Kirk/Janice Kim Commented My Game 2012

Sub-page of Kirk

Part of: Kirk/WhatILearnedAtJaniceKimsWorkshop

Game Analysis


Game Analysis (1-9)  

So this was a game I played in the summer of 2011. I had recently come back from a rather long go hiatus due to a busy work schedule. My rating had fallen from 2k to 4k over the year I rarely played, so I began the game determined to beat this particular 3k player.

I was absolutely delighted when I saw the way he tossed out a bunch of stones and let me build up nice frameworks at the easy points -- the corners and sides. He was haughtily declaring to me, "I am so strong, I will use these random stones to slash through your positions and utterly decimate you."

I didn't believe it for a second. I once played Jujo Jiang a nine-stone game and I was quite confident he could not beat me with that large handicap. I went from 10k to about 5k in the space of one year. I read The Power of the Star Point, and How to Play Handicap Go. I was ready to wield the power.

I was so happy as I chased white's hopeless stones around, making solid territory which defending in preparation to harass white some more. It was a delightful experience, I have to admit. I was excited that I would beat Jujo Jiang, professional go player.

He stopped the game when I made one wrong move on the side that was chasing his helpless string-bean across neutral space while I easily cashed out 60 points on the sides. I accepted his superior analysis of the situation, but I felt a bit cheated. Why didn't he let me have my victory? In retrospect, I should have been delighted that he took the time to teach me something instead of just playing out a lost game. In fact, I probably would have learned nothing at all from that experience if he hadn't stopped and showed it to me.

Oh, by the way, he was also playing about seven other games against far stronger players than me at the same time!

Defensive moves can be sente

Game Analysis (10-13)  

After W10 and W13, I switched sides, not wanting to follow my opponent's wishes all the time. Perhaps he did have some secret plan. I've got to play moves that makes sense to me, so I prevented a double extension.

Game Analysis: Variation  

Janice suggested that defending at the 3-3 is very tempting because it is almost sente. A bit later, if white doesn't defend, black could try B3. White is quite weak here. White will usually respond around the marked point. That would make B1 sente, then white could still approach on the right side.

White builds a framework

Game Analysis  

W14, W16, and W18 are natural. Some people at the workshop were surprised by B19. I thought is was pretty natural. It is clearly the border between the black and white positions, and it is urgent, being of double value, similar to a double-sente endgame situation. It also maps out the left side a bit, can work with a move around the marked location, and help some kind of reducing move against white's moyo in the center. Once a move has three good reasons to exist, I pretty much play it without further thought.


W23 made me stop and think. I didn't mind jumping out, but it might help white solidify his moyo, and I really want to counter-attack W23. The marked point is "normal", but I hate normal. I decided to strengthen B22 and then counter-attack.


I felt I needed to take the corner since outside thickness isn't going to do enough against white's position in the center to compensate for losing the corner.


B31 is bad shape. I knew it at the time, but I just couldn't see how it could be used to exploit my position, and it prevents white from playing around the marked point in sente. Nevertheless, it is bad shape. These kind of moves are "their own punishment."

Ironically enough, this very weakness was exploited, first as a ko threat and then as a storage of liberties threat.

Nevertheless, black still appears to be in the lead.

Black keeps up the pressure


With B35 black gets a nice attack going. W36 tries to create confusion.


Black responds solidly at B37 and then finds the sharp move at B41.


wa·ter·shed (n.)

1. A ridge of high land dividing two areas that are drained by different river systems. Also called water parting. 2. A critical point that marks a division or a change of course; a turning point.

Count the score. Based on that, what should black's overall strategy be?

If you said black should just play solidly, connecting his stones and taking no risks, you would be correct. Black is determined to win, so he plays all-out at every opportunity. As a result, he gets himself into trouble...


Black threatens white by taking away his base. This was a mistake. Black should instead seal white in, connect his three stones, and play solidly to win by a significant margin.

Ironically, white answers at W48, making B47 a good move. This is why we can't learn that B47 was a bad move! White actually made it a good move! This is why Janice says, "There is no cause and effect in go."

Buoyed by his successful sente move at B47, black proceeds with B49...


W50 appears to be a strong attack on the three black stones. In fact, it is not.


If black simply pushes at B1, white cannot play W2 due to the weakness white left at the top earlier. Oddly enough, play continues as though neither player realized this simple possibility.

At this point, black should again consider the appropriate strategy. Black now has a lot of corner territory, making his lead that much better. Sacrificing the three black stones is the wisest course of action here.


But Black looks to save them somehow.


B57 does not effectively link the stones, and white cuts with W58, he carelessly connects with W60. This gives black an opportunity...


White is caught in a ladder!


Black's big mistake

Black immediately gives the game back by mis-reading a life and death problem in the lower left corner.


About B75 Janice said, "When something dies, there is a natural desire to immediately get it off the board in exchange for something, but it is usually better to just leave it." The opportunities lost by committing to a particular use of their aji (potential) are greater than what may be gained from waiting until the position changes, and a different way of using them becomes more effective.


Black must hane at B85, not the other side. If he does, white will live and black will have gained nothing for his dead corner group.


So of course white lives in the corner easily.

What's the score now?

Black declares, "I win."


With the capture of B99, especially since it is not at the more normal marked location, black appears to be declaring, "I win. You should resign now." White, however, continues on...


W8 is suspicious-looking. Black might have a shortage of liberties. Black can still seal this game up by playing the marked point.


B111 could go all the way to S10.

A "scary good" black move


Black sees there is a one-step ko lurking in the corner and decides he has to fight it to win the game. Of course, he doesn't (count the score).

W28 at A, B31 at B25.  

White captures since black's threat is nowhere near as large as the ko. Black has linked back up to his dead group, and made some gain. Compare the score here against the score after black lost the corner group.

Endgame...or is it?


Both players start exchanging a bunch of sente moves that don't affect the score much.


The final turning point


When white invades a W1, black presses closely with B2.


It is good to keep in mind that black can also try to capture with a looser move like B2. This doesn't help white and leave black more options.

B181 at A.  
,000 Final Position  

White: 47 territories + 10 prisoners + 0.5 komi = 57.5

Black: 37 territories + 10 prisoners = 47

Result: W+10.5

Kirk/Janice Kim Commented My Game 2012 last edited by on June 28, 2012 - 05:27
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