Agilis/Agilis's Idea Bank

Sub-page of Agilis

Agilis's Idea Bank

Table of contents

Discussion greatly encouraged! Go nuts! Everyone is encouraged to stick their own guiding ideas, of any level, into the boxes, just keep things somewhat organized.

Purpose of the bank: Good play comes from good ideas. There's no way around it. There's a great deal of advice and information i.e. proverbs, invasion descriptions, joseki, examples, and much more, spread all over SL. But in an effort to perhaps humanize things slightly, here's one individual, working his way through all the information he can handle and presenting what he's got from it. There's much to be learned from an encyclopedia, but there should be a good deal to learn from observing an individual attempt to conquer the encyclopedia and watch through his eyes.

Good idea box:

Territory == Eyes

After teaching a number of total beginners who have learned the game themselves and often, if I mention this simple almost self-evident fact, I get a big "OOH!" reaction, so I'm putting it here.
Territory is nothing but really really big eyes!
Many beginners don't figure out without some help that a block of territory has what we would call 'eye space'. They don't need 2 tiny 1-point eyes to make life when they can make 2 eyes in their territory if there is a need to. There's lots of extra issues such as how big a space is needed for 2 eyes, but the core idea, territory == big eye, can be a big revelation.

Pay a little, buy a lot.

I'm overly fond of this idea, I feel it's quite fundamental to how I play. I'm greedy, but to a point. I don't need the entire board to win, just 51% of it after all. If my loose framework marks me ahead by 40 points, even paying 19 points and keeping 21 would win me the game. And in paying, I expect to not be badly surprised by a nasty tesuji or counterattack because I wasn't stretching myself thin trying to do too much. Those 21 points should be undeniably mine. That's not to say I'd ever cut that close a margin ^^;;

This thought is the basis, on small scales, of sacrifice tesujis. On bigger scales middle-game development, large-scale sacrifices, and even ko fighting in an indirect kind of way. Stretch the idea a bit further and it encompasses efficiency of stones.

Most moves should be threats

I'm tempted to say that All moves should be threats. But I have a feeling that there are simply times when a purely defensive move just has to be made. I see this idea all the time from stronger players. Each move ought to threaten to make you win the game, otherwise, simply don't make that move, some call it being 'active'.

What I'm afraid is that players starting out don't recognize that many things can be threats. Threat to kill, threat to cut, threat to make a big moyo, threat to solidify a moyo, threat to make ko while ahead in ko threats. All these place pressure on the opponent to neutralize your move. Perhaps this is sente in the ultimate sense? "Here I make a moyo, do somthing about it."

This comes to an idea that I hold near and dear in my play. Keep up the pressure for as long, in as many ways, as creatively, as you can. Make it a test of mental will and stamina if you can get it so far. As Janice Kim was quoted saying, down to the caps: "KEY PRINCIPLE #1 - GO IS LIKE A BIG GAME OF CHICKEN"

Bad idea box:

There are simply no absolutes in Go that I can think of, so many 'bad ideas' I put here probably derive from statements that tend toward absolutism. That's not to say these are the only bad ideas, they're just what happen to come to mind easily to write here.

Sente moves are always good

Pros worry a great deal about sente, it's worth quite a bit after all. However, just because a move is sente (like an important peep that WILL be answered) doesn't mean it will help you. If it doesn't you've just committed aji keshi at the best, maybe wasted a pefectly good ko threat, and at the worst you've made your opponent happy by handing them a thank-you move that hurts you far more than you've accomplished anything.

Undecided/simply interesting idea box:

Here comes things that are items of debate. There probably aren't any 'right' answers, just points of view. Style issues pop up here I think.

Surrounding vs Containment

I've been told Don't try to surround white, essentially, don't try to surround someone stronger than you. It's a perfectly valid statement for learning (ignore that on a finite sized goban, surrounding naturally happens), but I shall have to introduce my own caveats. I propose this: 'Don't try to surround white. Contain it as best you can.'

I am considering this statement from the standpoint of a handicap game, or where black has bet the game on his moyo and white's doing something to deal with it. I think it's the most typical time that black has this overwhelming urge to 'surround' white.

What's the difference you ask? I say the mental images of attack and defence. When the moyo is broken into, what runs through black's mind is roughly stop the bleeding, must stop the bleeding! If black is out to do this by surrounding white, to native speakers of english, doesn't that sound like an attack? Encircle and crush, etc.? Whereas, if black is out to contain white, to hold white back in an organized fashion, it feels more defensive, more planned. You already acknowledge that white's taken something, but you're going to stop this foolishness by sealing things where they stand now, maybe even retreat and sacrifice slightly if necessary.

Yes, it's a subtle mental shift, and possibly only because of the specific connotations of the english words. But I feel the analogy works. When people are on the attack, they tend to be thinner, more close-in with the enemy, more liable to be hacked to bits. When they're defensive, they're solid, willing to pay a few points to be unassailable.

This analogy also easily translates to another case of moyo defending. Realizing that white is in and there's nothing to do about it, you might do your utmost to steer white towards a less valuable section of the moyo - redirecting the damage like diverting flood waters. Try too hard to attack a stronger player who can outread you, leave yourself too thin, too close to the river, and suddenly your entire village is washed away.

Agilis/Agilis's Idea Bank last edited by on January 25, 2015 - 20:52
RecentChanges · StartingPoints · About
Edit page ·Search · Related · Page info · Latest diff
[Welcome to Sensei's Library!]
Search position
Page history
Latest page diff
Partner sites:
Go Teaching Ladder
Login / Prefs
Sensei's Library