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!
After and , 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.
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 . White is quite weak here. White will usually respond around the marked point. That would make sente, then white could still approach on the right side.
, , and are natural. Some people at the workshop were surprised by . 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.
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 . The marked point is "normal", but I hate normal. I decided to strengthen 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.
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.
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 , making a good move. This is why we can't learn that 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 , black proceeds with ...
If black simply pushes at , white cannot play 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.
does not effectively link the stones, and white cuts with , he carelessly connects with . This gives black an opportunity...
Black immediately gives the game back by mis-reading a life and death problem in the lower left corner.
About 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 , 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?
With the capture of , 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...
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.
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).
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.
It is good to keep in mind that black can also try to capture with a looser move like . This doesn't help white and leave black more options.