Strengthening your own weak group makes your opponent's weaker

    Keywords: Strategy

BobMcGuigan: This was some advice given me by Nakayama Noriyuki 6p during a teaching game a few years ago. I'm still working on fully incorporating it into my own play. Basically it means that when you have one (or more) weak groups it is hard to attack because your opponent may be able to use your weakness to help his/her own weak groups. In other words, if you have a weak group your opponent has more chances for counterattack.

Dieter: Isn't this a bit of a truism?

Charles It's a message similar to the honte concept, and to what is said at Bi Qiang Zi Bao. There is also the gote no sente concept associated with Sekiyama Riichi's style; JF has pointed out to me that this comes from kendo.

I think the reason that this point needs to be made in different ways is that amateurs are reluctant to accept anything like defence is the best form of attack. Experience at the good amateur level tends to reinforce the idea the other way round: active play good, passive play bad. Matthew Macfadyen has tried to teach me something like 'the virtues of passive play'. Like Bob, I'm still working on it.

The whole topic of quiet moves in go is very interesting and hardly discussed.

"A group is as strong as the surrounding stones are weak" and "You cannot attack with a weak group" are two standard sayings that I have on this point - Andre Engels

Jowa could attack with a weak group, it seems. I have to admit I don't have his talent. Charles

Bob: Mr. Nakayama was definitely extolling the virtues of defence. I think Matthew Macfadyen must have been advocating for apparently passive play, i.e. not obviously aggressive play. I, too, find the idea of quiet moves interesting. Many things discussed elswhere in the Library bear on this topic, for example, miai, thick moves. And I've seen descriptive terms in commentaries such as "solid" and "sober" used in a positive sense.

Charles Shibui, too. 'Restrained', I suppose. I collected up some slow-looking moves and sent them to Matthew, who had various types of classification and qualification. It becomes a subject that looks quite big 'from the inside' - like much else in go.

Comments were of this type (probably starting a few more hares):

  1. 'a digging-in? move with very dynamic ideas in mind'
  2. 'more of an example of an absolutely necessary play'
  3. 'very hard to spot ... immediately apparent that there has been a professional involved'
  4. 'a class move. comparable with Shusaku's kosumi'
  5. 'more of an ordinary defensive move in good time'
  6. 'a slow second line play which changes the colour of a whole area'
  7. 'strengthening a group by not forming it' (!)
  8. 'a subtle one ... the argument for playing it is very impressive'
  9. 'whether to live fast or run gets harder as you get stronger'
  10. 'short extensions take advantage of the 'never answer a defensive move' proverb'
  11. 'when you have a fairly interesting thing to do, ..a solid stone can give you miai of a better version ... and something else ... while incidentally patching up'.

Seems like there is a whole pattern language out there in 6 dan land, remarkably disconnected from the usual hacker talk.

Strengthening your own weak group makes your opponent's weaker last edited by CharlesMatthews on June 28, 2003 - 12:07
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