Journal No. 62. July 1984. Page 21.
The following vigorous struggle was played during the Cheshire
tournament between two evenly matched 3 kyus. The comments (by Ian
Meiklejohn) are aimed mainly at demonstrating the value of doing the
simple things well, and in particular, of maintaining an awareness of
the overall position during local fights.
Black: Eddie Smithers, 3k
White: Tony Atkins, 3k
(Note: The names were incorrectly reported the other way round in BGJ 62.)
The game-file in
- Black 9: Very unusual. The simple line is to play at A first, then
counterattack the white stone with 17 or 18.
- White 10: Cutting across at 38 is the only move, then black 40,
white 36, and black has to play 49. The continuation is hard, and is not
even mentioned in lshida. (Note that capturing white in a ladder with 39
instead of 49 in this variation would be no good even if it worked, as
whites corner would be too big after 37 and B).
- Black 13: An instructive error. Normally this should be at 34, the
vital point in what has become a pushing-and-crawling race. Blacks
two-stone group is still unstable and he cannot yet tenuki here (a
useful rule of thumb for tactical situations is that a group needs at
least 5 liberties before it is stable), However a 'joseki' alternative
to 34 is to first attach at 32 to sound out White's reaction and prevent
him from playing at 37 to take the corner.
Secondly, if black wants to attack white 8 he should himself play a
counter-pincer first. The capping play only forces white to extend to
14, taking territory and stabilising his group.
Incidentally, an excellent lesson in the significance of
pushing-and-crawling is given in the Ishi Press book, "In the
Beginning" (a book most kyu players could profitably read).
- White 16: Wrong direction. If white wants to avoid being sealed in,
he should move out through 13 and 15, not head towards blacks (albeit
- Black 21: Too thin, inviting white to slice through the middle.
Better is 44.
- White 22: Too thin, better at D.
- White 28: Strengthens black. Simply 30.
- Black 31: Strengthens white, and is off the mark. Willy-nilly,
black must block at 43.
- White 32: 43 shrieks to be played.
- Black 33: Still off the mark and fishing in muddy waters.
- White 36: 43 now drowns out all sound - it slices through blacks
groups like a knife through butter. But instead white loses patience and
tries a vulgar piece of rough stuff - fortunately it works.
- White 44: Or does it? This move is stylish, but simply giving the
series of ataris starting at C and ending at 44 is simpler and prevents
- White 48: Missing his chance. Now white must strike .and capture
one or more of blacks outside stones by giving atari at C.
- Black 53: The result of the opening skirmishes in this corner have
turned in blacks favour: he has considerable thickness, while white has
only a small side. Note that because of whites bad (and incomplete)
sequence of 22, 24, and 26, Black can capture two stones by cutting at
Figure 2a (55-100) |
BGJ had Fig 2a and 2b as one diagram, Fig 2.
- Black 55: Black eliminates the bad aji here, but lets white start a
fight in the other corner.
- Black 57: Simpler is 60.
- Black 59: Bad. Must be at 60.
- White 62: Aggressive, but not without risk. Natural is 64.
- Black 63: Lets white seize the vital point of 64.
- Black 71: Bad shape, making the dreaded empty triangle. Should be a
- Black 79: The position is becoming steadily more difficult. Black
has a weak centre group short of liberties. But his corner is not alive
(if White plays 118 he can reduce it to an L group). On the other hand
White's centre group is stuck inside Black's moyo, and is riddled with
cutting points, The vital question therefore is, at what stage can white
stop chasing black and go back to kill the corner - or will black get a
chance to save the corner first. In the meantime, this hane and White's
aggressive answer further confuse matters, since they raise the spectre
of a Black descent at E and a counter-attack on the side.
- White 92: Probably an overplay. White should defend his cutting
point (after exchanging 118 for 119) and make miai of killing the corner
or escaping/continuing the attack on Black's centre group. This would be
a simple way of playing, since white can look forward to deriving plenty
(more) profit from black's straggler.
- Black 97: Black now and later continues to tempt fate. He really
should make his corner live (with the, in itself very large, move of
Figure 2b (101-137) |
BGJ had Fig 2a and 2b as one diagram, Fig 2.
- Black 107: Vital point for attack and wrecking white's shape.
- White 118: Having failed to escape or make eyes (and fatally
shortened himself of liberties in the process), white now turns in
desperation to black's corner and the game reaches a climax.
- White 124: Now white is behind in the semeai, but 124 seems to be
necessary on the side, due to the aji of black 79. Also white should
play 120 first (in fact, probably much earlier than this) to destroy
blacks half eye (black always has the option of discarding two stones
to secure life).
- Black 127: A blunder. Black should first play at 128, threatening F
and two eyes. This increases his internal liberties to the point where
white needs 9 moves to put black into atari (count them), whereas black
needs only 7 to do likewise to white..
- White 132: Hara-kiri. White must play at 136. If black connects
both sides effectively have 6 liberties and white can win the semeai.
Black's only hope is then to fill a white liberty instead and fight the
- Black 133: Returns the compliment. Filling a liberty at G will put
Black ahead in the semeai and safeguard his stones above.
In the sequence to 137, at which point the score tantalisingly ends,
white kills black's corner (for the time being), a success which should
be enough to win comfortably.
However, not surprisingly, since both players are amateurs, the
fight in the corner was not decisive, and in the end White won by just 3
An entertaining and instructive tussle.
This article is from the
British Go Journal
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