Paths: Commented games =>   ·   <= Handicap =>
Sub-page of TeachingGame22
Moves 11-20  

Scartol: Black 10 seems like the move.

JamesA: Yes, I think Black 10 is a good move. It balances well with the lower left and prepares to attack White 9 at some point.

Bill: After Black 10, any attack on White 9 is small potatoes.
JamesA: I think the exchange of 9-10 favours Black though - and it is nice and simple.

JamesA: I don't think there's any need to rush to invade any of White's frameworks at the moment (if they can be called frameworks!) as White needs more than one move to fix all the holes in her positions. Isn't there a proverb or something that says to make your own positions strong before attacking?

Anyway, White 11 is a clear overplay but I want to see if you can punish it.

Bill: I don't think it's an overplay. :-)
JamesA: Really?? I thought it was an obvious overplay! White is unsettled at the top and doesn't have time to go invading the right side (where White's prospects are poor anyway). White had to play again at the top, surely?

Scartol: This feels like it's right out of the diagrams below. So I'll respond in kind with Black 12.

JamesA: OK, Black 12 looks good to me as it puts pressure on White. Black a would put even more pressure on but would leave a slight weakness at b. Black 12 is nice and solid. I'm going to try to minimise the amount you can achieve with this attack and you basically have to draw as much benefit from it as you can. Here goes nothing with White 13...

Scartol Black 14: Okay. Well, moving in like this looks like a good place to start. Of course, I'm attaching, so maybe there's a better move...

JamesA: Black 14 is a severe, uncompromising move. It's not right to call it an attachment. What it does is split White 11 and White 13, aiming to rip apart White's stones. Black could well succeed because White has made several overplays here. However, things are certainly going to get complicated because White has left a cut at c. You probably know the proverb...

Personally, I think connecting at c would have been a better move. It keeps things simple. It means Black would have an iron wall splitting two weak white groups - a classic way to attack. Notice that if Black had answered this way, White would still need a move or two to settle each group in this corner. As you only get to play one move per turn in go, Black could make sure that White didn't get settled without having to give something in return (like territory or thickness). That said, I'm going to struggle to deal with Black 14 as it is more severe. How about White 15?

Scartol Black 16: Hmm. Well, I don't want to let White 15 link up to the moyo on top, but I can't come up with a way to prevent this. I can't hane to the right, because White can double atari as below. And playing hane to the left will make a mess too. So I'm going to extend my lone stone. Now White 13 has to extend, and I can link the two iron pillars (as illustrated below).

Failed hane  
Threatening White 13 - Take 1  
Threatening White 13 - Take 2  

JamesA: White 17 - takes the corner (profit) and goes a long way towards settling this white group. Black 16 is not a good move, I'm afraid. Look at the diagram below:


If Black is going to use four stones to capture one white stone, this is the best way to do it. The problem with Black 16 is that it leaves all kinds of aji in the position for White to exploit. This allows White to take the corner calmly with White 17, more or less ending Black's attack. Black needs another move to capture White 11, but White will probably leave White 11 for the moment, as the black group with Black 14 and Black 16 is very solid, so White won't gain from attacking it.

I guess the point is that Black has 'cashed in' his attack too early, and has not gained enough from it. In fact, White seems to have gained a good deal of territory himself. Black c above in response to White 13 would create an attack which would last a long time and favour White(?) throughout. If Black had played c, White would have been left with absolutely no aji to exploit, and would simply be in trouble.

As you have already noticed, Black 14 has resulted in a position which requires a lot of reading to exploit properly. To comment on your analysis above (subject to anyone else's improvements):

Successful hane  

White should play 3 in response to Black 2. If Black plays a, White will play b, leaving a forcing move at c for later. If Black captures with d, White could play a followed by e, perhaps. Notice that this result is actually better for Black than in the actual game. Black takes the corner (profit) and can sacrifice the two marked stones to stop the strong white group from doing too much damage.

Instead of Black 4 in your first diagram, I think Black would play as below. Black 8 puts White in a difficult position. Can you see the variations that result?

Difficult for White  

Simple for Black  

Alternatively, White could capture with 7, but then Black plays 8, and is in good shape. Notice the enormous difference between this and the actual game. Black has the corner here, White has it in the game. This is worth a lot of territory.

White would not play directly from White 13 as in your second and third diagrams. It is the aji of that stone that White should use, not the stone itself. White 13 should be treated as captured. The problem for Black in the game is that he didn't capture it properly. Basically, I think the hane we've looked at is exactly how Black should follow up Black 14, but it takes a lot of reading to get it right (I'm not sure I've got it right either...).

Not wishing to labour the point, but Black c originally solves all these problems. Does this all make sense?

Scartol: Yes, it certainly does. But I was ready to cede the corner anyway (I didn't read the hane out extensively enough -- maybe I'm just not strong enough at reading to do that yet). My main focus was isolating the two stones on the left. So with Black 18, hasn't Black trapped White 11 as well as 13, making a pretty big area in exchange for the corner?

JamesA: Certainly, Black is still ahead, but is not ahead by as much as he should be ;). White 11 may not be as trapped as it looks - Black 18 is loose and a little greedy. How would Black respond to a white play at d now? Also, White 13 is more or less captured, but does have some aji left to annoy Black later.

An important point to understand is that White 13 has achieved a lot. Although it has been captured, its capture has enabled White to settle in the corner, take more territory than she should, and have sente to play elsewhere. A stone's usefulness is not dependant on whether it is captured by the opponent. It is better to have played a well-used stone that is captured than a useless stone that is part of a living group, but achieves nothing. The basic lesson is: it's OK to lose stones to your opponent, just make sure to get something in return.

Anyway, I have sente so I'll play White 19 and see how you respond. Before you play Black 20, please answer me two questions;

  • What do you think White is trying to do?
  • Is White's move reasonable? If not, why?

Scartol: Sorry for my prolonged absence. I got a new job and working 12 hour days is killing me.. Anyway, White 19 seems to do a number of things: 1. Extends White's moyo on the bottom; 2. Puts pressure on Black's right side; and 3. Gains central influence for White (with the possibility of keeping Black contained in the lower right corner).

Is White 19 reasonable? Well, it's a very big jump from its base (which is itself still unsettled). But I don't know how comfortable I'd feel trying to slice into that jump. My inclination is to just fortify my positions and press against the loose link..

JamesA: Congratulations on your job - I guess it must be a good one if you are having to work 12 hours a day!

Yes, that is exactly what White is trying to do, although there is also a tactical motive... Personally, I don't think it is reasonable - it's thin. However, White may be able to get away with it because of the Black 4-White 5 exchange at the beginning of the game. Let's discuss what the next move for Black will be a little further.

You say your inclination is to reinforce your position on the right side. Presumably, then, you are worried about something White can do there. What sequences can you see that justify reinforcement? Let's look at these sequences and see whether you really need to reinforce the right side.

Second, what do you think will happen if you try to slice through White's jump? Let's analyse the variations.

The right side  

Scartol: I think I have a habit of thinking -- in situations like this -- that I am in control of the right side. Because Black's are the only stones there, I feel like I have dominion over it. So when white puts a stone down, I freak out a little bit. So a play at a or b would probably unnerve me, but as I look at it now, I recognize that defending would be simple, and putting pressure on (to force White into the center) would help me in doing it. So I guess defense on the right isn't so much of a priority..

Now, how to slice into White 19? Well, it's an ogeima, so I feel like it should be relatively easy to break apart. But when I play against an opponent who is much stronger, I worry that the tactics I normally use won't work (s/he knows a way around them), so I'm scared to try them, for fear of getting stomped. Of course, I recognize this as a silly neurosis that gets in the way of learning (for which I'm constantly chastising my students). So I'll jump in the way I would in an even game -- by striking at the waist. The question for me is, which waist? I've sketched out two trials below..

JamesA Ok, first - what can White do on the right side?

The right side (2)  

White 1 is what I had in mind if Black play tenuki from this area. After White 5, Black has to play 6 and fight - conveniently enough the ladder favours White. After White 7, what variations are there? Who will come out better? Remember that a and b are vital points here. If Black doesn't push through with 2 and 4, he will be pressed down by White, and the result will be advantageous for White.

How would you evaluate the next diagram? Is it good for Black or for White. Another point to think about is whether White can make the bottom area safe with one move. If she can't, Black can afford to strengthen his own position, allow White one more move, then invade. Can White make the bottom area solid with one move?

The right side (3)  

This looks good for Black, and White makes some progress (especially thickness) as well. Can White make the bottom area solid with one move? I think so. A move at e or f (main board above) seems to sculpt a pretty solid foundation (I'd be inclined to play f).

I suppose -- in light of the comments about attacking the thin White 19 (which make a lot of sense to me) -- this Black 1 is the move to make. So I've made it.

Ogeima Attack #1  

This one seems okay -- 1 will live because Black has a ladder breaker. Left to my own devices, I would play this way.

JamesA: This diagram seems right so far, but analyse a bit further. What happens after White plays a? (which you can guarantee she will)? Try to read out the fight that follows and see whether it's good for Black or for White. Your analysis is good as far as it goes, but you need to spend more time looking deeper into the position.

Ogeima Attack #2  

This one also looks to favor Black, but it has more fighting and could lead to a ko. Part of my hesitation in trying this slice comes from the fact that I'm very unsettled, and I usually don't like to attack until I am. I know in the back of my mind that attacking can help me settle, but I still tend to put it off.

dnerra: Scartol, the other variants have been analyzed better than I could by James and Bill, but I have one more comment to this diagram. Here Black can play at Black a, and all his stones are connected! (If White b, this stone gets captured.) If you can cut through you opponent's stones like this, and stay connected yourself, you can be quite happy about the result. Here the upper white stone is terribly weakened, and the three white stones aren't without problems either. But as James said, White would not play this way.

JamesA:Slice number 2 is what I had anticipated, and I think it will work out well for White. Here's my analysis:

Ogeima Attack #2(2)  

After White 6, the marked stone ends up on just the right point to threaten a cut at a. Black would need to defend against this. Also, White would still have a play at c to take the corner, and b to complicate the right side. Compare this to the following diagram:

Ogeima Attack #2(3)  

Black would not play 1 here, as it strengthens White and doesn't work well with the marked stone. If Black slices through as in diagram "Ogeima Attack #2(2)" it is as though Black was forced to play 1, and then answer weakly for each of the following moves. Black would never leave the corner open by playing at a above, for instance.

Alternatively, Black might play as follows:

Ogeima Attack #2  

How will Black answer White 8? If Black is worried about White 8, he could play 7 at 8, but that will leave the corner open. Alternatively, Black could consider 5 at a, but again that leaves the corner open and doesn't put much pressure on White. On the other hand, Black 5 at a would not strengthen White as much as this diagram, so Black might be able to attack later.

Bill: Black 5 is bad, strengthening White. Better at Black 7.

To summarise, it is often not a good idea to slice whenever your opponent plays thinly, as it may be possible for your opponent to treat one stone or another lightly and get a good result. Often better is to keep building your surrounding positions and take advantage of the thinness later.

Bill: Well, there's just so much thinness a guy can take! ;-) Divide and conquer!

It is normally better to break shorter sector lines, and so slice through the ogeima, but that will probably strengthen White's position on the bottom. So Black might try an invasion.


This looks playable, but in a handicap game is asking for trouble.

JamesA: I felt that it would be difficult for Black to make this attack work, as the marked stones are strong.

Ogeima Attack #1 looks pretty good. :-)

Nice attack  

Black 5 aims at both white groups. After White 6 protects, Black 7 is severe.

Nice attack (2)  

If White 1 runs, Black 2 leans on White's bottom group for strength and then may continue with Black 4. The attack favors Black, but White has made profit on the bottom, and, given the difference in strength, White should come out OK.


The tsuke-nobi looks OK, too. Black 7 protects against White a. Black may prefer this, as he remains connected. Instead of Black 7, Black b looks OK, too. Then the exchange of the marked stones looks silly, but better for Black. :-)

JamesA: Wouldn't 6 here be better at c? Also, there's no getting away from the fact that White has been made strong at the bottom and comes out with sente...

If White continues as in Ogeima Attack #2(2), Black can be satisfied.


The marked white stone is clearly misplaced, and, even though the marked black stone could be better elsewhere, it is not as badly placed. Black is thick in the bottom right corner and can look forward to dominating the right side. White's moyo is still a bit thin. Black can aim at a or thereabouts.

JamesA: Thanks Bill, I got that analysis a bit wrong it seems! However, I've looked at this again and now I'm not so sure. The diagram below is the result if a joseki pattern is played. First, Black normally shouldn't play this way, as it strengthens White. This is an especially bad idea in handicap games, where Black should try to keep White on the run. The result in the diagram above is similar except:

  • White has the weakness at a;
  • Black is no thicker (perhaps a little less thick, due to the aji of the circle marked stone?);
  • White still has access to the corner;
  • The circle marked stone still has aji to help White limit Black's right side development.

I agree that the weakness at a is very troubling, but I wonder if White can live with it in view of his having the option of a jump to b to live in the corner, as well as the strength of the square marked stones (owing to the exchange made by Black here). An invasion at a might turn into a target for attack. Anyway, I'm not certain about which result is better. However, if Black played this way, White would be grateful for having made Black to play in a way which strengthened her. The other important point is that White comes out of the above diagram with sente, so can deal immediately with the right side, knowing that her group at the bottom is safe.

Joseki equivalent  

Moves 1-10  

"The ancient Japanese considered the go board to be a representation of the universe." - Sol, during those beautiful pre-game goban shots in Pi.

JamesA: How about 4 stones? That way we avoid fuseki to a large extent and get straight into the fighting. I think that is the most important part of the game to try to improve in.

Scartol: Sure, that makes sense. Black 2: I want to make sure I don't get surrounded.

JamesA: Yup, Black 2 is nice and solid. A play at a would attack 1 more strongly, but Black 2 has its own advantages (territory). It's a personal choice.

Scartol: Black 4: My personal choices almost always lean towards territory. Now, for the lower left: If I play at b, I keep from getting surrounded. But if I don't respond to White 3, then I let White carve out a big moyo in the bottom center. I guess a reducing move may be good, and then defend when white responds?

The Arrogant Kibitzer: Uh oh - a shoulder hit from below - those are almost never good. Generally, if you must play a diagonal move and make the opponent stronger, do it from above and make sure *you* also gain from it. I.e. not recommended in this situation.

JamesA: White 5: I'll accept the invitation to become strong. The question is now whether Black can make this move look heavy.

Scartol Black 6: I hope you don't mean on my very next move. Now that I know that my last move wasn't the best in the world, I want to secure my right side as much as possible.

Scartol Black 8: Well, I clearly need to play b as soon as possible, but I don't want to get surrounded on the top left, so...

JamesA: Actually, you probably don't want to play at b now that you have played at 6. Notice that you have played a shimari on the third line in all three corners. This indicates to me that your chief concern is with territory. Remember that the 4-4 point is not ideal for making territory. The best way to use it is to attack or to build on a large scale. Black 8 has less effect on White 7 than a play at b would have.

If the reason you are playing on the third rather than the fourth line is that you are worried about a play like White 1 below - don't. White 1 is an overplay and is punished by Black 2. White 1 then has nowhere to go that won't damage the marked stone.

No worries  

Bill Spight: A word about balance, an important concept in go. Black 8 is out of balance because of Black's solid formation in the bottom right corner (Black 2 and the handicap stone). Both are low and solid. A good alternative is d, attacking White 7 and extending from the handicap stone in the upper left. If White now makes a double kakari and ends up with a group on the right side, Black's solid formation in the bottom right limits the development of that group. That way Black d would work with Black's existing stones in three corners of the board. :-)
After Black 8 the right side is non-urgent, and White can develop on the top.

Scartol Black 10: Okay. Well then.. Taking all that in, Black 10 seems like the move.

JamesA: Yes, I think Black 10 is a good move. It balances well with the lower left and prepares to attack White 9 at some point. I don't think there's any need to rush to invade any of White's frameworks at the moment (if they can be called frameworks!) as White needs more than one move to fix all the holes in her positions. Isn't there a proverb or something that says to make your own positions strong before attacking?

Anyway, White 11 is a clear overplay but I want to see if you can punish it.

Paths: Commented games =>   ·   <= Handicap =>
TeachingGame22/Moves1Thru20 last edited by CharlesMatthews on March 28, 2003 - 10:36
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