In The Beginning / Study Notes

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These are the notes I (TaoVegan) have made for the first chapter of the book In the Beginning. They are simply study notes intended to be mnemonic devices for myself. As such, they may not be proper triggers for others, but they can be copied and modified as you read the book.

Please understand that these notes in no way replace reading and studying the book. The text, examples, and diagrams in the book are excellent and simply reading my notes will give you only 1% of the knowledge in the book. Also, I want to stress that these notes are from the author's words, they are not my ideas, opinions, or interpretations.

Chapter #1

  1. The First Moves Of The Game
    • First go after the Corners (corners, then sides, then center).
    • Second stake out side territory.
    • The center serves mainly as a place to escape into for stones that cannot make enough room to live at the edge of the board.
    • The most popular opening moves are the 3-3, 3-4, and the 4-4 points.[1]
  2. The 3-4 Point
    • Its asymmetrical position invites another play by Black or White.
    • If you make this play it is called a shimari (corner enclosure). It takes possession of the corner and forms a stable base for further development.
    • If your opponent makes this play it is a kakari (approach move).
  3. The 3-3 Point
    • The corner is defended with just one move but the play is low and small in scale.
    • There is no rush to play a shimari or a kakari.
    • It is symmetrical and develops more naturally with a long extension rather than a shimari.
    • After a 3-3 play both players usually stay away from the corner until developments elsewhere make a shimari or kakari appropriate.
  4. The 4-4 Point
    • The corner is not defended but the play is higher and has greater scale.
    • It is symmetrical and develops more naturally with a long extension rather than a shimari.
    • The corner can be invaded, at 3-3 for example, but this is good for the defender.
    • Most kakari are best answered by a one-point extension in the opposite direction.[6]
  5. The 3-5 Point
    • This move stresses the upper side of the board.[2]
    • Its asymmetrical position invites another play by black or white.
    • It can also support a long extension without a shimari
  6. The 4-5 Point
    • This move stresses the upper side of the board.[3]
    • Its asymmetrical position invites another play by black or white.
    • The reflective move on the other side of the hoshi point is a strong shimari.
  7. Example Opening
    • Look for an urgent shimari.
    • Look for a kakari.
    • Make an extension (the area in front of the opponents shimari is very valuable so try to extend there first).
    • Try for a large-scale double wing formation if possible.
    • Try your best to prevent a large-scale double wing formation if possible.
  8. Extending Along The Side
    • The most important maneuver of the opening. It is the basic way of forming territory and of making eye space.
    • How far to extend?
      • Based on the relative strengths of what is being extended from and what is being extended toward. Thus play close to weak positions and stay away from strong ones.
    • How high to extend?
      • Boils down to a choice between the third and fourth lines.
        • Third line ? takes a grip on the side territory.
        • Fourth line ? more effect going toward the center.[4]
    • Extend in front of a shimari
    • Consider the mid-point between corner positions for the extension.
    • Invasions by your opponent are possible but you should defend by building up the extension stone (alone and weak) and thus use this newly strong formation to support a counter-attack or other such operation.
    • The Importance of Making a Base.
      • The basic minimal extension along the third line from a single stone is a two-point extension. (From one, jump two!)
      • The basic minimal extension along the third line from a two stone wall is a three-point extension. (From two, jump three!)
      • Remember to always consider another extension from the first extension by leaving four points between the first extension stone and the closest opponents stone thus following the first bullet above.
      • Of course; From 3, jump 4 ? From 4, jump 5, etc.
      • Basic priorities in this area are:
        • Extensions to make a base for weak (isolated) stones.
        • Extensions in front of shimari.
        • Other extensions.
  9. Pincer Attacks
  • A pincer attack takes away a stone's room for extension along the side.
  • The function of a pincer attack is to prevent the opponent from making territory and forming a base for eye shape.
  • Extensions are the basic building blocks of the opening.
  • Pincer attacks are the basic offensive weapons.
  • Moves that are both extensions and pincer attacks are ideal because they build territory while attacking.

10. Invasions

  • A stone played between two opposing positions is an invasion. Examples include:
    • Near the side star point between your opponent's corners thus allowing room for a two point extension in one direction or the other after your opponent's follow-up move.
    • In the area of the corner of a double-wing formation. Perhaps at the 3-3 or the 4-4 points.
    • When there is little room for a base and eyes but a weak opponent stone is present an invasion, which is also a pincer on the weak stone, is possible.

11. Extending Into The Center

  • Pincer attacks and invasions tend to force the play upwards via extensions into the center.
  • It is not safe to extend as far in the center as it is near the side of the board.
  • The basic tools here are the one-point jump, the diagonal play, and the keima (knight's move).
  • Most often the one-point jump into the center is best. It is possible to jump two points from a two stone wall, three from a three stone wall, etc.
  • More than a one-point jump into the center from a single stone is weak, can be threatened, cut, etc.
  • The diagonal play is slower than the one-point jump but stronger with regard to attacking nearby weak stones and/or preventing connections.
  • The keima, when played low during the opening, aims at forcing your opponent towards the edge of the board (second line extension) by preventing a third line extension.
  • The keima (knight's move) must be made with care as it can often be cut.
  • One common use of the keima is to advance to the fourth line from the third line after a capping play by your opponent (answer the capping play with a knight's move).[5]

12. Pushing And Crawling

  • When pushing and crawling along the side of the board, one side makes territory while the other makes a wall facing the center that may be used for building territory and/or attacking.
  • When behind in a pushing battle, you must try to jump ahead.
  • When ahead in a pushing battle, you should play hane. However, be careful not to create too many cutting points in your position.

Chapter #2 (Nine Concepts)

  1. Make Your Stones Work Together
  2. Efficiency
  3. Play Away from Strength (Play Away From Thickness)
  4. Thickness and Walls
  5. Open at the Bottom (open skirt)
  6. The Third Line and the Fourth
  7. Reverse Strategy
  8. Light and Heavy
  9. Attack and Defence

[1] Charles Matthews The 3-5 point is more popular than the 3-3 point, both historically and at present. That's partly a fashion thing: the 3-3 point was most used in the 1960s and 1970s.


3-5 point  

Andre Engels This of course depends on how the board is positioned. If the position is as in this diagram, it is indeed the upper side that is stressed.

Charles I protest a little - that's a 5-3 point.

[3] Andre Engels: Usually the 4-5 point is considered primarily to stress the center.

[4] Andre Engels: It also depends on what is near - don't play on the third line if you already have two third-line plays in the vicinity, then your position will be too low.

[5] Andre Engels: Another common use is when you are jumping to the center together with a weaker group of your opponent's. By playing a keima instead of a one-point jump, you reduce the area he has available, and thus increase the pressure.

[6] Charles Again fashion has changed - the knight's move extension has been more used for the past decade.

In The Beginning / Study Notes last edited by CharlesMatthews on June 2, 2003 - 09:25
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