Oryx

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Oryx's Go Jottings

These Jottings may seem obvious, and clearly they're the rude scratchings of a rank beginner. But we have to realize that when I learned them, they were new to me.

Credo: I think the process of learning Go, what we learn, when, is as interesting and important to the overall game as game-specific concepts.


It's good to look at a comment I added below, at [100].

 In general, my comments about this page are waaaay
 down at the bottom so they won't get in the way. Those
 comments deal with this homepage, not the game or my
 learning. You may avoid them, by merely not clicking
 on any footnotes in the 100's.


Table of contents
Table of diagrams
Cat's Face or [Tiger Shape|TigerShape]
Empty Triangle And Liberties
More Empty Triangles & No Added Liberties
After a [3-3 Invasion|SanSanInvasion]
License to Kill
double-hane
double-hane


White takes the bait!
Continuations after the descent B1
Variation: hane instead of descend
Variation (cont'd)
Variation (cont'd)

Making the best of a bad job
Countering the descent
Move 118 -- WHY?
Moves 119 to 128
macisajt POUNCES!
A Little Black Magic


Move 106: The invasion starts
Move 106: The invasion is dead in gote?
Moves 107 to 116
Peaceful death
Peaceful death 2
Peaceful death 3


* About me & this home page

 Please see the subpage if you really want to know about me;
 but it's a lot less interesting than my Jottings here



The Jottings

1. "3" (san) line is for territory, "4" is for influence

This is why the Star Points or 4-4 Point are nice to start with, but don't by themselves establish territory.


2. The Big Point

Always look for the biggest point you can play, or, look for your opponent's biggest point and play there.

Now, I have to learn the difference between an urgent point, and a vital point.


3. Don't touch

When attacking a group, don't touch the enemy stone at first. That merely strengthens him.


4. Empty Triangles are BAD

OK, I still don't fully understand why they are bad, but I still try to avoid them.

[Diagram]
Cat's Face or Tiger Shape  

Crimson: Empty Triangles are bad for many reasons. The list starts with a wasted stone which connects two stones that can't be separated anyway, and would be better placed to form the CatsFace, which is lighter, connected better and has more eye potential.

Oryx: Many thanks Crimson! It's now three months after I wrote this jotting, and I think I can comfortably say that I do understand why the empty triangle is bad. In most cases: see GoodEmptyTriangle for the exception to the rule.


[Diagram]
Empty Triangle And Liberties  


Crimson: Also, empty triangles are heavy, and lack liberties in close fighting. Compare liberties with three stones in a row.

Here, the two shapes have the same number of liberties, even though the lower one (the Farmer's Hat) contains one more stone. This is because of the two empty triangles.

Oryx: As is more fully explained in A Static Treatise on Shape, an extension of a bad shape is more bad shape.

[Diagram]
More Empty Triangles & No Added Liberties  



Oryx: This can get to absurd lengths; in general, a blob of stones clumped together is either a waste of perfectly good moves that could have been out establishing moyo, or else it's the beginning of some Go parody (see the terrifying B2Bomber, or the famous treatise, "Get Strong At Empty Triangle").


Actually, Empty Triangles are GOOD! When you see your opponent making them, you can sit back, and thank him for the free sente he just gave you, and go invade some of his loosely-held territory.


5. "Walk to strength" ( Guo Juan )

I learned this one evening spent while 5-D Go teacher Guo Juan played a teaching game at KGS, with audio (!), with an on-line audience of almost 1,000

[Diagram]
After a 3-3 Invasion  




If I understood Ms. Guo correctly, then at this point B should extend his strong wall towards the Star Point at black+circle.
This would be even more important if B had territory in the upper right corner.


6. Two escape routes: license to kill

This one's from Lynx, a player at KGS.

[Diagram]
License to Kill  

Lynx pointed out that my seemingly live white group along the side here is really dead -- because while B invades, I can only defend one side at a time.
After black+circle, (a) and (b) are miai, and white dies. Painfully. So it goes.

Lynx: I'm not sure if it is dead, but it is clearly very weak. Perhaps a Dan could look at this and sort it all out?

Alex Weldon: The diagram doesn't really show enough to say whether it lives or dies. Depends on what's going on above. black+square is weak, so if W has friends nearby to connect to, he can likely live or escape with c. Note that c gives B the option to double-hane which can lead to ko, or W giving up his group for a ponnuki on the outside, among other possible results.

Oryx: As I recall, I had nothing close to connect to (top line in diagram added after Alex Weldon's comment). But you raise a very important point, that we high-kyu players too often forget: things always go better with some friends around.

[Diagram]
double-hane  

tderz: In this diagram, White would be dead without ko, W7 = A, B8 = E.

[Diagram]
double-hane  

tderz: if Black answers a ko threat W7 with B8 and White recaptures with W9 = F,
then this isn't anymore a flower-ko for Black as also separation white G is threatening.

Because of these complications I estimate this a very game-depending problem.
W can be forced to live by crawling.


7. Forbidden Fruit: a too-tempting hane

From a teaching game with czarny, a 7K player at KGS.



[Diagram]
 




We are at the very start of the game, four innocent moves, nothing special... then Black decides to look hungrily at White's lower right corner.

[Diagram]
 




White doesn't feel terribly threatened, and tries to isolate B5 with W6... only to see black+circle invade at the 3-3 point at the very start of the game!

czarny: White W6 is the most natural response for B's keima kakari to hoshi - the purpose of this move is to attack the single stone B5 in order to :
1) avoid b's from developing along the side
2) build thickness in case of invasion

[Diagram]
White takes the bait!  




They exchange a move each, then White grins with avaricious glee: and hanes at square! AH HAH, he says to himself, Black's a goner here!

He doesn't read, however, the threat implied by black+square...


[Diagram]
Continuations after the descent B1  



[1]Tderz: White is hoping in hamete-manner for the submissive Bd. White must be prepared after Wa for Bc or Bb, which are both bad for White. Bc usually leads to the greater damage for White. White can also consider simply playing c (eliminating the weakness) instead of a (has been played already in a professional game, but there will have been a white stone around or left of e, I'm sure). Black will then play a (then White g?)

[Diagram]
Variation: hane instead of descend  



The black cut c now leads to similar outcomes as with the B1 descent variation.

[Diagram]
Variation (cont'd)  



B1 (= b above [1]) is a subtle response, which shows that the hamete should lead to a bad result for White:

[Diagram]
Variation (cont'd)  



White has committed aji-keshi with this exchange, lost the attacking aji at f and one ko threat. The price of playing hamete (might look small but is decisive in even games). I only played the descent variation B1 in handicap games.


[Diagram]
 



Black extends at B1, which draws W2 to block; Black cuts with B3, White atari... ending with Black atari on W8, and suddenly, because of the overriding presence of black+square, the White group of white+circle-white+circle-W2 is short of liberties. Black takes the corner, and White's in tatters.

And all this, because White's unfortunate hane.

[phantom] Interesting example... It seems a little specific to actually remember and apply to games, but I think it does a good job of making the point that other stones can really change 3-3 invasions.


ThaddeusOlczyk Kogo describes the hane as a serious error for just this reason. It seems the hane is played out of a desire to kill the invading stone. One should always keep in mind that unless the proper steps were taken, 3-3 invasions should succeed. That is unless I am the one invading, in which case the invasion will fail.

Oryx You might study the forthcoming pamphlets, Get Strong at San-San Failure and Winning Au Go Go: The 1-1 Invasion Strategy for more ideas on blowing a 3-3 Invasion.


[Diagram]
Making the best of a bad job  

Rich: The best result I can see after this is for white to play W6 in the original diagram as shown; there's still some aji there for later, though. White will have to take care in responding to a, black gets a big corner and could play at b for a nice thick shape along the lower side. White is left with a small group and bad aji.

Charles But see go bloopers. I wouldn't believe Kogo about anything tricky. The only attested pro example I know is Otake's hane-tsugi and cut.

[Diagram]
Countering the descent  

Bill: Through W5 White is quite thick. (Compare this diagram with the ones where White responds to the 3-3 with the outside block.) Isn't this good for White? Suzuki and Kitani agree (Small Joseki Dictionary).


8. More Forbidden Fruit: TheCaptain offers Bait

This is from a KGS game on 2004-Nov-16 between TheCaptain (B/5d) and macisajt (W/7d). Two things struck me about this game. First, was one KenConan's comment:

KenConan [3d]: TheCaptain is very good at semeais, and has good tesuji sense... but he lacks fuseki

OK, I'm still too new to place all my Go terms right into context. I saw that and wished I could click on links to the terms during the game! More about KenConan's comment later...[2]

[Diagram]
Move 118 -- WHY?  











At this point B is ahead by maybe 50 points or more. Ok, so he cuts at Q9. But can't W just kill this single stone off? What is TheCap thinking?

Rich: W can't capture this stone.

Oryx: shhhh... don't give away the ending! :) Some of us don't see it yet, not till we read through!

[Diagram]
Moves 119 to 128  











W suspects something with this stone, or perhaps she figures it's small, and she needs to deal with larger matters first. The game progresses... it's still there, the easy kill.

[Diagram]
macisajt POUNCES!  











OK, so TheCap loses one measly stone. But why did he throw it away like that? Or did he?

[Diagram]
A Little Black Magic  











... and suddenly a very nice 8-point or more profit garnered. Cute trap, if I do say so my [untutored!] self!



Rich: ....so there is no trap :)

Oryx: well, that's easy to say (and see) now, but beforehand, during the game, it was pretty amazin' to me.




TheCap eventually went on to win the game, but not before macisajt showed her 7d strength, winning a cliffhanger of a semeai in the lower middle, winning back nearly 30 points for a 7.5 point final margin. One day hopefully I'll present that battle, and we'll see if, courtesy of 20-20 hindsight, TheCap could have pulled it off.


[Diagram]
 

ThaddeusOlczyk: Actually there is nothing surprising in this combination. Many kyu level players should see it.[101]

W1, B2 and a and b are miai. White plays one Black takes the other and the cutting stone escapes.

This would be plain to either TheCaptain or macisajt, and macisajt did not play these these moves to capture the cutting stones, but rather to extend her right group into Black territory in sente. ( Which W1 and a do. )

The stones were captured way earlier in the game when Black played 8 and 10 in your sequence. Why White did not fight harder, I do not know, but understand that White did not feel they were worth saving.

[Diagram]
 

If one replaces one of the weak white stones with a black stone, Black would respond to 1 with 2. This is a difference of roughly 7 points for White. One says that the threat of reviving the dead white stones is aji, which White uses to gain 7 points.

Bill: If Black played the reverse sente, he would gain points. White's sente play, however, is like cashing a check. In a sense, White is only making sure to get what is rightfully hers. See Sente gains nothing.


-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --

[2] KenConan's comment, translated for us neophytes:

KenConan [3d]: TheCaptain is very good at semeais, and has good tesuji sense... but he lacks fuseki

He's very good at mutual capturing contests, races where both parties are enclosed, have at most one eye and are reducing each other's liberties, where the first one to put the opponent into atari and then capture their stones wins the race.

Also, he has a good sense of local position play -- winning local fights.

But he seems to lack a good strong opening.

Ok, whether you agree or disagree, or like or dislike KenConan -- he seems to have his own set of detractors on KGS -- now at least I know what he meant!

And by the way. At THIS point in my Go career, looking up at a 5d like TheCap up there on Mt Yokahama or something, and having seen a couple of his other games... looks to me as if his style can be summed up as generally using many, many tesuji in the mid-game, eventually combining those seemingly small plays (like the Bait offered above) into sizable territory.

Visiting Reader: As a Dan player, I find The Captain very entertaining to watch, but bad for kyu players (especially those weaker than 5kyu) to try and emulate. He has a very aggressive and greedy style which is full of overplays and is hard to learn from. The player on KGS I'd recommend most for kyu players (and Dans) to study is intetsu - he has a very patient, crystal-clear style and superb endgame. Makes a lot of honte moves, which is something everyone should try to emulate.

Tderz: Everyone can learn something from better or evenly strong players. From TheCaptain we can thus learn good shape, tesuji, semeai and [L&D]. If TheCaptain were (even) better in fuseki, then he would be KGS 6dan or more.

The so-called overplays belong to (t)his style - and create aji. They are overplays most probably only in the eyes of players with different styles.

Just taking away these overplays leaves a style without its basis and would be comparable to the situation, where you give a calmer player the order to invade early, attack and kill where s/he is not prepared/experienced to do so. The result would be devastating.

While being much weaker than the Captain - I can fully identify myself with his style - its stylish ^^.

ThaddeusOlczyk: So who are DansToEmulate?

Visiting Reader: IMHO, the classic Captain overplay is from greed, not to create aji. I have seen too many games where he has a big lead (which often comes after killing a large group) but throws it away after playing perilously deep into his opponents territory or moyo. A simple reduction would have sufficed but he tends to go all out and often has his invading groups perish (and/or his other groups or territories are damaged while the invading group tries to escape). When his invading groups live, it is impressive and entertaining but at the same time, it's not wise for kyu players to try and emulate.

ilan from his comments on DansToEmulate: Actually, you should watch games of all styles, not necessarily to emulate them, but rather to learn how to deal with them. If you believe that TheCaptain's style is not necessarily sound, then you will learn a lot by trying to figure out how to refute it and compare this with the way his opponents deal with it. In particular, if you improve enough, you will have to play him at some point.

Lynx: [deleted comment about grammar[101]] (I hope he forgives me)

Oryx: A high (beginning) kyu player, I can state that we watch high-Dan games not so much to try and emulate the players, but for the sheer enjoyment of watching players do things that are totally unfathomable to us, and seeing outcomes that (to us) are surprising, are amazing, are just indescribable. I'm talking here, not only of the slap-dash close-in fighting style of TheCaptain, but of the careful, totally-perceived board of macisajt. With everything else, we still see the magic...


Rich: I agree with VR - it's a chaotic style that is best admired for its virtues rather than emulated. Don't try freeform jazz before you've learned how to play your instrument :)


9. Keima as an Invasion Technique

The example here is from a game between myself and nakedjazz, a Japanese 20K player on KGS who beat the pants off of me the last time we played. I have a feeling we'll be playing each other many, many times in our Go careers.

Obviously, the idea of using the "Knight's Move", or two stones separated by one vertical and two horizontal (or vice-versa) as an invasion technique is not my original invention!. I've seen in recently in several teaching games, and had it used against me a few times. What is new, is what is basic to this page, in that it is a technique that I've tried to learn and adopt.

[Diagram]
Move 106: The invasion starts  


At this point I'd just blown a group on the middle left, but I had some nice area on the right and a bit on the lower middle left... so I thought I'd try invading.



C0nfuseki: I personally think this invasion can be countered by Black hitting underneath at Square. But more importantly, I think Black can both save the corner and threaten the White group by playing a nice move like Circle instead. This allows for Black play at a to kill the White group.


symplicity: I would agree that the circle or thereabouts looks pretty large right now, though I'm not sure how a kills white afterward. Anyways I agree, this invasion should not live. In fact, I'm not even convinced white can live if black ignores it, since black is so ridiculously thick all around.

[Diagram]
Move 106: The invasion is dead in gote?  

symplicity: Say black ignores it. If white tries to escape at W2, B3 is enough to seal it in. If white tries to make a base at W4, the long knight's move at B5 removes essentially all of the eyespace. Since Black has no major cuts or weaknesses to worry about, so I don't see anything white can do.

[Diagram]
Moves 107 to 116  





nakedjazz sees the threat to his center and blocks with B1, while I continue with the invasion. I have a lovely spread of white stones that has every promise of life, though at the cost of little to no influence towards that center.

I'm fairly satisfied with this result, but I wonder if I could have invaded differently, and retained influence to the middle... Comments? Ideas?

symplicity: I know you played as white, but if you put yourself in black's place, this position could actually serve as a good case study in killing much-too-deep invasions, if you're interested =). Note black's weakness-free massive walls on both sides. That's a good sign that black should be able to kill this invasion. So (assuming you aren't confident enough to play tenuki), how should black do it? There's no need for black to start playing crazy contact moves like B3. These only complicate things and help white establish a base. Instead, the easiest way is often is a peaceful, seemingly lazy attack.


Focus on 3 things: protect your weaknesses, stop the escape, and remove the base/eyes.

Black has no weaknesses or cutting points, so we can check that one off for now.

It would take several moves for white to escape all the way out, on pretty much all of the circled points. So we don't need to worry about escape much yet.

So let's remove any hope for white getting a base.

[Diagram]
Peaceful death  

We can do that with a move like B1. It may even be too passive, but it is simple, gives white no chance to complicate. If white blocks at a, black has no weaknesses still, so he can simply hop in from the other side at b or c and again white has no base. If white plays c or d, black plays the simplest possible move to deny any base, a slide at e.

[Diagram]
Peaceful death 2  

Following the game sequence, is still fine for black. But now, there is no need to play a reckless contact move (B3 at a) as in the game. White definitely can't escape now, so just deny a base. For instance, B3 is fine, or if you aren't confident enough that you can connect B3 up with the right, b or c are also perfectly fine. Even blocking at d works.

[Diagram]
Peaceful death 3  

Even a few moves later, black has an easy, simple way to kill. It's clear white has no way to escape, so rather than playing on top, as in the game, black can simply undermine white's base at B2. So, the rule is: just remove the base, stop the escape, and play solid and simple. -symplicity



Coconuts: In my eyes this invasion is far, far too deep. Black can rightly consider almost all of the space above tengen as territory. Suppose B1 was at W4...there are almost no options left for white. Jumping out seems impossible, the cap of B1 is all but unnecessary. The result is amazingly good for White...but I don't think we can consider this anything but a swindle. =\

Around a is the edge of this very territorial moyo, and the only real safe place to play keshi. Unfortunately for white, black's gains in this game seem too great to overcome if black plays solidly.

As a more general response to your thoughts about the keima, W2 is a move that seeks a base, ie tries to find some eyespace and more area to live in. You're right, the keima from the fourth to the third line, or the third to the second, is a good way to look around for the base, especially when it is a slide underneath an enemy stone. You will see this type of move frequently in many situations, not just deep invasions. For a simple example, take a look at perhaps the simplest joseki. Both black and white make keima extensions in this joseki, each looking for a base more than territory.

The keima is a good starting point when your stone starts feeling a little cramped, in need of some settled space to live. Don't consider it an iron rule, though (or anything else in this game! =) ), as sometimes you are left with an ugly angle play that does more harm than good.

Oh, if you have it around, can you show some of the moves that led to the position in the upper left? I ask because W at b looks interesting, if only white were connected or had one or two more liberties. Black is tantalizingly weak up there! Cheers =)

Oryx: Ask and you shall receive! See the subpage An Interesting Upper Left!

Thad: It is very important to know The Difference Between Your Opponent Losing And Your Winning. Perhaps someone can use this as an example of how to handle such swindles, so that those of us ( everyone? ) who have had a large moyo reduced to rubble can avoid such in the future.


10. Tsumego, Tsumego, Tsumego

In strumming through the Recent Changes, I chanced upon an interesting looking page title, Benjamin Teuber's "Guide To Become Strong". Clicking the link, I was immediately reminded of one of the very few things I actually REMEMBER from my Korean Sensei, waaaaaay back before most of you were even a gleam in your parents' eyes.

"You want to be strong? You play, play, and play -- and when not play, tsumego, tsumego, tsumego. Learn what life & death is: then you live. Learn what fighting is -- then who knows," he would chuckle with a smile, loading that advice with all the double-entendre of a Korean Professor of Philosophy.

So this is a really short Jotting... Benjamin Teuber explains it well on his page, so if you doubt ME, and you doubt my Korean sensei, go look there!






Oryx's Editorials: My comments about this homepage, not the game

[100] ... but unless we've been SHOWN it, no, we DON'T just see it. I am not embarrassed by my lack of skill or knowledge - I know I will grow in both and in rank. Bear in mind, though, these Jottings are a view into my own personal patch of how I'm doing that, and that before I had the wonderful assistance and generous time from you, ThaddeusOlczyk, and Bill, and Rich, and Lynx (whom I haven't seen in ages on KGS), and even (or especially) "Visiting Reader", just to name a few of the contributors here, I would never have learned just how to view this combination.

[101] One good thing about this being my own home page, is that I take care of such things as typos and missing hyperlinks quietly as I get around to it. I am overjoyed that my Jottings have attracted so many bright and valued comments, and words cannot express how much I appreciate the input and guidance. I am a bit chagrined that "Visiting Reader" was bashful and didn't choose to leave his/her KGS nick, but that does not detract from the validity of their comment.


Oryx last edited by 50.23.115.116 on January 25, 2015 - 22:39
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