Here are some pictures from our last day at the center. This first one is Zhang Pei Pei and Xie Er Hao playing "Guess the Next Move in the Pro Game". While we were playing this, I started doing "eeny meeny miny mo". Zhang Pei Pei loved it and made me say it every time afterwards. She even got Walther to do it a few times. I wrote it down for her on the back of her kifu book.
On the right, Xie Er Hao hiding.
For our last day, I requested to play Zhang Pei Pei again. As usual, I resigned quickly. Until just a few days earlier, whenever she played as black, she would play as if she was playing white: she'd take territory in different places all over the board. Also, she tended to play a bit slowly and wait for her opponent's mistake. Then she'd pounce on it and attack. Yan Laoshi told her that she couldn't do this against stronger players though, because they wouldn't make that mistake she's waiting for and she'd just get behind. She listens to Yan Laoshi, so in my game, when she got black she played the low Chinese opening. Playing me is easy for her, but since she was trying to get her stones to cooperate, Yan Laoshi was able to demonstrate that she got a lot more territory this way. Here, Walther is trying his luck against her in the afternoon. On the right, I'm getting crushed by Xie Er Hao.
Walther brought a lot of candy with him from the U.S., so we gave out candy to the kids on our last day just before we left. Earlier, I gave Zhang Pei Pei a necklace of mine and she gave me a little stuffed animal dog, on the tag of which she had written her name and the date. She had a matching one and had me write my name and the date on hers. We exchanged email addresses and birthdays before I left. I got an email from her when I got home, but all it said was "hello". I wrote back but haven't gotten a reply yet.
I will miss Yan Laoshi and his family and all the kids at the center. I think I've really learned a lot and, more importantly, I've acquired a better idea of how to study and learn Weiqi so that I can continue to improve.
Time for some Oscar-style gratitude: thank you first and foremost to Yan Laoshi for being such a great teacher and spending so much time with us; thank you to his wife Li a yi for welcoming us and making us feel comfortable; thank you to Yan Sen (their son) and Li Zi (Li a yi's nephew) for keeping us entertained; thank you to Liu yi for all the wonderful food; thank you to Li Chen (Liu yi's daughter) for helping me to learn some Chinese and providing some extra English reading materials; thank you to all the kids at the center for playing with us and teaching us; thank you to all the other teachers at the center for the same; thank you to my fellow students Romain, Siu and Walther for making this first year with Yan Laoshi an excellent one and for studying and learning with me; thank you to Siu and Walther for translating so much for me; thank you to Rich (my first Go teacher) for his continued support; and finally a big huge thank you to Guo Juan for giving us this amazing opportunity!