Mitchell v May

British Go Journal No. 40. February 1978. Page 13.

Comentary: David Mitchell.

A clash of style and temperments in every respect. Frank May plays very slowly, thinks hard, and mixes excellent, imaginative moves with some very indifferent plays. David Mitchell is the best lightening player in the country and frequently takes only a fraction of his clock time. He plays with a combination of intuition and quick calculation. If he doesn't find a move obvious, he may not see it till after the game, which can be a handicap. He had an excellent tournament, losing only to Fujino in round 3 and in round 7 to Macfadyen. Commentary to this game is by David Mitchell.

Black: David Mitchell, 3d
White: Frank May, ?d

The game-file in SGF format.

Figure 1 (1-100)


















  • Black 1 - 7: Recently I have taken to playing hoshi fuseki, such as Black 1, Black 3 in this game, because this often leads to large moyos, which produces invasions and running fights which I feel I can handle well. I played Black 5 intending to play next at either Black 7 or White 6. Frank made his shimari and I was happy to achieve san-ren-sei.
  • Black 9 - 17: Black 9 is often played one point to the right. White 10 is an inappropriate response, reminescent of a handicap game. Black 11 separates White 8, 10 and waits for White's response. When White dives in with 12, Black 13 naturally cuts White off from the side on which Black expects to make the most territory and this corner sequence ends with Black 15, 17 pressing White low against the edge and expanding Black's moyo which White will have to soon invade.
  • White 18 occupies the largest area remaining. One point to the left would be too low - Black could play one point to the right of 18 and keep White down while increasing his prospects on the right.
  • Black 21, White 22: Black 21 is yosu-miru. If White 22' at 86 to defend the outside and let Black live in the corner, Black 23' would be one above 19, pressing White. The idea of playing 19 at all is to keep down White's potential area, while waiting for him to invade Black's moyo.
  • Black 27: Black's first definite error is Black 27; this should be one point higher. The knight's move, 25-27 can be broken by White attacking the stones 19-23-25.
  • White 28 - 31: White's error follows. His invasion point 28 was poorly chosen and in poor relationship to Black 1 and Black 7. One point nearer to either 7 or 1 is better. Black naturally defends his corner with 29, White jumps to 30 and Black defends with 31. Black is making territory and attacking, while White 30 and 28 are loose and difficult to defend.
  • White 32 - 43: White 32 is another loose move and Black immediately pokes at White's weaknesses with 33. White dives underneath for eye space with 34 and, up to Black 43, White is split in two and will only succeed in living with one half of his stones.
  • White 44 looks like good shape, but this is the half that eventually dies, so perhaps 44' at 51 is better.
  • White 46 probes to see how Black will defend the corner. 47 makes it difficult for White to live there. 47' to the right of 29 would make it easy, but would attack the lower White stones more strongly.
  • 48 - 56 gives White space for eyes in exchange for greatly strengthening Black's position and making the death of the White stones 38, 40 etc., very probable. 56 should however be at 57 - the vital point for eye-shape which Black immediately hits.
  • Black 61 threatens to rescue 57-59, so White makes an eye with 62 and, not wanting to be shut in, answers 63 by pushing out, 64 etc., but this solidifes Black's top area, so maybe White should have made two eyes.
  • White 80-Black 83 sees White finally out in the open with chances of making territory on the left, but at the heavy cost of seeing his lower right stones die. After 85-87, which is a standard way of using the stone at 21, followed by 91-92 and 93 which defends Black 's upper side, Black has three ways to reduce White 's left hand moyo: By pushing in from 91, through the gap between 4 and 84, or by using 85, 87, 89. So White's prospects in this area are not as bright as they may appear at first glance.
  • White 94-100 presses back Black's area a little and isolates the 4 Black stones. However, at this late stage in the game, the White stones cut off by Black 101 have nowhere to go, and the best that White can manage is to secure his left edge territory and cut Black off from centre left in exchange for giving Black some lower edge area.
Figure 2 (101-145)


















  • The sequence to 137 forces White to go back after all to live with 118 and ends White's hopes of large left edge area. His last hope, which would scarcely be enough even if it were successful, is to take away Black's upper right corner.
  • White 138, 140 are a standard way of trying to make eye shape in the corner. If Black pushes to the right of 138, White stops him immediately and forces a ko. So I played 141, without being able to read out all the possibilities, and being prepared to see White live in gote. After the game we discovered that there is a sequence for White to live; it's very difficult and will be found on page 23.
  • The exchange 142 for 143 spoils this sequence.

The players finished the game and Black won by a large margin.

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This article is from the British Go Journal Issue 40
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