Ten kyu side invasion

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Hi all.

I am in the fortunate position to have a weekly Go club at work (8-10 players from 3 dan to 20 kyu - bless the French and their two-hour lunch breaks), and I sometimes play against the stronger players, with 5-8 handicap stones. Often I find myself with a large moyo, which White invades and manages to live in or get out of without me getting any benefit from the attack. Also, White often says that she should not really have been able to live.

White invasion  

Today, the position was as given on the left (roughly - according to my memory) when White invaded with 1. The sequence which followed is shown. I approached from B2 since I reckoned that my lower right corner was the corner I'd rather not push her towards. Playing B2 at W5,B6,W3 or similar make an instant local fight which White (being 8 stones stronger) normally wins. I quite liked B4 because it strengthened me towards the left and I couldn't see the cut (B4 at W5) giving any immediate benefits. I was pleased to see her play W5. I played B6 to limit her base, and although I could see the W7-W9 sequence, I didn't think that B8 and B10 were bad.

White then played a, which made me afraid of losing the connection to the marked stones - although I managed to 'chase' her out, and build a wall towards the left side of the board (and keep my groups connected), I was unable to profit largely from the chase.

I felt that I had not done too badly - chasing for the kill is not normally a good idea and I did get some profit from it, albeit not as much as I'd wanted. However, White later said that I should have been able to kill her invading group, but we didn't have the time to go into it.

So, the question is:

In a positions such as this example, what can Black do to put more pressure on White? What should his first priorities be when he applies the pressure (direction, distance from attacked stones).

Any thoughts?


First some comments on the sequence that was played:

W1: Ah well, I guess one has to do something giving (what seems to be) 8 stones.

B2: When someone attaches against your stone, the best thing normally is to answer directly. I can imagine that you find W5 or B6 too frightening, but then still you should normally play W3 or b.

W3: I think b would be better.

B4: Black must cut in this position. The position is similar to Black having peeped and White not having answered. B5 is mandatory. After this, probably White will play at W6, and then B4 (or B9) will follow, and Black gets a nice amount of territory.

The moves from W5 to B10 all seem reasonable.

Konrad Scheffler: Those are good comments, I'd just like to add one more in response to "I was pleased to see her play W5": that is the wrong feeling. After W5, close your eyes and sit very still - if you listen really carefully, you will hear a tiny but heart-wrenching sob. That's the stone at B2 crying. It's almost worthless pushed up against white's solid connection, just think how it would have loved to be a cutting stone at W5 instead. Stones have emotions too, it's cruel to upset them like that...

Then, the moves after White a. There are two possibilities:

1. Be aggressive, take away eyespace, and attack; 2. Be less aggressive, but still attack.

Quiet attack  

To start with the second (probably worse in this position), a sequence like the one to the left is not unlikely.

B2 is a nice move, connecting Black's stones while stopping White's from doing so. A very good alternative is Black a - not only helps this in encapsulating the white group, but it also has a very nice follow-up at b.

White probably will have to make eyes on the edge. Here White succeeds, but Black is still happy with his thickness, and after W9 will go on to make a huge framework on the left side.

zinger: I'm not so sure white succeeds in making eyes this way. Black can play c, white d, black e, and white can't finish his second eye with f due to damezumari.

Steve Kroon: I agree, Black can kill that way (although he'd be unlikely to spot it at 10 kyu). However, White can still live with 9 at d instead.

Two step hane  

In this position, Black can also play two step hane at B4 here. If White defends (at W8 or something like that), Black defends at a, and White has only one eye on the edge. White will have a hard time finding a second, while Black already is making profit out of his attack. If White captures B4, Black crosses under with B8 and B10, and the white stones on the right seem to be captured.

Direct attack  

In this position, because he is quite strong and the white group very weak, the more direct attack with B2 is perhaps even better. What will happen next is not clear, but White will have to do some elbowing around to make two eyes. This diagram shows one possibility, and it is a great success for Black: White will still have to work hard to make his second eye, while B6 and B8 do great damage to White's right side.

Finally, more general advice on attacking:

  • As you say, going immediately for the kill is rarely good. Use your attack to build thickness or territory. In the above examples, we see Black building thickness that destroys White's right-side potential or builds Black's own on the left.
  • The thing you want to avoid most is giving your opponent an easy connection. Cut the attacked group off from his friends whenever you can.
  • Don't allow weaknesses in your attacking groups. If your surrounding groups are weak, killing will be much more difficult, and if you don't kill, the weaknesses will hinder you afterward.
  • As a consequence of the previous advice: If your opponent threatens to break through your encirclement and at the same time threatens to (for example) make an eye, don't allow him to get out. Even if it means giving him immediate life, having him invade your territory or moyo, even if it is looking for eyes, is very disagreeable. This is very sensible and put very well. It goes well with the idea of not always going for the kill and knowing when to stop.
  • In most cases, the best distance from his group is one space in between. If you touch him directly, you often give him momentum. If you are further away, you might leave enough space to give him eyes. (Touching directly gives White the option of hane to create a possible crosscut. The hane helps create eye shape. Crosscut are a source of complications, and complications always favor the stronger player.)
The power of the keima  
  • The keima (knight's jump) is known for its attacking potential. One type of keima attack that is often seen is the sequence in the diagram to the left. The one-point jump, although better known for its defensive potential, also is often used.
  • The basic techniques of attacking are enclosing and chasing. If you are able to confine your opponent to a small space, your stones generally develop a very nice thickness. This is especially true if your opponent has a hard time making two eyes, because in that case he will have to push against your surrounding walls, making them even stronger. If you chase your opponent (that is, jump across the center side-by-side), the goal should be to get a line of your stones facing an interesting direction (for example a moyo of either player), while his are running over dame points (that is, are neither making territory nor useful influence).
  • Look at possibilities to strengthen your positions with peeps. If you can threaten to cut your opponent's group in two, or to take away an eye, in such a way that your own group is strengthened or his eyespace reduced, while he does not get more options, this is (of course) a worthwhile move. Don't be afraid that he will give you part of the group and escape with the rest - this situation just means that you are ending the attack and reaping its sweet spoils.

-- AndreEngels

Thanks for your advice. Your general points crystallise many of the things I was struggling to make clear to myself. The difficulty is still in knowing when to attack forcefully and when to attack more reasonably. I suppose that the only way to know when to do either is by experience and being able to recognise killable or attackable shapes/groups without having to read through too many complex sequences.


Last week I gave a lecture to the beginners at our club about instinctive moves. That is to say, the first move you should think of in a certain position. The moves B2 and B4, as already criticized by Andre, were two of the basic examples.
B2: "Answer a tsuke (attachment) with a hane."

Answer a tsuke with a hane  

This should be your instinct, but instinct should of course be questioned. In many cases a nobi (stretch) is called for, sometimes an ikken-tobi is playable, but the majority of cases orders for a hane.

B4: "Extend from a crosscut"

Extend from a crosscut  

Rearranging the order of moves, if Black had played B4 at W5, the configuration would be an extension from a cross-cut. Here too, it sometimes is better to atari from a crosscut, but one's instinct should be to extend. From which stone and in which direction, that's a matter of analysis.

Both B2 and B4 ignore two basic principles in Go (as far as this humble second kyu is concerned).
1. Connect your stones (and likewise cut your opponent's stones).

2. Don't let yourself be shut in / surrounded (and likewise, shut in your opponent's stones)

There is another awkward position on the board, with respect to the above mentioned principles. I have taken the situation before W1.

Black blocks  

B1 should be played at any moment to make an attempt to stop the white groups from linking up, and to link his own stones. He cuts on a large scale, even if one or more of the stones get captured.

Compare this with a white play there.

White connects on a large scale  

The right side has become one large white territory, the white groups are connected on a large scale, and the marked black stones have become useless.

Many of the proverbs, both in small-scale tactics as in large-scale strategy follow from these two important principles.

-- Dieter Verhofstadt

Ten kyu side invasion last edited by emeraldemon on February 1, 2008 - 04:12
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