Kiseong 12 Game 1 Early Fuseki

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Moves 1-10  

B1: HolIgor: Judging from the first 10 moves black has a plan to play mini-Chinese fuseki. I played this several times only and don't know the idea yet.

W2: HolIgor: White does not know yet what is the black's plan. So, this is, perhaps, yosumiru. Let us slap a stone in the opposite corner and see what is the opponent's intents. Strong players usually don't have any plans .

John F. W2 is the opposite of a probe. It is a forcing move - it stops the opponent choosing a tasuki fuseki and thus a fighting game.

HolIgor: If W2 is pacifying move, then why did Yu choose it? It seems that his chance would be in a fight to the death rather then in a large scale yose. I, for example, always give black a possibility to choose tasuki fuseki. My record in fighting games is better. Black can refuse, of course, but some accept the challenge.

John F. Yu has a fighting style, true, but he'd prefer to take the initiative in choosing when to fight, rather than let Black have control.

Dave Interestingly it looks like he has done better with this W2 than with other choices against Yi. The number of games in total is not large enough to be significant but he may feel more comfortable here.

Dave There is a sense in which W2 is the most aggressive approach here. As JF notes above, it prevents Black from playing tasuki. In addition it maintains symmetry. If we assume that Black plays next in an open corner then White has the opportunity to choose how to play in the final corner after seeing Black's choice. No asymmetrical play (either in an adjacent corner to B1 or an asymmetrical play in the diagonal corner) forces this since Black can then already choose B3 in reaction to W2. We sometimes see Black play B3 as an approach to this W2 to see how she will react before choosing a continuation in an empty corner. This is to counter or limit White's opportunities here.

Bill: The diagonal corner is, in a sense, normal for W2. (As discussed somewhere else on SL.) If we assume that the game starts with one play in each corner, a parallel fuseki is more or less dominant, since each player can force it. If White plays in an adjacent corner and a parallel fuseki is better for Black, Black can play one anyway. But if a tasuki fuseki is better, Black can play that, too. White's play in the diagonal corner limits Black's options in that regard. If White is going to play in the diagonal corner, then the 4-4 or 3-3 is most flexible, having equivalent relationship to each adjacent corner, whichever Black leaves open.

Floris: Eh? Strong players usually don't have any plans??? As far as i know pros usually do have plans.

HolIgor: What I mean is like this: let us suppose that we give a nine stone handicap to somebody. Do we have a plan? Do we know how we are going to win? No, not at all. We know that the game is lost. But we engage and wait till an opportunity presents. There is no plan till there is one.

Floris: Well, thats a 9 stone game :) I don't have plan in those either. But in even games there is a lot of planning that can be done as you can expect the best move played by the opponent. If in a 9 stones game your opponent plays the best move every turn, there should not be such a large handicap, if at all.

B3: HolIgor: Black shows the intent. If the komoku faces the star stone then the next move will be on the lower side. Either shimari or kakari. People who hate playing against mini Chinese beware.

Calvin: I don't get it. White can prevent black's mini-chinese plan as late as move 6. Does the fear really start now because the alternatives for move W6 mentioned later (pincer and counter-kakari) are inferior to the keima actually played?

Dave: It is not fear but rather activity. The fundamental issue for White in the fuseki is when and how to confront Black. Let's look at White's Fuseki Choices.

W4: HolIgor: White does not mind to play against mini Chinese. Since the komoku faces own stone it is possible that white would play something in the spirit of Chinese if the opportunity presents itself. But it won't be so and white is aware of the fact.

Dave This W4 and the play c appear about equally often. One impact of the choice made here is that the upper left corner becomes more urgent than when W4 is on hoshi. In Yi's case, if we look at the last 5-6 years, he has been more willing to continue with the mini Chinese against W4 on hoshi and more willing to play at a or b against W4 on komoku.

Bill: How often is W4 at h? Hardly ever, I suppose. It certainly looks questionable to me. However, by symmetry, it returns the board to an equal position, that does not appear to be hotter than the original, empty board. Does that mean that B3 was inferior (in theory, anyway)?

B5: HolIgor: Black chose to make a kakari.

Dave Currently Yi seems to choose the mini Chinese most often. He has also played a, b, and B7 here.

W6. HolIgor: White does not hurry. I have no idea why did he chose a low keima extension rather than high or low ogeima. Perhaps he knows. Perhaps, because he is the best attacker in the world he likes to be thick and solid.

Dave The low keima extension has been by far the most popular choice here. The alternatives have been d, e, f, and g. In 1998 Yu chose the high play at d against Yi in this position.

Yu - Yi, 9th Tong Yang Sec. Cup  

Dave Yu lost this game. It may have influenced his choices for both W6 and W8 in the later game we are studying.

Bill: The keima response is the most solid extension, so it reduces the temperature of the left side the most. That fits in with White's plan to play wariuchi on the right side next. The one space jump makes the left side more inviting for Black.

This also relates to W4. If W4 had made a nirensei, then the top side would be more inviting for Black than in the game, and it would not matter so much to reduce the temperature of the left side with W6.

Both W4 and W6 anticipate W8 and Black's subsequent possibilities. Who says that strong players do not plan the opening?

B7: HolIgor: Now it is definitely mini Chinese.

GoBase: 81 hits. Some of them quite recent.

John F You should really be getting lots more hits. I suspect you may be searching on the whole position rather than just the right-hand side. From what I've seen, White's position on the left is not much of a governing factor so there's no need to do a full-board search. I may offer some GoGoD figures later.

W8: HolIgor: This is a big question. I guess that white choses a point far from lower right corner because he does not want to strengthen black beyond the point where invasion is no longer possible. At the same time the option of a safe kakari to the stone at the top remains. The primary purpose of the move is to split the right side. The lower side is a little bit dangerous yet, I guess. White has the same usual problem of white. Black went first and is a stone ahead every time it is white's turn.

GoBase: Only 5 hits.

John F In the light of published analysis of this opening, 8 and 9 are pretty standard plays. White has experimented with other moves for 8, gradually moving away from the lower corner as Black's open clam has proved to have mighty jaws. But a move at 3-4 in the lower right is pretty powerful against it if you can get the timing right.

John F (Follow-up) We have 404 Sideways Chinese. In 315 cases the White reply is below the hoshi point on the right. White 8 is rare - 13 cases. Black has tried approaching this stone, with a tsume, on both sides. So we are entering into fairly unknown territory.

A factor may be that Yu has a 21-38 record against Yi with colours this way. He needs to find some new ideas.

Dave The starting point for analyzing W8 has to be the play under the hoshi (W8 in the Tong Yang Sec. Cup game above). There have been two basic approaches: approaching from above to push White down the side (most often with a or b rather than the B9 shown above) or attacking from below to wall off the bottom with c or d.

When Black approaches from above, he expects the White 2-space extention and also expects White to further strengthen these stones in response to pressure from below. As the White stones become stronger a question will remain about how vulnerable Black's upper right corner becomes. In the Tong Yang game Yi extended right up to the White stone with B9, leaving the maximum gap between that and the upper right corner stone. He had to be confident of his ability to handle the nearly inevitable invasion later.

Floris: Possibly white played W8 because he wants to prevent B9 in the following diagram.

Alternative for 9  

This move puts white on the defensive (usually) and might not suit white's likings.

Dave Today someone might choose an alternative W8 for that reason but it appears that the shoulder hit with 9 was introduced in early 2001 just after our game was played :-)

B9: HolIgor: This is interesting. When black has shimari at the lower side the attack would usually come from below and if white extends (which white usually does) black would play an extention at the top. Here, black attacks from above with the intent to strengthen the lower side after natural black's 2 space extention.

GoBase: In four other games black attacked from below. Interesting. Either the Stone Buddha does not know the direction of play of he knows something.

Yu - Yi Se-tol 2000-11-20 (diag 1)  

Dave This looks like the first use of W1 when the Black stone in the upper right is on hoshi (at least in top-level competition). Yu Ch'ang-hyeok introduced it against Yi Se-tol in game 3 of the 8th Paedal Wang Final. The game was played less than two months before the game we are analyzing. Here Yi Se-tol played B2 from the bottom. After the exchange through B6, White approaches the bottom with W7 and a fairly standard exchange occurred...

Yu - Yi Se-tol 2000-11-20 (diag 2)  

B1 here looks rather tight in relation to the marked stone. White has prevented Black from forming any large framework. The game continued from here with hard fighting breaking out across the board and ended in victory for White.

Two weeks later (2000-12-06) Yi Se-tol took the White side of the exact same position against Yu Chae-hyeong, 4d, in game 3 of the 5th Ch'eonweon Final. White won again. So when our game was played Yi Ch'ang-ho was probably looking for a fresh approach.

Dave A little further research shows that W8 as in the game is a currently active line of play when the Black stone in the upper corner is on komoku rather than hoshi. See the commentary on Samsung 2003 Game 3 for two examples in late 2003 of such play. The play dates back to at least 1991 when Kobayashi Koichi played it against Ma Xiaochun.

W10: HolIgor: When I was 7 IGS kyu I thought that I had yet time to play a jump to the center, so the base is not a must here. Now, I would not hesitate to make the same move. A natural move.

John F You are right to have learned the value of 10. Left alone, of course 8 can run away, but only as a useless line of stones. It would suffer ijime.

Moves 11-12  

B11: HolIgor: I think that black is not very happy with 2 stone extension but the corner is firm and a place for white's invasion is prepared.

Dave The most frequent approach in the mini-Chinese is to build some kind of framework around the bottom right corner. Yi does not choose to go down that road. Instead he makes a tight but strong position, forcing a reply from White (I am sure he would have been satisfied to switch strategies if White had not answered). As a result, Black had sente after W2 to play in the upper left. I believe that it is easiest to understand this and various future plays by Black if we assume that he has a "meta-strategy" (for want of a better term) of avoiding fights and winning by outplaying White on territory.

HolIgor: Nice strategy but it is so difficult when white has 6 stones in the bowl cover even before the game started. My impression was quite opposite. By choosing mini Chinese black lures white to start a fight. Then, as we will see in the game, black would dodge from the fight, getting not so big but sufficient territory compensation.

Dave If you have the chance to go over the Paedal Wang game above between Yu and Yi Se-tol, you will see a real fighting game. By comparison this one is quite orderly. Black consistently connects solidly and the two sides divide up the board without anything large being captured. But we can discuss this further as the game continues. :-)

dnerra: I don't think Black is unhappy with this move. I think the solidity of this iken tobi does make a much bigger difference for the corner than one might think. Both when white enters, and when black tries to close it off with a move like a. And of course he wants sente to enter the upper left corner.

Dave Interestingly enough the earliest use of B1 in such a position may have been from the game 5 of the 1996 Wangwi title match...

30th Wangwi game 5  

Black was Yu Ch'ang-hyeok and White was Yi Ch'ang-ho! :-) Black won this game as well.

W12: HolIgor: Honte. As honte can be omitted in general case but here it seems too important. White does not want his group to be attacked while black would develop thickness. Invasion at the lower side would be almost impossible then.

Dave Normally in the mini-Chinese if Black builds a framework by playing a shoulder hit against the White stones, White gets some compensation by sliding down the side under the stones. After B1 has been played such a slide will be impossible. This means that if White plays elsewhere and Black plays at the marked point (for example), White will simply be under attack and will have difficulty obtaining any compensation along the side. The attack may also result in Black being able to strengthen the upper right corner so that White loses the opportunity to invade there. I think W2 here is natural, maintaining a balance on the right side and preparing to play into the lower right.

White uses the strategy that I call the strategy of fighting units. At the moment white has 3 rather thick unconnected groups ready to fight. Yet, this strategy has a significant drawback. The territory is small. White has to split something weak from black's groups and get the territory while attacking.

Dave My perception is that Black is dictating the overall strategy of the game rather than White. Most importantly Black has sente at this point. In the two earlier games mentioned above, White ended in sente in the lower right, extended along the top, and was thereafter able to fight on favorable terms in the upper left. Black prevents that in this game.

Kiseong 12 Game 1 Early Fuseki last edited by Dieter on January 13, 2012 - 17:38
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