ThaddeusOlczyk/Games - Chasing Groups

Sub-page of ThaddeusOlczyk

This is an interesting group which demonstrates the art of chasing a weak group of stones around to gain an overall advantage.

The game took place on

  • December 11, 2004 on the KGS go server

The opponents were

Moves 1 to 10  

The opening progresses more or less in an orderly fashion . . .

Moves 11 to 17  

. . . until Black decides to invade with B7 (move 17).

White then decides to strengthen her stones before dealing with the invasion. For those not that familiar with san-san (3-3) invasions, B7 would live if White decides to deal with it immediately.

Moves 17 to 25 (8 at 6)  

White builds an outside wall in exchange for a small living black group. W2 (18) and W4 (20) strengthen D-4 and E-3 enough that now B1 dies.

Blacks group on the right would have been able to make an eye with G-3 and been harder to kill, but then White would be able to kill B1. So Black lets White steal his eye at H-3 in exchange for B5 (21) and B9 (25). These allow B1 to live, but now the right stones are eyeless. (H-1 goes away if White plays G-1).

Blacks group on the left takes approximately 10 points from White and makes 10 points for Black. So it's value is approximately 20 points.

If Black decides to let the stones die, White gains maybe 16 points with a relatively strong group on the left. But the dead Black groups will have some aji which Black may be able to exploit later.

Whether or not this exchange is good is open to interpretation. I would say that for me, I would be happy as White to give up the corner for Black's group. Compare the result with that of the standard joseki when a san-san invades a hoshi, and I believe it looks better for White.

But instead Black decides that he wants to have his cake and eat it too.

Moves 25 to 30  

With B3 (27) Black tries to escape with his eyeless heavy group.

Moves 31 to 40  

White begins the first round of the struggle ending with W10 (40).

On the left White makes a strong group which exerts influence on the left side and center.

On the right White makes an ideal shape with K-4,K-3,M-2, M-4.

With W10 (40) I would say that White's group on the right is virtually alive. If Black expects to live by killing this, he will have to work very hard.

Moves 41 to 49  

Black goes running into the center. White prevents him from connecting up on right.

Rich: It's worth noting that the upper half of the board is equal; in the lower half, Black has both corners and White really has only influence. This is a great example of how much damage a weak group can do to you, and how you can trust influence to come good later if you know how to use it.

Moves 50 to 59  

White peeps with W1. If Black connects, White will connect M-10 to J-7, and his influence on the left/center is even stronger. So instead of connecting, Black blocks the connection of White to the center stones. White then proceeds to take the center-right side, . . .

Moves 60 to 61  

. . . and once again Black goes running.

Moves 62 to 70  

White blocks egress to the left. Black tries to split the blocking stone from safety . . .

Moves 71 to 72  

. . . and fails.

Moves 73 to 80  

Black shift fronts and approaches the upper left corner. White responds conservatively. Black proceeds with a second kakari at B3 (75).

Observe that B3 has a second purpose as a ladder breaking move (rescuing black+circle). White responds with a pincer, which restores the ladder.

Moves 81 to 90  

Black is forced to abandon his attempt to break the ladder and proceeds to attack the corner with a third "kakari". White proceeds to cut off the second from the third kakari.

Black sacrifices two stones to get the side. White sacrifices the pincer to keep the cutting stone captured, and to get the corner.

Moves 91 to 91  

Moves 92 to 100  

Black attempts to link his left group up with his center group. To do this he threatens to capture the cutting stone at E-14 and then sacrifices the stones at F-14 and E-15.

Moves 101 to 110  

White blocks successfully with H12, which can connect to either H-10 or J-14. Black tries to bull his way through, but fails.

Moves 111 to 112  

Moves 112 to 120  

His left group cut off from the center Black moves to make it alive. White threatens to cut off L5 from L8. Black connects. With K14 White moves to cutoff Black's center stones from the top. Faced with being surrounded Black tried to solidify his position on the bottom. White then uses K14 stone to invade the top.

Moves 121 to 130  

Rich: It's getting worse and worse for black. Look at that poor hoshi stone in the top right.

Moves 131 to 140  

Moves 141 to 150  

Moves 151 to 160  

Moves 161 to 170  

Andy: Seems here that black properly needed to fix up at circle rather than taking a few points in gote on the left with B5. This could also be a lesson about aji management.

Moves 171 to 180  

Moves 181 to 190  

Moves 191 to 193  

The game proceeds.

Moves 194 to 200  

Moves 201 to 210 (7 at 1) (10 at 4)  

Moves 211 to 220  

Rich: White uses the ko to take two big points, W4 and W6; black's lower right is going nowhere anyway. The points difference between getting the two points and the corner is not high, and they shore up weaknesses for later endgame moves.

Moves 221 to 230  

Moves 231 to 240  

Moves 241 to 250  

Moves 251 to 260  

Moves 261 to 264  

White starts a ko for life in the lower right, but soon decides to

drop it in order to settle the board. Black resigns.


  • The most obvious comment: don't make Black's mistake. "Don't get greedy" is a basic rule of Go.
  • Observe how the fight in the middle affects the rest of the game. With the exception of the S-7 group, every White group was influenced by Blacks struggle to save his group.
  • The Black group lived. You don't have to kill a weak group to get an advantage.
  • Despite the fact that Black lived, White did not let up on the group. It would have been easy for White to say "that's enough let Black live now". Instead White comes back to the well over and over. When it looks like Black can relax, White makes him work again.
  • I tried to collect some moves which demostrate the point, but there are just too many. Certainly the peep at move 50 (M-9) is one such move. Move 60 J-6, connecting and preventing Black from getting eye shape is another. Move 62 ( H-10 )

blocking escape to the left is another. The ladder blocking pincer at move 76 ( C-12 ) starts a series of double edged moves, one edge being an attack on the black group. ( Even before that most of the moves were double edged. It is at this point where the double faceted nature become sharp. ) The combination of moves 116 (K-14) adn 120 (L-17) invading the top.

unkx80: These are some very nice comments which all players should take note of. Excellent work!

Thank you

Rich: Agreed, a very nicely-picked example. And if Yaroslavna is who I believe, there are a lot worse people to study for good Shape.

According to her KGS information, her full name is Yaroslavna Vandrovskaya.

ThaddeusOlczyk/Games - Chasing Groups last edited by on December 13, 2005 - 15:38
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