Concepts of Fuseki - Part A

British Go Journal No. 16. March 1972. Page 7.

Adapted from an article by Takagawa

John Tilley

Takagawa's aim in this article was to introduce concepts of fuseki and early middle-game to weaker players. He chose to do this through the detailed study of a professional game, carefully chosen to illustrate the basic concepts of Go. This game is easy to understand, and it illustrates the all-important principle of securing your weak group before either playing a large point (oba) or starting an attack. The article was aimed at players of 10 kyu upwards*.
* EBGJ: Does upwards mean bigger numbers (weaker) or better ability (stronger)?

There is much discussion of the 'Figure' diagrams in this article. You may wish to open a second browser window with the same address to have one window reading the text and another viewing the figures.

Black: Takagawa, then 4p aged 23.
White: Tanaka, then 4p, aged 22.

The game-file in SGF format.

Figure 1 (1-10)

Fig 1. Let's first look at Black 3. With this move black makes an immediate shimari (corner enclosure). This is a large knight's (ogeima) shimari. This particular shimari stakes out more territory than other shimari.

Diagram 1

Diagram 2

Dia 1 shows the small knights (kogeima) shimari. This shimari has a weak point at A, but it is more secure than the shimari in the Figure, as the stones are closer together.

Dia 2 shows the one- point shimari (ikken jimari). This shimari has a weak point at A, as white can then aim at B to attack black's soft underbelly. The direction of expansion from this shimari is in the direction of the arrow. I hope you have some feeling for the differences between these three shimari.

Fig 1: Black 5 is played in the empty corner. This particular move is called moku-hadzushi (off-point). I chose this point because of the presence of white 4 in the lower corner.

Diagram 3

In Dia 3, Black plays this 1, a more common move. After White plays the kakari2, Black has no choice but to play 3, the only remaining kakari. However, white 4 is rather good, as it is an ideal pincer extension. (White 2 to 4 is the maximum extension, and also 4 takes away the black extension from 3.) Black 1 isn't bad, but to allow white a good move feels wrong.

Diagram 4

Fig 1: White now plays 6 and black 7 is almost essential - 'play in the corners first'. Now you should notice that both black 5 and 7 are played on moku-hadzushi points. This gives White a clue to his next move, 8. Suppose white played 8' somewhere other than the lower side. Then black will be happy to play 1 to 9 in Dia 4. White's stones are pressed onto the third line and this is defintely bad. So White played 8 and then black jumped to 9 and white 10. White 8 is the two point high pincer and this move is often used. What about white 8' in the left corner of Fig 1 at A? I feel that white 8 in the right corner is better as white already has more stones on the left side, so the 8 played gives better balance.

Diagram 5

Black has several chances with his 9'. Suppose he played elsewhere, then the attack of white 1, 3 of Dia 5 is common. This is quite severe on black, so he isn't likely to play tenuki.

Diagram 6

Diagram 7

The joseki of Dia 6 hadn't been invented then, although it is the most common joseki seen today. White 1 in Dia 7 is the other possibility. This aims to sever black's connection, and is a severe way to play which you will sometimes see. In this variation white 9' can be played at 12, then black A, but this is better for Black because of his 5 in Fig 1. Black 10 is an important tesuji in this joseki which must be remembered.

Points to bear in mind so far: Black 9 invites white 10, which is the natural result when the shimari in the top right corner is considered. White 8 was the appropriate hasami (pincer) move in this situation.

Figure 2 (11-19)

Fig 2. Black 11 is an almost essential extension, as it not only extends from black but also has an eye on attacking white 8. In this situation white's keima 12 is appropriate and joseki, black now strengthens his position with the attack 13, white 14 is natural and black 15 makes good shape. White 16 can be played in two directions, either as in Fig 2 or in Dia 8.

Diagram 8

White 5 connects at triangle
Diagram 9

White 1 in Dia 8 forces black 2 up to 6, and white 7 and 9 are natural. Finally Black plays 12 and both players gain territory, but black's shimari in the upper right corner makes a beautiful position in relation to black 12, etc. White has no choice but to play 16 as in the Fig. In fact Black could consider replacing his 6 in Dia 8 with 1 in Dia 9, and this is another variation. Anyway, White must avoid both Dias 8 and 9 like the plague.

Diagram 10

Diagram 11

Black 17 seems unusual; many amateurs would now play at 19. However, White has the tesuji 2 in Dia 10 up his sleeve. White 2 is of course a cut at the waist of a knight's joint and the result up to 10 favours white a lot. (White's marked stone lies on the exact spot to make white's thickness very effective.) Some of you may be worried about White 1 in Dia 11. Black ignores the atari and plays 2, and after black 6, black has a strong position as white's two stones are drifting aimlessly. White 18 in the Fig gives these two stones shape. Black now secures the corner with 19.

[Start] Part B of this article is on page 9.

This article is from the British Go Journal Issue 16
which is one of a series of back issues now available on the web.

Last updated Thu May 04 2017. If you have any comments, please email the webmaster on web-master AT britgo DOT org.