Atari Atari /Tderz' Expansion

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Sub-page of AtariAtari

tderz: In this [ext] thread on GoDiscussions I tried to explain the following concept:


(please note that the letters in this diagram are not in order of value;
it does not mean that cut d would get the smallest result, in fact, I think that a ponnuki e would enable Black to go into direction f , which is one of the largest remaining open areas. In comparision, I estimate the capture of the 3 stones on the right quite small, as it has no follow-up.)

The Concept

  • imagine you can play a move (e.g. double-atari) which gives you for sure one of the follow-up moves A or B (a kind of miai), but of course it's your opponent's turn, so s/he has the choice.
    • if A and B now differ in value (say A > B), then OPPO will save A and you can take the smaller B.
    • So far so good - here was no best sequence to be played, as you only could play the double-atari to obtain the value of B.
    • please note: often the value is not just the (captured) stone count + underlying area points, rather it is the strategic (future) value. This means that a 1-stone capture (ponuki) facing the right areas can be worth much more than a 10-stone capture of globally irrelevant stones.
  • The game example around move 143 is of another, frequently occuring choice pattern: there are more cutting points, say a, b, c with pay-offs A, B, C or D.
    • if these pay-offs differ in value A > B > C > D (or at least one of them is different), and
    • you can get one of them A or B or C or D (but not all!)
    • the the question is what are you aiming for?
      • are you going for A? (after all it's the biggest)
        • OPPO defends A
        • now you go for B
        • OPPO defends B
        • now you go for C
        • OPPO defends C
        • now you go for D
        • you get smallest D

This reminds a bit of children going directly for the Marshmallow, not being able to wait for future benefits ( [ext] ) Remember, you could only get one of A to D, and of course OPPO can and will chose only to allow you the smallest. In the meantime, all the ataris, strengthed OPPO a lot and your own cutting stones at a and b are filling of eyes. Kyus play this atari-frenzy way on tactical level ('Atari-atari, vulgar play'). Dan players like me try to avoid this usually at all costs, but strategically, say in the opening or in running fights, I am committing probably the same mistakes, seen from a higher view.

Now imagine another scenario, where you correctly estimate the values (A>B>C>D; this is a prerequisite) and understand the principle:

  • and you play c going for D, after all it's the smallest, and 'Of course you are only entitled to D !'
  • your opponent has two choices, the correct way and the incorrect way (and those in-betweens)
    • OPPO defends biggest A
    • you TAKE smallest D
    • cutting point (or any other weakness) b is still undefended AND you did not give eyes etc! This is the advantage of this playing style.

The incorrect way often goes like this:

  • OPPO defends smallest D
  • you go for small C
  • OPPO defends small C
  • you go for small B
  • OPPO defends small B
  • you can take big A

Now you also strenghtened OPPO, but you are compensated with the biggest return, and, after all capturing something is still gote :-) Sometimes it may be even best not to cut at all, leaving all this as aji, doing other moves, and letting defend OPPO in gote, while you get the value of an average move in return.

The principle is very simple, however seeing the follow-up and estimating their values, can be difficult.

Path: <= Mistake =>
Atari Atari /Tderz' Expansion last edited by Dieter on September 21, 2011 - 16:13
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