Buitenland/Advice On Handicap Go

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Playing as Black with 9 Handicap Stones

Advice on Handicap Go

The following points/concepts help me most when playing handicap games

  • Use Handicap Stones
  • Force White into the center
  • Build a Box Shape
  • The sides are big
  • White is weak

General Strategy: Play Offensively

Use Handicap Stones

Use Handicap Stones to answer approach moves.

  • Handicap Stones permit severe moves.
  • Choose the right joseki taking in account your handicap stones.

4 can also be played at a or b depending on Black's strategy
(see problem 52 Graded Go Problems For Beginners Volume II)

Force White into the center

Keep the pressure on White, Attack and force White into cramped and overconcentrated positions / Force White into the center

Force White into the center  

B1 makes it hard for White to get a base at the top. B1 uses and reinforces the marked handicap stone. White has to run into the center to find an other eye. a would be also a good move for Black.
note the potential extension from 1

White is weak

Advice on playing high handicap games as Black

White is weak  

White is weak

In this position White is not strong yet. One should look for a move that develops Black and at the same time attacks White. Both a and b are good moves.

  • a develops the right side
  • b protects the left side
Developing the right  

Developing the right side

B2 is a development of the right, at the cost of the left. After W3, Black has to be careful, since a and b are weaknesses/invasion points and Black is getting surrounded. Next B4 more or less secures Black, while White has even less of a base at the top now. Black is developing on both sides while White has no secure territory. If Black can get sente, c is a good point to build a box shape using the marked stones. A box shape forms a framework, giving you an advantage when middle game fighting starts.

Protecting the left  

Protecting the left side

B2 protects the left side and keeps the pressure on White. If white invades at a, moves like b and c come to mind as both an escape and an attack against White. Because the left is secure, Black can play with a free hand on the top and the right. White has no territory and is split on a global scale, while Black has a good area on the left. If White plays a move like b (which still gains no territory), then Black gets another move to consolidate and strengthen himself. d and similar moves look good, and e remains a weak point for White.

Try playing dual purpose moves that develop Black while attacking White. Every invasion White plays is a chance to do so. Keep White from getting a base while keeping Black strong, or if this is not possible, then enclose White for outside influence. Whenever White plays moves that run out to the center, White is not gaining any territory yet, while a combination of attack/develop responses will be.

Original BQM question

High Handicap Games - White is weak in conjunction with your handicap stones on the board

9 stone handicap game  

Hi, I'm around 11 kyu on KGS and my opponent is a EGF 3 Dan. When I'm playing handicap games at the go club, many times I encounter the situation as seen in the diagram. I'm always confused on what to play next:

W4 at b. B5 at c to protect the corner. W6 at d. B7 at e. The idea is, while putting pressure on White, to make a box shape with the marked stones. Which seems a good idea to me but, due to W4 at b, my left side is always seriously damaged and heavy fighting occurs.

  • That's why opponent advices me to play B3 at b protecting the left side. But then my opponent would play something like W4 at a and destroy or weaken the box formation in the process.

Or play W4 at h and either damage the right corner or give a hard time on the little formation with the square marked star stone. I could make an iron pillar with f or protect the right side with e.

  • Other advice I have been given is to forget all together about the starpoint marked with the square and reinforce directly the right side with e or f.

  • Background
    • The corner star stone or hoshi does not secure the corner territory but strikes a balance between influencing the center and defending the corner
    • The corner star stone can be invaded: Check the 3-3 point or san-san invasion joseki's

Buitenland/Advice On Handicap Go last edited by Buitenland on October 17, 2007 - 16:15
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