work). So I can finally sit straight instead of bending over the keyboard.

On a completely unrelated note, I finally switched from czech qwerty (writing !@#%$&^% characters with alt) to standard english keyboard layout. A lot of stuff in vim has become much more comfortable — such as the ; right under my pinky, which means that repeating f/F/t/T has just gotten even easier and better.

On a semirelated note, I never knew that to write the capital X you can press the right shift plus the x. It’s not that I thought you couldn’t do that, I just never realised it could be useful and no one ever told me “you are doing it wrong”.

How to get an extra hour a day

Imagine you could get an extra hour every day. That means 365 hours a year. 365 hours is like 45 eight-hour work days. Wow.

I’ll start with a success story. Over a month ago, I read something very interesting about how to sleep properly. I used to have problems getting out of bed at 7am. I used to have those mornings when I felt like half asleep zombie for several hours after getting up. Now I have no problems waking up at 6:45, sometimes I even wake up earlier without the alarm clock. Oh, and I also started going to bed later (usually shortly after midnight but it really depends on when I start feeling tired).

Out of the last 8 days, I went jogging in the early morning 7 times. Today I woke up at 6:42, three minutes before my alarm would go off. It’s Saturday 7:37am and I just came back from my half an hour of jogging. I had a shower and am enjoying my breakfast, while all of you are asleep. ;) These long weekends are amazing — it really is a measurable difference.

Here are the keys (more or less sorted by importance):

  • get up at a regular time (yes, that includes weekends), go to sleep when you get tired (no earlier and no later)
  • get enough sunshine and natural daylight during the day (bulbs will not cut it, you need real light)
  • every day, do at least 20 minutes of increased physical activity such as running (most effective in the morning)
  • drink a lot of pure water (it’s also generally good for your health)
  • if you feel like taking a nap after lunch, do so (limit it to 20-30 minutes), naps are good for you
  • never ever take sleeping pills (important, but rather common sense, isn’t it?), don’t drink coffee or overeat yourself before going to sleep

When I was starting with this I was called gullible. What is worse — I was called gullible by someone who believes in a three-in-one god that is supposedly omnipotent and sent his only son (who was actually one of the three) to save the mankind by dying on a cross in huge pain. Crazy stuff.